Black Magic Woman
Author: M. Jade
Summary: Giles reflects on Willow's relationship with Tara
Rating: PG
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Spoilers: Everything up to "New Moon Rising"
Feedback: Sock it to me, but no flames, 'kay?
Disclaimers: Not Joss.  Never have been never will be
Distribution: Um... ask?
Notes: This takes place BEFORE Willow confirms that Tara is her girlfriend, but assume Giles suspects.

Of all of the members of the so-called Scooby Gang, it seems to be Willow who surprises me the most.  Of the others, I generally get what I've come to expect over the years I've spent with them, but with Willow it is different.  I can still recall the first time she shocked me outright.  It was when she offered to do the Ritual of Soul Restoration for Angel just before he summoned Acathla.  I had never expected for Willow to get involved in magic, but that appears to be my dear Jenny's legacy.  I was adamantly against it at first, but Willow would have none of it, so she eventually became a witch, much to my own chagrin.  The second time I was surprised by the hacker was when I came face to face with her double last year.  To see that side of her was truly extraordinary.  I will never be able to look at Willow the same after that.  The latest addition to my ever-growing list came this past February in the form of a fellow witch named Tara.

It really should not phase me to see Willow drawn to another witch, but it does.  When the girls came into my apartment that day, I was practically floored, but I couldn't bloody well admit it, now could I?  The matter that was at hand was far too important to ignore, especially for something so petty.  And when they announced that they had already found the way to switch Buffy and Faith, I might was well have died.  It seemed that Tara had found all the answers and I, once again, had nothing.  Bloody hell.  The librarian out done, once again.  There seems to be a lot of that going around these days.  A short time later, Willow confirmed that Tara had been told all about our little arrangement, and I turned into some blasted git.  I know it's not my place to tell her how to act, but I don't like the idea of Willow telling our secret to some girl she barely knows.

I was well aware that Willow had been wanting to get more involved with the higher magics for some time, and this Tara has certainly encouraged her.  I even offered to help and train Willow myself in some capacity, but now that is now a faded memory.  Now there's only Tara.  I think it's great that someone can see Willow's potential and so obviously appreciates it.  I think it's bloody marvelous.  If I have taught the group anything in my time as Watcher, it's that magic is not something to be trifled with.  My own youthful indiscretions make that point clear enough.  It's not as if I don't appreciate the help Willow's magic as been to all of us, or that I don't recognize her potential.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  What bothers me is that I don't know what those two have done yet.  What spells they've attempted.  I'm sure that if I dare to ask any questions, Willow will tell me that I'm overreacting, taking things too seriously and perhaps she's right.  She's told me more than once that I'm too overprotected when it comes to her and the others.  Maybe I am.  I was, after all, the one who allowed them to get involved in this mess in the first place.  Doesn't that mean that I'm responsible for her and for them?

It's fairly clear that Tara has feelings for Willow.  You can see it in the way she looks at her, and it seems that perhaps Willow returns those feelings.  I'm not sure of it yet, but their relationship could perhaps go that way.  After being so hurt by Oz's hasty departure last November, our Willow appears to be moving on, but not in the direction we expected.  None of the others really seem to notice it, or perhaps they don't want to admit the possibility, but I do.  If and when everything comes out, I'll probably have pretend that I know nothing because I'm not supposed to know these things, but I have seen the truth.  It's a side of Willow we haven't necessarily seen before, but it's there all the same and I'm not sure the others are prepared for it.  I'm not even sure I'm prepared for it.  And it's all thanks to Tara.  That didn't sound bitter, did it?  And certainly not jealous!  Not when it comes to Willow.  No.  Certainly not.

The one thing that terrifies me the most is that no one, not even Willow herself, knows all that much about Tara's background.  It's sketchy at best, and I don't like that.  When one lives on a Hellmouth, its pertanat that he or she stays en guard at all times, that one watches those who are around them.  Especially when it comes to matters of the heart, where we are the most vulnerable.  I do hope, for Willow's sake, that Tara has the best of intentions when it comes to her, and so far I have not seen anything that would testify otherwise, so I wait.  For what or why I have no idea, but I do it all the same.

I think Willow sees Tara as a representation of a side of herself that is still emerging.  Tara is a combination of all the new thoughts and emotions that Willow has been experiencing as of late.  A side away from computers, books, and her Slayerette duties.  Of all of us, it is Willow who has changed the most in the time I've been aquatinted with the Slayer and her Slayerettes.  I can smile now as I look back on to the shy, reserved young girl I met in what feels like a lifetime ago.  That girl who tentatively peeked into my library that day those three short years ago is now gone, metamorphasized into the much stronger, more independent woman we see today.  Perhaps Tara is what completes Willow's transformation.  Only time will tell what kind of Willow we will be left with in the end.

The thought that really strikes me now is why I should be so concerned, and believe me when I say that I am, terribly so.  The point of the matter is that I am most assuredly not Willow's father, teacher, mentor, or…anything else to her.  I am merely a wise old retired librarian, and that is it.  I honestly don't know why I worry about Willow the way I do.  Willow is a grown woman who can make her own decisions without me to step in there for her.  There are no signs or portents that there is anything wrong with her relationship with Tara, and yet here I am, acting like some jabbering prat, or rather feeling like one.  It's certainly not a topic I'm going to bring up for debate.  The thing about waiting for signs, however, is that they tend show up when one's already too far gone to do anything about it.  When it comes to Willow or any of the others, I don't want to make a habit out of waiting that long to do something.  So I wait, as a wise old friend should, and worry like some git.  Bloody fabulous, isn't it?

I might as well face it.  I'm being a bloody fool, and a rather bad one at that.  Oh, bugger it.  I won't deny that I don't like any of it, and I'm growing tired of making any pretense of that.  Of course, when it comes to the little group I've surrounded myself with, they've never taken the Watcher's opinion on anything outside of prophesy and obscure demonology, and they're even outgrowing that as it is.  I was right when I told Ethan that I was an old relic.  Maybe Tara is just a painful reminder of how out of the loop and unnecessary I am these days.  That has to be the reason for it, right?  I have no logical reason to be this hostile towards Tara, no excuse for feeling this way.  Do I?  So what if Willow is getting closer to her?  So what if Willow is spending more of her time with her?  So what if Willow is falling in love with her?  Damn.


Sequel: The Bloody Hell Factor

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