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Missing You

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Giles dropped by the Summers' house early in the morning. As he approached he could hear a voice barking commands in the backyard. Kennedy was training the Potentials.

When Giles stepped into the front hall Willow was there — and she nearly jumped out of her skin.

"Oh! Hi Giles!" she said, wide-eyed and skittish. "What's going on?"

"Nothing. Just checking in. Everything all right?" he asked, concerned.

"Peachy! Peachy as an impending apocalypse can be," she replied with a tight smile.

"I might help myself to some coffee, what they have at the hotel is ghastly. Do you want one?"

She shook her head. "I don't want to get jittery," she explained, clearly jittery.

"Right," Giles nodded, still concerned, but headed to the kitchen without saying anything else.

Willow wandered around the house by herself, room to room, as if looking for someone, someone who wasn't there. She even checked the basement. When she found it dark and empty as anyone else would have expected it to be she fought back tears. She grew frustrated with herself. "So stupid," she muttered.

When she came back upstairs Giles was drinking his coffee at the kitchen island. Willow took a deep breath and sat down with him.

"I kinda lied just now," she confessed. "Not so peachy actually."

Giles fixed her with a worried look.

She continued quietly, "I... I’ve been seeing Tara. I mean, the First as Tara.”

“Are you all right?”

“Yeah, it’s not bad,” she said, reassuring. “Mostly, I see her — it — when I wake up, just lying besides me and smiling. Or, I walk into the bathroom and she’s there, brushing her hair. And she just looks at me, and fades away.” Willow paused. “It’s been nice,” she added quietly, almost ashamed of herself.

“It’s been going on for a while, hasn’t it?” Giles asked, a little distant.

Willow nodded. “A few weeks. But these past couple of days I haven’t seen her, and… it’s the dumbest thing… I know it’s the First… but I miss her.”

“I know how you feel…"

Willow looked at Giles curiously. He didn't seem to notice, he avoided her gaze.

"I’ve been seeing Jenny,” he said softly. “Or just almost seeing her, actually. Every now and then she’s leaving the room just as I come in. And I hear her sometimes. She sounds so close…”

“You really want to see her, don’t you? Even though you know it’s not her.” 

Giles nodded.

“Does it make you feel…” Willow said tentatively, “Does it make you feel like… if we lost… it might not be so bad, because then you might see her, really see her again?”

Giles didn't say anything, he just looked at her, and Willow knew he felt the same as she did.

“I guess that’s what it wants,” Willow said.

“I guess.”