Return to Civil Love Chapter Fourteen

Civil Love

Author: Amberslover
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except my own hare-brained ideas and a labrador that always runs away...
Note: The song is by Nickle Creek, formerly a Robert Burns poem circa 1791 Scotland...I hope you listen to the song, it doesn't really mean anything but it's extremely comforting and I thought it was appropriate. Enjoy!

Over the next week, Tara continued to gain strength physically and her head wound seemed to be healing but the wounds on her mental state were slow to scar. Willow often could only watch helplessly as Tara would wake up thrashing and screaming. Or sometimes, Willow would come in during the middle of the night to check on the blonde, and find her crying softly. It was on these nights, Willow would bring in her mandolin and play and sing softly for Tara until she either went back to sleep or settled into silence once again.

Willow came into Tara's room to find her crying quietly. She immediately turned and went downstairs to get her mandolin, bringing it back up to Tara's small room and sitting in the wooden chair next to the bed. She plucked a few strings to tune the instrument and then began to strum softly an old Scottish tune. After playing a few opening notes she began to sing softly as well, noting Tara's eyes slowly closing, more tears streaming down the sides of her face.

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Thou stock-dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen,
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forebear,
I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair.

How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighboring hills,
Far mark'd with the courses of clear winding rills,
There daily I wander as noon rises high
My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye.

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow;
There oft as mild Ev'ning weeps over the lea
The sweet scented birk shades my Mary and me.

Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides,
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
As gathering sweet flow'rets she stems thy clear wave.

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays,
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Willow finished playing with a resounding echo of the mandolin's strings and she sat quietly taking in Tara's gently breathing form. She thought the young woman had gone back to sleep and got up to leave, but was stopped but the dulcet tones of a quiet voice.

"Will, please don't go." Tara's voice infiltrated the silence like a needle through a cloth and Willow returned to her chair by the bed. She was unsure whether or not to take Tara's hand, as the blonde had been a little jumpy about touching anyone as of late, so instead she settled her hand on the bed near enough to Tara's to let her feel the warmth of skin in case she did in fact want to be touched. To her great surprise, Tara slid her hand over underneath Willow's and allowed Willow to gently press their palms together.

"Your song was beautiful." Tara said softly staring off into the space past Willow.

"I just-I just want to make you happy." Willow managed with a sigh.

"I know you do Will, I know..." Tara trailed off as more tears leaked from her azure eyes.

"How are you feeling? Can I get you anything?" Willow asked at a loss for how to comfort her lover. She gently squeezed her hand again.

"No, just stay with me for a while." Tara said almost as if she were uncertain of what she needed or wanted. Willow nodded her head silently and moved slowly to sit on the bed, hesitating for a moment to see if Tara would mind but Tara said nothing and Willow sat down carefully. Her wound still had not fully closed and it was very sore.

"How is your side?" Tara asked, her voice full of concern. Willow looked at her with a puzzled expression.

"How did you-?" She asked, surprised that Tara knew.

"It's not difficult to notice that you favor it a bit, and Dawn might have mentioned it." Tara said as her eyes searched Willow's expression, hoping for an explanation.

"Oh, I didn't want you to find out just yet. I knew you would worry." Willow said sheepishly.

"I was worried the first day I saw the blood on your shirt. I told Dawn to make sure you got enough rest and kept the bandage clean."

"Well she's done a good job. She's a very bright girl."

"Just like her sister." Tara said with the tiniest hint of a smile.

Willow laughed lightly and waved her hand.

"No. She's just doing what she knew you would do if you could. She's very taken with you, just like her sister." Willow added with a smile.

Tara's hint of a smile came back and she squeezed Willow's hand again. Willow scooted down into the bed with her and Tara snuggled deep within her arms, allowing Willow's steadily beating heart lull her back to sleep. Her last thoughts before she went back to sleep were of the next day, when she would finally get out of bed for the first time since her attack. She knew Willow would be glad that she tried even if she couldn't get up for very long. If anything, it would soothe Willow's nerves and allow her to see that Tara was trying to heal, not for herself but for the two sisters she had come to love so dearly.

As Tara's breathing slowed to a steady pace, Willow vowed that no matter what it took, she would help Tara heal and get back to a normal life. She also made a pact with herself to never let another person harm her sister or her lover. She would die first before it ever happened again. Willow slowly drifted off to sleep, her dreams of Tara as sweet as ever.

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