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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:11 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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Come on Bubs! Don't let me down!

And even the ripping is beautiful, isn't it Rach?

My computer did explode, Jude. I think it was all the refreshing.

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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ~Helen Keller


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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:11 pm 
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18. Breast Gal
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Zooeys_Bridge wrote:
aww, this is bringing all kinds of kittens closer together!

..that is until we rip each other to shreds once the actual posting happens


*rubs hands together gleefully* I can't wait! It'll be like the Discovery Channel.

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The dlline Short Fic Thread


Last edited by dlline on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:34 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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May the best Kitten win. I'm off to go see some rock and roll. And no, I won't be checking in here on my iPhone. And by "no," I mean "yes."


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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:05 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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Bloody Hell! I was sure this was it!


I'm gonna fail my class...


There certainly should be, Jude.

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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ~Helen Keller


Last edited by masterjendu on Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:06 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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fuck me, I know

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:06 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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aren't there, like, kitten laws against these sorts of mistreatments?




Just pointing out that there are precious few minutes until "Wednesday's update" becomes "Thursday's update."

Just sayin'.


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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:18 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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You have a point, however, Phoenix and I live in the time zone where it is currently only 9:18.

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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ~Helen Keller


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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:18 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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masterjendu wrote:
You have a point, however, Phoenix and I live in the time zone where it is currently only 9:17.


Damn.


Last edited by taraslove on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:19 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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Quote:
it is currently only 9:17.


fuuuuuuuck.

looks like my 1am french fry run might be a little later than 1. turrrrrrd.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:20 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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Don't get weak now, Rach, Jude might feed on you!

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:51 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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pretty pretty please?

NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:53 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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are. you. fucking. KIDDING. me?


there's only so much jerking around this heart will take before i wash my hands of you forever.



perhaps that was... harsh. what i meant to say was... pulease? god, please?


Last edited by taraslove on Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:53 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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:cry

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:54 pm 
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what if we staged a revolt- NO ONE DIBS.



blasphemy, I know, but I'm getting desperate

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:55 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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a boycott.

i'm totally with you.


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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:56 pm 
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Chapter 52
The Lamb


Tara Maclay, RN, prophet-dreamer, truth-seeker, demon-slayer, and Willow-lover, stood upon the Seal, the evanescent glow alighting upon her face with all the soft focus she could have dreamed of her final hours. In front of her stood her saviour. Wisps of cloud had been vanquished and moonlight streamed fiercely down, inscribing her lovers features forever in her soul.

Not even the poet knows the end from the beginning.

Fourteen days ago, Peter Whitney lay dying in his hospital bed. On that day, Tara had stood near him, holding his cancer-ravaged hand, watching soulfire dance behind his closed eyes, watched as the veil drew thin. On that day, Tara had prayed for such an end to come to her, that her darkness, her need of martyrdom and pain would finally cease, and she could be the one passing through the purple curtain even with the taste of defeat on her tongue. For she lived in an abyss of love, mired within the

(deathspace)

emptiness of her agonising life, wounded by the light of her patients, for she carried her own darkness within. Tara used to envy them their deaths, ached for the curtain to fall over her.

And this time the tunnel, the purple, was for her.

She had never wanted so badly to stay.

Tara had dreamed of this ending, that fateful day she first heard of Willow Rosenberg. It was the afternoon that Peter died, and Tara had slept and beheld the face of the goddess for the first time. The hair was white, then, and she was clad in a gown of starlight and fairytale wishes. Beholding her face, Tara wondered if her future could possibly bloom like the lilies in Peter Whitney's garden.

No. For she had a part to play, even though she'd never seen the script or read the ending. She would be the tool, the bridge

(the lamb)

the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. She took Willow's stain that day, took it until she was satiated to the point of death with it

(you took it Tara, you took it and you can't give it away)

never knowing that this one dream prophesied her entire fate. Angel had warned her, back when Tara was demon-fodder and naive, that staying in this world too long would kill her. None of them could have known that Tara would have to die twice.

Her role had always been the same, even as Tara progressed from being a nurse to being a Kraken. Fighting the demon, healing Willow, taking on Tawarick, finally standing up to her father, even dying; the end was always going to be the same. Healing by sacrifice. How small and insignificant Willow's healing seemed now that Tara was about to heal the entire world.

And how remarkable that the only reason she could do it at all was standing right in front of her, the pearly glow of moonfire and magic illuminating Willow's devastated face.

Save Willow, so Willow can save the world. Not by healing, but by loving her. Althanea's words, so close to the vital truth.

(Save Tara, so Tara can save the world.)

Now, with Willow tucked in her body, Willow's hands about her waist, Willow's head upon Tara's heart, Tara remembered the first time she had enfolded Willow thus, in the protection of Willow's mind, in the aspect of an angel. They shared their first kiss that day. Willow proferred her lips now, lifting her sorrowing face to the heavens, and Tara softly kissed them, remembering that first time. Her girl had been so desperate, so shy. It seemed that Willow wanted to memorize her again, impress Tara's lips, mouth, and soul on her in the last moments they would share among the living.

So they kissed, there in the moonlit drenched meadow of the Stone Mountain, and Tara could sense the heaven-threads, for she stood upon the heaven-mouth. It was here that the Guardians had fashioned the scythe of the power of the gods, and as Tara had learned in the hospice, the passage of the gods through the filters of the worlds left a distinctive mark. As Willow opened her mouth, tilting her head, drawing Tara exquisitely in, Tara could feel a power growing within her, welling up inside her with exquisite painful joy.

For Willow was more than her girl, her lover, her saviour. Willow was her light, a light more glorious than sunlight, moonlight, and starlight combined. She was the Willow-light, the love-light, Tara's new north star.

Willow's warm fingers moving higher now, leaving the comfort of Tara's waist to journey up her back, caressing her shoulder blades, perhaps remembering the gold-dipped wings that had sprouted there. Fingers that finally grapsed Tara's neck, buried themselves in her hair, tilted her face so she could continue kissing the corner of Tara's mouth, her jawline, her earlobe, her neck.

And Tara began to weep.

After all they had been through, the tortuous healing, their flight into the ether as Willow was gifted, their triumphant return to Tara's house, their first night of love-making, the disastrous appearance of Tawarick, and then Caleb, and then p'achi, and then murder, and then her own death, Tara could scarcely believe that this time it would be over. It was as her mother predicted.

(For the love of this woman, you will surely die.)

In all her running around to save Willow, to save the world, she had not discovered how to save herself.

And now it was too late.

Here, upon this sacred ground, this ground hallowed by the gods, protected by the Order of the Crescent, fought for bled for died for, Tara would become the ultimate sacrifice. The rabbit. The lamb. The Kraken arose from the depths just in time to die, but Tara would have it no other way.

Willow did what she promised. Tara was saved. Tara knew that the past two weeks more than made up for her lifetime of abuse and pain. Willow's love balanced, and then tipped the scale. From sad Sue Tara had learned to hide, to protect, to burrow. From Willow Tara learned to open, to live, to soar. With Willow she felt true love, not just brotherly love, but all-consuming, soul-losing, faith-shattering, eternity-seeking love that she spent her lifetime looking for, and verily rejoiced in when she found it.

Willow was looking up at her again, with eyes softened by much pain and heartache, tears creasing lines of cleanliness down her smudged cheeks. Tara lifted a thumb to wipe those tears away, then paused, then kissed them instead, tasting the salty sweetness of them, feeling Willow's hands clutch at her again, feeling her whole soul quaking with this love for her girl. She would have died a thousand deaths to keep Willow from harm.

(I will die again.)

Tara lifted her face; Willow opened her eyes again. Tara softly smiled and touched Willow’s hair – it was just underneath there that Willow had suffered a broken skull. Lips followed the fingers, and she softly kissed Willow’s hair.

(Will the heaven-threads sustain me?)

There had been a gash on Willow’s forehead. Tara kissed that as well. Willow, seeming to understand what Tara was doing, tilted her head. Tara gently tugged on Willow’s sweater, exposing the thin scar where the uber-vamp had dined on her. With achingly soft lips, she kissed that as well, knowing that Willow's scars testified of Tara's sacrifice, and every one represented a lost and buried hope.

Willow’s hands were on her waist, relentless pressure pulling her forward. Kissing Willow’s neck, licking her throat, Tara passed one hand inside Willow’s sweater and over her belly, tracing that other long thin scar, before touching the spot on Willow’s back where the sword had left its exit wound.

(I did that, for I am the Kraken.)

The blood debt was so deep, the price so very much to pay.

No time for life, for death cannot wait.

Why could she not have learned these vital lessons sooner? Fourteen days, that was nothing. It was a morsel, when life with Willow should have been a feast. Why couldn't she just have stayed?

It wasn't fair. Didn't she promise Willow?

(If you wish it, I'll never leave you again.)

Oh yes, how naive. Tara would leave her, through the purple curtain Tara would leave her, and what would Willow do once Tara was gone? Nearly everyone who ever loved the slim red-haired witch was dead. Only Faith, a somewhat dubious ally, and Oz remained. Would she eventually find happiness in his arms once more? Would she forget that she was branded with Tara’s touch?

Willow was weeping, “Never, Tara, never.” Willow pulled at her relentlessly, her mouth a firebrand. Their conjoined lips moved with haste, a frenzy precipitated by their imminent departure. Tara used her tongue to open Willow’s mouth; she cried as she tasted Willow for the last time. The glow from beneath them was brightening – they had no more time.

(The hollowing is almost complete. Once you are empty, be careful of what you put back in.)

A final kiss, a last caress.

Just as Tara was about to pull away, Willow frantically pulled her back to her arms. All Willow's limbs were trembling, and Tara’s heart melted even more. For one last time, Tara held Willow, so tight they should have become one, Willow’s broken voice in her ear, “I can’t lose you again. I just can’t!”

(If I lose you, my heart will be broken.)

Grief mixed with molten desire crashed through her, and Tara wished she had the ability to stop time. She would have taken Willow once more, slid inside her so deliciously, convinced her that, for Tara, there was no one else, nor had there ever been. With suckling lips upon aroused nipples she would have proven her love once more, and experienced beauty she never thought this world could provide her.

But all they had was this one moment, which was fading fast.

“The choice was mine, and mine completely,” Tara whispered, her breath on Willow’s earlobe, her hands tangled in Willow’s hair. “I knew all along that this was my task.” Weeping with sorrow, Tara kissed Willow on the forehead. “You have to be strong.” Another kiss on Willow’s lips, aware of Willow’s hands roaming under her shirt, along her backside. When their mouths tilted, when Willow’s soft lips moved under hers, Tara tasted the heaven-threads, and knew the time was approaching fast.

(On some level, you didn’t want me to get it.)

And Tara thought of her mother, who had sacrificed so much. She thought of Buffy, Xander, Giles, Althanea, and so many others who also gave their lives to save the world. Their sacrifices were unknown, as hers would be.

(You didn’t want me to fully understand your sacrifice.)

When came the dawn, the birds would sing, men and women would go to work, and the world would be the same. They would never know that with her blood, she had just saved them all. Her sacrifice would be as unknown as the sacrifice of those poor Potentials in Sunnydale, all the Slayers, and even the corpses of the Order of the Crescent that littered this hallowed ground. Their blood was also consecrated, and she could feel the brightening of the highway to heaven, lit by those who had walked before her.

(If I understood too much, I might have fallen in love with you.)

And Willow would become a wreck of her former self, revisiting past moments of bliss until they drove her mad. She would live in Tara’s house, and always walk around the puddle where Althanea had died, and would cry in the bathtub, her tears making solemn plinking noises against the water.

(There would be no joy without Tara.)

Tara continued to kiss Willow and knew that her lover spoke the truth. Willow couldn’t lose her again. On a deeper level, they knew that they were both sacrificing their lives. Willow knew her duty. She would kill Tara with her own hands. This most important murder would weigh her conscience like a millstone, and it wouldn’t take long for her to join Tara in the land of the dead.

(If you wish it, I’ll never leave you again.)

The world wouldn’t mourn them. They would not have pages in the annals of history. No, they darted into the world as bright and quick as butterflies, and dead just as fast.

In heaven they would have the time they deserved.

Tara finally drew away, squeezing Willow's hand. They gazed at each other over the smouldering of the Seal, and said the only words that mattered.

“I love you, Willow,” Tara whispered, her voice catching in her throat.

(Why, Tara? Why do you love me?

It's what I was born to do.

It's what I'll die doing.)


“Tara, I love you,” Willow gulped. Their hands ever clasped together, Willow helped Tara lay down upon the Seal, and Tara felt the grit of the shattered stone slab under her, saw the stars of Orion twinkling above. The sighing of the wind was tempered by the soft groanings of the injured, and ever she smelt the pine resin and creeping mould of the long forgotten monastery. She impressed it all upon her mind, knowing that she would never see the earth again. And as she had already discovered, even heaven had no beauty to match it.

Willow finally let go of Tara's fingers; she laid her arms by her sides. Kneeling and straddling Tara's hips, Tara kept her eyes on Willow's eyes, even though tears were streaming down her cheeks. She would not brush them away, for only more would come, and she wished she could face this without crying, give Willow the strength she needed for this most awful task. This apocalypse that Willow could not avert.

Willow wept continuously as well, holding out her hand to Faith, keeping her gaze locked on Tara's. As the dark Slayer handed Willow the scythe, Tara gulped. How much would it hurt? The wooden end of the scythe was thick and impossibly sharp. It would do the trick.

Even then, Willow hesitated. “Do it,” Tara prompted, gritting her jaw.

“The blood which I spill, I consecrate to the gods,” Willow whispered. “Do what you must to save the world.”

Her fingers flexed on the handle, and Tara watched. Willow lifted the scythe in the air, and Tara watched. Willow screamed, and the end of the scythe hurtled through time and space, and crunched into her rib cage, carving muscle and bone, and the tip of it breached her faithful heart.

There was no time to notice the taste of honey in her mouth, the pain that was wildfire in her veins. The heaven-threads tempered all things, and as Tara's blood flowed from her body, conquering the pentagram, the goat's skull, Tara's soul separated from her body, drawn from mortality by Willow's dreadful choice.

Tara stood upon the highway to the sun for the second time in mere hours, the veil passing over her, the light beckoning. Willow had flung the scythe aside and collapsed on Tara's body, screaming and weeping in paroxysms of grief.

And suddenly Tara was not alone, there within the ether, removed from earth's dimension, so near to heaven.

“It's such a hard choice, isn't it?” Buffy said, standing near Tara, looking down on Willow with endless pity in her eyes.

Tara looked at the girl who meant so much to Willow, who had changed Willow in so many ways. Buffy was exactly as Tara knew she would be – young, strong, and beautiful. Tara looked back down on Willow, her throat constricting with pain.

“Even when I stood on the tower with Dawn, and watched the rift open, and demons come flowing through, it was a hard choice. How do you decide to die, when everyone else gets to live?”

“You knew your d-duty,” Tara stammered, feeling gauche and awkward next to this legendary Slayer.

“It's never been about duty,” Buffy disagreed, looking at Willow herself. Earth's reality flowed thickly, and in slow motion they both watched Willow tug Tara's body in her lap, rocking her body and screaming. Tara followed her gaze, and wept herself for Willow's agonies, so fresh, so repetitive.

“It's always been about love,” finished another voice. Tara turned and beheld a young man with an earnest face and tousled hair. Even though his eye was whole, Tara recognized him immediately. Xander.

And suddenly Giles was there as well, and with heartsick appreciation, Tara realized she was surrounded by Willow's family. “You did what you were supposed to do, Tara,” the older gentleman said, rolling the sound of her name. “With your sacrifice, the last Seal was destroyed. But not only did you save Earth, you saved every other world and dimension in existence, heaven included.”

With a sweep of his hand she could see heaven, and verily it was bright, and bold, and beautiful. And angels walked the gold crusted streets, and bees flirted with roses, and the lamb and the lion lay down together, and neither of them afraid.

“You are one of us, Tara,” Buffy said, taking Tara's hand, turning her gently away from the vision of Willow, and heartache, and Earth. “Here you will be cared for. Here you will be loved.”

And Tara went with them, even though her heart knew, oh how it knew, that there could be no love here.

Not without Willow.

Her mother was wrong. Tara did know the end, right from the beginning. Death at Willow's hand, and an eternity waiting to be reunited.

*****


(When the time comes, will you let her choose?)

Willow had never felt pain like this. The scythe clattered to the ground, dripping in blood. It took every ounce of willpower in her body not to press her hands against that dreadful wound, to heal it and pull Tara back to her. Willow fell to her knees and gathered Tara’s body in her lap. For a few moments she managed to hold in her grief, rocking Tara’s body back and forth, but it grew to an unimaginable size and she just had to scream.

So she screamed even as she wept, clutching Tara’s body, only peripherally aware that the Seal had stopped glowing, had even been erased of its pentagram and goat’s head. In moments it took on the dullness of ordinary granite – it could never be used as a portal again.

From around her she could hear the sounds of others weeping, as well as the groans of the dead and dying. The practical side of her said she should assist the others she could, she had been gifted, now go use it! But nothing could tear her away from the body of the girl she loved, the girl she had killed. Kissing Tara’s lips, remembering her anguish of only an hour before, Willow thought her heart had been extinguished forever. As she kissed Tara she pled to the gods for help, knowing that there were no more gifts.

There was no hope.

There was only the fracturing of her soul, the unbearable pain of her loss. All her friends had traveled this singular road that led to heaven, leaving Willow behind. Willow, destined to live. Pinned to the freaking wheel of Fate for all eternity, living when she had no right to, living in perpetual agony and self-recrimination, living without hope of redemption.

Tara’s blood would stain her hands forever. There could be no moment when she could look at her hands and not remember how they trembled around the handle of the scythe, how hard it was to push through rib bones and into a beating heart.

(Just what does Tara mean to you, Willow?)

She was her everything. And as the disease hollowed her, as the light of heaven began to shine through her eyes, as she latched onto her godly heritage and displayed gifts of power far beyond Willow’s ken, Willow knew the truth. She was in love with the greatest soul that had ever lived.

When Tara saved Willow that day, by pulling Caleb out of her mind, did she know that she was condemning herself to death? Just like Buffy, Xander, and Giles, everyone who ever really loved Willow was doomed to die. Just as Willow was doomed to live.

Still rocking Tara’s body, weeping with grief, Willow remembered the moment under the willow tree after they discovered the nature of Caleb’s gift. That other Willow, that young, naive Willow, she didn’t know that her hands would be stained with Tara’s blood.

They had won. The Seal was vanquished.

Yet Willow had failed. To everyone who ever loved Tara, Willow promised to save her. The Council knew she would pull off the impossible, and solve the riddle, and do it just in the nick of time, just as she’d always done before.

The First would not be reborn. The skies would not flower with demons, and the earth would not vomit up the bones of the Old Ones. Beljoxa's Eye would remain his cantankerous self, and heaven would be safe.

But even while living, Willow’s soul would still be reaved from her body, and she would be sentenced to a lifetime writhing in the regrets and the remorse of the damned.

Because Willow could not figure out the last puzzle, solve the last riddle, Tara would stay dead. They simply ran out of time. Jude was alive, as was Faith. But Tara was dead.

Tara was dead.

The moonlight was strong upon her body. She looked peaceful.

God was a farce.

There was a light touch upon her shoulder, and Willow lifted her bloodshot eyes to behold John kneeling next to her. In the moonlight his face looked ancient; an old soul in a relatively young body, his face also twisted with grief.

“She saved me, too,” John said, his voice faltering. Willow watched him touch Tara’s hand. “After…when I came to the hospice, I was pretty mixed up. Thought pretty little about the whole human race. Tara helped me see otherwise.”

If he thought he was helping, Willow could set him straight in a hurry.

John looked at Willow and said, “We are all more than we seem. I would have lain down my life for hers as well. But my blood doesn’t sing, not like Tara’s.”

“Who are you, John?” Willow wept. (And why are you doing this to me?)

“If I shed this mortal coil, you would recognize me,” John said. Bemused, Willow could only stare as John’s features shifted, his face melting and coalescing once more into that of a being that Willow did indeed recognize.

“Osiris,” Willow breathed.

“I am,” said John, his voice soft, “but I am also John. I died in Sunnydale two years ago and was buried next to a girl named Buffy Summers.”

Truth and hope began to grow in Willow’s chest. She held her breath as he continued to speak, feeling the hope balloon in her chest and knowing she would skewer the man alive if he was toying with her.

“There I remained, until Osiris was beguiled by a witch of considerable power. You, Willow.”

(my skin ripped and a snake erupted from my mouth)

“Buffy’s spirit ripped a hole in the ether, from which later came the First. Before Osiris could retreat, the urn was broken, right over my grave.”

(the demons in their motorbikes, and the buffy-bot; we scattered like flies)

“I became the God in flesh.”

Beljoxa’s Eye. (You must also put your trust in those you’ve unknowingly helped in the past.)

Willow remembered her beguilement. She had killed a deer for its blood, had allowed a spell to rip her apart. To save Buffy she had overcome every obstacle, knowing that Giles would not approve. For Tara she would do anything, cast any spell, endure any torment. Whatever this John/Osisris wanted, she would give. “Won't you bring her back to me?” Willow asked, her heart in her throat.

“To what end? She has fulfilled the measure of her creation. For this task alone was she born,” John said, not unkindly.

“I would have her be with me. I would have her be my wife.”

Willow didn’t know she was going to say those words until they were out of her mouth. Once they were loose, they settled around her and inside her, until it became the only desire she had ever known. Tara as her wife. Tara alive. Tara and Willow, near the sharp-smelling tomato plants, kissing and telling while children laughed.

“There can be no inequalities in marriage. You have so much gifted power. She has so little. Would you lessen yourself? She has sacrificed everything. What will you sacrifice?”

That John even had to ask the question was ludicrous. Quietly, “I would. I would lessen myself. I would do anything to have her live once more.”

“Three times in your life you tore a soul from heaven. Will you do so again? Can you offer more than that place of beauty, where she is with her mother once more?”

Willow chose her words carefully, holding down the joy that was erupting near her heart. If John was messing with her, he would pay, God or no God. “If no other challenge for me ever arose, I would spend all my days making beauty for Tara. This world has shown her only pain and misery. I could redeem it for her. I could spend a lifetime creating beauty and love and fulfilling all of her wishes.”

John smiled. “Your sacrifice is accepted. Kiss her again and awaken her to a better world.”

He placed his palm over Tara’s shredded heart. Willow barely heard the gasp of delight from the onlooking crowd; all she knew was that she was reborn. Lifting Tara higher, Willow placed her soft lips on Tara’s own.

“Accept my gift,” John whispered.

Willow was puzzled only for a moment, but then there was a whoosh of strong air. A moment passed, and then two. Then a flush of heat on Tara's cool lips, a hand about Willow's waist. Long, lovely fingers touching Willow's cheek, then wrapping around her ear, holding the lobes softly between thumb and finger.

And Tara's lips, simply pressing, in a moment that did not need to be frozen in time, a moment that could last as long as any mortal moments could.

Willow's soul overflowed with joy as Tara pulled herself closer to Willow, her lips now harder, moving faster, passionate, intense. The first kiss of the rest of their lives, and Willow felt Tara engulf her, ravage her, her lips covering Willow's open mouth. Willow shivered as Tara's tongue ran across the front of Willow's teeth, dipping inside Willow's mouth, her fingers pulling at Willow's neck. Lips tilting now, and Willow, not quite over the shock of tasting Tara's lips again, could merely allow herself to be kissed more thoroughly than she ever had in her life.

For Tara focused on Willow's mouth, then on the corner of Willow's lips, then tilted Willow's head back to suck on her neck, finding Willow's pulse point and laving her tongue over it, before driving her tongue into the hollow of Willow's throat.

Electrified with desire, the spell of paralysis that had momentarily confined Willow dissipated, and she responded in kind, her fingers in Tara's hair, on Tara's back, her mouth kissing any part of Tara that drew near. Every cell in her body thrilled to Tara's touch, to the soft breasts unencumbered by amulet or demon grooves, to the hair unadorned by seed pearls and gold. It was only Tara she wanted, and all of Tara, and always.

Willow could not have said how long they were enraptured of each other, how many kisses they shared, before finally embracing each other over the dead and conquered Seal. Willow placed her head over Tara's breast and was comforted by the beating of Tara's new heart.

A delicious eternity later, they drew back enough to look at each other once more. Tara's eyes, as blue as bellflowers in spring. Her scent of sandalwood and roses. Her skin as silky as butterfly wings. The crowd was murmuring in Romanian, their jubilation evident, and Faith gave Willow a broad smile. “Way to go, Red,” Faith said, her arm about Jude's waist, her hand in the back pocket of Jude's leather pants.

Willow and Tara both laughed aloud for the joy of it.

And only then did they notice that John had fallen to the ground, still.

Accept my gift, he had said.

Did he just sacrifice himself for Tara? Would John, too, die twice?

Tara followed Willow’s gaze. “John?” she asked, timidly touching his shoulder.

The nurse slowly opened his eyes, and Willow breathed a sigh of relief. Still holding Tara tight, she asked, “What happened?”

“Osiris is gone,” John said. “He sacrificed himself to invite Tara forth from heaven, and has now joined the other gods."

“Are you all right?” Tara asked.

John looked her over. “I might miss being able to call forth the spirits of the dead, but I think I'll survive. Besides, I still have a job to do. Being a nurse. Could be cool. The future is wide open.”

Willow looked at Tara, and found her new future in the soft adoration of Tara's eyes. Tara was not the only one who was reborn. They both would rise like a phoenix from these ashes, and together they would comfort the world. Willow fully intended on keeping her promise to Osiris; she would show Tara more beauty than Tara could ever have imagined.

For they had a future now, and it was populated with sharp tomato plants, fresh mown grass, and sunshiny dreams. Belly big afternoons spent under the willow tree. Durians and morningstars and nights, many many nights, of love.

Willow. Doomed to live.

Born to love.

Not even the poet knows the end from the beginning.


The End

Dearest kittens, my name is Jen. I hope you have enjoyed my story.


Last edited by Tara the Phoenix on Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:56 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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YES? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well played, girlies!!! That was quite the marathon! I'm all shaky!

And Congrats, Phoenix!! The update is fantastic. I'll be back later with some real feedback. Right now I'm gonna go bring Rach some fries and then help Jude pick macbook outa her hair (and then, maybe write some of my paper).

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Last edited by masterjendu on Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:31 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:56 pm 
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I can't believe that just happened.

blast!


better? good. thanks, jen.

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Last edited by Zooeys_Bridge on Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:57 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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DAMN YOU, JEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND RACHEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



now if you'll excuse me, i have to go pick bits of macbook out of my hair.


Last edited by taraslove on Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:57 pm 
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Congrats, Jen!


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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:58 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Zooeys_Bridge wrote:

I can't believe that just happened.




I know, right?

That fucking on-again, off-again shit DOOMED me. I've been duped!


Last edited by taraslove on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:59 pm 
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Quote:
now if you'll excuse me, i have to go pick bits of macbook out of my hair.

hysterical, I was, hysterical. It's all Jen! Fucking Jedi will do it every goddamn time.

Jen, thank you for finally posting, I can't wait.

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Last edited by Zooeys_Bridge on Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 52 - Completed
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:03 pm 
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Quote:
any way to reformat that? reading is going to be difficult, and concentrating on it at this point is streching my limits.


You have to erase some of your NOOOOOOOO, Rach.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 51 - second last
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:04 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Zooeys_Bridge wrote:

eta: any way to reformat that? reading is going to be difficult, and concentrating on it at this point is streching my limits.



I think it was your godawful NOOOOOOOOOO that did it, Rach. Maybe?

ETA. God. I am just a hair too late for absolutely everything these days, huh? Big loser. That's me. Sigh.


Seriously, Jen. Such a HUGE accomplishment for you! I cannot WAIT to read the denouement of your epic story.

Kudos, my friend. I'm terribly proud.
j


Last edited by taraslove on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 52 - Completed
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:00 am 
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3. Flaming O
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So, hopelessly behind in the dibs war but perhaps the first to leave proper feedback to this last heavenly chapter?

Good grief Jen, you've had me waiting for this chapter since Monday. The only other thing I remeber having been so apprehensive of reading would be the last Harry Potter book, you know, the odds was kind of the same ("No can live while the other survives", "For the love of this women you will surely die", "I am the lamb"). Each story seemed to present only one outcome, only one path to thread, "the highway to the sun", "The brigthening highway to heaven", "Kings Cross".. And yet as each story tug you along, drag you into the coldsweats of angst, yet they both held a hope, an after hope perhaps as the path did indeed lead to death and beyond, but also back again with the feeling of a tentative golden dawn, waiting to break out in full glory, or diffuse in pale sunrise and a grey day..

I did see there was an update when I got up, but I had to wait an hour or so reading it to collect myself and find myself alone as my mate had left for work. Did I tremble a little when I scrolled down to find the story? Indeed I did. Did I cry? Buckets.. To make sure I'd get every detail, I read it out loud (or rather out low..) so that my eyes might not jump to the conclusion before I had read it all.. Will I come back some time to re-read this story? I'm quite sure I will, but it will be a while, a while to ease the angst and a while to make the experience fresh as springdew once more, your descriptions deserves that!

I would love to go on to bring you qoutes of the most beloved passages, but I fear I should qoute the whole chapter. I will gve a few (if I can limit myself that is)

Quote:
Wisps of cloud had been vanquished and moonlight streamed fiercely down, inscribing her lovers features forever in her soul.

Simply Phoenixesque beauty! I love how often your descriptions of the outer world corresponds what is inside, emotionally, soulfully..

Quote:
Tara used to envy them their deaths, ached for the curtain to fall over her.

And this time the tunnel, the purple, was for her.

She had never wanted so badly to stay.

This made my heart cry out for Tara, why should love have to come so late? Just when she had found worth in life, why should she have to die?

Quote:
Beholding her face, Tara wondered if her future could possibly bloom like the lilies in Peter Whitney's garden.

Tying the beginning to the ending, you are very good at that. It's like you pick out moments from your story, like flowers, and put them in a vase for display throughout the story, reminding us readers of some beauty past, giving a new event the shade and taste of the old..

Quote:
It seemed that Willow wanted to memorize her again, impress Tara's lips, mouth, and soul on her in the last moments they would share among the living.

Tears...

Quote:
After all they had been through, the tortuous healing, their flight into the ether as Willow was gifted, their triumphant return to Tara's house, their first night of love-making, the disastrous appearance of Tawarick, and then Caleb, and then p'achi, and then murder, and then her own death, Tara could scarcely believe that this time it would be over.

This passage really stood out to me, I had to go over it twice.. It is just such a sharp way of summing it up, especially because it seems to escalate from the "and then Caleb...", I think it's the repetition of "and then", it has a tendency to sound ludicrous, but not here, here it's like a stampede of sorrow..

Quote:
(The hollowing is almost complete. Once you are empty, be careful of what you put back in.)

A final kiss, a last caress.

Another thing I love about your style.. The injected thoughts and then the suggestive answer afterwards..

Quote:
Tara continued to kiss Willow and knew that her lover spoke the truth. Willow couldn’t lose her again. On a deeper level, they knew that they were both sacrificing their lives.

Recollections of the passage just preceeding it and ultimately to the heartwreaking passage where Willow roams through Tara's old home, unravelling, knowing she would go mad with loosing Tara, sitting in the wardrobe among abandoned old clothes with the fading scent of Tara..


Quote:
“It's such a hard choice, isn't it?” Buffy said, standing near Tara, looking down on Willow with endless pity in her eyes.

I still cannot figure out if she is refering to the sacrifising of ones own life, or if it is the choice of leaving loved ones behind with the knowledge of the grief and pain which will consume them..

Quote:
“It's always been about love,”

I love the way Xander finishes Buffy's sentiment here, it's so true. It may appear as duty, but truly it is love. Not to mention ofcourse that without love for either Tara or Willow, they would not be there, one dead, the other grieving upon the closed seal..

Quote:
The practical side of her said she should assist the others she could, she had been gifted, now go use it! But nothing could tear her away from the body of the girl she loved, the girl she had killed.

The very depth of her sorrow..

Quote:
“Who are you, John?” Willow wept. (And why are you doing this to me?)

Just the amount of feeling and the smallness in her voice in the after thought..

Quote:
Willow didn’t know she was going to say those words until they were out of her mouth. Once they were loose, they settled around her and inside her, until it became the only desire she had ever known. Tara as her wife. Tara alive. Tara and Willow, near the sharp-smelling tomato plants, kissing and telling while children laughed.

One kitten here began daring to hope once more!

Quote:
holding down the joy that was erupting near her heart. If John was messing with her, he would pay, God or no God.

This Willow here is one who have saved the world enough times indeed, she seems ages older than just a few hours ago when she dared hope more confidently in Tara's return to her..

Quote:
then there was a whoosh of strong air. A moment passed, and then two. Then a flush of heat on Tara's cool lips, a hand about Willow's waist. Long, lovely fingers touching Willow's cheek, then wrapping around her ear, holding the lobes softly between thumb and finger.

-content kitten puring- this is one of those achingly beautiful moments you manage to paint so vividly and simple..

Quote:
And Tara's lips, simply pressing, in a moment that did not need to be frozen in time, a moment that could last as long as any mortal moments could.

Again a wonderful return to earlier parts of the story, too many moments too short, and one moment, a pocket of time, filled with their love and enchanted stars counting their shared heartbeats... Full circle..

Quote:
“Way to go, Red,” Faith said, her arm about Jude's waist, her hand in the back pocket of Jude's leather pants.

Just a nice Faithy moment, trust her to be overflowingly happy and relieved but still keeping the fascade up, being the Slayer and all..

Quote:
They both would rise like a phoenix from these ashes, and together they would comfort the world.

Calls to mind the warm glow of Tara's earlier future vision of herself, a bright light for others to follow, lit herself by Willow light.. I really loved that vision, dreamy in quality yet earthy and warm..

Quote:
they had a future now, and it was populated with sharp tomato plants, fresh mown grass, and sunshiny dreams. Belly big afternoons spent under the willow tree. Durians and morningstars and nights, many many nights, of love.

-deep, deep, very happy sigh- Again the hint to the earlier passages just lend depth, strenght and a sharpened, layered joy, strong like a folded blade..

Quote:
Willow. Doomed to live.

Born to love.

Not even the poet knows the end from the beginning.

What a perfect way of ending this whole story, full circle indeed! I love how the ending is threefold, first part reflecting Willow's sorrow turned to ardent joy. The middle reflecting both of them. The end the comfort of a mother who gave up everything for the love of a child and a world for that child to live in..

-looks in horror at the lenght of the qoutes and comments- oh well, I promised you I wouldn't qoute the whole chapter, this can only be the third of it!

Thank you Jen, for a heart breaking, heart mending, mind boggling, wonderous, achingly beautiful, vivid and epic tale. You have taken the characters to whole new dimensions, thank you for staging this play in my mind!

I also just wanted to take the time to reply to your earlier reply to my reply.. So I have phoenixed up my replies? I'm inspired! And have I thought about writing? I have indeed, there's a story in my mind involving a whole lot of angst, Woman at the Edge of Time, a dash of Queen and their songs, vast beauty and a whole lot of plot yet to fall into place.. I also have my mind on two books I want to write. And I occasionally will write small sequences of dreams and musings..

Fly forever free
Jen, the Phoenix..

**There was something I forgot in this long post of mine (may I blame the lenght of it for my studying English literature, treating your fic in that kinda geekish manner?). Other's may ask for a sequel and though a part of me is tempted, I'm actually going to plead for no sequel as a continuing story would likely mean more angst. So unless it's going to be about loving, indulgent smiles, children's laughter, big bellies, suspended summer afternoons to the sharp smell of tomatoe plants and the like, I would love for this story rather to end here..

_________________
My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies
Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly - my friends
~The Show Must Go On by Queen


Last edited by Nenyath on Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 52 - Completed
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:14 am 
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Jeepers, Nenyath! Now, that's proper feedback!!! Nicely done!

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Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ~Helen Keller


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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 52 - Completed
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:05 am 
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Yay for awesome update-y goodness... Willow having to kill Tara to seal the seal brought me to tears... Great way to bring Tara back... Nice reference to Bargaining in the how Osiris got into John's body...

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 52 - Completed
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:37 am 
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Jeepers, Nenyath! Now, that's proper feedback!!! Nicely done!

-bows deeply- thank you, thank you.. (in my best bad british butler imitation)

No seriously, thanks! But I had to claim something, seeing how you got the dibs while I was sleeping the night away here in Denmark.. Good one on the dibs though, how is it to have won a dibs war? It cracked me up immensly though it did remind me a bit of the mood in the bookstore past midnight when HP and the Deathly Hallows was released. There it was just a "who got the first copi" war. (I got number 7 in that stuffed bookstore, :smug ).. The lenght of the post did scare me too though ;-)

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Fairytales of yesterday will grow but never die
I can fly - my friends
~The Show Must Go On by Queen


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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 52 - Completed
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:09 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe
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Ok, since I've already taken the first step on my "Stop Being Shy on the Kitten Board Program", I'm ready to leave feedback (er... just a little one). :blush

Jen/Phoenix, I love every word of this fic. You write so beautifully and it leaves a nice warm feeling inside me. :sigh

Thank you for sharing this amazing story.


--
Bruna

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"Anything that happens, happens.
Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.
It doesn't necessarily do it in chronological order, though."

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Last edited by Bubs on Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Lamb - Chapter 52 - Completed
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:14 am 
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Ah, Phoenix!

Here I am, stepping carefully over the still smoking corpses of last night's dibs war. What fun!

As for the story, I have to say nicely done. I'm happy that I waited to comment on the previous chapter because this one made up for any misgivings I might have had. What a completely Phoenix-style ending. All of the heaven threads and tomato plants were back, and in a way, provided a coming home for me as a reader. You told me once about the power of revisiting certain words and phrases, and now I've seen it at work in Technicolor. I loved it.

I will pat myself on the back for seeing the power within John from early on in the story, but I think that's a testament to you as an author for setting him up for me. It was always there kind of just under the surface. Another good on you for that.

What a ride! From the day I saw you quietly creep into Beta Pens, I could see your gift and sharing it with you over the past year was certainly time well spent. I can't wait to see what happens next and I hope you can find the time to gift us with more soon.

Thank you, Phoenix.

Diane

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