Disclaimer: I don't own BtVS. I'm just borrowing the characters. All spoken words are from a transcript of the episode 'Tough Love', I only filled in Willow's thoughts.
Spoilers: Season 5 episode 'Tough Love'
A/N: This is angsty. Willow/Tara. Very much cannon.
She just sits there. She doesn’t even look at me. Please, baby, just look at me, just a smile, something, anything… I can’t do this. I don’t think I can do this. It’s too hard. It was easier when it was just the anger. So much anger. So much hatred. But no pain. Because I couldn’t feel it. Couldn’t let myself feel it, before I’d destroyed her. Like she destroyed my Tara. My beautiful, beautiful Tara.
And I can’t find her. She’s there. Just staring at her lap. The same face. The same eyes. The same body. But it isn’t her. She doesn’t recognize me. She’s so lost, and I don’t think I can find her again. I don’t think… Goddess, I yelled at her. Why didn’t I just shut up? Why did we have to fight? I would never… I hurt her. I should have just ignored it. Gone with her to the fair. Like we planned to. She looks so scared. I can’t do this, Goddess, I can’t breathe. Please, Tara I’m so sorry, just come back to me, I can’t do this alone. I can’t lose you…
“Chicken Salad?” Huh? Oh, right, Buffy brought food.
“Right here.” Not that I’m hungry. But I have to eat. I have to go on. Be strong. She needs me. I don’t think I can be that strong. They all think I’m doing fine. That I’m handling this… I’m screaming inside. And it hurts. Last night I lost it. Just lying there on the bed. Alone. Because Tara, my life, my everything, was in the hospital. I still remember lying there, tears trickling down the sides of my face and into my ears. Remember the pain that made every breath catch in the back of my throat. Remember screaming, trying to muffle the sound with my hands.
But it couldn’t have been me. It didn’t even sound human. This sound, like someone dying, not human. It sounded like nothing I’d ever heard before. And it was me. Because it hurt so much and I don’t know how to make it stop…Because she’s gone. And I don’t think I can get her back… I think Buffy heard. But she let me cry. Scream. Fall apart… This is so hard, please, baby I need you, I can’t do this alone, I’m not that strong… Goddess, I won’t cry, I can’t, if I do, I don’t think I can stop again. And I have to. I have to be strong. Be in control. Take care of you.
“Eggplant that’s me… salami with…ew, peanut butter. Dawn.” Buffy is still giving out sandwiches. I wish they’d just leave… I can’t be here with them. It’s too much, I can’t deal with being nice, with smiling and pretending I’m okay. I’m not okay, look at me, I’m dying… Just slowly, silently. Neatly.
“Yeah, like eggplant is normal. It’s what, half egg, half plant? Cause that’s just unnatural.” At least Dawn seems to be okay. That’s good… Tara needs something to eat, too.
“What’s Tara got?”
“Oh. I… got her tuna. Does she like…?” Dawn looks so nervous. I try to smile as I take the sandwich from her. It feels strained, but Dawn nods and smiles back. See, I’m okay, I can do this… smile, and be polite, and feed Tara.
“Tara?” I whisper when I talk to her. I don’t even know why. I’m just so scared that I’ll say the wrong thing, that I’ll upset her, and she’ll…
“Plastic and their six sisters. Six sick sisters… Willow?” She sounds so frightened… I’m here, baby, it’s okay, I won’t ever let you go. I can do this, see? I have to do this. Okay…okay, no plastic. The sandwich is wrapped in plastic.
“It’s okay, let’s just start slow today.” I have to find something else for her to eat, she needs to eat. Buffy’s applesauce. “Um, Buffy could I have that?” She gives it to me without hesitation. I hate the way they keep looking at me. Compassion, and pity, and pride. Like they actually think I can do this. I can’t! I’m just me, little Willow Rosenberg. But Tara needs me. So I have to, even if I can’t.
“Here you go… that’s my girl.” I’m feeding her. I can’t… I want to yell at her, scream at her, shake her till she comes back, till she’s my Tara again. Why did you leave, Tara? You should have fought! You should have been stronger… how could you leave me like this?
“Can I help?” I look at her for a moment, she is staring at Tara, I recognize the look in her eyes. Helplessness. She needs to do something, but she already knows that nothing she can do will ever be enough. I give Dawn the spoon. Maybe she’ll feel better for a few minutes. Useful. I don’t. How can I blame Tara for this? What kind of terrible person would ever blame Tara for this? It was Glory. Not Tara, never Tara. I’m just so angry. And there’s nothing I can do. I’d do anything, everything. Cut off my arm, kill myself, anything!- to get her back. To see her soul in those beautiful eyes of hers. Anything, please, just let me know what I have to do, I’ll do it! Please, just let me know…
“What are you gonna need?” Buffy’s voice is soft. It has been ever since she came to the hospital and saw Tara.
“I don’t know. They gave me a lot of stuff… to keep her calm… They said that I might have to restrain her at night. But… sometimes she’s fine. She looks at me and… she’s fine.” And I know I’m lying, and it breaks my heart. But if I say anything else, then I’ll die. I’ll fall to pieces and I won’t ever get back together. I have to believe that she’s still there. Somewhere. That she isn’t dead. Isn’t lost. Because if I don’t I’ll be sick. And I’ll start screaming, and I don’t think I’ll be able to stop. She has to be in there. There has to be something left of her. If I just try hard enough. If I’m good enough, strong enough… She has to be in there…
“I’m sorry I couldn’t…” Buffy always blames herself. Every time she isn’t fast enough, strong enough. Well, guess what? You weren’t. You should have been there. You should have stopped Glory! You should have… It’s not fair. It’s not fair… But I can’t say that, can I? I can’t just blame her. Because that would be unfair. And little Willow Rosenberg has to be fair, she never, ever cheats in school, she is always the nice girl. Sometimes I hate to be fair. I want to hurt her, all of them, as much as I hurt.
“It’s okay, I can do this. I’m gonna take care of her… even if she never… she’s my girl…” But I can’t… and that’s the problem. I look at her, sitting there, looking at Dawn as she swallows another spoonful of applesauce. And I hate her because I have to be strong, and because I’m not strong enough to do anything. I want to hit her for being so weak, and I want to cradle her in my arms and make it go away. And I hate her for making me hate her.
I don’t know if I can do this…
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