"Conversation With... Buffy"
By A.M. Glass
Copyright: July 7th-25th, 2002
Revised: July 27, 2002
Spoilers: “Spiral”, “The Weight Of The World”, “The Gift”, “Tabula Rasa”, “Older and Far Away”, “Dead Things”, “Seeing Red”, “Two To Go”, and“Grave.”
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Fox Studios, Mutant Enemy, et al, have something to do with "Buffy The Vampire Slayer". No copyright infringement is intended or inferred. The story along with any/all original characters are the sole property of the author and can not be used without expressed permission first.
Author’s Note: This is the fifth of six parks in the “Conversation...” series. The first being Dawn, followed by Anya, Xander, and Giles. I honestly hope this story is good. I’m not really happy with it. I don’t think I can write Buffy as well as I can say, Willow or Tara. Any mistakes are mine and mine alone.
Thanks: Once again to Amanda for the beta and the suggestions that I took whole-heartedly.
Special Thanks: Goes to Pat Kelly, hopefully the change he suggested will make things clearer.
Buffy didn’t notice the birds chirping in the air. Or the pleasant breeze that caressed her face, gently brushing her hair back, before falling into place.
She didn’t notice the families laughing and playing in the park. She didn’t notice any of these things or the dozens more as she walked along the path with Giles.
All she focused on were his words... and the bombshell he’d dropped.
“So, what do you think is going on?” she asked during a slight pause in the conversation.
“Well, from what I can gather, considering what Anya, Xander and Dawn have told me, she seems to be providing some form of comfort for everyone...”
“Not everyone,” she interrupted, looking at him as they stopped. “She hasn’t seen Will yet,” she stressed. ‘Or me,’ she added silently.
“That doesn’t mean she won’t,” he countered as he began walking again. “I’m sure she’ll visit Willow shortly.”
“So... umm... how is she?”
Giles stopped once again. “She’s fine,” he answered, shrugging his shoulders. He honestly had no idea. For although Tara had told him that she was fine, he hadn’t pressed her for any more information.
“What did you guys talk about?”
“Things,” he answered vaguely as he began to walk down the path once more.
“They... they were personal...”
They walked along quietly, neither of them certain of what to say to each other.
“You... you do know I love you. Don’t you?” he asked softly. He had done some soul searching after Tara had left him and he realized that he could no longer hide behind his stoic English upbringing. That he had to make sure that those he loved, cared for, knew it.
He would never forgive himself if he let the opportunity pass him by.
Tara’s untimely death opened his eyes, unlike anything else.
Including Buffy’s death.
He had compensated and buried his feelings for the others deeper, not allowing himself to find solace in the arms of his family.
Buffy had heard his comment and for a split second thought about joking around, doing something to break the intensity of the moment. Of how he looked at her completely open with his feelings.
“Yeah... I do,” she told him. “And for what it’s worth... I... I love you too.”
“Well, I don't know about you, but I for one think this calls for a hug,” Buffy heard as she turned in the direction of the voice.
“Tara?” Buffy said.
“Hello again Tara.”
She walked over to the ex-Watcher and gave him a hug. “Hi Dad,” she replied, kissing his cheek as she stepped out of the embrace. Her face lit up as she saw his eyebrows rise. ‘Didn’t expect that huh?’ she thought happily. “Hi Buffy.”
Giles never dared to dream that he would hear those words coming from her ever again. He was sure that it was just her way of expressing her gratitude.
How wrong he was.
And how little he knew her.
He sighed inwardly. He never had the chance to know the young woman standing next to him.
And that was something he’d have to live with.
‘Dad?’ Buffy wondered as she heard the whispered endearment.
“I... I think this is my cue to go visit Dawn,” he stammered, blushing furiously. Buffy was caught off guard as he gave her a quick hug. “I’ll see you soon,” he told her as he left.
“Different?” Tara ventured as she watched Giles walking down one of the many pathways that cut through the park.
“Do you... do you wanna keep walking? It’s a really nice day,” Tara asked looking around the park, seeing families taking advantage of the daylight.
“Great,” she answered smiling. “I find that I miss going out for walks,” she said as she continued in the same direction Giles and Buffy had been going. “Willow and I... we... we used to go out. Not too much after dark, not unless there was Scooby-age afoot, but generally speaking, we’d go in the mornings... or the afternoons... after classes,” she turned to Buffy wanting to get her point across. “Will wouldn’t... she never missed a class,” she paused. “And... I’m babbling aren’t I?”
“A little, but it’s okay.”
“Why haven’t you gone to see Will yet?”
“Don’t pull any punches do you?”
“Not when it comes to my friends, especially Willow.”
“I had to see everyone else first.”
“Why?” She hadn’t had the chance to ask Giles the very same question and as long as Tara was here...
“If I had gone to see her first... I wouldn’t have been allowed to see anyone else. Not Dawnie, Anya, Xander... anyone. I wouldn’t be speaking to you right now.”
“Why the hell not!!”
“Don’t you understand Buffy... I’m not supposed to be here. I should be waiting for her,” she said. “If I had only seen and spoken with Willow... if I had interacted with her in any way without contacting everyone else first, what would you think? What would you honestly think? What would you say if she came to you and said she had spoken to me... held me. You’d all think she’s crazy, no matter how much you wanted what she said to be true. I would never have been able to prove that what she told you... experienced… was the truth. And eventually she’d start to believe that it was all in her head,” Tara tried to explain. “I couldn’t let her think she was going insane... I love her.”
Buffy acknowledged that Tara’s words had struck a chord. It was quite possible that they would think that Willow had gone off the deep end. That her grief had shattered the precious hold on sanity Willow valiantly strove to hold on to.
“Fine. But, why are you here? Why me? Why aren’t you with her right now?”
“I am with her. I’m always with her. She just can’t feel me. She’s so lost. It’s hard for her to think about me... us, without feeling lost.”
“Willow... she... she told me, what happened to you, when Glory took Dawn...”
Buffy recalled vividly being lost in her own mind. Thinking that she had allowed Glory to take Dawn away.
How Willow had made her face the guilt she felt.
To move beyond that moment...
To getting her sister back...
“She’s afraid that if she starts thinking about it, she’ll lose herself... and there won’t be anyone to find her.”
“I didn’t know it was that bad,” Buffy whispered.
The memory of seeing Xander carrying Willow’s limp body up the walkway to her house froze her in her tracks. She had fought her best friend to a stand still.
Both of them battered and bruised.
Yet she still needed to make every attempt to reach out to her.
To somehow break through the fortress Willow had built around her heart.
And she couldn’t do it.
She didn’t remember hearing Dawn crying out Willow’s name, nor seeing the cuts on Xander’s body.
The only thing she could remember with absolute clarity was thinking:
‘No... not Willow too.’
She honestly didn’t think she could survive if they had lost Willow.
She would try her best to be there, but Buffy knew that slowly, the will to continue on...
With her duty, not only to humanity, but to Dawn and the others...
Her will to survive...
Would leave her.
Until the night she didn’t return from patrol.
She could only hope that they would understand.
And hopefully forgive her.
She knew Xander had paused in front of her, tears steaming down his face, looking at her for answers she didn’t have.
Dawn told her later that she had said to take Willow inside.
Everything else had automatically filed itself away, compensating for the shock she was experiencing.
She had to be strong.
She always had to be strong.
“It is. And it will be for a while. She’s going to think that she hasn’t grieved enough. That by moving on with her life, that she didn’t care for me as much as she thought she did. And that will haunt her as much as seeing me shot has. She... she keeps seeing it,” Tara told Buffy. “It hasn’t stopped, not once. She hasn’t said anything but every day since it’s happened... it’s there. And every day she thinks it’s her fault... that if we hadn’t broken up... we... we wouldn’t have been upstairs when Warren came after you. That I would still be alive if we hadn’t… you know...” she said blushing.
Buffy’s smile was bittersweet, knowing all too well what Tara was referring to.
To say that both Tara and Willow were affectionate with one another was an understatement of major proportions. It was nothing new to see them holding hands or kissing each other... at least not to Dawn if she’d heard correctly.
Dawn had been surrounded by the love the two Wiccans showed one another, while they took care of her the summer of Buffy’s death.
It was a normal every day occurrence...
So when they finally reconciled after all those months of being apart...
It was a given that they would be spending some much needed time to reacquaint themselves. Buffy smiled, thinking back on when Willow stated that she and Tara would stop the rather cute display of kissage in front of them, as she heard Dawn’s voice echoing in her head:
‘Oh you’d better not!’
“But, I’m as much to blame for being upstairs as she is. I... I don’t know if you noticed... but I... I always found a way to touch Willow.”
“No. Really?” Buffy replied straight-faced, until she saw the look of utter shock appear on Tara’s face. She reached out and placed her hand on Tara’s arm. “We... well, Dawn and I understood... and we were both really happy to see you two back together again.”
“Buffy, I need her to understand. I don’t want her thinking that because of what we’d finished doing... I wanted her as much if not more than she wanted me. I can’t bear thinking that she blames herself. If we hadn’t made love... if we’d waited a little longer...”
“If anyone can get through to Willow, you can. I know that wasn’t true all of the time, but now... you may be the only one. I can never say thank you enough for not only taking care of Dawn or being non-judgmental when I told you about Spike... I can’t. I can only hope that you can see what it’s meant to me that you were in Willow’s life. I might not have been “supportive-gal” at first, but I know now... there is no one who loves Will more than you. No one. And... and... I’m soo sorry you’re not here.”
“Not as much as I am.”
Buffy stared at Tara, had she heard her right? “Did you just make a joke?”
“I... umm... I think so? Way too intense there for a second... is something wrong?”
“You made a joke?”
“I’m... I’m sorry. I just thought, you know...”
“Tara,” Buffy interrupted.
“Yes,” she replied, her head hanging down. When would she learn? No one ever seemed to get her humor-except Willow-then again, Tara imagined that even Willow hadn’t truly understood them all the time.
“Hey... don’t hide, please...”
“Stupid,” she muttered softly.
“HEY!! You are not stupid,” Buffy told her. “I just wanted to say, I got it.”
Buffy began to smile at the other blonde. “I got it,” she stressed.
“Me,” she said nodding.
They were smiling as they continued to walk.
“You’re not just saying that...”
When they arrived at a cross roads, they stopped.
Buffy instinctively knew that her time with Tara was coming to an end.
“This is it huh?”
“Yes. It is.”
“Take care of her.”
“I was going to say the same thing,” Tara replied.
“We were never very close, were we?” Buffy asked.
“No. But, I totally understood, what with the slaying and all. We were getting there... I think.”
“Oh yeah... with Spike and everything...”
“So, do we just say good-bye or something?” Buffy asked keeping her attention focused anywhere else except on Tara.
“I guess... if... if you’d like.”
Sighing deeply, she said, “I’m not sure...” she faltered.
“Of what?” Tara asked stepping closer.
“I have this overwhelming urge right now, and I’m not sure how to ask...”
“Just ask. Whatever it is, it’ll stay between us, I promise,” she said solemnly.
“Dawn... she’s always saying... you know... how great you were with her. And I know I can never replace Mom or you...”
“She loves you Buffy,” Tara replied, wondering about the sudden change in subject.
“I know. It’s just, she tells me that the one thing she misses-besides you-is...”
“Go on, it’s okay.”
“Shereallymissesyourhugs,” Buffy said quickly. “She’d... she’d say that your hugs were so... awesome... so loving and understanding. How she knew that even if things were bad, she knew that she was loved. That you loved her...” Buffy thought back to the brief hug they shared on her birthday. And how she felt better simply by Tara’s presence at the party.
“You want me to hug Dawn?” Tara asked. She had an idea of what Buffy was trying to request, however she knew that Buffy would have to ask for it.
“Huh? Oh... no. Not that that wouldn’t be nice and stuff...”
“Buffy, what do you want?”
‘You’re the Slayer dammit! You don’t need a hug. Just say good-bye and head back to the house or go out and slay something,’ Buffy told herself. Her mind set for action she opened her mouth: “Could I please have a hug?”
“I wasn’t sure if you were going to ask or not,” Tara replied as she opened her arms and took Buffy into them. She focused all the love and affection she felt for Buffy and sent it back to her. She held tight as Buffy’s legs began to weaken. “We all love you Buffy,” she said as she continued to hold on.
Buffy was aware peripherally that she should be the one saying something...
Letting Tara know that she was loved and missed...
Truly and sorely missed.
Yet, here she was, reveling in the bliss that was Tara’s devotion to the people she loved.
Buffy held on tight.
Desperate to keep this part of her family with her, where she belonged.
“Are you going to be all right?” Tara asked as she slowly walked them over to a nearby bench.
“I’ll be fine,” Buffy replied haltingly as she sat down.
Tara took a seat next to Buffy and giving into the impulse, reached out and took her hand.
“Are you going to see Will?” Buffy asked.
“Not today, but very soon,” Tara whispered.
“Okay,” she nodded. “Tara... I don’t think I could stand to see you leave, so... if you don’t mind, I’m going to go.”
“I understand. I’ll stay right here.”
Giving Tara’s hand a brief squeeze, Buffy stood up and began to walk away.
Her chest started to ache as Tara’s fingers slipped through her grasp.
She kept walking...
Until she started to run...
Tara didn’t try to stop the tears that fell down her face.
She wished that she had more time.
Looking into the sky, she watched as the sun began its descent...
Before slipping away.
Buffy cried all the way home.
She slammed the door shut after entering the house.
“Has something happened?” Giles asked as he and Dawn hurried from the living room to the hall after hearing the door slamming closed.
Before either of them knew it, they were caught in a bone-crushing hug.
“I love you guys...”
“Buffy... what’s wrong?”
“Nothing... I just wanted you to know...”
“I take it Tara has gone once more?”
Buffy simply nodded as held on.
As soon as Giles mentioned Tara’s name, Buffy’s weirdness made sense.
Dawn knew, or at least could guess at, what Buffy was experiencing at the moment.
And with a maturity that contradicted her normal every day behavior where her sister was involved, Dawn hugged Buffy back.
“I love you too, Buffy.”
Giles would not impose on this moment. He and Buffy would speak later in the evening. When things had calmed down somewhat.
Gathering his girls together, he simply whispered, “Thank you Tara.”
|Section 6||A. M. Glass||Buffy||Main Index|