Restless

Everyone had a dream in Restless. What if Tara did too?

(Obviously) set S4, episode Restless.

Spoilers: The series ended nine years ago. C'mon people. Nothing overly huge anyway.

Disclaimer: Joss you incredible man, they're all yours. And I could never hope to write a wacky dream sequence as well as you, but I'm gonna try.

This would be the first night in ages that Tara would have to sleep without Willow curled up beside her. She felt a cold, hard, lump of loneliness building up inside her as she snuggled unto her less-than-warm covers, wishing she had Willow's warm (preferably naked) body spooned around her. She let her fantasies of Willow-Hands, Willow-Eyes, Willow-Smile and - mmm…. - Willow-Tongue lull her into a fitful sleep beneath the blinking glow of her fairy lights.

Tara was walking through the overly sunny quadrangle of the UCSD Campus, feeling herself getting jostled from side to side. There were hundreds of people all running in different directions, every single one of them taller than her. The noise was deafening and Tara very quickly found herself nearing tears. She had a stack of coloured folders in her hand, each of them saying she had to be a different place and all of them requesting that she be there right now. Tara came to a standstill as everyone around her kept moving at an almost inhuman pace and all she could do was stand and watch while everyone else moved forward. A young brunette girl, maybe 13 or 14 stood in front of her, big, blue, orb-like eyes staring at her affectionately.

"Oh Tara," she sighed. "They'll make sure you're important to me. I know they will." She flung her arms haphazardly around Tara's neck, openly weeping. Tara patted her on the back awkwardly. The girl pulled back, re-adjusting her Hello Kitty t-shirt. She looked at the ground, then back up at Tara, her eyes wide and nervous. "You'll all be back before dawn?" She asked, before turning and flouncing away, a spring in her step. Before Tara could reply or question the pretty young girl, a pair of hands came round, covering her eyes with a low laugh. She recognised the voice and struggled to turn, but the hands were too strong.

"Nah ah ah…" The voice teased, "don't want you seeing what's going on. You'll get ideas about actually doing something," it laughed. The hands dropped and spun Tara around, pulling her in close. Before Tara was Buffy, quite clearly. But there was something wrong… there was something fragmented about her, as if she were shoved in somewhere on all wobbly.

"C'mon, T, give us a kiss!" Buffy – well, Faith wasn't it? – urged. She leaned in, slowly and sensuously dragging her tongue up Tara's neck. "I know you're not much for the timber, so I figured what better way for us to get to know each other than doin' the deed – your way."

"Faith, we can't! I-I'm w-w-w-w-w,"

"Ha! Give over, T. You can't even talk properly, may as well take some while ya can." Faith-in-Buffy pressed her finger over Tara's lips and the bright hustle and bustle of the UCSD Campus faded into blackness. Slowly, Tara's eyes readjusted to the light and she realised it was no longer Buffy-Faith with her fingers pressed to her lips, but Xander.

"Tara," he murmured, "come on, you have to be quiet." He dragged her along a gradually narrowing corridor. There were dappled spots of light shining down on them, each of them shaped like a flower petal, or perhaps a tear drop.

"W-why do I have be be qu-"

"Shh!" Xander urged, clapping a hand over her mouth. "No one needs your stupid, stuttered questions right now Tara."

"W-Willow said that-"

"Unless you're about to tell me what you and the Willster did in bed last night, I don't wanna hear it."

"Where are we g-going?"

"Jeeze Tara, do you ever listen?" Xander turned, revealing himself not as Willow's kind-hearted friend, but Tara's cruel and possessive brother, Donny. "We're goin' to a Scooby meeting." He clipped her around the back of the head and she immediately looked at the ground, allowing her hair to fall around her face as she trotted meekly behind her brother. The tunnel was getting narrower and narrower, and though Donny was considerably larger than Tara, he was still walking along with ease. Tara, however, was finding it more and more difficult to squeeze through the passage, now having turned sideways and shuffling along. The walls were pressing in on her and she could feel her breathing getting sharper, more laboured. Donny continued to stroll ahead of her.

"Tara?" A soft and deliciously familiar voice called out.

"W-Willow?" Tara called hopefully.

"Shut up!" Came the voice of not only Donny, but also Xander, Giles and her father. Faith's low laugh rang around the narrow passage.

"Tara!" She yelled again. Tara wasn't game to call out to her girlfriend again, but looked around desperately… the voice seemed so close! Suddenly the floor dropped from beneath Tara and she found herself lying on her back in the middle of a school cafeteria… not one she recognised. The walls were pinned with posters, one depicting a pig and the label "Razorbacks" another reading, "Cordelia Chase for Homecoming Queen!" however the "Cordelia Chase" had been scribbled out and written over with the name "Buffy Summers".

A man was standing over her, holding a stack of cheese at least three feet high, almost overbalancing.
"There's no room for the cheese, not anywhere…" he said grumpily, before stalking off toward the kitchen, his stack wobbling haphazardly. Tara scrambled upward, but couldn't find purchase on the floor and fell back down onto her back. The empty room rang with jeers and catcalls. Blushing furiously, Tara once again attempted to stand before falling back down. The empty cafeteria once again burst into laughter. Wiping away angry tears Tara gave up, simply slumping back onto the linoleum. A soft hand grasped hers, pulling her up. Tara gazed into her lover's eyes with a grateful smile. She was going to be okay, it was all going to be okay because Willow was here… except it didn't really feel like Willow. She was dressed in white stockings and a brown dress, her hair was long, straight and mousy… this was a Willow she'd never experienced before. From the kitchen, entered more familiar faces, Buffy, wearing a short, tight skirt and popping bubble-gum, Xander – dressed pretty much like usual, Mr Giles, clutching a pile of books and dressed in a tweed suit. Following more slowly was Anya and a girl she recognised from the homecoming poster as Cordelia, followed by a leather-clad Faith. Next came Spike, followed by a sullen looking Angel. Finally came Jenny Calendar followed by a sandy-haired boy Tara realised with a jolt was Oz. Angel hooked an arm around Buffy, kissing her gently. Jenny and Giles embraced, exchanging an embarrassed smile. Anya hooked herself onto Xander's arm. Spike grabbed Cordelia around the waist and she screamed, though no one did anything as the vampire sunk his teeth into her neck. Faith shot the pair a disdainful look, but ignored them, sauntering up behind Buffy instead. Finally, Oz drew up, wrapping a protective arm around Willow and giving her a brief kiss.

"You're new," Buffy commented, giving Tara an appraising look. "Do you know what goes on around here?"

"Of course she doesn't," Willow laughed, "she's new."

"No one new lasts in Sunnydale," Giles commented darkly.

"No one lasts in Sunnydale, period," Jenny reminded him.

"We should fill her in, shouldn't we?" Oz asked, absently stroking Willow's hair. Tara felt a pang in her stomach, watching their easy interaction.

"Nah, she'll be dead soon anyway," Spike looked up from his feeding on Cordelia. "What? I'm not gonna kill her. Could if I wanted, but I'm not."

"You want a cookie for that?" Faith said sarcastically. "You're evil!"

"So're you," he commented.

"Nah, I'm just confused," Faith flashed him a grin, before turning back to Tara, evaluating her figure. "But blondie here already knows that… don'tcha?"

"Um, I-I-I…"

"She's probably evil," Anya said. Everyone looked at her. "What? She probably is. In Sunnydale, you're either evil, dating someone evil, have superpowers or are dating someone with superpowers."

"B-but I am dating… with the superpowers…." Tara trailed off, embarrassed. "Never mind."

"We were all here before you," Cordelia's now-dead body said, looking up at her. "Even me, and I'm like, dead to them now."

"You don't belong, not like the rest of us," Oz said quietly. "She'll always have known me longer than you," he smirked, leaning in and kissing Willow.

"What's your locker code?" Anya asked. "Mine's very intriguing. It's P-E-N-1-5."

"W-what? L-locker codes are meant to be n-numbers..."

"Mine's Oz's brithday," Willow murmured, delighted.

"Come, come now, Buffy we have the world to save, remember. It doesn't look as if Tara's going to be any help, so we may as well just be on our way..." he realised with a pointed pause that Buffy wasn't listening to a word he was saying. "I'm going to go have passionate sex with Jenny. Angel and I are going to run away together. Your shoes look like Gondolas." He rolled his eyes. "You see Tara, it's not just you that no one listens to. The world is doomed, I'm sure of it."

"So are you coming to class, or what?" Buffy asked, completely ignoring her watcher. "I'm bored."

"Uh, I'm n-not in high school…"

"Sweetie," Willow moved forward, lightly stroking her cheek. "We never left high school!" Willow's fingers on her cheek were so soft and warm… and suddenly they were anything but. They were cold, dead, wizened and the entire room faded around them as Tara felt herself becoming huge. Talons sprouted from her hands and her skin was splitting at the seams. She screamed, but what came out was a roar as she whipped her clawed hand around, in one smooth motion slicing all of her friends in half. As soon as their bodies dropped, so did Tara. She opened her eyes and she was in her own bedroom, the fairy-lights blinking and Willow's figure curled around her. She was human again, warm and peaceful in Willow's embrace. There was an intense magical energy surrounding them, the room sizzled with power, the scent of herbs and candles and incense. Tara felt completely at peace, relaxed in the magical energy and Willow's embrace. She could hear a soft, familiar voice chanting in the background, murmuring the words of a spell. With a jolt, she realised it was her mother. "Spiritus, spirit…. Sophus, mind… Animus, heart…. Manus, hand…" The whole room was glowing with the light of her mother's spell.

"I've told everyone now, Tara," Willow said quietly. "They're all happy for us." Willow rolled over to face Tara, placing a chaste kiss against her lips. "That's it, no more secrets. All with the happy now."

"No more secrets…" Tara echoed, leaning in and deepening the kiss between the two of them. Suddenly, the lips beneath her changed, becoming fuller, colder… they tasted different too, like stale blood and dirt. Tara pulled back, falling off the bed and landing on the floor of the student lounge. Looking up, she realised she was staring up at the "Lesbian Alliance" banner Riley had hung for them, but most of the letters had been crossed out, now it read "Lesbian li e". Before Tara could think much of the "Lesbian Lie" the banner was blocked by a ghostly, primeval face. The primitive exhaled sharply onto Tara's face, straddling her hips. Tara gasped, trying to push the primitive off her. The scoobies all ran forward, attempting to see who was being attacked.

"It's Tara!" Willow cried, rushing to her girlfriend's aid. Everyone else stayed put, simply watching in mild interest as the primitive began working her knife ever-so-slowly into Tara's belly as the blonde witch writhed in agony. Willow whacked the primitive over and over again, but to no avail… she didn't budge, just continued to work her knife further and further into Tara's abdomen…
"Tara, baby! Baby, I love you, guys help me! Tara!"

"Willow? Tara murmured through glazed eyes. "Tell Buffy, tell… you think you know… what's to come, what you are… you haven't even…begun…" and her eyes rolled back in her head.

Okay, hope you liked. That was fun! Please feel free to interpret ;D