what couldn't
by daneorange

Mornings after were usually scented slight vanilla, felt sort of like marshmallows, and colored a violent red.

This was different, though.

She turns her head slightly, sees the digital clock, glaring red, blinking - or perhaps not, was that a half-empty bottle of vodka at the bedside table? - 8:27. oh.my.god, she groans inwardly, feeling her forehead, throbbing violently now. "Ow," she growls softly.

Movement in the bed, and it's not her - the sheets moved, and with her eyes closed, the rustling of cloth against skin against cloth grows louder, pouding in her ears.

This is wrong. Way wrong.

She turns her head the other way, careful not to make a sound. But it's all an explosion of red strands and green orbs and pale white skin anyway - it was supposed to be familiar, she knew, but it wasn't.

"How did we get here?" the redhead beside her finally asks in a whisper, so soft she could swear she saw the tears coming.


Weird, because it has never been this way with them, not ever. The two of them, they always took their time. The mornings after - before this - have always been slow, like prayer.

This is just an example of a sharp, glaring contrast.

"I have a class at ten," all she could mutter to Willow, barely even counted as a statement, while buttoning her blouse, fingers quick - she knows this, all right, this used to be the pace she undid everything before, and perhaps, last night too.

Tara bit her lip at the memory - last night. Mistake.

"Me too."

Willow's eyes were fixed on the walls - curtains and trinkets and candles all over the place, it was nice. No - Tara had an extremely interesting room, and it broke her heart just thinking perhaps she'd never get in here again, not after...

"I'm sorry," Willow apologizes finally, unable to keep it in.

For the first time that morning after, Tara turns her head to meet Willow's eyes, shrugging a little as she forces a grin, however weak.


Tara thought maybe it was time to at least try to be friends who were a degree more than just cold-civil, so she agreed. And besides, it felt like she couldn't deny Willow some more. It was just a visit - it was the least she could do, saying yes.

The redhead turned up at her doorstep with candles and vodka and that smile on her face that made Tara miss her more. "Couldn't... hope you don't mind... I thought you could use the candles, I mean, I'm still clean, just so you..."

"Willow, come in," she interrupts, pulling her in by the hand, then gently closing the door.


(And the set-up was about being friends.)

Then comes a shot of vodka. Tara never really wanted to get drunk, but this was Willow, and she missed her, and it was the least she could do, so she said yes to vodka.

Three shots of vodka after: "We're friends, right?" Tara slurred. It was unusual to hear her without her stutter but with a semi-tipsy slur.

"Friends," Willow nodded, pouring another round into both their glasses.

Clinking of glasses. "Here's to being friends," Tara said.

To which Willow agreed: "Just friends."

They couldn't tell who grabbed who first - they just found themselves gripping each other tightly by the shoulders, pulling necks and hair in toward the center - themselves - teeth nipping lips, tongues dancing. It was an outburst, to say the least of understatements.

"Just friends," Tara breathed, coming up for air. She leaned her forehead onto Willow's for a brief moment, then she leaned in to kiss her again.


(empty spaces)

Tara moved out to have some space to think things through; it was something she took special care of - discipline was blood and tears and sweat on cold nights alone, mixed together like chopsuey.

This wasn't space now, though.

"Three inches of.. space," she found herself whispering to Willow, clinging to her tighter, running her nails through her back - Tara has memorized this place, she has been here a lot of times before - that breathing, that look, that way Willow sounds when she calls out her name, everything seemed to point to one thing, and one thing alone. "This is not going to work," she adds. "We shouldn't be doing this."

"Tell me to stop, then," Willow just says. Not a challenge, really - her voice was soft, Tara knew this wasn't any easier on her. "Should I?" Willow asks.

Tara thought, this wasn't good; this was out of character, out of context, out of place; they weren't together, they shouldn't be doing this, not at all, but... but they were. They so were. This was wrong, and the way Willow licked up her neck was wrong, the way she was tracing maps on Willow's back was wrong, the way Willow kissed her, the way she kissed her back - all wrong.

But still - Tara couldn't feel herself pushing Willow away.


Willow zips up her skirt at the side - Tara watches intently and she remembers how she loved this skirt - but then again, she loved everything about Willow anyway.

"I should..." Willow begins, and Tara snaps out, as if in a trance. "I'm really sorry."

Tara shrugs again, still not saying anything as she walks Willow to the door. The trinkets make this soft tinkling sound against each other as Tara runs a hand lightly through them on her way to turning the knob.

"I guess I'm not coming back, huh?" Willow laughs a little even, though very nervously. "My bad."

Tara pauses. "It wasn't bad, Will," she just says, opening the door finally. "It was nice." Willow turned her head just in time to catch Tara's weak grin. "It really was," the blonde nodded harder in affirmation - like she wanted to affirm it to herself as well.

Willow stepped out slowly, tucking stray strands behind her ear. "It shouldn't have, you know?" she just said quietly. "We shouldn't have."

Tara held onto the door's edge as she watched Willow walk on. Willow wasn't coming back.

And it wasn't a question of want. Not at all.


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