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

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 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Update 2/27/15)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:14 am 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Story Title: Snapshots- A Love Story

Overall Synopsis: A Series of Vignettes Featuring Willow and Tara from 1984 to 2037, or maybe beyond. Including Re-posts

All non-original characters and settings are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions and its associates. No Compensation is being received for this story.

Rating: Between G and PG.

Feedback: Pretty please? On this or anything earlier :-).

Chapter Synopsis: Glenwood returns. The mystery of the flowers solved (well, fi anybody cared *grin.) And a look at how Tara's return affects the people around her and Willow. Bit of a cliffhanger but I won't wait long.

From "Willow's Quest"

Old Sunnydale, a graveyard.

The blond-haired man bent down and laid flowers on the grave: a red carnation, a yellow rose, an amaryllis, a white rose, a red rose, bound in a spray of pale-violet jacaranda. He stood meditating, staring at the stone marked Tara Jeanne Maclay 1980-2002 She Loved And Was Loved. Nothing remained of his or anyone else's floral offerings, but her lover's stones were still in position. All of the cemeteries and most of the houses of worship had been less damaged, in varying degrees, by the collapse than the rest of the town. But he couldn't help but think something had been specifically acting on those stones of remembrance.

A soft voice said, "Excuse me," and another big man, dark haired, a bit shorter but more heavily-built, "Not to interrupt, but I'd like to lay these also," he said, gesturing with an arrangement of pink and yellow mums in his left hand, where Jared noticed a gold wedding band, then bending down to put them by the gravestone. He straightened and said, "They were her favorite flowers when she was little."

Both looked at each other a bit before the younger, taller man put out his hand and said, "Jared Millek. You look familiar; did we meet at the viewing?"

The other returned the shake, good and firm with no squeezing nonsense, "Glenwood Maclay, and yes, we did"

Neither was here in a mood for small talk. Glenwood finally asked, "I heard some news about the collapse or whatever it was here, but I didn't expect anything like, like. . . ."

"Like a crater so deep they have to build a whole new town?" At the other's slight nod, he went on, "Do you know what a Hellmouth is, Glenwood?"

"Heard tell of 'em," was the other's laconic response.

"Well, this whole town was built on one. When it was drained of energy, all the, well, surface geology collapsed into the space. So, now we're standing in a new Federal national monument and the new town is going to be two hundred yards up."

Glenwood was listening but his glance had moved towards the stone, staring hard at it. He spoke, " A town full of demons and sorcerers and some ranny comes along and kills my honey-cuz with an ordinary pistol." He looked up, "and they never found this owl-hoot?"

"Nothing to find. Willow caught up to him long before the police. Not sure exactly what she did to him, she and Buffy and Xander don't like to talk about it, but there was nothing but a pile of ashes by the end."

"My kind o' gal," Glenwood said, a grim chuckle in his voice.

"No, she isn't," said Jared, firmly, " She was always the sweetest g . . . woman I knew, kind, quiet, helpful. The bad magick she was using, and the stress, the damned grief, it changed her. I mean, I'd've wanted kill him, too, I did when I heard, but what she was then wasn't really Willow."

Glenwood's expression grew noticeably sympathetic, "Jared, it isn't really my place - Willow is your friend, I only met her twice, and at the viewing, well, those lights were on but nobody was home, nary blaming her.

"Truth is, you can't know what's inside anyone, and it can be a downright hazard to think you do. Especially the quiet ones, no way to see to the bottom so don't go thinking you can count all the rocks."

"Thanks, and hey, Willow feels guilty for it, so who am I to say it wasn't her real self?"

"Sure 'nough. Besides, she did have about as good a cause there is."

"Losing Tara, she was such a special person, so decent, and so grown-up, just a real human being. I'm rambling, no need to over-share my little notions."

" Not to worry, friend, I can see the flowers."

"Yes, Willow was leaving here once when I was bringing them, and she was cool with it."

"Why not? She had to know you weren't any kind of rival for her for Tara. 'Course, that still makes me wonder . . . whoa, what in tarnation was that?" he exclaimed, staggering a bit.

Jared wasn't as psychically sensitive as Glenwood, so he just stood a bit more still, " What it feels almost like, not quite, is that we've had something done to our memories. I recall, one of the times Buffy was dead, I found her grave, and Willow did a spell to make me believe some kind of cover story. I don't know it anymore because, after she and the others raised Buffy, a few months later Willow gave up magick and broke the spell. When the cover story went out of my head, it felt a little like that, not quite."

"You wanna run that one by me again . . . on second thoughts, don't bother, I really don't want to know. But I gotta say, livin' in a town like this does do somethin' to you all. You're just standin' there when most folks would be screaming. Heck, I feel like stomping and yelling. But if that's true, how do we find out what changed, and what to do about it?"

The younger man concentrated a bit, trying to recall how he'd dealt with Willow's mind-spell, with the spell about Dawn earlier, but no specific things came to mind. Just a picture of a gravestone, one he already knew too well. "Look at . . .the stone," he said slowly.

Both turned their heads and saw the graven words: Rita Louise Maclay 1980-2002. No epitaph.

Jared, hesitantly, asked, "Glenwood, who was Rita?"

"Tara's twin sister. Except she never had a sister. Just big brother Donny. I don't know what I'm trying to say here."

The blond man sank to his knees, a stunned half-smile on his face. "Oh, Willow, you fool, you bloody, magnificent," he'd watched Young Cassidy a few days before, " wonderful, beautiful, fool! What did you do?" Jared turned to other man and almost sobbed, "Glenwood, Tara's alive. She's alive!"

"Of course she is. we both know that - except she isn't. What in blue blazes am I talkin' about?"

Jared stood up, "Reality's been altered. It's happened before, when a friend named Cordelia made a wish, when Buffy's sister Dawn came along, when I made a wish. The wish-spells were broken, and now Dawn's just part of our group, but it was strange at times.

"Willow must have used some very powerful magick, or gotten help from an ancient god or something, which is scary even with a good result. The death certificates, other legal things, even this damned hole in the ground can't just disappear. The Rita name must to cover it all up, so Tara would still have her legal identity when she came back."

"So, what's in this grave?"

"Hopefully just an empty box. Anything else, I don't want to think about." He restrained an impulse to cheer, or dance around. It wouldn't be right, not here among so many other resting places.

" Oh, this is . . . than I know how to handle, Jared. After worrying for over 3 years where Tara was, and now, the thought of her back on earth like Lazarus, and I still don't know how she's feeling, what she'll do, or, still, where she is . . . ." he trailed off.

" Right now, she's almost certainly at or near where Willow is. As for the rest, Tara told me most of your family is Pentecostal Holiness Church."

"All the ones who live near where we grew up, yes, and my wife, parents and I feel quite at home there, mostly," and the tone of his voice showed he could've gone on, but had stopped himself.

Jared looked at him sympathetically and said, "Glenwood, I'm not going to try to read your mind, and I sure don't want to get into theology

. Best thing is to share a real life experience.

"After Buffy came back, she didn't talk about it at first, but later she described the 'place' where she was after she died. All she could recall was she felt 'warm, and loved, and complete.'

I adore Buffy, she's a hero, but in a lot of ways she's often not a particularly good person. If she was in a good place, there's no way Tara wasn't."

Glenwood didn't smile but did look relieved, and said "Dang, right now I just want to call and tell everybody about this!"

"Not a good idea, trust me, I've gone through this before, with Dawn. Everyone who needs to know the details already does, and anybody who doesn't, who only knows the 'Rita story,' will just think you're crazy."

"Okay, makes sense. Just thinkin', from what you told me of the way Willow got when Tara was killed, this won't be just a happy reunion. I know my honey-cuz, and she'll be like to have some sharp words for Willow when they first see each other," Glenwood said, with a small chuckle.

(End note: Jared mentions a wish he made, subject of a non-Pens fic. Willow and Tara were together, but like all wishes it had a sting. So no, he didn't imagine Tara with him, no way his character would do that, or I would write that, he was actually engaged to Theresa from "Phases.")

Snapshots: a Love Story

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Update 2/27/15)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:23 am 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Story Title: Snapshots- A Love Story

Overall Synopsis: A Series of Vignettes Featuring Willow and Tara from 1984 to 2037, or maybe beyond. Including Re-posts

All non-original characters and settings are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions and its associates. No Compensation is being received for this story.

Rating: Between G and PG.

Feedback: Pretty please? On this or anything earlier :-).

Note: Told you I wouldn't wait long. As for the exercise routines mentioned, well, in real life Amber does yoga and Aly does kick-boxing, and the characters are built the same, so I figured it was only logical

The door opened and Willow had to fight to breathe when she saw Tara standing there. Any bad memories of the black dress associated with the viewing and funeral were banished by sheer excitement.

Willow saw the key in Tara's right hand and smiled internally, idly noticing that Tara's left hand was a fist and her face was curiously set and almost expressionless. The blonde walked toward her.

"OOOowwf!" sounded from Willow as Tara brought her fist into contact with the redhead's stomach. It was not truly a punch, more than half a push, but was enough to wind her and send her staggering. She lost her balance and fell back, landing in a seated position. The two women stared into each other's faces, teardrops running down all four cheeks.

Tara at last spoke, "That was for what you did after I died. Hurting everyone, trying to destroy the world . . . dammit, Willow, when you leave that way you can never come back; I never would have seen you again!"

The tableau held for two seconds, maybe four, then Tara moved closer and fell to her knees, arms around Willow, who hugged back, both sobbing, soaking each others shoulders with tears. After several minutes, each a year long, they turned their faces and kissed, at first chastely, then more demandingly as their bodies compelled them.

"I'm sorry, baby, you were at peace and I still hurt you, you can't imagine how sorry I am . . . ." "Yes, darling, but it's in the past, I know, I know . . . ." until they gradually stopped speaking at once.

"I guess you had to say that, the Powers can't want me to be too happy right now, and seeing you again, being in the same room, I was just that right?"

"No, I didn't say it to punish you, I said it because you had to hear from my lips what you already know, that people who can do things, like us, can never only think about one thing. We always have to keep the perspective." They kissed again.

"So, you've been checking in on us, on me, these 3 years?"

"Mm-hmm, and I'm so happy with how much control you've developed to go with that magickal strength. And how strong you've become other ways.

Willow's face got a little strained, and some worry showed in her voice as she asked, "Exactly how much did you see?"

"Basically everything," Tara replied, and noticed Willow starting to twitch, so slightly almost no one else on earth would see it, "But we don't need to talk about that now, I can see you don't want to, and neither do I. What I sort of want to do is take you right here on this nice rug, but that isn't really what you have in mind."

"Well, no, " Willow said, smiling at last, a bit, "I did spend a good bit of time last night setting up the bedroom. Of course, it's probably a little changed, since everything else is. I can't wait to see how, and I think you'll still like it."

Tara took Willow's hands and, with the limberness of a true yoga practitioner, stood up and pulled Willow along, who with the strength of a kickboxer's legs and abdomen, followed quickly and easily.

Willow grew misty and said, "You really are back. Not a ghost, not a dream, not The First. You, Tara, in every way."

"Yes, the real me, and all cleaned up. No mold, no anaerobic bacteria, no grave dirt or bugs under my collar, no embalming fluid. You know Bes would never let those things into a home."

"Would you be offended if I said 'Ewww' right now?"

"Not at all, you can do that and walk, I'm anxious to see the new bedroom , too," which was said rather impishly, with appropriate sexy smile

The bedroom door was ajar and they barely noticed pushing it open. Knowing the front door was locked, they didn't bother to close the bedroom door.

And no language in the world has the words to describe this part of their reunion.

The final chapter of "Willow's Quest."

Snapshots: a Love Story

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Update 3/14/15)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:01 pm 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Story Title: Snapshots- A Love Story

Overall Synopsis: A Series of Vignettes Featuring Willow and Tara from 1984 to 2037, or maybe beyond. Including Re-posts

All non-original characters and settings are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions and its associates. No Compensation is being received for this story.

Rating: Between G and PG.

Feedback: Pretty please? On this or anything earlier :-).

Chapter Title: Too Soon Now

Chapter Synopsis: The second part of this chapter was originally a shorter stand-alone fic called “Late Regrets,” which is available at shriftweb’s Buffy fiction archive. I wanted to include that to show how people farther away from the center of the Scooby world are reacting to the resurrection and the accompanying adjustments.

But I didn’t want to just drop it in with no lead-up, so I wrote the earlier part, which gave me a pretty fair title, too. I know this reads as sort of a commercial for my non-Pens fics (and, as an egomaniac, I have to admit that was part of my thinking,) but on the other hand, when people meet up after a long time apart, they tend to do some catching up, so I saw it as a realistic detail. Hope you like it.

And yes, in my main ficverse, all the BtVS/Angel actors exist and are roughly as well known as here in the Ourverse, and some of the characters have met some of them. For example, Aly and Amber, with Emma and Nicky as neighbors, starred in a sitcom called BonnyMeadow Road, where they played two couples who move into adjoining homes in a development. It ran 5 full seasons starting in the fall of '99, but Dawn was the only Scooby who watched it. As for Willow calling Lee and Var on their house phone instead of a cell, it *is* set in 2005 and I wrote it several years before that, and I still don't use a cell phone anyway, so it's not how I think yet.

Around 9:30 that evening, they were interrupted by a call from Buffy. After they finished giving her the rundown, there was time for more extensive pillow-conversation. Willow finally decided to ask, Now, when you say you saw 'everything,' you mean th . . . ."

"I mean 'everything,' not in the sense that I was hanging over you every second, like a guardian angel, but in the sense that I knew most of the major developments in your life, and our friends', too. I was, though, watching every second those first couple days, but when you came back to yourself, I pulled back."

Willow dropped her head a bit with guilt, saying "I'll probably spend my life apologizing to you for that, even though I know I don't have to. And it does shame me knowing you never would have done that if it was me shot."

Tara couldn't suppress a quarter-smile, "And you're even more aware of that since meeting that Tara from another history last December, who told you how things went there, right?"

"Oh, God, you saw that?"

"Of course, and the other Willow and I were very impressed with how loyal you two were to your girlfriends and at first refused to get a room upstairs together. And we laughed our heads off, in so far as spirits have heads, when those same girlfriends, or is it girlfriend, showed up, told you they had already taken a room, and it was okay with them if you two took one. And, before you ask, I don’t know all the details and can’t tell what I do know, but in their way that other Willow and Tara are as happy tonight as we are."

"That’s good to know; more than one dimension is better and righter now than it was. Still, my visit to the Old Phoenix sounds so weird, and almost slutty, just saying it all in words like that," Willow said, not reddening.

"I made it clear to Buffy, when we met up in 17th Century Paris last summer to help Cyrano; you're a living human being. All I wanted was for you to live, and love, and I'm sure she told you."

"It was so cute, when she called me she kept showing off that antique French she picked up there. I didn't get any new languages, just being in Dakota Territory in the 1860s with Wesley and Bill Cody, and speaking of time travel, it's been too long since I've kissed you."

Off that not-quite-non-sequitur, they spent some 20 enjoyable minutes. All of a sudden, Willow remembered something and broke off in a mild panic. "Lee's wedding! I need to call and tell him I'm not coming, and , and get on line and cash in my airplane ticket, and call FedEx to send my gift I'm not bringing, and do I send it to their house or the hotel in Vegas, and this and that and all the . . . ."

Tara grabbed Willow's smooth shoulders and commanded, "Wil! Breathe! Okay, I understand, we'd need to leave Friday afternoon. If you still want to go, I'm sure you can cancel your flight and we can get a flight out together easy enough. And there'll be some folks at the wedding who'd like to see me again; hey, I'm surprised Xander, Faith, or some of them haven't called today like Buffy did, of course she did say she was going to fill them all in. We can go, if you want," she said, meaningfully, looking into her lover's eyes.

After a truly brief silence, Willow said, quietly, "I really don't want to go. A day and a half from now before we'd have to leave for the airport, and packing in that time, no, that's too soon - now," packing that last word with worlds full of implications.

"Okay, so call Lee and Var and tell them, 2 hour time difference in California, remember, that something's come up and you won't be going. Easy enough, and here's something to help you concentrate," said Tara, followed by a very deep kiss.

Lee Harris and his fiancé, Varweena Fthanti, were pulling down the street where they had lived for less than six months, in a house they owned. After a long day at Fox Studios – he was a best boy, she a make-up artist- they had just come back from a dinner party thrown by a couple close friends, to make up for said friends not being able to attend their upcoming wedding. Since they could be seen, Var had her human disguise activated; she was even more beautiful in her real form, as a Klivegaru demon. And she was driving.
“She may be a quiet guest, but Amber is definitely a great host,” Lee said. “I can’t help but wonder, is she really busy this particular weekend, or is she just worried about letting Willow see her again?”
“Lee, I know you have lots of bad examples in your family, but people do change and grow. Sure, Willow screamed the first day she came on the set last year and saw Amber, but she was fine around her by the time their investigation was finished, she and Buffy even got along with Adam. What’s really bugging you?”
“The exact thing that’s been in back of both our heads since this morning- something big in the world has changed and nobody except us seems to know that, and we have no idea what it is. And why did the itch get worse when I first saw Amber tonight?”
“Actually, it did for me, too. By the way, Amber and I were talking alone for a bit and she’s feeling it too, for some reason.”
They pulled up in their driveway and went inside, noticing their answering machine was flashing. Var dropped her disguise and went to hang up her coat, while Lee checked the machine.
After a few minor ones from business contacts, there was one from someone he knew fairly well but not intimately, someone who was a student in a Midwestern state.
"Hi, Lee, it's Willow Rosenberg. Look, I'm sorry to be letting you know at the last minute like this, but I have to cancel out on coming to the wedding this weekend. You see, my former girlfriend, Tara, well, she was just raised from the dead this morning and we aren't going to be wearing anything...ouch, stop pinching . . .sorry, Lee, my Freudian slip was showing there, I mean, we aren't going to be going anywhere for a few days and I’ll have to cancel my flight out to Vegas Friday; I’ll send my gift to your new home. But, hey, my best to you both, I'm sure that, as soon-to-be-newlyweds, you and Var can definitely understand. And I want to apologize if you've been feeling confused today.
Since she was legally dead and all, a lot of official records had to be adjusted and people's memories changed, but a few still have the real story as well as the cover story in their heads and, unless you were actually thinking hard about Tara, which I can't imagine you two would be, it'd be hard to sort out. So that's the explanation. Catch you later."
“You heard?” Lee asked
“Mm-hmm, it all makes sense now. Even for Amber – she got kind of close to both Buffy and K last year and she even keeps in touch with them. Still, I’m going to miss seeing Willow. Not that I don’t totally see why she and Tara don’t want to bustle around getting ready right now, I wouldn’t in their place”
Lee chuckled, “Xander will be so happy Tara’s back, but he’ll probably bitch about the timing. Considering he doesn’t get along too great with the folks from Angel Investigations we’ve invited, he was looking forward to hanging out with Willow again after not seeing her a while. He’ll probably complain a lot this weekend about having nobody to talk to.”

Snapshots: a Love Story

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story ()
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2015 4:05 am 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Story Title: Snapshots- A Love Story

Overall Synopsis: A Series of Vignettes Featuring Willow and Tara from 1984 to 2037, or maybe beyond. Including Re-posts

All non-original characters and settings are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions and its associates. The song "Come Live With Me" was (Except for my extra added verse) was written by Felice and the late Boudleaux Bryant so presumably belongs to their company House of Bryant. No Compensation is being received for this story.

Distribution: Please let me know first
Rating; General
Feedback: Pretty please? On this or anything earlier :-).

Title: The Opal and the Pearl
Author: DaddyCatALSO (
Chapter Synopsis: Tara Proposes to Willow (Of all my previously posted vignettes, this required the fewest changes before putting here.)
A word about the poem: Putting this here because I wouldn't know where else to:-). I invented the sukoshioto form- 16 lines, abse don Japanese syllable conventions- quite a while back but haven't done much with it. Usually when I write these, the first three verses establish an idea or setting, the next five expand the setting into an argument or description, and the final six either present an answer or take the expansion in a different direction. In this case, the second five represent a pleasant diversion and the last six are the expansion. (Note; while, in a s tory I will never write, Willow, Buffy, and "K" have all met my ficverse's version of the real Amber and Aly, and 4 other BtVS cast members, Tara never has, nor did she watch the sitcom Aly and Amber appeared in from 199-2004.)

The Opal and the Pearl

Very late August, 2005 , a Midwestern university town

Willow Rosenberg unlocked the door of her apartment, turned the knob and heard plangent notes. She opened the door fully and smiled to hear the pleasant music her lover Tara Maclay was playing. It was the first time in the few days since Tara had been back that Willow had seen her playing her old Dobro.

The ash-blonde smiled back and moved from chord progressions to an actual melody. The redhead didn't recognize the tune but figured it was one of the classic country pieces her life partner had grown up hearing from her parents and brother.

Tara added her beautiful soprano to the haunting sound of the steel-bodied lap guitar:
"Come live with me, and be my love,
Share my bread and wine,
Be part of me, the heart of me,
Be mine."

Willow said, "Well, baby, I think I took you up on that offer long ago, but the song is pretty." Then she noticed something. On Tara's left wrist was an expensive-looking gold tennis bracelet, made up of small sapphires and emeralds alternating, and on top a good sized opal.

Tara continued singing: "Come live with me, and be my love,
Let our dreams combine.
Be mate to me, be fate to me,
Be mine."

Willow interrupted to ask, "What's with the new jewelry, honey?"

Tara slipped back into doing background music and said, "a generous gift from your Great-Aunt Ida in Boston. There's another one in the mailer," she said, nodding towards the table.

Looking, Willow saw a cardboard FedEx container and reached for it. She tilted it and out tumbled a white jewelry box with her name taped to it. Opening the box, she found another bracelet, identical to Tara's except that the larger stone was a pearl, and slipped it on.

The song continued, "With these hands, I'll build a roof, To shield your head,
"And with these hands, I'll carve the wood, For our baby bed.

"Come live with me, and be my love,
"Make our lives entwine.
"Be spouse to me, play house with me,
"Be mine."

"Okay, I don't know this song, but you've got to be making that last verse up."

"So I improvised a little. I wanted to ask you my question in music," Tara said, quite seirously in both tone and expression.

Willow's posture straightened and her expression grew somewhat blank as she digested this. Tara continued:

"I'll try to do, My best for you, I promise you.
"I'll laugh with you, I'll cry for you, My whole life through."

"Sweetie, if you're asking me to do a formal hand-fasting with you, I'd love to. Call our friends and we can do it in the bus station the second they arrive. But if you mean something legal, we can't do that in this state, and not back in California, either. Tthings haven't changed that much while you were gone. Or are you asking me to go into a long, long engagement with you?" she concluded with a small chuckle.

"Stop trying to be funny and look at what else is in the mailer.

Willow picked it up again and slid out several paper items, among them a note from Ida. It read,

"Dearest niece Willow,

As the days draw shorter for me, I've decided to use some of your late great-uncle's fortune to spoil you and all the cousins on all the sides of the family. I would love to play hostess for you and Tara to come here and be married in one of the many special places in this city, perhaps in front of Faneuil Hall, but unfortunately we still have that stupid Jim Crow law about out-of-state couples.

But, while family-wise this is only second best, it costs more, and I can take some satisfaction in that.

Of course, if you two don't want to do this, just let me know and I'll come up with something else. Love, Aunt Ida."

As Tara repeated a verse: "Come live with me, and be my love,
Share my bread and wine,
Be part of me, the heart of me,
Be mine." Willow examined the other items; round-trip airlien tickets, confirmed reservations for a beach-front hotel, gift certificates for a jeweler in . . . .

"Valencia, Spain?"

"Yes, darling, where we can make it legal."

Willow walked over to the couch and sat down next to Tara, as the blonde sang her final verse:
"Come live with me, And be my love,
"Share my bread and wine.
"Be wife to me,Be life to me, Be mine." then stopped and silently looked at her lover.

Willow was too happy to smile; she just sat, returning the look for a moment, until she could speak.

Finally, she said, "Oh, Tara, a simple answer won't do it. Threefold I tell thee, yes, yes, yes!"

As these words left her lips, an energy, initially unseen appeared. It turned immediately into a mouse-sized quivering in the air, halfway between the witches. This turned into circular ripples, like those in a pond from the spot where a stone has fallen.

These ripples passed right through the startled Willow and Tara, with no actual accompanying sensation, then disappeared in a final circle about seven inches beyond them. This was accompanied by a shimmering, an ovule of faint light with its center diameter matching the last ripple and extending down to the floor and up to about a foot above the women. It wasn't anything a person would notice unless looking right at it.

Tara spoke first, asking, "Willow, did you . . . ?"

"No, at least not consciously, and obviously you didn't since you're asking."

"Well, then we both know what that means. We felt our ordinary words so much they acted like a spell, and the whole world just made itself witness to our promise. We definitely have to go through with it now."

Willow shook her head, "No, that doesn't matter," but back-pedaled a bit at Tara's raised eyebrows, "Sorry, yes, it does matter, it's an important thing to know and good thing to happen.

But if it hadn't happened, that's what wouldn't have mattered. We know this is right," she said, reaching out to take Tara's left hand in her right, "and we don't need signs to prove it. In fact, even if it had gone . . . ."

"No," Tara calmly interrupted, reaching out the same way, "sweetie, there's no reason to say what you were going to, because it wouldn't've happened. The world would never say we're wrong, because we are so obviously right together."

They leaned closer and closer, and, appropriately, the moment closed on a kiss.




Another secret,

Each week, hidden death,

Rising into sight.

She's familiar,

Truly talented victim,

She's done this before?

Perhaps they see her that way,

I can see she does it well.

Past does not mean gone,

There is a judgment in life,

Traces always do remain,

Out there to be found,

The things we do become us,

And it will be known, somehow.

Snapshots: a Love Story

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Updated 5/8/15)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 9:03 am 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Story Title: Snapshots- A Love Story

Overall Synopsis: A Series of Vignettes Featuring Willow and Tara from 1984 to 2037, or maybe beyond. Including Re-posts

All non-original characters and settings are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions and its associates. No Compensation is being received for this story.

Rating: Between G and PG.

Feedback: Pretty please? On this or anything earlier :-).

Chapter Title: Honeymoon

Chapter Synopsis: Summary; Just what the title says; a brief moment from the elopement of Our Goddesses. A very slightly updated & clarified version of the previously posted story of the same name.

Rating;Technically PG-13;scene is a public place, after all.
Disclaimer;The characters in or mentioned in this story are property of ME Productions. No compensation is being received by this writer.

Late September 2005, a beach in eastern Spain

They were both wearing bikinis, a bathing suit type neither would ever wear closer to home, but this was both a special place and day. Willow Rosenberg-Maclay was lying on her back on the enormous blanket they’d brought. Tara Maclay-Rosenberg was on her right side, head propped, gazing at the woman whom she had, by Spanish law, married just the day before.

“Hey,” the blonde said, “you’re too quiet. What are you thinking about?”

The redhead took a breath and considered things awhile, then answered, “I’m thinking it really does make a relationship better when you make it offici . . . err, formal.”

“Right, ‘official’ is still pending a few court cases, back home. But putting a name on something can help, glad this happened, and right now you look absolutely delicious.”

“Hey, part one, don’t act like you had to talk me into anything. Part two, keep in mind we’re on a public beach, sweetie.”

“Oh, I’m definitely keeping that in mind,” Tara said with a pixyish tone in her voice, “And you’ve always loved my mind, and the ways I used it, haven’t you? So,” she began moving the fingers of her left hand, “while I know I was always the one nagging at you for using magic for ordinary things, this is a special occasion.”

“Oh! Ohhh! Tara, what the hell are you doing to me?”

“It’s part telekinesis spell, and part tactile hallucination.”

“And it’s all making me nuts! Stop.” Willow twisted on the blanket, bending and straightening her knees repeatedly.

“I will if you really want me to, but nobody can actually see anything and it feels good, doesn’t it?” Tara asked, teasingly.

“You’re right. I’m lying . . . ooo-ooo-oo!” Willow answered, then grabbed her personal towel and stuffed a corner of it into her mouth as she writhed.

Willow maintained enough control that her back didn’t arch too much. The beach wasn’t deserted but no one was all that close to them.

If Tara’s slightly greater weight hadn’t been holding it down, the blanket would have been tangled into a ball within minutes. Willow twisted like a sidewinder and bit down on the towel until her jaw ached. It seemed like a hundred years, but eventually her orgasm brought the release she needed.

The beautiful redhead settled back, catching her breath. In the strange clarity which sometimes comes with physical exhaustion, she thought back to one of those Friday movie nights she and her friends used to enjoy. Once good ol’ Jesse had rented Sorceress starring the Harris Twins, no relation to Xander. Each of their characters shared the others’ experience completely, well, certain memorable experiences, at least. Remembering the motions one twin had made, while the other was lying with a local hunk some miles away, Willow realized with some embarrassment that she must have just looked rather similar.

The redhead gave her lover a glare, only half-amused.

Tara remarked, “Hey, that look works for you, sweetie. Kind of an angry, Jewish, leprechaun image.”

Willow couldn’t help getting a grin from that. Still semi-annoyed, she said, “You did come back with a very different attitude. I should have expected this from the beginning.”

“What can I say? I told you I’d changed and yes you should have exp . . . oh-ho-ho-ho-ho!” Tara’s eyes widened as she flopped onto her back while Willow returned the “favor” of a short time earlier.

The ash-blonde had always had very different reactions from those her lover showed so she didn’t have to chew on her towel and she stiffened instead of twisting. A series of almost whimper-like moans escaped her throat. They didn’t actually get louder, just more intense, until suddenly Tara’s back bowed with climax.

When the blonde girl could speak again, she muttered “Thanks” with a tired grin.

“Same to you, that did feel great. Fact, it’s good to be witches. But I still can’t believe you’d have us put on a show like that on a public beach, even one with so few people around.”

“Actually, I’d been dying to see how psychic sex worked ever since I thought of it, well, okay, I partly got the idea from Chevy Chase with Patti D'Arbanville in Modern Problems. Besides, it’s a honeymoon; we’re supposed to be all over each other, that’s the cliché.”

“So how come we aren’t?” Willow asked while she moved her upper body over and the newlyweds did some serious snuggling and smooching.

After more than a few minutes, Tara looked straight into Willow’s eyes and said, “Regardless of what I gave up, the risks you took to get to me, I’m so glad I’m back.”

“Hey, me, too, I just wonder, I mean, no guarantees in life, right, even for average people, and we live dangerously, I find I can’t avoid asking certain questions.”

“Don’t avoid them, just accept them. We love each other, we always will, wherever we are,” Tara said, smiling.

“It isn’t just us, it isn’t just you. Amy’s not a rat anymore, and not homicidally insane anymore. Jenny, Jonathan, Fred, Wesley, Cordelia, Anya, they’re all back too. Even Harmony took that little trip to another dimension and came back almost a hero. What could be brewing so big that it’ll take so many of us to face it?”**

“We can’t know that until it gets here, and if it does we’ll hardly be able to miss it. And maybe that isn’t it. Maybe it’s just a reward for what we’ve gone through the past couple years. Or maybe so many big things flew out of balance, like Jasmine and the First and your Slayer Empowering spell, and other things, that we had to be brought back for the balance. Or it could be for a long-term project instead of an immediate thing. We just have to take it a day at a time, since they don’t come any faster than that, anyway.”

“Well, I can’t help but burn some mental oil thinking about it,” Willow said, flatly.

“Hmm, since you’re burning, it’s good we’re next to an ocean. I think we should go and cool off.”

* Some of these stories have not been written, but some is explained in my (rather lengthy) fic "Never Bet the Devil Someone Else's Head," available in different versions on several sites, links available on request

Snapshots: a Love Story

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Updated 6/27/15)
PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2015 12:18 am 
6. Sassy Eggs
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 7:19 pm
Posts: 391
Topics: 1
I'm enjoying the way events have unfolded since Willow completed the trials/challenge/quest to get her girl back. It's always nice to see the girls get their happy ending / wedding day. And the "Psychic Sex on the Beach" was inspired. Very nice twist on the old public display of affection scenario.

Time and Time Again

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Updated 6/27/15)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 3:57 am 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Citanul: Well, definitely not th e end but I'm glad you liked this part. Of course, complications s et in soon . . . .

(And I was actually inspire d by the two movies I mentioned:-). and as I pointed out, these are set in specific years and even months sometimes, so Spain was chosen for a reason.)

Snapshots: a Love Story

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Updated 6/27/15)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:34 am 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Story Title: Snapshots- A Love Story

Overall Synopsis: A Series of Vignettes Featuring Willow and Tara from 1984 to 2037, or maybe beyond. Including Re-posts

Dave Briddock is property of Thames Television and, indirectly, Richard Gordon. All other non-original characters and settings are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions and its associates. No Compensation is being received for this story. (Yes, this is a Buffyverse/Doctor In the House crossover.)

Rating: PG-13, for drug use.

Feedback: Pretty please? On this or anything earlier :-).

Chapter Synopsis: Coming back after being dead a few years can be considered a form of trauma, and at least one therapist sees an opportunity. (Please forgive any inaccuracies, as this is an area totally unfamiliar to me.)

Chapter Title: New Mexico Rocky Mountain High

Rupert Giles sat behind his desk in his office in the new Watcher's Council (well, one of the groups using that name) HQ, and looked keenly at the older man sitting in front of him. His wife Jennifer, seated a bit behind him to his right, joined in the look. He said," Alright, Dave, one more time, from the top, what is your idea?"

David Briddock, psychiatrist, and consultant to the Council since the 70s returned the look quite calmly. He had known Rupert quite well most of that time, and had been instrumental early on in helping the then distracted college age youth accept his calling as a Watcher.

"Quite simply, Rupert, I am very worried about our friends and colleagues who have returned from death.," he said, looking meaningfully at Jenny. "What I propose is a group mini-marathon with Jenny, Wesley, Tara, Fred, Anya, and Jonathan. I know most of them are quite strong-minded, and they all seem to be bearing up well. But it is very likely there are hidden traumas of which they may not even be aware.

"I would like to bring everyone on a camping trip and administer a mix of inhaled medications. A marijuana base, with certain magical herbs and powders and prescription drugs added. You can have the bona fides of the ingredients list checked by any of our staff, the coven, the Slayer witches, or anyone else you wish. I have chosen these quite specifically to facilitate both accessing and dealing with these memories. At the very least, getting everyone to speak freely about this cannot do any harm.

"It's important to do this soon; I was hoping to go to a little spot I know in the Sangre de Cristos the second weekend in September, and do this Saturday in early afternoon, right after lunch."

Rupert looked over at Jenny, a few unspoken thoughts passed between them, and she turned back to Briddock and said," It's an interesting idea, Dave, and I agree it could be helpful to us. But why just us? Others have passed beyond that barrier, Buffy, Cordelia, JFK . . . ."

"Yes, and I would like to speak with them eventually, but the magical aspects of this therapy are carefully designed for physiologically normal humans. It might not work properly with them."

Giles said "I see. Alright, I'll approve this, but with some conditions. First, I do not want Jonathan included, at least not at first. He seems sincere in his repentance and desire to help, but I don't feel we can trust him yet. Even if we could, the strain of such self-analysis, with everyone else around, could set him back quite badly.

"Second, I want Willow, Xander, and myself to accompany you, and also receive the drugs. The presence of the significant others could provide invaluable support for your subjects."

Dave smiled, "Of course, Rupert, that will be quite satisfactory."

Some weeks later

It was past 1PM and growing hotter, but thebreeze was almost cool and the shade in their camp site was already lengthening and comfortable. Anya was taking care of the last of the washing up, while Xander was hoisting the food carrier to above bear height. Giles and Wesley were giving the tents a check, Tara was inspecting the camp boundary. Willow and Fred were connecting the sound system and white noise generator, while Jenny was rigging up lights to the generator for later use.

Fred said, "Umm, Dave, about this background music you've selected: James Taylor, Jimmy Buffet, John Denver, Eagles, Olivia Newton-John . . . isn't that a bit, well, dated for most of us? Not to mention kind of bland?"

Giles responded for him, "Fred, I'm surprised you'd say that; you of all people know how important mood is for this kind of thing. I mean, if we were up here to 'get wrecked' and watch Kubrick films, I'd agree with you," his voice grew noticeably pained, "wholeheartedly, too," and snapped back to normal, "but for what we're doing, Dave is just trying for what we used to call a mellow feeling, back in the 70s."

Xander snorted a bit, "mellow" was a word some of his relatives used just before an argument, then voiced his own concerns, "Dave, I was reading a book by Michael Medved," Willow shot him a bit of a glare at that but his back was turned, "and he said the one time he tried pot, he coughed so much he couldn't keep enough down to have any effect on him. If that happens to me, is that going to make this work not as well?" By his expression, it was apparent fellow "virgin" Wesley was thinking the same thing.

Tara chimed in with, "I've had some similar thoughts, Dave. I've only tried it once, when I was 17. I kept it in alright, but I didn't get any kind of real high from it. How important is it for me to 'feel' anything?"

"Don't worry, any of you, whatever you take in will be fine."

Briddock looked at them with a bland expression, masking his mixed inner feelings. He imagined what they were saying to themselves, Xander, Wesley, and Tara feeling simple relief, Jenny likely recalling her involvement with the counterculture, Giles his checkered experiences as a younger man, Fred her own weed-smoked youth, Willow probably that she had once dated a musician, Anya perhaps some disguises long back during which she had partaken. He smiled and said inwardly, "My friends, get ready for a surprise."

Dave and Beryl went over to their own tent and he began filling a pipe with the prepared mixture, while humming the Saint Swithin's school song, while the others drifted over to the campfire, placed their legless camp chairs and sat down.

Beryl leaned towards him and said "Dave, there's still time to change your mind. I brought some other pot, laced with the drugs and some of the herbs, but not things to control their bodies or invade their minds. You can still do a proper therapy session and not, well, this."

Briddock smiled condescendingly at here and said, "Beryl, my mind is made up; I am doing this. It is the right choice for me, and also for the world. That scroll needs to be translated and I am the only logical choice to wield its power."

"Even if you succeed, you won't be you anymore - everything will change. And if you fail . . . ."

"Pet, I have no intention of failing. And you are becoming very tiresome. The only way you can stop this is to tell everyone the truth, and I know you won't betray me to that extent, your loyalty is still too deep. So, since you're wasting your breath, I strongly suggest you give it a rest."

Beryl knew in her heart that was true. Summoning up the professional calmness that all nurses have to learn early on, she followed him silently out to the fire and they took their own seats. Briddock placed a thin, dry twig into the fire

When all were settled and ready Dave picked the stick from the flames and applied the small torch to the pipe, puffing it to light. He inhaled, a little bit, and passed it to Fred, who took a full drag. Visibly nervously, Wesley took it and inhaled, held it successfully, exhaled and, still uneasy, passed it to Giles, all the while Briddock was gently coaching everyone in the mental exercises they needed to do to achieve the mental state he wanted, making small hand motions all along.

The pipe made its first circuit, next to Jenny, then Willow, Tara, Anya, Xander, who did cough rather badly, Beryl, then back to Dave, who held it for a bit before taking another puff and beginning it around again.

Anya asked, rather seriously, "Should one of us be saying 'Oh, wow!' right now?" and Giles, firm but with some amusment, said, "No, one of us shouldn't."

It made the second circuit, and a third. As Xander completed his drag, Beryl reached forward and grabbed it before he could begin handing it to her, inhaled some and passed it to Dave, who continued his patter and gestures.

Tara, in a tense voice, and with a look of alarm, said, "Dave, I think something's wrong. I can't move my legs, and I can't touch Willow, or Anya." It soon became obvious nobody except Beryl and Dave could move their legs or touch the person next to them, even though they could freely move their arms and bodies otherwise, and questions and exclamations came in a Babel-sound.

Dave leaned back, with a great smile, and it remained friendly, with nothing sickly or sinister about it. "Relax, friends, it will pass in a very few hours, and you'll not be harmed. I simply require some knowledge that some among you have. I have been casting omens and they told me that I am the one chosen to translate the Aachen Scroll."

Giles hissed, "Now I know why you couldn't risk having Buffy or Cordelia here. Dave, there's no way to translate that. It was not translated when the dictionaries were available, it was intended that power would never be placed in anyone's hands, and all known copies of the dictionaries were destroyed when Council HQ was blown up. The scroll and the code book still exist, but no one on earth can read it because it's written in a mix of two languages of the . . . Dead . . . Lands . . . ." he trailed off, suddenly understanding.

"You son of a bitch," Willow snapped, just slightly emphasizing the second word, " This wasn't therapy! You just want to use my Tara, the others, just for yourself. I know about that scroll - we've stopped your kind before!"

"People, please," Dave said, smarmily but with a strange underlying sincerity audible in his tones, "There is something coming you almost certainly can't stop. Only someone who arms himself with the power of that scroll, who becomes its vessel, can stop this. And you will thank me after, I know." he ended, firmly and with an air of satisfaction.

As this was being said, Xander, keeping his eyes on Dave and Beryl, leaned back as far as he, both comfortably and unobtrusively, could and laid his hand on the ground, well behind Anya. Tara noticed it immediately and did the same, just touching his hand. Willow and Anya both saw it by now and reached to touch each other, and Willow stretched towards Giles, which caused Jenny to reach past Willow's arm to touch Tara's hand

Giles spoke, and couldn't keep a cynical, accusatory tone out of his voice, "Really, Dave? And when you've beaten this Whatever's Coming, and still have the power of the Scroll after we've all 'thanked' you, what then?"

"Well, I will of course expect some future consideration as a result of my new status and . . . ."

" I knew it. Dave, you know it's wrong to control people this way, so you're starting this by doing wrong, as a psychiatrist, you know what that will mean. And that power will change you, you're abandoning yourself for the sake of a near-worthless goal, as an old friend I have no wish to lose you. For God's sake, stop this!"

"Please, Rupert, yes, my father was a bishop but don't invoke a deity I know you don't believe in any more than I do. All of you, just relax, it will take about 100 minutes for me to, err, download the knowledge from the brains of those I'm tapping, and none of us is going anywhere until then."

Nobody responded to that. Meanwhile a chain of hands had formed, indirectly linking all the victimized heroes telepathically with Willow as the provider. Those who knew spellcraft gradually composed one in their heads, and waited for its power to gather.

Fred turned to Dave and said, "So, you want knowledge, creep?" to which he responded merely with a derisive smile.

A few seconds later Jenny, seated opposite in the circle from Briddock, shouted, "Then take it." A glow arose about the eight of them, then poured itself into a bolt of light stretching from her to him.. He sat stunned for a bit, then, fell back and began chuckling.

With the anger of any lover whose partner has been hurt, Beryl rounded on the group, who were slowly coming to their feet, asking "What did you do to him?"

As gently as she could, Tara replied, "We gave him what he wanted. Our knowledge of the languages of the afterlife, and a bit more. But, unlike he planned it, we gave it to him much faster than he could take in and retain his mind. I know this is hard for you, but it was his own mistakes which brought him to this, that kind of power can't . . . ." Understanding, Beryl dropped across Dave and hugged him, trying to comfort him with soft words through the fog of his madness.

His erstwhile victims were checking things, watching for new dangers and comforting each other, when Dave sat up, pointed at Giles, screamed "Here is an equivocator," and fell back into Beryl's arms.

Giles responded with a hearty and evil laugh and said, standing "Thank you all for both stopping him and finally letting me in. I was hovering about your Rupert since that memory spell Miss Rosenberg did long ago, sending him messages, asking him to let me in. I made him notice the Bringer attack, persuaded him to attack Spike, many other little things. But your spell, which bound you together and loosened your barriers, well, I came in at its climactic instant."

"Who - are -you-?" Jenny demanded, her face but pale with rage, and yet also like burning black ice,. She and all her friends were searching their minds for their next moves.

"My dear Jennifer, I am about to teleport away, and you will likely wish to stand back. There are certain fumes which accompany it and might not be good for the little stranger you are carrying." She stood back in surprise, and Willow put her hands on Jenny's shoulders. "As to who I am, it is for you all to determine. I, as ever with me, shall respond to your query by denying an answer." He vanished, with a pop of in-rushing air.

Jenny was speechless, while both Willow and Wesley began muttering, "The Spirit The Ever denies," over and over.

Xander, obviously confused, asked, "What just happened? Is Giles possessed? Where . . . what do we do? What are we fighting?"

Tara, her voice trembling, said, "The ice-cold Duke of the 8th circle in the Hell of the 9 Rings. Johann Faust's guide. Mephistopheles."

Dave chuckled louder and said, "I told you. I told you! Heh-heh-heh."

Snapshots: a Love Story

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Updated 7/8/15)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:29 am 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Story Title: Snapshots- A Love Story

Overall Synopsis: A Series of Vignettes Featuring Willow and Tara from 1984 to 2037, or maybe beyond. Including Re-posts

All non-original characters and settings are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions and its associates. No Compensation is being received for this story.

Rating: Between G and PG.

Feedback: Pretty please? On this or anything earlier :-).

Chapter Title: The Battles Beneath

Chapter Notes: Okay, again I'm jumping from the start of a story arc to the end. (Unlike "Willow's Quest," which I would have enjoyed writing if it had been a practical thing, this "Mephistopheles Arc" is not. But it does serve to get from "early Season 8 with some people resurrected" to my actual "Children Of the 'Dale" 'verse, so it had a purpose, despite the rather weak ending to this chapter. Somewhere on the 'net, there's a story where Buffy says yes, but that is just a draft I posted to meet a contest deadline)

About the pregnancies, I know magic conception has been done before at Pens, and done much better than this, and I apologize for stealing the idea. My original plan was to have the pregnancies being ordinary in-vitro, but that's an expensive and time-consuming process that couldn't fit into W&T's lives at this point. Then I later had the idea of having Kalbu's wish reaching into the past for sperm from William the Bloody Awful Poet, drawing an egg from Tara & implanting the result in Willow, until a couple friends at another website pointed out that would be the moral equivalent of either 3 or 4 rapes, and I don't write rape fics. So, here goes.

Speaking of Kalbu, I was going for brave and strong & a good fighter but still cute. If he comes out more Jar-Jar instead, again I apologize.

Two and a half months after, near the reconstructed Sunnydale

"It's not really a short walk to the other cave, and Cordelia can't keep up on a run with Satsu's squad and me, and then we have to climb down a way and get through the woods. The portal will start to open and the Forerunner come in around sunrise, so we'll need to leave here before 4AM, I mean 0400, Wes," said Buffy.

"Just as I was thinking, do that. Alright, let's work on positions. I'll be in overall command, and leading the frontal attack on the pit, along with Angel, Spike, Gunn, Fred, Prince Radhu, his bear braves and monkey fighters, Andrew, and Jonathan.

"Faith will lead the Slayers and field ops from Nigel's team, followed by Xander, Willow, Harmony, Anya, and Tara, in a flank attack through the left entrance.

"Sam's commandos and K's band of Slayers will stand as reserve for either group as needed.

"The goal is to defeat the rakshasa and the lesser demons, and both the rakshasa Lord Nilban and Mephistopheles need to be neutralized. Try to capture them, and do not harm Giles if possible, but Mephistopheles will not hesitate to risk him."

At this, Jenny spoke up, "Wesley, you left one thing out. I'm also coming in behind Faith's group. Do not try to stop me, Rupert is still my husband, and if it risks the baby, so be it." Her face was stern as a gorgon's. One of the bear braves, standing guard just inside the tent , looked at her.

"I wouldn't," the former Watcher said simply.

Willow chimed in, "Speaking of Giles, Tara and I want to try something, but we need to be secure and safe and right near him to do it. We want to try to exorcise Mephistopheles with the last passage of the Susamna Ritual."

Andrew broke in with, "Are you sure it's come to that?" Wes's expression showed he was thinking the same thing while Jonathan just looked more worried than he already was.

Tara answered him. "Everyone here who can has already tried so many exorcism and deliverance rituals already. Sometimes Mephisto shrugged them off, sometimes they budged him a little, but nothing has worked. We really think there's no other choice now."

Jenny looked at them, still stone-faced, "You do know what the side-effect of the Susamna is, I hope. If it fails, and you know it has sometimes, that's it. No matter what else we find afterwards will never, can never work. However he is after the Susamna is permanent."

Tara walked closer and said "Jenny, I know we didn't interact much in the afterlife and didn't really meet until September, but I think we can understand each other

"It's been almost three months; it's time we knew if we'll ever be getting him back. Mephistopheles is just too powerful, too evil, and too alien; loose or captured, he can't be allowed to remain." The women looked at each other for a long-seeing but brief-seeming moment. Then Jenny's face became more animated, but still fearful.

There were various tactical questions, also Wesley gave them specific instructions on finding the wishstone, the most powerful artifact Mephistopheles had captured, then the group broke up to get what rest they could.

After Sundown

Kalbu the bear warrior had drawn the guard assignment of passing among the tents. He passed Buffy, Spike, and Angel talking about things he couldn't understand, something about how they know they can't afford to be in the same part of the fight but he wanted to practice his English so he said to himself, "Peoples is strange." Then he passed Fred & Wesley's tent.

The man was speaking, "You're sure about this? Tonight?"

"Yes. I want us to start trying, right now. Even if it happens tonight, there'll be no way to know for a while, so we're not taking any real risk. Let's say yes to living before we have to face death again." Kalbu didn't need to follow all the language to know what was happening.

He walked by Anya and Xander's tent and could tell they were farther along the same path.

The woman was saying "Well, something tells me that we did it, already."

"That's good, and you have to survive this time. No more letting guys with sharp things sneak up behind you," he said, laughter and tears in his voice.

The guard came up to Tara and Willow's tent. Willow was speaking, "Now, before we make love, I want us to try that spell we've been discussing."

"Now? You're sure?"

"Yes. I mean, maybe it won't work, and if it does, well, I'll be closer to the front than you so I'm more likely to get , get hurt. But, we already know you'll handle that better than if I . . . if something happened to you, again. If it does, I'll need for the baby to look like you, I really will need a part of you, still here."

"Alright, I agree, and we're ready, maybe not financially but there's no other reason. And there's no risk; if we do make a conceptus, it won't implant any faster than any ordinary pregnancy."

It wasn't easy for Kalbu to think, he was only a bear, after all, but he tried to put together what he had heard. Soon, his rounds had brought him to the edge of the camp. After scanning the darkness for some seconds like a good guard will, he looked up at the stars.

Still practicing his English, he began to pray, "Hanuman, me knows I only silly bear, not smart like the Prince. But I know you smiling on us all, because bad guys these us all want stop them. But some of they peoples behind me, them wish good things for selfs. So can some of your smile be they get them? And if Kalbu needed, can I help some?" The bear brave was silent for a while, then renewed his rounds.


After the Main Battle

It took until past sundown to fully secure the caverns. Lord Nilban, along with those of the devils and rakshasa not destroyed in the fighting, needed only standard rituals to banish them.

The Mephistopheles-Giles, swollen by the power of devil mixed with human, had been bound by a potent binding which had proven effective in an earlier encounter which had been interrupted by his hirelings, then by a double ring of fighters around him. The majority of the healthy troops had fanned out in small groups to find any hidden enemies and retrieve the many magick items Mephistopheles had collected for his war.

Willow and Tara both faced the bound archdevil, Tara standing less than a full pace behind her wife ; Jenny was looking at him from the side, avoiding direct sight of her possessed husband. All three crossed their arms over their heads. The ritual is usually spoken, often shouted or screamed, but they had chosen one of the prescribed tonal settings, Willow chanting in a simple melody, Tara providing a harmony version with Jenny joining her with the second bar.

Giles screamed and the devil duke began leaving his body, shouting in agony interspersed with truly vile streams of blasphemous and scatological excoriations. As the chant reached its end, their bodies had separated and only ectoplasmic tendrils connected them - many, many tendrils. The women began the chant again with only time for a breath, very faint glows now appearing around both Willow's and Tara's hands, Wesley joined in, while Andrew, Jonathan, and even Nigel spoke the words along with them.

The connections, faded, broke one at a time, then more, then the creature was pulled free and very shortly, disappeared, driven off the earthly dimension by that most desperate of rituals, leaving behind only a circle of frost.

The power bracelets Giles had been wearing dropped off his now normal-sized arms, and he himself slumped and fell forward, taking Jenny along as she ran up and grabbed him. Willow, Tara, and surprisingly, Harmony, helped Giles and Jenny back to their feet, while Watcher Nigel scooped up the power bracelets and slipped them into the side pockets of his blazer. Coincidentally, Willow and Tara's commitment bracelets, which they had placed in Tara's belt pouch for safekeeping during the fight, also slipped out and fell to the floor. Harmony heard them fall but didn't really notice at the moment. Jenny led Giles off a few feet to speak of more private things.

The pile of magick items had been steadily growing when Kalbu marched in, holding the wishing crystal over his head in an ursine triumph. Wes rushed over, pulling out the warded bag designed to hold it safely, and saying "Bravo, Kalbu! That's the most dangerous artifact Mephistopheles had. Here, put it in the special bag so it'll be safe."

Kalbu shook his head a bit and said, "I help!"

"Yes, yes, you've already been a big help. And the best help you can give now is to put it in the bag," Wes said, a bit feverishly but still gently, trying not to upset the simple creature.

"No, Kalbu mean I help!" and the stone glowed violet.

Immediately a small, bright, violet dot appeared on Jenny's stomach. Seconds later, similarly bright violet rings appeared around the bodies of Willow, Fred, and Anya. Then, in that order, they gradually faded out. While they were at their brightest, Kalbu casually dumped the stone into the bag, pointed around at the women and said, "Look, I help."

Wesley's expression hardened and his tone grew more stern; he couldn't help that, and asked, "Kalbu, what did you do?" Also, Xander had come up just behind Wesley and was also frowning and asking similar questions of the bear, who was obviously becoming nervous and muttering his replies.

Prince Radhu walked briskly over, got in between Kalbu "Gentlemen, please, he is one of my fighters, I will handle this," the monkey lord's usual hauteur replaced with the straightforward responsibility of a commander for his troops. He turned to Kalbu and spoke, not briefly, in their own language, then turned with a noticeable and, for him, surprisingly friendly smile. "My apologies for the confusion earlier. Ladies and gentlemen, it seems congratulations are in order. Kalbu somehow became aware of, let us say. plans all of you were making and he just used the wishing stone to make sure that they will come through for you. So, the . . . topics of which you were all speaking before now have not merely confirmation, but a very powerful boost and safeguard." The prince nodded, very slightly.

The group had little opportunity to dwell on the good news. At that moment, Willow's pocket crystal activated. She pulled it out and saw a terrified Cordelia.

"Willow, we've been back and forth all day and can't hold out anymore. Buffy's badly hurt, I'm not sure she's breathing, I can't hurt it, the Forerunner has figured out how to fight the other Slayers with half its tentacles and do the spell to complete turning the portal from pink to white with the rest. Almost half is white and . . . Things are reaching out. We could lose it all right here if we don't get help!"

Before Cordy had even finished, Tara, looking and listening over Willow's shoulder, had begun beckoning to Spike, Angel, and Faith. They gathered and the witches hurriedly explained everything, loud enough for everyone else to hear.

They moved off a short way, formed a circle, and Willow and Tara began a teleportation spell. Just then, Harmony noticed the dropped bracelets, picked them up and, without thinking, ran towards the witches to return them, and was caught in the spell.


As a result of carrying an extra person, they appeared not on the floor of the cave but almost ten feet up. That was not a difficult fall for any of them and they easily landed safely. But it did distract them from acting immediately.

A clawed arm reached out from the Portal and grabbed Spike and threw him all the way out of the cave and up through the air, smashing into a tree trunk some hundred yards beyond the cave mouth, sliding down to be hidden behind some bushes. Angel and Faith, who stopped to grab the "Scythe," attacked the Forerunner on the side which it was using to cast the spell, distracting it. Willow joined Cordelia in throwing energy blasts at the Portal and the Things trying to come out of it. Tara ran to Buffy and knelt down to check her. Harmony set the bracelets down with her left hand, drew her enormous knife with her right, as usual from no hiding place imaginable in her clingy outfit, and began hacking at any monster limbs that came near anybody.

Tara could hear Buffy's breathing, and almost wished she hadn't when she recognized that breathing as agonal, a near-completely certain sign death would follow very soon. Not surprising- Buffy's other wounds, even the blow to the head, were mostly survivable, but her right arm and left leg barely looked like limbs anymore. The large amounts of blood which had been lost before they had arrived were too much for a human mind to think about.

Part of Tara's mind was saying that casualties were inevitable, to join the others and mourn for Buffy later. But a deeper part wouldn't allow it, not yet. She and Willow, Anya, Xander had suffered so much for their decision to bring Buffy back 4 years before, so had Dawn, even Spike as a result of it. Scenes from old movies and TV shows ghosted through Tara's mind, most clearly Magnum in a coma and Higgins telling him to return at once, and she was on the verge of ordering Buffy not to die . . . .

She breathed deeply and did what she had to do, calling on the earth and stone and life forces which, despite the recent acts by Mephistopheles to open the Portal as his back-up plan, still ruled in this space. It was fortunate they were in the midst of them and not on the second floor like Willow had been when healing her skin loss. Tara concentrated and concentrated, drawing on the part of magick for which she had a natural affinity like Willow did for spirit manipulations and attack spells, and Amy for biological transformation and minor revenge curses.

Tara kept it up as long as possible, then her strength gave out suddenly and she almost collapsed over Buffy but stopped herself and checked the results. Buffy's breathing was easier, if by no means good, the largest wounds were no longer bleeding and Tara could sense the Slayer had even regenerated some blood volume. With a great deal of luck, it would last long enough to get Buffy to an emergency room, so Tara turned to the battle, Buffy's blood still on her hands.

She saw Willow had switched from driving things back to trying to close the Portal, and had had some slight success, despite the creatures who were still trying to exit. Looking at the Forerunner, she saw some severe fresh wounds next to some older, half-healed ones. "So, Buffy, got in a few licks, and Faith has followed up, and it looks like it's slowing down," partly from looking at the creature itself, partly from seeing her friends and colleagues pushing closer to it and hitting more. Turning, Tara began to help Willow with the closing; they made progress, but not much, even after she took Willow's right hand in her left, transferring some of Buffy's blood.

A bolt of force came from the Portal, knocking both back a couple paces. Faith noticed and spun around (she said later she didn't know what made her think to do this,) held out the "Scythe" with her hands in the middle and yelled, "Grab on, witches." Willow grabbed with her left hand, Tara with both, Buffy's blood mixing with ichor from the Forerunner, while Cordy held back, since she knew what was happening.

Even before she let go of the shaft, Tara's hands had begun glowing blue, "Hmm, been a long while since that happened," she said to herself, then took in a sharp breath when she saw her wife, outlined in a white glow which was rapidly spreading over her body and changing her hair.

They faced the Portal again, not needing to touch hands for their brilliant auras to coalesce. They shot forth a single bolt, half white, half blue, which picked the Forerunner up right off the cave floor, sent it back through the Portal, and closed that in a blast of pink radiant backwash which filled the cave, then disappeared in two seconds.

The still-newlyweds fell down as their glows gradually faded, both chuckling. Willow said, "That was, was . . . ." and Tara finished, "I know, nifty."

Spike ran into the cave three seconds later, in a full burst of vampiric speed, shouting "Let me get my hands on . . . hey, where are the bad guys?" He looked briefly at Harmony and Angel and asked, "Bloody hell, what happened to you two? Helluva time for me to go tree-climbing . . . Buffy!" at last noticing the fallen Slayer, and leaping towards her.

Tara shouted at him, "Spike, she needs an ER, Willow is too drained to fly right now, and there's no cellphone reception in here or right outside. How do we get her to a chopper in time?"

The blond vampire almost shouted, "I can get her there a lot faster," turned and picked up Buffy, murmured, "I guess it was meant to be this way, pet" and took off full speed, jumping obstacles.

The center of conversation switched to Angel and Harmony; they quickly came to the conclusion that it was the radiance from the closing of the Portal that had returned them to being alive. The conversation tended mainly in the direction of compliments until Cordelia looked Angel in the eye and said, "You need to ask her first." He blinked and she continued, "I know Buffy will make it. That's not higher-power stuff, just, in my heart I know she'll pull through. If you end up with me, or Nina, or anybody without at least asking Buffy first, you'll regret it."

That conversation transmuted gradually into a question of what they were going to do that night, as everyone was too tired to climb out, even the Slayers. They hadn't brought bedrolls, food beyond a very small number of granola bars and breath mints, or other supplies except drinking water. Eventually it was decided they'd rest for 2 or 3 hours, sleep if they could, then try to climb.

Unselfishly, Willow and Tara allowed the conversation to finish up before Willow proudly told the Slayer group "I'm pregnant!" Tara backing her up with a grin. So the rest period was delayed again.


Snapshots: a Love Story

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Updated 8/17/15)
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:24 pm 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Story Title: Snapshots- A Love Story

Overall Synopsis: A Series of Vignettes Featuring Willow and Tara from 1984 to 2037, or maybe beyond. Including Re-posts

All non-original characters and settings are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions and its associates. No Compensation is being received for this story.

Distribution: Please let me know first
Rating; General
Feedback: Pretty please? On this or anything earlier :-).

Chapter Title : Reach Out And Touch Someone

Chapter notes: It's often not good to reach out, but sometimes it's the fair thing to do. (About the herd of dachshunds; recall in my main ficverse, all the Buffyverse actors exist, they just did different things, and it's a running gag none of the characters think the actors look like them. In early 2003, Steve Rankin did a short-run commercial for a cell phone company. He played a cattle rancher explaining to the trench-coated spokesman for the company that he'd wanted to order a herd of oxen for his ranch . . . .)

Bo Maclay was sitting at his desk on a Friday evening, pulling together the last few sums and quotients, differences, products, and fractions, which represented the financial picture of his farm at the end of that week. The main business line rang.

"Hello, Maclay Ranch."

"Hello, Dad, I'd heard you'd change the name recently."

"Good evening, Tara. To what do I owe this unexpected call?"

"Well, I though you should know that Willow's pregnant."

"Why should I know that? Illegitimacy rates may be declining, but it's still a major problem in this country. I can't take the time to be more concerned about one more bastard, even if my daughter is sleeping with its mother."

Tara had been expecting both anger and coldness, but she felt these words as a harder blow than she had expected. She took a breath and continued.

"Dad, the baby is from my egg," which was true. Let him think in vitro instead of a magical conception, it would shorten the argument. You deserve to know about it, at least. I thought you might, possibly, even care a little."

Mr. Maclay shook his head and sighed audibly, even clucked his tongue a bit. "You'll stop at nothing, will you? Anything to justify your idolatry and unnatural passions. And now you're going to build a fake family on your sandy ground."

"Dad, that baby has my genes, and that's real. That baby is growing in Willow's womb, and that's real. There's nothing fake about it!"

"Except a temporary relationship based on bodies that don't fit together."

"Willow and I couldn't be more permanent if . . . if anything were different."

"And to prove that, you two conspire to create this mock sharing of the fertility that God built into nature, a fraud compared to the true fruitfulness Donny and I deal with everyday up here."

Tara had resolved not to return anger for anger, but she could not stop herself from doing a little needling, "Like your herd of dachshunds?"

"Don't be flip, Tara, and that actor looked nothing like me. Besides, you were dead when that commercial was running; don't tell me Willow was taping things for you while you were away," he said, sarcasm dripping from his voice like juices from a roast.

"No, Dad, I came back with a complete set of memories of the time that had passed."

"False memories of earth, to go along with that phony afterlife you claim to remember."

"And you're going to start that again?"

"Yes, anytime I speak with you. The Enemy knows something of the future, he knew you wouldn't be staying where you were, he knew what your demon lover would attempt. Of course he'd set up a Potemkin village for your poor lost soul, so you wouldn't come back speaking the truth. He is the Prince of Lies, and you're living in one of the dukedoms under him."

"I see calling was a mistake . . . . "

"It can be Providence, Tara. I don't want my little girl lost forever. Unstop your ears, God's door is always open, and so is mine. And there's room for you. My adding those extra lots and putting in the cattle was the right idea; the profits are more than doubled from what the truck farm alone brought in. Donny needs a partner. There are several boys from the Montana and Missouri and even the Alabama Maclays who'd be happy to have you to wife, regardless of how you look now or what you've done, and take a half share as the dowry. We have a place for you, baby," he said, sounding plaintive, even concerned.

Tara relaxed a bit; things were basically the way they had always been. But she was not, and that gave her strength.

"Dad, if that had ever been right for me, I never would have left. And yes, that used to be a good way to control me; you and Donny and most of the other relatives had me well convinced I was unattractive to men and I'd end up alone if I didn't do what you all told me. Even after I realized I didn't want that, it still bothered me, a part of me.

"But I know better now. For what it's worth, I've seen the boys checking me out. There's even an old friend of Willow's, he's just over a year younger than she is, who'd run off to Vegas with me tomorrow if I told him I wanted to. He's even a Christian, although you wouldn't think so since he's not a creationist."

"But of course that won't happen."

"No, Dad, it won't, because that's not who I am, which he understands, just like all my other friends who moved back here when the town was rebuilt. To you it isn't real, but I've found love here. Besides, he's already said flat-out he'd rather have us both as friends than either of us as a wife," she continued. She didn't add that neither she nor Willow had known exactly how to take that comment when he'd made it.

"So there really was no point in our talking tonight, was there?"

"You're wrong, Dad, there was a point, the original point. You have a grandchild on the way, and it was only right for me to tell you that."

"Well, you have, so I guess there's nothing more for us to talk about, is there?"

"I guess not. Good night, Dad."

"Good night, Tara."

Snapshots: a Love Story

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Updated 9/19/15)
PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:17 pm 
6. Sassy Eggs
User avatar

Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 7:19 pm
Posts: 391
Topics: 1
Nice little update. It's always fun to see how different writers handle Mr. Maclay. Whenever I watch "Family" it always strikes me how perfectly each one of the three visiting Maclays act as a metaphor for one type of abuse. Beth is a verbally abusive harpy.
Donnie is almost a stereotype of physically abusive men.
And the father is spiritual and psychological malice incarnate.

Time and Time Again

 Post subject: Re: Snapshots: A Love Story (Updated 9/19/15)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 11:24 am 
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1124
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Story Title: Snapshots- A Love Story

Overall Synopsis: A Series of Vignettes Featuring Willow and Tara from 1984 to 2037, or maybe beyond. Including Re-posts

All non-original characters and settings are the property of Mutant Enemy Productions and its associates. No Compensation is being received for this story, but I wish I'd been invited to the reception.

Distribution: Please let me know first
Rating; General
Feedback: Pretty please? On this or anything earlier :-).

Chapter Title: The Making of a Bridesmaid

Chapter Synopsis: Summary; May, 2006; A few days before Buffy's and Angel's wedding, Willow and Tara become amorous while looking at what they'll be wearing as members of the bridal party.


1-In case anyone is skeptical about what I say regarding the gowns being attractive, all I can say in my defense is that the first 20 or so years after my continuum branches off from canon have a sort of fairy-tale quality to them. As for maternity panels, I know some garments are made with them, so I'm just assuming it can include bridesmaid's gowns.

2- Language. The fact is I can't bring my self to use certain words, it's deep-rooted. Some of them are terms I made up for a fantasy novel I've been working on since '94, although "their own places" is good Victorian. The line in French is a translation of a line in English from a porno I saw for a few minutes in a hotel room, and I chose "tetons" specifically over more up-to-date words because it best fit the exact English word translated. What happens immediately after is from the same film. . . .

3- Children: Yes, their first baby Summer Lavelle Maclay-Rosenberg, was born in early September of 2006, then Autumn Anne Rosenberg-Maclay in October of 2010, and little Michaela Dawn Rosenberg-Maclay was just 2 months old yesterday!

The Making Of a Bridesmaid

The two women stood looking at the gowns they would be wearing in public in a few days. Surprisingly, they were not horrified.

The long-haired ash blonde turned to her deep-wine-haired partner and said, “Leave it to Buffy, she actually found outfits for her bridal party that won’t humiliate us.”

The other replied, “Well, she was always good with fashion, and she’s never been much for cruel traditions, like the one which says bridesmaids’ dresses need to be ugly to make the bride shine. Besides, Cordelia helped her pick them.”

A happy tone in her voice, Tara answered, “Well, technically, Anya and I are the only actual bridesmaids, which is fine since we tend to look good in the same things. Dawn is listed as Representing the Bride's Family, Cordy and Fred are Groom's Attendants even though Anya insists they should be called Lamplighters, and you’re Woman of Honor, my darling.”

“Another triumph of my best friend’s progressive thinking. I mean, if a man were standing for her he’d be the Man of Honor, so why should she be bound by patriarchal distinctions between Matron and Maid?” Willow answered confidently.

“Liar,” her lover replied, “you know the real reason was she couldn’t decide whether a pregnant woman who is in a committed lesbian relationship, wears a wedding ring, and was legally married to her partner in another country, should be called a matron or a maid. Interesting, we’ve been together for most of the nine years she’s known you, she and I have become such great friends, and she has her own little past experiences with Faith and not so little ones with Satsu to draw from, and she still sometimes doesn’t know how to take us. Oh, well, at least she got us gowns we can wear again to something formal, maybe with a little alteration.”

“Not so little in my case, baby, remember?”

Tara reached out to rub Willow’s belly. “Nonsense, just take out the maternity panel and you’ll be fine. Still like this?”

“A tummy rub from Summer’s maman? Yes, Summer’s ima likes it and so does Summer, from the way she’s moving.”

“I love the way you look now. I am so glad we did this, and I’m totally serious, I want to do it myself in a few years.”

“Oh, yes, the nausea, the backaches, sore nipples, swelling feet, swelling nose, crazy appetite . . . .”

“All of it, sweetie, all of it, including that little knot when you first felt life, the moving around, the mood swings, every bit of it. And the next baby will be look like you, I want everything.”

They went over to the bed and sat on the edge, holding each other’s right hands. Tara said, “I even spent a few minutes debating whether we should switch titles with the next baby, you be Maman and I be Ima but that would be too confusing and it wouldn’t really mean anything anyway.”

“Hey, I was thinking that same thing, you know, different titles for the egg donor and gestational mother, you know, just for that reason, and how we’d explain that to them and all, and it made some sense to me and . . . .”

“Alright, hey, I already thought of everything you’re thinking. I figure growing up in a mixed Jewish-Wiccan family on a closed Hellmouth will be confusing enough for our kids.”

“That’s one of the reasons I love you, you can usually think straight across things when I’m busy running in circles.” Meanwhile, Willow stretched her left arm over her lover’s left shoulder and lightly touched Tara’s breast through her blouse, meanwhile lightly kissing the blonde girl’s neck.

“Whoa, I think I’m being made,” Tara muttered (she had watched Network two nights before.)

“God, I love your ears,” the redhead whispered, just before applying her tongue to same.

Tara moaned deeply as both lay back. Willow turned onto her left side and reset her hand, moving it inside the other girl’s blouse while her right slid under the waistline of Tara’s skirt, seeking and easily finding that softness with which she had become so happily familiar over the past six years. The blonde responded even more quickly that she usually did, hips rising slightly from the mattress as her body trembled.

Tara slid her own right hand under her lover’s waistband. Immediately those practiced fingers reached Willow’s womangate, which had grown even more sensitive with advancing pregnancy, the darker-haired girl sighed with passion before the other woman had actually even done anything.

The two kept their right hands moving steadily, Willow reaching orgasm first. Convulsively, she thrust almost half her hand into Tara, whose own climax followed almost immediately.

They relaxed a bit, lacking breath to speak, and offered each other their fingers for tasting. Willow mouthed “I love you” to Tara who shaped back “Love you, too,” then, aloud, “You’ve never been more beautiful to me.”

“Thanks, baby, it feels so good having a real woman’s body for a change, I’ve always been such a stick, it really bothered me fitting such a sexist stereotype.”

“Hey, what have I told you about that? You’re naturally petite, and you’re solid, not a stick. Ally McBeal is a stick, Buffy is a stick when she’s not paying attention to her diet. Yes, you seem to match a certain stereotype, but you do it eating and exercising normally; you’re perfect the way you are, the woman I’ve loved since I first saw her.”

“So wanting to find a way to break the Gentlemen’s voice-stealing spell was just a scam?” Willow teased.

“I could have tried almost anything if I’d thought it would get me closer to you. And, I know I’ve said this before, but I’m so glad you brought me back.”

“Sorry, but I’m still leery of talking about that. I know it wasn’t like with Buffy, I asked you first, but still I feel I can be sure . . . .”

“Be sure. For one thing, I was in the wrong heaven.”

“Not, I hope, the heaven from your family’s church?”

“No, and that wouldn’t have been any kind of paradise for me. I was in a place which was sort of Bronze Age Greek Mythological, only not quite, something older than the recorded myths. Very nice, but I’d feel more at eternal rest in someplace more Keltic. And more chance of having you there with me.”

“Yeah, ‘cause there probably is no Jewiccan heaven yet. Oh, Goddess, what if Summer grows up and starts dating a Baptist?”

“American or Seventh-Day, no problem. Any other kind, he or she will take one look at us and be out of Summer’s life at top running speed. And we’ve got enough to worry about right now, don’t jump ahead.”

“Sorry, sweetie, but it’s a real relief to hear you say you’re essentially choosing me over paradise,” Willow turned her head and looked at the ceiling, “Wow, I’d better not think about that too much, my ego’s big enough.”

Tara propped herself up on an arm and got more serious, “Wasn’t completely paradise my first day or so, watching what was happening with you. But I figured somebody in the gang would reach you before things went too far; as I’ve said, if not for Xander, I never would have seen you again. When I was really worried was when I first found out you were going on a luck-wish quest, and from a god like Bes especially, the temptations you’d go through. But you’d gotten stronger, and you came through, for both of us,” she said.

Willow looked at her lover again, frowning a little, “Well, you and Anya were pretty good spirit-guides even disguised as each other, and when you got Oz to help, it was pretty crucial too. But I was warned about side-effects, and okay, I mean, Jonathan and I have always been friends since we were about three, but why would I actually want him back?”

“You said it yourself; it was a side-effect. You know that’s what happens with the bigger magics, Wil, things you don’t expect to find, you find. Besides, Harmony’s happy about it.”

“Oh, yeah, after she was so mean to him in high school. Then she claims she’s had a secret crush on him ever since she saw his James Bond look after he cast that augmentation spell, and wants to use her natural fashion sense to get him back to that non-magically. And he’s still such a lonely nerd he believes her.”

“Hey, you’re the one who’s known them over twenty years, not me. Besides, we’re all friends now; you and I have no business deconstructing their relationship. I enjoy discussing the technical aspects of magic with Jon, and, now that she’s human again, Harm’s the best riding partner I’ve had since coming to Sunnydale.”

“Okay, I surrender. Sorry I could never get over my phobia, but I guess equitation will always be one of ‘the spaces in our togetherness.’”

“And that’s good, every couple needs those spaces. We have enough things in common to be what we want to each other,” the ash-blonde woman said, as she leaned across and pressed her lips to Willow’s. They spent several pleasant minutes exchanging three types of soul kisses. Then, when they broke off for some deeper breaths, the burgundy-haired one stated, “I know which of those things in common I want right now.” Tara answered with a knowing grin.

Very shortly, the blankets were pulled down and the women unclothed, snuggling on the sheet. Rising on all fours, Tara brought her breasts up to Willow’s face. The pregnant girl kissed them alternately, a dreamy look on her face because she knew how much Tara was enjoying her attentions. Knowing she could please her partner was pure emotional joy for Willow, and meanwhile she experienced the physical-mental pleasure of exploring familiar spots, the little indentation here, the sharp bump there, which made these nipples and breasts Tara’s and Tara’s alone.

With some difficulty, Tara tore herself away from Willow’s mouth and turned around. She briefly kissed the redhead’s knees and the lower parts of her smooth thighs. Then, settling into a T-bone position, Tara’s hand stroked and tickled the inside of Willow’s thighs while lovingly kissing the latter’s stomach and sides.

Running her hand up and down her lover’s sleek back, Willow breathlessly joked, “Oh, sweetie, should you be kissing the baby like that?”

“I’m kissing you, Summer’s just along for the ride,” said Tara feverishly as she moved her mouth down further and further.

Ever so slowly and yet all at once, the blonde’s lips were on Willow’s loveflower, her tongue moving warmly against it. Tara probed those spots she had come to know so well, from that tiny band of skin just behind to the precious nerve-jewel atop, licking it with the flat, rimming and teasing all around it, then returning, and along with the tongue, the lips, kissing and holding. Willow writhed as Tara took her up and back down, again and again. Finally Tara bore down and gave the redhead the release she needed.

Tara moved upward and rested her head on Willow’s left shoulder, letting herself be one-arm-hugged tightly as the other girl regained her breath. Then she knelt and straddled her lover’s torso, inching up until knees were firmly pressed beneath arms. Willow’s hands stole slowly up the backs of Tara’s thighs, tickling and massaging, while her tongue probed in front ever so lightly. Then her hands moved higher, cupping Tara’s rounded glutes. Willow pulled herself up, burying her face in softness and doing those things she did so well. Tara clutched the headboard as she twisted and trembled, then she gave out four increasingly louder moans as Willow brought her to climax.

Tara lay down beside Willow, resting a few moments in her lover’s arms, then her left hand reached up and cupped the other’s right breast. The blonde rose up a little and repeatedly kissed and licked the redhead’s left nipple.

“You call yourself the breast gal . . .oh, j’aime tes tetons. . . ton beau corps,” and soon Willow was squirming with passion again.

Tara rolled over onto her back, left side pressed against Willow’s right, each with an arm around the other’s shoulders. With their free hands, they reached down, finding their own places, penetrating themselves until each was satisfied once more.

When they could speak again, Willow said, “Wow! What got into us tonight? We haven’t done it that often that quickly since I can’t remember.”

“Sometimes you just feel that much and need that much, and tonight was one of those times,” Tara answered.

They lay there quietly for a while, and then Tara asked, “Hey, I’ve been wondering lately, something we’ve never discussed, what would you have done with your wish if I hadn’t agreed to return?”

“I never really thought about it. Maybe brought back the passenger pigeon or something.”

“You’ll never believe this but I was just reading about them today. A flock of those settling in a forest could create some, let’s say, unusual conditions. I know it’s against nature’s way for me to say this, but if everyone knew it was a choice between them or me, a lot of them would be glad I’m the one who came back.”

“Well, I am, for one.”

“Me too,” and the two beautiful women kissed again.

Snapshots: a Love Story

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