Willow was not the type of girl to cry for no reason. Emotions were not something that she would let control her actions. Logic and science were her best friends. She'd been taught how to be strong from a very young age. Tears were not welcome in the Rosenburg home. But she wasn't home now and she couldn't stop the tears welling up in her eyes. As beautiful as the campus was she didn't want to be there.
"And here we have the Computer Science building. We run on an Apple system, so if your computer isn't a Mac, you won't be able to log into the system." The Head Mistress said as she helped the Rosenburg family find their way around the school.
"I only work on a Mac. Much more efficient." Willow said with a half smile. Mrs. Angelo smiled over her shoulder, giving Willow a brief nod.
"I'm sure you'll fit right in here, Willow. Saint Michael's is a very welcoming school."
"I hate to interrupt, but could we get Willow to her dorm? I have a conference in LA late this evening that I can't be late for." Ira spoke up casually, looking down at his watch.
Willow closed her eyes and nodded slowly, her arms crossing nervously over her stomach. It was obvious that her father's work was important to him, that wasn't new. But she had hoped just this once...
"Of course. Right this way." Mrs. Angelo turned on her heels and lead Willow and her parents across campus to the dorms.
Stomach flipping in circles Willow followed the older woman, her eyes on the ground. There was still a chance for her to get away. All she needed to do was tell her parents that she wasn't ready for this. Surely they would understand. Her life in Sunnydale wasn't over yet. There were things that needed to be done, people that she needed to get picked on by, students that she had to tutor.
The buildings were beautiful, at least. Red brick walls covered in lush, green vines. The other girls in the hall eyed her with suspicion and what felt like pity. She didn't know what she had gotten herself into coming to Saint Michael's, but she had a feeling it wasn't good.
Tara had never been a fan of the sun. It was entirely to warm and bright and down right annoying, damn it. The moon was much more of a friend to her than the sun. Glowing white against the dark night's sky, many of her drawings were done under the full moon.
It wasn't hard for her to sleep for a few hours after the sun came up and then a few hours before it went down later that day. Drawing was much more important than homework anyway.
And that was why at two in the afternoon Tara was still curled up in bed asleep, the blankets pulled up over her head to block out the light. Alarm clocks were useless in her case. When she was ready to get up, she would.
"Here is your room, Willow." Mrs. Angelo smiled, turning her back to the dorm room door. "You're roommate is Tara Maclay. She's been here at Saint Michael's since her freshman year. I think the two of you will get along very well." She forced a smile and knocked on the door gently before trying to open it. Finding it locked she knocked a little louder.
"Tara!" The blonde teen didn't want to wake up and she wasn't going to for anything. Pulling the pillow over her head Tara grunted, doing her best to block out the noise.
"Tara!" She yelled again, trying her best not to pound on the door. Ira looked down at his watch and sighed, stuffing his hands in his pockets. Mrs. Angelo rolled her eyes and reached into her pocket, pulling free a ring of keys.
"I have a key to every dorm on campus. Tara's good at locking herself out. I've had to memorize her key." Mrs. Angelo lied quickly, unlocking the door with a weak smile. "She's really a sweet girl." She said with a forced smile, pushing the door open.
A pillow flew past her head and hit Willow squarely in the face, making her squeal. "Tara!" Mrs. Angelo exclaimed as she walked into the room, hands on her hips.
Tara jumped up, eyes moving wildly around the room. When her eyes finally focused on Mrs. Angelo's face she relaxed, falling back onto the bed grumbling.
"Jesus Christ." She snapped, pulling her blanket up over her head. "Give a girl a friggin' heart attack." She sighed as she curled up in a ball.
"Tara, get up. Your roommate is here." Throwing the covers back, blue eyes glared across the room as Tara crawled out of bed. "Tara Maclay, this is Willow Rosenburg. Willow, this is Tara." The two locked eyes for an instant before Willow's nerves got the best of her and she started to babble.
"Hi, I'm Willow, but she already said that. I like computers. My friends back home think I'm a nerd, but I'm okay with that. I mean, how much fun is it to be normal, anyway? What is normal? Totally boring, I think..."
"Do you always talk this much?" Tara interrupted, one eyebrow arched. Willow jumped back slightly and looked over her shoulder at her mother.
"Only sometimes." She said softly, looking down at the floor before looking up at Tara again.
"Lovely." The blonde said with a shake of her head. "I'm entirely too tired for this." She turned and walked to her dressers, digging through the top drawer to find her toothbrush. With a wordless grunt she passed her way through the crowd on her way to the bathroom. Willow took a few steps into the room and took a seat on the bare bed.
"Are you sure this is the only room you have free?" Sheila asked, arms crossed over her chest as she stepped into the doorway.
The bathroom was abandoned, like it usually was in the afternoon. Willow, she thought angrily, shaking her head. Pretty face, nice ass, talks way to damn much. She brushed her teeth quickly and then washed her face, mind racing.
A roommate was not what she needed right now and damn it if she wasn't going to let this new girl know it.
"I assure you, Mr. Rosenburg, Tara is completely harmless. She just has a bit of resentment towards her parents for sending her here. She's not a fan of convention." Mrs. Angelo said calmly, her hand on her hip.
"Well I don't care what her problem is; she doesn't need to take it out on my daughter." Ira snapped, taking his glasses off to rub the bridge of his nose.
"And I understand that completely. Tara's never had a roommate before and she likes her space. I'm hoping that both of these girls can learn something from this." Mrs. Angelo said confidently, tilting her head to the side.
"That's just fine and dandy, Mrs. Angelo. But I don't want her problems affecting my daughter's time here." Ira said angrily, putting his glasses back on.
"Willow will be fine. Tara keeps to herself. She doesn't like people, but she's getting over it. She just needs to meet a few people that don't get scared of her rough exterior. She really is a sweet girl once you get to know her." Mrs. Angelo sighed, resting back against the door frame.
"Do you want me to help you unpack?" Sheila asked, sitting next to Willow on the bed.
"Oh no. I can do it. I want to wait until she comes back so I know what goes where." Willow said, resting her hands in her lap.
Sheila wrapped an arm around her daughter's shoulders and pulled her into a small hug.
"You know I don't like leaving you alone so soon, but your father has to get to LA for his conference. I'll call you when we get home." Sheila pressed a kiss to Willow's forehead.
"I know." She said softly, pushing away her tears. "I'll write to you when I get the chance." Willow whispered, resting her head on her mother's shoulder.
"As long as I know she's going to be safe." Ira said as he walked into the room. Willow stood slowly and walked to her father, her arms crossed over her chest.
"I'm going to miss you, little one. We'll call you when we get home from LA." Ira pulled Willow into a hug and kissed the top of her head. Willow sighed and nodded slowly, moving to sit back on her bed as her parents walked out.
The room was cold, Willow noted dully as she made her way around the room. Her bags were stacked by the door but she didn't have the heart to unpack just yet. She didn't want to give Tara any more reasons not to like her. The blonde seemed angry at the world and Willow didn't want to add to that.
Plain white paint covered all four walls and the ceiling, the floor hard wood. Hopefully it doesn't get cold in the winder. Willow thought as she walked across the room. One desk was empty and so she assumed that would be her desk. The other was covered with drawings, sketches, pads of paper, crayons and pencils.
Above the desk there were pictures strung up, pictures like Willow had never seen. Her roommate seemed to be an artist, but a scary one. Dark, overshadowed, smoky drawings that scared her. Hate fueled these drawings, an obvious, slightly dangerous hate that Willow was afraid to face.
"Is there a reason why you're looking at my things?" An angry voice from the doorway made Willow jump, a hand on her chest.
"I was...I was just looking around. You draw?" Willow asked, moving out of Tara's way as she walked through to her side of the room.
"Very good." Tara was in no mood to have a conversation. Digging through her dresser she pulled out a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt before grabbing a towel and her bathroom kit. "I'm going for a shower." Tara walked back across the room, her towel slung over her shoulder.
"I guess I'll see you later then." Willow forced a smile, grabbing her bags to start unpacking.
"I'm sure you'll see me again at some point. Just don't touch my things." With that Tara turned and made her way toward the showers.
Unpacking was much easier than packing. As long as she could find a place for everything to fit there were no problems. Once all of her clothes were unpacked and put away and the bed was made Willow started working on setting up her computer. The door opened slowly just as Willow was finishing up.
Silence echoed through the room, leaving Willow completely uncomfortable. Being quiet was not something that she was good at. Most times she just got nervous and started babbling, her mouth moving far to fast for her mind to catch up.
Dirty clothes dumped in the hamper next to her bed, Tara moved to her desk to do her makeup. Willow watched from her desk on the other side of the room. She'd never seen someone with such naturally beautiful feathers put on so much makeup.
"Don't wait up!" Tara called over her shoulder as she made her way out the door. Willow sighed and rolled her eyes, booting up her computer. She didn't need this; she was entirely too tired to deal with some 'I hate the world' brat who thought she was above the rest of the world.
Nobody had e-mailed her yet, but Buffy and Xander weren't the most technologically advanced people on the face of the earth. A nice, hot shower was what she needed. Grabbing her shower things she found the closest bathroom and hopped in the shower. Twenty minutes later she didn't feel any more refreshed than she had in the first place, but she was warmer.
"Why is it so cold in here?" She shivered, pulling her robe tighter around her body as she walked into the room. Spotting the window by Tara's desk wide open she closed it quickly. "Enough of that."
She dressed and pulled her hair back in a ponytail. Already she wanted to go home. The bed was more comfortable than she thought it would be and so she curled up under the covers with her letter from Oz. Reading it was inevitable, she knew. What she didn't know was whether it was safe to read or not. There was no way she wanted to read the letter from Oz if it was just going to make her cry and want to go home even more than she already did.
Reaching into the top drawer of her night stand she grabbed the letter and stared at it. To read, or not to read, that was the question. She had the time now and once classes started she knew that she would get lost in the wonderful world of work. Reading it now seemed to be her only option. Opening the envelope she pulled the letter from its home. A deep breath later she unfolded the paper and started to read.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she read and re-read the letter, eventually staining the paper and bleeding the ink. Even if everyone at the useless school hated her, she still had Oz. He would always be there for her and that made her feel warm inside. Drying her tears with the sleeve of her shirt she folded the letter and tucked it under her pillow. She turned out the light and curled up in a ball, falling asleep almost instantly.
"Her name is Willow." Tara giggled drunkenly, arm slung over her friend's shoulders as they walked back from the bar.
"Willow? Like the tree?" Sam asked, looking up at Tara.
"I guess." The blonde shrugged, stumbling over an invisible crack in the sidewalk.
"You are so drunk." Sam wrapped her arms around Tara's waist to help keep her upright.
"And you're so much better than I am, cause you're not drunk at all." Tara accused, trying to pull out of Sam's grip. The two girls stumbled and nearly fell to the ground.
"Stop being so damn annoying, Tara. I had less to drink than you did." Sam struggled to keep standing while she half carried Tara.
"But you can't hold you're liquor. I can." Tara finally wiggled free and brushed her hair back out of her face. "It's entirely too hot out." She grumbled, shaking her head.
"It's not hot out, you're just drunk." Sam whispered in her ear as she approached her from behind, wrapping her arms around Tara's waist. Tara hummed in the back of her throat and melted into Sam's embrace, turning her head to kiss her cheek.
"Tara, what the hell are you doing? We're almost back to Saint Michael's. If somebody sees us..."
"The whole world will be completely ruined because someone might find out that you like girls." Tara snapped, pulling away.
"Well we can't all be as open about our freakiness as you are." Sam shot back, crossing her arms over her chest.
"God forbid somebody find out you're a dyke!" Tara yelled over her shoulder as she made her way back to Saint Michael's on her own. She didn't need any of this. She didn't need a girlfriend too afraid to say anything, she didn't need to be at this ridiculous school wasting her life, and she sure as hell didn't need some fake roommate that was just oh so excited to be there. How on earth could anyone be happy to be locked up in hell? It didn't matter. As long as Willow kept her distance, Tara didn't care if she sprouted wings from her ass and flew everywhere she went.
She giggled at that thought as she approached her room. Knowing that it was far pas curfew she found her window and was not happy to find it closed.
"Who the hell does she think she is?" She grumbled to no one in particular as she opened the window from the outside. Climbing in wasn't hard, she'd done it a number of times much more drunk that she was right now.
Though not as graceful as she had hoped, she landed on her feet and turned on her desk lamp. She heard Willow shift but ignored it, checking to make sure that her art supplies were alright.
"Damn." She muttered, finding her clays, charcoals, and chalks entirely too warm to use. Shutting off the light Tara made her way around the room, shedding her clothes to put on her pajamas. Her bed was warm and safe, although her mind was not.
Too much beer. She thought, curling up in a ball with her arms wrapped around her stomach. Her mind would not shut down, a feeling that she was used to. Reaching underneath her bed she pulled out an old shoe box. Her hand knew what she was looking for without needing help from her eyes.
The picture was one that she hadn't actually seen over two years. When she first came to Saint Michael's it lived on her night stand. Only a few months later it moved to one of the drawers, taken out on only the worst of days. Now it slept soundly under her bed with an abundance of sketches she couldn't remember drawing.
Sliding the picture under her pillow she let the memories wash over her, lulling her to sleep like a favorite movie.