"Tara Maclay. October 16, 1980 - May 7, 2002"
Those were the words she expected to see on a tombstone. But they weren't there. Willow was coming to visit the grave of her lover once more, but where she remembered the tombstone was, it wasn't there anymore. There wasn't even a space between the two tombstones it was originally between; they were just close together. Frantically, Willow paced all over the cemetery with hope that maybe Tara's grave is at a different area. She checked every tombstone, every crypt, but none bared the name of Tara. Feeling confused and anxious, she looked all around her surroundings.
Willow ran over to the nearest tree where she collapsed on the ground. Believing that Tara is gone for good, she broke into tears.
A lot of things were going through her head: "Am I being punished? For turning evil, being with Kennedy...am I just going to suffer forever?" As more tears ran down her cheeks, a woman passed by and sat near Willow. She was wearing a hooded jacket with the color of baby blue. She also had blonde hair and spoke in the softest tone you would've heard anywhere.
"I know how hard it is for you," said the woman. Willow sniffled and turn to the mysterious woman.
"You don't understand," sobbed Willow. "My lover is gone! She has died, but her grave is nowhere to be found. I've done some terrible things after that, and now I am being scolded! She would be so ashamed of me now. My heart doesn't belong to her anymore!"
"I wouldn't be so sure of that," the woman said.
"How can you be so all-knowing about this?" Willow asked the woman.
The woman stood up and removed her hood. Willow's eyes lit up like sparkly diamonds. They were almost blinded by what she was witnessing. It was Tara, standing right in front of her! Same pretty sleepy eyes, same pretty smile.
"I believe it is you who's the all-knowing one," Tara said.
"Tara? No, it can't be you. You are gone. It's you, the First! You're here to manipulate me like last time! To make me kill myself! Oh, why?!"
Willow butted her head against the tree and began to weep more. But then, she felt something. It was a familiar touch. Willow opened her eyes and faced her right. Tara was holding her hand! Willow was feeling a sensation she never felt since they first moved the soda vending machine to protect themselves from the Gentlemen. Willow turned to the other direction, letting go of Tara's hand. She looked further along the path to the cemetery, trying to contemplate what was occurring. A nice, cool breeze blew in his face. Willow closed her eyes and embraced its comfort. She then opened her eyes to find that Tara had disappeared.
Willow was growing more and more anxious. She walked quickly along the path, trying to find Tara. She found herself near the UC Sunnydale Campus. She looked all around the students moseying around. No sign of Tara, but then she heard a faint humming. Willow began to have a flashback to the time when everyone in Sunnydale were being forced to sing and dance. She walked back on the path right over to the bridge where Tara first sang to her. There in the distance was Tara, humming softly. Willow ran over to her.
"Tara? I thought I lost you."
"You know better than that," said Tara.
"Are you alive?" Willow asked.
"From a certain perspective," Tara replied. "But the important thing right now is for you to understand a few things, since you've been terribly confused."
"Oh, yes," said Willow, as she lowered her head. "Tara, I've done some awful things after you were gone. I just lost it and gone mad."
"They were awful, I admit," said Tara. "Even so, I cannot forget all the good things about you. The wicca group made me feel insignificant, but you saw past their cover and recognized someone with true power. My family tried to make me feel the same way by lying to me that I was part demon, but you and your friends defend me and saw past that. Though in the end, I wasn't part demon but you get the idea."
Willow looked up at Tara, her eyes still moist. "So does mean you...?"
"Yes, Willow. I forgive you for all you did."
Willow's eyes began to well up again. Tara embraced her and petted her back.
"Oh, Tara! I want you to know that I really want to use my magic to help the people around me and the earth."
"I truly believe you."
"But I have so much power in me," said Willow. "The darkness is still there. I'm just trying to keep it under control. I don't know if I can try it again. I'm like a time bomb that can go off any minute."
"Well, you know the old saying 'Practice makes perfect.' Willow, you've just learned that it doesn't matter how much magic you used; it's about how you use it. If you continue using your powers for good intentions, you might find your bright spot."
Willow just then realized something. "Oh, Tara! Is it killing you that I've been seeing Kennedy? It's just that she was pursuing me and she made me feel normal and...Baby, don't you understand?"
"Willow, whatever works for you, whatever makes you feel happy, pursuit it," Tara said, as she walked down the path with Willow following her. "I'll always be, you know..."
Willow knew what she meant.
"And I always believe you bring out the best out of people."
"But she's not you," said Willow. "She scoffs at my magic ability."
"She will be amazed of what your capable of. However if everything doesn't work out with you and Kennedy, there is another way you can find happiness. It'll come close to all those years of bliss with me."
Tara grabbed magic dust out of her pocket and blew in Willow's eyes. Willow then saw herself out in a field, playfully chasing a toddler. The toddler was female, had bright red hair, and the cutest smile. Willow caught the little girl with the both of them smiling and laughing.
"She's adorable," Willow said, her eyes welling up again.
"Like her mother," said Tara. "She can be a vessel of joy for you. Teach her all that I have taught you. Keep me alive in her. Raise her to be strong like an Amazon."
"Can I raise her to be fierce like a wolf?"
"You raise her any way you like, Willow."
They finally reach near the cemetery. Willow looked over, facing it and back over to Tara. Everything that was being shown to her was incredibly overwhelming.
"I still don't understand from all of this," said Willow.
"It's confusing for sure," said Tara. "But what is important is what lies ahead for you. Just keep sailing on, silver girl."
And with that said, Tara laid her lips on Willow. Those lips pressed against hers never felt so passionate before. Through all the joy and ecstasy of this encounter, Willow never felt this alive. She opened her eyes and found a man walking to the cemetery. The man was bald and wearing glasses. He laid down flowers over at a tombstone that read: "Red Lester Cleese. November 30, 2000 (7:30pm) - November 30, 2000 (7:37pm)." The man faced the two lovers.
"He was a great cheese," he said. "A bit stuffy, but I enjoyed him."
Willow then saw black. She opened her eyes with a gasp. She found herself in her bedroom at Buffy's home with Kennedy sleeping by her side and a lot of the Potential Slayers sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags. She lied back down, and tried to contemplate all she experienced.
P.S. I meant the cheese name to be Cleese. It's a reference to John Cleese of Monty Python. It's also an in-joke because his family's original surname was Cheese but his father changed it to Cleese when he joined the army.