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Pretend You're Not There

Title: Pretend You're Not There
Words: 500
Setting: BTVS S3 and S4
Character: Tara
Pairing: Willow/Tara
Rating: PG-13

Small town life meant accusatory glares, distasteful name-calling, rude gestures, and occasional violent incidents.
Small town life meant everyone knew your secrets, maybe even better than you knew them for yourself.
Small town life meant that she was the freak, the demon, the witch, the lesbian.
Small town life meant that when she got the letter in the mail that she’d been accepted to the University of California at Sunnydale with a full merit based scholarship, that letter in her hand was her ticket to absolute freedom. Freedom from being the object of shame and of scorn and of amusement.

---

Tara hunched over her textbook as the digital clock blinked a number closer to midnight, as she futilely attempted to cram the Chemistry 101 into her brain, but the information just wouldn’t sink in. Maybe if her roommate would stop talking on the phone.

“Uh-huh… oh yeah! Totally… he’s a total hottie and he’s definitely into me.” She popped her gum. “Oh… really? Your roomie sounds like... so cool! …Her? She’s… I dunno… kinda freaky I guess. She doesn’t really talk… so she’s kind of like a piece of furniture.”

Tara packed up her book and headed for the library.

---

Don’t move. Don’t do anything. Just pretend you’re asleep. Don’t pull the covers over your head, don’t cough at the smell, they think they’re having a private moment.

Tara lay facing the wall her eyes closed as if that would block out the sound of the act of intimacy going on not five feet away from her bed. She’d been about to fall asleep, when roommate and nameless faceless boy toy number six this semester walked into the room, completely mid-smooch and fell in a mess of limbs onto the bed. So she just lay there pretending to be asleep.

---

As Tara sat on the back porch of Vaughne’s house she noted how summer in Sunnydale was exactly like winter. Warm and sunny, but with news of the high school getting blown up, but as May turned to June and June turned to July the news faded like the clouds scuttling across the sky.


She was a good houseguest, she made up her bed, didn’t leave dishes around, and kept to herself. Occasionally there would be some talk of magic, but then it’d just go back to her alone, just like the school year, just the way she liked it.

---

A lazy Friday night, everyone else in the dorm was out partying or something, so that left Tara alone in the common room, snacking out of a bag of kettle corn and watching a video. Normally when she watched a video, she knew what was happening, not tonight.

She thought about the red-haired girl she saw at the Wicca group orientation. She thought about how she’d bumped into her in the student center earlier that day. She thought about how sad her eyes looked despite her smile and bubbly nature.

She thought that she didn’t want to be unseen anymore.