the plans they made put an end to you


Tara learned to drive in order to help her family out; in Sunnydale, she hated it. Walking was natural, and it helped keep her fit, kept her body something that Willow might want, kept her arms and legs from blowing up like balloons. She always kept some weight on, but walking everywhere helped.

It's Christmas Eve. It's also a balmy twilight. She's walking out of town, a box on her hip and a suitcase in her hand.

People don't understand it being hot for Christmas Day in America. Tara still isn't used to a blue, blue sky and sweater-weather in the middle of December.

Textbooks, from UC Sunnydale, are in her box; also, a book of protective spells. She thinks, maybe, that she'll leave magic behind for a while. She thinks that maybe that's Willow's fault, but, you can't be too careful when things try to eat you.

Willow made her give up something her family tried to drum out of her. That bit they told her, about magic harboring evil, it seems a bit more believable now than it was.

Tara's not going home, as she plods slowly, one foot in front of another. That's just stupid. She's not going home.

Her bag holds dresses, the pretty ones that her daddy would never let her wear and the ones that Willow wanted her to parade around in, but never asked. Ones that make Tara, herself, feel pretty. She bought a new one, right before she bought a bus ticket Away; a Christmas present to herself, a New Year's present.

The sun is setting. She's almost to the bus station, which is good, because the suitcase is heavy, and though she did a warding spell for the undead, she's not so sure it'd hold against some of the really nasty vampires around here.

The bus station is a little ways out of town. There are faux-festive things littering the palm trees. The sun is just setting.

Tara is wearing old jeans and a sweatshirt. She thinks, maybe, she'll wear a dress tomorrow. Maybe. if she walks into another town, and it's warm enough.