Title: Beer Very Bad
Author: Golden Waffles
Rating: T. For minor language and mentions of sex.
Description: It's kind of an alternate ending to "Something Blue." That night Willow gets drunk at the Bronze, something a little different happens, involving a certain blonde girl.
Disclaimer: Of course I don't own the characters or settings of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Just the situations I put them in here.
A/N: I don't know about this one. It's surprisingly harder to write chapter when you're trying to follow along with canon. It takes longer and I have to keep checking the actual episode and deciding what I'm going to change about it and keep in it. It probably seems a bit sudden at the end, but I'm picturing their connection being an awfully big deal, so that's how it's going to be.
A/N2: I might do a bonus chapter on Wednesday, because I want to post their next conversation, but it would make this one too long. It will depend on length. If it's short, I'll put it up for Wednesday. If it's longer, it'll be up next weekend.
They sat in an oversized armchair facing a large plate-glass window. A storm raged outside, harsh lightning shattering the night sky. Willow wasn't scared, though. The chair was comfortable, and the blanket covering her was soft. And a pretty girl sat behind her, wrapping her securely in her arms.
"Bad storm, huh?" Willow commented, eyes glued to the window. The rain pounded the glass, the wind howled furiously, and the cracks and rumbles of thunder rattled the windowpane.
"Only if you keep staring at it like that." The blonde cupped her cheek and gently turned the redhead to face her. Calm blue eyes grounded her. "See? No storm in here."
"Guess not." She snuggled closer, sighing comfortably as her companion's warmth permeated her to the bone. "It's nice in here."
"Do you think the storm's gonna stop?"
"It always does," Tara said wisely. She planted a light kiss in Willow's hair. Willow smiled and nestled her head under her girl's chin. The skin was so soft there, and she could hear the pulse thud reassuringly against her ear.
"I hope it stops soon. Someone could get hurt."
"I wouldn't worry too much. It'll all work out in the end."
"And then there'll be a big rainbow?"
Willow blinked her eyes open drowsily, reluctant to leave the safe, happy place behind her eyelids. That was different. Lately, she had woken up every morning incredibly aroused after a particularly steamy dream. This morning, she was relaxed and comfy and just wanted to stay in bed for the next ten years, cocooned in the covers. Unfortunately, she had class today. She yawned and stretched, looking over at Buffy's bed, which was actually occupied for once. Her best friend had waited up for her after her talk with Tara for a full report of what happened. She seemed to feel bad about being AWOL so much– she had put lots of extra effort into being supportive. Willow couldn't tell if she was still freaking out or not, but she did appreciate their somewhat rekindled friendship.
Buffy sat up, yawning, and waved halfheartedly. Willow nodded back, smiling warmly. Buffy left first, heading for the bathroom while Willow got dressed. The redhead rifled through her closet, marveling at how peaceful the room was this morning. Usually, there would be people making a ruckus in the halls by now. The quiet was nice.
Moments later, Buffy came back into the room with her worried-Slayer look on. She looked at Willow and opened her mouth several times in quick succession. Willow raised an eyebrow. Buffy was… doing a fish impression? No… she looks confused. Buffy moved her mouth again, trying to form words silently.
"What's wrong with your voice?" she tried to ask. Nothing came out but air. A deeply unsettling feeling took over her stomach. "What's wrong with my voice?" she tried again. It just sounded like she was exhaling. Buffy was still trying to produce a sound, even trying to yell, but it wasn't working. She and Buffy looked at each other in fear and confusion. They nearly jumped out of their skin when the phone rang. Willow picked it up and started to say 'hello' before she realized it didn't work. In turn, she just stared at the phone, mystified. It was silent on the other end, too. Nobody could talk. She placed the phone back on the cradle, shrugging helplessly at Buffy.
"Giles?" she mouthed, guessing at the silent caller. The Slayer nodded grimly. It was Scooby time. This was going to be a weird day.
Hours later, they all still sat at Giles's house, poring over ancient demonic texts, searching for some kind of mysterious Silence Demon. Xander had given up with his and was just helplessly watching the news mention in passing the "laryngitis epidemic" that supposedly gripped their little town.
Willow was having trouble focusing on her tome. The dusty, spicy scent of it reminded her of the piles of texts in Tara's room, which just made her think about Tara. And thoughts about Tara were extremely distracting, especially when she remembered the warm, pleasant sensations of her most recent dream.
Willow wondered what Tara was doing about the silence. How had she reacted in the morning? She's so quiet, I wonder how long it took her to even notice… Was she just hiding in her room, scared, waiting for it to stop? Was she wandering the streets, lost and confused, looking for help? Was she trying to soldier on like everything was normal, studying in the library or strolling through the park?
Or… Willow entertained a new thought. "Maybe she's doing exactly what we're doing. She does have a lot of books like this… She almost chuckled, thinking about Tara sitting in her room, flipping through a book just like hers.
She almost had a heart attack when Giles rapped on her table for her attention, derailing her train of thought. It was getting late. Anya was already asleep on her text, and Buffy was pacing restlessly. They would have to go home or keep researching through the night. And whatever was causing the silence was probably about to strike.
The next day, they found their monster. The slide show was just wrapping up. Fairy tale monsters. I guess that's happened before. The Kindestod, the Hansel and Gretel Fiasco… I hope there's no witch burning this time. That was… unpleasant. Her eyes widened slightly as her mind continued whirling off on its tangent. But if they had a witch burning, they'd have to burn Tara, too! She frowned, thinking deeply for several seconds before relaxing imperceptibly. She'd probably be okay, though. I mean, she's been a witch for, like, eighteen years now. She probably knows a ton of spells. She could totally hold her own against an angry mob of townsfolk. I bet she's super powerful. Willow blinked. Yeah. A super powerful witch. Who knows a lot of spells. And has a ton of books full of magic. She blinked again. That's it. Tara. Of course. I'm such a dummy. Why didn't I think of this before?
Buffy and Xander stood up to leave the room. Buffy would be leaving to patrol once it got dark, which wouldn't be too much longer. The rest of them would, presumably, keep researching. As they walked out of the building into the waning light, Buffy turned to Stevenson, Xander and Giles turned towards the parking lot, and Willow hesitated, looking towards the east side of campus. The others gave her a questioning look. She picked up her overpriced message board and scribbled quickly.
"I have an idea. You go ahead." Giles nodded, prompting her for more explanation. "Can't explain now. See you tomorrow?" She silently thanked all the gods that the silence kept them from questioning her further. Giles nodded, looking slightly concerned.
"Be careful," he mouthed. When Willow nodded emphatically, the Scoobies finally dispersed. She began walking east. Seven minutes if I walks slow, five if I walk fast. She increased her pace. It would be dark soon.
She ended up making the trip in four and a half minutes. The campus was empty; with the silence still infecting the town and the nighttime murders still going on, everyone had bunkered themselves in their rooms. Willow strode briskly through Kresge's doors to the stairwell and began taking the stairs two at a time. She skidded to a stop in front of Tara's door and raised her hand to knock, but the door swung open before she had a chance.
When she saw someone already outside her door, Tara sprang back in surprise, almost dropping the pile of books and notebooks in her arms. Willow put both hands up, palms open, trying to reassure her. Once she calmed, they just stood uncomfortably, looking at each other in confusion. Abruptly remembering why she was there, Willow took up her message board and scribbled a hasty note.
"Need to get voices back. Spell?" she wrote. Tara's eyebrows lifted, and she retrieved one of the books in her arms, holding it out to Willow. Willow opened to the marked page and found a chapter called 'Spells of Sound and Silence,' marked with dozens of post-it notes. She looked up at Tara, eyes wide. The blonde, now all business, beckoned her in. Willow noticed the magical texts piled around the room, especially the desk and the bed, along with post-it notes, highlighters, pens, and, curiously, a student directory. As Willow looked around, Tara scribbled her own note in one of the notebooks.
"Found a few worth trying. Couldn't get supplies. Stores all closed." Her script was unbearably neat, given the circumstances. Willow quickly wiped her board with the side of her hand and scribbled a new message.
"I have some. Come with?" Willow had a small stash of ingredients in her room. Hopefully, they would be the right ones. Tara began double-checking her armful of supplies. Willow amended her note: "We should hurry. It's dark." Tara nodded grimly, halting her inspection, and went back to the door. Willow absently wondered if Tara knew about Sunnydale– the vampires, the monsters, the Gentlemen. In any case, she seemed to take Willow's message to heart with surprisingly little resistance.
"Ready?" she mouthed silently. Willow nodded.
As they exited the dorm into the open air, Tara shivered nervously, casting a wary eye around them. Willow tugged on her sleeve, pulling her on the fastest route to Stevenson. They walked quickly, almost jogging through the gaps in the lamplight. Three minutes, Willow thought to herself as the dorm building came into view. Suddenly, without warning, Tara paused, head cocked slightly as though listening for something. Willow pulled at her sleeve again, but the sound reached her ears, too. A sort of jangling sound, like a belt buckle.
"What's that?" they seemed to mouth at the same time, looking around. Tara saw it first– two monsters in unfastened straitjackets, with huge, swinging arms, coming right towards them. She dropped her armload of books carelessly to the ground and began running to the building, pushing Willow in front of her. Willow needed no further encouragement, and they both sprinted through the doors into the building as the grinning monsters floated ever closer.
They reached the stairwell, and Tara hesitated, panting and looking back and forth. She had never been in Stevenson before, and clearly wasn't sure where to go. Willow pointed up, towards her room, and they continued running. When they reached her door, Willow fumbled in her pockets for her keys while Tara anxiously kept watch. In the back of her mind, Willow was impressed by how well her companion was going in the situation. She heard a soft click down the hall, but was preoccupied pulling her keys loose and trying to pick the right one. She only looked up when Tara urgently clapped her on the arm, eyes wide with fear. One look down the hall told her why– one of The Gentlemen had drifted out of a neighbor's room, their heart glistening in his hand. Two more 'stood' at the end of the hall. They was looking right at them and floating closer. Two of the straightjacket monsters appeared behind their masters. Willow's keys fell to the floor. We don't have time. We don't have time. Tara, snapping out of her paralysis first, grabbed Willow's arm and half-dragged her back to the stairwell as the monsters gave chase. They were halfway down the first flight when Willow heard the door above them click. What was that? Is it closing? Or are they following us? As she whipped her head around to check, her foot missed a step, her ankle rolled, and her momentum sent her tumbling down the steps, crashing to a stop on the first floor landing. For a split second, as she lay stunned, her ankle screaming and her body aching, she wondered if Tara would just run past her. Before she even had time to complete the thought, she felt surprisingly strong hands scrabbling at her, dragging her upright and supporting her injured side. As her wits returned, she leaned against Tara as they continued their descent. Footsteps pounded only a few feet behind them.
What's even down these stairs? The laundry room. Anything else? A steam tunnel? A way out? Nope. Damn it. At least it has a lock. That was one of Sunnydale's nicer features– the contractors seemed to know that the residents might have to barricade themselves against magical disasters at any given time, so almost every door came equipped with a deadbolt. As Tara slammed the door behind them, barely cutting off the monsters, Willow flipped the lock. They were safe. Well, safe-ish. For now.
They had barely secured the door when the pounding started. They were trying to break in. Tara pushed against the door, holding it closed even as it rattled in its frame. The redhead cast her eyes around the room, looking for something to help barricade them in. The washing machines are too heavy. The change machine is bolted down. The trashcan is too light. We can't exactly use the sink. She grasped Tara's arm and pointed to the soda machine. Tara nodded and helped her hobble over to it. Together, they pushed as hard as they could. Willow was having some trouble, though, as she could only brace with her uninjured foot. It's not enough. The machine had only moved a few inches– too little, too slow. She desperately put down her sore ankle to try and push with both feet, but pain shot up her leg like a bolt of lightning, and she dropped to the ground, falling back against the dryers, wincing and grasping at her ankle. Damn it. Damn it.
As she struggled to ignore the pain in her ankle and sit up, she could feel Tara watching her. She had stopped pushing against the machine, knowing that she couldn't move it by herself. Calmly giving up, she came and settled on the floor next to Willow. Her expression wasn't the abject terror that was still gripping the injured redhead. It was almost serene. Willow felt herself calming down under her influence. At least she's here. This would be a lot more terrifying if I were in here alone. She doesn't even look worried anymore. She took a few deep breaths. Tara continued watching her silently. What are we going to do? They're still out there, and we don't have the spellbooks or the supplies we need to stop them here. And we aren't strong enough to move the machine. Or… at least our bodies aren't.
With renewed vigor, she turned her focus to the machine. It's just like a pencil. Like a really, really, really big pencil. She felt her magic reach out, pushing desperately against the machine. It shuddered and lurched, but didn't move an inch. After only a few seconds, a blinding pain hit her between the eyes and she stopped, remembering why she didn't usually succeed in moving things larger than ballpoint pens. She just sat back, panting weakly as the pain receded. At the noise of the shuddering machine, Tara had turned to watch it, and now she looked between Willow and the machine with the same resigned tranquility. Damn it. Why am I still so weak? It's been over a year, and I still literally can't do magic to save my own life. Damn it. In the corner of her eye, she saw Tara moving, but she didn't pay attention until she felt a soft touch on her hand. Willow stared at their hands as the blonde slowly guided them up, carefully splaying her fingers and intertwining them with her own, gripping gently. She couldn't look away.
Then she felt it. Oh my god… She felt Tara's magical energy pushing against her own, trying to connect. She had never experienced anything like it. It was huge. Massive. Power. Real power. And it was completely under Tara's control. Tara squeezed her hand. "Now!" echoed in her mind, and they both whipped their heads towards the machine. She felt Tara's power overtake her own, guiding it, throwing it towards the machine. The soda machine flew against the door like it was a cardboard box full of packing peanuts, not a solid wall of plastic, metal, and soda.
Willow turned her attention back to their hands. She was quivering. She had felt Tara's… what had she called it?… Tara's energy. They had connected for a second, and Willow was struck dumb by the experience. It had felt like being wrapped up in a huge blanket made out of sunlight. Strong, warm, comforting. It had felt good. It had felt like her dream. For the first time, she understood how she could have taken to Tara so quickly. Tara was good. She was amazing. And if that feeling she just got was what Tara was really like, then Willow could see why she would have wanted to be around her that night. She must have seen it, felt it, sensed it somehow. She had noticed something that night that had eluded her until now.
Willow was so preoccupied that she didn't even take note of the puffs of white that flew in under the door, even when both girls breathed them in. She didn't notice the pounding at the door suddenly stop. The only thing she heard was Tara's voice finally breaking the silence.