Didn't Turn Back

Buffy the vampire slayer. Buffy doesn't go back to Willow at the end of Wrecked. Hours later Spike finds Willow with a bruised head and shredded arms nearly dead. Love vs guilt.

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10. What Happens Now

“Tell me a story.” Miss Kitty Fantastico softly landed on the blue carpet of the room, vaguely interested in a small ball of blue yarn. “Okay.” Tara said as she watched the kitten play. “Once upon a time there was um,” She paused for a short moment thinking. “a kitty. She was very little and she was all alone, and nobody wanted her.” Willow looked at her love from where she lay under the pale brown covers of the bed.

“This is a very upsetting story.” The redhead said sadly. She didn't like the idea of a tiny kitty being all alone and unwanted. “Oh, oh, but it gets better. 'Cause one day the kitty was running around in the street and a man came, and-and swooped her up.” The blonde reached down with both hands and gently picked up Miss Kitty Fantastico.

“And took her to the pound.” Tara put the little, black and white kitten in her lap. Willow smiled at the change of events in the story. “And at the pound there were lots of other kitties, and there were puppies, and some ferrets,” “Were there dolphins?” Willow asked hopefully.

Miss Kitty Fantastico was trying to climb to the redhead, so Tara helped the kitten get to her love, she kept her hands around it so Miss Kitty wouldn't fall. “Yes. Many dolphins at the pound.” Tara assured her. “Or was there a camel?” Willow asked as she petted the kitten who now sat near her head. The blonde thought for a moment, then continued her story. “There was the front of a camel.” Willow gently pulled Miss Kitty Fantastico closer. “A half camel.” Tara added and smiled. The redhead also smiled. She liked her loves half camel story. Willow cuddled the kitten.

“Did the kitty get chosen by some nice people?” Willow asked as she rubbed Miss Kitty Fantastico's head. The blonde shook her head slightly. “Well, now you've ruined the ending.” Willow let out a 'mmm' sound and Miss Kitty Fantastico ran of the bed. “I'm sleepy.” She said sleepily. “Do you mind if I keep the light on? I was gonna look up some spells.” Tara asked, only half wanting to do something other than lie down next to her love and wrap her arms around her. The redhead pouted. “It's fine. I don't need to be snuggled.” She said with a wink, then she smiled. “Vixen.” Tara called Willow with a half grin.

Willow's smiled fled her face like a pack of wolves were chasing it. Tara had faded into nothing in a split second. The room followed Willow's love, and took the bed with it. The redhead fell to the floor and frantically spun around, searching the darkness filled room for any trace of the memory-dream she'd just had. “TARA?” She yelled into the darkness. When no answer came the redhead put her head in her hands and cried. “Tara?” Willow asked the dark, endless room again.

[Tara's Mind]> “Who? Faith?” Tara asked as she flipped another card and put it on the bed. “Yeah. I wish she would make a move. She's making my stomach all acidy.” Willow said from where she lay on the bed. Tara paused her card flipping and looked at the redhead. “But you think Buffy can handle her.” Willow sat up and pulled her legs under her. “I think so.” She turned her head toward Tara and tilted it slightly. “But that doesn't mean Faith won't hurt someone else.”

“Well you should be safe. Nobody knows you're here. I mean,” Tara put on a smile. “they don't even know I exist, right? I know all about them, but,” Tara's smile faded and Willow moved her hand to the blondes knee. “Hey.” Willow said softly. “I-I mean, t-that's totally cool. It-it's good. It-it's better.” Tara said nodding.

“Tara, it's not like I don't want my friends to know you. It's just,” The red haired witch paused, not sure how she should say the next part. “well, Buffy's like my best friend, and she's really special. And there's this whole bunch of us, and we sort of have this group thing that revolves around the slaying, and-and I, I really want you to meet them. But I kind of like having something that's just, you know, mine. And I, I usually don't use so many words to say stuff that little, but do you get that at all?”

The card holding witch gave a little nod. “I do.” The red haired one sighed. “I should check in with Giles, get a situation update.” She pushed herself up from the bed and walked around the bed to the desk behind Tara. Tara looked down at her hands, trying to decide whether or not to say the thing that just popped into her head.

“I am, you know.” The blonde said loudly, to make sure Willow heard her. Willow stopped at the desk and turned back to look at the back of the blondes head. “What?” The redhead asked. Tara turned around and looked up at Willow. “Yours.” The redhead smiled, and Tara felt her skin get warmer.

Something hard pressed against her back, then her eyes opened. She looked around the hospital room and realized she was lying side on in a wooden chair by Willow's hospital bed. Oh, I was dreaming. The blonde said in her head. I wish that weren't a dream. I wish I could just go back to then. Everything was so much better then.

Tara shifted in her chair to get more comfortable. Her eyes moved to her love and she, once again, sent every drop of her power into the redhead.

In the hall, just outside of Willow's hospital room, Buffy was holding back tears as she talked with Dr Allen Brook. “Why can't she go to one in Sunnydale?” The slayer had her arms crossed and was looking up at the ceiling. Hold it together Summers. She told herself.

“I'm sorry, but there just isn't a facility in Sunnydale. And Ms Rosenberg isn't-” “Stop calling her Ms Rosenberg!” Buffy nearly yelled at the man. “Her name is Willow, it's freaking me out with everyone calling her 'Ms Rosenberg' her name is Willow!” A few tears escaped the slayers hold, and slid down her face. “I'm sorry,” Allen said sincerely.

“Willow isn't stable. She needs to be in a facility with people who are trained to help and take care of her.” Buffy started shaking. She turned her eyes to the ground and nodded. “Okay, okay. I'll tell Tara.” “Are you sure? I could, if you-” “I'll tell Tara.” She said again. Then went to the door.

The blonde stopped with her hand on the knob and looked back at the doctor. “Please say there's another option.” Buffy's eyes were wide with pleading. The slayer would get on her knees and beg if she thought it would help. “I am truly sorry.” He said, then turned and walked off.

[Willow's Hospital Room]> The door cracked open and Buffy lightly knocked on it. “Tara?” She asked, her voice gave away that she was crying or very close to it. Tara turned to Buffy, her eyes wide with concern. Why does she sound like she's been crying? The witch asked herself.

“I'm g-going with her.” Tara said matter-of-factly when Buffy had finished telling her what the doctor said. “I'm g-going to transfer t-to a college closer to w-wherever she's sent, and I'm gonna-gonna help the d-doctors and nurses take c-care of her.” Buffy spoke as gently as she could, still fighting back tears even though some had gotten free. “Tara, I don't think they'll let you help take care of her, they probably will let you visit her, but-” “I'll a-apply for a job there t-then.” The blonde witch was pacing the length of the hospital room, her arms crossed over her chest, forming a plan.

Buffy stepped into the witches path and looked her in the eye. “Tara calm down, okay? Calm down.” “I'm-I am c-calm,” Tara shut her eyes, trying to control her stutter. “I am c-calm Buffy.” She opened her eyes again and met the slayers.

“Okay good, now breath and think.” The witch obeyed. Buffy's eyes were still wet with tears she didn't want to shed. “Are you sure you should move with her? You don't even know where she'll be going to.” “I d-don't care where Buffy. I'm g-going with her and-and I'm gonna be w-with her each d-day.” Tara wasn't crying, wasn't panicked, wasn't freaked, her face was set in determination, with her chin up. “She-she took c-care of me after what G-Glory d-did. N-now I'm g-gonna take c-care of her.” The slayers shoulders sagged, relief flooded her face and she hugged the witch.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” She said, releasing her hold on her emotions. When Tara said she was going with the redhead Buffy was overwhelmed with happiness that her best friend wouldn't be sent somewhere alone. She made herself keep her cool long enough to make sure Tara thought it through, and was so relieved that her statement didn't change.

Tara was surprised, she hadn't expected the slayers hug and gratitude. “Uh?” She said, but returned the hug. Buffy's words were rushed. “I don't want Willow to be alone. She's my best friend Tara. Thank you for going with her. Thank you so much.” She squeezed tighter. “Please don't let her be alone.” Tara closed her eyes. “I w-won't leave her alone Buffy.”

[Summers House]> Dawn was at the top of the stairs when she heard Xander's voice. “Oh god.” He said, Dawn froze, and her stomach dropped. Please don't be talking about Willow! The teen begged inside her head. “Oh god.” The carpenter said again.

Dawn held her breath, not wanting any other sound to interrupt Xander's voice. “And they said they're not gonna do anything else?” He paused, then he angrily said “Oh, yeah. 'Cause they always tell you every option without a push. Just go find Will's doc, get your slayer on and make him tell you something else they can do.” Another pause, this one longer. “Okay, fine. What can I do?” As quietly as she could, Dawn started down the stairs. Halfway to the bottom she heard “Okay, I'll tell Dawn and um I'll call Giles and Anya.”

Another pause, then “Are they at least gonna let her come here to get her stuff?” Dawn took another step. “Okay, good. Do you want me to pick you up from there?” She climbed down the last two steps then rounded the corner. Xander was leaning against the doorframe that separated the dinning room from the kitchen, he was rubbing his head with one hand and holding the phone with the other. “Okay, see you tomorrow Buff.”

He hung up the phone and turned to see the youngest Summers standing just a few feet away. His face was pale, his eyes were wet, and he was shaking slightly.

When he spoke his voice was strained and raspy. “Dawnie, That was Buffy.” He took a step toward her. “What happened to Willow?” Dawn asked, her voice filled with sorrow and fear. “You remember what Buffy called about earlier?” He asked gently. “You mean, Willow having that-” She swallowed with a gulp, and tears started filling her eyes. “that seizure?” He nodded.

“Because of that, Will's doc is gonna send her to-” He stopped talking to wipe his eyes. “to a mental health center thing in three days.” Dawn felt like a tun of bricks had hit her. “What?” She asked in a tiny voice that cracked on the way out.

“And since there isn't one of those in Sunnydale, they're gonna send her to one out of town and Tara's gonna go with her.” Tears tracked down the youngest Summers' face. Xander went on. “Tomorrow I'm gonna pick them up from the hospital so they can pack up Will's stuff. Tara's gonna get her own things later today. Buffy said she'll call when they find out where Will's being sent.” Dawn was shaking now, and Xander moved over to her and wrapped his arms around her. “It'll be okay Kiddo.”

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