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

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated October 11, 2010))
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:50 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Dibs.

Back later with something better than a guttural scream.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated October 11, 2010))
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:42 pm 
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Wow...just...wow. This is haunting and beautiful. I'm glad to see you return to it.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated October 11, 2010))
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 8:03 pm 
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Promised Feedback! Thanks so much everyone. This goes back over a year, so I hope it isn't too lame.

Jasmydae: Glad you got dibs! Hope you've read it by now! :P

Zampsa1975: Thanks, me too. You'll eventually see that communication isn't so easy…

mixxie: yay! another one!

magicdanw: Me too, glad to see its back, even if for a little while.

masterjendu: Ah, Jen. I love your words. Your feedback has always inspired me to try harder at the writing game (as its gotten tougher), and feel good at what this story has already accomplished. I'm glad the character vignettes are speaking to you, just hope they continue to do so. Belated Board congrats on the wedding!!

nimloth: Again, your feedback is always very heartfelt and impactful. I read it several times to best understand what you mean to say, and do my best to think of it while I work. Plus, as a big fan of 'art' (and all it encompasses) I'm truly touched by your compliments. I only hope Lotus continues to hold up as time wears on. Thanks, friend.

ophelia11: No worries! I am not only woefully negligent on FB, but on updating as well. Guilty of two follies, hope you can forgive me. I'm glad you like the 'pairing' nature of the story, dunno how/why I started doing that, but its stuck ever since.
I love that our characters are so deeply flawed. And in their flaws, lies many of their greatest strengths. Its such a double-edged sword, especially for Willow - it lands her into all sorts of trouble, how good intentions lead to ill-intended outcomes, and how out-of-control it can all get. I'm glad Giles apologized, too.
And, as a huge fan of your writing as well, I'm deeply flattered by your praises. Thanks ever so much, hope you enjoy the update!

spells42: Thanks! Senior year was great, (it was college/university) and now that I'm back at home, surprisingly little time is found for writing. But its often on my mind, and I thought to share a little more. Thanks for coming back :)

AmberGoddess: Thank you! I promise not to give up, even though updates may be a year apart. I must apologize on behalf of the state of my writing speed- it regrets to produce more.

cammy: yes! here's one right now! :P

Foomatic: Dear dear Foo. I can't believe you stayed up and reread this whole darn thing after putting the baby to sleep. A weaker woman would have succumbed to utterly crashing. While I love love love all the wonderful things you've said about Lotus (and really, they are wonderful- you spurred a writing burst back in March!) it strikes me as funny that two words to describe Lotus couldn't be farther from describing me - mature and succinct. Aah, made me smile. (Secret? I also love that scene with Willow in the wardrobe. I think its the best one I've written - that and the tea. Dunno where either came from, but damn am I glad it came out somewhere)
And I think, as a BDF(big damn fan), I owe you a great apology for keeping the answers from you. But, I can promise that by the time Mattie goes to college, this thing better damn well be done. Thanks for the gentle reminder, I'll never forget. Congrats on the dibs, you deserve it!

sapphoselene: Thank you! My favorite fics on Pens tend to be ones that keep my heart pounding, so glad I could make your imagination race!

LonelyTara: Thank you! Haunting is a word I like a lot, and one that resonates powerfully with me when I read other post S6 fics (Terra Firma and Tempus Fugit are the biggies for me). Thanks for saying so, I'm tickled. While I never quite leave Lotus, it does get harder and harder for me to find my way back. Thanks for reading, its good to know there are still some readers out there :)

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated October 11, 2010))
PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:11 am 
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Yay for great update-y goodness... I hope Spike tells Buffy about Tara so they can tell Willow and start planning to get her back...

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated October 11, 2010))
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:52 am 
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Amazing. Of course, I found this with your most recent update. So many things are very striking.

Willow as a widow in a very deep grieving pattern and feeling guilty for leaving Tara when she went after Warren.

Giles' apology.

The description of the shadows under Dawn's eyes that Buffy can't ignore, and her own decision to be as helpful as she can with the random though of her own action figure.

Anya trying to wrap her mind around what has happened and the frailty of the human condition and still feeling left out of the grief felt by the group. Oddly wishing Willow would come home and things could go back to the way they were.

Xander feeling so lost without the Scoobies and something dangerous to run headlong into.

Buffy finally feeling real emotion and her resolve to make things better.

The striking image of Tara wandering around a deserted Sunnydale leaving food in empty houses simply for something to do, and the random appearance of Spike and her fight simply to keep the company of someone, even him.

Spike slowly losing himself to his humanity.

Your imagery is beautiful and heart wrenching. You're adding a depth to the holes left behind by the show, that were always left to our (the viewers) imagination and doing it so very well. Not only is your story angst-y but the overwhelming sense of guilt felt by everyone that almost overshadows their grief is real.

What will the hole in the wall of the school bring for both Tara and Spike? My only hope is that the next update comes more quickly.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated October 11, 2010))
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:04 pm 
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This was a short chapter, but it still carries with it that characteristic Rachel punch! I love the shift here, where before memories of Tara brought Willow so much pain, but in this scene, the memories are what stops the onslaught of Willow's vision of the Hellmouth. And they weren't the big moments of their relationship. It was the simple things, the little, seemingly mundane aspects of life with a lover that are so personal . . . great stuff. Like Huey Lewis said, that's the power of love baby.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated October 11, 2010))
PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:36 pm 
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[Let's pretend I posted this over a month ago when I started writing it, yes? Ta]

Yes! A Lotus update now that I'm actually registered. I'm taking this opportunity to let you know that I probably won't be able to function properly until this story is completed because the fact that a work as beautiful as this exists unfinished would haunt me constantly. So please keep that in mind :)

In terms of overall feedback, one of my favourite things about this story is the way that you're utilising perfectly all the possibilities of a s7 fic. There was so much guilt and pain accumulated over their six years spent fighting on the hellmouth that the show, and s7 specifically, just completely failed to address. Nowhere is that more evident than in the words you have written here, which create a space where these things become almost inescapable. The Scoobies, as ravaged and messy as they are, exist far more tangibly here than they ever did during s7 (or most of s6 really), a fact that is also evidence of your great love for these characters. It is this that allows me to have complete faith in the fact that what is ravaged and messy and painful to read now will become something oh so wonderful over the course of words to come.

There's a wonderful balance of light and darkness that exists in everything as well. Whether it be physical darkness, the kind of shadows and sundown, the darkness of magic and guilt or the way that the reader is kept in the dark about exactly where it is that Tara is existing, it's all over dark, like Frank Miller's Batman multiplied by film noir dark, and I love it. Like I say though, there's balance and light. It's the light of friendship and love and, most of all, the Willow and Tara light that exists in moments like this, as a most recent example of many moments in this fic that made my heart go all spastic,

Quote:
Willow recalled the way Tara used to sigh into her pillow in the mornings. And how she used to close her eyes when she heard a birdsong. The warm way she'd hug the laundry when it came out of the dryer. Her face after a shower. The color of her lips.


which, despite only being present so far in tiny places of memory, like the past-breaths between the now-words, it never, ever leaves completely. Balance.

I could go on forever, prattling incoherently, because apparently that's the only way I know how to express the kind of awed appreciation stories like yours reduce me to. Instead I'll just beg you to keep working away at this and promise that I'll always be reading, no matter the pace of your progress (see above re: ability to function). Also, Buffy's 'duck' moment? Totally been there. Poor B.

Thanks times infinity for writing and sharing.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated February 11, 2012))
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:27 pm 
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Well, ladies and gentlemen, I certainly didn't expect to be doing this tonight, but looking through old drafts, I found something I'd worked on. Decided it's good enough to post. After two years, no more tweaking. (Though be forewarned, this is all I've got right now.)

Forgive me for having stopped writing this fic, inspiration just shriveled up. Though know it still means a lot to me and I think about it every so often, and I hope to one day keep Lotus going.

Without further ado:

Title: Lotus
Author: Zooeys_Bridge(Rachel)
Email: rsietz@gmail.com
Rating: PG(for now)
Disclaimer: Joss and ME own their characters. I’m just adding a little bit of spice. And not making a profit.
Spoilers: This is heavily steeped in canon, so be wary of all of it.
Feedback: Yes, please! This is my first story, so please feel free to scribble away with red pen. It’s highly encouraged.

Note 1: The previous chapter and the following take place in Lessons, Episode 1 of Season 7. They're sort of like scenes inbetween what we, the viewers, saw. Think about them logistically and place them chronologically. Any questions, please feel free to ask!


.::Lotus::.


A large pile of bricks had taken up residence on Tara’s chest. The pressure of Spike’s words were immense and sudden. They stole her breath and stabbed her heart.

Buffy?

His hand dropped to his side and eyes that had been so tender and full, looked away and caved in with fear and confusion. He turned away, and raised his arm to his head, and paced backwards.

Tara pushed past the shock that threatened to topple her. There wasn’t time for that right now. This was time for blind Scoobying.

As she rushed forward to stand before him, a calm came forth and settled like a balm. You can to do this. You're an Amazon, remember? “Spike. What do you mean? You said Buffy. Is she here? Do you see her?”

Spike continued pacing. Nothing in his demeanor suggested he'd even heard Tara's questions. Instead, he muttered to himself while the leather coat billowed behind him as his steps became more forceful. He was like a frightened animal and pawed away from her questions and cringed.

Her heartbeat thundered furiously in her ears, but Tara managed to focus on Spike's words. After all, they had brought her here. Who knows where they could take her. You have to do this.

"No visitors today, terribly busy."

All Tara knows is that she has to keep him talking. Keep him going. The last thing she can stand is silence again. But trying to guide him through whatever is happening seems impossible as half of what he says in nonsense.

“Nobody comes in here, it's just the three of us.”

Despite everything, her voice is level and strong, like an Amazon. “Is Buffy here, Spike? What is she doing? Can you talk to her? Is she hurt? Can you tell her I’m here? Can you tell her where I am?”

He finally snaps, “Don’t you think I’m trying! I’m not fast, not a quick study. This is kind of new territory for me. Slayer’s going on and on about some bloody zombies who keep yelling at her and attacking and what the hell is she doing here? Christ, what the hell am I doing here?"

Tara's mind whirled. "Zombies? No, Spike, zombies don't speak. They must be manifest spirits raised to seek vengeance. Tell her there m-might be a talisman or something."

"Not ghosts," he says. The events of the past several hours coalesce under Spike's shoes and tongue as Tara watched his crazy antics. That's it. Tara gritted her teeth. I need him, even if he can't do it himself. "Spike! Tell her-" she grabbed his coat and forced him to look at her. "This is important, goddamn it. I don't know what's going on, but I need you to tell her what I said. Ok?"

The steely blue of Spike's eyes bore into Tara's and in an instant she knew the Poet. She knew the man behind the yellow eyes. And somehow, just for a second, she knew everything could be okay.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated February 11, 2012))
PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:48 pm 
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Dibs!!!!!!

:banana :banana :banana :eatme :eatme :bounce :bounce :bounce :bigwave :bigwave :dance :dance :dance

Needless to say I think you can see I'm happy to see an update to this story. I enjoy its possibilities, and the eeevil little way you leave them to wander around unanswered.

I know you also said not to expect anything anytime soon, but I'm hoping that maybe with enough kitten love we can coax more from you on such a wonderful story. *bats eyelashes and give you the big Margaret Keane eyes... err maybe not they're kind of creepy - but you get the point*.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated February 11, 2012))
PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:01 pm 
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Hello ZooeysBridge,
i just found this story and i'm really thrilled that you will continue.
This story ist just more than great! i really love it!
And Vampyregurl is right - so a lot of kittenlove from me ,too :flower :love :love


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Updated February 11, 2012))
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2013 3:34 pm 
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Hi gang! Author, here.

I just thought you'd like to know I starting writing a little bit more of this story yesterday. I don't know how long the creative burst will last, but I sincerely hope to get more out of it. I've been planning and notetaking and falling in love with these two all over again and it gets even better over time.

Thanks to you last few posters, I'm sorry to have neglected your comments but they still mean the world to me. Not sure how many readers there are left (Foo, besides you, of course) but whoever you are thanks for sticking around!

Cheers, kittens!

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note August 20, 2013))
PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:48 pm 
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Proof

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note August 24, 2013))
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:53 pm 
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why are all the good fics the unfinished ones?
If you're still around, please continue, this is awesome.


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note August 24, 2013))
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 7:30 pm 
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Don't worry! Despite current appearances, I'm actually still working on this. I've been taken on a detour since Thanksgiving because of Frozen, but before that, I had written about 7k new words! So don't expect anything any time soon, but I will never give up on Lotus.

It makes me so happy to have somehow snagged a new reader, thank you so much :) :)

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note August 24, 2013))
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:47 am 
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I'm working on this again, guys.

This little train is desperately trying to climb back onto the tracks

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note August 24, 2013))
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:54 pm 
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Yay!!!! It's so well done! can't wait for more

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note August 24, 2013))
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:29 am 
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I am in!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note Feb. 2018))
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:12 pm 
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Zooeys_Bridge wrote:
I'm working on this again, guys.

This little train is desperately trying to climb back onto the tracks
I have been hoping for something since your last livejournal post (OMG lj! Remember those days?)


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note Feb. 2018))
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:38 pm 
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thespian_phryne wrote:
Zooeys_Bridge wrote:
I'm working on this again, guys.

This little train is desperately trying to climb back onto the tracks
I have been hoping for something since your last livejournal post (OMG lj! Remember those days?)


Oh my god, you found my livejournal?! How'd you trace that desert of a blog?

(I had to check, last post was in 2013 (and I barely even posted there to begin with). its been five years, I'm sorry I'm such an asshole lol)

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note Feb. 2018))
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:48 pm 
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Zooeys_Bridge wrote:
thespian_phryne wrote:
Zooeys_Bridge wrote:
I'm working on this again, guys.

This little train is desperately trying to climb back onto the tracks
I have been hoping for something since your last livejournal post (OMG lj! Remember those days?)


Oh my god, you found my livejournal?! How'd you trace that desert of a blog?

(I had to check, last post was in 2013 (and I barely even posted there to begin with). its been five years, I'm sorry I'm such an asshole lol)
Trace it? I was lurking it back in the day.


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note Feb. 2018))
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:34 am 
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Alright, Kittens, I've officially got more unpublished Lotus than posted (plus another 8k). There's hope at the end of this here tunnel!

Considering how I've reworked old stuff and had it actually edited by someone who a) isn't me and b) has a better grasp of the English language, I'm thinking about reposting the fic into an entirely new post thread. What are the KB rules/thoughts on that? Or would it be preferable to just cut/paste edited chapters into their original spaces here to keep it all together?

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note Feb. 2018))
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:04 pm 
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I vote whatever is easiest for you!

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((New note Feb. 2018))
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:38 pm 
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I look forward to seeing it, on this thread, or another.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Complete re-edited fic re-posted))
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:27 am 
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Hello dear Kittens! Thanks to thespian_phryne who actually knows what she's doing grammatically as a writer, I've got an entirely re-written and edited Lotus ready to post! It's a project over a decade in the making, and I'm thrilled to finally share it with you.

Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Willow/Tara, Genfic
Summary: Three months after ‘Grave’. We encounter our heroes who stumble brokenly, desperate to find a new path and heal.
Also posted on Ao3

"Let us alone. What is it that will last?
All things are taken from us, and become
Portions and parcels of the dreadful Past. "
:Alfred, Lord Tennyson:


Tara waited.

She idly picked at her knitting, pulling a few stitches through out of habit rather than anything else. She needed to keep her hands busy. She discovered early on that if she had something tiny and focused to do, her brain would quiet itself down for a few menial hours.

A sigh escaped her lips.

Tara hated knitting. She mindlessly completed a row of the burgundy and cream scarf she had been knitting for what seemed like forever.

Too long, she thought.

1, 823, 069 stitches and she had come no closer to easing her aching heart than she had at stitch number 1.

1,823, 070. Enough for now.

Tara placed the long train of fabric beside her on the bed, flexed her aching fingers, and sat up. Feeling the pressure in her bladder, she swung her legs to the side and put her bunny slippers on. Before she could stop it, as she stood mid-step to the bathroom, a memory swept her, powerful in its grasp.

"See?" Willow urged happily, her hands busy fidgeting with an apparently fascinating tissue. "They're bunnies! For my snuggle bunny."

Tara's grin stretched across her face, slowly and with a hint of flush in her cheeks.

Rising to her feet, she took a few steps to meet Willow by the bureau. "Will, they're lovely," she said, gathering Willows hands in her own. "And they'll keep these frigid feet of mine toasty warm for you."

"Oooh, all ready for bedtime snuggles?" Willow bounced excitedly.

Chuckling, Tara replied, "Yes, Willow. All ready for bedtime snuggles."

A devilish glint in her eyes, Willow's mouth turned up at the corner. "Good. 'Cause you know, there's nothing I like better than making sure you're all warm and toasty. Especially during bedtime snuggles".

"Oh really? And how were you planning on doing this exactly?"

"Well, I had kinda planned to throw you down on that bed and have my way with you, if that's alright," Willow said in a mischievous, light hearted voice.


Tara gasped, thrusting her right arm suddenly at the doorway in order to balance herself. Assaulted by her memories, Tara didn't even notice the crying. It felt like a horse had kicked her in the chest, leaving Tara reeling, shell-shocked, and heartbroken for at least the tenth time that day.

Steeling herself, Tara made her way to the bathroom determined to prepare for bed without further disaster. Several minutes later, after brushing her teeth, relieving her bladder, flossing, and washing her face, Tara flicked the switch, submerging the bathroom in darkness. Placing her knitting on the bedside table, she pulled a corner of the blanket down and settled herself under the covers.

She picked up a framed photo of the Scoobies and lovingly cradled it in her hands. She paused, staring at the figures that haunted her. Tracing her fingers along Willow's face, she hesitated before taking a deep, shuddering breath. She put the picture back on the table.

Before turning off the lamp, Tara turned on the radio, the alarm of humanity, like she did every night since, and waited with bated breath.

…..Nothing.

Not even the hiss of static or the rambling of car commercials could be heard. An abyss of sound pervaded the room, and Tara sighed. Again.

The room, now silent and dark, howled its emptiness back at Tara as she clutched the sheets to her chest and laid her head on her pillow, quietly succumbing to another night of restless sleep and broken nightmares.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((Complete re-edited fic re-posted Feb 2019))
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:59 pm 
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Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Willow/Tara, Genfic
Summary: Three months after ‘Grave’. We encounter our heroes who stumble brokenly, desperate to find a new path and heal.
Also posted on Ao3

"Willow.”

Willow jerked awake, head jumping up from its resting place on the inside of her arm, elbow crooked beneath her head on the table. Willow’s eyes were unfocused and panicky, her chest rose and fell rapidly as she panted, still hearing echoing screams from the chasms of her dreams.

Sliding into the chair next to her at a table and room not unlike the research area at the Magic Box, Ms. Hartness slowly began rubbing Willow’s back. She had gotten used to waking Willow with a soft hand. But no matter how gently she was woken, Willow always woke with a start. There would be several flustered moments before awareness would settle and Willow would realize where she was.

"Willow, you've been asleep for hours. Aren't you the least bit sore on that table, dear?" Ms. Hartness posed quietly in a sweet Welsh tongue, her arm making tender circles on the middle of Willow's back.

Taking several slow deep breaths to settle herself, Willow blinked and turned her head.

"Why do you keep doing that?" she asked softly, a slight frown on her face and a crinkle between her brows.

"Do what, dear. It's nothing that I haven't done dozens of times now."

Sure in her convictions, Willow knew, more than anything, the kindness this woman was showing her was wrong. A murderer like her didn't deserve being woken tenderly. A torturer like her wasn't entitled to warm biscuits and jam in the morning. Malicious and destructive villains like her don't warrant clemency. The Big Bad doesn't get a break. It went against every Scooby bone in Willow's body. And she knew it.

"I don't deserve this. Any of this."

Before she let herself soften and melt in tears of Tara and sobs of 'sorries', Willow pushed her chair back and stood. Looking to the floor, she hid her eyes. Taking a few small steps, she turned and let out a quiet "Please excuse me," before closing the door to her room behind her.

Ms. Hartness sighed and turned to look as the latch to the door slid quietly into place with a small click.

"No, Willow," she said sadly, shaking her head. "You don't."

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((3/?- February 12, 2019))
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:59 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:36 am
Posts: 1126
Topics: 4
Location: somewhere inbetween here and there
Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Willow/Tara, Genfic
Summary: Three months after ‘Grave’. We encounter our heroes who stumble brokenly, desperate to find a new path and heal.
Also posted on Ao3

"Don't."

Buffy's eyes hardened and she squinted at her foe. Circling slowly with every muscle tense, she quickly checked the exits to make sure the being in front of her couldn't escape.

"Make me."

Appalled, Buffy screwed her face up and spat, "Dawn, if you think for one second I'm gonna let you get away with this, you've got another thing coming to you."

Not relinquishing her hold on the box of Oreos, Dawn slid slyly closer to the doorway. "Oh yeah? What are you gonna do, slay me? Sure makes the whole jumping off a tower thing kind of redundant, don't you think?"

"That cookie is mine and you know it. It's my post-slayage treat. A Scooby snack for the Scooby! And...and…I even put a post-it on the box, see?" Buffy stammered desperately.

Dawn turned the box over- 'Last cookie dibs' and a little stake were drawn on a sticky note. She rolled her eyes. "Fine,” she relented. “But you know this means I get the whole next box to myself?"

Happy that the standoff was over, Buffy yanked the coveted treat and shoved it in her mouth. "What, so you can mix it with Tabasco sauce and marshmallow fluff and call it icing? I think not."

"Ugh, fine. Ignore fine, creative dining. Whatever." Dawn rolled her eyes. "I'm going upstairs, you coming?"

"Yes ma'am. Just give me two shakes of a lamb's tail. I'm going to do another sweep."

Dawn pondered the conundrum as she began climbing the stairs. "Huh. Why do they say that anyway? Lambs don't shake their tails twice. Do lambs even shake their tails once?" Turning around to see if Buffy had an answer, Dawn was puzzled to see her sister nowhere in sight.

"Buffy?"

Shrugging, she turned and continued up to her room.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((4/?-February 12, 2019))
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:04 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:36 am
Posts: 1126
Topics: 4
Location: somewhere inbetween here and there
Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Willow/Tara, Genfic
Summary: Three months after ‘Grave’. We encounter our heroes who stumble brokenly, desperate to find a new path and heal.
Also posted on Ao3

The night was still, heavy with a hint of humidity, thick like a blanket. The rain from the day before soaked into the streets and shimmered underneath the streetlamps. Buffy circled the Summers house for the third time that night. Part guilt and part determination, Buffy continued to stubbornly patrol long after any threat had reared its bumpy face.

Buffy had promised that nothing would ever happen to Dawn as long as she lived. But she had failed. Hadn't she learned? Hadn't she seen what damage a selfish Slayer could do?

And I thought I was different than Faith.

The saintly and superior attitude she had clung to when she had come back had blinded her irreparably. And so she had failed in so many ways. She failed to protect Tara, darling Tara, who made pancakes and juice in the morning. She failed to safeguard her family who had suffered enough that year. Useless and aloof, Buffy was unable to save and defend the people who had selflessly upheld a vigil of support for her and her duty, adopting it as their own.

Thus wrapped up in her thoughts, she sheathed Mr. Pointy. Satisfied with her sweep of the house, Buffy walked back up the front porch. Letting her eyes scan the front yard once more, she reached one hand to the doorknob and hesitated. Twisting around, she stared at the moon for a long moment.

Round and full, the moon shone foggy, caught behind a light mist of clouds. The moon had meant so much before. Cycles of cages, wolves, and magic had occupied the past. Now the only thing that seemed to orbit the Summers house was pain, blood, and death.

Turning her back on the heavens, Buffy entered the house and shut the door on the moon.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((4/?-February 13, 2019))
PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:23 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:36 am
Posts: 1126
Topics: 4
Location: somewhere inbetween here and there
Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Willow/Tara, Genfic
Summary: Three months after ‘Grave’. We encounter our heroes who stumble brokenly, desperate to find a new path and heal.
Posted on Ao3 and The Kittenboard.


"The stars burn. You can't quite touch 'em, can you? They burn, burn, burn. Tiny little holes right through Spikey."

The vampire made his way through the alleyway. Drunkenly stumbling around trash cans toppled like boxes, Spike muttered to himself; his own crazy voice more soothing than the reviling buzz of victims tearing through his head.

"Time, time, running out of time. Have to get back home. Quick like a bird."

He paused, sensing something wrong. Subtle, like changing a recipe by adding extra salt. The air reeked of dark changes. Unnatural and erratic. Alarmed, Spike braced himself for danger.

"I hear you, you know. Your skittering little legs. Didn't think I could, did you?"

There— in the corner behind the dumpster— a buzzing.

At first a low hum, Spike's eyes narrowed and he grabbed a nearby bent golf club, sticking out of a soggy cardboard box like a spider leg, and slowly stalked towards the noise. The humming grew louder like a cacophonous swarm of bees.

Swatting the air around him, Spike crouched ready, club swung behind him like a baseball bat. Slow steps brought him closer to the dumpster. As the buzzing grew, so did his nervousness.

Swallowing loudly, he whispered "Bring it on, luv."

As the last word left his lips, the buzz exploded in a brilliant nebula. Spike lifted his arm to try and shield his eyes as a thousand luminous shards pierced his flesh.

The light was the last thing he saw before blacking out.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

"Tara!"

Like a bolt of lightning, Willow shot up in her bed drenched in the warm sticky sweat of nightmares clinging to her flesh.

Pupils dilated, it took her a moment to realize where she was.

England. I'm in England.

But, I felt her, her brow crinkled in confusion. Here, but…not here.

Trying to shake the cocoon of Tara that encased her every time she woke, Willow tried to relax her tense body by following the now mustily familiar landscape of her room at the coven.

A small hum echoed in the back of her sleep-fogged mind, and Willow blinked.

"Willow, this is your room. You'll be expected to arrive at all meals, but otherwise you are free to stay and wander as you wish. Elyse will come and check on you every hour to see if there's anything you require. All right?"

Willow slowly nodded, if only to get Mrs. Hartness to stop talking and leave.

"Good! Then we'll see you shortly for some supper." With a kind smile, Ms. Hartness turned and walked away, her short heels skittering on the wooden floor like beetles.

Left standing on the threshold of her room, Willow forced herself to open the door. She stared emptily at the living quarters in front of her.

Dust particles shimmered in the light that poured in from the large windows opposite the bed. She trailed her fingers lightly over old lacy pillows and a thick, frilly beige blanket before resting on her small suitcase.

Willow pulled a single picture frame from beneath a thin layer of clothes, and sat down on the edge of the bed, staring longingly at the photo in front of her.

Taken the Thanksgiving before Joyce's death, Xander had snapped a picture of Tara and Willow snuggled up together on the couch. Willow had seen him out of the corner of her eye and was about to tell him off, but Tara...darling Tara hadn't even noticed. Staring adoringly at Willow above her, a smug smile of contentment and happiness shone on Tara's face.

Willow traced Tara's grin in a shaky hand before placing the frame next to a small vase of flowers and continued to unpack. Refolding everything before she placed them into the dresser, Willow mindlessly organized her life into five drawers.

A large wardrobe in the corner of the room caught her eye. She stood standing in front of it for a long moment. Abruptly, as if having just mustered up the courage to do so, she opened the doors wide with both arms.

Taking off both her shoes before stepping boldly into the closet, Willow closed the doors firmly behind her, steeped her breathing, and concentrated. Drenched in darkness, brows furrowed, lips tight and hands clenched, Willow faced the back wall and lifted one arm warily. Sifting through several old coats, she held her breath and reached out shakily.

It seemed like forever that her hand crept forward. On and on she moved — slowly, so slowly — until suddenly, her fingers touched the back of the wardrobe. The rough and gritty grains of the wood mocked her light touch.

…But there was no magic. Not for a witch in a wardrobe in England, not anywhere. The world was just as it had always been: dry, scabbed, and cruel.

Willow had somehow forgotten this, having had buried a tiny part of herself deep. Long before Buffy had come along and whisked her off her feet with danger and purpose, before Cordelia and her cronies had taunted and belittled her into spackled wallpaper, Willow had protected herself.

Submerged in the companionship of two young boys, a tiny Willow had hidden the white and shining beauty of her innocent heart away. She knew she would need to keep it safe. In order to lose oneself in books and neglect, one had to take the necessary precautions. The lessons of C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, E.B. White, and Tolkien among others had taught her that. She had learned well.

And there it had stayed, shrink-wrapped and refrigerated for the time the Slayer would come with her friendship and bumps in the night.

At the cold, hard touch of the back of the wardrobe, this part of Willow exploded and let loose every moment of pain and anguish in her young life simultaneously. In flashes, her life decomposed.

…a constant key under the doormat

…a skinned knee and sneering faces on the blacktop

…crinkled toilet paper and used wrappers in her locker

…a twenty-dollar bill and a ten-word note taped to the fridge

…two helpless puncture marks in the side of Jesse's neck

…the dark, dismal realization of Moloch's deception

…dead fish on a string in the solitude of her bedroom

…the cold steel of betrayal twisting deep at the sight of two naked bodies tangled together underground

…the bitter frustration of Buffy's blind obliviousness and preoccupation when she needed her most

…a warm bench and a blank, blue-eyed gaze at the fair ten seconds too late

…Buffy's serene body atop rubble and dust

…screams in the night

…the slinking fear of argument

…brittle herbs

…delicate words

…red sheets

…red shirts

…splotches of red

…red

…red

All Willow could see was warm, sticky red. And in that, something broke.

Sinking to the floor of the wardrobe, a lifetime of empty wasted endless days stared Willow in the face. For the first time since the funeral, Willow cried. Giving in to the abyss that claimed her, a low cry began deep in her bowels. Scratching its way through her lungs and throat, its claws erupted with a terrible and mighty ferocity.

It was terrible and colossal. The floods of Noah were nothing compared to the torrential downpour that ravaged Willow.

Shaking, wailing, and hacking sobs on the floor of the wardrobe, somewhere Willow wondered how the tears could feel so hot when her chest felt so cold. Her pulse pounded in her ears as fire poured forth from her eyes and trailed down her face but hissed and evaporated when it ran blindly into the collapsing icy caverns of her breast.

And that was how Ms. Hartness found her charge hours later, throat raw, eyes vacant and unfocused, mouth trembling, with a never-ending barrage of tears streaming down her face.

After Willow’s lack of appearance at dinner, Ms. Hartness knocked on her door and saw the wardrobe ajar. She scooped Willow up and rocked her slowly on the floor, whispering chants of 'hush' and crooning old English songs from her childhood.

Hair being stroked softly, Willow brokenly succumbed to sleep with the murmuring of gentle words in her ear.


With a flourish of bed sheets, Willow got up before she could easily persuade herself not to. After throwing some clothes on and washing up, she emerged from her room to be welcomed by a plate of still steaming biscuits, berries, cheese, and juice left on the table. Despite her best intents, a tiny smile graced her lips, cheeks stretching unused to the action. The smile did not reach her eyes as another useless day loomed ahead of her: tedious and barren.

All right, then. First, breakfast; then Giles.

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