The Mendacity of Tara Maclay

Author: Tinna Karen
Rating: PG
Spoilers: None
Feedback: Please do :)
Disclaimer: All characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to Fox, Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon. Some dialogue has been borrowed from BtVS scripts.
Notes: This is a small vignette based on a dream I had. It's pretty much AU... almost uber if you will. Still takes place in Sunnydale, but it's far from Buffy-verse.

Willow opened up her laptop and clicked the small Safari icon on her dock. The browser opened up, and Willow's own archive of fanfiction stories came up automatically. She clicked the drop down menu, scrolling through the list of titles, none catching her attention.

"No, no, no..." she mumbled under her breath and sighed. She hit a combination on her keyboard and a new blank window opened up in a new tab on her browser and she clicked on a link on her bookmark bar. Her favorite fanfiction board came up, and she glanced over the recent postings, seeing if any of her favorite stories had been updated. "Nothing."

Willow tapped her fingers on the keyboards, in a sign of frustrated boredom. Now what do I do, she wondered. She glanced to her right and noticed her stack of completed assignments, piled neatly, and ready for submissions. It was Sunday evening and she had absolutely nothing to do. She sighed again and thought, not for the first time, what a dork she was.

College was everything she had wanted - a vast world of available knowledge, just waiting for students to knock on the door and accept the invitation. She finally felt right in her skin, right in her element, as she sat among other students willing to learn, unlike her school mates in high school who regarded education with a bored and jaded look. But while she expected college to challenge her mentally - which it had - she had also expected it to challenge her socially, if such a phrase could be used. She had at least expected making a friend or two, but apparently the people in her pod - her floor in the dorms - weren't particularly interested in hanging out with a babbling, na´ve freshman who didn't know the difference between a Long Island iced tea and sweet tea...well, not until she looked it up on the internet.

She had acquaintances, of course, through her classes, and just from living in the dorms. But none she could call a friend. Her RA was really the only person who came by regularly to hang out, and mostly it was because she was technically challenged and regarded Willow as her savior in all things mechanical.

But as lonely as Willow was in real life, she had lots of online buddies who shared her views and sense of humor... some down to a tee.

A swoosh sound was heard from her laptop speakers and a small window popped up. She smiled brightly when she saw who it was.

DeepBlueWaterz: hey you! did ya read the update last night? holy cripes...was that hot or what? i'm still drooling...

Willow rolled her eyes and chuckled...and nodded. Her favorite story had been updated last night and yes, the update had been 'hot'.

She clicked on the window and started typing.

WickedRed: oh my god...I know...I read it like 6 times last head was thrumming each time...thank god my roommate was out of town ;)
DeepBlueWaterz: oh my god! you share waaay too much ;)
WickedRed: :P
DeepBlueWaterz: hehe...
DeepBlueWaterz: anyway, what have you been up to?
WickedRed: not much really...I finished my homework for the rest of the semester :$
DeepBlueWaterz: yeah, me too ... I wish :) what else?
WickedRed: umm...
WickedRed: ooh! my RA came by earlier today because she jacked up her TV/VCR combo, and wanted to know if I could fix it...and I did.
DeepBlueWaterz: smarty :)
WickedRed: :) and what have you been up to baby?
DeepBlueWaterz: same really...sort of...studying, reading...filling out transfer applications...
WickedRed: transfer applications? you moving?
DeepBlueWaterz: yeah...I'm tired of the, I got a scholarship somewhere else.
WickedRed: go you!
WickedRed: no really...that's wonderful Tara .. congratulations .. where are ya going?
DeepBlueWaterz: oh...just this little down called Sunnydale... ;)

Willow's breath caught in her throat when she read the message. Sunnydale? Tara's coming to Sunnydale?! She felt her palms sweat at the revelation. Oh my god, she's coming here...yes!

WickedRed: what!? really!?!!!!!!
DeepBlueWaterz: hihi...what's with the shouting sweetie? :D
WickedRed: no really? you're coming here? :D
DeepBlueWaterz: *nods* yup, starting next semester.
WickedRed: yay!
DeepBlueWaterz: you can say that again.
WickedRed: yay! ;)
WickedRed: so I'll get to meet you...finally...and we can hang out and real life?
DeepBlueWaterz: looks like it :D
WickedRed: coolz :)

Three hours later Willow said goodbye to Tara... which usually took like six or seven messages... and got ready for bed. She smiled as she brushed her teeth. She smiled as she put on her pajamas, and she was still smiling as she lay down on the bed, her laptop perched in her lap. She tried to read a random fanfic but she put her laptop away after the first sentence. Her mind wasn't in it.

Willow fluffed her pillow and lay down on her bed, staring up at the ceiling. A familiar grin - a grin she had aptly named her Tara-grin... as it was a I-just-talked-to-Tara induced grin - spread over her features and she curled her toes as the accompanying tingles went through her body. Her mind wandered to her 'friend' and the conversation they had just had and she couldn't help the joyful giggles that escaped her at the thought.

Tara was nineteen, two years older than Willow but through different circumstances, they were both freshmen in college. Tara, because she had stayed at home a year after high school helping around the house after her mother had been in a serious car accident, leaving her temporarily paralyzed for four months. And Willow because she had skipped a grade in school when she was younger.

Willow had 'met' Tara at her favorite fanfiction board three months ago. The older girl had been writing her own fanfiction and needed a beta to proofread her work, fixing typos and grammar and helping with the story. Willow, an avid reader and a genius in her own right had offered to help, and through late night e-mails, writings and readings a friendship had struck up between the two. These days they spent more time chatting about their lives and life in general, than the lives of their favorite fanfiction characters.

Their online sessions were usually upbeat and cheerful; Willow finding it very hard to be anything but happy when talking to Tara. Although they did touch on more difficult subjects, a humorous undertone was always present, which to Willow was like a salve to whatever was bothering her each time...knowing Tara could and would almost always cheer her up. Just the thought of Tara coming online to chat with her made her giddy with excitement and expelled any depressing or annoying thought away in an instance.

Willow rolled over on her side and sighed happily, pulling her comforter up to her chin. Yes, she admitted to herself, I've got it bad.

Tara sat in front of her roommate's desktop PC and stared at a picture of a beautiful redhead. She traced the outlines with her index fingers and smiled. Willow. She glanced at the clock in the system tray and noticing the late hour, she closed the picture window and put the computer to sleep. She got ready for bed quickly and crawled under the covers, a piece of paper in her hand. She propped up her two pillows and reclined against them, setting the paper on her bent knees. The bold title of the paper, Alabama State University Transfer Credit Application, caught her attention immediately and she curled her toes in excitement.

Tara had wanted a change of scenery for a while now. Having outgrown her small town in Alabama, she had set out for the 'big city' and decided to attend Alabama State University in Montgomery but as it turned out, the people weren't much different in Montgomery than they were in her hometown, and Tara still felt trapped. Birmingham probably would have been a better choice, but the university there was much more expensive than the State one, and her financial situation wouldn't allow it. But ever since she started chatting with Willow, it became clear to her what she wanted and so she had researched what it would take to get it.

Only two months later, quite unexpectedly, her efforts had proofed successful and she received a letter from the University of California in Sunnydale, offering her placement and full scholarship in their art program, starting the following semester, which was only seven weeks away.

Tara now held in her hand the final piece of paper she had to fill out, an application form to transfer her credits from ALASU to UCS. She leaned over to her nightstand and picked up a pencil and wrote down her information quickly, yet neatly, and finally signed her name at the bottom.

Smiling brightly, she placed the pencil and paper on her nightstand and turned out the light. She fluffed her pillows three times and lay down on her side, smiling her way into dreamland.

Continue to The Mendacity of Tara Maclay Chapter One

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