Return to The Midnight Players of SHS Chapter Six

The Midnight Players of SHS

Author: mangled_monkey
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I own nothing but a rather nice computer. Suing will only make me unable to write. I don't own the Midnight Players either. That is a salute to my high school drama troupe.

Willow's school day had been uneventful thus far, which she was expecting, and hoping, to be a trend. She was perfectly fine with the uneventful days, since those days meant nothing bad happened. She was happy about the lack of bad, until she turned the corner into the drama hall at the beginning of lunch, and an event happened.

"Oh no... Tara..." Her face went pale and she dropped her bag. The sight before her worried her beyond anything she had felt since the move. There, in the far right corner of the hall, was Xander kissing some brunette that Willow didn't recognise. They apparently didn't notice her, because the brunette was slowly running her hand down towards Xander's pants. Willow turned away, not wanting to see any more.

She turned back out of the drama hall, trying to clear her head. She stood against a wall, trying to figure out what she could possibly do. She decided that chocolate was in order, so she walked to the nearest vending machine. She bought two chocolate bars, planning to keep one for herself and give the other to Tara when she next saw her, hoping the small gesture could ease the pain even just a little bit. She took her change from the machine and walked away. When she reached down to put the chocolate in her bag, she realized she had left it in the drama hall, and went back to retrieve it.

She crept down the hall carefully, not wanting Xander and the skank he was with to see or hear her. She was also careful not to look up so she wouldn't have to see them. She failed at keeping her eyes downcast after she picked up her bag, and when she looked up, she felt a sudden wave of anger coupled with a vague nausea in the pit of her stomach.

Her first instinct was to inflict bodily harm onto Xander for what he surely must be doing to Tara, but she swollowed that and settled for going around the corner, picking up an empty milk carton, throwing it at them, and running. She didn't stick around long enough to know that she missed hitting them, but that didn't really matter. At least now she had done something. While that something may not have actually helped, she felt like she had at least enacted a small amount of vengence on Tara's behalf.

Willow went to class and was completely unable to concentrate. Most of her was bothered by what Xander was doing to Tara, but the rest of her was preoccupied with why it was she cared so much. She tried to tell herself that it was just because she cared a lot about Tara's friendship, but a small voice in the back of her mind kept telling her that it was more than that. She knew that she felt more drawn to Tara than to anyone else she'd met so far, but she didn't quite know why or what that meant about her feelings toward the girl. She figured the draw was because she recognised something of herself in Tara- the shyness and the unease about themselves they had in common. But there was something more; and Willow's mind would not let her concentrate until she figured out exactly what that something more was.

By the end of the school day Willow had come to the conclusion that she was attracted to Tara. Attracted in a somewhat more than friendly way. It surprised her just how ok with that she was. She had always figured that something like that would freak her out, but here she was, admitting to herself her attraction to a girl, and feeling completely alright with it. And what surprised her even more was that it seemed perfectly natural. She had always thought that girls that liked girls always felt different in what they liked. Now, here she was, liking another girl and having it feel normal. Right even. She was almost happy about it, until she remembered what had caused her to go on this thought path in the first place. Xander.

She got backstage and began climbing to the lighting booth in record time, eager to see if Tara was alright. Of course she's not alright. She's either been cheated on or dumped. Or both! That thought made her run up the stairs even faster and when she got to the top she practically rammed the door open, barely bothering to turn the knob.

The sight that greeted her when the door was opened was a startled Tara looking up at her in surprise from the couch. Suddenly she forgot why exactly it was that she felt the need to barge in here that way, when she saw the look of slight fear in Tara's eyes. Willow frowned and put down her bag. "Uh... Sorry I scared you."

Tara noticed the worried look in the redhead's eyes and stood up and began walking over toward her. "Are you alright? Did something happen?"

Willow frowned. She doesn't know... She was silent for a moment, debating whether to tell her the bad news or not. "Tara, I um... You might want to sit down."

Tara sat down, now more worried that something had happened. "What's wrong?"

Willow sat next to her. "Today... I saw..." She took a deep breath. "I saw Xander kissing another girl."

Tara was confused for a moment, then she realized what must be happening. Willow has a crush on Xander... Of course she does. She's straight, he's a nice guy... why wouldn't she like him? She put a hand on Willow's knee. "I'm sorry... I should've told you he has a girlfriend."

Willow looked at Tara, her face going from worried to confused. "Wait, What? He has a... Tara, I thought you were dating him."

Tara almost laughed at the idea, but kept the amusement in check because Willow seemed so upset. "No... we're just good friends. Willow, I prefer women."

Willow's eyes went wide and she suddenly had a million thoughts running through her head at once, all of them culminating in Tara likes girls. Girls of the female persuation. She likes girls. I'm a girl... maybe there's a chance she'd like me? Willow's face broke into a broad grin. "Oh."

Tara smiled at Willow's grin. "Oh what?"

Willow looked up at Tara from her dazed stare at the computer. "Oh... you like girls. I mean, you're all with the liking of girls and the not liking of Xander, which makes his kissing his girlfriend not a problem, which means you're not upset, which means you don't really need the chocolate I brought you, but do you want it anyway?"

Tara blinked slightly, then caught up with what Willow said and smiled. "You brought me chocolate?"

Willow nodded and got the bar out of the bag pocket she had placed it in earlier and handed it to Tara. "Here."

Tara's smile broaded as she took the chocolate. "Thank you Willow... This was really thoughtful of you."

Willow smiled a toothy grin and nodded slightly. "Well, you're welcome. I thought you'd like it..."

After two hours of sitting in the lighting booth, actually working on the lighting for the upcoming show, the girls were ready to go home. They cleaned up the booth together, then each grabbed their bags.

They walked single file down the steps, Tara in front, and Willow fell into step beside her as they exited the school. Willow walked next to Tara, looking around at everything but her. "So um, Tara?"

Tara turned to look at her, smiling. "Willow?"

Willow smiled and looked down at her feet, then back at Tara. "Can I walk you home?"

Tara looked around and laughed slightly. "We're already walking... I suppose I wouldn't object to you walking all the way to my house..."

Willow grinned and hesitated a moment before reaching down and taking Tara's hand in her own.

Tara squeezed Willow's hand as Willow began to swing their arms.

They continued like that, unconsciously stepping in the exact same rhythm, their feet and arms perfectly in sync, until they arrived at Tara's house.

Tara smiled wide, turning to Willow. "Thank you for escorting me home."

Willow smiled. "You're very welcome."

Tara knew she should move to go inside, but she just stood there, looking into Willow's eyes and holding Willow's hand. "I um, I better get inside."

Willow nodded and reluctantly dropped Tara's hand. "I'll see you tommorrow."

Tara nodded. "Right... see you tommorrow."

They stood looking at eachother still, and Tara was about to turn to go into her house when Willow's arms wrapped around her neck and she felt herself being pulled into a hug. She smiled wide and wrapped her own arms around Willow, squeezing the girl slightly.

Both girls held the hug for a little too long before pulling back and smiling shyly at one another. Tara was the first to speak after the hug. "Uh... Bye Willow."

She turned and almost ran into her house, awkwardly struggling with the doorknob on the way in.

Willow smiled and hummed offkey to herself all the way home.

Continue to The Midnight Players of SHS Chapter Eight

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