Tom's Diner by Kirayoshi

Disclaimers; It's Joss Whedon's world, baby! We just try to understand it.
Rating; PG; mild angst, with a touch of hope
Tonight's episode features music by DNA with Suzanne Vega.
Feedback; Oh please! Jim_D_Means@prodigy.net
Summary; Alternate ending to New Moon Rising. Willow has to choose between Oz and Tara. But is there a third choice? Willow's POV

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Tom's Diner

Written by Kirayoshi

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I am sitting
In the morning
At the diner
On the corner
I am waiting
At the counter
For the man
To pour the coffee

I discovered Tom's Diner shortly after I moved into the dorms at UC Sunnydale. It turns out to be one of the most popular hangouts on campus, in part because it's near a cathedral. Given that the local vampires don't like to hang around religious artifacts, they tend to steer clear of cathedrals.

Ghosts and regret, they don't have that kind of courtesy. And I've had my share of both in the last few days.

And he fills it
Only halfway
And before
I even argue
He is looking
Out the window
At somebody
Coming in

I wanted to protest that my waiter hadn't given me a full cup of coffee, but he was distracted by his girlfriend (at least that's who I figure it was), when she ran in from a sudden rainstorm. Typical guy. Poopheads, every one of them.

Except Oz, and I still wasn't sure what I was going to do about him.

I pondered the rain, and had a crazy idea; what if a priest were to bless the rainclouds as they passed over Sunnydale, thereby turning every rainstorm in Sunnydale into a storm of holy water? What would that do to the vampire population?

I'm sure there's a flaw in that reasoning somewhere, if I had the time to figure it out.

"It is always
Nice to see you"
Says the man
Behind the counter
To the woman
Who has come in
She is shaking
Her umbrella

I see the waiter greeting his girlfriend with a kiss, and try not to look like I'm noticing them. I've got my own problems to face.

Oz is back. He spent time with monks in Tibet, and somehow learned to control the wolf within him. I'm happy for him, don't get me wrong, but he wants me back. And I don't want him back.

He hurt me when he left, and I don't trust him to not hurt me again. I will always love him, and cherish what we had, but that's part of my past.

And then, there's Tara.

And I look
The other way
As they are kissing
Their hellos
I'm pretending
Not to see them
Instead
I pour the milk

As I sipped my latte, I thought back to Tara. What is she to me? Spell-casting buddy? Friend? Potential lover? Goddess, I wish I knew. I'm attracted to her, I know that much, but I'm not in love with her. I know she loves me, and deserves to be loved, but I don't know if I'm that person. Man, until that vamp-me showed up in Sunnydale last year, I never thought of myself as even 'kinda gay', but now -- Ohh!

I look at the remains of my 'extra flamey' candle on the counter next to me. After saying goodbye to Oz last night, I paced outside of Tara's dorm room for a whole hour, with that stupid candle in my hands. I lit the candle, waited, tried to get up the courage to knock on the door, but I couldn't. It wasn't right, I couldn't commit myself to her. I knew that once I entered her dorm with the candle in my hands, I couldn't go back. It was a commitment, and I wasn't ready to make that commitment. So I ended up spending the night sitting here at Tom's Diner. Tom seemed to understand that I needed time alone, and let me stay overnight. Fortunately, it's open twenty-four, seven.

I open
Up the paper
There's a story
Of an actor
Who had died
While he was drinking
It was no one
I had heard of

I tried to distract myself with the paper, glancing over a byline about the new movie 'Gladiator'. Some story about how they had to shoot around Oliver Reed, who died just as his final scenes were being shot. Great, I thought, whoever Oliver Reed is. Wasn't helping my situation with Tara and Oz any.

What if I did move in with Tara? Where would that leave Buffy? She'd probably move in with Riley Finn. Oh Goddess! I can't do that to her! I have to save her from all Poopheads, foreign or domestic! It's my duty to her as best friend! I can't let her go back to him, I can't, I--

Waitaminnit! Why am I getting jealous of Riley? Sure he's a jerk for still hanging with the Initiative, even after they tried to have Buffy killed! Not to mention their responsible for Adam. I mean, he's supposed to be in love with her, and he's still siding with the Blackhats!

And I'm turning
To the horoscope
And looking
For the funnies
When I'm feeling
Someone watching me
And so
I raise my head

My horoscope read, "You don't see your answers because they are too close to you." Great. Big help that was. Maybe I should just flip a quarter; Heads, the boyfriend, tails, the girlfriend. Jeez and Crackers! What's happened to me? I'm supposed to be the rational one. The one who thinks first, the one who gets the facts, Research Girl.

Maybe that's the problem. How do you research your own heart?

I glance toward the window, and see her. Tara, standing in the rain, looking in.

There's a woman
On the outside
Looking inside
Does she see me?
No she does not
Really see me
Cause she sees
Her own reflection

I start to sink in my seat. I'm not ready to face her, not yet. Maybe not ever. That's my final clue. If I can't face her now, when I need advice, then that proves that my future is not with her. But it's not with Oz, either. Where is my future?

Then I notice she's not looking in the window, but at it. Like she's looking at her reflection in the window. She starts straightening out her clothes, but has to move her umbrella out of the way, causing her hair to get wet in the rain.

And I'm trying
Not to notice
That she's hitching
Up her skirt
And while she's
Straightening her stockings
Her hair
Is getting wet

Finished with her adjustments, Tara starts to leave. As she turns around, I notice the look on her face. Sad, quiet, reserved. Just the way she looked when I first met her.

I hear the cathedral clock tower's Westminster chime, and six low, long bells. Looks like the rain's not gonna let up. I decide to call Buffy, just to let her know that I haven't been vamped last night. She's probably going out of her head worrying about me. Goddess, she worries too much. But I guess that means she cares. I love that about her. She's always there for me, even when my screwed up spells cause her to fall for Spike or something. Going back to the dorm and seeing her is like coming home.

Coming home.

Oh, this rain
It will continue
Through the morning
As I'm listening
To the bells
Of the cathedral...

Sometimes, finding the answers seems impossible, then just by a stray thought, the whole picture falls into place. Coming home. That's what Buffy is to me, that's what I finally realize. Buffy is home to me, shelter, hearth and heart.

I am thinking
Of your voice...

"You have to follow your heart." That's what Buffy said when I asked her for advice when Oz came back. And she was right. I leave a couple of bucks on the counter, tell the waiter to keep the change, and head back to the dorm. I toss the 'extra flamey' candle into the trash. It's part of my past, and I'm concentrating on the future.

I don't care about the rain and the cold, because I know that there's someone waiting for me, someone who will make me warm again.

I am following my heart, Buffy. Back home to you.

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