A Christmas Eve story set after 'The Girl in Question' and centered on Willow. It fits well as a prequel to Ten Years After, as this is the Willow from that story, just a few years earlier! 3,250 words, rated 15 for sexual content. Willow/Tara.

News From Heaven

It was Christmas Eve.

Willow lay in her bed alone and lonely.

Christmas – Willow didn’t really know if she did Christmas, or did she do Hanukkah, or was she celebrating Winter Solstice as a good Wiccan should? She didn’t really know why she was celebrating at all.

They had made Christmas cookies, Willow and Dawn – four different flavours, an American Christmas thing here in an English Christmas. But making cookies made her think of Tara. As if she didn’t think of Tara every day, anyway.

Tara would have loved to be here – part of a real Wicca Group – not like U.C. Sunnydale! Part of a strong and caring coven. ‘Well not exactly here,’ thought Willow, always one to be exact, even in her own head. Here was Giles’ house, where he had invited her to spend the holiday weekend as company for Dawn.

Dawn had decided for herself that life with Buffy and The Immortal was doing her no good, and had decided to continue her education in England. Buffy had hardly seemed to notice Giles arriving and collecting Dawn and her things, apart from a snide remark that he might be a better father-figure to a nerd than he had been to a slayer, and four months on she had sent a message saying she was staying in Italy, Dawn could do what she liked for Christmas. Dawn had said that there was no way she was going there whilst ‘he’ was there, and she was staying with Giles.

Willow didn’t want to think badly of Buffy, ‘she deserves any pleasure and relaxation she can get’ had become a sort of mantra whenever she heard about Buffy’s current lifestyle, but she couldn’t help thinking that Buffy was letting Dawn down, and their mother. She, Willow, would try to do her best to ‘mother’ Dawn – but Tara had been so much better at that too.

In fact a couple of the trainee Watchers were also house guests, and it had been a much happier evening than Willow had expected, but now, in her bed, she was alone. Since Kennedy had left, the being alone in bed was the only reason she missed her. It wasn’t even the sex. Willow let herself think about the sex because it took her mind off the loneliness.

She let her mind wander back to Oz. They had had fun together and, when things had gone further than just smoochies, Oz had been kind and sort of gentle sometimes, and a bit less gentle other times. She’d liked the feeling then, the joining together thing, the male and female thing – it had seemed sort of natural, like connecting two bits of a computer, and when he went she missed him. She’d missed him so much, that that way had led to not good things, she’d thought her heart was broken then – and she’d missed the feeling of someone there when she drifted to sleep.

‘Tara – no, not going to go there right now’, thought Willow. ‘Kennedy. Three lovers. Not exactly putting it around, Willow, are you?’ Kennedy. She hadn’t exactly been a re-bound thing from Tara – trying to ‘Bring About The End Of The World’ – now that was a rebound thing, sort of. No, now that Willow looked back, Kennedy had been gay, looking for someone else gay – probably in an ‘it’s-maybe-nearly-the-apocalypse-and-I’m-not-getting-laid’ sort of way, and Willow being part of the Scoobies had probably made her more desirable to Kennedy. ‘Maybe I just didn’t want to get to the Apocalypse sex-free either,’ thought Willow, ‘or maybe I needed the sex to help me channel the power? Or maybe that’s just an excuse.’

Sex with Kennedy had always been different to sex with Tara. Less equal. Less gentle. There had definitely been orgasms. At the very thought of the word, Anya came into Willow’s mind. Never her favourite person, but she still missed her, more than she would have thought, missed Anya ‘opening her mouth and putting her foot in it’ - which suddenly brought to mind a picture of Anya and Xander in an ‘interesting’ sexual pose, which shouldn’t have made Willow laugh, but did.

‘Back to Kennedy,’ thought Willow. Actually Kennedy had given Willow more orgasms to the hour than Tara – but with Tara the pleasure of the journey had always been more important than reaching the end of the line. Sometimes they had drifted off to sleep still en route, but it hadn’t been cause for disappointment. Kennedy seemed to feel that Willow coming was the equivalent of Kennedy scoring a goal, sometimes she had pushed too hard. Literally, after the day when everything changed.

Kennedy had always been the more dominant one in bed, but once she became a full Slayer she had sometimes been too dominant for Willow. Tara had never really been into strap-on things, more just knowing fingers and seeking mouth, but Kennedy used her strength, and her stamina, and in the end Willow had begun to feel violated, not a partner, not a ‘goddess’ but a pawn – ‘or maybe a porn,’ thought Willow.

But Willow hadn’t ended it, she hadn’t wanted to be alone, and she didn’t think anyone else would want her. Kennedy had ended it, when she had found a new Slayer with similar tastes to her own, maybe she had needed someone who could keep up with her, maybe she needed someone who could be as rough with her as she could be with Willow, maybe it was a Slayer thing, Willow had thought.

Still awake, Willow let her thoughts drift to Tara, who had not really been out of them all night. Tara, always gentle, but never meek. Tara - Willow’s friends had thought of her as Willow’s shadow, but Willow knew Tara had been her solid foundation. Tara, who Willow had tried so hard to tie to herself that she had driven her away, and away again. Tara, who Willow had only just begun to win back when she had lost her forever. Willow would not have done anything to ever upset Tara again, would not have driven her away again, she really, really, wouldn’t. At least Willow told herself that she wouldn’t.

Willow realised that tonight she was able to think of Tara without the shuddering horror or the guilt she normally felt. The horror of Tara’s death, and the guilt associated with not being able to stop it, not being the one to die, and everything that had come afterwards. Tonight Willow felt that she was not afraid of the magic, not afraid of herself, and she let herself lie and think about Tara.

Tara, Willow remembered how it had felt, sharing a bed with Tara. She remembered Tara’s fingers as they had smoothed across her skin, like a cat being stroked. Willow found her own fingers following the same paths between her breasts, across her stomach, around her navel. Then, just as she was about to bring the other hand up to cup her breast, remembering the way that Tara had sucked the nipple into her mouth caressing it with her tongue, Willow felt someone else in the room.

Her eyes flew open, her hands shot up over the top of her quilt, as if she had been caught touching herself by her mother, but in the dim light of the moon through the blinds she could see only the empty room. She held her breath, listening. There was a slight rustle – a mouse? No, Giles would certainly not have mice! Willow resisted the urge to cast a spell, but started to reach for the bedside light. Then the air moved, as if someone had gently exhaled.

“No honey, leave it,” said a voice – Tara’s voice! Willow’s brain felt as if it was splitting in two – half was crying out ‘It’s Tara, my Tara, everything before was a nightmare!’ whilst the other half was screaming ‘Evil, Evil, The First, a Demon, don’t listen, don’t listen!’ “Ssh,” said the voice, and there was movement in the room again, as if someone (or something said one half of Willow’s brain) had walked closer to the bed. “Willow honey, it really is me,” said Tara’s voice, “b-but you can’t really see me; I haven’t got enough power, and I thought, after The First, touch would be better.”

Willow was aware of a slight shimmer in the room, and then she felt fingers just touching her hand. She flinched, but it felt like Tara’s touch. “Tara?” Willow said, in a mere whisper. “What, I mean how … I …” she faded to a halt.

The ‘fingers’ stroked her hand, and the voice said “I guess I’m kinda your Solstice present, honey.”

“You mean you’re going to show me Solstices past, and this one, and future ones and all in one night, so that it’ll still be Christmas in the morning?” Willow said, thinking ‘Oh my God! I’m talking to a figment of my imagination, or a ghost or whatever, why am I holding a conversation with a ghost?’

“Well, it wasn’t quite what I had in mind!” the Tara voice continued, with a hint of laughter.

‘If this isn’t Tara it is a very good imitation.’ Willow thought.

“Although it might be a good way of convincing you that it really is me,” the Tara voice continued. “Do you remember mid-winter 2000? You gave me a gift, when we were alone together – a pendant of the Goddess, holding an opal, an opal for love and joy, an opal for balance. I wore it against my skin, where no-one could see it, and no-one knew it was my gift from you.”

Willow let out a small gasp – her other friends had never asked her what she had given Tara – they never seemed sure what or exactly when the two Wiccans celebrated either, and as no-one had asked, so Tara had told no-one.

The fingers now grasped her hand more firmly, and lifted it off the bed, suddenly she could feel skin, warm skin, flat against her fingers, and then a chain, she followed the chain until she felt … a pendant, a pendant of the Goddess holding a stone, Tara’s pendant.

“Close your eyes, Willow my love, then it’ll be easier to believe what you feel and hear,” said Tara, for surely this was Tara.

Willow obeyed, and now she could feel Tara sit on the bed beside her.

“Solstice Present,” Tara’s voice continued, gently, “you have celebrated the turn of the season already with your coven, you ate together, sang, rejoiced in the goodness of the Goddess. And your Coven Mother gave you two stones, just as you gave an opal to me; she gave you coral to dispel your nightmares and black tourmaline to protect you from any bad vibes. She loves you enough to know your needs.

“Solstice Future – you will have many, and you will know joy. It may not feel as if you will ever be rid of your burden of the fear of your power, but you will, honey, you will.”

Now Willow could feel Tara’s hand smoothing her hair. “But Tara, how are you here? How can you be? What did you mean that you don’t have enough power for me to see you? ” Willow found questions tumbling out.

“I told you, honey, I’m a Solstice present. The Powers That Be have let me come to you this one time, because they are pleased with both of us. You are doing so well with controlling your power, with learning to use it wisely and well. Your power is a gift from the Goddess, hon, and to be afraid of it and deny it would be wrong. But you are beginning to get the balance right, and you are learning to let others draw on your power without seeing it as a weakness in them. At last you are starting to realize how you can use your power to benefit the world – and it’s only right that someone tells you how well you are doing.

“Others don’t always realize how hard it is to handle that power without being drawn to use it for yourself. They don’t always give you credit for what you are learning to do, but I know, and The Powers know, and the Goddess herself will know.”

Willow could sense Tara leaning lower over her, until she felt a soft kiss on her forehead, and the weight of the pendant, her gift to Tara, touched her own neck like another kiss.

Before she could think of anything to say, Tara continued “This one night is a gift to me as well, hon, because they have a job for me. Where I usually am is wonderful, my Mom is there, and my Grandmamma, and all around me is love. But I am learning to be a Spirit Guide so that sometimes I will be able to talk to people here in the living world, and this visit is my reward for learning enough to get here.”

“But Tara,” Willow said, “when I brought Buffy back from Heaven it was awful for her, I know now, so how can you bear to be here? How can it be a present for you to leave Heaven?”

“Honey – I’m on a day-trip not a permanent exile! And don’t keep beating on yourself over Buffy any more. If it had really been her time to die, up on that tower, not even your power could have hauled her back. What was wrong was the way you didn’t think about how Buffy would feel, or anyone but yourself. Now you’re learning how to consider others, and that’s good.”

Willow reached up, eyes still closed, and her hand found Tara’s hair, then the warm bare skin of Tara’s neck, and shoulder, and she could feel Tara move into the gentle caress, not pull away as she had once done. Willow licked her lips, for once lost for words, then Tara’s face came closer and as Willow kept her eyes tightly shut she felt lips on hers and she couldn’t have spoken even if the words had come.

Tara’s bodyweight moved on the bed, and now Willow could feel a hand on either side of her shoulders as the kiss deepened. She tangled one hand in Tara’s hair, to keep her face right where it was, sure now that ‘touch’ was allowed in this amazing encounter, and her other hand felt across Tara’s back. Tara seemed to be wearing nothing but a silky strappy top, no, a silky strappy shift, and Willow was suddenly conscious of her very non-sexy pajamas.

Almost as if she had read Willow’s thoughts, Tara’s mouth moved away from the kiss, and Willow heard her voice, low, sultry and with amusement in it. “I had thought of no clothes as I don’t feel the cold, and no-one can see me, but my upbringing just wouldn’t let me!”

Willow could now feel gentle fingers unfastening her top, and following that same familiar path that her own had followed such a short time before, as Tara’s voice continued “Willow, hon, this is our last night, and I want it to be good for you. It is my gift, my choice; I only had to bring you the message! I won’t be able to come to you like this again, and I want you to move on. Find enjoyment, find this,” as a hand gently eased Willow’s pajama pants away from her body, “with other people.

“You are beautiful, you are sexy; don’t let anyone push you into a relationship because they make you feel that you may not find anyone else. And if you want a man, or men, sometimes rather than a woman that’s fine – it won’t be betraying me – I want you to remember that this”, fingers slid gently in between Willow’s soft folds making her gasp, “is a gift from the Goddess too. You need it sometimes just to ground the power, like a lightning rod I guess!”

Willow wanted to abandon herself to sensation, but forced herself to focus for a minute. “But if you are going to be a Spirit Guide, and get to come back sometimes, why can’t you be my guide, and come to me like this when I need … aah … when I need this? You are my love, I don’t want to do it with someone else, I want you.”

“No, hon. You need to move on. I was able to come to you tonight because The Powers want you to know that you can move on, because I left you so quickly. They have another plan for me, and whatever their plan it will be to benefit the side of ‘the White Hats’, so I’m not afraid, but I am not destined to guide you honey, you will find your own way with help and guidance from the living. Now just relax, go with the feeling – and if you sometimes think of me when you feel like this,” the fingers were making Willow feel hotter, and hotter, “then that’s fine!” Willow felt herself begin to boil over, and could say no more.

- - - - -

Willow woke alone.

Faint grey daylight was easing its way between the blinds.

She lay quietly for a minute, wondering what had woken her, and why she felt happy. Church bells – that was what had woken her and, for some reason she couldn’t immediately place, they made her think of the scene in ‘A Christmas Carol’ where Scrooge rejoices because he hasn’t missed Christmas, and then right on top of that thought she remembered Tara’s presence the night before.

She knew Tara was no longer there, but that knowledge did not bring back the loneliness, she still felt warm and loved. Perhaps it had all been a dream, she thought, but if so it had been a happy dream; a dream that had lifted her spirits and made her feel calmer than she had felt in longer than she could calculate.

Willow realized that she was no longer wearing her pajamas, her sensible cuddly pajamas, but was naked under the quilt. She looked across the room and there on a chair were the pajamas, neatly folded. She smiled. Surely it must have been real, that visit from Tara, because she was sure that she had not put them there herself.

She stretched her hand out towards the bedside light and, as it came on, something on top of the folded pajamas glinted. Willow stilled, and stared. Then she threw back the quilt and sped across the room. There, on a golden chain, was a figure of the Goddess holding an opal. Under it was a note, written on a page of Willow’s own journal – “Remember love, have joy, and maintain your balance,” it said, in Tara’s familiar handwriting.

Almost reverently Willow fastened the chain around her neck, then clutching the note she curled back into the warmth of her bed, smiling. Tara had been here, Tara was happy. Tara had told her that she was doing well, and told her to be happy.

Suddenly it looked as if, Wiccan, Jewish or whatever, it was going to be a very good Christmas; and with the remembered sound of Tara’s voice in her ear Willow decided that perhaps one of those young Watchers was really pretty hot.


  • The End

  • The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.