"Knock knock," Buffy calls out to her sister. "What's up Tare? You have everybody worried." Buffy lays down on the bed next to Tara and holds out her arms for the upset blonde, "C'mere. Talk to me kiddo. What's goin on in that head of yours?"
Tara snuggles into the waiting arms of her sister. "It's nothing really. I just... I started thinking about that day... at the convenience store... the day my Mama died. I don't know why really. I just started to think about it. It's the first time in ten years that I ever really thought about it," a small tear trickles down the blonde's cheek. "I miss my mama. I mean, in all reality, mom is more my mother than mama was. I mean she's been my mom for ten years. Mama was only mine for 5, you know? But I still miss Mama. Did that make any sense?"
"You know? It did, surprisingly, but go on," Buffy lovingly squeezes her sister encouraging her to continue her thoughts.
"I can't help but to miss Mama. And I don't want Mom to think that I love Mama more or better. But I don't want to forget my Mama. Or should I just forget about her and move on?"
"Sweetie. I can only begin to imagine what you are going through, but I think maybe you should talk to Mom? She's a lot better at this stuff."
Horrified at the thought, "Buffy! No! I can't," Tara starts to cry, "She'll hate me Buffy."
"Pfft! She will not. Dude, she's like the coolest. What other mom do you know of who didn't scream and cry for months after finding out both of her daughters are gay? She totally gets us when no body else does. It's kinda freaky."
"You know something Buffy?" Tara smirks slightly at her sister.
"What's that kiddo?" Buffy runs her fingers through Tara's long, blonde hair.
"You're smarter than you look," Tara actually begins to smile.
"Oh, you are soo getting it kiddo," Buffy begins to tickle her sister. Both girls are laughing hysterically, totally oblivious to their parents standing in the doorway. Mr. Maclay has his arms wrapped around Joyce from behind. Both parents are wearing sad smiles on their faces. Sad because of what Tara is going through, but happy because the girls really do love each other and their family.
Making their presence known, Mr. Maclay gives a little cough, "Hey Buff, what do you say to goin and getting ice cream for everyone. It's been a while since we've gone out, just the two of us."
"Yeah sure Pops! Just lemme go get my jacket." Buffy runs out of Tara's room, and stops to give her parents each a kiss on the cheek.
Mr. Maclay kisses his wife on the cheek, "I'll see you later love."
"Yo." Faith sleepily says into the phone.
"Hey Faith, it's me. Willow. Did I wake you up?"
"Nah Red, it's all good. What's up?" A tired Faith says, looking at the clock and groaning at the time.
"It's just... I can't sleep. I kept thinking about the day at the police station, ten years ago. Giles is going to go take me to the prison the day after tomorrow. I'm gonna see my dad."
"You gonna be alright with that? I know the last time it was kinda hard for you," Faith pauses for a second, "Hey Red?"
"You want me to go with you? I mean I won't sit in on your visit, but I could be out in the waitin room or somthin if you wanted."
Willow is excited at this prospect and begins to excitedly scream into the phone, "Oh Faith! Would you really? Cause if you don't, that's totally okay. Like if you were just saying it to be nice. But I would so love it if you would go with me. It'd be..."
"Red! Chill out all right? I wouldn't have offered if I wouldn't go. I'll tell you what, you let me get some shuteye right now and I'll head over to your place for dinner tomorrow and stay the night. That way we can wake up on Sunday and head straight to the prison. Cause, I love you Will. But it's four o'clock in the morning."
"Oh! Oh wow, it is. I am so sorry, Faith. I didn't notice the time. Yes, go to sleep and I will see you tomorrow. Oh and Faith?" The redhead smirks.
"I love you, too." The redhead giggles.
"Huh? Oh man, don't tell me I told you I love you. You totally can't let anyone find out that I actually have feelings like a normal person."
"Yeah, and did you notice that you called me, Will, instead of Red?" Willow was having fun with the situation.
The redhead bursts into a fit of giggles as she hears Faith hang up the phone. "Thanks Faith, I owe you one," she says out loud, to the air, as she falls to her pillow and asleep.
Tara and Joyce are sitting on the bed. Propped up by pillows against the headboard of the bed. Joyce has her arms wrapped lovingly around her step-daughter.
"So what's up baby girl?" Joyce asks Tara.
"I just... I feel guilty, like I'm this bad person who should be shunned," Tara snuggles into Joyce's embrace.
"It's just, I miss Mama. But I feel like I shouldn't miss her, because you're my Mom now." Tara wraps her arms around Joyce and gently squeezes her.
"Can I tell you something sweetie?" Joyce pulls away a little bit, so she can look at Tara.
"When I adopted you, I never wanted to take the place of your mother. Your father has told me what a beautiful woman she was, and I only regret not ever getting the chance to meet her. I don't want you to forget your mama, and it's perfectly normal that you miss her. You will miss her forever. I also think that it's okay to love me. I don't think that she would mind at all. I believe she would want you to be looked after. She seems like she was a lovely woman," Joyce brings Tara in for a hug.
"But sometimes I just wish she was here. You know? I mean it's not that I wish you weren't. I just..." Tara lays her head on Joyce's shoulder.
"Shh... I know what you mean. It's okay," Joyce begins to lovingly stroke her daughter's hair.
"I miss her Mom," Tara then begins to cry as she remembers the last day she spent with her mother."
"Mama! Mama! Can I go with you to the store?" The five-year old, tiny, blonde runs and attaches herself to her mother's legs.
"Baby, Mama's going to be right back. I'm just going to go to the corner store and get some milk. Maybe even bring back my favorite little girl a candy bar." Aingeal Maclay reaches down and scoops her daughter up in her arms.
"Please Mama?" The tiny blonde pouts.
"Alright baby, get into your seat and Mama'll be right out."
"Okay Mama!" The tiny blonde squirms out of her mother's arms and runs to put herself in her car seat.
"Daniel! I'll be back in about 15 minutes! I've got Tara. I love you!" Aingeal shouts to her husband.
"Alright honey! I'll see you two later! I love you."
"Oh my goddess. Mom. It was my fault," Tara bolts upright, and then tucks her legs into herself and starts sobbing.