CHAPTER TWENTY ALPHA: WILLOW
:Friday, 13th October 2000:
The first thing I did when Tara shook me awake from my nightmare was make certain she was still alive. I touched her, kissed her, squeezed her, tasted her, smelt her. Felt her warmth, heard the beat of her heart. I'd have f%$#ed her too, all the better to know, to believe she was alive. Then I saw smears of blood on my arms, her ruined fingertips.
"What the frilly heck?" I asked Tara. She thumbed at the headboard of our bed. Bloody gouges had been clawed into it. A whole fingernail was sticking into the wood. I felt sick.
"Willow, sweetie. Promise me-" Tara shivered. "Promise me that if I, if my time comes...you'll have me cremated. No burial. Scatter my ashes."
I gaped at my love. "What?"
"Promise me!" she said fiercely.
"OK." I was bewildered. "You, you can't die! You mustn't!"
"Not for a very long time if I can help it." said Tara. "But I must never be buried."
Buffy screamed. Tara was loath, very loath to leave me, I could see it in her eyes. Then Buffy started keening. That broke Tara's indecision. She scooped up our kitten from where she'd been cowering and put the trembling animal in my lap. "Look after Trixie while I help Buffy." Tara commanded.
"Miss Kitty Fantastico." I said automatically. In spite of my distress, I was still intent on outstubborning Tara. Any ole cat can be called Trixie. Tara smiled weakly and left my arms.