The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper (conclusion posted 12/20)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 6:51 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:19 pm
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Location: The Netherlands
Hello everyone. I hope you won't think me terribly presumptuous by posting a story so close to me joining the boards. You see, this story was written as a birthday present for a friend of mine that's an avid lurker here. She's been bugging me to write a Willow/Tara story a long time now. And I simply ran out of excuses. :) 'Well, I don't know the characters all that well'. 'No time'. 'No story idea'. I even tried 'Well, I broke my wrist'. Of course, seeing we were on MSN at the time, that wasn't a very smart excuse to use. After watching the Frighteners, I got an idea to work with and finally wrote a story. Happy birthday Em. I just made it in time. :)

Title - Don't fear the Reaper.

Chapter 1 : Always look on the bright side of Death.

Author name - Useful_Oxymoron

Email Address - Viernadevir@hotmail.com

Rating - PG-13. Just to be on the safe side. Contains some violent imagery. Humor about death isn't everybody's cup of tea either.

Disclaimer - Well, I don't own Willow or Tara. If I did, I wouldn't have made certain... questionable decisions in the later seasons. In any case, Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy own these characters and I don't intend to make any money off them.

Spoilers - Some tiny references season 1 through 5. Otherwise, nothing.

Feedback- Is cool. It'd be nice to know somebody reads the crap I write.

Summary- This is a contemporary Uber Story. Tara is a young Grim Reaper in training, who gets her very first solo assignment: to end the life of a young Computer Sciences student. But will she be able to go through with it? Features Buffy characters, but there's no Slayers, Demons, Hellmouths, etc, etc. I thought Buffy and friends deserved a break. Only supernatural creatures are the Reapers.

Notes- Influences for this story: The wonderful film The Frighteners (which everybody should see), lighty Dead Like Me, Terry Patchett and the Blue Oyster Cult.

One more thing. Em is usually my beta for these kinds of stories. But showing it to her in advance would kinda defeat the purpose of a surprise birthday-present. I think I got most by reading/re-reading/re-re-reading and the notespad spellchecker. But seeing I'm not a native speaker, there might be some things I missed. I apologize for that in advance, though it makes me very nervous to post.

Italics are thoughts.

[hr]
Don't Fear the Reaper
Chapter 1 : Always look on the bright side of Death.

Young Tara Maclay and her mentor stood on top of the roof of the Arrival and Departure Hall at LAX, watching the activity on the tarmac below. The young Harvester-in-training looked back and forth between the figure standing beside of her and the unsuspecting people working non-stop on prepping planes to fly off into the wild blue yonder, so to speak. Except that the yonder was actually more smoggy than stark blue. This was LA, after all.

In the moonlight, her mentor, an older cynical Reaper who went by the name of Mort, struck a classical pose. His magic black cloak billowed around him with every move he made, while the light of the moon reflected off the blade of his scythe. Most of his face was covered by his dark hood, save for his mouth and chin. The yellow glowing runes stitched along the rim of his hood lit up slightly, contrasting with his pale white skin. In the six months that Tara had been his apprentice, she had never, ever seen more of his face than what she was seeing now.

Tara's own cloak wasn't such a perfect fit. It was slightly too big, and kept slipping underneath her feet when she walked. She also had trouble keeping her hood from falling in front of her eyes. After adjusting her hood yet again, Tara looked back the people boarding their planes. They were the lucky ones today. These were not the ones the Powers-That-Be needed to have harvested.

"Tara!" the voice of Mort brought Tara back to the reality of the day. "Pay attention."

"S-sorry," Tara replied softly.

"Don't worry," Mort said. "It's been a long day. We'll call it a night as soon as we're finished here. Ah, there we are," he said and pointed his scythe at flight NorthWest 255.

Flight NW255, a 737 Boeing filled to the brim with travellers from all over the world travelling to Detroit City, had just left the runway and was starting to take off.

Tara watched Mort as he pointed his scythe to the plane. The blade was suddenly engulfed with a dark red glow. The Harvester-in-training looked back at the plane and saw the power of the Scythe at work.

Suddenly, the mother trying to quiet her crying child, the already air-sick man hurling into an air-sickness bag, the stewardess trying to calm a rather noisy passenger complaining about the lack of leg-room in first class, the two newlyweds getting ready to celebrate their honeymoon... all were consumed by a gigantic fireball that lit up the night sky.

Tara flinched for a moment and looked away.

Death by freak engine failure.

Panic ensued below on the tarmac as a fiery rain of torn and twisted metal returned to the earth.

"You see?" Mort smiled at Tara. "A simple manipulation of the engine and the whole damn thing comes crashing down. Minimal amount of work, maximum results. Technology is Death's best friend."

"D-do we collect the souls now?" Tara asked.

Mort nodded. The two Reapers glided down onto the tarmac and slowly made their way to the crash-site in the distance. Tara already saw the first souls hovering above the ground in the distance. Small, blue orbs of energy, fragile and confused. The young Harvester-in-training put away her scythe and took out a small container. She gently took the first soul in both hands and carefully placed it inside the container, where it would be safe.

She knew her mentor was a bit less concerned with these pleasantries. Tara saw him snatching up soul after soul and jamming them into his container. But Tara preferred to handle these fragile remains with the respect she felt they deserved.

Tara moved among the shattered wreckage of the plane. But to Tara, this was not the site of a tragedy. There was no sadness, no remorse. Death had been part of her entire life since she was born, and she had seen far worse than this. As for the passengers, the Powers-That-Be had decided that it had been their time, simple as that. The Reapers were just doing their job. And now, it was their duty to gather these souls and make sure they would reach the afterlife they deserved, be it good or bad.

She could hear the sirens of the rescue vehicles, but she did not let it disturb her. Her magical cloak had made her body ethereal. They would never know that she and Mort were even here. This power, to be ethereal and walk among the mortals without being seen, was a necessity, since people tended to run away screaming when confronted with impending Death. Mortals were odd that way.

Tara and Mort continued collecting the souls, while firemen and rescue workers were putting out the fires and held the futile hope to find any survivors. Tara still instinctively avoided the rescue-workers as they passed nearby, but Mort simply remained where he was, even letting the rescue workers walk right through him. Tara shuddered at the thought. She could never get used to the strange feeling of people walking right through her and prevented it whenever she could.

"Alright, Tara, let me see your container," Mort said and took it from the younger Reaper. He fished a list from the inside of his cloak and checked the containers. "Yes, all there. Alright, Tara. Why don't you go home? Rest up for tomorrow. I'll bring the souls we collected today to the Head Office."

Tara smiled and was grateful that Mort was finally letting her go home. She was really feeling tired. Mort faded out of being. Tara took out her own scythe again and concentrated, thinking of her home. Seconds later, she materialized in front of her apartment building. She moved to her front door, and pulled back her hood, causing her to phase into normal reality. Tara struggled with her keys for a moment, and went inside.

---

Goddess, what a day, Tara sighed as she closed the door behind her. She tossed her cloak over the couch and put her scythe into the umbrella-stand. After reflecting on the stern lecture that Mort would give her if he knew that she'd treat the 'symbol of her trade' in such a disrespectful manner, she plopped down on the couch and rested her head on the pillow.

Three car-crashes, two heart-attacks, a gang-war, five domestic accidents, two drownings, one very messy shark-attack, two teens that had cleverly decided to take up bus-surfing and then that airplane at the end, Tara thought, all these deaths directly or indirectly instigated by Mort.

Her stomach groaned in protest. It had been a long time since the quick bite off a sandwich she had for lunch in between harvests.

Tara forced herself to get up from the couch and looked into the fridge. Sadly, Mort had been keeping her so busy lately that she hadn't been able to do proper grocery shopping all week. The only thing remotely edible in her fridge was a small packet of noodles and the half empty cup of yoghurt she'd started yesterday. She tossed the noodles into the microwave and, after making sure the yoghurt hadn't gone bad, ate the whole packet in record time.

After hearing a satisfying 'ping', Tara claimed the noodles and returned to the couch to feast.

Stale yoghurt, lukewarm noodles and a scythe in the umbrella-stand, Tara thought. Tara Maclay, this is your life.

But she supposed she shouldn't complain. It was she herself that requested training as a Harvester. She had been a Collector for two years before she had started her apprenticeship under Mort.

As long as there had been humans, there had been Reapers. Reapers existed for the sole reason of ending the lives of the mortals, and making sure that their souls would pass on to the appropriate afterlife. In the early days, all Reapers acted on the orders of the Powers-That-Be. They would point out which mortals were to die, and the Reapers would carry out these orders.

But, as the human population on Earth grew more and more, it became painfully obvious that the Reapers couldn't keep up. So the Reapers were divided into two groups : Collectors and Harvesters. By then it had become obvious that humans themselves were a lot more efficient in ending lives than the Reapers. The Collectors would live among humans, and gather the souls of humans that had come to an unfortunate end due to natural causes. These were natural causes in the broadest sense of the word, since war, sickness and violence of any kind had a way of quite 'naturally' ending the life of fragile humans.

But Harvesters... an entirely different kind of Reaper altogether. Every day, the Powers-That-Be handed the higher ups at the Head Office a list of those people whose time had come, and which had to be removed from the world of the living immediately. Thus, the Harvesters had a role on the field of Death that was much more active. Something that she wanted to be.

No, Tara shook her head. It's something I have to be. Her father's wishes for her had been crystal clear.

And Mort drove her very hard. The past few months she had observed as Mort studied each case carefully and sought out the most appropriate method of death. Then it was a simple matter of using the powers of the scythe to close the trap and end the life of the person whose time had come, gather up the soul and deliver it at the head office at the end of the day. Of course, it sounded a lot easier than it actually was.

She finished her noodles and put the empty packet on the coffee table, right next a thin brown file-folder containing the assignment that Mort had hand-picked for her. Her very first solo assignment, something of a graduation after all those months of arduous training.

For some reason, she afraid to look. She thought it was just nerves. After all, this solo assignment was the culmination of months of hard work and long hours. But at the moment, she was hungry, she was tired and she was nervous.

A knock on the door broke her train of thoughts. She wondered who it could be and opened the door quickly.

"Hey, T," a pleasant greeting brought Tara back to reality. She had not expected her friend Faith to be at door, but offered her a genuine smile. She noticed that Faith bore her cloak very well, better than Tara did.

"Faith," Tara smiled. "Hi, c-come in."

Tara went back to the couch, while Faith closed the door behind her. As Faith, usually did, she headed straight for the kitchen to raid Tara's fridge.

"Ugh," Faith called from the kitchen, finding the pickings slim today. "T, you're out of beer!"

Though Tara didn't drink, she usually kept a sixpack in the fridge just in case Faith would drop in. Faith had drank the last beer she had five days ago during her last visit, and Tara hadn't had the time to buy a new sixpack. Or any food for that matter.

Looking slightly disappointed, Faith strolled back into Tara's small living room. She went to the seat opposite to the couch and flipped up the back of her cloak before sitting down and crossed her legs in a lotus position.

"Faith," Tara smiled, grateful to see a friend. Actually, her only friend. "How are you? I didn't know you were back yet."

"Oh, five by five. Delivered my souls at the Head Office an hour ago," Faith smiled sardonically. "Got a busy week of slacking off to look forward too."

"How was your assignment?"

"Fun," Faith grinned. "Imagine a bunch of slack-jawed yokels, dumb as a rock and twice as ugly. Now imagine those same slack-jawed yokels standing next to a whole armory filled to the brim with guns and ammo. You should have seen that one guy Cletus. I sorta used scythe-powers to zap him stupid. Well, stupider than he already was, anyway. He threw the pin away and held on to the grenade. Oh, T, you should have seen the look on his face. He was staring at the grenade in his hand with his mouth wide open and even drooling a bit. It was hilarious. Redneck gun-nut parties. Gotta love 'em."

"You know," Tara started to say, "I think you might be enjoying your job a little too much."

"Nah," Faith said. "Life's short if you can't see the funny side of death, T. Like that hick that fired off a couple of rounds in victory celebration while holding his gun backwards. But enough about yours truly. Has 'Morty the Mortician' been keeping you busy?"

"Don't call him that," Tara said.

"Why not?"

"It's just tacky..."

"Oh, come on," Faith shrugged. "He's just the typical fun-hating, 'live-for-your-job-and-nothing-else'-type. He's been keeping you so busy you haven't been able to buy beer for your best friend. I mean, that's just wrong, T."

Tara nodded. "It's a lot of w-work, but I'm learning from the b-best."

"I still say Spike is a better Reaper. At least he knows how to have fun," Faith said, referring to the mentor that had trained her. Spike had the reputation of being a very creative Harvester. He had managed to harvest the soul of a man living in the penthouse suite of a skyscraper, but never revealed how he had convinced that man to bring a railroad spike into his home and manipulated him to kill himself with it. And his girlfriend Drusilla, brrrr, that woman was cold with a capital 'C'. She'd cull the lives of everyone in a building to get at one person that was on her list without even a second thought.

It were Harvesters like Spike and Drusilla that made her regret choosing this path. They were arrogant, overconfident and generally looked down upon Collectors or people who had been Collectors. And the Head Office let them get away with everything because they more than met their monthly quota's.

"So, when's your big day?" Tara was brought back into reality by Faith, who'd sat down beside her on the couch.

"Tomorrow," Tara replied, her eyes downcast.

Tara felt Faith give her a supporting pat on her shoulder. "Come on, T. I'm sure you'll do great. First time on your own can be very overwhelming, believe me, I know. But just look at it like..." she thought for a moment. "Like pulling off a band-aid. One quick jerk. RIGHT OFF!"

"I h-h-hope so," Tara sighed. "I c-can't go back to being a C-collector."

"Hey, there's nothing wrong with Collectors, T, no matter what your dad says," Faith said gently. "Goddess knows we're going to need plenty of them when the flu pandemic starts taking off... And let's not even talk about that big asteroid that's going to make kissy-face with our lovely little planet in 2007."

Tara was lost in her own thoughts for a moment. Her mother had been a Collector. And a very good one. For a moment, she thought of Spike and Drusilla. And Mort. All of them were pretty ruthless. She wondered if had it that in her. She definitely would like to believe so, but... Ah, this is silly. I've harvested before... sure, it was with Mort, but still... I've harvested before...

"...so then I had this huge skull tattooed right on my ass, T."

Tara blushed slightly. "Um... Skull? T-t-tattoo? Ass?!"

"Pfft, as if," Faith scoffed. "You were miles away there for a moment. Just making sure you were still paying attention."

"Oh."

Faith snatched the folder from Tara's coffee-table before she could protest and flipped it open. Tara could see Faith's eyes roaming over the text in the file. A small hint of a smile was tugging at Faith's lips. "Oh, T," she said while closing the folder and handing it to Tara. "You can really have some fun with this one."

"Fun? I'm going to end someone's life tomorrow," Tara sighed. "No Mort to hide behind anymore."

Faith crossed her arms. "You're not... remorseful, are you?"

"Of course not," Tara challenged. "It's just that... there's supposed to be a certain respect for the dead... um, or the soon-to-be-dead, Faith."

"T, get some rest," Faith said gently. "Tomorrow, you'll harvest your first soul. You'll see how easy it'll be. Come on, you're worried about nothing."

Tara nodded. Perhaps everything would work out for the best. Faith rose from the couch and picked up her cloak. She briefly offered Tara a comforting smile and move to the front door. "First time tomorrow," Faith grinned before leaving. "Make her death spectacular, T!"

Her?

Her curiosity was piqued enough for Tara to dare take a look. She took a deep breath, and flipped open the folder to review her very first case.

She was surprised when she read the file. For some reason, she'd been expecting an older person, and certainly not a young woman like this. Whoever took the picture that came with the file had caught her on a good day. The picture showed a young woman with half-long red hair, a happy smile and the most dazzling green eyes she had ever seen. For a moment, she simply couldn't look away.

Her name was Willow. Hm, unusual name.. Willow Danielle Rosenberg, a first-year student in Computer Sciences at Sunnydale UC.

Sunnydale? I wonder where that is... Near Fresno, maybe? I'll figure it out tomorrow, I guess..

There were some details of her life, an address... Tara wondered for a moment why the Powers-That-Be had picked this young woman to die. This Willow was just about her age. Then again, it might simply be her time. Some people were fated to died young. A sad fact of life.

Tara decided to take Faith's advice to call it a night. Tomorrow, she would end the life of Willow Rosenberg.

TBC...

_________________
Max : Do you mind if I drive?
Sam : Not if you mind me clawing at the dashboard and shrieking like a cheerleader.


Last edited by Useful_Oxymoron on Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:30 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 9:43 pm 
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30. Sweaty and Kinda Gay
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Ooooooo I sooo don't have time to read this now...but I will as soon as possible...this just reeks of possibility! I can't wait to read this!

xoxo
Emms

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:07 pm 
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11. Fish in the Bowl
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good start, i like it, well written and the reaper thing is a little wierd but cool. i like anyone who will defy authority.

:clap :applause :bounce

writerfreak :flower

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Nuair a feallionn na focail, labhraionn an ceol (translation: When words fail, music speaks)
Ever meet a dangerous woman? One you know sees right through you? Dangerously attractive, effortlessly intelligent, quietly intense?

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:05 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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ahh i dont want willow to die.. tara better save her :) please update soon
erin

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 2:32 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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First on. WELCOME to the board. (You're new? or have been kinda no member lurker before?)
Anyway you got a great start. The fic is interesting, I like the idea.
Can't wait to read more about, when Tara gets to know Willow and stuff.
Continue soon :bounce
Take care and see you next chap.


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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2006 8:20 am 
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That's your first W/T? My, what an impressive debut! For someone who uses the excuse of not knowing the characters well you sure got Tara's personality down pat. And Faith too.

I'm liking the dark humor of the fic. I haven't watched the Frighteners, but this kind of reminds me of the first book of the Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony.

I loved this line: "Life's short if you can't see the funny side of death" Ah, the pearls of wisdom... :grin

I'm wondering how exactly Faith thinks Tara can have fun with Willow's death. :hmm This is going to be interesting. How will Tara fall in love with our favorite redhead? I can't wait to see.

Great job so far!

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To the query, "What is a friend?" his reply was "A single soul dwelling in two bodies." - Aristotle, Greek Philosopher


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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 1:03 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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Thanks everybody for reading! :)

Nerdbert - Yeah, this really is my first W/T story, and I'm flattered that you think I've got the characters down pat. I can really recommend The Frighteners, since you really can't go wrong with a Peter Jackson movie. Besides, it's great fun. I haven't got around to reading Incarnations of Immortality yet, but I've been meaning to get around to it... eventually. Thanks for commenting.

Viximon - Thanks for the welcome! Yeah, I've been lurking for a couple of months now and enjoying the stories on the kitten board before I decided to sign aboard. :) Glad to hear you're liking the story. Tara will get to meet Willow very soon. :) :wtkiss is important, after all.

AlysonGoddess - Heheheh, well, without giving away to much of the plot, let me just say that I'm not Mutant Enemy. :)

Writerfreak - Glad to hear you're liking the story. And, yes, I agree. Authority merely exists to be defied.

Miss Kitty's Ball O Yarn - Oh, wow. I have to admit I was a little bit starstruck to see you posting a reply to my meager story. Let me take the opportunity to say how much I've enjoyed Catching Sunflowers in Bloom. Thanks for the reply and I hope you won't be disappointed.

And now, on to the update. :)

Title - Don't fear the Reaper.

Chapter 2 : Kill Will

Author name - Useful_Oxymoron

Email Address - Viernadevir@hotmail.com

Rating - PG-13. Just to be on the safe side. Contains some violent imagery. Humor about death isn't everybody's cup of tea either.

Disclaimer - Well, I don't own Willow or Tara. If I did, I wouldn't have made certain... questionable decisions in the latter seasons. In any case, Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy own these characters and I don't intend to make any money off them.

Feedback- Is cool. It'd be nice to know somebody liked the crap I write.

Summary- This is a contemporary Uber Story. Tara is a young Grim Reaper in training, who gets her very first solo assignment: to end the life of a young Computer Sciences student. Will she be able to go through with it? Features Buffy characters, but there's no Slayers, Demons, Hellmouths, etc, etc. I thought Buffy and friends deserved a break.

Notes- Influences for this story: The wonderful film The Frighteners (which everybody should see), lightly Dead Like Me, Terry Pratchett and the Blue Oyster Cult.

Italics are thoughts.

[hr]
Don't Fear the Reaper
Chapter 2 : Kill Will

After a shower and a quick breakfast, Tara donned her cloak, took the scythe from the umbrella-stand and got ready for her first ever solo harvest. Using the magic of the cloak, she teleported to Sunnydale. It didn't take her long to find Willow's home. It was on the bottom floor for a student apartment complex near campus. One bedroom, one bathroom, a small backyard and one combination kitchen/living room.

Nice suburban little dollhouse, Tara thought while strolling through the living room. A bookcase stood against the wall, piling out with all sorts of publications, from comics to an entire row of computer related books.

Tara skimmed a few titles. 'The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-3', 'Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach', 'The Java Handbook', 'Programming Perl', 'Society of Mind : Creating Artificial Intelligence', 'Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice.' The titles alone made Tara's head spin.

She moved on to a well-used desk. Several books lay open among written notes... the only patch of chaos in an otherwise neatly organized home. Next to the books lay various computer components Tara couldn't even begin to identify, but all were neatly stacked and packed in clearly labeled anti-static bags. Some game-boxes lay on top of each other, and one labeled 'Prince of Persia' lay prominently on top of the pile. Next to two old desktop cases in various states of (dis)repair stood a rather expensive looking laptop with the screen folded up, ready for use.

On a small shelf above the desk, in a place of honor, stood what Tara first thought was a really fat keyboard. Then remembered seeing a picture of this machine and finally recognized it as one of the first personal computers, a Commode? Was it called a Commode?... Something like that anyway. She figured it was probably Willow's first computer. Next to the old computer stood several framed pictures. She took a look at the biggest one, taken in front of a high-school building. In it, Willow was flanked by two others, a handsome black-haired boy with more than a little hint of mischief in his eyes, and a short blonde girl with brown, doe-like eyes and a ready smile.

There were more pictures. The three of them sitting around a campfire. The three of them standing in front of a high-school building. The three of them shooting hoops at somebody's garage. And then there was one taken at a Halloween party in which the boy was dressed up as Superman, the blonde girl as Miss Piggy and Tara guessed Willow was the girl in the ghost-costume.

They look happy... Tara looked away from the pictures and watched the fish swimming around in Willow's fish tank for a moment.

Willow's it home was well-lit and pleasant. The only downside was that all of Willow's plants seemed to be dying despite this abundance of light. Most were either had their leaves turning a shade of brown, some looked as if they were trying to escape the parched earth in their pots.

Tara paid it no mind and decided it was time to start doing her job. It was time to look for potential 'domestic accidents'. She started in the bathroom.

Ah, radio precariously placed near the edge of the shower, Tara thought. Bit of a cliche, though. Hm, an old non-grounded hair dryer.

Tara floated back into the living room and noticed an elaborate web of power-cords, extension and t-spitters, all hooked into the same single power outlet. And quite close to the fish tank to boot.

In the kitchen, Tara found a full set of steak-knives, barely used. A gas-lit stove. And the batteries in the smoke-alarm probably haven't been changed in years. Hm, old-style garbage disposal unit without any safeties built in..

Tara placed one hand on her hip and held out her scythe with the other, smiling to herself.

Willow's house is a death-trap, thought Tara. Perfect! What to do. Hm... First harvest, she sighed. Alright, Faith, we'll make it spectacular. Hm, what if that ceiling fan would mysteriously dislodge running at full speed?

At that moment, the floor door flew open. Tara was startled for a moment, until she remembered she was in ethereal form and could not be seen or heard. Willow was standing right in front of her. And for a moment, Tara took in the sight of woman whose life she'd end. The picture had not done her justice. Piercing green eyes, gorgeous half-long red hair, wearing a fuzzy sweater and a red plaid skirt. The young woman seemed flustered and looked around the room frantically. Tara briefly wondered what Willow was looking for, until the red-haired girl dashed to the couch and picked up a bookbag which lay at the side of it. Just as quickly as she came in, she left her house and locked the door behind her.

Tara frowned for a moment and decided to follow her. Her ethereal form allowed her to walk through the door and follow Willow as she sped across the street, possibly headed towards campus. Still thinking professionally, Tara noticed that Willow paid little, if all, attention to traffic... That might come in handy later.

The young harvester suddenly tripped over her robe as she was trying to keep up with Willow. The ungainly robe, the scythe in her hands and the hood that was constantly falling in front of her eyes didn't make travel by foot all that easy.

After Tara had picked herself off the ground, she just saw Willow rounding about the corner. Tara followed. Willow had apparently taken a short-cut through an alley. For such a clever girl, that's not a very smart thing to do, Tara thought wryly while following Willow through the dark, narrow alleyway. After leaving the Alley, Willow crossed the street, again not paying much attention to traffic, to a small coffeeshop called the 'Espresso Pump.'

Alright, Tara thought. Time to figure out how to end Willow's life, Maclay.

---

Xander Harris was enjoying his first cup of coffee at the Espresso Pump when a slug against his arm almost caused him to choke on his drink. After a brief coughing fit, he found Willow sitting across him in the booth, staring him down.

"You stood me up yesterday morning," Willow stated calmly.

"Okay, 1. Hey! 2. I'm really sorry, Will. 3. HEY!"

"It was Anya, wasn't it?"

"Uh," Xander bit on his lower lip. Saying 'No, Anya, I can't have steamy sex with you right now, because Willow's waiting for me with coffee' yesterday would not have been good for his relationship or sex life on the whole. But he still felt guilty about it. "I refuse to answer that question on the basis that it might incriminate me," Xander finally said with an apologetic half-smile.

"I knew it," Willow crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. "So I was just sitting here yesterday, staring into my coffee, waiting and waiting, wasting away my young life. A young woman alone sitting in a booth on a lonely, lonely monday morning, waiting for her friend to show up, the friend that she has breakfast with every morning. But not yesterday, oh, no, cause Xander was too busy yesterday. Too busy to remember his loyal friend that did show up and waited and waited and waited and waited..."

"Oh, god," Xander shook his head and avoided Willow's eyes as he caught the expression on his friend's face. "Not the Willow-pout. Anything but the Willow-pout."

Willow simply intensified the expression, torturing Xander even more.

"Forgive me?" Xander tried again. "You're breaking my heart here, Will."

He hadn't thought it possible, but Willow pouted even more. It made Xander feel as if he had kicked a thousand puppies.

"Yeah, for a moment there I forgot that I was asking forgiveness from a girl that has no heart and no soul," Xander smirked.

"I have a heart," Willow huffed. "A big, fluffy heart, with lotsa room for all my friends. Even those who don't show up and keep me waiting, and waiting, and waiting and..."

"Hey, it's not like you were miss punctuality today," Xander challenged.

"Forgot my bookbag," Willow sighed. "Again. I ended up being Roadrunner Willow beeping across a busy street and back. But least I showed up...."

Xander crossed his arms for a moment. "You're playing me like a cheap violin, aren't you?"

Willow's pouty expression suddenly changed into a broad smile. A twinkle in her eyes told Xander all he needed to know.

"So, miraculous change of subject coming up to save suffering Xander from his predicament. Looking forward our monthly camping trip?"

"Darn tootin'," Willow smiled. "A whole weekend of roughin' it in the wild. Roasting marshmellows over the fire, fishing at the lake, telling each other scary stories..."

"... and watching the Buffster getting eaten by mosquito's," Xander smirked. "And this time you are leaving the laptop at home, Wills."

"But..." Willow started to protest.

"No."

"Only to..."

"No."

"Can't I..."

"No."

"Aww..."

Xander grimaced again. "That pout should be registered as a deadly weapon, Will. So, again, let's go for the miraculous change of subjects again. Any news on the Willow Gone Wild front?"

Willow's blush was as deep as the color of her hair. "Uh, no. There are no wild Willows here."

"C'mon, Will," Xander smirked. "You've been away from the ole Rosenberg homestead for three whole months. You're free! Living college life! Party hardy, Will!"

"I do party," Willow huffed. "Well, sometimes... Really... It's just that I've just been very busy with classes and homework and stuff like that. Besides, I don't really fit in with the college partying crowd."

"Come on, there's a whole campus filled with girls out there," Xander replied. "You can't tell me there's not at least one cute girl you're interested in. "

Willow shook her head, blushing a little. "I, uh, I haven't really... been looking."

Xander smiled. "Open your eyes, Will. Find someone to be happy with and finally get the last shreds of Amy out of your system."

And still, after two years since Willow and Amy's break-up, the genuine sadness washed over Willow's face. Xander offered Willow a soft smile. Neither he or Buffy never found out the details of Willow and Amy's bad one-sided break-up, but he knew that Amy had not only broken Willow's heart, but had ripped it out of her chest, cut it up, seasoned it, flambee'd it and served it to her for lunch. Xander put his hand over Willow's and squeezed it slightly.

"Hey, that skank was never good enough for my Will," Xander said. "You deserve someone who wants a serious relationship with you. Someone funny and smart. Someone who appreciates you for who you are and sees your heart."

Willow looked up, offering Xander a weak smile. "Thanks," she whispered softly, then cocked her head a little to the left. "But that doesn't mean I'm not still miffed you stood me up yesterday."

"Ouch..."

---

As the two friends were continuing their playful argument, the ethereal Tara was pacing around the shop and noticed that Willow was sitting at a perfect trajectory to bear the full brunt if the espresso machine were to suddenly and violently explode. Earlier, she had noticed that the cook had the shop's rat-poison sitting just above the stove. Both would have been good methods to try out.

But she decided against ending Willow's young life by these ways. It'd certainly be spectacular, but there might be a lot of innocent bystanders. And Tara was no Drusilla, after all.

And so Tara followed Willow all day long, studying her and thinking of more ways to end her life. After leaving the Expresso Pump, Willow had headed to Sunnydale UC for her classes. Tara continued to observe Willow and decided to sit in with Willow's lectures. Sadly for Tara, it ended up being a very, very, very long day filled with esoteric computer... stuff... things... mysteries... pain... During some of the more difficult lectures, Tara almost felt like ending her suffering by letting herself fall on top of her own scythe. Willow devoured it all, though. And, in turn, Tara devoured the sight of Willow, making her day at Sunnydale UC at least somewhat bearable.

Grateful for the distraction, Tara followed Willow home when her classes had finally ended. At Willow's home, she watched the red-haired woman while she was talking on the phone with another woman called Buffy. Their conversation seemed to go on for ages. And during all that time, Tara simply listened to the sound of her voice. Willow's tender voice had an almost hypnotic quality to it. She closed her eyes and started to lose herself in the melody, dreaming away. Until suddenly her reverie was broken by the loud beep of a phone being switched off. When Tara's eyes snapped open again, Willow was no longer sitting on her couch, but was walking over to her desk.

For a moment, Tara thought that Willow might start to do some homework. Instead, Willow booted up her laptop and started up a game from her collection. Tara watched Willow play for a moment. She had quick reflexes and made the character she was playing perform some impressive moves.

Tara's own experience with gaming had been limited to a few sessions again Faith on her Playstation. Despite the fact that Faith had mercilessly wiped the floor with her every single time they played, she did have some fun. Willow was enjoying herself too, a simple pleasure of getting a bit further into the game. Tara realized that Willow would never finish the game, but pushed any regrets she might have had away. She had a duty to perform.

Willow saved her game and turned off her computer. A rumbling noise came from her stomach. She rose from her seat, and walked to the fridge to get something to eat.

Healthy food, Tara thought when she saw Willow's choice of meal. Good girl.

Willow started to clean her vegetables under the faucet. Until Willow let out a strangled noise. Tara saw that Willow's ring had slipped off her finger and had fallen right down into the garbage disposal. Willow wisely opened the cupboard underneath the sink to switch off the unit and reached into the sink.

Tara saw a perfect opportunity. All she had to do was to reach into the mechanism with her scythe and start it up while Willow's hand was inside of it. Cut wrist. Shock from loss of blood. Nobody'd hear her. She'd bleed to death. It would be so easy.

No.

Willow continued feeling around for her ring, sticking her entire fore-arm into the unit. Her wrist was brushing the blades inside the machine.

Not like this.

Willow smiled as she pulled her ring out of the unit. She placed it on top of the counter and continued to clean her vegetables. Tara looked on. She'd missed an opportunity, but did not really regret it.

After cutting the vegetables, Willow gathered out a pan to cook them in. She filled the pan with water and the vegetables and put it on the stove. She turned the gas valve and tried to light it.

Nothing happened. The stove seemed to be malfunctioning. Willow closed the gas valve, but as soon as her back was turned to it, Tara pointed her scythe at the valve, using its magic to open it again.

"Matches," Willow whispered to herself while looking through the cupboards. Finding nothing, she want into the bedroom to look through the drawers of her nightstand. "Matches, matches, matches... Ah!"

Willow held her prize in her hand and opened the box, finding all of three matches left.

Meanwhile, the deadly hiss of gas seeping from the stove into the room continued. Tara moved closer to Willow, so close that they almost touched. She looked over Willow's shoulder as she was struggling with the first match. Tara knew her timing had to be precise. Using the power of her scythe, Tara blew out the match right after Willow had struck it.

"Oh," Willow narrowed her eyes at the now spent match.

Tara enjoyed the smell of Willow's hair. It was a sweet. And entrancing... So much that she almost forgot to blow out the second match.

More gas was filling the room. Tara figured there was now almost enough gas in the air to create a rather nasty and fiery explosion. Willow would only need to walk back into the kitchen area with the lit match in her hand to earn herself a one-way trip to the afterlife..

"Please," Willow pleaded with the third match while the deadly gas was slowly filling the room. "I'm hungry..."

No, Tara thought again. She doesn't deserve to die like this...

Tara blew out the third match, and was rewarded with the cutest pout she had ever seen. She had stayed her hand and spared Willow's young life... but that pout still made her feel very guilty for ruining Willow's dinner.

Willow started sniffing the air. Her eyes grew wide for a moment as she realized that her home was slowly filling up with gas. She quickly turned off the gas-valve and opened the window to let the room air out. She turned to the valve for a moment, scrutinizing it.

She shook her head, dismissing whatever was on her mind, and walked to the phone to dial a number.

"Hi. Greasy Joe's? I'd like to order a pizza."

Tara felt it was time to leave Willow to her privacy. Tomorrow, there'd be new opportunities.

---

Tara was happy to finally shift into normal reality again and had tossed her cloak on the couch the moment she arrived at home. She was pleasantly surprised to find that Faith had left a couple of tv-dinners and a few cans of liptonice in her fridge. Normally, she'd prefer healthier food, but at the moment she wasn't really all that picky.

She took a bite from the insta-lasagna while scribbling on a notepad, striping off possible causes of Willow's death, which included exploding espresso machines, gas explosions, electrocution and decapitation by spinning fan-blades.

Spectacular deaths?! Goddess, what was I thinking?! Tara thought to herself, feeling more than a little ashamed she had even considered these methods. You've been hanging around Faith too long, Maclay.

Tara thought it was time to stop listening to Faith and find her own way of dealing with her assignment. She had quickly decided Willow didn't deserve to die a violent death. Though she wouldn't completely rule out a domestic accidents, it meant she had to look for new opportunities tomorrow. She'd have to find something quick and painless.

Another day of observing Willow. Tara didn't consider that a bad thing, though. No, it wasn't a bad thing at all...

TBC...

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 3:34 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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DIBBS!!

Okay, love this fic. I like how you keep having Tara push aside, or maybe just not know the real reason, she hasn't wanted to kill Willow yet. I love the playfulness between Willow and Xander, it was captured real well. I want to see what happens next, so please update soon. :-D

Ariel

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:59 pm 
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30. Sweaty and Kinda Gay
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I’ve read a lot of authors on this board...but I have to say that you are the most entrancing. Your fic is all of two updates long so far, yet it has gripped me by my sensible underwear so thoroughly that I found the need to quote a million things (which I hardly ever do) LOL There are so many talented people here; it’s amazing.

Quote:
Tara's own cloak wasn't such a perfect fit. It was slightly too big, and kept slipping underneath her feet when she walked. She also had trouble keeping her hood from falling in front of her eyes. After adjusting her hood yet again, Tara looked back the people boarding their planes. They were the lucky ones today. These were not the ones the Powers-That-Be needed to have harvested.


I think the fact that Tara’s cloak doesn’t fit is very telling. Perhaps she’s in the wrong line of work?

Quote:
Suddenly, the mother trying to quiet her crying child, the already air-sick man hurling into an air-sickness bag, the stewardess trying to calm a rather noisy passenger complaining about the lack of leg-room in first class, the two newlyweds getting ready to celebrate their honeymoon... all were consumed by a gigantic fireball that lit up the night sky.


Harsh…

Quote:
"You see?" Mort smiled at Tara. "A simple manipulation of the engine and the whole damn thing comes crashing down. Minimal amount of work, maximum results. Technology is Death's best friend."


That’s a really great line.

I love the fact that Tara takes such care to handle the newly unleashed souls with gentleness…that fact really reflects how much she truly values people and life.

Quote:
This power, to be ethereal and walk among the mortals without being seen, was a necessity, since people tended to run away screaming when confronted with impending Death. Mortals were odd that way.


So, if Tara wasn’t wearing the cloak she would appear human? Why would people run away from her…unless they could sense the reaper’s “ominous intent.”

Quote:
Stale yoghurt, lukewarm noodles and a scythe in the umbrella-stand, Tara thought. Tara Maclay, this is your life.

LOL

Quote:
No, Tara shook her head. It's something I have to be. Her father's wishes for her had been crystal clear.


Once again we have Tara’s father being an asshole. (that could just be my assumption though…and you know what they say about that, don’t you?)

Quote:
Tara skimmed a few titles. 'The Art of Computer Programming, Volumes 1-3', 'Computer Architecture: A Quantitative Approach', 'The Java Handbook', 'Programming Perl', 'Society of Mind : Creating Artificial Intelligence', 'Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice.' The titles alone made Tara's head spin.


That’s sooo Willow…

Okay, I’ve decided to stop quoting things because my feedback would end up being longer than your update….which is not of the good. But I must say that I love what you’ve got here. It’s brilliant. You are a very vivid and descriptive story teller which makes the story so entrancing. I love it.

The part with Tara in Willow’s apartment is just awesome. I wish I could come up with something insightful to say, but you’ve just blown me away. I like that you’ve included faith, she and Tara make a great team.

I have to admit that I was holding my breath each time Willow struck a match. In my heart I knew that Tara wouldn’t be able to go through with it…but my head kept taking over, drawing my attention to the gas that was filling the room and the fact that Willow was about to blow herself to kingdom come. It was very stressful. Hehe.

So, Tara likes the smell of Willow’s hair, huh? Well…who wouldn’t? By the time Willow’s hair was mentioned the tension in the room was palpable. I could practically picture Tara leaning so close to Willow, looking over her shoulder so much so that she was nearly touching her…Wow…it’s amazing that Willow didn’t feel her in that moment.

*deep breath*

Anyway…this is the best fic I’ve read in a long time. You’re an awesome writer and I hope you continue this story. Sorry for taking up so much space on your thread.

You ROCK!

Xoxo
Emms

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:28 am 
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wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii :bounce
Great update. Really. I'm falling for this fic. The characters are so themselfs. It's cool.
Now Tara is getting to know Willow. Cute. Willow though will know nothing of Tara (that's sad)
Be careful Tara, because the most time you got with the redhead more dificult will be to kill her. Despite the fact that Willow is surrounded by deadly traps everywhere :lol (Tara's more likely saving her all over that killing her, that's for sure. I mean It's seems that Wills only need to be by herself to get into a accident (death-related or not ))
It was so sweet and cute the firt try of Tara with the gas. Blowing out the matches it was like blowing out candels to me and all lovely pictures of those two come to my mind....

Well, I was just saying GO! I love the fic and want to read more about.
Great work
See you next chap


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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:42 am 
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18. Breast Gal
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I'm hooked. The first chapter I was intrigued, but when it got to Tara pondering Willow's death by exploding coffee machine, I was completely hooked. The macabre humour, the intrusive 'normality' of Tara's TV dinners and ill-fitting robe in spite of her very un-normal line of work, and the whole idea of Tara falling in love with Willow in the process of arranging her demise - it's the influences I love from Frighteners and Discworld's Death and Buffy, all packaged up in a fresh new story. :bow

I have to admit, the garbage disposal part had me squirming in my seat, more than the oven (I was fairly sure Tara wasn't going to be able to go through with it by then) - I just have this thing about garbage disposals. At least any passing Harvesters won't be able to get me that way: even though mine is switched off, and doesn't work anyway having blown its motor years ago, I still can't bring myself to stick anything into it besides a pair of tongs, in the event that something falls in and needs getting out.

I'm curious about the 'society' behind the harvesters and collectors - whether Tara and Faith and so on are human and born into families who know about all this death stuff (like watchers in Buffy), or whether they're some other breed entirely? I also found Tara's care of departed souls very touching, and very telling in contrast to Mort's more businesslike approach, and Spike and Dru's flambouyant antics. Perhaps she isn't cut out to be a harvester - then again, perhaps her respect for the dead (and soon-to-be-dead) is what could make her the perfect harvester. After all, we all have to go sometime - I'd sure rather have it done by a conscientious professional than a zealous nut like Dru. I suppose it depends on the motives of the Powers That Be - I wonder why (in this case) have they decreed Willow must die, seeing as it seems she's not going to without Tara's 'help'?

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:43 am 
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Ooh, fast updates! I like you! :flirt

This chapter was very interesting indeed. I could see the harshness of Death's job clearly, but it was tempered by Tara's compassion. A nice combination.

Tara's analyzing of Willow's household was somewhat cold and callous, I think. And damn if my heart didn't stop at this:

Quote:
Tara saw a perfect opportunity. All she had to do was to reach into the mechanism with her scythe and start it up while Willow's hand was inside of it. Cut wrist. Shock from loss of blood. Nobody'd hear her. She'd bleed to death. It would be so easy.


Yikes, that visual... Not to mention the gas thing. What a horrible way to die. Would put a whole new meaning to Rest In Pieces. *shudders* God, that was awful, wasn't it?

Violent deaths aside, I really loved the way you wrote Willow. She's so... Willow-y with the computer stuff and spazing and pouting. Really nice picture of Xander too. I always liked him.

Methinks Tara will only find more excuses not to kill Willow as she spends more time watching here. It's obvious there is an attraction. Now I'm wondering how they will meet. My guess is that Tara will trip on her cloak and the hood will fall.

What I'm really curious about is Tara's social life outside the job. Does she even have one? She's best friends with Faith, but do they go out, clubbing or something? Maybe that's how Tara and Willow will meet?

Possibilities, possibilities... Oh well, I better stop speculating or I will probably go crazy... crazier. :grin

Again, excellent chapter! I'm with Emms here, YOU ROCK!

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To the query, "What is a friend?" his reply was "A single soul dwelling in two bodies." - Aristotle, Greek Philosopher


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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:27 pm 
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Hey,

Agreeing with the rest this is a fantastic story. Left me also a couple of times at the edge of my seat.

Never seen the Frighteners but will soon because it's downloading as we speak.

Ga vooral door, wilgen.


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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:07 pm 
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Dude. You invoked "Dead Like Me" and the "Prince of Persia" games. How can I not like this? Dorky tastes aside, I really like your language and the tone you've set. It is playful yet engrossing, and I certainly look forward to more.

Finally, the Blue Oyster Cult reference is well-appreciated by this reader. I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell.

~Mary

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My sister: Well the real question is, why does he bother working out when no one will ever love him?


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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:57 pm 
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G'day there, Useful_Oxymoron.

Cripes, that's a mouthful, and I almost feel like I'm insulting you. :-D But that's just my own mental damage. Okay, focus you doofus, focus. Must ... leave .... coherent .... feedback. (And apparently, write like I'm Captain Kirk)

First off, great title. I've got the song going on in the back of my mind as I type. Any fanfic inspired by 'The Frighteners' (kickarse movie) and the Discworld can't put a foot wrong with me. I haven't seen Dead Like Me, though I've walked around the DVD. As an aside, is it any good?

Okay, Mort? Bloody brilliant use of Death's apprentice, mate. He does seem a touch colder here than I remember from the book though. Oh well, it suits your version of the character.

As a whole, the world you've created here is an intriguing one, though I do have to wonder, how do your version of the PTB's decide who's supposed to die. I suppose there might be that whole destiny/predetermined fate malarkey going on, but that kind of thing really tends to irritate me. Not your story, mind you, just the idea of these omnipresent jerkwads deciding when we're supposed to croak.

Plus, a lot of your Harvester's seem to have no problem with causing collateral damage, which on one hand seems pretty wacked if you buy into the whole destiny shtick, and on the other hand, it seems ... rather sloppy and unprofessional.

The decision to place Tara amongst the ranks of these otherworldly hit men is an interesting one, and you show us all the difference between Tara and her peers in so many small but effective ways. Masterful work.

Another thing I'm loving is your touches of humor; dark, understated and mildly morbid. I love it with a passion that is vaguely disturbing, even to me. :-D You've got me cackling away manically, so thanks for that.

I do have to wonder though; is there anything inherently supernatural about these Reapers themselves? Or is all their power thought their cloaks and scythes?

The chapter titles are cracking me up too. 'Kill Will'? Bloody classic, mate. Please, do keep up that little tradition.

As a lackey of the infernal machine (more commonly known as a programmer) myself, I appreciated the little touches you placed in Willow's apartment, from the textbooks, Prince of Persia and the 'Commode'. :lol :lmao

Damn! Willow really is living in a veritable deathtrap, isn't she? And yet, despite all of these opportunities, Tara just can't seem to bring herself to use any of them. I wonder, what could be causing this reluctance? :hmm

Great back and forth between Willow and Xander you've got here too. I especially liked the way that Xander was repeatedly cutting off Willow's protestations when told she couldn't take her laptop on their camping trip. And 'Willow Gone Wild'? :lol

Can't wait to see where you take us next, mate.

Cheers,
Paul.

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:31 pm 
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UO,
This is a fascinating variation you've worked out for our reading pleasure here.
It has touches of the "Final Destination" series of films as well since Tara is deliberately trying to steer Willow into the path of some form of death.
How can Tara escape the wrath of Mort if she keeps stalling on despatching Willow's soul from her body?

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:18 am 
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Update in a few moments. I just wanted to take a moment to answer all your kind comments. Wow, the positive response to my story has really been overwhelming. Thanks again!

tru2urheart - Glad to hear you like the story! Yeah, at the moment Tara doesn't really know why she hasn't been able to kill Willow yet. :) And Xander's always been one of my favorites. He's really fun to write.

Miss Kittys Ball O Yarn - Thank you for the many kind words, wow. :blush I certainly agree with you that the kitten board is a fan-fic oasis. People are friendly and the stories are magnificent.

Good eye on Tara's cloak. ;) I like putting little things like that in my stories. The devil is in the details, as they say. As for Technology being Death's best friend, I think that's a very apt statement. Whenever there's some new piece of technology out in the world, people will find new and creative aways to either hurt or kill themselves with it. The Darwin Awards are living proof of that. :) The cloak is just something Tara wears over her regular clothes, so she's very much human. But if the cloak wouldn't make her ethereal... well, I'd run the other way too if I saw a cloaked woman with a scythe collecting a soul :)

Tara's father... well, one can be an asshole for not caring, but one can also be an asshole for wanting the best for one's daughter and pushing her very hard as a result. I'm not sure which way I'm leaning towards for this story yet. Donny'll definitely be an irredeemable asshole, though. He pretty much made my permanent hate-list for threatening to beat Tara down in 'Family'. You actually managed to make me like your version of him in Catching Sunflowers in Bloom, though. That's no mean feat.

As for Willow feeling Tara's presence... Heh, you read my mind, actually. ;)

Viximon - You know, ever since I've been writing this story, I've been checking around my own home for possible deathtraps. The result was rather... disturbing to say the least.

You're right. I remember thinking back to Tara blowing out the extra flamey candle when I was writing that scene. I'm happy you like the story.

Artemis - Wow, I'm glad you like the story. Macabre humour is something I really adore, both to write and read. This story really allows me to be rather indulgent with it. :)

Garbage disposals... They're not common where I live. I've certainly never actually seen one in RL, but from every film I've seen, I've learned a simple rule : Garbage-disposals = bad. In every horror or action film that shows one of those things, someone's sticking their hands in there, scary music plays and the character does or does not gets his or her hand sliced off. I'm not sure if the image Hollywood presents is accurate, but, like you, I'd rather not stick my hand up one of those potential meat-grinders.

Reaper society - You've hit it on the nose there. They're like watchers : normal humans born into specific families that see their job as a calling and are raised as such. I see the Head Office as something akin to a big company that's gotten snowed under by burocracy and meritocracy, like many of the bigger corporations have become. An entity that's more concerned with quota's, targets and numbers than common decency and respect. I haven't really put this in the story yet (as I prefer to avoid massive infodumps), though.

nerdbert - Thanks for the kind words.

Actually, I have the first draft of the entire story (the first part at least. I'm gettings loads of ideas all the time) all ready by now. For me it's the grooming and preening, copying and pasting, adding and removing, shuffling things around, etc, that's the most time consuming.

Tara was sorta spurred on by Faith to give her first 'assignment' a spectacular ending, but in the end she couldn't go through with it... as expected, really. In retrospect, I can see how that image can be very chilling. It's Willow being the one to bleed to death, after all. For this story, I decided to go with Willow like she was in season 2/3 : slowly getting more confident, but still rather withdrawn and shy.

Tara's social life. Good question. One I haven't given all that much thought, I must admit. Since she started Harvester training with Mort, Tara hasn't had many free time, after all. I imagine Faith trying to drag Tara to a club and Tara refusing. So they'd probably end up simply hanging out either at Faith's or at Tara's apartment.

And yes, there definitely is an attraction going on. :D

Wilgen - Wilgen? Erg toepasselijk. (Very fitting). :D Glad to hear you like the story. Oh, and enjoy the Frighteners. It's a great film.

Ringwaldoeuvre - I love Prince of Persia. I've played them all, except for Pop3D. I've just finished The Two Thrones last week, btw. I'm glad you like the story. That song was actually played in the credits of the Frighteners, and very fitting too. :)

Darth Pacula - Heheh, well, I tried to think of a more clever handle to use this time around. At the last community I joined, I used the name of a Star Trek character. Useful Oxymoron seemed like an appropriately ironic handle. :) The Frighteners is one of my favorite films ever, mainly because of its memorable characters, especially Dammers and the Judge. (For people who haven't seen the film, the Judge is the ghost of a Wild West hangin' judge and Dammers is a government agent whose job has been to infiltrate weird cults for the past 20 years. Only his superiors have forgotten to deprogram him after each mission.)

Mort, yeah, he's actually a mix of the Discworld Mort and the character of a very practical assassin in a story a friend of mine is writing. I decided to use the name Mort for recognisability, even though he's not the exactly the same Mort as the one in Discworld. 'Kill Will' was actually the working title of the story, but I decided against using it in the end and opted for something a little more subtle. :) I liked it enough to use it as a chapter title, though.

Heh, I actually pulled those book-titles off an actual Computer Sciences curriculum. Don't know if that's frightening or not. :) As for the 'commode'. I can see Willow's first computer being a Commodore 64. I've seen people practically worship that little machine. A friend of mine has moved on to powermacs and pcs, but he has his old Commodore 64 sitting in a glass display case. Like him, I thought Willow might give her old Commodore 64 a place of honor in her home.

PTB : I do agree with you on the predestination bollocks. It's a vexing thought to be manipulated by some omnipresent know-it-alls. As for the relationship between the Reapers and the PTB, there's a line later in the story which goes something like "Who knows why the Powers-That-Be do what they do? It doesn't matter. They give the orders and we carry them out." Much of the following is background material that'll never be in the story... mostly to prevent the dreaded info-dump. The PTB treat their plan for the humanity like the chaos theory. You know, that theory in which a butterfly above the amazon causes a storm in New York City? So what happens to the storm if you take out the butterfly before he flaps his wings? The same goes for humans : society is a web of lives intersecting and thus influencing each other. By removing certain people changes can be effected elsewhere. That's how I see the PTB operating.

But the PTB are not infallible. They didn't forsee the world's population increasing this rapidly. To adjust, the PTB had to be even more specific with those persons they want removed from the population. The collateral damage is the result of the burocratic way of thinking at the Reaper Head Office, showing the PTB are slowly but surely losing control over the Reapers. Again, this'll probably never make it into the story, because I think it should focus on Willow and Tara, and I shouldn't overdo it on explaining Reaper society. I spent way too much time thinking about it already, I fear. :D

Hm, what could be causing Tara's reluctance? I have no idea, really? :whistles innocently.

Taralicious - Thank you. Final destination, I remember those films. Such convoluted methods of death would be right up Reaper Faith and Reaper Spike's alley. :) As for your question concerned Mort's wrath, I'd be giving away too much if I'd answer that. :D

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:29 am 
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Here's the lastest chapter. Oh, btw, check out the cool banner Chris made for the story at http://www.uberwillowtara.com/reaper02.htm

Doesn't Tara look ominous? :) Thanks again, Chris!

Title - Don't fear the Reaper.

Chapter 3 : A little touch of Death

Author name - Useful_Oxymoron

Email Address - Viernadevir@hotmail.com

Rating - PG-13. Just to be on the safe side. Contains some violent imagery. Humor about death isn't everybody's cup of tea either.

Disclaimer - Well, I don't own Willow or Tara. If I did, I wouldn't have made certain... questionable decisions in the latter seasons. In any case, Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy own these characters and I don't intend to make any money off them.

Feedback- Is cool. It's always nice to know somebody liked the crap I write.

Summary- This is a contemporary Uber Story. Tara is a young Grim Reaper in training, who gets her very first solo assignment: to end the life of a young Computer Sciences student. Will she be able to go through with it? Features Buffy characters, but there's no Slayers, Demons, Hellmouths, etc, etc. I thought Buffy and friends deserved a break.

Notes- Influences for this story: The wonderful film The Frighteners (which everybody should see), lightly Dead Like Me, Terry Pratchett and the Blue Oyster Cult.

Italics are thoughts.

[hr]
Don't Fear the Reaper
Chapter 3 : A little touch of Death

Tara had spent a difficult night. Sleep hadn't come easy for her. Her thoughts had kept drifting towards Willow. She was an amazing young woman. Full of life and laughter. And Tara was the one who had to end that young woman's life.

It didn't make sense to Tara. She was a Reaper. Death was her whole reason of being. So why was this turning out to be so hard for? The Powers-That-Be had decided that Willow's time had come and she was the Reaper assigned to carry out that decision. That is the order of things. Who was she to question it?

Maybe she was just nervous. Willow's would be the first ever soul she'd harvest on her own. Yeah, maybe it's like opening night jitters... Or something like that. Part of her was looking forward to seeing Willow again, but another part of her was dreading what she would have to do. Nothing spectacular, then. No. Let's keep it subtle. Subtle and without pain. She shouldn't suffer. She doesn't deserve to suffer.

Tara jumped out of bed and headed straight for the shower. A few minutes later, Tara got dressed and donned her cloak. She suppressed a yawn and grabbed her scythe. After shifting into her ethereal form, she used her cloak to teleport herself right into Willow's home.

She was disappointed not to find Willow there. Tara realized she must had missed her by a hair...

Or not.

The sound of running water coming from the bathroom alerted her to Willow's presence. Immediately, she realized she'd stumbled upon another opportunity. Tara moved through the door and found Willow showering just beyond.

Tara clicked the end of her scythe on the floor tiles and the blade snapped open, ready for use. It was at that moment that Tara realized that the only thing separating the very naked Willow from herself was a thin yellow shower curtain. She blushed brightly and turned around quickly, drawing her hood over her eyes a little. Professional ethics: Death should not be a peeping tom.

Alright, Tara, this is it. Breathe, Maclay, breathe... Click scythe, make floor slippery... Yes. She'll slip in the shower and break her neck. Quick... painless... Tara took a few deep breaths. This was it. Willow would finally die... and within in the next 10 seconds.

Tara turned around and pointed her scythe at the bottom of the shower. The blade was bathed in a dark yellow glow... but before it could deal its deadly damage, Tara held it to her body and turned her back to Willow again.

But... what if I screw up? What if she slips but doesn't break her neck? What if she hits her head? She'd have a concussion! And what... what if she slips and does break her neck... and lives! She... she'd be paralyzed! I... I can't do that to her! I can't!

Her train of thought was interrupted by Willow turning the knobs on the faucet. The water stopped flowing, and Tara suddenly was unpleasantly surprised to see an arm sticking through her belly, reaching for a towel.

Too mortified to turn around and walk out the door, Tara just stood there. Oddly enough, she had always hated it when people walked through her ethereal body because it left such a coldness in her whenever they did. People who say something feels as if somebody 'stepped over their graves' should try being stepped through just to find out how right they are. But... this was different. Willow's presence left a warmth inside of her. A very nice and fuzzy feeling in her chest that was completely new to her.

Suddenly, the hand, and with it the towel, were pulled back through her tummy. For Tara, it was slightly disorienting. Of course, it didn't help that her hood was pulled almost completely over her eyes and she couldn't really see what was going on around her. Sadly, fate chose exactly that moment for Tara to step on her cloak.

Willow stepped out of the shower... and Tara fell in.

She landed with a bit of a smack, hurting her elbow a little but thankfully not hitting her head against the wall. Tara was happy her cloak wouldn't absorb water in her ethereal form, or she'd be walking around in wet clothes for the rest of the day. Also, she was very grateful that Faith hadn't been around to see this.

Death slipping in the shower... Faith'd never let me hear the end of it.

Tara decided it was for the best to leave Willow to her privacy for a moment. After gathering her fallen scythe and scrambling to her feet, she pulled her hood completely over her eyes and quickly ran out of the bathroom by phasing through the wall.

---

A few hours later Tara was sitting on Willow's couch, watching the red-haired girl sitting behind her desk. Tara had come back inside as soon as she had been sure that Willow was fully dressed. Apparently, Willow had no classes until later and had slept late. After playing a game for a while, Willow had started work on... something else on her computer... Whatever it was...

Tara didn't know exactly what she was doing. It was something about writing a program for one of her classes and she working more than a little intently on it. There were times her nose almost touched the screen while she poured over the code. Tara smiled to herself whenever that happened. It just looked so cute.

At the moment, there wasn't much for Tara to do until Willow'd go out. She'd ruled out all domestic accidents in Willow's house now. Electrocution would be too painful for Willow. Slipping in the shower was too risky for Willow. Crushing Willow by tipping over her fridge would be too horrifying for Tara.

So, Tara simply settled to continue observing Willow, hoping another painless and quick opportunity would present itself soon.

Meanwhile, Willow continued working on her program. Her nimble fingers glided gracefully over the keyboard. It reminded Tara of a pianist, someone who created art with the subtlest of movements of her hands.

And yet she would have still have to end her life. Tara was at a complete loss, though, still unable to think of a proper method. Certainly, there had been plenty of opportunities, but none of them had been appropriate. They had either too slow, too painful or simply too mundane.

"Hey, T."

Rather startled to suddenly see her friend walking through the side wall of Willow's apartment, Tara literally jumped up and had to make a quick grasp for her scythe before it would slide out of her hands and clatter to the ground.

"Jittery much?" Faith's grin could just be seen from underneath her hood.

Tara grimaced. "I c-cut myself," she said, after seeing that she had sliced the back of her hand and saw a small trace of blood on the blade of her scythe. "W-what are you d-doing here?"

"Lieutenant Lehane, homicide," Faith rasped, doing her best Peter Falk impression.

"W-what?" Tara blinked.

"Ease the stutter, T," Faith said softly. "Didn't mean to scare you, 'kay? Just wanted to see how you were doing. Last time we talked... Well, you know. So," she turned her attention to the typing Willow. "This is your target, hm?"

Faith moved next to Willow, who was still working on her paper. She held her hand in front of Willow's eyes. Of course, being in ethereal form, Willow did not even see it and kept typing away diligently. "Heh," Faith grinned. "I love it when they do that."

"She's n-not my target," Tara said, a little too harshly for her own taste. "She's my assignment. And p-please stop doing that to her."

"Red's pretty darn cute, that's what she is," Faith smiled. "Figured out how to kill her yet? Oh, I got it, drowning," she said while looking at Willow's fishtank. "Be a bit tricky to get her to poke her head in there long enough, though. Oh, I know! Spontaneous combustion!" Faith said with a grin that could only be described as 'playfully sadistic'. "That's always a crowd pleaser."

Tara couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Spontaneous combustion?! Willow?! Faith..."

"Spike showed me how to do it," Faith crossed her arms. "You see, the trick is to manipulate the body's electrical fields until you set the whole thing on fire. Yay for scythe-powers, ey, T?"

"No, it isn't!" Tara said, a horrified expression on her face.

"Hey, check this out," Faith said and stuck her arm right through Willow. Faith's arm went through Willow's back to the elbow, while her wrist stuck out of her chest. Faith completed the picture by pretending to type on Willow's keyboard. "Ever tried this, T?"

"S-stop it," Tara said angrily.

Faith pulled her arm out, right through Willow, and reached her other hand right into Willow's skull. "Check this out, T. My, Red, what a big brain you got there," Faith laughed.

"I said s-stop it, Faith!" Tara said, more forcefully this time. "I m-mean it! It's d-disrespectful. Leave her alone!"

Faith withdrew her hand from Willow's cranium and turned to Tara. "Just having a little fun, T. It's not as if she knows we're..."

"Is anyone there?"

It was softly spoken, almost like a whisper, yet it stunned Faith and Tara into an uneasy silence when they both realized it was actually Willow who had just spoken those very words. Willow rose from her seat and looked in their general direction, scanning the room. Tara could see Faith holding her breath when Willow walked up to her and stopped short right in front of her. Willow was standing mere inches from Faith, and narrowed her eyes, as if trying to see something that wasn't there. This went on for several agonizing seconds.

Finally Willow shook her head and turned away from Faith, who finally let out a breath she didn't knew she was holding. Faith literally let herself drop onto Willow's couch, almost instinctively checking if her cloak was still covering her.

Oblivious to this all, Willow walked to where Tara was standing. For a moment, Tara was expecting the same treatment she had given Faith, but she was pleasantly surprised to see a smile tug on the corners of Willow's mouth. When she was sure Faith wasn't looking, Tara brushed a finger across Willow's cheek, just grazing her skin ever so slightly. Willow responded immediately, cocking her head slightly to meet Tara's caress. Tara was slightly started by this and quickly broke the contact. Willow just kept standing there, looking a bit confused for a moment while staring at the wall behind Tara.

No, Tara thought. Her eyes... she's looking at the exact spot where I am. It made her feel a little uneasy.

Finally, Willow shook her head and went back to her desk. "You're losing it, Rosenberg," Faith and Tara heard Willow mutter to herself. For a moment, it looked as if she'd go back to work. Instead, Willow rose from her seat again and quickly checked if her windows were closed. After making sure that her front door was locked, she returned to her desk.

"T-t-that ain't... usual," Faith finally dared to speak when Willow was again occupied with writing her program.

"Ease the stutter, F," Tara smirked.

"Hah hah," Faith said dryly. "She... knew we were here!"

"I don't think so," Tara said. "Didn't Spike tell you that s-some people can sense our p-presence? When it happens, it's only a slight sense of s-somebody being in the room with you. She didn't actually s-see us."

"Yeah, I knew that," Faith sighed. "But I've never actually seen it happen! Cripes, it was weird. Hey, did you see how Red was looking at me? Little miss thundercloud. She was much nicer to you!"

Tara crossed her arms and looked at Faith intently. "Well, I wasn't the one who stuck my hand up her skull, now did I?"

Faith's expression softened. "I'm sorry, Tara," Faith sighed. Tara had known Faith long enough to realize that Faith only used her full name when she was genuinely apologizing to her. "I only came over to wish you luck. Should have stuck with that plan, really."

"It's okay, Faith," Tara spoke gently. "I understand. I just... have to do this on my own."

"Some things you just have to do for yourself. You know, sweet dreams are made of these. Who am I to disagree? Travel the world and the seven seas. Everybody's looking for something. Some of them want to use you. Some of them want to get used by you. Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want to be abused," Faith stated simply.

Tara raised an eyebrow. "Faith, that sounds suspiciously familiar."

"Cheered you up, didn't it?" Faith spoke, with a twinkle in her eye. "It's time for me to go back home. Come over whenever you like, T. We'll do Playstation."

Tara watched Faith phase through Willow's front door and sat down on Willow's couch, watching the red-haired girl typing away on her laptop, again wondering how any one person could look so cute.

"Tara!" Faith said, again in her raspy fake Peter Falk voice as she popped her head through the wall right next to Tara. "One more thing!"

Tara chuckled for a moment, resisting the urge to make a grab for one of the pillows on Willow's couch to throw it at her friend.

---

"You look exhausted, Will," Xander said while he and Willow made their way to Buffy's house through the darkened streets of Sunnydale. Willow was carrying a paper grocery bag filled with all kinds of snacks, while Xander was carrying a large white plastic bag filled to the brim with DVD's. Potential movies to play for video night.

"Been doing homework all day," Willow sighed. "I can really use a video night about now."

"Trust in the Xand-man. For the Xand-man brings you the gift of tacky, inappropriate, gory, funny, dull, exciting, scary, silly, witty, old, new, classic, and classic-for-the-wrong-reasons movies from his own private collection.

"Xander," Willow spoke up. "Do you believe in angels?"

"No. No, I don't"

"Why not?"

"Because I don't believe in demons either. Demons and angels aren't mutually exclusive. If I believed in angels, I might as well start believing in other ridiculous things like demons, vampires, zombies, true love, God... And the Teletubbies. And I refuse to believe in the Teletubbies, because they're freaky as hell. So no, I don't believe in angels."

"Xander, I'm serious," Willow smiled. "I've... had this funny feeling lately."

"Funny as in 'ha-ha'-funny or funny as in 'whoa, how'd my butt get painted blue without me knowing about it'-funny?" Xander asked.

"The latter," Willow nodded. "Uh, I think... Less paint is involved. I... I just get the feeling someone's been watching me lately."

"Okay, that's not funny, Wills. That sorta falls into the 'worrying'-category."

"No, no, it's not like that," Willow said quickly. "It's more like a... a good feeling. Like somebody's trying to watch over you. Protect you. Kinda like a guardian angel."

Xander raised an eyebrow for a moment. "Will, I've known you for years and you've never mentioned anything like this before."

Willow shook her head. "Maybe it's nothing but... I was writing my program and all of a sudden... I just felt something was there. I can't explain it, but for some reason it really annoyed me. Like, when someone is poking you and you tell them to stop, but they won't? So you tell them again and again, but they still keep poking you? Cause, that's really annoying."

Xander frowned. "That's still not of the funnies, Will."

"But after that," Willow ignored Xander and continued her story. "I felt something else. Something that made me feel all warm inside. And I just knew that everything would be alright. That I was completely safe."

Xander snorted. "Or it wanted to lull you into a false sense of security so it can pounce on you later and eat your soul."

"Xander!" Willow giggled. "I'm trying to be deep and meaningful here."

"Or, it could just be the karmic cycle of the universe trying to tell you it's time to start dating again," Xander said softly.

Willow's face fell. "Xander..." she whispered.

"I know, I know, sorry," Xander sighed. "But the point is made."

Willow was silent for a moment. "You know what's really weird? I found a couple drops of blood on my couch."

Xander chuckled. "That's not unusual, Will. If you go looking around the construction site hard enough, you'll find yourself a nice little collection of severed limbs. Maybe you just cut yourself?"

"I'd know if I'd cut myself," Willow huffed. "And I clean my apartment very thoroughly, thank you very much. A place for everything and everything in its place. I'm regularly up to my nose in cleaning fluids. I blind people with the sheer shiny-ness of my furniture when they come over to visit me. I'm telling you, those drops of blood were not there when I cleaned it this morning."

Xander thought for a moment. "So heaven sent down an angel to watch out for you and to bleed all over your furniture?"

Willow shook her head. "I know it's not making any sense, but I was just thinking... general weirdy-ness. Maybe I've just been working too hard."

"All those classes, part time job at the computer shop, all that cleaning, the tonnes of homework," Xander smiled. "That leaves very little time for partying, boozing and the general loose life of the college sophomore."

"Xander!" Willow spoke in mock-anger, yet with a twinkle in her eyes.

Behind them, trying to keep up without tripping over her cloak, Tara trailed the two friends. Video-night at Buffy's house meant a new environment with new opportunities. She hoped to finally find a way to end Willow's life.

As long as it was painless, quick and humane.

Because Death has to be able to live with herself...

TBC

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Sam : Not if you mind me clawing at the dashboard and shrieking like a cheerleader.


Last edited by Useful_Oxymoron on Fri Jan 20, 2006 2:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:34 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

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erm...dibs!

I've not posted on here in ages(...in fact since the board moved over!), but this fic has made me actually write something down

I love this fic, I love terry pratchett books and this really reads in the same kind of styling. I love how it follows Tara as the central character and I love how Tara's thinking she's actually going to go through with Willows death (which she'd best not) but still not letting herself do it in a way that makes her believe she actually can, does that make sense? Absolutely brilliant! If I didnt know any better I'd say good old Mr Pratchett wrote it himself! (Thats intended as a compliment!)

Keep up the fantastic work!


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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:55 am 
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I'd like to officially say: WOO!

I'm so excited that there's an update! Unfortunately I will have to reserve any in-depth feedback for later, as I'm nearly late for work as it is. :lol

I'm really going to have my work cut out for me tomorrow what with Menorah Tales, Creation Myth and now Reaper all updated at the same time. :lol

xoxo
Emms

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:01 am 
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Quote:
God... And the Teletubbies. And I refuse to believe in the Teletubbies, because they're freaky as hell.


l'm with xander in this one :rofl

my 2 years old nephew is so into them, it's creepy...

another good update. woohoo


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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:20 am 
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rivetting first three chapters... can't wait for more!

Em must be real happy with her surprise!

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 9:45 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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YAy!! You don't know how much I love to read more of your story.
Tara as Reaper is a little...mmm, clumsy and...um...is just hard to picture her doing her job. Poor thing. Besides she's extremly cute with her oversized robes :blush and cutting herself with her weapon and such (well, that last come wrong, it isn't that cute but I think you get my point)
She's too much of a kind godheart to do any harm. And being her target Wills it's get worse.

Willow picturing guardian angels was sweet (that stament sure is eating Tara's insides because what she know she had to do to the adorable redhead) and is so interesting she can sense them (the reapers).

Faith intevention was fun. :lol

And I could babble on about how wonderful I think that fic is. 'till now all I read was super cool so keep it up! And thumbsup and please continue soon and yada yada :bounce
Great chapter again. See you next
Take care newbie, you're doing ' five by five' work :lol


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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:18 am 
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Update, update! Woo frickin' hoo! :bounce

Yes, well, now that I got that outta my system, let's get to the real feedback. :blush

This chapter was really amazing! And you just answered a question I had nagging me. So Willow can actually sense the Reapers, huh? I liked the comparing Tara to an angel part, it certainly seems to fit. Wonder what Tara thinks of that? :eyebrow Did she hear when Xander and Will were talking?

I absolutely loved the shower scene. Tara certainly is a strong person for resisting a sneak peek at the gorgeous Willow :heart When she fell in the shower there was a big 'oh, shit' moment. I thought Willow would discover her, for sure. I don't know if I'm disappointed or not that she didn't.

One thing I need to ask: how exactly Tara stays invisible? Is it the cloak or some power she has? Can she be found out by accident?

Faith, as always, is priceless. She's just like on the show. Full of hot air and bravado, seemingly no worries for anyone's problems, but inside a really nice person. She's a favorite of mine, you see. I have a thing for bad girls, the whole redemption thing is so... :grin Xena, Faith, Lucy... :drool

This was absolutely hilarious:

Quote:
"Because I don't believe in demons either. Demons and angels aren't mutually exclusive. If I believed in angels, I might as well start believing in other ridiculous things like demons, vampires, zombies, true love, God... And the Teletubbies. And I refuse to believe in the Teletubbies, because they're freaky as hell. So no, I don't believe in angels."


Let me say again, I love Xander. He's so goofy, but there is some tiny itsy bitsy wisdom in his words. Really, if you start believing in supernatural things soon you will find yourself paranoid. And watching Teletubbies, which is one of the Deadly Sins, I'm sure.

This whole talk of angels reminded me of that movie, City of Angels, which is one of the cutest and saddest movies I've seen. The situations are similar, only Tara is not an angel and Willow can't see her... yet.

Quote:
Behind them, trying to keep up without tripping over her cloak, Tara trailed the two friends. Video-night at Buffy's house meant a new environment with new opportunities. She hoped to finally find a way to end Willow's life.

As long as it was painless, quick and humane.

Because Death has to be able to live with herself...


I wonder how mad the Higher Ups will be when Tara refuses to kill Willow. Because she will, right? :pray She has to! Unless you're planning an afterlife romance like on Defending Your Like... Nah, she won't kill Willow... please? :aww

Well, the blood on the couch was interesting. I wonder if Willow will keep seeing and sensing hints of her 'guardian angel'? And exactly what will she think when she finds out that Tara is actually there to kill her. That will be some angst, I bet.

Keep 'em coming! :applause

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 11:25 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Yay loved the updates i think something should happen where accidentaly the cloak falls off tara :) perhaps at the most ackward moment ever that would be sweet but anyways please update soon im dying to find out whats gunna happen
erin

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 12:32 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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I really like this story. Can't wait to read more!

Caz

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 3:15 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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G'day Oxy. (Hope you don't mind the abbreviation.)

Okay, I really love the fact that you've thought about all of this background stuff about how everything works behind the scenes with the Reapers, even if you don't plan to make it part of the story. That sort of preparation tends to color the plot, giving it depth and back story. Makes it that much more lifelike. I know I always like to do so when creating my own fictional worlds (which I do a lot), so a big thumbs up!

Hmm, 'A little touch of Death'? My first thought was to connect it to 'la petite mort' which as you might know is a French term for sex. Or is it orgasm? Whichever. It seemed appropriate.

Quote:
The Powers-That-Be had decided that Willow's time had come and she was the Reaper assigned to carry out that decision. That is the order of things. Who was she to question it?


Who is she to question it? You're Tara bloody Maclay, lass! When it comes to Willow, question away until you go blue in the face. And that whole death is the only reason for being is kind of sad. Sure, death is a necessary part of life, but if these Reapers are still essentially human, it's not a lifestyle conducive to happiness, unless you're psychotic perhaps.

Quote:
Professional ethics: Death should not be a peeping tom.
:lol Oh, that is priceless! :lol

I'm glad you made Tara think of all the things wrong with her little slip in the shower plan. I was just about jumping up and down in frustration as I thought of all those things myself before she realized that herself.

The difference Tara feels when Willow passes through her is a nice touch, but the cynic in me has to wonder what causes that? Is it simply an effect of Tara's own unconscious attraction?

But the 'Death slipping in the shower' bit? Fan-bloody-tastic! I was cackling out loud at that.

Faith's little morale boosting trip was fun, especially the way that Tara was getting upset at Faith's playing with Willow. Treating her with disrespect? Yeah, right. That's what it was, sure. :-D

The fact that Willow seems to be able to sense the ethereal Reapers makes things interesting. It allows a sort of connection to begin to form from her side, as well as Tara's, if that makes any kind of sense. And I was wondering if Tara's little whoops moment with her scythe would come back to haunt her.

Okay, you're busted mate. I really don't think you can claim not to know these characters too well. You've portrayed Xander in all his clownish glory perfectly here. The full list of movie genres he's bringing, the demon/angel soliloquy, and the blue butt remark. Pure, gut busting, classic Xander.

Can I just say how much I loved this line:
Quote:
Xander snorted. "Or it wanted to lull you into a false sense of security so it can pounce on you later and eat your soul."


Bloody brilliant, mate. Keep it up.

Cheers,
Paul.

PS. Sam and Max: Freelance Police rule!

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:00 am 
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13. Big Knowledge Woman
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UO,
That is a nice graphic that Chris worked up for you. Tara is very Anakin Skywalker with the yellow eyes from Episode III.
This chapter was very lyrical and poetic and put me in mind of the German film, "Wings of Desire" which also had Peter Falk in it.
Willow describing the sensation as if a guardian angel were watching over her even if it did the horribly inappropriate act of bleeding on her couch.
Faith and Tara couold be the Goofus and Gallant of Reapers.
Tara sitting on the couch and drinking in all of Willow's movements reminded me of the scenes in "Wings of Desire" where the guardian angel watches the trapeze artist in the circus and falls in love with her.
Tara seems headed for the same fate, it would seem.

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:15 am 
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14. Lesbo Street Cred
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I suppose 'harvester' sounds much nicer than 'serial killer' but it's about the same effect really :) Tara would be much better of as a Collector anyway, her compassion is more usefull in that profession.

Tara obviously doesn't view death by itself as 'bad', which should make for interesting discussions. Why did Mort pick Willow as Tara's first target ? An older person would have been much easier for Tara to start with, build it up (or down in age:-) from there... Mort isn't a very good teacher in that regard. What would have happened if Tara had had such an 'easier' target ?

How much time does Tara get to get the job done by the way? Eventually Mort will go check up on her I guess.

I haven't seen any of the movies/series this story refers to so it's all nice and new to me :). I still can't see Tara as a Harvester, I suspect her mother wasn't around when her dad made the decision to push Tara from Collector to Harvester, as her mother surely would have seen Tara would be much better as a Collector.

Willow can sense Faith and Tara better than they describe, as she can clearly differentiate between annoying Faith and nice Tara :P. She doesn't just sense 'something' in the room, she sense two things.. one of which was nice.

Where does Tara live, is that the normal world in a small town or such?

Poor Tara slipping in the shower was funny. I did wonder what would happen if her hood would slip of, it doesn't fit her in more ways than one anyway :)

Interesting setup this story, refreshing.

Grimmy

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 Post subject: Re: New Uber - Don't fear the Reaper
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:13 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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Thank all of you for reading and leaving feedback. Update in a few moments, but I just wanted to reply to all your comments first.

visual fallacy - Glad you liked story! And yeah, it does make sense. Tara is finding it harder and harder to end Willow's life. Thanks too for one hell of a flattering compliment!

Miss Kitty - Thanks for your Woo! :D I'm happy you're still reading.

White witch - I hear you about the Teletubbies. Those things are just... damn freaky, that's what they are. Glad you liked the update!

Tarebear - Happy you like the story. And Emily certainly was surprised... of course, she didn't believe it was me who wrote it at first, because I'd been avoiding writing a W/T story for so long. :) Oh, icon love, btw.

Viximon - Thank you! Oh, yes, Tara is so cute as a button in any form or incarnation. If Tara would have heard Willow and Xander talking, she'd be very torn, that's for sure. And Faith is always good for comedic value. Thanks again, and thanks for reading.

Nerdbert - Glad to hear you're still liking the story. Tara was out of earshot when Xander and Willow were talking, thankfully. She'd be very torn if she'd have heard Willow call her an angel.

Tara can turn ethereal (I chose this instead of invisibility, because if invisible, she could still be heard) through her cloak. If she places the hood over her head, she'll turn ethereal until she removes it and then she'll phase into the real world again. But it can be knocked off accidentally by herself.

I love to write Xander. He's got the most refreshing dialogues, that's for sure.

As for the higher ups. I can't give too much away, but the only ones who know what Tara is doing are Mort and Faith. And Faith would never rat on Tara. ;)

Update in a few seconds. :)

AlysonGoddess - I'm happy you like the story. :) I won't give too much away, but it's better for the story if the cloak stays on for a bit longer. :) Update in a few seconds.

Caz - Your wish is my command. :) Glad to hear you like the story. Thanks.

Darth Pacula - I certainly don't mind the abbreviation. My eye for background comes from my historical training and my days of playing PnP, I think. It's a hard habid to break. :) But I was somewhat mortified to know I had accidentally referred to an orgasm in the title. :blush Actually, it was meant to refer to Tara caressing Willow's cheek. ;)

Tara's starting to question. Just a little bit. Especially since it's getting more and more difficult for Tara to figure out a way to end Willow's life.

Quote:
The difference Tara feels when Willow passes through her is a nice touch, but the cynic in me has to wonder what causes that? Is it simply an effect of Tara's own unconscious attraction?


Your inner cynic would be right. It's the effect of her unconscious attraction. Getting upset with Faith for playing around with Willow was another one.

Good eye on the connection. It's important to the story that this isn't all one-sided. Of course, it's more difficult because Tara can actually see and hear Willow, and Willow can only slightly sense Tara. But it gets the job done.

Quote:
Okay, you're busted mate. I really don't think you can claim not to know these characters too well. You've portrayed Xander in all his clownish glory perfectly here. The full list of movie genres he's bringing, the demon/angel soliloquy, and the blue butt remark. Pure, gut busting, classic Xander.


Thanks! And, yeah, it was a bit of a white lie (sorry, Emily!). But what I feared would happen, happened : I'm completely hooked now. I'm getting story-ideas for this one and other possible stories every day.

Glad to hear you liked the update... and that you like Sam and Max. :D

Taralicious - I never saw that film, but Peter Falk always makes for an enjoyable viewing in my opinion. And, you're right, Tara is headed in very much the same direction. :)

Grimlock72 - Ah, cool. Your handle wouldn't refer to a certain fan-favorite transformer, would it? And, yeah, Harvesters have to be rather cold-blooded. As for the reason Mort picked Willow as Tara's first target? Let's just say that he knows what he's doing. Mort'll be lenient, since this is Tara's first assignment, so she has some more time still.

I have to admit I haven't given the fate of Tara's mother much tought as of yet, since I'm kinda unsure what way to go with that angle. But I'll cross that bridge if or when I have to cross it. :)

When not working, Tara and the Reapers live among us, doing the things we'd do in our spare time. Walking, doing groceries, watching to movies, etc, etc. Just like regular jobs, the Reapers get paid a salary. The only difference is that the Reapers can't quit their jobs. Tara and Faith both have apartments in a city.

I'm happy that you like the story! :)


Alright, on to the update!

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Sam : Not if you mind me clawing at the dashboard and shrieking like a cheerleader.


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