Title: Pack

Rating: PG-15, perhaps R later on

Author: faolan228

Disclaimer: I own nothing! Nothing!

Summary: Sometimes, accidents happen. Sometimes, it's someone else's fault entirely. Sometimes, we have to go on living with those consequences. Tara, Willow, life, and love in the Sunnydale way of things.

Spoilers: None

Feedback: Yes please

Author's Note: Just something that hit me while on an 8 hour bus ride today, something that'll give me something to bounce off on when not working on 'Sentinels'. Hope you all enjoy!

Chapter One: Infection

"Phhhfffptptpt!"

And the award for most unattractive sound ever goes to Willow! The redhead shook her head and shoulders and repeated the sound, nervousness making itself known in the form of puffs of air forced out between her lips.

She was right to be nervous to, after what she had just put Tara through. The power was out, and who knew how long the other witch had been sitting in the dark while Willow was off with her friends doing various daring dos.

'But that's what the candle is for!' Yes, the candle would make the perfect peace offering. Not only would it be useful in the darkness, it'd serve a metaphorical purpose too. Months of pussyfooting around each other, shy kisses shared with no actual discussion on what those kisses meant would finally come to an end, the gift of the extra flamey candle a confirmation on how extra flamey Willow herself was.

That she had chosen Tara. Chosen Tara over her first love, Oz.

Oz, who after his rescue had given her a pained look, opened his mouth as if to say something, and merely driven off without a word. It…hadn't hurt as much as she thought it would have. Instead, it was as if a weight had been lifted over her shoulders. A part of her would always look back on their time together fondly, but belonging with Tara was just right.

Unsure of her feelings for the other girl at first, it had come up suddenly, swelling in heart til it felt like her chest would burst from it all. Tara, rushing to meet her, gasping for breath while one arm clasped her bag over the other, alerting her to what had happened to Oz. He had attacked her, and moreover, he was a sort of romantic rival. She could have left it at that, leaving him to the Initiative and the Scoobies wondering where he had wandered off to this time.

But she didn't.

She had rushed to Willow, terrified and gasping and bag clutched to her arm like a sort of shield, because it was the right thing to do. Because even if Willow wouldn't choose her, it still had to be Willow's choice. Not like the werewolf who, whether intentionally or not, sought to destroy what he viewed as an interloper.

Sweet, noble Tara.

When she stepped into the dorm room, Willow's heart almost broke at the sight of her, curled on a chair and just staring out the window, as if she thought there was no possible way Willow would choose her, as if she thought Willow's mind hadn't been made up long before.

"Y-you have to be with the person you love."

Willow felt her heart clench again. 'Why does she always act like she doesn't deserve to be loved?' At that very moment, Willow vowed that Tara would always know she deserved to be loved. "I am," she said confidently.

There. She said it. Willow Rosenberg loves Tara Maclay. And there was that swelling feeling in her chest again. Oh, she was definitely going to need to shout it from the rooftops later, wasn't she?

"N-no."'

It felt like a sucker punch to the gut. "What?"

Tara backed away from her, bringing her arms up to wrap around herself, but stopped with a flinch. "I-I said no, W-willow."

"But…but I love you!" Willow stepped forward, earnest and distressed and just so, so confused. Tara stepped back again, until she bumped into her desk. "Tara, please…why?"

Trapped between Willow and her desk, Tara could only look at everything but the redhead, one arm grasping the other. Somehow, Willow's eyes travelled downward. Perhaps it was fate, perhaps it was instinct, perhaps she just knew how to read Tara so well. Whatever it was, it would continue to be a topic for debate years down the line, but at the moment, Willow could only note the heartbreak and the dropping of her stomach.

Tara's arm, the one she had held(hid!) behind her bag earlier, the one she was struggling to lift properly, was illuminated by the candle light.

And so was the neat but bloodied bandage wrapped around her forearm.

"H-he," Tara swallowed. "He bit me."