It's finally here!!!!! =) Sorry it took so long, but my life's been a little busy. Please lmk if you like it =D And thank you so much for all the reviews!
I dreamed I was sitting by the ocean, watching the waves roll in and out gently. It was a spot I recognized as one Tara and I had always gone for picnics. There wasn't anything really special about it, except that it was rather isolated and we could always count on being alone for several hours without interruption.
I wasn't pregnant anymore, and the unexpected loss hit me kinda hard. I pressed a trembling hand against my flat belly, missing the gentle movements and the occaisional kick. I knew she was all right, though. I knew I was dreaming, but then I realized it was more than just a dream. The sun was going down and there was a bit of a chill as I got to my feet and looked around.
The path back to the highway was gone, and in its place was unending cliffs. All I could see was just a long stretch of rock as far as I could see. Tears pooled in my eyes as a longing for my husband hit me. I could have dealt better if Draco had been beside me. If I could be holding my daughter, instead of sand.
"She's a beautiful baby," the soft voice I'd thought I'd never hear again made me whirl around to see Tara standing there beside me. She looked so pretty, her long blonde hair glinting in the dying sunlight and her blue eyes so very big as she watched me. "So very tiny, but healthy."
"And Draco?" Tears were openly flowing down my face as I realized I must have died. If I was seeing Tara now, then I must be dead. My husband was going to be devastated. And Harry- what was he going to do without having me to fuss over? And Hermione. My heart broke at the thought of my only true girl-friend. She was going to be lost, because we only had each other. I know I'd be lost without her.
"You're not dead, sweetie," Tara told me with that soft smile of hers. Her blue eyes were so very sad. "You're just in layover for a little while. I wanted to talk to you before you went back."
I sank down in the warm sand, my legs too weak to hold me up. Relief flooded through me. I'd be able to hold my baby girl. I'd be able to watch her grow up. "Thank you," I whispered as she sat down next to me. "I still love you, Tara. But I-"
"You love him now, too," she finished for me, her gaze understanding. She reached out and tucked a piece of hair behind my ear. Her touch was so soft, I closed my eyes and leaned into it. I'd never thought I'd feel her again. But right now, as cherished as this moment was, all I wanted was to see my arrogantly handsome husband. I wanted to see the sunlight glint off his white blonde hair, and the moonlight in his silver eyes. I wanted to feel his big hand in mine, making me feel safe. And most of all I wanted to feel his arms around me.
"And my baby," I almost whispered. "I have to see her, to know she's okay. I'm so sorry, Tara. I-"
"I know, Willow," her voice was so quiet, without the usual slight stutter that had always made my heart melt just a little. "It's almost time to go back. I just wanted to see you again. The others are all right too. Cordy's here, and so's Wesley and Gunn." Her eyes lit up a little as she added, "And that pretty little Fred is here too."
I didn't try to hide my grin. A weight lifted a little at the thought that the souls of my friends had made it. But then the smile disappeared as another thought struck, "What about Buffy?"
"She still lives, but she has to deal with the choices she's made," Tara told me, and that was all I needed to know. I was starting to feel a slight pull, and I looked back towards the cliffs, amazed to see the pathway open. It looked normal now, like I remembered. "Go back to your family, Willow. Love them for me."
"I love you, Tara," I told her, sadness a heavy weight on my heart even as I was looking forward to seeing my baby. "I always will."
"And I don't believe I will ever love anyone the same as I've loved you," she told me in that quiet way of hers. "Just please don't forget me."
"I don't think that's possible," I told her, then leaned over and kissed her cheek. She laughed shyly and then pushed me towards the path. I took a few steps and hesitated, looking back. She wasn't there. I started running, feeling a slight fear that I might get there and see nothing. But I hit the top of the path and fell into darkness again.
"Tara Anya Malfoy," I told Giles proudly as I handed over my three week old daughter. He was still in his own hospital bed, but looking a lot better than he had when the others had pulled him out of the mansion. Really, a person would think that Angelus would come up with a better hideout than the one he'd had the last two times he'd tried to take over Sunnydale. Not that I'm complaining, because it would've been a lot harder to find Giles that way.
"Oh, she's beautiful," the older man smiled, one finger stroking the baby's soft cheek. She had my red hair, and when she opened those big eyes of hers, they were her father's silver. Her little mouth was a perfect bow, and the little nose so perfect. I'm still thanking any diety I can think of that she hadn't had any lingering effect of the tramatic birth.
I'd been in a coma of sorts for three days. When I'd woken up, Draco had been there, begging me to wake up. The poor boy had looked like he hadn't slept or eaten- or showered- for the entire time. It was the most ragged I'd ever seen him. And it'd made me love him that much more. The look on his face when I woke up... let's say I won't be forgetting it anytime soon.
Then, I'd finally gotten to hold my baby. She'd fit into my arms, just the way I'd imagined. She was so soft, so tiny. I'd never thought I'd get to hold her.
Harry and Hermione had come in then, followed by the doctor. I'd demanded to go home, right then. I was vetoed, immediately. The bastards. They'd had to take the baby cecarian, and there'd been complications. Two weeks later, they'd finally let me and Tara go home.
Well, not quite home. Between Draco, Harry, Hermione, and Spike, they'd found Giles. Barely alive and badly beaten, they'd gotten him to the hospital in time. Everything had finally become clear. Buffy was the reason Angelus had broken free. For reasons known only to her, she'd gone to LA and seduced the demon, and the rest was history. Dumbledore himself had escorted her to a special floor of Azkaban.
Spike had helped the 'white hats' once again, going against his sire. When asked, the blonde vampire had shrugged and mumbled something. I guess he had his own reasons. One being Dawn. He'd always had a soft spot for her. She was going to be staying with him until Giles or Xander was able to take her in. I'd offered to have her come back to England with us, but the dark haired teenager had declined. She was needed here.
Xander was awake. No brain damage, but it was going to be a long road to recovery. Lots of physical and psychiatric therapy. He apologized for being such an asshole, and we kinda forgave each other. It'd been easy- me in a wheelchair and him in his hospital bed, both of us in our beautiful hospital gowns. At least I'd been wearing a robe.
And now, it was time to say goodbye. It was harder than I'd imagined it would be, but I was ready to go home. I wanted my own bed and I wanted to show Tara her nursery and introduce her to everyone. The only ones from home that had seen her so far had been Remus and Snape. Remus acted just like a new grandpa, going all teary-eyed and mushy. Snape, however, surprised the hell out of me by actually holding her. The pride in his expression when she turned those silver eyes on him was priceless. Made me like the sour man a little bit more.
"We're going home tonight," I told Giles softly, the smile fading a little on both our faces. "But I'm not going to stay away, and you guys are welcome to come and visit. And I really want you guys to know Tara as she grows up. I'm not going to just take her away."
"I know, Willow," Giles told me, his smile returning at the hint of the old me. This was the first mini-babble I'd had since I'd returned. Maybe I was feeling a little more like myself now that the danger was past. We still had issues to work through, but I think that maybe in the future we can be as close as we used to be. But maybe not. Who knows.
Standing outside, our bags safely shrunk down and placed in our pockets, and Tara tucked securely in Draco's arms, we apparated out. I was nervous about traveling this way with my new baby, but Draco and Hermione both assured me that it was safe. Harry was with me on this one, but the other two knew what they were talking about so we went along with it.
Two hours later, I was standing over the basinett in our bedroom, looking down at my sleeping baby. I'd never felt so... complete. My life had come full circle and I'd survived the experience. Draco came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me, resting his chin on my shoulder.
"I love you," I whispered, touching his hand, bringing it up to my lips.
"I love you too, Willow-mine," he whispered back, holding me tighter. And after everything that happened in the last three years, I finally felt completely at peace.