Take a Moment: by lanoyee. Gen, Buffy, Tara, Dawn. A "deleted scene" , post-"Grave"; Buffy bids a friend good-bye. Spare, elegant and melancholy, it's a scene I wish had been in the show. One of the things I love best about BtVS is how unsentimental it is generally, but sometimes, what I want and what I need are one and the same; no one else can determine that for me. This story gives me both, and it honors one of the most overlooked friendships in the Buffyerse: Buffy and Tara.
lanoyee recently began transferring some of her female-centric & Buffy-centric meta from her tumblr to her LJ
[Love the ladies of the Buffyverse? Welcome home...]
"Take a Moment" was written shortly after a conversation lanoyee & I had about Buffy & Tara in particular, i.e. Why doesn't anyone talk about their relationship? About Tara's role in Buffy's story? Because it's not something I need to fanwank out of thin air, or squint to see: It's right there onscreen; they have a connection to one another that Buffy never shares with Anya, or at least until "Selfless" brings the "Xander's Lie" arc full circle. pocochina thankfully mentions their connection in her 2011 meta character study of Tara, summing it up in quick, vivid strokes in just two paragraphs.
I'd call Buffy & Tara my OTF (one true friendship) except that's bullshit: aside from Buffy being my favorite character in the 'verse (and possibly in fiction, period) when it comes to this show, I may prefer certain things but I don't "OT_" anything. But FUFAW (Favorite Underappreciated Friendship Among Women) is pretty unwieldy, and sound like either a disease or something two cats would do in an alley.
Tara may not get a lot of time on the show, and she and Buffy rarely interact directly but she plays a key or essential role in some of the best episodes of the series, and when she does, she not only sings, she soars: "Hush", which both mirrors and flips Buffy and Willow's first encounters in "WTTH"; "Who are You", in which she is the only character to realize that Faith isn't really Buffy, and she's never even met Buffy before; "Restless", as a dream guide to Buffy her connection to Dawn, as a sister, becomes explicit; "Family" begins with Buffy verbally committing to protect Dawn from Glory after learning that Dawn isn't "real", and ends with Buffy and Dawn protecting Tara from the Maclays and naming her as one of their own: "Who do you think you are?" / "We're family." (I recently rewatched that episode waiting for a conversation between Buffy and Tara at the end at Tara's birthday party, and was shocked to realize it wasn't in the episode at all, but rather from snowpuppies's fic "Here Comes the Sun" )
Speaking the words: "family" "sisters" "Summers blood" makes the commitment as physical and as real as mixing her own blood with Dawn's in BT.
Not in blood alone, but in bond.
The relationships between the women of the Buffyverse aren't an afterthought, something set to the side, they are absolutely central to it; and unlike most tv and movies shows I grew up with, the women of the Buffyverse don't relate only to the men, who in contrast enjoy rich friendships with one another. (Remember the popularity of the "buddy movie" esp in the 1980's?) That, for me, is one of the strengths of the Buffyverse. The women matter, and they matter to one another, as literal and metaphorical mothers, sisters, daughters, rivals, friends, and allies. They love, and choose to love, even when it's painful and difficult to do so.
And this may be behind my frustration or impatience with Angel, Riley and Giles. Yes, they have to leave, yes I get it, blah blah bitty blah. They can't stand the "fire" of love, so they get out of the kitchen, out of "women's space" literally and figuratively. I could devote an entire meta just to "Joyce's kitchen" as symbol of the Mother Principal, of Mater. The room where Buffy fights to protect Joyce in "Angel" and "Ted", where they have their worst fight in "Becoming Pt 2", where Joyce reaffirms her admiration and pride in Buffy in "Helpless", is also the room we associate with Tara's pancakes, and Spike fights for Buffy in "Touched". (The Mother Principle is not about literal gender.) It means something. They "chose" Mater and reaffirm the importance of love - raw, real, and messy love in all it's aspects, not the illusion of "romance". They bear witness to one another: you're important. You matter. I love you. I believe in you. Yes you fucked up, but you can do better next time. I understand you - or maybe I don't, but I can offer you comfort.
It's why we don't see Angel and Riley in the final battle in "Chosen" nor should we. It's why Giles absolutely has to "bend his knee" to the Warrior of the People, the Queen - and thank the stars that she is a benevolent one - if he expects to stand next to Buffy at the end. Or rather, behind her, in the final scene.
And it's one reason - of many - why Tara's absence in "Chosen" hurts so deeply; she earned the right to be there. Not as Willow's lover, not as a "perfect, faultless human being" (which she isn't, despite the tendency to canonize her as saint), and not even as Buffy's friend but as a powerful woman in her own right.
If I don't go into the politics overmuch here it's because I have a LOT more to say on the subject and am saving it for the moment; but also because it's dominated the discussion re: Tara for over ten years. Rage or silence and little in between the two. If I focus on her death, then I fail to celebrate her life, and it's worth celebrating. Her very existence as the first three-dimensional lesbian character in a realistic lesbian relationship is worth celebrating. And deserves a much better legacy than shameful silence and lack of any such characters that still exists - or rather, doesn't exist - in US television ten years later.
As long as we share her story she'll never lack for mourners and lovers, but if we fail to do so then she "dies", utterly and completely.