Happy Phantom
by Beth C.

My mom met me at the entrance.

She was wearing the lemon yellow dress that made her hair shine and soft cardigan she found at the rummage sale.

She looked so alive and radiant, like she was shining. It was how my mom always looked in my dreams; healthy with open arms to hold me.

I was crying before I reached her, "I've missed you so much mommy." She stroked my hair in that way moms do, and she let my tears soak through her sweater.

She spoke softly in my ear as I cried, "Baby, you were chosen for a different fate then many.You have been chosen to leave Heaven and serve as a Guardian."

It wasn't fair. I had waited so long to be with my mother and then they took her away so quickly. I wanted to tell her everything, and I was being sent away. I just pulled myself closer to her, tucking myself in her arms like when I was little.

"You lived a good life, and loved Willow so much," she continued, "so just like I was your guardian, you will be Willow's. Then you can be with Willow for the rest of her days watching out for her."

I could feel my voice growing shaky and a little hysterical, "Will I be alone for all of that time? I want to stay with you. I don't want to be alone anymore. I can't just watch Willow and not be with her. Please stay with me!"

"My time as a guardian is over," she smiled, "so I get to go onto Heaven where I will wait for you. But you won't be alone. Willow is very special to the future, so she needs our help the most. You will have a partner."

My mom kissed me softly, and as she walked away as I could see a figure approaching quickly in the distance. The pretty dark haired stranger embraced me tightly, "I was so happy when Willow met you. You were perfect for her."

It clicked in my head. This was Ms. Calendar. She was the one in the picture on Giles' desk and the one who Angel killed. She was also the first woman Willow ever had a crush on. The former teacher became my constant companion.

I had only been dead a few short hours when Willow decided to take the world because of me. We chanted together to try to weaken her , to hopefully keep her safe. Then as Xander held Willow crying, Jenny held me as I cried for her.

We followed her to Britain and we both took turns watching her each night at Giles'. I tried to help her sleep, clearing her minds of the dreams. I tried to give her peace, taking form for a few moments to rub her back in that slow pattern Willow loved. But mostly I tried to make sure she never found out where Giles kept the pain killers and sharp objects.

She was learning so much, and I was so proud. But she was just so far away, and I wanted her to touch me. I wanted her to be with me or at least talk about me.

I had been in that urn by her bed for only a month and she never talked about me. She still doesn't talk about me. Jenny always tries to explain the stages of mourning to me and all about what Giles went through. But it doesn't matter to me. I gave myself to her everyday of my life with her, I want to be acknowleged.

But I shouldn't be so demanding. There are little signs of remembrance. In Britain I started seeing signs that she knew I was there. Sometimes she would smile into the mirror or talk to herself in a way that convinced me she knew I was watching.

Giles even asked her once what she thought happened to me.

"She's always with me," Willow explained smiling brightly, "I can feel her at night, and I can sense her sometimes."

Giles nodded slowly, "I know exactly what you mean."

Sometimes Jenny disappears for a few hours, or even days at a time.

"He needs someone with him," she always says, trying to defend her actions, "I need to be with him."

I always just wipe away the tears from her cheek and whisper understanding words until her crying subsided. "It's okay Jenny, I understand," I always say holding the older woman tightly.

On our last night in England, Willow walked into Giles' room and locked the door tightly behind her. We sat together in the living room; not talking, not moving, trying to be as dead as our corpses in the ground.

But damn it, you can't block out the sound of your lover moaning from another's touch. I looked to Jenny for the first time, hoping she'd touch me. I just wanted to be loved again. But she just sat there with eyes clenched, trying so hard not to listen.

Willow left the next morning, and we followed without a second glance.

We followed Willow back to Sunnydale; sitting in the aisle of the plane, playing cards and watching to make sure the Pilot stayed awake. As the plane went dark for the movie, I felt Jenny's hand moving up my leg. I just looked at Willow and shifted away.

Jenny looked at me with lonely eyes and removed her hand. "I've just been alone so long," she said softly looking back towards the movie screen.

I told Willow I would love her forever. Wanting Jenny to touch me, and Jenny actually touching me were two very different things. I made a vow to Willow, death shouldn't change that.

The plane landed and Willow fell immediately back in trouble.

Was it wrong in those moments Willow was so close to death to hope no one came to her rescue?

I was supposed to be using all of my strenth to save her, and instead I was praying she would die and be with me.

Jenny held me that night as I cried, "I was just so close."

We fell into a comfortable little life after Gnarl was defeated. We would sit on the floor in front of Willow whenever she road the bus, holding each others' hands for comfort, and gossiping constantly about the Scooby gang.

Jenny would tell stories constantly. About her summers spent with the Gypsies, about nights spent with Giles, and about her first months on the job.

I would just tell stories about Willow.

Sometimes we would see other Guardians, and while Jenny talked to them about the duty, I would just lay her head in Jenny's lap, close my eyes, and listen.

I would always ask one question, "Have you made contact yet?"

They would always just sigh and fade a little bit.

It's hard being so close, yet so far away.

Jenny and I depend on each other for happiness. She hugs me and tells me dirty jokes when I start to look sad. I sing songs by the Police and kiss her on the forehead to make her smile.

Willow's life slowly started to get better. She started to smile more, and she went back to school. We both gazed at the course book, picking out the courses we would go to while Willow went to class. Willow started helping Anya rebuild the Magic Box, and she started a Pagan group in town.

But then Xander kissed Buffy and things started changing.

Xander started to move into the house, while Willow moved out and started seeing Anya more.

"It's sad to see the Scoobies breaking up," I said one day, watching Willow ignore a phone call from Xander

"Perhaps it's for the best," Jenny sighed, "but you know they won't be apart forever. All of them are just finding their way. Besides Xander couldn't bear to watch Willow fall in love with his ex-fiance. It would be too hard."

At first I tried to deny them coming together.

Then I tried to be happy for Willow.

I cheered at every sign they were more then just friends. I gossiped with Jenny about them. I was happy when they first held hands. I was proud when Willow asked her out.

But then the date came, and I wanted to turn away.

I want to know when I changed. As if when I died, I lost the things that made her love me. I want my caring back, and I want to lose my jealousy. I want to be the old Tara. I want to be happy for her, but instead I just wish there was a way to kill myself again.

I could feel my cheeks burning with anger as Anya moved in to kiss her at the end of the night. Willow's words rang in my head, "I never want to kiss another person besides you ever again."

She looked so a peace when Anya's lips touched hers. I just wish I had opened my eyes more when I kissed her so I could've seen that look. I hope then when I kissed her she had that same look.

They were just kissing one moment, and then they were moving inside the bedroom.

I am so sick of watching, I am sick of being dead, and I am sick of fighting. I want a peanut butter cookies, my old green sweater, and I want hugs from people with heartbeats.

I want a choice in what I see and do.

That night, I didn't want to watch her fuck Anya and I didn't want to be alone anymore.

Things grew sort of choppy as we entered the bedroom behind them. It was just flashes of scenes and sensations just like before I died.

The sound of the bullet hitting my chest.

My Willow's hand on Anya's thigh.

Jenny sucking on that spot on my neck that only Willow knew about.

The flash of light I saw as I fell into Willow's farms.

Anya's fingers gripping Willow's hair as I once did.

Jenny kissing up my leg.

Willow's scream.

Anya's moan.

Jenny's soft whisper, "Let me in Tara."

I just kept singing in my head as opened my legs and Jenny moved up.

It wasn't the same song I sang when my father came to me at night. It wasn't a song to block out the feelings.

It was a soft and warm song, one to try to trick myself into thinking it was Willow's tongue swirling inside of me and not Jenny's.

"I'm under your spell."

I felt tears on my cheeks and Jenny beetween my legs.

I always thought the forever Willow promised me was different.

I thought forever was Ms. Kitty Fantasico, a little bungalow near the beach, and adopted children.

Instead it was a fellow ghost's hands on me and my girlfriend fucking someone else.

As Anya came, I came, and I wished that this gift of Guardianship could be given back.

I want blackness. I want to be blind.

I can't be the old Tara.

I can't be anything.

I want my Willow back.


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