Characters: Willow, Tara, Tara’s family.
Spoilers/Setting: Family, Hush.
Summary: Because of what her family have convinced her she is, Tara fully expects to lead a life of loneliness.
Word Count: 500
Written For: Prompt 522: Top Songs Of 1983 at slashthedrabble, using ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’.
Disclaimer: I don’t own BtVS, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Joss Whedon.
All her life, Tara has told herself she’s not alone in the world. Although her mother’s gone she still has family; her father, her brother, her cousin… They love her, protect her, and want what’s best for her, in spite of what she is. They will always take care of her; all she has to do is look after them, cook, clean, and do their laundry. Where else would she find such acceptance?
Wanting more out of life is probably wrong of her, greedy in some way she can’t quite find words for. Perhaps her father and brother are right and she’s ungrateful, but what is so terrible about wanting to get a good education while she still can? And being in college is… well, she feels free in ways she never ever expected to.
It’s not perfect, she’s a bit lonely, hasn’t gotten to know many people because she’s still shy and uncertain, but she doesn’t feel… evil. Maybe getting away from home was the right thing to do, maybe she won’t turn out the way her mother did. Maybe… Maybe her father is wrong. She almost flinches at the thought, feels bad for giving the idea even a brief moment’s consideration, reminding herself that her father knows best, but still she can’t keep from wondering what if…?
Nevertheless, she still keeps a distance from the other students no matter how lonely it sometimes makes her feel. Perhaps that’s what it means to be whatever she is; for the sake of everyone else, maybe she’s destined to be alone, the owner of a lonely heart, forever. Well, it’s a price she’s resigned to paying; it’s probably safer not to get too close to anyone.
But then she sees Willow at a Wicca meeting, so beautiful and confident, and before she can hardly do more than stammer in the other girl’s presence, every person in Sunnydale loses their voice. Tara can’t help but wonder if she’s somehow to blame, and if that’s so, there’s only one person she can think of who might be able to help undo it; Willow. There’s an aura about her, a sense of power that nobody else in the Wicca group has, so Tara goes in search of her, only to wind up being chased by menacing beings, and capering creatures in straitjackets. She doesn’t know what they are, only that they’re dangerous and she can’t allow herself to be caught.
Tara makes it to Willow’s dorm room barely ahead of her pursuers and together they flee, locking themselves in the laundry room. But the door was never designed to keep monsters out; it seems they’re doomed until Willow tries to use her power to barricade the door. Alone, she isn’t strong enough, but together…
Clasping Willow’s hand in her own, combining their power, something flows through Tara that she’s never experienced and as they look at each other, safe in the small room, Tara thinks perhaps loneliness might not be her destiny after all.