Music From A Farther Room
by Kyra Cullinan

"I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room."
-- T.S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"


There are parts of highschool she misses much more than others. What she remember the most, apart from all the demons and slaying and spells, is Oz's guitars. Long, bright afternoons in his bedroom, or Devon's, sitting cross-legged on the floor doing her homework while music filled the air around her like light.

Oz loved guitars as much as she loved computers and books, and that alone could have made her fall for him. This glow he got.

And oh, how little she knew about music, and how much that didn't matter. It was enough to watch him, see the kind of passion that made everyone laugh when it sent her into full-on babble mode, but in this quiet, intense Oz flavor.

She remembers asking him to teach her; curled up beside him and concentrated while he explained frets and chords. Just to understand, to take this Oz-thing inside herself where she could know and remember.

Moments when she'd look up from her books and find him fingering soft, intricate scales and watching her with this look that made her warm all over in a rush. When she'd crawl across the floor to kiss him, and instead of stopping, the music would swell and explode into showerbursts of joy that said so much more than he ever did with words.

And later, his dorm room, full of amps and instruments, an acoustic guitar always within arm's reach of the bed. The purely beautiful thing that was him naked and intent, picking out a song by ear. Stepping across wires and open guitar cases in the Dingoes-appropriated common room. Tapes of Cream and Jim Morrison in his van. The first time he wrote a song for her, and every time after. The way he'd find her eyes from the stage and his fingers curled around the guitar's neck and the song would be saying love, love, love.



Tara had the sweetest voice she'd ever heard. Warm and soft and clear and all the more special for how few people heard it.

Tara hummed under her breath when she was happy, when they were alone together. Sang snatches of songs along with the radio, harmonizing absentmindedly. She introduced Willow to Ella Fitzgerald and Joni Mitchell, rich, liquid voices, words like poetry. Curled around her and murmured lullabies into the darkness when Willow couldn't sleep.

She still wakes up shaking from dreams about that day in the park, the last day everything was right between them, and the world was full of shimmering, perfect music, Tara's voice and eyes and lips.



She is tired of love. Its inevitable heartbreak. Tired of the ache in her gut and the people she needs most leaving, always leaving. Too hard to even ponder allowing herself that vulnerability, for a long, long time. She cannot bring herself to believe in happy endings anymore.

Kennedy is not soft, not quiet, has no secret adoring smiles for Willow, does not try to tell her how much she loves her. Her finger are deft and sure on Willow's body; they have very good sex and don't even pretend to call it making love. She arches against Willow when she comes, eyes squeezed shut, unseeing. Kennedy keeps away the ache of loneliness, the demons of Willow's past. She does not have light hair. They do not stay up all night talking.

Half a dozen of the Potentials have kidnapped the tv and are rabidly watching American Idol, discussing seriously the nuances of every performance. One of them asks Kennedy what she thinks, and she laughs.

"Don't look at me," she says. "I'm the queen of tone deafness," and Willow twines their fingers and squeezes.


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