The Older I Get (Willow/Tara/Fleur Delacour)
The Older I GetAuthor:
Never quite figured out who owns the Buffyverse, but I know for a fact that it's not me…Summary:
The older Willow gets, will she get over it?Joe's Note:
This is going to quite obviously be an AU spun out from the middle of Season 6 and you'll see why a few paragraphs in. Hopefully I've laid out enough of the back story to make the present day comprehensible. Random FFA lunacy written on an airplane after two visits from Bailey.
'I was sitting there waiting in my room for you,
You were waiting for me too.
And it makes me wonder…
The older I get, will I get over it?
It's been way too long for the times we missed.
I didn't know then it would hurt like this but I think,
The older I get, maybe I'll get over it.
It's been way too long for the times we missed.
I can't believe it still hurts like this.'
Willow Rosenberg shifted nervously outside the front door of the large mansion they had flown all the way to France to visit. Beside her, Charisse Kennedy let out an amused little chuckle and took her hand. Let her girlfriend think it was just the normal pre-meeting jitters, her normal worries about what a family would say when she revealed that their daughter was a Vampire Slayer. Kennedy couldn't sense the magical signatures that permeated the house, much less pick one of them out among the others. But Willow could. And she recognized it.
Oh Goddess did she recognize it.
There was some muttering behind the closed door; Willow wasn't fluent but knew enough to recognize they were speaking in French. Then there was a moment of silence before a set of feet moved away, and then the door opened. A very familiar brunette regarded her with an expression so cold it made her shiver before gesturing inside. "Welcome to the Delacour home. Won't you come in?"
Fleur Delacour crossed her arms over her chest and bit her lip as she watched her wife's former lover enter the house. They'd had almost a week to prepare after the Council made first contact, confirming Tara's suspicions about little Gabrielle's sudden inexplicable fits of door-breaking and strange dreams. Still, was it only coincidence that the Watchers chose to send Tara's ex-girlfriend to meet them? Or something more?
Although it was a bit reassuring that the redhead seemed just as surprised by the encounter as Fleur did. "Tara? What… what are you doing here?"
"Living." Fleur snorted at Tara's simple answer, drawing the brunette's attention to her. Tara graced Fleur with a wide smile before schooling her features back into an expressionless mask as she returned her gaze to Willow. "I decided I wanted a little space after we broke up. A little perspective. I dropped out of UC Sunnydale, sold everything except a few changes of clothes and a backpack, and decided to see where life took me."
An unfamiliar brunette clinging to Willow's arm let out a snort. "And it led you to France and another girl. End of story. How exciting. Willow, sweetie, can we get to business? You promised to take me to the Eifel Tower tonight…"
Willow's irises shifted to a shade so dark they were almost black and the girl cringed. "Not now, Kennedy." They quickly lightened back to normal as she turned her attention to Tara. "But why did you leave? We could have worked it out, couldn't we? I needed you last year. We all needed you. The First Evil…"
"…was defeated. You did it without me. And I can't forgive you for what you did, Willow. You took my memories from me to suit your own purposes. You violated me. You raped me." Tara shivered and wrapped her arms around her body. "Did you really expect me to come back with arms wide open to hug my rapist?"
The girl called Kennedy was backing away from the increasingly pale Willow, and Fleur found herself fingering her wand. This explained a great many things, like why Tara had responded to a French protecteur's attempt to Obliviate her with a burst of wild magic so powerful he was still hospitalized. It had actually been what attracted Fleur's attention to the American woman three years her senior.
Using her family's power and her own newfound celebrity status as the Beauxbatons Triwizard Champion, she got the entire incident brushed under the rug as a 'misunderstanding' between the protecteur and Tara. Then she'd treated the American to dinner so she could find out more about her.
That had been two years ago.
In retrospect, the French Ministry of Magic might not have been so quick to dismiss charges if they'd known their protecteur magique would still be hospitalized to this day.
"I didn't mean to hurt you, Tara." Willow held her hand out, stymied in her attempt to touch Tara's cheek as the brunette flinched backward. "I knew I messed up… I just wanted to take away the pain…"
Fleur held her arms out as Tara crossed the distance between them, pressing close to the comparatively petite Veela. "You wanted to take away her free will. She had the right to know that you caused her pain, so she could make informed decisions. And when she knew, she left you."
Before Willow could rebut the statement, a voice from the second floor gallery entered the conversation. "You hurt Tara. I don't like you." Fleur looked up to find her little (although not so little anymore) sister perched on the rail in all her avian glory, talons curled around the top as a ball of fire burned in her hand. "Leave."
Ah, there was nothing like an overprotective little sister with limited English skills to help get to the heart of the matter. "Your new Slayer has spoken, Willow. You're not wanted here. Tell the Council if they wish to send another representative, my parents will consider releasing Gabrielle for training. Until then…" Fleur gestured towards the door with her wand and it swung open behind Willow and Kennedy.
"Can't we just forget about the past? You know we're the best ones to help Gabrielle with her powers, Tara, especially since she's both a witch and a Slayer." Willow took another step forward, only to let out a squeak and leap backwards as Gabrielle plunged from the gallery to land between the redhead and Tara. "I've changed! I swear!"
Tara shook her head and turned in Fleur's arms, putting one hand on Gabrielle's shoulder to keep the young Slayer from moving towards Willow. "You can't even take responsibility for what you did, Willow. You're still just making excuses. And I heard about what happened with the Temple of Proserpexa after I left."
"That's not my fault either! Buffy and Dawn were shot, and Dawn died before I could do anything! I couldn't just let Buffy die!" Fleur almost felt a pang of sympathy for Willow as the redhead's eyes teared up, before she remembered the reports that had filtered out of America in the international section of every wizarding newspaper. Vast amounts of dark magic, and an attempted apocalypse. "You'd already abandoned me and Dawn was dead, I couldn't lose Buffy too. I just got in over my head and things spun out of control."
Tara shook her head in disgust and leaned back against Fleur. "More excuses, Willow. And a very poor guilt trip to boot. I'm sorry you felt abandoned, but death is part of the natural cycle and if you had to use that kind of power… it was time for Buffy to die."
Stomping her foot in frustration, Willow wiped furiously at her eyes with the back of one hand. "I'm not trying to guilt you, not at all. This is all just coming out wrong. Please. Just trust me. Believe in me, like you used to."
"No. I agree with Fleur and her parents will back our decision. Fleur doesn't want you here, I don't want you here, and most importantly, Gabrielle doesn't want you here. Please leave, Willow." Willow stepped forward and Fleur felt a slight tug on her magical core as the roots of Tara's hair began to bleed white. "Leave."
Willow glanced down at Gabrielle before deciding to chance it, taking a step forward. "Tara…"
The white flowed out from the roots to the tips of Tara's hair and Fleur felt the power erupt from her wife as she began to glow white. "I said leave!"
And then Willow and Kennedy were gone.