Return to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Forty-Eight

Latter Days/Lonely Nights

Author: Willownut
Disclaimer: Blah, blah, blah. Many characters are Joss Whedon's. Yada, yada, yada. No harm intended with the use of these revered characters. Peas and carrots, peas and carrots.

(Day 11 - Sunday, November 18, 1984)

Tara stood in the doorway of her room and waited for Willow. Once she saw her open her door, she came down the hall to meet her. Willow did the same. They hadn't had much time at all to see each other, and Tara was in Japanese mode all day.

"Yay!" Willow nearly bounced when she saw the couch was clear. She scurried over to her place and plopped down with dramatic flair.

Willow's display amused Tara. She smiled and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "So..." she dragged the word out, "Zombies?" She wondered how Willow had come up with that earlier. It had seemed a little...abstract...for a run of the mill conversation - even for Willow.

Willow hung her head a little, took a breath and she folded her hands as if she were contrite, She stood up slowly, "Hello, my name is Willow and I..." Willow raised her fingers for the air quote marks, "dramatic pause," she smiled, " a monsterholic."

"Hellooooo Willow," Tara understood immediately that Willow was admitting her problem for a monsters anonymous meeting.

"I've been watching B-rated monster movies since I was ten. This has been difficult for me. I've been creature-feature free for ten days. I don't know how I'm going to make it. I need help." Willow hung her head in mock shame. "I've started drawing pictures just to keep me going." Willow knew that her performance was not good and that she wasn't even funny, but Tara seemed to need the distraction.

Tara laughed out-loud for the first time the entire day. Seeing the huge grin that erupted on Willow's face warmed her heart. She took a calming breath. "You know they say that monsters are a metaphor for many social and psychological problems we face." Tara continued, "Those who study them usually are highly intelligent."

Wonder what zombies and piranha fish mean. Willow tilted her head a little. She tried to determine the angle Tara was taking with the conversation. She studied her for a moment and finally decided that perhaps she'd met a closet monster geek, but she wasn't quite ready to trust her instincts. Maybe Tara was implying something else. She was still worried about Tara's reaction to her nightmare and she had said that dreams had meaning.

"Well you're intelligent," Willow began.

"I guess." Tara dropped her head so her hair fell forward.

"Do you think that monsters can represent things?" Willow pushed a little.

"I think they can," Tara replied. "But anything can be a metaphor or used for an analogy. You talked about cake."

"Okay, that's true." Willow considered her options as quickly as she could. "Metaphors are a good topic since we seem to use them quite a bit." Willow didn't want to babble and she might start if she didn't let Tara take the lead.

"True." Tara seemed distracted.

Willow wasn't sure if Tara needed more comic relief or to talk; she decided on the later, "Tara, are you okay?"

Tara held her breath. She didn't know what to say. She was troubled and confused and Willow was so cute and understanding, but... the mission.

Tara finally managed to get her answer out, "No."

Willow remained silent and waited for her to continue. She felt like several minutes passed before Tara finally spoke. "I think I feel guilty."

Willow understood. She didn't know what she could say or do to make Tara feel better. She stifled the urge to reach out to her. She lowered her head, "Okay."

Tara continued, "I feel like I over-reacted to your dream the other day, I'm sorry."

Willow was encouraged for a moment, "Oh, that's okay, don't even worry about that." If that was all it was...

Tara interrupted Willow's thought. "I'm having nightmares." Tara was uncertain how much she should say.

"Nightmares plural," Willow was concerned, "As in more than one nightmare?"


"Did you want to talk about that?"

Tara replied slowly. "No. Yes. I don't know. It's complicated."

"Do you need to talk about it?" Willow rephrased.

"Heh, probably," Tara smiled. She appreciated how much effort Willow was putting in to making her feel comfortable. "The one this morning was unsettling."

"Oh, did you have the kind that wrecks you for the rest of the day?"

"Yeah," Tara admitted.

"Like my tidal wave." Willow remembered how embarrassed she'd been, and how confused she was by the other images in her nightmare.

Tara continued, "I was in college and I didn't have an assignment completed."

"Oh, I hate that one." Willow raised her head a little and looked at Tara again.

"And I got another assignment and was stressed about that too."

"Uh huh." Willow nodded for her to continue.

"And there was a girl in the class who was having trouble with something on her desk, and she accidentally hit the girl in front of her with it."

Willow concentrated on the image for a moment. "Go on."

"I embarrassed myself too."

"Oh, did you drop your stuff, say something stupid, or make a loud noise?"

"Heh," Tara smiled again. "I made a really loud noise in front of a whole class in the middle of a lecture. And it wasn't even my class. I couldn't get out of my chair before it started so I interrupted everyone with that scraping sound the legs make. You know the one?"

"Yup." Willow waited a moment before she continued, "What did you think was the most important part of the dream?"

"Well, aside from being unprepared and embarrassed and stuff, I think there was some key information in the lectures themselves."

"Do you remember what they were about?" Willow felt like she was starting to get the hang of this dream interpretation.

"Sort of," Tara tried to remember. "It's been all day now. The first class was sociology and we were talking about guilt and socialization and stuff." Tara grabbed for her notebook and tried to redraw the circle diagram the teacher had written on the board. "I kinda remember her talking about identity and groups that we belong to. Some of it was kind of Charlie Brown teacher-y. I didn't catch it all."

Willow smiled. She knew exactly what Tara meant.

"We had an assignment and I was thinking about what rules we have to follow."

"Okay..." Willow nodded as she watched Tara drawing, "Rules as in legal laws and stuff, or more like rules like - social rules, customs, mores, and stuff."

"The second." Tara was impressed that Willow was following along so well, "Then I went to psychology, that's the class I didn't have my assignment for. That teacher was talking about Freud."

"Oh, I hate Freud."

Tara let out an air laugh. "Me too. The last class was some sort of communications class, I think. That's the class I interrupted."

"I bet you did it with flare." Willow offered her best toothy grin.

"Oh there was flaring." Tara was amused. She thought of the girl glaring at her in class, "Possible nostril flaring from one rude girl."

Willow tried to put all the information together. "So you had three lectures - were they sort of themed?

"Sure - if you think sociology, psychology and communication are themes."

"Yeah, I kinda do especially if the topics in each are related somehow."

Tara considered that and nodded.

Willow continued, "And you had one missed assignment, one new assignment and an embarrassment?"

"Well, yeah, and a girl with gum or something stuck to the desk."

"Did you know anyone?" Willow wondered if there was a connection to the MTC.

"I don't think so." Tara tried to see the other faces in the classrooms. She decided not to tell Willow that she thought the gum girl was her. "It's sort of a blur now though." Tara thought about it more, "You know that girl with the stuff on her desk, I felt sorry for her, and it seemed like the lecture kinda complimented what was happening in the class."

"That sounds interesting." Willow wondered if she had helped Tara even a little bit. "Well, I'm sure if there is meaning there for you, you will find it." Willow continued under her breath, "At least you're not being chased by flesh eating creatures."

"Are you dreaming about zombies?" Tara wasn't sure what that could possibly mean.

"Oh, I'm beyond dreaming, I'm drawing them when I'm awake." Willow looked embarrassed, "I'm sick."

"You're not sick." Tara's attention now focused on Willow, she felt better. "I think we're both having some issues and we need to deal with them."

"I guess." Willow sighed heavily.

"It's getting late." Tara glanced at the clock. "I've got to get up early for the temple tomorrow."

Willow wondered if there were more to it than that. "Maybe tonight or tomorrow you can get some more clarity on it."

"I'd better...," Tara seemed tired.

Willow knew better than to ask her to stay. Just a few days ago, they were kissing and having deep conversations about their relationship. Now they were both having nightmares. She also knew Tara was going to have to face the Mission President soon. That had to be stressing her out. "Okay," She replied meekly. She knew she had to let her go.

Willow reached out her hand to touch her fingers just as Tara turned to leave. She wanted to say so much. Instead, she stayed silent and watched her walk away.

Continue to Latter Days/Lonely Nights Chapter Fifty

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