And All The Saints Are Dragons
One thing you can never say aloud is that you think Tara was pathetic. More than pathetic, actually, and the truth is that you hate her. Because she’s dead and gone but she still gets in your way – yeah, she’s in Willow’s head, heart, dreams.
You said those words with a smile once, but now you think ‘lucky bitch’ and you don’t ever smile when you think it.
Tara’s dead. Dead, dead, dead, dead, and everybody just needs to forget her. Okay, you don’t really mean everybody – although that would be nice – you mean Willow.
You are used to being the center of someone’s world; rocking that world, in fact. After all, Willow isn’t your first dance. Not your second or third either. You know what you’re doing and you do it well - they’ve all said so: the lesbians who told you that you made them see God and the straight girls who swore you were just an experiment but came back begging for more all the same. You’re something – something special and hot and real…more real than some mousy little dishwater blonde who wasn’t half as alive when she was alive as you are when you’re sound asleep.
The only thing you’ve ever had in your closet are your clothes and a whole lot of shoes, but you don’t see your desires as some sort of manifesto or yourself as part of some separate world. You’ve never been part of the sweetsie-neatsie, crunchy granola, Birkenstock-and-peasant-skirt sisterhood. You’re a girl who likes fucking girls. There’s nothing political or sociological about it as far you’re concerned – you like what you like and you take what you want.
And what you want is Willow. Not just the body in your bed, but the woman, the whole woman – heart, soul, and yeah, that hot body, too, but the more – the much more – that other girls have flung at you unbidden and unaccepted but that you now crave like other people crave the cocaine you tried but didn’t see much in.
You’ve kissed every freckle on every part of her body, haven’t you? Over and over. Should you have counted them? Measured them? Tara would have done that – bitch. Would have wasted time she could have spent with her tongue between those Willow-thighs giggling and counting. Bet she was into star-gazing and picking out constellations.
Bet Willow is too.
”[…]we like the same things—Italian, skate punk, Robert Parker mysteries, fighting evil...”
“I don't like any of that stuff. Except the—the fighting evil part. Even then, I prefer a nice foot massage.”
You saw that as a challenge. Girls always agreed so easily before that they liked exactly what you did. You figured ‘no biggie’ and that any day now she’d be listening to that cool, retro JFA on your iPod. Instead, this time it’s you who is cutting yourself to fit someone else’s mold.
It’s not fair. It’s not fucking fair! It’s like you’re supposed to be okay with all the white mice and pixie dust and those lame Tori Amos albums that Willow likes, but she doesn’t even try to listen to skate punk and she rolls her eyes when you even mention Robert B. Parker.
The worst part though is when Willow starts to say something and stops herself. She always makes some lame excuse and then starts some completely different sentence, but it all means the same thing: You’re not Tara and you wouldn’t get it.
You’re not Wiccan or Wicca or whatever the fuck it is. You don’t dress like a reject from a Renaissance Faire. You don’t know jack shit about herbs or crystals or about worshipping any goddess who doesn’t have red hair and doesn’t come from the touch of your tongue to her clit. You shouldn’t have to apologize for any of that.
So why do you feel like every minute of your life is some ‘I’m sorry for not being Tara’ moment? Because from where you stand, you look a whole lot better. Prettier, stronger, more confident. No fucking stuttering and whining and running away from the power Willow wields.
Okay, yeah, you’re not some sweetheart – you’re a brat and you own it. But what’s so bad about that? Somehow you can’t see the shy girl in the photos Willow doesn’t know you found stepping up to the plate and taking on Amy, or saving Willow from Warren-possession without a single silly spell, either. You’re it. You’re it and then some.
You were part of the team that took down the First Evil. You’re a fucking Slayer. You’re the Yang to Willow’s Yin and if you’d been there when she went off the deep end, you’d have jumped in with her and helped her swim to shore. Why can’t she see that a lover who’s tough is better than some Tough Love-dispensing wimp?
But no. Here you are in Brazil – hot days and hotter nights – and all she can see when she falls asleep is some soft-eyed, soft-headed hippie and when she wakes up she’s nowhere near good enough at hiding the fact that she’s disappointed that the face she sees gazing at her is yours.
For all your youth and strength, you’re getting tired – tired of answering the phone and hearing some ‘Scooby’s’ patronizing tone on the other end and knowing that they think you’re nothing but some dildo with a stake, some piece of ass for Willow to mark the time with until she finds someone better (translation: someone more like Tara); tired of waiting for Willow to wake up and realize that espresso smells so much better than tea; tired of the self-doubt you never once felt until you met Willow…until you came up against the ghost of her.
Tara’s body, her grave, her bones…they’re all gone – destroyed by an evil that would have made her piss her white cotton granny panties and run like the pathetic little rabbit she was – but somehow she’s the one demon you can’t defeat.
You know, there are a ton of hot girls here in Brazil, girls who’d do anything for a taste of what you lay before Willow like a fucking banquet. One of these nights, you should just…
But you won’t. Because you love Willow. More than anyone – yeah, even Saint Tara – ever has. More than anyone ever will. You’ll stay. And you’ll fight. And you’ll do what Slayers do. You’ll make one more dead thing stay dead. You’ll do what you do.
Take that, Tara Maclay.