DISCLAIMER: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all the slayerettes belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is adapted from another idea, formed pre the canon of the S8 comics but most definitely set several years post-Chosen. In the weeks following Seeing Red, the possibility of me writing a pro-Kennedy fic would have been laughed out of court. Well... here's a second one (the first is at Jet Wolf's The Chosen, but you'll probably need to get into that continuation to read it, and it really has nothing to do with this one). Let's be clear, I still love W/T, but I've seen the results of the way Willow behaved towards Tara in Season 6, and really felt the need for her to experience some real consequences.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To kerkevik[at]btinternet.com

If Wishes Were Horses
By Kerkevik


Willow saw her through the windows of the Espresso Pump and smiled warmly at her as she caught the eye of the barista, who hugged her warmly and kissed her, european-style, on both cheeks.

And if her smile seemed a little forced and Claudio seemed to run a finger under Tara's eyes, then Willow paid it no never mind, because it was a beautiful sunny day, and she was going to sit and share a coffee with the woman she loved. A date; a new start; a new life.

She watched Tara chatting with the barista, and nod at something he said to her, then make her way towards the table she was sitting at; their favourite. The one they'd sat at that first evening out, the evening after the thing with the soda machine had changed her life forever, even if she hadn't been quite sure how at the time.

And if Tara seemed to hesitate for a second, and keep her eye half on the retreating Claudio, as if drawing strength from him, then Willow paid it no never mind, because Tara had come, there was a chance that things might actually work out. She fought not to stand; too seem to desperate to be in her company; so as not to scare her off. She seemed to succeed, and allowed herself a sigh of relief when Tara continued her approach.

As Willow always did when she needed to cover her own nervousness by talking a mile a minute; somehow managing to order their coffees (she'd insisted on that point when they'd agreed on this 'experiment') from the barista, not even noticing him as he left to complete the order.

Her eyes never left her, of course and when, out of the corner of her eye, she caught that little twist appearing at the corner of her mouth; the Tara-smile of scoobie-legend; that she wanted to kiss so badly she could barely breathe at the thought she could barely stop her heart leaping from her chest.

She chattered on, about Buffy's new hair; the desperately sad nerdiness of the Trio who's been responsible for the invisibility that had hidden Buffy's new hair; about... well she didn't tell her everything, no, she couldn't bring herself to mention Amy's gift, or that she had oh-so-nearly given in to it. She watched her love carefully and relaxed when she saw that she'd not noticed the hesitation.

And if that twist took just a little bit longer than usual to turn into one of Tara's all-too-rare grins, Willow paid it no never mind, because she knew how much Tara was worried about little Dawnie, whom she'd been like a mom to, and because, when it did come, that grin was like the rising of the dawn on a misty winter's day.

As if Spring was finally returning to Willow's life.

And paid no notice to the crinkling around Tara's eyes as she took notice of the omissions, and began to show a little annoyance at Willow's 'performance'.

She was so focussed on Tara, that she failed to notice the retrun of the barista - until she spoke.

"Mi dispiace, caro il mio bambino. Mi dispiace tanto."

"I am sorry, bella rosa,"

Willow found herself frowning as Tara's lips moved, as if seeming to ready themselves for speech but, when the words came, they were in that odd admixture of the tuscan hills; welsh valleys, and hollywood queer, that was the barista's voice. Slowly she comprehended what was going on and, turning her head, to see a rarely seen sorrowful expression on his beginning-to-be chubby features.

But his words didn't seem to warrant the expression she was seeing.

"... the mint chocolate is gone, dolci signore. Would the syrup be..."

Willow started to tell him that Tara didn't like the syrup, when she smiled warmly, at him.

"Bydd yn cael ei jyst ddirwya, Claudio."

Willow could barely contain her surprise. She knew she was speaking welsh, it was more the near-perfect accent, plus the fact that the barista seemed to be nodding his approval, as if he was a teacher appreciating the success of a favored pupil. Then she caught the careful look in his eye and, out of the corner of her eye, the equally careful nod she gave him in response.

She sensed a coldness creeping in to that bright spring dawn she had been anticipating. The look on Tara's face, which had been full of the love she shared, had become slightly stiff; uncomfortable, as if in anticipation of some unpleasant task that had to be completed, no matter how little it was to be desired.

She felt a tightness behind her eyeball as Tara opened her beautiful lips, and began to speak.

And if Tara shuddered, as if making a decision; one that she knew was probably a mistake, but could not change, well..? Willow paid it no never mind. She just enjoyed the gradual warming in Tara's attitude, even if it did seem a little hesitant in unusual places and, if Tara's attitude seemed to change later, as if trying desperately to stick to a decision she had made. She paid it no never mind, because that night, Tara came to her room, and spoke the moist beautiful words Willow could ever have wished to hear.

And they made love in a way they hadn't since that first night.

Kennedy lay awake, listening to the whimpers; could feel the wetness of her tears on her breast. In between the muttering, that usually made no sense, were words she could quote by heart these days.

And prayed every day she'd never hear again.

With a growing; dread, sense of futility.

"Will, did you really believe I could forgive you? After everything that my family did to me? No! Don't start please."

Willow wiped the back of her wrist across her eyes, fiercely determined to stop the tears she knew where waiting to pour forth. Tara's hand, held up against her former lover's desired pleading.

"You raped me, Will. You did! After, everything you knew, after I gave you a chance to save everything we had, you did it again." She was whispering now, her voice shaking, veering between fury, and unbearable misery.

Willow stood up and began to walk away from everything she loved. She heard Tara's voice as she reached the door.

"I am sorry. I still love you. I just... I,"

Can't be with me.

At that moment, if she'd ever had any doubt about the monster she'd become, they all disappeared. Three blocks away she called Giles in England, managing to convince the Watcher's Council flunkey, that 'yes, it was very vital that the negotiations be interrupted'.

"Giles?" Two weeks later she began the long journey to her rehabilitation. Five years later she ran into Tara at a lecture the new professor was giving at Sarah Lawrence, in attempt to recruit more women into the ranks of the still understaffed ranks of the Watcher's Council. A week later she received a totally unexpected e-mail from Tara and, slightly under a month later they resumed their love affair.

They were married on the steps of the mansion where Willow had, three months before, graduated from the rehabilitation college. They both bore sons, within a year. The fathers, a stupidly grinning Alexander Harris-Jenkins, and a slightly-stunned-that-the-magic-had-actually-worked (and that Tara had worked on for years without telling anyone), and he could sire a child without passing on the lycanthropy, Daniel Osborne, both being present at the births.

A daughter, named for the woman who'd love and friendship had kept their hopes alive, despite the bleakness of the years in between, Dawn. The boys, named, Martin (after the good Dr. King) and Jordi, after the little lad's studious, but totally not Oz-like, uncle, all did very well and are thriving.

Kennedy just held on tight, as the woman she loved suffered unfathomable guilt over someone she'd never seen, except in a worse than usual college guidebook.

She just held on, and prayed.

While Willow begged every god, goddess, animus, spirit, (and even a couple of the friendlier demons) she ever read about to take away the one death they couldn't.

While Kennedy shed a few tears at her inability to slay these demons she couldn't even imagine.

Willow walked into the Espresso Pump, and saw the graven face of Claudio, the barista whose name she'd barely ever paid attention to, but who'd known her Tara better than she ever had; walked into his arms, and allowed him to stroke her hair, and heard those words - again - that she'd ignored so many months before.

"Mi dispiace, caro il mio bambino. Mi dispiace tanto."

"I am sorry, bella rosa,"

But Willow never seemed to understand that the words were coming from new lips. Kennedy looked at the clock beside the bed; stared at the date and wondered what dawn would bring.

It was past midnight; midnight on May the 7th.

The End

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