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The words escaped Willow’s mouth without any filter and she wished she could grab them back and swallow them down so they never, ever were said at all. She even reached before she remembered she couldn’t snatch sounds out of the air.
“Do I look dead?” Tara held her arms out, smiling that smile that was just for Willow, and she turned in place, doing her best to keep eye contact the entire time. There was that short whip your hair thing but that was maybe a split second and people’s necks weren’t swivels or anything and she was babbling in her mind, wasn’t she, when she should be making the most of this?
“No,” and Willow drew out the round vowel sound, though it was hard to look at Tara and remember the blood staining her dress and running over Willow’s hands and the terror and the pain, oh, god, the pain of watching her girlfriend die. “But.”
“If I told you I was real, would you believe me?”
A part of her screamed, ‘yes, yes!’ and jumped up and down and ran over to fling her arms around Tara and never, ever let go. But Willow hadn’t been that girl in a very long time. Maybe since she’d gone all evil and stuff. So she folded the arms she wanted to hug Tara with, and cocked her head to the one side, and said, “Maybe.” At Tara’s knowing grin, Willow went on, “There – there’s circumstances! You know, the kind that might make the world suddenly stop or – or turn the sun black or something equally terrible!”
“Or break your heart?”
The words slipped past all her barriers and Willow gaped at the ghost of her dead girlfriend for a minute before saying, “Yeah.” Stiffly. “Because that’s happened before and, you know, so not fun.”
Tara took a step closer to her, holding out a hand. “I promise, it won’t be like before.” There was a glow about her, a brilliance, and Willow frowned, finally taking a look around.
The bright, warm light extended as far as the eye could see. Somewhere, off in the distance, there were forms, some human, some not, but all recognizable. Willow swallowed hard. “That’s Giles. And Joyce.”
“Yes.” Tara’s hand enveloped hers. “It’s time to lay down your sword, Willow.”
“I don’t – I mean, Buffy – but it’s not a sword - “
Tara stilled her mouth with a kiss and Willow agreed, silently begging forgiveness from her friends, still fighting on, wherever they were.
Squeezing her hand, Tara began leading her toward the brightest light. “They’ll be coming soon, don’t worry.”
After that, Willow didn’t look back.
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