Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Willow/Tara, Willow/Kennedy
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike Bingo: Mistletoe
Word Count: 1,081
Date Written: 5 December 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
She wakes sometime in the middle of the night, feeling eyes trained upon her. It’s not a piercing, threatening glare from an enemy looking within her room from somewhere beyond. It’s a calling, really, more than a stare that calls to her heart and her soul with a familiar longing and ache. Willow understands its meaning even before she lifts her head from her pillow, but she fears it’s only a dream.
If she is dreaming, it doesn’t feel like one as she sees a woman standing beneath the mistletoe hanging in the window of the room she now shares with Kennedy. The woman has her back turned to her, but Willow knows Kennedy is sound asleep beside her. She also has a smaller frame than Kenn and doesn’t have the profile of a fighter waiting to pounce.
She stands half in shadow and half in moonlight, and Willow’s breath freezes in her throat. For a long moment, she can not speak. She can barely think, can barely breathe. When she can finally move, she slips from the bed that still, some nights, doesn’t feel right and pads across the bare floor to where the figure stands.
“T-Tara?” she whispers, not daring to believe her eyes.
Her deceased girlfriend turns to her not with the glower Willow had once dreaded when she had first started to feel things for Kennedy nor with sorrowful tears pouring down her face. She smiles at her, and Willow’s heart hammers within her chest, very much a reminder that she is still alive while her first female love, her truest love, perhaps her only real love is dead. She’s not meant to be in this world any longer, but yet here she is, hovering before her, her feet a few inches above the floor.
Tara smiles at her, and for a moment, the whole world around them seems to fade away. “You put it up,” she comments.
“We put them all up.” She hadn’t been certain she should hang the ornaments of once live sprigs of mistletoe, but Dawnie remembered making them with them as one of the few fond memories the three of them, and just the three, had shared. She’d wanted them up. Kenn had thought it would be great to have one in their room alone, so Willow had obliged the two most important girls in the world to her -- at least, of the girls who still lived.
She’d thought giving in to their simple requests had been the right thing to do, but now, once more, she stands on the precipice of uncertainty. “Should I . . . not have put them up? I can take them down.” She reaches for the mistletoe, but Tara’s quiet voice stops her.
“No. It’s fine, Wills. I didn’t expect my Willow Tree to die without me, and Kennedy’s good for you. You’re good for her, too, you know, like you were good for me.”
Willow blushes as crimson red as her hair. She peeks up at Tara from beneath her lowered eyelashes. “You’ve been watching us?!”
“No!” Tara’s shadowy frame seems to flicker a little darker, and Willow wonders if that is how a ghost looks when she blushes. “I would never look in on you like that, Willow! But I do watch over you. I still love you, you know. Death doesn’t change that.”
“I know,” Willow says quickly, thinking yet again that perhaps she should have waited or at least mourned Tara a while longer.
Tara shakes her head. “No. I’m glad you moved on. She’s what you need right now, and you’re not giving in to the darkness. I still need to thank Xander one day for saving you for me. Kennedy’s good for you,” she says again, and Willow wonders if she’s trying to convince either or both of them. “She’s a . . . steadying influence.”
“I still miss you,” Willow whispers. “I still love you.”
Tara beams at her, and the beautiful smile she casts upon her both eases Willow’s fears and bathes her heart with warmth and love. “I still love you too, Willow! I always will! But I’m glad you’re happy. I’m glad she makes you happy.”
“I’d rather have you making me happy,” Willow whispers before she can stop herself. With a pang of guilt, she looks over at the bed, but Kennedy’s still sleeping soundly.
“It’s okay,” Tara tells her again. “I’m glad you have her. I am. But I’ll always love you, and maybe, many, many years from now, when you join my world, -- “ Her voice trails off as she hovers, searching for the right words.
“You’ll still be waiting?” Willow whispers with a tentative smile.
“I’ll always be waiting for you, my Willow Tree,” Tara vows. Cupping Willow’s face in her hands, she kisses her forehead and then her lips sweetly, tenderly, with the promise of much more to come . . . one day, one night long from now. “But for now,” she says, “you’re happy, and that makes me happy. I couldn’t be at peace if you still were not, but you are. I just . . . want you to know I will always love you and I’ll always be waiting here for you.”
Willow beams, smiling despite the tears in her green eyes. “I know,” she answers. Beneath the mistletoe, Tara kisses her again, and she’s still leaning into the kiss, still leaning into her embrace, still letting the warmth of passion and love pour into every trace of her aching insides when Kennedy calls to her.
“Willow? Willow, are you sleepwalking again?”
Willow’s eyes pop open. She looks guiltily over at the beautiful, young woman sitting up in their bed and peering anxiously at her. Tara’s gone. Kennedy never saw her, Willow realizes. All she sees is Willow standing alone beneath the mistletoe hung in their window. “Uh huh,” she agrees. “I sure am sleepwalking right underneath this mistletoe.”
Kennedy springs from their bed with the graceful speed that only a Slayer could possess. “Right,” she agrees, her voice on the edge of laughter, as she pulls her into her arms. “Come sleepwalk this way.” She kisses her, but even as they kiss, Willow hears another voice whispering in her mind.
Happy Solstice, my Willow Tree, and have a happy life. Be happy for me. Live for me.
There are tears once again in Willow’s eyes, but they’re happy tears. Nonetheless, Kennedy doesn’t see them as she covers her beautiful lover in sweet, passionate kisses that Solstice night.