Tara sung on the bridge. She had such a pretty voice. And her words...though undeserved, they spoke a melody all of their own. Willow could feel them surrounding her. She basked in them. She needed them more than sunlight, more than air. Why were they getting quieter? Willow could feel Tara's fingers on hers but they were slipping away. Willow tried. She listened harder and gripped tighter, but still Tara slipped away. She was gone.
Willow awoke. It took her a second to remember why she slept alone, as it had done every morning. The realization hit her with a fresh bout of pain, like a punch in the gut. She still felt out of her element here, though she knew she shouldn't. She'd already been here two weeks; it shouldn't feel like she was sleeping in a stranger's bed. She rose and prepared for the day.
Willow wondered how Giles was always already out there when she came out. Was she really that predictable? She supposed she was. She had formed a routine when she got here and had not emerged from it since. She didn't see the point in planning anything special. Without Tara she had no one to share those special moments with and nothing to look forward to. Giles looked up at her and gestured for her to sit.
"How are you doing?" He always asked this. She always answered the same way. How else could she answer?
"Fine." Willow tried to focus on the lesson he would be teaching her. This was the only part of her day that varied. His lessons got slightly more complex each day.
He lay a rose in front of her. He said they would start by levitating a rose together. It would help her practice gathering natural magics from the earth and being in sync with another magical practitioner.
She couldn't. She wouldn't even try. She ran back to the house. Her room was no longer a haven from fear because she didn't share it. She ran in there anyway. Willow put her head into her knees and sat on the ground. She was trying to breathe normally but she couldn't. The rational part of her mind told her Giles couldn't have known. The rational part wasn't the part in control, though.
A couple minutes passed. Giles followed Willow in. He sat down beside her. His silence questioned her louder than words ever could. She finally responded.
"Me and Tara did that spell. Years ago. The rose went crazy, flying all around the room." She masked the true reason into a story. She knew would understand. He sat there for a minute.
"We won't do that spell," he eventually responded. He rose from the ground and left. Willow didn't stop him. She rose and crawled back into her bed. She curled up into a ball. She knew it wasn't even 10 a.m. yet, but her day was over. There was one good thing to come out of this awful day, though. She had finally broken her routine.