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Title: Closure
Author: ozma914
Characters: Tara, Willow
Rated: PG
Warnings: mention of past death
Disclaimer: All characters, except the OC slayer Kara, belong to Joss and co.

Summary: Two former lovers are trapped in an elevator on Valentine’s Day. Not as cliche’d as you think ... well, not quite. 1250 words.
(Note: This takes place in my "Four Friends" universe, in which two questionable magical spells, one intended to repair Dana's shattered mind, led to the resurrection of the Buffybot and the secret return of Tara to a more or less living body. Mention is also made of events from “Mary Stu Got Harried”, but it’s not necessary to read that first.)

Special thanks to my marvelous beta Ainon of fanfiction.net, and to the LiveJournal site holiday_btvs, which was looking for Valentine’s Day stories, of which this is one -- sort of.



CLOSURE

“Hold the elevator, please!”

Willow grabbed at the door as it started to close, and a whirlwind of flying hair and swirling peasant skirt hurled in. The door closed fully before either realized who they were sharing a ride with.

“Willow. Hi.” Willow’s dead lover clasped a stack of red and pink packages to her chest.

“Hi, Tara.” Her voice was an octave higher than normal, and Willow had the feeling her eyes were twice their normal size, too. Why should sharing an elevator with Tara’s ghost make her nervous? They’d talked before. She’d known for close to a year now that after dying Tara’s spirit had remained, following the Scoobies to Chicago and learning to interact again with the real world.

“Your shirt …” Tara fell over, a bloody hole in her chest.

With a shudder, Willow watched the numbers beside her rise as the elevator shot upward. “So … how are you?” A strange question to ask a dead person.

“Oh, fine.”

They fell silent, at opposite ends of the small compartment, shuffling back and forth as the express elevator –

Stopped.

Two sets of eyes turned toward the panel, which showed each floor even though this particular elevator stopped only at the ground, the roof, or floors fourteen and fifteen. Willow had pushed the button for fourteen, intending to go to her quarters and change before that evening’s Valentine’s Day party. That button was lit; but so was the indicator for the thirteenth floor. The door didn’t open. “That’s not good.”

“Push it again,” Tara suggested.

The redhead pushed fourteen, then fifteen for good measure. No change. “Heh. Modern technology.”

“At least the lights are still on.”

Willow nodded, knowing Tara had never been a fan of darkness. She remembered Xander and Buffy helping her through a panic attack the first time she realized Tara’s body would be underground, and how she’d impulsively placed a flashlight in the coffin.

Shaking herself, Willow opened a small door to pull out the emergency phone, and gave a “Yay!” when someone immediately picked up. “Dana? Hey, we’re stuck in the elevator.”

“I know,” Dana told her, “We’re working on it. Shouldn’t be too long.”

“Dana’s working on it,” She told Tara after hanging up.

“Dana? Maybe we should brace for impact.”

Willow gave a nervous laugh, and Tara smiled. They stared past each other for a moment, then Tara gestured toward the single package Willow held. “How’s Kennedy?”

The redhead looked down at the rectangular red box, and felt a blush rising to her face. “How did you know this is for Kennedy?”

“Come on, Willow. You know I prefer flowers.”

She’d clearly meant it as a joke, but for a second Willow panicked, wondering if she should have gotten Tara anything. She tried to deflect the implication by making a joke of her own, pointing to Tara’s stack of packages. “Well, at least I’m not dividing my affections.”

“True.” Crouching down, Tara put each box on the floor in turn. “This is for Dana, she likes plain milk chocolate – no surprises. This one’s a book for Buffybot – she’s been reading Harry Potter. Mixed chocolates for Kara – she does like the surprises. These are also mixed chocolates, for Richard –“

“Richard the watcher?” Just recently Richard had let Willow in on a big secret about Tara, and it wasn’t at all clear that Tara wanted people to know. “Are you sweet on him?”

Tara hesitated.

Oh my gosh! She is sweet on him!

“Well … Richard’s wedding anniversary is Valentine’s Day.” She stacked up the rest of the presents and stood.

“Oh.” Oh.

“Needless to say, he hasn’t celebrated it since his wife died, so I figured maybe it was time for him to … I don’t know … move on. Like you did, with Kennedy.”

Willow stared at her, eyes wide.

“Oh – no, Willow, I didn’t mean –“

“It’s okay, it’s –“

“It’s good that you moved on. How were you to know that I’d end up … coming back?” She put a hand on Willow’s arm, and the witch felt her former girlfriend’s body heat again, for the first time since that awful moment. She felt an overwhelming urge to let Tara know that she knew.

“You could go,” Willow heard herself say.

Tara tilted her head, looking confused.

“I mean, you’re a ghost, right? You could just go through the walls. I could watch your packages for you. I’d be all right, really – they’re working on it.”

The silence stretched on, as Tara opened and closed her mouth, then looked away. “I – I can’t leave.”

Not leave you. Just leave. Well, now was as good a time as ever. “Tara, I know about the Camelot Spell. I know you’re in a kind of living body again. And I know Kennedy did it.”

“How –?“

“Um, Richard figured it out, and told me.” Which was true as far as it went. She hadn’t thought this through, Willow realized. How to tell Tara that a night of black magic powered shenanigans had been turned into nothing more than a dream, and that Tara’s memories had been tampered with yet again?

They stared at each other for a long moment, former lovers together again. “I am kind of sweet on Richard,” Tara finally admitted.

It was a comment meant to convey much more than what it said, and it brought Willow a sense of relief that made her feel guilty. “But he’s almost twice your age … and, well, a guy.”

“I’m not going to tell him, Wil. After all, I’m not truly alive – this body’s like a package, just holding my spirit in a shape that happens to look like me. It wouldn’t be right for anything to … happen.”

Willow nodded, and tried not to show how terribly sad she felt for both of them.

“Meanwhile, you’ve got Kennedy, and she loves you so much that she tried to bring me back to life because she thought that would make you happy. That’s why I didn’t tell you about the Camelot spell – because doing that proves how much she deserves you, and I didn’t want to complicate that.”

“I guess that proves how wonderful you are.” Impulsively, Willow pulled Tara into a hug, and when she released the other woman they were both smiling. “I do love Kennedy.”

“Of course you do!”

“But I also love having you back in my life. So – no more uncomfortable passing in the hallways? Friends?”

“Only if you admit that’s really lingerie in that box.”

Willow giggled and blushed at the same time, and at that moment the elevator lurched to life.

#

In the brightly lit control room, Dana turned questioningly to her cohorts. “I don’t understand. What did stranding them in the elevator accomplish?”

“They won’t be so weird when they’re in the same room anymore,” explained Buffybot, who’d been studying psychology. “Plus, we learned all sorts of neat secrets.”

“That’s for sure.” Looking dazed, Kara fell into a chair. “My watcher has a crush on my dad. I’m going to go vomit now.”

“The important thing,” Buffybot told them, while Dana hastily stepped away from Kara, “is that they’ve gotten some closure, and they’ve defined their relationship. I’ll bet that would make Kennedy happy.”

Kara nodded. “If we’d dared to tell her we were trying this.”

The Buffybot was practically jumping up and down with excitement. “Do you think Kennedy will model the lingerie for us?”

Dana looked intrigued. Kara turned a little greener.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
redwolf
Feb. 12th, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC)
I love the wrap; Kara's mortification, Dana's bafflement over their motivations and Buffybot's lingerie line. It just suits the characters perfectly.
ozma914
Feb. 13th, 2007 06:24 am (UTC)
Thanks!
aurey09
Feb. 12th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
'“Your shirt …” Tara fell over, a bloody hole in her chest.' I like that you point this out, it shows that the awkwardness she feels at having Tara around isn't just because she her ex.
ozma914
Feb. 13th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
Thanks; that was exactly my intention, so I appreciate knowing I got it right.
(Deleted comment)
ozma914
Feb. 13th, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)
Now there's a compliment!
curiouswombat
Feb. 12th, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC)
Oh poor Kara - it must be like finding your teacher has a crush on your parent!
ozma914
Feb. 13th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
It was easy to write that reaction, since it's exactly how JillyH2009 reacts when I make a comment about any teacher at her school being good looking. Boy, do I love torturing her! :-)
francis_eugene
Feb. 13th, 2007 01:14 am (UTC)
Very nice. You get a real sense of that walking-on-eggs feeling from the both of them. (So despite the title, and a certain new-found understanding, I get the sense there's always going to be little something between them.) And who'd have thunk Buffybot was a gossip?!

ozma914
Feb. 13th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)
Agreed, Tara and Willow will always be more than just friends, no matter how much they try to keep things "normal". Still, I think after this they'll reach a certain comfort level with each other tht they didn't have before.

As for Buffybot, I think she shares with Anya and Cordelia a certain amount of naive disregard of when she should keep her mouth shut ... the biggest difference being, oddly, that the robot cares about people's feelings more than the other two did at their worst. But then, in my world Bottie's become something more than a robot ...
vilajunkie
Feb. 13th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC)
This isn't so much a comment, and it's not so much about this particular story either, but....Are all of your fanfics part of a continuing storyline? Is each episode going to influence future ones?
ozma914
Feb. 13th, 2007 06:21 am (UTC)
My universe
That's a very good question; I've commented on this in the past, but it's probably been awhile.

All but one of my fanfics are set in the same post-Chosen "universe", in which the Scoobies move to a secret backup Watcher's Council facility in Chicago. The stories aren't all directly interconnected, but they do share that universe, so if some major change happens to a character (such as Buffybot being resurrected), it remains that way in all the other stories.

The only story that's not in this universe is a little piece of silliness I wrote called "Xander's Walk", and even that was set in Chicago.

I don't have any real reason for this; it's just a thing I have. I started out to write only one story (Where Do We Go From Here), and I got so caught up in that world that I stayed there, in my comfort zone. However, I do try to make the stories able to stand alone, even if I have to write a short note at the beginning explaining why, for instance, Tara is around again. I really am trying hard not to confuse readers, honest! :-)


As long as I'm at it, let's see: "Where Do We Go From Here" was first. Then came "A Season for Faith" and "Dawn's First Time", both stand alone stories. Next was "Faith's Lesson" and its kind of sequel, "Xander's Morning", which also stand alone pretty well. After that came two stand alones, "Weeping Willow" and "Xander's Walk".

My next story was "Robin Lays an Egg", in which things got rolling on the continuation front, because I brought back Buffybot and healed Dana in that story. After that the stand alones "Giles Hairy Fit" and "Who Watches the Watcher", and then "Xander's Job", which dealt with Cordelia's death and a bunch of other untied strings.

Then I started "Four Friends", an interconnected series of stories about Tara, Dana, Buffybot and the OC slayer, Kara. A lot of the changes in my universe happened there.

Next was the standalone story holiday "Slaygiving", followed by my fun farce, "A Somewhat Less Than Forever Love", and finally "Mary Stu Got Harried".

That was way too much information, wasn't it? I'll have to find the time to do this list as a post, complete with attachments.
vilajunkie
Feb. 13th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
Re: My universe
Though this was a long reply (perhaps one of your longest!), there's no need to apologize. It was really informative for someone like me who has only just started reading your fanfics. A list with the title, one-sentence summary, and date of "publication" of all your Buffyverse fics would be a great idea for a post. I don't know how you would make it readily accessible at any time or available to read outside the normal post chronology. Putting the list on your user page would be a bit much.
ozma914
Feb. 15th, 2007 05:58 am (UTC)
A list
I agree, and I've been thinking about it; only procrastination has stopped me, along with not being totally clear on the best way to link to all the stories. It's definitely on my to-do list, though.
myfeetshowit
Feb. 14th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC)
Valentines and just a touch of auld lang syne.

It was the perfect story for Valentines because it explored love in its many phases.
ozma914
Feb. 15th, 2007 05:56 am (UTC)
I like that!
You know, "love in its many phases" might be just the theme my subconscious was looking for, here ...
cbtreks
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:23 pm (UTC)
“That’s for sure.” Looking dazed, Kara fell into a chair. “My watcher has a crush on my dad. I’m going to go vomit now.”

That's funny - and so's imagining what Kara would think if she knew the crush wasn't one way!

This was sweet, and well-written - as usual.
ozma914
Mar. 9th, 2007 07:05 am (UTC)
I already have the title for the story in which Kara finds out that the crush goes both ways: "Mary Stu and the Love Story of Doom". It shall be a comedy. :-)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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