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Willow was curled into her bed, the blanket pulled over her head keeping the world away. She reached under her pillow, pulling an off white nightgown up to her chest, clutching it protectively. It had been a gift from Tara to Willow, a gift for no reason but that Tara had liked it for her love. It was early on in their relationship, and Willow thought of how shy Tara had been when Willow opened the gift bag, how deeply crimson Tara’s cheeks flushed when the intimate garment was removed. Willow had worn it for a week until it became too chilly for night dresses. Over the next month Tara had learned that her Willow was a pajamas kind of girl, and had purchased a cute set of matching top and bottoms with penguins ice skating their way across the thick blue fabric.

Hiding her hands behind her back, Tara approached the bed where Willow lay watching with her head propped in her hand. With a shy smile and knowing eyes, Tara brought her hands forward displaying the fuzzy sleep set neatly folded and tied with a ribbon, “This is a replacement gift.”

With a slight frown of concern, Willow spoke as she sat upright, “Oh baby, I love the nightgown, it’s just brrr cold at night,” Willow gave a mock shiver for emphasis.

Tara sat next to her on the bed, placing the new pajamas in her lap, “Darling, I love you for trying to spare my feelings, but it was wrong for you.” Tara hurried forward, knowing Willow was about to protest, “I had only known you for a little while then, now I know you better. And I want you as you are, no pretense, not even jammie pretense.” Tara’s warm smile was adorably crooked as she placed the gift into Willow’s hand.

Caressing the soft fleece with her fingertips, Willow felt a peacefulness settle in, the type that comes from being known and cherished for it. Tara knew her so well. “Thanks, Baby. But you should keep the nightgown.”

Tara rolled her eyes good naturedly, “Will, you’re much smaller than me, it would be like a tank top on me.” Willow met dancing blue eyes with her slightly darkening greens and with a small smirk wagged her eyebrows comically.  Tara giggled and lightly slapped her girlfriend’s arm; at the same time pressing her body against Willows. She smiled, and admired her love through a heavy lidded gaze, “Vixen”

“I’m only a little smaller than you,” Willow smiled, “Well except here,” the backs of small fingers caressed the sides of Tara’s breasts. The smile slipped into a naughty grin.

“And,” she continued, “the thought of you in that nightie, just a little too tight, just snug enough here…” Willow's hands drifted forward as her thumbs lightly caressed Tara’s tightening nipples.

Willow remembered how her love’s breath had caught, how her eyes had darkened and her voice grew husky, “I’ll go put it on.”

It had remained Willow’s favorite nightgown.

Willow pulled the garment to her nose, inhaling Tara’s scent deeply as her body started to tremble with sorrow. Shaking the thoughts out, Willow forced a deep inhale to ease her weeping. The pain was too much, and Willow was determined to make it go away. She tried to convince herself that Tara would be back. That she would come around, understand.

Willow deeply regretted hurting her love, but it’d been a mistake. The spell wasn’t supposed to have gone that way. Tara had just been scared; Tara was always scared of big magic. But Willow wasn’t. And as much as she loved Tara, she didn’t want to be afraid of this power she had, power she wielded with intelligence and cunning. Willow believed herself smart and responsible enough to know how to use the magic wisely. The big gun, remember? So she would give Tara space and welcome her back with open arms when she came around. It hurt, no, it tortured, seeing Tara leave. God, that look in her eyes.

But maybe, Willow considered, it was good to take some space. For the first time in her life, Willow felt important, needed. Necessary. So why is Tara holding me back? Why doesn’t she see that I am finally powerful enough to be useful? That I like being able to do things, help, fix things? That’s what a Scooby does.

As if solidifying her identity, Willow reached under the bed and pulled out a large tome titled Transmutation, Shapeshifting, and Other Forms of Metamorphosis. It was a title she had ‘borrowed’ from the Magic Box, picked up during the Halloween rush and stowed away into her book bag. It was one of those books, Willow thought with a roll of her eyes; kept away from prying amateur eyes. She was no amateur, not anymore; no matter what Giles had so hurtfully called her. Realizing that she no longer needed to hide the book, Willow let a small but satisfied grin cross her lips as she mentally decided where on the bookcase it would live.

The spells were intense and involved and they fascinated the witch. Her mind churned with ideas for adapting, strengthening, and focusing each one she read. A small scratch and an even smaller squeak pulled Willow away from her studies. With a start she realized she hadn’t fed Amy in over a day. Leaping off the bed, she pulled the rat food from atop her dresser and poured some into Amy’s bowl. The rat squeaked furiously as she dug her nose in before the food was done pouring, small pellets burying the whiskered nose.

“Guess you were hungry, huh? Sorry I forgot you, it’s been a really crazy few, well, weeks really. And not even Hellmouth crazy really, just people-drama crazy. Sometimes I envy you being a rat, you little shapeshifter-“

Willow froze. She pulled the spell book from her bed and flipped to the desired section looking for the undo part of transmutation. Apparently, people weren’t too concerned about changing things back, because, nothing. Willow’s eyes widened as she reached the final page of the chapter, with a note to check the addendum at the back of the book for variations and reparations. Finding the needed pages, Willow looked at Amy with a wide smile. “This will work.”