A/N: OK. This was my first "official" attempt at a fanfiction. It's from a good 7 years ago, and reading it now is kind of painful, but it still is the first, so I have a spot for it. So, here it is. Try and enjoy it. The rest of this will be as it originally was, so when you read the other A/N, keep that in mind.
Spoilers: Season 6 episode 'All The Way', just after the scene in the Summers house after Xander and Anya announce their engagement. Nothing from after that episode on will ever happen (because this is MY WORLD! MUHAHAHAHA! No Joss to ruin it here!), but everything before that is open to spoilage.
I don't think Joss et al. is dumb enough to waste his time on some lowly creature having fun with his world that he so obviously messed up, so I'm not going to say anything to save me from that. However, because I respect the owners of the site, I'd just like to mention that I got a lot of the information for this chapter from www.buffyworld.com. Thank you guys for your wonderful transcripts, even if the fight descriptions suck! :)
Quick legend: this means thoughts (all Tara's)
I'm The Teacher, You're The Student
Chapter 1: Sounds Like A Plan
By: David Armstrong AKA Leafsdude
She couldn't believe it.
After everything she had seen, after everything she had DONE, with magic, Her girlfriend, Willow Rosenberg, was abusing it. All that experience, and she was still dropping like a fly, so hard that even she, Tara Maclay, her soul mate, was taking verbal shots from her. Sitting in the kitchen, after a heated argument in front of Dawn, and perhaps in hearing range of the rest of the scoobies, Tara was wondering what had gone wrong.
She's been through so much, and yet she's still doing what a novice would do, Tara thought. Then again, she found out everything she knows on her own.
At this moment, it was clear what the problem was. Despite all her experience, and everything she had learned, Willow still hadn't learned the true laws of magic. Knowing the limits that all good Wicca's practiced under had made Tara act instead of think when Willow was using magic for trivial things, but now that she had a moment to think, it all became so clear to her.
Of course, now I think of it. It's going to be that much tougher to teach her now. Tara scolded herself. It would have been much easier a few months ago when she still didn't completely understand her powers and how deep they were, plus our argument may have made it that much tougher.
Despite knowing better, at this moment, Tara was thinking she was a Demon again. What else could do something like that? Or more to the point, what could be bad enough to not notice something like that?
Shaking off her momentary dark thoughts, Tara decided that she'd wasted enough time.
Better get to work. The sooner I start, the easier it'll be. Hopefully I'm not too late.
That last thought seemed to put an extra MPH on her foot speed. Quickly finding Willow with Anya and Xander dancing to some music she didn't recognise, she realized now would not be the best time to "cut to the chase", so to speak, despite her previous thoughts of being "too late" still stuck in her head.
Trying to look inconspicuous, Tara hoped her forlorn feelings weren't expressed on her face as she sat on the sofa, which was just far away enough from the rest of the gang to not become the centre of attention, but not so that she looked to be avoiding them, or Willow in particular. However, with Xander's lame 'Mr. Roboto' dance, it seemed she could have been wearing a pie on her face and still not have been noticed.
As soon as Tara noticed Giles walk in, she knew something was up. That was proven when he walked right over to the blaring stereo and shut it off.
"Hey," Upon hearing Willow's tone of voice, Tara had to fight to not tell herself that she was alright and not do anything. "We were just gettin' our dance on!"
"That was Janice's mother on the telephone," Immediately, Tara knew what was up, and got to her feet, forgetting at least for the moment, her task at hand. "Apparently Janice said that she was staying here tonight."
As her fears were confirmed, she still could help a short laugh as Xander, ever the charmer, spoke up. "Ahh, they're dipping into the classics. You gotta respect that."
As the search parties were sorted out by Giles, Tara surprised herself by wishing just this once to not have been paired with Willow. Guess I can't fight it.
Not surprising to Tara, it was a rather quiet walk to the Bronze, with just a few comments thrown here and there. As they entered, Tara's "spider sense", which Buffy termed once when she asked about Tara's ability to see she wasn't really her when Faith had taken her body, quickly noticed that there was no clear reading of Dawn in the place. Still worth looking, Tara mused.
After hearing Willow mumble something about being sisters, Tara decided it would be best to just get to it.
"Do you think she's here?" Quickly noticing that Willow couldn't hear over the music, she repeated herself, this time louder. After getting a rather high pitched "What?" in return, she waited as the song finally ended before continuing her thought process aloud.
"Do you think Dawn might have come here?"
"It's where I'd be if I were fifteen and on the lam." Willow replied.
"Really?" Despite being in Sunnydale for over a year, one thing Tara still didn't understand was the confusing building that was The Bronze.
"Well, not me at fifteen, 'cause, hello, spaz!" Willow obviously didn't know where Tara was coming from, but it still managed to shock her a little.
"You?" Tara said, disbelieving and slightly hurt that she hadn't heard about this side of Willow before.
"Yeah. Hard to believe such a hot mama-yama came from humble, geek-infested roots?" Willow replied, still oblivious to Tara's sudden feelings. Trying to push them aside, Tara tried to continue the conversation.
"Infested roots. Trying to turn me on?" Cringing inwardly at her lack of attention to detail, Tara continued to climb up to the balcony.
"I have to try now?" Came Willow's response through a smile.
Moving in for a quick kiss, Tara wondered how she ever got anything done before. However, these moments suddenly fueled her desire to help Willow understand magic as she did.
Quickly getting back to business, Willow looked around and decided on a place to start.
"Come on, let's look over here.", she said, heading left to try and get a better view of the place.
Seeing, and feeling, nothing, Tara turned to Willow. "Do you see her?"
"No, there's too many people." Willow replied, sounding a bit downcast.
"Maybe we can have securi..." Tara was interupted by a suddenly hopeful Willow.
"No, that'll take too long." Moving to climb up to the second level, Tara became suddenly curious as to what Willow was planning.
As Willow looked over the railing again, Tara was about to ask if she saw anything from here, when she suddenly began to chant. "One among many, many fade to one-"
Suddenly outraged, and forgetting about her previous plans, Tara reached for Willow's hand, effectively stopping her. "What are you doing? Will?"
"I'm just gonna clear the crowd." Willow's reply was delivered matter-of-factly. Knowing that any spell that Willow could use to accomplish her plan would be dangerous, Tara could now add "worried" to her list of expressions on her face.
"I'll just shift everyone who isn't a fifteen-year-old girl into an alternate dimension." Once again, Willow's tone was as if she was talking about doing something that happened every day.
"What?" To say Tara was shocked was an understatement. Her anger was starting to boil over, and Willow's attitude to the whole situation was just acting as fuel for the fire.
"No, it'll be for like a fraction of a second. They won't even notice." Willow tried to re-assure her, but failed miserably.
"Will, no, you can't!" Tara practically screeched, her patience leaving her a long time ago.
"Why?" Willow sounded like she was becoming annoyed, seeming not listening to Tara at all.
"Well, what if something went wrong?" The obvious response came, even though Tara knew it wouldn't work.
"Well, it won't!" Came the quick, witless response.
"But w-what would Giles say?" Well, it was worth a shot. Tara knew how much Willow looked up to the elder Scooby.
"Sukut!" The sudden spell by Willow, which quieted the crowd, yet again helped mostly to bring Tara's anger to a peak.
"Are you taking his side now?" The question came as a shock to Tara. Sides?
"This isn't about sides." It appeared to be the best response.
"You two have been talking about me behind my back." The accusation caught Tara off-guard once again.
"No! God." Now, frustration was added to the lengthy list of emotions evident on Tara's face.
"You know how that makes me feel?" Somehow, through all her emotions, Tara realized that they were moving off-topic, so she tried to get back to the point.
"Willow, you are using too much magic. What do you want me to do, just, just sit back and keep my mouth shut?"
"Well, that'd be a good start."
To say the response stunned Tara would have been the most obvious statement of the century, even if it was only a couple years old.
"If I didn't love you so damn much I would!" Angered and frustrated, Tara quickly headed back down the stairs and towards the exit. As the sounds of the crowd returned, she headed out the exit, and leaned against the wall, trying to calm herself.
Damn, Tara thought as she regained her composure and recalled her plan from earlier. well, so much for it being easy.
Deciding her best option would be to head home, hoping that the others had better luck in their quest to find Dawn.
After the outburst in the Bronze, Tara had no idea how to approach Willow about her desire to help. Guess the civilized conversation is no longer an option. Bitterly, Tara headed home, hoping she could come up with some sort of plan on the way. Upon arriving, she immediately noted the presence of Dawn, Buffy and Spike. Relieved that Dawn was safe, Tara headed straight upstairs after a few short comments and a lack of a 'goodnight'.
Sitting in bed, Tara found herself unable to formulate a way to work her plan. Hearing Willow enter caused her brain to rapidly start formulating other occurrences. What if she doesn't come upstairs? What if she does a spell that goes wrong? What if I can't help her? Despite herself, Tara put on her best resolve face, which may have caused a rat to cave in, but nothing else, and told herself she couldn't believe that. It's never too late.
As Willow entered the room, something happened to Tara for the first time. She was nervous with Willow. Somehow managing to overcome it, Tara started to get the bed ready for a long night.
"I...I'm sorry, okay?" The hopeful sound in Willow's voice almost made Tara cave in, but she kept her resolve, at least for the moment.
"It's not that simple." Tara said, rather softly, half hoping Willow would realize a hidden meaning behind her words, and half hoping she could at least wait another day before jumping into the proverbial frying pan.
"Well, I could reverse time and take it back, but then where's the fun?" Despite the obvious light tone to Willow's words, Tara couldn't stop the resurfacing anger and hard glare.
"Joke. I don't think I could actually-" In another moment, Willow's back-peddling may have appeared somewhat humourous to Tara, but she was beginning to get the cartoon-ish smoke coming out of her ears again.
"You know what, can...can we not do this now? I'm tired." Tara's harsh voice suddenly frightened even herself, and as she got into bed, she attempted to calm herself.
"Okay. How about we forget it ever happened?" Came Willow's swift reply.
As Willow turned around, something clicked in Tara's mind. Why am I avoiding this? I don't think I could last the night with this, and there's no foreseeable way to fix it without bringing it up. Even worse, this would help Willow. Lord knows she'd never hesitate to help me.
Using all her resolve and willpower, Tara forced down all of her doubts and somehow allowed a sound to come out of her mouth.
"No." It had a quiet, almost scared, tone to it, but at Willow's swift turn, it was obviously she heard it.
"Huh?" Willow's tone was seemingly mostly surprised, though it had a little bit of fear in it, too. Did she sense Tara's nervousness? Well, it is pretty obvious, Tara mused to herself.
After the year and change that she had spent with the Scoobies, Tara knew the day any of them stopped babbling would be the day that the Earth was doomed. Still, that didn't stop her from being completely annoyed with herself as she spoke.
"Forgetting about it will just make it worse. I've been thinking about this since the 'party', and I think I can help you. Not that you have a problem…Well, not that you don't." Mentally, Tara was screaming for someone to shoot her, but she somehow managed to continue with her long ramblings. She also knew that most likely Willow was glaring holes through her. That was why her hair was covering most of her face as she spoke.
"How about I put this in simple terms. I know you learned all your magic yourself, and you really didn't know anything about rules. I was stupid not to see it before," knowing Willow would interrupt at this point, Tara quickly looked up for the first time since she started her revelation, giving an obvious 'don't interrupt' glare to Willow. "And I was never really a help, being the one that ended up unleashing your power to it's full potential. Not that you wouldn't have been able to get up to this level without me, but-"
At this point, Willow couldn't stop herself from cutting in. "I would have never gotten anywhere without you, Tara. And not just in magics."
Giving a brief smile, Tara tried to continue. "Well, I guess what I'm saying is, if you want, I would like to teach you more about magic. Beyond the actual castings, I mean."
Despite herself, Tara suddenly managed to have her nervous level rise to another high, as the one scenario she had yet to play in her head hit her dead in the face. What if she doesn't want to learn? If it had been even 18 hours before, she wouldn't have even though about this, but they had just had 3 major arguments in that time span, and Tara was suddenly petrified that Willow wouldn't accept her offer.
Not only would she be a ticking time bomb, but also there's no way I'd be able to stick around her for long, despite everything. This thought busted the mercury out of Tara's virtual nervous-stat.
Time seemed to stand still, yet somehow was ticking by faster than ever at the same time. Tara was wondering how she was managing to stay alert as she waited almost desperately for Willow to say something. Any-
"I didn't…there are…you…" after such a long time without words, Willow couldn't seem to put more than a pair of words together, and was having a worse time trying to convey her thoughts.
Taking a deep breath, Willow tried to start from the beginning.
"Okay, I've been such an ass. How could I have thought that you were trying to spoil my fun?" At Willow's revelation, Tara felt her anger begin to spill out again, before she realized exactly what Willow was getting at.
"So, you'll let me teach you?" The tone in her voice made Tara wonder when she managed to get so hopeful. I've come so far without even noticing it, she once again mused to herself.
Noticing the voice that rivaled Tara's "I'm not a Demon" phrase almost exactly a year before, Willow was quick to respond. "There's nothing that I wouldn't want to learn from you. Heck, even if I didn't want to, I still couldn't say no."
Feeling a big weight lift off her, Tara's grin seemed to light up the rather dank room. As Willow turned out the light and crawled into bed, she was feeling so frisky that she couldn't help but say the first words that came to mind.
"Oooh. Your feet are cold." Tara involuntarily shivered.
"Better warm me up." Willow's tone just further intensified the feelings building in Tara as they snuggled up to each other. A satisfied moan that escaped from Tara was all she really needed to express herself.
"This is how every day should always end ... and start. And all the stuff in the middle." Tara mused out loud, sleepily despite her sudden giddiness.
"So…uh, we're good, then?" Willow seemed almost uncertain.
"No. We're better than good." Came Tara's reply.
Both girls smiled at each other and quickly drifted off to sleep.
A/N: Ok, I know there are a few questions out there immediately, so I'll quickly run through a couple scenes that might be confusing to those that cannot read my mind. To the rest of you (I'm sure there's 1 or 2 of you J), you can move on now.
Ok. First off, to note, I've told myself to believe that Tara perhaps really thought this in the real Buffy-verse, but obviously chickened out as she almost did here, and ended up having the memory stripped from here by Willow unceremoniously. The biggest change I made was that Tara doesn't wait for Willow after leaving the Bronze, as she appeared to in, for lack of a better term, real thing. Beyond unintentionally keeping them separate, it also gave Tara more time to think, therefore giving her that extra second that allowed her to stop Willow just in time. (Gotta love what-if fics!)
Next, I'd like to once again express my extreme gratitude and thanks to the owners of for their transcripts. If you read their transcript for "All The Way", you will see that I got a lot of my descriptions, not to mention a number of the quotes, directly from there. Hopefully I'm not overstepping my bounds, as it was unintentional and I will gladly alter it if the offended parties request it.
Thirdly, I'd like to quickly apologize for the quarrel in the middle of this, but I couldn't ignore it. Blame Joss for it, not me! I'm not good at making angst, so that was extremely difficult for me to write. Hopefully it came out at least respectable.
Lastly, I know I gave out a number of possible other things that could have happened (for example: While sitting in bed, Tara starts freaking out when Willow enters the house, thinking things such as: What if she didn't go upstairs or she does a spell that goes wrong or, the biggest downer, what if she can't help her?). If you wish to take any of these ideas, by all means, go ahead. I would be extremely curious as to how it turns out, and, as most of the alternate paths would almost certainly turn to angst, I would probably to a crap job with it.
Thanks for reading!