fic: you have to go on living so one of us is living – btvs – tara mcclay

Winter’s snow had fallen quietly to the ground, icicles crunched softly beneath the pretty blonde’s feet as she walked towards what looked to be a large building resembling that of a hotel in the near distance. Drawing in a breath and tightening her coat about her slender yet slightly curvy frame, she stuffed her freezing hands into the deep pockets of her long winter’s coat and continued to trudge on into the darkness. Her cheeks were rosy from the cold wind, her lips chapped, and she was shivering and doing her best to think of anything else but that.

As she approached the building, she realized that her assumptions had been right along and it was a hotel. A small smile crossed her delicate features as she cast her eyes downward eyeing the ground in front of her and the small clumps of snow that were now being squished beneath her feet. Was she imagining things or had she just found herself following another lonely trail of desperate footsteps leading to warmth just within the reach of those walls?

Though she wore a nice warm inviting smile on her face, the young blond carried a weight of sorrow and grief behind her blue eyes. It wasn’t as easy as it looked; always having to be the one to shoulder the burden of something that was beyond her own personal control. It wasn’t easy to know that she lived with the constant threat of who she really was lingering just beneath her skin, gnawing at her bones, and rattling her from the inside out.

She wasn’t really supposed to be here, yet she couldn’t figure out how she came to be, when the light had flashed and she found herself wandering alone down a long dark and deserted highway leading her towards the very hotel building she was now standing in front of hesitating before ascending the stairs that would lead her inside to warmth and a modicum of comfort she supposed.

The truth was, Tara Maclay, had died six years ago when a bullet had pierced her skin, entering her heart and setting about a chain of events that even she couldn’t believe would follow in the wake of her own death. Now, she was only left with the haunting memories that clouded her mind and filled her body with an aching sorrow bone-deep and stretching the whole canvas of her being, not to mention was all too confusing as hell.

She’d seen power, she’d seen the dead resurrected before, hell she had even participated in the ritual but now things were so different – she was different – and that’s why she needed to shed the old Tara and become a newer version of herself. No one would really know her here and it looked like the perfect place for her to re-invent who she was and possibly meet new people along the road to a higher plane of self-discovery.

Shaking the snow out of her hair, she ascended the last step as she stood in front of the door. One hand resting on the knob as if to turn it and walk inside to make her presence known, while the other one came up shaking the snowflakes that had fallen into her hair free from their confinement and sent them cascading down her heavy wool winter’s coat.

Tara drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, as she turned the knob and stepped inside quietly.

“Hello,” her voice echoed all around her as she was met with faint darkness and the small glow of a light ghosting over what looked to be a check-in desk off to her right. It looked quite nice and felt warm as well or well a lot warmer than she had been outside a few moments before. Still though, there was something in the air around her that left it feeling a bit haunted in that hollowed out and abandoned sort of way.

She was about to give up and step back outside to continue on her journey, until she saw a strange figure approaching from her left. Panic filled her senses for a second and she found herself stepping backwards slightly away from it, until she realized it was just a man inquiring as to if she’d be staying for the night and she nodded as she stuttered, “Y-yes, sir.”

She hadn’t done that in a while, which felt a bit odd and sort of out of place for her. It had taken her quite a while to get her head wrapped around the fact that she had been dead and now she was alive and back amongst the living. Everyone that she loved or had ever cared for had no clue that she was back and that it was tied to some pretty wicked magics.

The strange man interrupted her flow of thoughts once more as he motioned for her to follow him just over to the desk, so that she could sign in, get her key, and begin to settle into her room for the night. As she complied with his wishes, Tara found herself wondering aloud if anyone else was staying here for the night or if she was just the one and only. Shrugging her shoulders, she took the key that he offered to her and began to make way toward the stairs that she had seen a little off to the left.

The narrow corridor and hallways were dark, but illuminated with just enough of a flicker of light that she was able to see her way there. Once inside, she shrugged off her winter coat and toed off her shoes. There was a bit of chill in the damp air, so she opted to keep her sweater on instead of pulling it off, thanking the Goddess above that she had the good sense and decency to dress in layers.
Her room was pretty simple and kept up in a neat and orderly disarray of comfort much to her own standards of housekeeping. She spied off to her right, a small to medium-sized bookshelf filled to the brim with various books on magic, ritualistic customs and spells, anything pertaining to telekinesis and people’s aura’s. In a small drawer to the left as she pulled it open and peered inside, Tara saw there were little bottles of different powders, a few vials of what looked to be potions in them, and some other little magical elements such as crystals, a moonstone, various other stones, and other magical elementals used to implement spells and things of that nature.

As she closed the drawer quietly, she began to survey the rest of her surroundings. The room came equipped and furnished with everything that she would need, various articles of clothing had been found hanging in the closet, at the end of her bed there was a heavy oak chest filled with the rest of whatever magical elements and supplies that she would need, a lamp set on top of a small nightstand just to the left of the bed tucked away in a corner of the room and a picture of someone she’d long since thought she’d ever see again was hidden away inside another small drawer – a picture that hurt every fiber of her being to look at.

It was buried inside that darkness, as if to say that’s what you do when someone dies. You bury them. But this person wasn’t dead, Tara had been dead, and now she was alive again. This person still believed she was dead and Tara wasn’t going to give them the opportunity to do anything to rectify those thoughts if the notion took them and she knew that it would – she had been a willing participant the last time it had happened and she had vowed after that she would no longer ever be a participant again.

As she stepped back away from the mirror, where she saw the image before herself she whispered quietly to no one and someone in particular, “I know now, what I must do.”

Yes, this was just the place she needed to be, a place where she could learn how to re-invent herself and possibly those around her. And she was just about to set off to do just that, by doing a little light exploring as she went off in search of a late night snack, before settling in for a nice long rest.

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