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Take Me Walking In The Rain

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Title: Take Me Walking In The Rain
Author: Elisabeth
Rating: R
Pairing: Willow/Angel, some W/T to start
Summary: When the Hellmouth becomes too much for Willow, Angel offers an escape.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - please ask.
Feedback: Yes please! I'm a greedy little writer.
A/N: This story was inspired by the song "Take Me Walking In The Rain" by Janis Ian.
Dedication: For Gabrielle – for all of your support and Leslie – for being such a patient beta.

 


To listen to the song click here

 

THIS TOWN ISN'T BIG ENOUGH FOR MY DREAMS
THIS PLACE IS JUST ABOUT TO BREAK AT THE SEAMS
BABY BABY, YOU AND I
NEED JUST A LITTLE BIGGER PIECE OF THE SKY
BIG HOPES, BIG DREAMS
BABY CAN YOU SET ME FREE

TAKE ME WALKING IN THE RAIN
TAKE ME DANCING IN THE WAVES, BABY
LET 'EM WIPE AWAY THE TEARS
WASH AWAY THE YEARS
TAKE ME WALKING IN THE RAIN

TAKE ME RIGHT HERE WHERE I STAND
LET ME FEEL YOUR HEART ON MINE
LIFE'LL NEVER BE THE SAME
WE'VE GOT EVERYTHING TO GAIN
TAKE ME WALKING IN THE RAIN

THIS LIFE MAY BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE REST
BUT THIS HEART IS JUST ABOUT TO BREAK THROUGH MY CHEST
I REMEMBER EVERY RULE I'VE HEARD
AND I'M STRANGLING ON EVERY WORD
I CAN'T SAY THEY'RE WRONG
BUT BABY HOW CAN I GO ON?

TAKE ME WALKING IN THE RAIN
TAKE ME DANCING IN THE WAVES, BABY
LET 'EM WIPE AWAY THE TEARS
WASH AWAY THE YEARS
TAKE ME WALKING IN THE RAIN

TAKE ME RIGHT HERE WHERE I STAND
LET ME FEEL YOUR HEART ON MINE
I DON'T WANT SOMEBODY NEW
I JUST WANT THE REST OF YOU
TAKE ME WALKING IN THE RAIN
(Lyrics by Janis Ian/Jenny Yates)

 


Part 1

Willow sat devotedly next to the starch white hospital bed. All she could do as she stroked her girlfriend's uninjured hand was replay the events that had led to Tara lying in a hospital bed with a broken arm and several bruised ribs.

Buffy had stumbled upon a Kranoch demon preparing for a sacrifice during her patrol the night before. After many hours of research late into the night the gang finally figured out what the demon was and how to destroy it. Apparently its thick red skin acted as full body armor, making it extremely difficult to kill with a weapon. Although, as luck would have it, it was susceptible to magickal attacks.

The amount of power that would be needed was great, more than Willow could do alone. Tara reluctantly agreed to join her power with Willow's. As much as she hated fighting demons, she would do anything for the girl she loved.

The girls sat down with Giles and devised a way to send a bolt of magick that would essentially strip the demon of its protective skin, allowing Buffy to kill it with a sword.

Earlier tonight the three girls headed to the cemetery that Buffy had seen the Kranoch in the night before. He was there, adding his newest acquisitions to the body parts already acquired. Buffy rushed in, attacking him with sword, legs and fists while Willow and Tara took their positions in the corner, gathering their magick.

Realizing that the real threat was the girls in the corner, the Kranoch lashed out, knocking Buffy to the ground, stunning her, as he rushed the witches. Buffy recovered quickly and leapt on its back, trying to get it away. It worked, but not before he had lifted Tara effortlessly into the air and thrown her across the room.

"Tara," Willow cried out, dodging the demon in order to rush to her girlfriend's side.

Tara lay in a heap, whimpering, from the impact against the concrete. Her arm was in excruciating pain and it hurt to breathe.

"Tara, baby, are you okay?" Tara shook her head, wishing she hadn't moved. "Where does it hurt?"

"I-I th-think," the pain was making her stutter, "my arm's broken. And it hurts when I breathe, or talk, or move."

"Don't move," Willow insisted, lightly running her hands an inch above Tara's body, afraid to touch her, bringing her more pain. In the background she could vaguely make out the sounds of Buffy fighting the Kranoch demon.

Tara lifted her eyes and saw the demon easily deflect Buffy's blows. "Buffy," she whimpered.

Willow turned to look over her shoulder and saw the sword get knocked out of Buffy's hand, again. She dropped and rolled to retrieve it, missing the blow aimed at her back at the same time. Willow looked back at Tara.

"We-we have to fi-finish," Tara insisted.

"Honey, no." Willow protested. "You're hurt, you can't afford the energy."

Tara slowly, painfully, moved to a sitting position, leaning against the wall. "No. You can do it. You focus the energy, take what you need."

"Tara," Willow tried to protest again, only to be met with a fairly good impression of her 'resolve' face. "Okay," she agreed with a sigh.

Willow stood and gingerly took Tara's uninjured hand in hers. Looking down at her girlfriend she asked, "You okay, babe?"

"Mm-hmm," Tara answered, trying not to wince at the pain wracking her body.

Willow returned her attention to the scene before her. Buffy was getting a little sloppy in her frustration at not being able to harm the demon. Willow began to chant softly, gathering the energy to her once again. Her eyes darkened to black as she finished the incantation. Raising her free hand she sent a bolt of energy at the demon, hitting it squarely on its back.

The Kranoch howled in pain as the magick began to eat away at its skin, like acid. The leathery red flesh began to crackle and dissolve, leaving its tender muscle vulnerable. Buffy found her sword, which she had lost again during the fight, and swung in an arc, separating its torso. With a final wail of pain the Kranoch fell to the ground in two halves, both twitching as the life drained out of it.

Buffy let the sword tip drag along the ground as she made her way to the witches. Tara was lying slumped against the wall, unconscious. Willow was murmuring comforting words, begging her girlfriend to wake up, telling her it would be okay, the demon was dead.

Buffy handed Willow the sword and gently lifted Tara in her arms. Quickly the girls headed straight for the hospital, each praying that Tara would make it through this.

She was still unconscious. It had been four hours and eighteen minutes since they had arrived at the hospital and Tara had yet to wake. Buffy had called the gang while Willow waited for the doctor to finish running tests on Tara. Xander and Anya were the first to arrive, with Giles running in a few minutes later.

"Ms. Rosenberg?" a woman in a white doctor's coat asked, placing a stethoscope around her neck as she entered the waiting room.

Willow raised her hand, her legs too weak and nervous to stand. Buffy and Xander each took one of her hands as Giles placed his on her shoulders.

With a sympathetic smile the doctor said, "Tara is going to be just fine." She paused to allow the assembled group of friends sigh with relief. "Her right arm is broken and has been set in a cast. She also had several bruised ribs, which have been taped."

"Can I see her now?" Willow desperately asked.

"She's still unconscious," at the despondent look on the redhead's face she added, "but you can sit with her if you'd like."

"Yes, please," Willow responded as she got to her feet. She gave her friends' hands a final squeeze as she followed the doctor to Tara's room.

The gang had finally gone home about an hour ago when they realized that Willow wasn't going to leave Tara's side. They all promised they'd be by the next day and left Willow alone with her girlfriend.

"Tara, baby, please wake up," she pleaded again, a couple of tears trailing down her cheeks. "I'm so sorry this happened. It's all over, you're gonna be okay. You just need to wake up now."

Tara's fingers flinched under hers. Willow's eyes shot back to her face, anxiously looking for signs of awakening. Tara's eyeballs fluttered under her eyelids rapidly before they cracked open.

"Tara?" Willow asked hopefully.

"Willow," she whispered, her throat dry. "Water."

Willow immediately stood to pour a cup of water. She held the cup to Tara's lips, tipping it back just enough to dribble some water down her parched throat.

Tara winced slightly at the effort it took to swallow. Willow's back was momentarily turned, returning the cup to the table next to the bed, so she missed Tara's pain-filled motion. When she turned back around, Willow placed a soft kiss on Tara's lips.

Smoothing her hair away from her face, Willow asked, "How you feeling, baby?"

"It hurts," she gritted. "I want to go back to sleep."

"Okay. Just let me get a nurse first. They wanted to know when you woke up."

Tara nodded slightly, trying to restrict the movement and not make her head throb any more than it already was. As Willow left to find a nurse, Tara relaxed against the thin pillow. A tear escaped her left eye when she closed them again. She hated what she was going to do, but she couldn't live like this anymore.

She silently debated her planned actions until Willow returned with a woman dressed in scrubs carrying a clipboard.

"Welcome back, Ms. Maclay," the nurse cheerily greeted her as Willow returned to her chair next to Tara, weaving her fingers with the other girl's. "My name is Caroline Hamilton. You were out for quite a while there, how are you feeling?"

"Hurts," she whimpered.

"Yes, dear," Caroline said in that annoying placating tone of medical professionals. "Where does it hurt?"

"My arm, my head, when I breathe or talk," Tara slowly said.

"That's all perfectly normal. Willow tells me you are going to go back to sleep. Would you like a sedative?"

"Yes, please," Tara sighed, a slight smile gracing her lips for the first time.

"You're very lucky to have such a devoted friend," Caroline commented as she prepared the syringe. "Willow hasn't left your side since you were brought to the room." She noted the way Willow was clasping Tara's uninjured hand and wondered if there was more than friendship between the two.

"Yes, lucky," Tara agreed, looking at Willow as the nurse added the sedative to her IV drip. Willow smiled affectionately at her in return.

"Willow," Caroline interrupted the silent exchange. "I'm afraid that visiting hours are almost over."

"I'm just going to wait until Tara falls asleep first, okay?"

"That's fine." Caroline picked up her clipboard from the foot of the bed and recorded the medication that Tara had just been given as she left the girls alone.

"I've gotta go soon, baby," Willow sadly said, caressing Tara's face.

"That's okay, I'll be asleep anyway."

"I don't know how well I'll be able to sleep tonight without my girl," Willow commented.

Tara felt a stab of guilt that Willow would always be sleeping alone now. She'd wait until the next day to tell her. "I know," she whispered.

Willow gently kissed Tara again before settling into the chair. "I'll wait until you're asleep before leaving. That way we both won't have to fall asleep alone."

"G'night," Tara mumbled, already feeling the effects of the drug.


~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

Tara woke up the next morning alone in her hospital room. It took her a moment to remember where she was. Then it hit her - hospital, broken arm, bruised ribs, Kranoch demon, Willow. She remembered now. She was in the hospital after being hurt by a demon, again. She hated hospitals, always had; yet she seemed to see quite a few of them since she started dating Willow.

She had been drawn to Willow immediately in that so-called Wicca group. Her power and beauty called to her like a siren. Tara had blossomed under Willow's love. She was no longer so self-conscious and shy. She was also more confident with her magickal abilities. She owed this to Willow. Which is why it was going to break her heart to leave her.

Tara was pulled from her musings by the door to her room opening.

"Ah, good, you're awake," a new nurse commented. "My name is Shirley and I'll be your nurse today. How are you feeling?"

"A little better," Tara admitted. "My head doesn't hurt today, and I'm a little hungry."

"That's a good sign. I'll have an orderly bring you up some breakfast. Are you up for visitors yet? There's a redhead who's been dying to get in here."

Tara sadly smiled. "That's Willow. You can send her in."

"I'll do that," Shirley agreed. She finished taking Tara's vitals before leaving.

"May as well get this over with," Tara said to herself.

"Good morning sleepy head," Willow greeted her girlfriend. She kissed Tara before sitting on the bed and handing her a black stuffed cat.

Tara took the stuffed animal, looking at her girlfriend. "What's this?"

"It's for you silly. For when I can't be here with you, so you won't have to be alone."

Tara pulled the toy to her chest, ignoring the stab of pain from pressing against her bruised ribs as she choked back a sob.

"Tara, baby, what's wrong?" Willow asked, concern coloring her voice. "Do you need me to get a nurse?"

Tara shook her head, "No. Thank you, for the cat."

Willow smiled with relief. "You're welcome. Don't scare me like that, I thought something was wrong."

"It is," Tara whispered.

"What's wrong, babe?" Willow asked sympathetically, rubbing Tara's arm.

"I-I'm sorry," Tara whispered. "I can't do this anymore."

"Can't do what?" Willow asked, praying that it wasn't what she feared.

"I can't be with you, not anymore."

"What?" Willow asked, tears forming in her eyes.

"Look at me, Will." Tara insisted, gesturing to the hospital room. "I thought I could look past all of the demons and fighting evil, that our love was strong enough for it not to matter. But it does. I know there is evil out there, and someone has to fight it, but I can't do it anymore. And I know you can't stop, you've been fighting for too long to stop now. And I'm not asking you to. So I'm going to leave."

"Tara, no," Willow pleaded. "I love you. We can find a way to stay together. You don't have to help fight monsters anymore. I'll do all the magick when the group needs a witch. Please don't leave."

"What happens the next time a spell requires more magick that you can do alone? You'll ask me for help. You'll say it's just this one time, and I'll do it because I love you. Then you'll ask me again. I don't want to end up resenting you for disregarding my wishes. It's better this way. When they release me I'll go visit my family for the rest of the summer."

The tears were now flowing unchecked down Willow's cheeks. "Please, don't go. I don't have to keep fighting demons. Just don't leave me."

Tara gingerly wiped a tear off Willow cheek, trying to hold back her own tears. "Please don't ask me to stay. I know you; you won't be able to sit by on the sidelines while the rest of your friends are out there saving the lives of the innocent from vampires and other demons. I can't live like that anymore, even for you."

Willow embraced Tara as gently as possible, crying on her girlfriend's shoulder. Tara took a moment to enjoy the feeling of having Willow in her arms one last time before pushing her away.

"I-I think you should go now," Tara said quietly, not looking at Willow.

"There's nothing I can say that will change your mind, is there?" Willow asked in defeat, wiping at her tears.

"No. I've given this a lot of thought and it's what I need to do."

"I love you. You know where to find me if you change your mind," Willow said as she took one last look at her lover.

"I know," Tara confirmed. Once the door was closed she added, "I love you too," before breaking down into tears of her own.