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

General Chat  || Kitten  || WaV  || Pens  || Mi2  || GMP  || TiE  || FAQ  || Feed - The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe

All times are UTC - 8 hours



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1082 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 163 - 01/01/14
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:21 pm 
Offline
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1120
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Interesting how you're pretty much restricting the meltdown (at least the vivisible part of it) to earth's dimension and Glory's home dimension, and all the critters are her outright allies. (Or am I missing something?) Certainly reads like a good war story.

I discussed the canon set-up Key nature,a nd closing the portal extensively with "KAM" (even more skeptical of what happened than you are, beleive it or not) and others at the Beta. I can sum that up for you - should I do a PM or post it in these comments?

-bobk

_________________
Snapshots:http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10210 a Love Story


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 163 - 01/01/14
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:39 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Kajun - Your thought process about the platform is just like mine. There had to be a real reason for it, but no one cared. Also, I - as you have seen - loathe the word 'ritual' for this. It's not a ritual. No one did it before. No one had any reason to even think about it. No one planned it out. It's just her doing stuff... Maybe not the 'literal' version of the word, but hey I stand by it. 'Ritual' makes it sound like something they could look up but HOW?

Glory's not really controlling the 'pace' of the opening so much as making sure it opens 'more' than a pinprick. This goes to something that Daddcatalso mentioned in the next post, but to be clear... One drop of Hope's blood would do the job. Just one. (In the right place at the right time.) But... what that gets her is a lot more waiting around. Since she doesn't care about her Key, she can use her up. I never figured why not just take ALL the blood right now (kind of bad for the drama!) but I think I could say that it'd be tougher to direct and control than drop by drop :)

Also, to be clear, the portal/rift or whatever is really just letting things through that happen to be there. Or - more accurately - that world is unfolding into this one so that anything that unfolds with it is just... well, here. And if they want to go - say - over there and chow down on a Wiccan then... they will. They're not really Glory allies as much as things that just recognise her for what she is. One of them.

Diana... no. Not that spell. Try again :)

No one planned on Hope needing Willow, but you're right :) Funny thing is, after making Tara take her along because it would be inconvenient to me not to, I then had to have Tara ditch her because it would be inconvenient to then take her on the next bit of this... So, Hope LOL.

Thanks so much and next part coming up very shortly. Also... I am VERY close to the final edit of the final parts... Will be done with all work on this by the end of this weekend...

SIGH. Another story done...

Thanks

Daddycatalso - Thanks to you too. See above for some clarification I don't mind sharing. Maybe should've been clearer in the text! LOL

IN addition though... Hope's blood opens a pinprick to start and more blood opens more of a rift... However that pinprick would've been enough to eventually consume everything. And I am talking universes here. It would've taken a while (and I do explain it somewhere, just maybe not yet) but basically everything here just gets replaced with there. And as I hinted above, the critters aren't really 'allies' but then they recognise a God and would be wary of her power so... close enough :)

As for your question, colour me intrigued. It's been a long time, I don't actually know what you mean by KAM or the Beta but sure... post away unless there's a reason not to (in which case feel free to PM)

Thanks!

Katharyn

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 164 - 01/04/14
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:42 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter One Hundred and Sixty-Four
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: Tara frees Hope and they move back down the tower…
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: There’s a tip of a hat to – at least I think it is – one of the Lethal Weapon films here. Something about a toilet blowing up, as I recall. Anyway… No toilets here, but still a tip. Back before Mel Gibson went insane.
As before we’re still moving back and forth between Tara and Hope though that will become less necessary.
Oh, remember that Diana started a spell in the last part? No? Well, Diana started a spell in the last part. Hold onto that…



Tara

How many valuable seconds had passed while she examined and gently pulled at the spikes that had been driven through Hope’s wrist and forearm?

Thirty? A whole minute? They had to get out of here but she couldn’t bear -

“Tara, all you’re doing is hurting me,” Hope said through a grimace. She’d thought she was being gentle, anyway.

And the blood was still flowing. With the portal open, how much did that matter? Like she could leave Hope like this a moment longer than she had to.

“I’m sorry, honey – but I said - ”

“I know, there’s no easy way so… Just do it. I can’t – I just can’t, but - ”

“You could get hurt worse,” she said. That was what really worried her. Not that she had more than basic first aid training, but it seemed plausible. The hollow spikes were designed to bleed (but hopefully not hold) Hope in place. But if there were barbs? Then they could rip and tear if she pulled on the arm.

But if they’d gone through major blood vessels? If there were those barbs she was worried about that could do the same thing? How did she deal with that?

Hope could easily die.

On the other hand… they all could.

“We’ve got to get out of here, right?” Hope asked, putting her finger on the real problem as she was beginning to look even paler.

Yes, they really did have to get out of here and as soon as possible. Willow, picking up Hope’s increased distress, hadn’t reacted by bolting and trying to hide; instead she was hugging the girl tightly again. Stroking her hair like a child would a big dog. Aping, mimicking what other people had done for her, but connecting that to ouchies.

Almost like she understood.

And maybe she did. Enough for this anyway. She was picking up the hurt and doing what she could about it. It was about as effective as she was being so, kudos.

“This is really going to hurt,” she said. Maybe worse than just hurt.

“Tara, trust me, it already really hurts,” Hope said through gritted teeth.

The good thing, if there was any good in this, was that there was no evidence that the spikes were barbed. She was worried about, inside the arm, but as much as she could see they hadn’t been designed to hold the arm in place; the enclosing band she’d pried away had done that.

Right?

Glory would never have anticipated the need. Right? Not in her moment of triumph and she’d expected to be here, alongside Hope, even if the device hadn’t held her. So – in theory - they were left with just pointed, smooth, metal spikes. They should come out as cleanly as they’d gone in, without doing further damage.

Works in theory unencumbered by medical training.

“Tara, come on! I don’t know how long I can - ”

“This isn’t the time to rush me,” she said, looking at the horrible wound.

Yes. It is.”

She’s right. I have to do this. There’s no one else.

“Okay. Okay. On three,” she said. “And as I soon as I pull it free we’re wrapping this around it.” She’d gotten Willow’s jacket. Not ideal, but her girlfriend wouldn’t keep it on anyway so it’d have to do as a makeshift bandage. Something to keep dirt out of there.

Not that Glory would’ve made sure the spikes were sterile anyway.

“Right…” She felt Hope tense, which probably wasn’t a good thing.

“Try to relax,” Tara said.

“Oh, sure, I’ll just chill out.” But apparently it did actually help, despite the sarcasm. “Do you mean three, two, one and then go. Or go on one? Three, two, go?”

“Three. Two.” Then as she said ‘two’ she pulled upwards, as perpendicular and with as much force as she could. Hope – obviously – screamed but bit it back as soon as the immediate shock was past, clutching her wounded arm to herself.

“You said on three!” the girl insisted, not giving her access to the arm as she clutched it to herself.

“Sorry, I just thought – look, let me see – let me see it.”

Shock and the momentary betrayal of her deception kept her young friend from doing as she was asked.

“Hope. Let me see it. We have to get it wrapped up.” As Hope surrendered it, she took a quick look at both sides, thankfully that it didn’t seem to have got any worse – horrifying as this was already – and then started to adjust the previous bandage, tightening it around the two holes that were – obviously – welling blood. But the arm had come away cleanly and relatively easily; for all that it had hurt. A lot.

No barbs. Thank goodness.

No spurting blood.

“That’s good enough,” Hope said, pulling one end with her teeth and the other with her free hand. “We need to go.”

“No,” Tara said, wrapping the jacket around it. Trying to tie it with the sleeves, but the fabric just wasn’t going to hold, she could tell. “Are those jeans going to stay up on their own?” Tara asked.

“Huh?”

“Your belt,” she explained.

“Oh – sure, I guess.”

It wasn’t the looks as much as the added awkwardness when they climbed down that she was worried about. One handed, with Willow distracting them that was going to be tough enough. She didn’t need her jeans slipping too.

She started undoing and removing Hope’s belt. “Just so you know, when your sister asks, this isn’t me trying to get into your pants.”

There was an unspoken article of faith there. One that said they’d all live long enough for Faith to rag on them for it.

“And I thought you loved me, uggn,” Hope managed despite the pain. The girl obviously guessed what she was going to do. Tara fashioned a sling for her, just by looping it around her neck and tightening it until it’d hold the arm in an upright position. Elevation, that would slow the bleeding. Right? That was what first aid told her.

It’d keep it immobile too; help it not to get jostled too much. That had to help avoid too much extra pain.

“Better?”

“Better. Let’s go.”

The urgency Hope was expressing matched her rising worry about the magic that – presumably – Diana had been working on. The thing was, it was fluctuating, rising and falling even if it was towards a purpose. The sensation was… strange. Surges of power; barely contained and then it slipped away as if it wasn’t going to do anything at all.

Maybe that was the woman they’d formerly known as a Goddess slipping in and out of consciousness?

And then… Then she knew what the spell was.

Not here – not while we’re up here! We’re in the wrong place!

“Come on!” While she’d been the hesitant one, knowing the trouble that was down there as well as being concerned for Hope, now she all but dragged both Willow and the girl down the ramp even though both complained in their own way. “Hurry!”

If they got to the ground, they’d be okay – as okay as they could be in the middle of a battle between dimensions – but up here they were in danger. From gravity, if nothing else.

Because she understood that ‘up here’ was about to become ‘down there’.

------------------

Hope

“What is it?” she asked Tara, grabbing Willow’s other hand with her good one, keeping her between the two of them. Seemed better that way, easier to keep her under control.

“We have to go, really, really fast,” Tara replied, still dragging both of them such was her haste.

Tara really didn’t need to worry about that. She was completely onboard with getting out of here, even if she didn’t know ‘why’ yet. But Willow wasn’t happy; Willow wasn’t happy at all and was fighting against them.

For once Tara wasn’t pausing to comfort her, not at all.

So it must be bad.

Bright side, I feel… This must be what being high feels like. Right?

Could be the blood loss, but most of it was relief.

Adrenaline. That must – Up there she’d been dying, she’d felt sure she had been, that the loss of blood must’ve –

But now, her heart was pounding and everything was brighter and –

Yeah, it had to be the adrenaline.

“Why” she asked as she almost ran into the back of Tara when her friend came to a sudden halt.

Shoddy workmonkship, she realised. The structure was shaking, no, it was lurching actually. Tara had almost run into a spot that had just collapsed and fallen away in front of them. If they’d been as quick as Tara would’ve liked to have been…

They’d have fallen. Maybe Willow had just saved them from a long fall with her struggles?

Sometimes this being Sunnydale didn’t suck ass quite as badly.

Says the girl with two holes in her wrist.

“Diana – she’s d-doing the Spell of Unmaking,” Tara gasped, pulling them in a new direction. No slowing down either.

“Isn’t that the spell that left you naked?” Hope asked.

She remembered Faith and the others coming over and borrowing her clothes – It’d been kind of memorable which was why her mind went there right away and – Oh…

“That’s not what I’m worried about,” Tara explained. “The structure – it’s steel, it’s not natural.”

Yeah.

No… This being Sunnydale still sucked ass.

Naked and dead in a squishy mess…

Great. Just great.

------------------

Tara

The final collapse of the platform started from the ground on up, closest to where Diana was lying. One side of the main superstructure supports simply unmade themselves. Steel was artificial, it didn’t exist in nature and – from what she thought was a safe distance – the two of them (plus Willow who wasn’t interested) watched first the rivets and then the very composition of the metal destroy itself from the inside out.

“Will it work?” Hope asked.

“If we all end up naked, it will have worked too well,” she gasped, out of breath.

“No, I mean - Will it stop the… thing? The portal – you know?”

“I don’t know, honey.”

Evidence suggested not. It wasn’t entirely natural, if anything it was very supernatural. But Slayers and witches hadn’t been dissolved by the spell last year. No, just left naked, embarrassed and victorious.

The portal was a connection between worlds or dimensions or something because the spell seemingly had no effect on it. But the structure that was collapsing must’ve meant something to Glory, or else why have it built? What Diana was aiming to achieve was a mystery…

Now just so long as the spell of unmaking didn’t get out of control. Last time around she’d had Willow to do nothing else but to try to control it. That was nearly a year ago and it’d still nearly gotten away from her. This time there was just Diana and she was hurt, barely conscious by the look of her.

Stronger and more experienced though. Hopefully that would count for something.

That witch had to believe it would achieve something, right? Or was it a last, reflexive reaction?

“Faith!” she cried out as the battle of the Slayers versus the Hell God threatened to intrude into the area already covered by the spell. “No! You’ll end up naked!”

She’d know what that meant, right? It wouldn’t even be her biggest problem if it happened but that wasn’t what the warning was really for. She needed to let the Slayers know what was happening – just in case it would do something to the Portal.

Or to Glory.

It looked like Faith understood too. She flirted with the edge of the spell – subtly visible as a disturbance in the air – and goaded Glory into coming at her. Through and into the spell…

If there was one thing Faith did well, it was goading. She could goad for her country.

While Willow wouldn’t thank her for looking at a – soon to be – naked Hell God, enquiring minds needed to know if there’d be any effect other than Glory being exposed without the benefit of a lab coat to cover up her modesty.

What actually happened shocked everyone who was watching.

First, yes, there was a long instant where Glory was stripped of her clothes which disintegrated. Of more interest was the brief instant in which there appeared to be two people there – not just one – only one of which was Glory. The other was… a man?

And then that was gone too – both of them, in fact. They merged, became one – larger – form.

She’s in her own universe… the spell of unmaking is in the other place too.

It’s unmaking what’s unnatural there…

Which is what’s natural here, in our world.


What they were left facing wasn’t entirely human by any means, even though it had the basic shape and – if human standards applied – it remained noticeably female. But of the skin, the hair and the undeniable beauty, there was no longer any sign.

And Buffy’s dibs on the shoes now meant nothing either. Those were long gone to component elements.

In the woman’s place… a vision of a Hell God that truly fitted the name. Yes, distinctly female – if not ‘feminine’ – but this was no woman. It was a creature, a monster and probably indicative of the dimension that was becoming a part of this one.

Superficially, you could see the connection to the creatures that had come through. A shared heritage in the same way that dogs were mammals right along with humans.
Glory tipped back her head and howled in appreciation of the return of the form she’d once known so well, with the semblance of humanity sloughed away and it’s place…

She was a living weapon.

Fingers tipped with long claws rather than perfectly manicured nails. Tendrils that resembled hair – not exactly coiffed - but twitched like the snakes of a medusa, each as if alive in its own right. Skin that instead of being smooth ran freely with ichor or was that supposed to be blood? Spurs on her elbows and knees and would easily serve as additional weapons. Eyes where the pupils were more slits than round and yet… you could see the eyes of the woman in there too. Unmistakably the same being.

And absolutely naked, though she seemed unconcerned with that and no one was going to be putting her up as a pin up.

No one from this side anyway.

“Ahhh! Free of that… meat.”

The voice was still kind of the same, but different too as if the voice box wasn’t designed for creating the same sounds as it had been.

A terrible vision.

The change didn’t cause Glory to hesitate at all. She walked over to the largely unconscious form of Diana, prompting weakened protest by Callisto who was batted aside like she was nothing. And the life of a woman who’d lived as a goddess herself was ended with a simple twist and a tug…

At once the magic effect of the spell of unmaking faded away before the spine severed. Both simply ceased to be.

Callisto’s mournful howl was matched by another, weaker one somewhere else… Jupiter was still alive then?

And they were part of Diana. Diana was part of them -

“Two witches down, one to go,” Glory said, striding towards her, Hope and Willow now.

Why is she so focused on witches?

Yeah, that’s the question that goes through my mind while she has my Goddess’ head in her hands?


“How’s it going, doughnut glazers,” Faith asked, casually stepping in between them and Glory just as the Hell God started towards them. “Oh, wow, Tara. What did you do? I mean, that’s is one, ugly bitch.”

“No argument there,” Buffy added, joining her. “And, really? Doughnut glazers? Do you think that’s appropriate?”

“Tara’s not bothered. Besides, you know how it works – I mean, you do know how it works, right, B?” Faith asked.

For all that they were entering into the – traditional – Slayer banter, they were both fixated on Glory. Like they were taking a long, deep breath before standing up to her again.

It wasn’t going to be harder and worse this time.

“Yeah, of course I know what you mean.”

“I had to wonder, Angel’s old school and probably didn’t get around to it and I’m not sure Eddie’s - ”

“Eddie’s just fine,” Buffy said. “But do you think – can we focus on that? Her – it? What are we calling it now?”

“Her,” Tara said, backing up with Willow. Hope was still holding Willow’s other hand and she knew what was good for her too.

Or maybe Glory was just coming for her Key? No, the portal was there, it was growing… Enemies weren’t quite ‘flooding’ through, but it wouldn’t be long… This was – still kind of – Sunnydale after all.

Well, not right here, this precise spot was now Sunnyhell. But those rules – at least - probably still applied.

Buffy nodded. “Her, well Faith, you’re lucky. She’s still got breasts so you can make good on your promise.”

Faith grinned. “Ding. Round two.”

The words were like the starting gun and once they were out there, with the Hell God snarling in rage at being mocked – and ignored – Faith launched herself at her and was the first of the two to reach the changed Glory. Buffy wasn’t far behind though but they really were fighting something different now.

You didn’t need to know a lot about fighting – and she didn’t – to see that this was a creature evolved to rule another world – another dimension – and adapted for that purpose. Protected in different ways, perhaps with different vulnerabilities they’d hope to discover but certainly with different strengths. Joints moved differently, further. Glory had never been stiff and immobile, but now she was moving in impossible ways. No yoga practitioner in history had ever been that flexible.

The first elbow that drove back into the upper body of one of the Slayers proved what they were up against, stabbing that spur into Buffy’s muscle and causing her to cry out. Not put off, she put all her effort into driving Glory backwards, working perfectly with Faith as the two swapped sides to allow her to protect that most recent wound a little more easily. Not a word or even a look was exchanged.

The ego and the combativeness was gone – or rather transferred to defeating Glory.

And that was just the start of it, because even though there were other battles raging around them – Olaf and Kassia in the lead on battling what was coming through the portal – this was quickly becoming the centrepiece. Even though she knew she should get Willow and Hope away from it (further away at least), she couldn’t take her eyes from what was happening and Hope didn’t seem keen to run either.

Then there was the fact; she needed to be nearby. Just in case.

There’ll only be a moment, maybe, to stop them…

Then there was the truth. If Faith or Buffy fell, let alone both of them, then it wouldn’t matter if she was right here or a mile away. Glory would come for them anyway.

She wanted the third witch out of the way.

All three of the warriors were grunting with the effort by now, this had been going on much longer than any fight she’d ever seen a Slayer get involved in. Longer, certainly, than when they’d pulled the factory down on Glory’s head. Luckily they’d only taken – seemingly – minor wounds in passing. The natural weaponry across Glory’s body making fighting her a very different prospect.

Despite those changed risks, Buffy and Faith were actually doing better than they had in the factory. Because the two Slayers were working together, properly.

But for all that they were doing well, staying alive and keeping Glory off balance. They weren’t wounding her, making her bleed or breaking anything. In fact, the next moment the Hell God was seemingly revitalised, made stronger. Her movements got faster and the next blow she landed against Faith sent the Slayer hurtling backwards into the pile of dust that represented what was left of the platform, reduced to its component materials. Degraded beyond even being flecks of rust.

She glanced over at Faith who was clutching her shoulder where she’d been struck and then getting to her feet, intent on charging back into it.

“My realm, my rules,” Glory hissed in triumph at Buffy. Or maybe to all of them. Maybe she just wanted to show off… That’d be like her.

It could be important though - she’d been handicapped before by being in their world? That wasn’t good news. But worse was what she’d said, the Hell Dimension was unfolding around them, taking over the space that this world occupied. And the physical laws seemingly came right over with her.

“Draw her out,” she shouted to them.

“Wow, T, ya think that’s what we should do?” Faith shouted back as she got to her feet. “Great fucking insight.”

“Just trying to help,” Tara told them apologetically.

Glory had been invincible in her own realm, that was why the other two Hell God’s were supposed to have exiled her, because even they couldn’t destroy her. So… being in that – growing – space where the Hell Dimension was unfurling into their world meant that Glory became invulnerable?

No… because Faith and Buffy were still fighting her, even though they were landing fewer punches and kicks and receiving rather more in return than they had been – fortunately dodged rather than landed.

But… they did have to get her out of that other place and back into their world. That was the entire crux of the plan to defeat her. Wasn’t it? The how wasn’t something she precisely understood. Nor the why. But it required belief and… not just theirs as they’d said back in the Magic Box.

That couldn’t happen in her place… right? It’d definitely be harder… Glory might even have truly Godlike powers over there. Impossible things that they couldn’t counter or fight. Maybe she just hadn’t gotten around to them. Probably out of practice after so long.

“Get Hope out of here,” Faith shouted to her as she got back into the fight.

Why? Where was safe? Nowhere… All they’d be doing was trading a little time. Glory had hunted them down before, so that wasn’t what they needed to do – much as they all wanted to keep Hope safe. She knew what needed to happen.

“Get her into our world,” she said. “Seriously…”

“Okay, but - ” Faith dodged. “The bitch is hitting harder now.”

And Glory could hear and understand them too.

Both Faith and Buffy were taking real punishment and you could almost see that Glory was gaining something from it. Growing, getting stronger. At one moment, with Buffy stunned by a devastating upwards punch to the chin that collapsed her like she was made of sand, it looked like it could all be – But Faith stepped in, deflected the follow up and undoubtedly saved her counterparts life, taking a punch herself for her trouble. Faith had the presence of mind to trip Glory as she went down. The more that they despaired the stronger it was…

Despair. That was what they needed. Just not theirs. And that couldn’t happen over there.

“Olaf!” The troll looked over to her from where he was pounding the skull of another of the miniature dragons. He was covered in blood – some of it his own – and… well, pieces and parts too. Some of them – some of them you wouldn’t have thought you could get to with a hammer. As for the hammer? Least said about that the better. How he kept a grip on it, she had no idea.

“Glory,” she said as he loped over, also weary from his efforts now. He and Kassia were necessarily leading the line against everything else and the succubus was a weary mess. No seduction for her… The horniest teenage boy would run a mile at the sheer sight of her. “We need Glory in this side.”

He looked then nodded, understanding what she wanted. “Now?”

“Give me a minute…”

-------------------------

As plans went, this had been thrown together in a matter of moments… Probably not a good thing, right? But what was that saying? Plans never survived contact with the enemy?

There’d been a lot of contact and their original one had definitely fallen by the wayside.

Everything was set though and they’d have exactly one chance at this. Maybe not even that. Faith and Buffy were each bleeding from five or six different – thankfully minor - wounds and with Olaf hanging back ready to help on her command that had left the others - Xander, Giles and co - fighting the remaining minions and creatures from the other side with the help of the nuns and some of the Wicca Group. Kassia was – there was no sign of her right now, she’d lost track of the Succubus just after summoning Olaf.

There were a lot less defenders than she remembered there being when they started…

That wasn’t going too well either. People were really getting hurt – or worse. Maybe they already had. Some people had actually died.

But they were fighting to stop it being everyone.

“Now…” she said to herself but no one else.

She was holding Hope and Willow’s hands as she stood there, but mentally she’d linked herself to the circle. Even though Diana was gone, the Wicca Group members were far enough out that they didn’t have to worry too much about what was emerging from the portal.

Yet.

That meant the circle was still intact and because of that she’d been able to communicate her wishes to them – mostly. It wasn’t exactly like having a conversation, but she thought they got the idea. If any of them would’ve balked at the notion of what they were about to attempt then the vision of Hell, unfurling into their world must’ve put paid to it.

This wasn’t good magic, no… not at all. Not that it was black either. No, you could use the spell for good things too; it was all about the intent.

The intent was good, but the practice was… bad.

She’d worry about the ethics later… “Now,” she repeated.

At her command – the instruction emphasised by the whole Wicca group, running around the circle and all those inside it - everyone who wasn’t in a fight to the death turned on Glory at the same exact time. Bolts and arrows that had been held back were loosed on the twisting, dodging visage of the ruler of the new dimension. Rather than catching or deflecting them all, some struck and one or two sank into the armoured flesh.

Sure, they were inconveniences rather than mortal wounds, apparently in that dimension Glory could be wounded, if not killed. Which probably meant that Olaf’s next action was going to be rather more than merely an inconvenience.

Not a fatal blow, but almost certainly effective. Right?

Blindsiding Glory, Olaf spun most of the way around a swung his hammer like an Olympic competitor but at head height. Glory whipped her head around just as it was about to strike and so it took her full in the face, throwing her backwards in defiance of the physical laws of either dimension.

But importantly throwing her back into their world.

The massed attack continued then with Olaf landing three more blows with the hammer, including one more to the head, and Buffy and Faith weighing in while more arrows flew in. The danger of accidentally hitting one of the Slayers must’ve been significant, but – miraculously – it didn’t happen.

And that was when the Wicca Group flexed its collective muscle. Willow might’ve been better at this, but she could feel her lover’s strength was added to the mix simply because she was holding Willow’s hand and she had innate ability and power. They were drawing on her strength too, a kind of violation of ethics but she knew she’d never have kept Willow out of this if she’d been herself.

More to the point, this wasn’t the time to let her go and break physical contact.

The collective will of the group flowed through her and – eyes fixed on the creature that had been Glory – she channelled their will into Glory.

Their strength. But her eyes on the target.

The magic was a simple spell, one that – usually – was used to promote calm and reduce tension. A development of the meditation they’d all practised at Diana’s bidding. But, twisted a little, it could – she knew – be used to enhance other emotions. Pleasure, for example. Some people thought it had been at the root of a few of the stories of debauchery that witches had sometimes been accused of.

You know, if you weren’t just assuming misogyny as the motive for those stories.

But this time it was nothing like that… This time what they were transmitting was pure despair.

Could it work? They knew that Glory could be affected by magic; they’d given themselves nosebleeds and splitting headaches to do just that. And Diana – a powerful witch – had deigned to fight her when no one else really would. With magic…

Glory even seemed to be more afraid of Witches than anything else.

This though?

This was every negative emotion that the members of the Wicca Group could muster. Which was considerable. They were trying to link it to Glory’s own doubt; there must’ve been some, that she could never get home. A black tide sweeping over her and she was having to lock herself away from it as much as she could – just being the conduit. Trying not to let it devastate her.

She maintained herself - separate from that mass – largely through her connection to Willow, to Hope and watching her friends risk their lives, otherwise it could’ve driven her – just as the conduit – to… well, anything.

Glory was a Hell God, queen of a dimension and inflictor of any number of terrible tortures over millions of years. There was more black on what passed for her soul than any mortal could ever have accumulated, but all the same this was enormous and it had to have been absolutely unexpected. Hitting, stabbing and crushing her head with a hammer wouldn’t do anything; she knew that she couldn’t be defeated that way.

But this was something different. All they needed was a flicker from her.

The attacks from Olaf and the Slayers continued while she continued to pour the negative emotions into Glory. If she realised what was being done, she gave no sign but then there was a moment, she saw it in what passed for a face after Olaf had smashed it and it was reforming...

Yes, it may have been just a flicker but it was there and it was all that was needed.

She wasn’t only one to detect it either, because Faith gave a cry of triumph.

That was what they’d needed.

But why?

And now what?

****************

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 164 - 01/04/14
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:24 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
And I have just completed the final part's redraft...

All done after 676 days of doing something nearly every day...

Katharyn

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 164 - 01/04/14
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:52 pm 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2000 4:01 pm
Posts: 1154
Topics: 1
Katharyn, You big meanie. You murdered Diana. I had a feeling she was doomed from the start but I held out hope --Silly me. What will happen with the dogs now that their beloved mistress is gone? I think Faith would be perfectly suited to take care of them. I love Game of Thrones but let’s not match, or break, their death toll record. Save the doggies, please!

So a spell created Glory’s “meat” which allowed her to hide in plain sight. Was that some strange form of punishment along with being banished? Hmmm.. I’ve been very bad and am ready to take my long over-due punishment.. LOL

If the Hell-creatures got a whiff of despair, or weakness as they would see it, coming from one of their own, they’d turn on her. That’s what I’d like to see happen.. which means that’s probably not what will happen. LOL Glory still has something of Willow’s that needs returned! And that makes me wonder about all the people she brain sucked over the thousands of years she’s been here. Wouldn’t they be spiritual “prisoners” in her head, thus preventing their souls from moving into the afterlife once their physical bodies perished? Basically, she would be usurping Hades authority. That woman (thing) has done a lot of damage but the real culprits are the two idiots she ruled alongside coz they are solely responsible for her presence in our dimension. All three need to be put down.

It didn’t escape my notice that Tara referred to Diana as her Goddess. She sacrificed everything to save humanity.. I say the title was earned. Now I must go mourn.. :cry

But first.. Go Faith!!! Needed to end on a happy note. :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 164 - 01/04/14
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:45 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Kajun - Deathcount in this story... Waaaay low. And I don't even count Spike anymore because he HAS to die. Always.

The future of the dogs will be addressed. Perhaps unexpectedly...

For me it just stood to reason that Glory wouldn't look like that when she was in her own universe. However I suspect that she might've given herself form (since I have glossed over the whole Ben thing) when she came here. I think she's spent a few thousand years revelling in what she created... In every way :)

The despair serves a slightly different purpose, as you will see... One that makes more sense in the wider plan (I mean since no one knew the hell creatures would come over). More than that I will not say yet... but you will get it very quickly if not in the next part.

I had no idea you were so attached to Diana! I mean, I ignored her (in favour of other plot points) for a long time!! Sorry!

Oh, and the story will end in a positive place.

Really.

Just... getting there is slightly convoluted.

Thanks!

Katharyn

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 165 - 01/06/14
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 9:02 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter One Hundred and Sixty-Five
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: The continuing confrontation with Glory. Two plot threads resolved and at least one more opened up.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: Now that Tara and Hope are together, there’s no need to switch between them anymore.
And so – finally – I spell out the actual ‘plan’ such as it was. We had teased it, suggested it and worked towards it for a long time but it was never really explicit. However there’s something else you should be wondering about as a result of this…
I suspect some of you might think that the two key events in this part pass by quite quickly, but one – the characters involved aren’t waiting around – and two, look at the canon. The counterparts to those events also happen really, really quickly in an episode.
So yes, it’s quite a short part, but I hope you will see why it needs to end in the place that it does. Because – basically – this should be a WTF moment. And I like – if possible – to leave you on WTF moments…  I could’ve made it even shorter and left it in a happy place, but nah… WTF is waaay better.
Oh, and we’re only about half way through the finale… So what else is there?
Thanks to: All of you for having the patience and dedication to be here for so long… The end really is in sight now. Kind of. Coming over the horizon anyway.




One moment.

How short was it?

How little time could it really be?

She didn’t, honestly know.

Willow would’ve probably told her that a ‘moment’ was ill-defined and not very scientific. That was fine, what they were dealing with wasn’t very scientific either and she’d give anything to hear Willow say so again.

To say anything, really.

So one, ill-defined and not very scientific, moment.

It was all that had been needed. All that – actually – they’d gotten.

For that one moment, caught in the world that had been her prison for so long, beaten by three supernatural forces and with negative emotions and despair being poured into her by dozens of would-be witches and one real one…

For that one single moment Glory finally questioned the inevitability of her victory.

And, most likely, when she wondered about that the only possible alternative she could consider – possibly preferable to wandering the Earth for eternity unable to get cute shoes for her spurred feet - was…

Death.

Maybe she’d never considered that before, it was perfectly possible that she hadn’t. After all, did an immortal Goddess – even one from Hell – think about her own mortality? Surely not, wasn’t it a contradiction in terms? But now that Glory had given into it – even if just for that one moment - she’d become like all of them in one very real respect.

Within that short period of time, no matter how fleeting it was – perhaps it was that despair that drove Glory to throw off her attackers and violently – the Goddess from the other place believed in the possibility of death.

Her own death.

And when she did that – in this side, this world – there were rules.

When she did that she became subject to the power of Hades.

Just like everyone else here. Which was why it was important Olaf had whacked her into their world again, because on the other side Hades had no hold over her whatsoever.

Even on their side she wasn’t entirely sure how it was supposed to work now. She’d half expected an appearance by Hades himself, but evidently that wasn’t the deal that had been struck.

No, it was Faith… She was different after realising – sensing – the moment of Glory’s weakness.

While the enraged, despair filled, Hell God threw off both Buffy and Olaf so they landed on their backs, Faith landed…

Changed.

She was – catlike – already on her feet, focus absolute as she turned back towards their tormentor.

“And that’s all I needed,” Faith said.

She even sounded somehow different… What was she? Possessed? No, she’d have been able to see that. But there was definitely something. Hope saw it, so did Willow – in her own way. Like when she’d tried to stare down Miss Kitty, her girl was backing away and trying to make herself smaller. Less noticeable by the suddenly changed Slayer.

Not that Faith was looking anywhere but at Glory.

“Faith?” she asked carefully, wary of what – exactly – had changed in her friend.

Because… this wasn’t the girl who’d come down here to save her sister. Not entirely. Not anymore.

This was… This was the girl who’d come down here to kill a Goddess.

She’s full of death.

Tara wasn’t even sure where that thought came from, but it scared her all the same. Faith scared her like this and she hadn’t even done anything yet… Stood there. Poised. Ready.

Said a few words that didn’t even qualify as a quip on the Sunnydale scale.

And yet…

Glory saw the difference too, perhaps even more sensitive to it and if there had been that one moment earlier that had given Hades purchase over her, now there was another and another… The doubt grew, Glory recognised that Faith was different to all of the rest of them.

Maybe Glory understood what had happened. Maybe not.

Faith sounded, looked and – as Tara reached to brush her friend’s hand to attract her attention – even felt somehow different to the touch.

Both more – and less – real… that was the only way she could think to put it.

The Hell God’s doubt, it was still there and it wasn’t going away in the face of this. Glory saw the difference but Faith didn’t even wait for Buffy and Olaf to recover to their feet. She was reenergised, in control of herself and walked forward purposefully. Towards her…

What? What was Glory now? The way she was moving it was almost like the Goddess was –

Her prey?

Glory swung at her and Faith didn’t even bother to try and dodge it. No, she caught the pile-driver blow in her own hand and – holding onto it – and then backhanded Glory across the face, knocking her on her ass.

Suddenly things were that simple.

Alien - yet too familiar - eyes filled with shock stared up at Faith as she stood over the Hell God. Olaf had knocked Glory on her ass, sure, but he was a troll and he’d swung a mighty hammer that may or may not have been an unnecessary penis metaphor – certainly when Xander and Anya were around - but…

This was one girl. A Slayer, sure, but just one little human and simply a backhand…

Glory wasn’t down, just on her ass. She wasn’t defeated, just undignified. But suddenly she was facing an equal. Maybe more than an equal. Her doubt had opened another possibility and after that, the doubt only grew and flourished.

Suddenly their victory didn’t seem a remote thing, it seemed a likelihood.

Which let her hope flourish. Tara set aside her disquiet at how their victory might materialise – using that spell to pour emotion into the alien goddess – to instead try to think about that other thing she needed to focus on.

If Faith remembered…

She has to remember.

-----------------------

The brutality was on the other foot now. Not just a foot either. Both feet. Hands, elbows, forehead and a nasty looking piece of jagged metal that had fallen outside the sphere of the spell that had unmade the platform.

And it was all Faith. Even Buffy and Olaf were pretty much spectators at this point, limited to occasionally pushing a staggering Glory back into Faith’s path. Refusing to allow her to make her way back into what was now her world. Keeping her here, in theirs. Olaf even whacked her, running at full pelt, to knock her back here.

Keeping her with them.

Faith was taking Glory apart, or would’ve been if the Hell God did come apart like any normal person, Slayer or even troll would’ve done under such punishment.

But she didn’t fall apart – Glory kept trying but – unquestionably - she was… losing. There’d be no split decision in this, not if it continued the same way.

For all Glory’s speed, Faith was suddenly faster. Impossibly faster. As in taking a single step and suddenly being behind her target.

For all Glory’s strength, Faith was at least as strong and she hadn’t been hit once since that moment when the Hell God realised that she might, indeed, have to face death.

At one point, she was pretty sure that Faith was about to rip Glory’s arm clean off. If she had, what would she have done with it then?

Beat her to death with it? Seemed likely. It might be the only chance Faith had to make good on a much threatened promise.

Only chance? They could only hope… because none of them knew – not for sure – how Faith had gotten like this.

Nor how long she would be. Maybe this was a time limited deal. Maybe it would fade.

Maybe we have to hope it will.

And Faith – like Buffy and even Olaf – was a better fighter than Glory. Now it was just an uneven match in a different direction. Now Faith had the skill, the speed and the strength. She didn’t doubt that, even if Glory had been capable of hitting her after all this, Faith could’ve taken one of her punches in her stride.

But none of them landed.

What had Hades done to her? Superficially it was obvious, you just had to watch. But deep down? At the core? What deal had actually been struck to make this happen?

It was one thing to expose Glory to his power but -

What had he made Faith into? Because it wasn’t as simple as supposing she was simply an uber-Slayer.

No, there was… something else. Something deeper. Something… older.

But for now, Faith didn’t care.

Miss Lehane had always had a swagger, occasionally it was beaten out of her but now it was restored. Faster. Better. Stronger than her enemy? That was just the natural order of things. That was the way things were supposed to be for Faith -

Except it wasn’t natural at all, was it? This wasn’t quite Faith… this was the deal that she’d made. One look at Hope and she could see that the younger sister saw it too.

Hope was worried about it too.

Perhaps for the price of delivering a God who’d torn down so many of his brethren, Faith had been gifted with the strength and the fortitude to take Glory apart? Was that it? Was that all it was?

Simply a gift?

No. This was Sunnydale… nothing worked like that. Hades wasn’t their friend… No one had mentioned a freebie and – distracted as Faith had been after the induced sleep that Diana had led her to him – she just knew there was some kind of price.

One that Faith was uneasy about.

What kind of price did the Lord of the Underworld exact for… this? It’d required Glory to believe in her own mortality, even just for a split second, but once she had…

It was a spectacle. It was as uneven and one sided as it would’ve been had they made it to the factory when Buffy was all on her own fighting Glory and had gotten herself smacked around. When only Slayer fortitude had kept her from being beaten to death like any normal person would’ve been.

This was like that, but with Faith very much in charge.

And pretty much everyone had gotten closer to watch. Sure, there were still some battles going on elsewhere but everyone – and everything – that was aware of this face-off had slowed down and settled to watch for the outcome.

Likely nothing from Glory’s side of the portal would want to take on Faith if their Goddess lost… which was looking a formality.

That’s for all the mentalists you’ve left lying around,” Faith said, kicking Glory so hard in the face that teeth – if not the whole of her jaw – should’ve detached and gone flying.

That’s for Red,” she said next, grinding Glory’s face into the concrete – by now assured that her strength was more than up to holding her there. The swagger was growing as Faith discovered the limits of her new power.

Much as Glory struggled, there was nothing she could do. This was their world and here Hades had the ultimate power over death. Power that Faith – apparently – was wielding on his behalf.

Once Glory had come to believe in that… she was subject to that power. That had been the plan and… it was working. Just in a way that they’d never expected. All Faith had to do was keep her in this side of the expanding rift.

Something, despite the anger, she was certain Faith was mindful of. More than once she’d stopped Glory’s efforts to get back into her own realm and Buffy and Olaf were there, just in case.

‘My realm, my rules’ indeed.

“And that’s for my sister,” Faith said, thrusting the jagged, four foot piece of steel through the Hell God’s ichor covered skin and driving it down so far it must’ve been stuck into the concrete too.

What in the worlds is she?

She could see that Buffy was asking herself the same question, Giles too. She and Hope weren’t the only ones who were worried.

The obvious answer? The important one for right now, Faith was their saviour. Because up to this point? No one had been able to stand against Glory without magic to get them out of trouble. And getting out of trouble was about the best that they’d done even with their best spells.

Only that despair spell had really, truly hurt Glory in any way. It had helped make this possible. Glory might’ve been right to fear magic before, but it’d done very little to her. At least at their hands. Now…?

Now she was in real, genuine fear of Faith.

No. She was in fear of death.

“You’re going to die, bitch,” Faith whispered into the spot where there should’ve been an ear if she hadn’t already torn it away. “Believe it.”

Glory managed little more than a groan, trying to lever herself off the spike which was somewhere between difficult and impossible while Faith’s foot was holding her down.

“T - ” Faith said, “Do your thing. She’s not going anywhere.”

Just at the same time as she was about to remind her of their other priority. Faith just knew and… she seemed a little more like the girl whow as her friend and a little less like Hades’ hand in that moment.

Just another moment.

It was time; it had to be now, right? But… getting in touching distance of Glory was something she hstill ad to be wary of. On the other hand this wasn’t going to wait forever. This might be her only chance before Faith ended the Hell God. Just as she’d promised to do.

Tugging Willow behind her, she went over to where the fallen God was struggling against the spike, trying to pull or push herself off it. Faith stamped on her ass, shoving it back down and making her cry out in genuine pain. Something – not even blood – was leaking from the side of her mouth. “You, stay put. Do it, Tara. Get your girl back.”

Just touching Glory was… pain. She jerked her hand back, the ichor felt like it was burning her skin but there was no mark there despite how much it hurt.

“It’s okay, baby,” she said, gently pushing her fingers through Willow’s hair while she tapped into the strength that was offered to her through the Wiccan circle. That calm, that familiar comfort was what she’d need right now. She needed her thoughts to be clear.

Then she took a fistful of Glory’s ‘hair’ in her hand. It writhed as she pressed her fingers firmly against the skull. They burned, yes, but when Willow jerked and she felt every member of the Wicca Group jerk in the same way, she knew the connection had been made.

To an alien mind, one filled with the despair they’d put there. The despair of losing her life.

It was a swamp in there, evil and festering…

Dark.

Finding Willow in the chaotic mind full of thousands – maybe even millions – of years of memories was easier than it would’ve been to pull out any other individual. It shone like a beacon in the night sky. A distant but recognisable beacon.

Her woman, her love’s presence amidst countless others. Hundreds of thousands of them, driven to madness and imprisoned here in the will of an alien God.

But it was Willow, the true essence of Willow, that she connected to. It sought her out, the familiar in the chaos…

The ones inside Glory, most of them had been driven to madness inside her too – not just the bodies they’d left behind. Deprived of themselves, caught and trapped here. But for Willow it had hardly been any time at all. Not compared to all of the others.

And what about those others? She wondered – but they weren’t here. The crazies that had been in the fight, she didn’t know any of them. She couldn’t sort them out – it would be impossible to find them as she’d found Willow. Not in here…

Willow had been drawn to her, known her. Why would they come to her except to overwhelm her?

A tear ran down her face as she realised that she couldn’t help any of them except the woman she loved. But she could help Willow. That was what she could do. For them. For all of them.

Some of them had been there so long their bodies were long since dust. Their sense of self – still clear in Willow – eroded to point that they were simply a mass.

How long it took, she had no idea. But there was less urgency than she could ever have hoped for. Only her own, the need to get Willow – and herself – out of that alien place, that mini-Hell. But Faith didn’t complain or force the pace, just held the Hell God down and waited for her and Willow to do what they needed to.

They eased and comforted each other, within the shared mind. Willow sheltered her from the worst of it and she showed the crucial part of the woman she loved how to extricate herself. How to come back to them. Freed Willow from her bondage and… gently slid back into her own self.

Next to her, Willow caught her breath.

Once. Twice. Opened her eyes and they focused.

They saw her, they really saw her.

“Tara?”

--------------------

Willow

Later, she’d describe it to the others ‘as if the fog lifted and I could think clearly again.’

That… wasn’t really the truth of it. That was just the best way she could think to put it for her friend’s benefit, the way that best explained what had happened but didn’t come close to touching the truth.

It wasn’t like that. It had been beyond words. More… just a feeling. Aware but not conscious. There but beyond confused.

It hadn’t been like being in prison because there’d been no concept of time or constraint. No memory of what had changed or what was missing. No…

It was impossible to describe because description required comparison and understanding. Neither of which she’d had then or after.

All that she’d known, all the time, was… Tara. The absence of Tara. The certainty of Tara.

“Tara?”

There were tears in her lover’s eyes. I hurt her. I made her cry. And went and did something silly and something bad happened and I hurt her.

Brushing at the tears, she kissed her girl, touching her face and finding her hand covered with a protective cast that was… everyone had written on it. Everyone but Tara, she noticed later.

One thing her girl couldn’t do for me.

“Baby,” she said, still touching, still pressing her fingers to Tara’s face. Her lips. “Talk to me.”

“It’s really you,” Tara breathed, accepting the kisses and returning them breathlessly. Wiping at her tears, the ones that Willow didn’t kiss away, finding them salty and warm.

“It’s me, I’m sorry – I’m so sorry - ”

“No!” Tara said firmly. “You’re here, you’re back.” She pushed at the stricken form of the Hell God lying beside her, still moving on the spike, trying to escape it. “You’re back.”

“I’m back,” she promised and realised she was close to tears as well. Tara crying… it always did that to her.

“Are you – are you okay?”

“What she means, Red,” Faith said, “is that we have to go. Can you move?”

Tara nodded, perhaps not appreciating the intervention but agreeing with the thrust of it.

“But – that’s Glory?” She’d looked better.

“What’s left of her,” Faith said. “On your feet.”

“But – we’ve won?”

Faith didn’t seem to agree and neither did Glory who – in spite of her predicament – laughed. It was a different, terrible sound. It was a super-villain laugh; she had that just about down even though she wasn’t human any more. A super-villain laugh through blood and injuries and pain but – still.

“We’ve won nothing,” Faith said. Looking nowhere but at the pinned Goddess.

“The portal – the other dimension, it’s unfolding into ours. It’s getting bigger,” Hope explained.

“Oh – Honey, what happened to your arm?” she asked the girl.

“Bitch tried to bleed me to death – opened up a portal… it’s no big deal.”

It looked like a big deal. Hope looked like she was about to collapse and she was so pale. But what they were saying about the portal…

Looking around, she could see that the ground just beyond them… no longer what it had been. Rougher, with no trace of the asphalt that they should’ve… The other dimension was unfolding over theirs? Rock formations – rocks no geologist had ever seen – instead of car park spaces.

“But that will take forever,” she said. To consume an expanding universe?

“It’s getting faster,” Tara told her. “But… once this world is consumed, I don’t think we’ll care. And if it covers us before we deal with her then – she’ll be in control again. Goddess of her own place.”

She didn’t pretend to understand it all, but – she trusted them to know what to worry about.

Buffy dashed over just at that point. Looked into her eyes. “Is that…? Will?”

“I’m back,” she said, waving and then realising just how heavy the cast on her hand was. And how much it hurt when she tried to wiggle her fingers that way and – it itched!

“Great… umm, guys… Well done with her and Glory and all but - you know that big thing that was roaring?” Buffy asked.

“Yeah?”

“I think part of it’s stuck in the portal… It’s trying to get through.”

They all looked up. Yup, there was certainly something stuck in there.

“Oh…” Willow said. “I’ve been out of the loop for a little while, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s not good. Right?”

“It and its brethren will yet be your doom,” Glory coughed, spitting blood as she tried to laugh. It hissed faintly against the asphalt, burning into it.

“Shut up,” Faith said, reached down and ripped Glory’s head clean off with barely any effort at all.

***********************

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 165 - 01/06/14
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:04 pm 
Offline
3. Flaming O
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:32 am
Posts: 75
Topics: 1
Location: North Carolina
Yeah update!
They won the battle (well Faith did) but are still losing the war with the portal continuing to open, a giant...something...trying to come through and all of the fighters exhausted for the most part. Glad Glory is gone in such a fitting manner and very happy read Willow is back to full mental capacity. I get the feeling she is going to be vital to figuring out how to get the portal closed.
I'm curious now as to what Faith promised Hades to get that kind of power. Her soul already, arguably, belongs to him after death so what could Hades want beyond getting the hell god's "soul" as well to put Faith in the position she is in to win the battle. I look forward to the rest of the finale.
I just started comprehensive exams, my last step before beginning my dissertation, so I'll look forward to the mental break.
-H.

_________________
Sometimes it feels like we are running headlong through the woods on a dark cloudy night from monsters we can't see towards a destination we don't know.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 165 - 01/06/14
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:23 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Hi, loislane :)

It wasn't just Faith who won the battle, they all had their part to play in making Glory believe that she could lose - if only for a moment. Course, them that rips the head off gets the credit :)

What Hades and Faith have going on forms the basis of later parts of the story so your curiosity is appreciated!

Good luck with the exams!

Thanks
Katharyn

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 165 - 01/06/14
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:55 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2000 4:01 pm
Posts: 1154
Topics: 1
Katharyn, AWESOME. Do I really need to say more? I will anyway. :D

I see what you did there. Once Glory had belief in death, Hades had power over her. Now the question, among many I have LOL, is: Did Hades possess Faith? If that is the case, I can see why the Slayer was uncomfortable and didn’t want to talk about it. She’s not one to let someone “in” and possession would be the ultimate, literal sense of the concept. Obviously, he didn’t completely take over her body/mind since she got in a few hits specifically as retribution and knew to hold off the kill so that Tara could do her thing. So.. how exactly did she acquire the Uber-Powers and what price will she pay for that, if she hasn’t already paid before the fight began? Yikes!

Glory was focused on killing the witches. I’m thinking a witch told her how to open portal so she would believe a witch would know how to close it. That leads me to a wonderful, and finally restored, red-head. What was happening with her while held prisoner in Glory’s mind? Was she just hanging out, unaware of her situation, or was she able to use the “facilities” to launch an investigation into Glory’s entire being searching for a way to defeat her? Like that movie, “Scanners” only from the inside of the brain. Anyhoo.. I hope Willow, whether it’s thru intel gathered during captivity, or just coz she’s highly intelligent, is the one to figure out how to close the portal. Really though, I’ll accept the solution coming from anyone at this point.. as long it gets done!!

On a positive note, the thing stuck in the portal is, hopefully, preventing other things from passing thru. For now..

And yes, it all makes sense now.. AWESOME :grin :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 165 - 01/06/14
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:42 pm 
Offline
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1120
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
I like very much that you've rpestented Glory's natural form as female. (ALthough a couple friends on another board pointed out it was obvious ebcause of her shoe fanaticism:-).) (ducks and looks around for thrown objects)

I like Glory being shown as definitely dead in herself, a move up from canon. (although the thing with the portal rmeinds me too much of a portal I plan to have Willow close in my own long fic.)

_________________
Snapshots:http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10210 a Love Story


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 165 - 01/06/14
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:11 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Kajun - Pleased that you liked it. I mean, I've spent MONTHS building to that. Lets face it, what comes next you're less bothered about (I am!) at least until we get to the stuff not even covered in canon. So what I am saying is I knew it had to be... big. Hence the rewrite... I didn't want 'Faith does a Buffy' for all sorts of reasons. This needed to be something else...

And that meant I needed Hades. And I needed him to have power over Glory. Sometimes things just come to me and... like the original sidestep, this all just became clear and only needed to be writtten! (Again...)

Glory also had to be in THIS world for it to work, for Hades to have power (BTW).

We will get to understand what happened with Faith there... don't worry. All will be explained!

Glory's focus on Witches was a) cos of who the girls are and b) because they were basically the only people who ever successfully opposed her (even in canon)...

Scanners from the inside? Oof. Been a while since I saw that but still,... oof. LOL

Oh, the thing stuck in the portal? There's stuff coming between it's legs (I mean in the gap!) So it's not jammed in there like a cork... LOL

So pleased that it all came together for you! This is why I couldn't say more. I wanted this moment for you :)

Thanks!

Daddycatalso - Thank you. I like to think that only the MOST fabulous drag queens would be able to pull off that Glory outfit better than a woman/female. You random, third-sex Hell God really wouldn't have a clue how to even walk in heels, or wear the dress... LOL No question about who Glory was LOL :D

Honestly, without checking, I am not entirely sure what happened to Glory in canon. It feels to me (and I didn't see much different when I was looking at the scripts for this) that she kinda sorta... umm... just went missing? Or did I miss something? If you're going to have a villain... she needs to die. And well. I like to think that I'm two for two on the 'better deaths for villains' stakes in this story... First Adam and now her... Oh. And that nameless character I - cough - dismembered. Three for three! If nothing else worked, I will hold up those three to scrutiny :)

Thanks again...

Katharyn

PS... suspect some of you may not be very happy with me at the end of the next part which is coming right up...

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 166 - 01/08/14
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:14 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter One Hundred and Sixty-Six
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: The final part of this story that covers (or mirrors) canon events, this takes us to the end of S5 and… in new directions for what I am calling ‘the epilogue’ that follows.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: All sorts of fun notes this time…
For a long time now I’ve harboured my hopes to write a story that would’ve seen Tara and Willow come up against Dragons on the other side of the Hellmouth. Well, dragon type creatures anyway. They were going to be the ‘bad guys’ of Sidestep 3 but ultimately weren’t. They were going to have their own story but… nah. So here they are, included here just because there’s definitely something badass on the other side of that portal (and big). Also we’ve never seen Dragons in BTVS so far as I recall… (at least not in seasons I admit the existence of.) Also, it’s a good reference point. You all, basically, know what a dragon looks like without me having to get into it too much. Some of you may even have dated one  J/K.
And then there’s the blood thing… I’ve mentioned my opposition to the S5 logic for Buffy sacrificing herself many times. But while I was redrafting this part it just came into even sharper focus. There is NO way that what she did should’ve worked apart from making a good (potential) end to the show (at the time no one was sure it would come back as the network dropped it). Logically the sacrifice makes no sense at all. Here… we get into that a little, not too much because the circumstances don’t really lend themselves to deep analysis but… please, explain why I’m wrong if I am? Then ignore that and go with this version of events – which has its own logic.
This – for obvious reasons – is pretty much the end of the canon parallel for this story. But there’s still plenty more to come as we close out the finale and then get to the epilogue… Another ten or so chapters.
Thanks to: I am not going to comment here because… well, thanking certain people for what they did would make it obvious what was about to happen…
Previously on Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda: You will remember Faith just ripped Glory’s head of. Yeah… remember that time?




“Umm…” was about all Willow could manage. And it wasn’t anything to do with her return to being all mental systems go.

So, yeah. Tara was right there with her girl on that one. ‘Umm’ was the word. In fact, she’d have let it go on for a little while. ‘Ummmm?’

She’d not expected that. No one had expected that.

Willow looked a little uncertain at what had just happened, what with Faith ripping the head off an immortal, indestructible Hell God and all. One that had beaten the crap out of her and Buffy before.

Not really supposed to be possible.

Yup, she was right there with Willow. Even though she thought she had a better idea about how it had happened than her girlfriend could have.

And then Faith tossed the head up into the waiting, straining maw of the giant creature that was looming above them. Trying to get through into their world to do the same to all of them…

Give it too long and it wouldn’t have to try, it’d just be here.

But Glory was gone…

“You’ve been out of it a while, Red,” Faith explained, mistaking the cause of Willows confusion and ignoring the rest of their responses. After all, they were all pretty similar. “I know, I did say I was going to rip her tits off, but this just seemed better. More – final. And like you said, we have other problems.” She brushed her hands off. Like it was the muss that was the fuss.

Not decapitation. No. Not that.

Certainly not of a Hell God.

There was a moment then as Buffy, Willow and she looked at each other. Uncertain whether they should do something. But like what? And about what? They’d come here to defeat Glory and they – or rather Faith – just had.

Sure, they’d played their parts but…

Faith just ripped her head off.

So was there something to do something about? No? Well, not yet at least. Faith was right. They had bigger problems.

The creature or being or whatever that Glory had labelled their ‘doom’. The one that had sucked down her head without even realising it was there. Little more than something that might’ve got caught between its big, big teeth.

The one that loomed above them.

The one that was just one of many - perhaps not even the largest - on the other side of the rift that delineated the increasingly fragile line between two realities.

That bigger problem…

She was pretty sure that Glory had been speaking literally when she called it ‘doom’. It looked like doom. It looked doomy. While the whole other dimension might unfurl and replace theirs, in a giant act of shifting reality, the more immediate cause of their death would surely be one of the giant creatures that was trying to force its way through the space between the dimensions.

After all, where there was one there would surely be more. This one had just happened to be in the neighbourhood when Glory opened her portal and started to transition one world into replacing the other.

Olaf had already battled a couple of dragon-like creatures that had been something like a large elephant in size. But obviously they’d just been babies…

Because… here was mama. Or papa. Or… something.

Maybe they were just pygmy relatives or something. But the important thing was…

Here be dragons.

People used to write that on maps and… Sunnydale was about to prove it true.

Willow would later probably wonder whether there was any truth to the myths, whether those dragons of old had – in fact – come from the other side somehow? Perhaps with Glory? Well, there were two things about that – first, those myths never saw a creature like this. No king with a sword would ever sweep it through that neck which was the thickness of a large bus all on its own. Maybe one of the things Olaf had killed.

Maybe.

Second? They’d have to be alive to wonder about it… so, fine. If they lived, they could wonder. That’d be a good time to wonder about all sorts of things. Wondering and all sorts of ‘being alive’ things would be just great.

“We can’t fight that, can we?” Buffy asked, looking up at it and then at the weapons they had to hand.

“We’ll get smushed before you can swing a sword and what will that do?” Willow asked. She might recently be back from the other side of crazy, but she still had her talent for the obvious along with her beauty, warmth and smarts.

“Y’all nothing but a bunch of pussies,” Faith commented, eying the creature while Glory’s broken body oozed dark blood around her boots.

“Well, yeah. Cos…” Willow wasn’t afraid of the word. Actually she was pretty enamoured of it. That hadn’t changed either. Which was good to know, if they ever made it back to somewhere it would have time to matter.

“Oh yeah, I forgot,” Faith said. “It’s your second favourite thing.”

“Magic maybe?” Buffy suggested, looking to her for some hope of what they could do.

“I… I guess,” she had to admit it was the only thing they had in their arsenal that might have an effect on a scale massive enough to… I’m sorry, Yoda but… no.

It had to be the size of one of a 747. Bigger, possibly. Probably… Could it fly? Could it get itself off the ground? They couldn’t see all of it yet, the tear in reality – at least until the next pulse - was just too a little too small for all its struggles, but if it could fly then surely it would need magic to do so and…

Okay – maybe they could use that. If true it could mean that it was vulnerable to magic.

Or that it knew what it was doing when it came to spells.

Which could be bad.

Giant dragon was bad enough. Giant magic-slinging dragon? That was a whole other world of trouble.

So was it possibly intelligent? Stories would tell you, yes. Myths would usually portray it as a beast. Fact could be entirely different. This was an alien thing and maybe couldn’t be judged by their standards or what they thought they knew.

After all, if it could fly then maybe that was just the way physics worked in that other dimension and magic would just slide off it like rainwater…

“Or maybe not,” she hedged. “I don’t know.” They all looked at her. “What? I don’t know – We came for Glory and - ”

“And there the bitch is,” Faith said, kicking the Hell God’s headless body in some frustration. “Now…”

“Bright side - Could it really be worse?” Willow asked. “Bigger, sure, but worse? Glory was in charge of that dimension, right? So… she had to be the resident bad ass and we killed her.”

Faith coughed.

“Okay, you killed her, so… go do your thing.”

“Don’t - ” Buffy said quickly. “Nothing you have will be worse than a shaving cut to that thing,” Buffy said.

“How’d you know I shave, B?” Faith asked, almost absently though as if she was looking off at something else and not really invested in her own innuendo this time. “Take a look when we swapped, did ya?”

“Your legs,” Buffy explained. “What?”

Everyone backed off from that one.

There was an elephant in the room, a big hulking elephant. It was pink and it had - no, it was kind of black, actually. And – Faith shaped. Faith was the elephant in the room. They still didn’t know what she’d done to get the power to take out Glory and they didn’t know what it could do against that.

After all, Faith could – absently – take a swing at one of the cat-snakes and put it down with a single blow. But… that was a whole other level of… well, size mattered. Faith had been telling her for ages, but size really did matter this time. It didn’t matter what world you were in, surely the physics just wouldn’t add up?

Because no matter what Faith was now – what power she had – it was too much, too big.

And Hope needed her to be okay.

She needed her sister.

“We have to do something,” Tara said, wracking her brain for any other – definitely better - alternative. How many more pulses before it was able to force its way through?

What magic did she know that could affect… that? The Spell of Unmaking was about as powerful as she knew and only because Diana had given it to her – via Ethan. But it was natural so that was no use. Sure, there were also a couple of fire ball and icy spells but they weren’t even practical in combat against vampires… Let alone against that?

And Buffy was right about the shaving cut. The axe didn’t look like it’d penetrate the scales of the thing and the sword? Sharp it might be but… did it have an area of vulnerability, perhaps? It’d be a million to one shot, finding one. Even in Sunnydale where those things came off nine-times out of ten…

The sword was just too small… right?

It wouldn’t even work as a toothpick.

“Faith?”

Not waiting for a better idea, the Slayer was striding towards the centre of that other world. The portal. And ignored her…

That wasn’t good.

“Faith!” she yelled again and started after her.

The Slayer kept on moving, into the other realm now. Subject to its laws… but she could still hear them. That didn’t change. She was just choosing not to.

Her sister, picking up on what appeared to be happening, ran after her. Hope, clutching at her wounded arm, caught Faith up. She was only a few steps behind the sisters, but waved off Buffy and Willow from coming too close. Mostly because she was wary of the world they were entering into.

“What are you doing?” Hope asked, grabbing Faith again and this time turning her around.

“It was never just about Glory,” Faith said. “He knew that.”

Who knew that?”

Tara had a clue even if Hope didn’t… Hades. The being that had given Faith the power to kill an immortal. At least once that being was subject to his power.

In part that had been – if she was right – because Glory had been made to doubt that immortality and once she did then she was within his grasp and subject to the power of his agent here in the world.

Faith… was his agent. She had his power – or at least some of it. Glory had been the single most powerful thing anyone here had ever fought – and they’d fought a lot – but Faith, once empowered, had smacked the Hell God around and ultimately ripped her head off without even straining herself.

Gulp.

So Faith had made a deal with Hades and she’d gotten what she wanted. So… was there more to that? Why didn’t I insist on knowing what she was doing?

Was I just too afraid to ask?

Once I saw her – it seemed like we had to just keep going but why didn’t I stop, just for one minute and ask her?


But that led to other thoughts.

And what if she’d told me? Told me all of this – and the price to be paid? What would I have done then? What if it was the only way?

Is it the only way?

“I have to go,” Faith said, not looking at either of them. That was bad. That was really, really bad. Faith didn’t avoid eye contact. She wasn’t some puppy that hid after crapping on the carpet. She was the cat that owned the whole place and did what she liked. She was bold as anything. She’d brazen it out even if she’d done the wrong thing.

And she wasn’t talking about doing the wrong thing. Not at all.

It was the right thing she didn’t want to be stopped from doing.

“Where? You’re going in there after that thing? No way!” Hope was pretty adamant and Tara was right there with her in wanting to protest it but… she asked a question instead.

“What did you do?”

“I made a deal,” Faith said. “I told you that, T. Pay attention.”

“And is this the deal?” Hope was wrong. It wasn’t about going after the Dragon, not at all… That wasn’t what Hades had asked for. That was just what was happening now. Chance, perhaps.

Faith didn’t answer either of them. She had a question of her own. “Hey, either of you got a quarter?”

“A quarter – what?” There were no pay phones over here, she was pretty sure they hadn’t survived the imposition of that other world.

“Hurry, have you got one or not? Doesn’t have to be a quarter. Anything will do.”

“Yes, b-but - ”

A coin.

Faith needed a coin. Scrabbling in her pocket, she knew she had one somewhere, Daddy had always insisted she had change.

Wait. But why would - ?

Oh.

Oh, no.

No. And a thousand times no.

So she said it. “No. No way.”

“Hand it over, T, I have to go before that thing gets loose. The only way I can stop it is by going now.”

“What’s she talking about, Tara?” Hope demanded, pushing her sister, trying to get her to turn around again. To actually look at her. She was getting violent with it, realising some of what was happening even without getting it all. “What are you talking about?”

“She wants a coin to pay the ferryman,” she said softly mostly so Faith – maybe – would deny it.

But Faith didn’t.

“Bony ass, creepy guys aren’t worth gold. A quarter will do, so you got one or not?” Almost without volition, faced with that calm acceptance, Tara found herself reaching to hand it over.

Which, not unreasonably, set Hope off.

“No! Don’t give it to her – don’t let her do that! Fuck you both! Don’t you give that to her, Tara! Don’t you give it to her!”

“I’m already late,” Faith said. “Now, it has to be now. He knew… he knew I’d have to keep my bargain. That’s why he trusted me – I wouldn’t have trusted me, why would I - but he did…”

She’d handed over the coin, but that didn’t mean she’d given up. “Faith, please don’t do this,” she said, grabbing Hope while she could. Knowing she’d have to hold onto the girl and stop her… following. But she held out her hand to Faith too. “Give me my quarter back, stay here – we’ll find - ”

Another way…

None of the others were approaching, not even with Hope in such distress. They had to realise what was happening and none of them… It wasn’t that they didn’t care about Faith – even though there’d been some tough times – but they were looking at the same big picture that Faith was.

The one she was struggling to find a way around… What was that other way? She’d been thinking even before this and come up with… nothing. If that rift pulsed one or two more times…

They’d never stop that creature, even if it closed right after. It was too big. Too powerful. Maybe the military but… that would be far too late. Time was – indeed – up.

And she didn’t know what the other way could be.

“It’s me or all of you,” Faith said simply. “Everyone. Hades too… Hope.”

The world, this reality would simply cease to be. Gods and all. And if Faith thought she knew she could close the portal – surely the only way to end this – then… she was a step ahead of the rest of them. How could she argue with that?

Maybe the only thing she could do was send Faith away and… then what? What was left of the group they’d brought here couldn’t hold back creatures like the one struggling to get into their world.

Faith could. Teleporting her somewhere else wouldn’t do any good.

Even if she could…

“Besides,” Faith said, “why does B get to have all the fun?”

Tara happened to glance at Buffy at the moment Faith met her eyes, saw the respect there. The silent agreement in the tiny nod. This was what they did, what Buffy had always done. Risked and offered up her life.

Faith was only here now because Buffy had done that and almost paid the ultimate price. Brought back from the dead after a new Slayer had been called.

And when Faith died? There’d be another.

But not a new sister for Hope. Nor a lover for Paige. Not someone who’d be her best friend.

The deal was already made though. She must’ve promised this to Hades… Offered up her life, probably just to save her sister. But with the bonus of the rest of the world getting a free ride. What was it? The power of the Underworld, of the old Gods, put towards sealing the rift?

How did she compete with that? How could she say she had a better solution? They couldn’t figure out how to fight one giant creature, let alone all the others ones over there.

Nor how to seal the breach between worlds. Stop it replacing… everything.

Faith was right… She hated it and she wouldn’t give up trying to think of some way but –

Faith was right.

“I’m sorry, Hopeless,” Faith said. “But I – we saved you. We came for you – that was all I could - that was what I wanted.”

“No! Screw you! You’re not sorry! You don’t have to do this – You’ve not saved me if you die! Someone do a spell. Olaf can whack it with his hammer - ”

“And the next one?” Faith asked. “That thing’s not even the problem, this is.” The Slayer gestured at the patch of ground – no longer earth – that had come over from the Hell dimension. And it was still growing. There’d be nothing left. “You opened it, sis. Now I’ve got to close it.”

“I’m still bleeding,” Hope said. Faith wasn’t accusing her, but how could she take it any other way. “I can – Let me - ”

“It’s not the blood – I mean, it could be, I guess but I’m not you. I’m not – it won’t be my blood that closes it. Or yours. You go in there it won’t do a damn thing except kill you. We’re sisters but I’m not you. You’re better than me, anyone can see it.”

“Shut up!” Hope was beating her sister on the chest now, throwing ineffective punches and leaving bloody marks where her wounds were seeping. “You saved us all!”

“You have something here,” Faith said. “Me… not so much.”

She made a deal with the Lord of the Underworld. She knew there was a price when she made it.

“That’s not true! Tara – tell her!”

No, it wasn’t. Faith had more than she’d admit here. Friends like her. People who respected her, Buffy and Giles. People who cared for her… a certain girl who’d been receiving a few late night visits and Faith had been determined not to make any big deal out of. The words wouldn’t come, though.

But if Hope’s fury, if the sister she’d risked – given – her life for couldn’t persuade her then none of the rest of them would. No matter how close they’d become.

“Tara! Tell her!”

Her inability to find the words, to see a way past this was killing her. No less than Hope’s not so silent accusations. “I’ll go!” the girl said. “I’ll go, I’ll go into it and - ”

Faith shook her head, grabbing her sister’s good wrist in a grip that wouldn’t be broken. “I just told you - It’s not the blood,” she said.

“It is – she said it was the blood - ”

“No, you don’t have to be a brainiac to know that’s a crock. Maybe it was a trick if you got free – I don’t have time – it can’t be the blood. She was going to drain you, Hope. Even if we were the same, it can’t be the blood. Your blood only makes it worse so you keep it inside your fucking body, right? Do not go in there, you’ll make it worse.”

She’d never considered it in that way… but Faith was right. Horrible practicality after the rift was open – if they’d believed Glory – would’ve suggested sacrificing Hope to save the world. Just as the girl was willing to do but…

We’d have destroyed it all.

Glory was the only one who knew for sure – the only one who’d known now she was past tense – and why would she let anyone know the way to close her way of getting home?

Hope was beaten by that. She’d run out of ideas but not out of fight. She still had no intention of letting Faith do this.

Even though whatever Hades had done to Faith was the only way they had…

Faith grabbed her sister, an irresistible force as the world flexed again and the giant dragon forced its way a little further into their world. Not this time – but definitely the next.

No more time. She could see that as Faith met her eyes over Hope’s shoulder.

“Don’t you forget me and all the shit I taught you. You remember me, you hear me? You have to remember me.” Tara had the impression Faith was talking to both of them then.

“You’re not going - ”

“Yes, honey, I am.”

“Tara, tell her! Please! Just stop her – send her away – teleport her – do something!”

“She’s not telling me anything,” Faith said, holding and rocking her sister. “She knows. Besides, I’ve got a quarter now, I’ll be okay.”

“No!”

“You’re going to have to look after all of them now,” Faith said to her sister. “God knows this lot need a Lehane looking out for them.”

“But I’m not - ”

“You’re me,” Faith said. “You’re me as I should’ve been, honey. You’re everything good that I’m bad. And you’re the only reason I’d ever do this. I wouldn’t do this for anyone except my sister. Fuck the world. Fuck everyone in it. I’m doing this for you so butch up and - ” She broke up, lost for words.

“I don’t want you to!”

“Well, that’s just tough shit. I never cared about gratitude or what people wanted of me.”

But she was going to get it anyway. As if they could forget this?

“You always looked after me,” Hope said, crying openly but no longer struggling against her sister’s strength. It would’ve been like trying to blow into a hurricane. Faith was… more than she had been. Different. When she moved it was… it was tinged with shadow.

Like she was already part way gone.

“And I still will… Shit, that sounds like a bad movie. Let me go, Hopeless. Let me go. I have to… do this before that thing gets through – ”

“Please…” But Hope did let her sister go. All except her hand. “I could try - ”

“Over my dead body,” Faith said. “Which reminds me…” She bent and lifted up Glory’s headless corpse again, looked into the severed neck. “Loser.”

Then she tossed it away and slipped Hope’s grasp.

Walking towards the portal while Tara held her back, still trying to think of something. Anything. But her time was up…

“It’s okay…” Faith said, looking back from the very edge of it. “I don’t mind – you know? I mean, I’m still hot.”

**********************


For the record... there's 10 parts of this story still to go. We're not done yet...

K

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 166 - 01/08/14
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:04 pm 
Offline
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1120
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Wow. (More later.)

_________________
Snapshots:http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10210 a Love Story


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 166 - 01/08/14
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:24 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2000 4:01 pm
Posts: 1154
Topics: 1
Katharyn, Am I mad? I was much more attached to Faith than Diana so.. dangit woman.

Faith is alive. Covers my ears and eyes <lalalalalalalala>

In my world Faith’s deal with Hades was to continue the battle in the Hell Dimension. Paige will accompany her because the tattoo artist is also an extraordinarily gifted telepath. After the Duo succeeds in putting the fear of Hades in the creatures from Glory’s home, his power expands and they are rewarded with new careers as Slayer and Hot Side-kick traveling to other Dimensions and kicking the crap out of every evil-doer in sight. The coin is just for passage to and from Headquarters.

Oh.. and the dogs go with them too.

<lalalalalalala> :D


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 166 - 01/08/14
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:33 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Daddycatalso - Wow's good. I think. I shall look forward to more :)

Kajun - See, I knew this wouldn't be popular...

I know who you're attached to :)

I know what you're saying too... I love your alternate reality version. But perhaps you need to see the real reality first? ;)

That may be as much as I can say... but you have a part in this.

Oh yes you do...

Katharyn

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 166 - 01/08/14
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:46 pm 
Offline
3. Flaming O
User avatar

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 9:32 am
Posts: 75
Topics: 1
Location: North Carolina
Well not a surprise that Faith committed to sacrificing herself for Hope. Her change in behavior after her meeting with Hades hinted at something like this. Also, just from the perspective of the story, you cannot have a fight this massive with this much at stake without there being a cost in terms of losing some good people to win the war. Still, I rather came to like this version of Faith so I am sorry to see her go. I'm still curious how her sacrifice equals a closed portal though. Maybe I just missed something in my read through of this chapter. If Hades had the power to close the portal, then why would Faith need to sacrifice herself to make sure the portal actually closes?
Anywho, great final line for Faith a little humor in a dark situation is always appreciated.
-H.

_________________
Sometimes it feels like we are running headlong through the woods on a dark cloudy night from monsters we can't see towards a destination we don't know.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 166 - 01/08/14
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:39 pm 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
loislane - No, it shouldn't be a surprise as you say. I'd paralleled most things and telegraphed it (once you knew what you were looking for) but actually seeing it happen is still tough...

I would twist your point about the perspective of the story just a little. The stakes - not just beating Glory - and the creatures coming from the other side (the whole universe being overwritten in effect) were ramped high enough that to win by just having a few Wicca Group members fall is... not really the best way to tell it. Something more has to happen and it can't be Willow (she's just come back) it can't be Tara cos... well, Tara and our main PoV. So unless I launch into a full story of the war beyond the dimensions (Kajun seems to have it plotted!) then who is left?

Only Faith, really, has the role in the story...

Also it parallels canon to some extent...

And if you liked Faith, I LOVED her... :)

I am not sure when/if I clarify Hades and the closing of the portal (maybe in the next part) so apologies if I contradict myself. But... you have to take a TRUE god (i.e. not Diana and not crazy Glory) slightly different to you or I. I agree with your point about the power to do so but two things... 1) From Hades perspective if it's part of the deal then you fulfil the deal... 2) What's the process? I mean, we've seen that his power has limits. Especially in relation to the 'other world'. I think we're seeing Faith taking that power and applying it where perhaps he could not.

Maybe I covered that in the next part... maybe not. But I still think it makes more sense than canon LOL. In fact exploding squirrels would make more sense than canon!

But yes, Faith had to have a last line... and I wanted it to mirror one of Buffy's, so that's a little like her S1 line to the Master.

Thanks
Katharyn

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 167 - 01/11/14
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:01 pm 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter One Hundred and Sixty-Seven
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: After Faith has entered the portal…
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: The first, very short, section of this chapter picks up moments after Faith has entered the rift and sacrificed herself. Then we shift to something later. Why? Because I didn’t want to ruin Faith’s decision by ending the last chapter on something else, less noble.
On the other hand, even though it’s just a few lines, I didn’t want to lose this either. Hope isn’t blaming Tara, she’s just lashing out because what else can she do now? Tara’s just the closest person.
This is actually a very hard part of the story to write and balance. Finding moments you should show without overdoing it but without underplaying the seriousness of what has happened either. It’s not a game-changer in the same way Faith’s death was in Sidestep, but important in its own right as it is the climax of the canon storyline and the end of dozens of chapters…
But we have more to move onto.
Thanks to: Anyone who can read how this chapter starts and not dislike Hope. She’s hurting. She’s hurting a lot and – at the end of the day – she knows it’s down to her in a very real way. That’s not easy for a fifteen year old.




“How could you let her do that?!” Hope demanded, rounding on them all but mostly Tara.

Somehow they’d communally felt the need to come together as a group. To hang on. To wait and observe. To hope against hope that Faith might emerge from… well, there was nothing to emerge from anymore…

The portal or rift, whatever it was, was gone. As was everything that had been on the other side of it.

But with every second that passed, every minute, it was less and less likely that Faith was just going to… appear. You could see that some of them gave up sooner than others. Realists. Pessimists. People who didn’t have as much invested in Faith Lehane…

The ones who could accept it.

Olaf accepted it first, of course. Kassia wasn’t even paying attention; she was hunting down the stragglers – cut off from their own world now.

Anya.

Xander.

Buffy, surprisingly.

Even Willow… eventually, but only by holding her hand in a slightly different way. It still said ‘I’m here’ but now it said ‘I’m here and I need you too… come back to me.’

At least she thought that was what it said. But she knew that her girl really did need her. And she was right here, something she could do something about.

So she was the one who gave up before Hope…

Even when she turned away, unable to look at the spot – now no longer filled with Dragon or glowing or anything but a faint mist – she was still hoping to hear Faith berate them. Insult them; tell them they were a bunch of pussies for having tears in their eyes and – for some of them – actually crying.

Tell them that they were the very-fucking-definition of ‘dumbassery’ for giving up on her. Because she was Faith Lehane and of course she was coming back.

But she didn’t hear it. Faith didn’t emerge from anywhere. Didn’t come back.

She didn’t call them any names.

Faith was just… gone.

And Hope was the last…

With a whimper rather than a bang, the rift had vanished and so had the creature that had been trying to get through it. All that was left behind were some of those – smaller – creatures that had already come through and Olaf and Kassia were tracking down even now.

And there was a tiny portion, covering about a city block, of another world.

Right here.

Just not Faith.

How could I let her do that?

Hope was right. How could I? I knew what she was doing. I knew the price she had to pay early enough to say something, to do something.

But… I couldn’t find another way. She couldn’t find another way either… We only killed Glory; we only got the woman I love back because Faith made a deal with something else… And I couldn’t think of a way that couldn’t be paid off.

And she didn’t even ask me to.

She didn’t fight it…

Had Faith given up?

No. She’d just taken her fight somewhere else… That ferryman, paid with his quarter… He’d be regretting it right about now. That was going to be the longest trip of his life.


“Tara didn’t let her do anything,” Willow replied for her distraught girlfriend and pushed her hand towards Tara’s again but found it left empty as – instead – her girlfriend turned to Hope.

“No one could’ve stopped her,” she said.

Who could’ve stopped Faith from doing what she wanted?

In that condition… changed. Powerful – more powerful. If she’d been here now they’d have been relieved but… Some of us would’ve been afraid of her too. Even me…

But in the end, Faith Lehane had… She’d done the right thing. She might never have believed that she could – but Tara had always known. She believed that even if it was going to take Hope – and herself – longer to truly accept it. For the others… they were already talking about her in the past tense. Praising her even. For her and Hope… acceptance would take a little longer.

Knowing it wasn’t the same as feeling it. The aching loss was only going to get worse before it got any easier. She knew that.

And their journey started - a moment later – as she and Hope were hugging each other. Their losses were the same but different.

---------------------------

“A mighty warrior,” Olaf said. “Never more so than at the moment she fell. Unbeaten. The undefeated Slayer! Few can say as much.”

Maybe the troll thought he was showing respect by turning solely to drink rather than wenching to celebrate their victory. Probably, if he’d known Faith a little better, he’d have understood that she’d had her own version of wenching.

“She really was the best of you,” Ethan told the assembled group. Where had he been throughout the fight? With the Wicca Group, actually. They said he’d made himself useful but…

It didn’t matter where he’d been. He wouldn’t have changed anything that had happened.

“She was my friend,” Tara recalled. “I…” The tears came again – as they had many times already - and Willow squeezed her girlfriend. Tara had just lost her best friend.

It was… Hard.

Harder than it should’ve been, and not just because Tara was so oviously distraught.

She had a lump in her throat too.

What if it had been Buffy? It didn’t take much to imagine that. She’d had to worry about it often enough over the years. Once it had happened, but there was no CPR to bring Faith back.

Not this time.

There wasn’t even a body… Nothing to bury or become the centrepiece of their mourning. They… they were going to have think about that, eventually. Memorialising her somehow. Tara wasn’t seeing it yet, but she would.

Willow pulled at the clothes someone had found her, the shirt tugged on the cast every time she moved her arm but… Better than pyjamas, right? Faith would’ve laughed at her being her in her pyjamas. Especially here. Especially now.

She just laughed at me. Period. But… I’ll miss that too.

All she should’ve wanted was to go home to be held by Tara, to reassure her that she was really back and she was fine. She wanted normal but… sadly this was their normal. They weren’t like real people with everyday lives. This was – every so often – what they did.

But losing someone… that never got easier. From Jesse onwards, it never got easier. The worst thing was seeing someone else – Tara especially – in pain. Hope too. Knowing that there was nothing she could do except be there for them both. Even if that was in a bar none of them should’ve been drinking in.

Maybe the rest of Sunnydale didn’t want to admit what had happened in the heart of it, or understood what they were doing here. But not one of them had been carded.

Which might’ve been something to do with Olaf, of course. Tough to card a troll.

With a mighty weapon.

Or maybe the owner really did get it. What had happened. Tonight… Olaf thought they needed a drink and it wasn’t really helping but…It was something to do, something to overcome the terrible, awkward silence. And the troll had fought his share of battles, before and after Anya changed him.

Maybe he knew something that they didn’t.

Maybe Faith had known better than them too… Every night after she’d fought and killed vampires or demons, protected them all, she’d drunk and screwed…

They could honour the drinking part at least. This one time.

Faith had won. Only seemed fair that they take that drink.

In the end they’d come out of this remarkably well.

Hope and Tara wouldn’t want to admit it because of how keenly they were feeling the loss, but compared to the carnage when they’d fought off the Mayor’s ascension - a small matter of preventing a giant snake devouring a graduating class - they’d come out of saving the whole universe in much better shape.

Yes, they’d taken losses but they were people who were willing – and able – to defend themselves in some way. People who’d stepped up with a clue what they were fighting. Not just High School kids who’d ended up as vampire fodder.

Last time they’d blown up a school and so many of their classmates had been picked off by vampires, ill-prepared and not really capable of fighting even for their own lives against supernatural foes. They’d won but at such a high cost that - now – she had to wonder if it had really been worth it.

Faith had even been convinced that the Mayor had the best interest of the town at heart. It’d seemed impossible to believe it then but…

What would he have done about Glory? If he’d been around? Might Faith still be with them? Would a giant snake have actually been a good ally?

Might no one else have had to die?

This time… The whole world had been at stake and – yes – some people hadn’t come out of the battle so well (or at all) and… Well, every funeral was going to be a wrench, but there weren’t so many of them this time. A couple of people were in hospital but… they were expected to recover.

And there was Diana of course… Gone.

Almost everyone bore cuts and bruises – certainly everyone here – and there were some more serious walking wounded but… not many people had died. They – they were still waiting for an accurate count because no one had thought to take roll call before they started. It was more a process of a friend realising that they hadn’t come out of it.

Faith hadn’t been the only casualty in saving the entire world, but she was the only one any of them here really knew personally.

And the cost still felt way too high.

There was no body… nothing to bury.

They’d have to get a marker, a memorial of some kind. Find some words, the right words for Hope’s sister… It was horribly practical to think about that now, when she’d just got her mind back and her girlfriend couldn’t see past the loss of her friend but…

It was how she coped. It was what Tara would expect of her and it was how she was going to be the strong one – for Tara – while Tara was being the strong one for Hope because that girl wasn’t letting anyone else tell her what to do.

And Tara didn’t want to. Not yet…

Even with all their twisted history, Willow didn’t have it in her to hate Faith any more. Nor to criticise her. Maybe they hadn’t been fast friends, but…

She was well aware – without being told – that Faith had looked out for her when she was… cray-cray. She’d patrolled while Buffy had been dealing with her Mom’s illness. She’d saved Tara’s life – more than once – and she’d sacrificed herself for the whole world.

So the girl had made mistakes and choices that they could criticise, but hadn’t they all?

Now… It wasn’t being charitable to think well of her. It wasn’t just because she was… gone.

There was a new truth about that girl… A new balance to her life – and death – which saw the scales firmly in the positive. Saving the world, even if it was for your sister, was like that.

She even liked to think that she wouldn’t have been worried – had Faith still been around – about all that power she’d gotten from Hades (apparently) but…

She’s dead. She’s gone. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.

“The undefeated Slayer!” they all toasted, with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Hope didn’t say anything at all.

Instead… “She was my sister,” Hope said simply, frowning as she sipped the small beer that Olaf had insisted was the best medicine for loss. Then she sipped it again. Maybe hoping it’d do something to numb her even though the girl didn’t look like she was enjoying it at all.

Willow found she was still in horrible practicality land as a thought occurred to her. “Someone should go and… I guess someone should go and tell Paige,” she said. “I mean, Faith was sleeping with her, occasionally at least. They were still doing that, right? After I…?”

I wasn’t away all that long, it was just that so much happened. Too much I haven’t even taken in yet.

“Oh…God…” Tara breathed, her hand tightening around hers, confirming what she’d wondered.

For Faith ‘sleeping with someone occasionally’ was tantamount to a full-blown love affair. At least when it was the same someone. Or maybe she shouldn’t be thinking like that anymore, but that didn’t make it untrue.

Faith had loved her sister. They knew that. Look at what she’d done. Loved Tara too, in a different way. Maybe she’d actually loved Paige.

Maybe… Either way…

Willow could tell that her girlfriend had – perhaps in grief and perhaps in relief – forgotten all about the other person in the world who’d (maybe) feel this as deeply as she and Hope would.

The only other person Faith had really gotten close to. In every way. Was it that close? Or had she been just what Faith had always insisted? A good lay?

“She’s a civilian,” Buffy reminded them softly. “What can you tell her? I mean, she should know – she’s got to and we have to tell her - but…”

Everyone looked at the gorgeous woman who’d put together the way to save the world. The woman who’d brought her back from the scariest place she’d ever been… They expected it of her. All of them.

Somehow it’d silently been decided Tara would be the one. Willow’s immediate reaction was that it was unfair of them. And it was but – But was Tara she even fit for it? They were – they were starting to expect too much of her. This – all of this was never what she wanted.

Not to lead them. Not to fight to save the world. Not to break the bad news to a girl who might have loved her best friend…

She just wanted me.

She got me and look what I brought her too. Look what she has to deal with to be with me. I did this – I somehow did this, which is why I have to be there for her. It’s not just love – it’s fair. I… I can do this for her.


“No,” she said, ready to take it on. “That’s not fair - ”

“Baby, it’s okay,” Tara said. Wiping at her eyes, Willow could see that her girl was… given a new purpose. She’d been lost for a moment there – unsure what she was supposed to do while the group that had saved the world had moped in a corner of a bar. Drinking when they shouldn’t but – she didn’t think any of them were even tasting what they were swallowing.

Scattered here and there in the bar were a few of the others, those who’d come through the fight well enough. Olaf, of course. Kassia, still fending off attention from both men and women. The succubus looked exhausted and vulnerability like that was – apparently – just as alluring as her usual confident swagger.

Everyone wanted to look after her, all of a sudden.

Even a succubus said ‘No, I’ve got a headache.’

Wicca group members, most of them had stayed out of the fight but played a vital role all the same. Ethan alongside them.

Sister Charity with her orange juice and a cast of her own after a trip to the emergency room.

Surrounded by all this, in the shadow of victory, Tara hadn’t known what to do or what to say. How to break free of it. How to get out of here.

Now she knew what she had to do.

Probably just go somewhere and cry again – for a little while – before she did what she had to for Paige.

Later though… Willow knew her girl would need to be held. And that was what she was here for.

I’ll hold her. I’ll be everything she needs… She looked after me; she stayed with me when I wasn’t really me.

She was going to stay with me forever… even like that.

That’s what love is.


Faith Lehane had played a big part in bringing her back to Tara.

One slip, one fatal blow committed too early and… Tara would never have seen me again, not the real me.

Faith brought me back just as much as she did.


And now Tara needed something else. She needed to do this and then… then she was the one who’d need to be looked after.

I can do that.

-------------------------

For once, this was a time she didn’t want Willow around.

After all those days where she’d wanted nothing more than her lover restored to her, now…

Even though she’d offered, many times – some of them quite forcefully – this… wasn’t the time for anyone else to be there.

Not Willow. Not anyone else. It was going to be hard enough to hold herself together without dealing with their thoughts about Faith or… whatever. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe in the others grief, she did.

But it was a little different this time.

Faith had been – what was that word? Polarising. You loved her or you hated her, at least at the start. Things had gotten complex later, as Faith – and they – had all changed. But for this?

She and Hope… they were the ones felt the loss most keenly. She could tell. The others regretted it. They really, truly wished it wasn’t so.

But none of the rest of them wanted to break down and just howl like Hope did. Like she did…

Buffy understood it, of course she did. She’d been through loss recently and she got it, for sure. She really knew how Hope was feeling but she didn’t feel it. Not over Faith.

And it was so much worse for Hope. The girl – when she’d left the bar – had barely been holding it together at all. Beer – ironically – had probably been helping. Olaf had probably been right about that. Hope’s first – small - drink had been at exactly the right time.

So it was illegal. Right now, Hope needed to fall asleep and she hadn’t had that much. Just enough to take an edge off. Willow would watch after her and she wasn’t going to be long…

Was she?

Someone had to do this. Someone who’d understand how Paige would feel. Someone who felt it?

How long to tell Paige that Faith was… gone?

Should she have come now? Should she have left it until morning?

At least now she was still mobile… And what would be gained by waiting? What had Faith told Paige about the fight – going to see her right before… Was Paige expecting Faith?

Was she expecting the bad news?

Waiting until morning…

Will I even be able to get out of bed; will the world seem like too empty a place? No… I have my girl back. But…

There would be Willow to think about… I can’t leave her alone, not right away. For now she was with the others. But… A lot happened to her too. She needs people around her.

She needs me too.


And what would Paige need now though?

She didn’t have anyone else – well, not that they knew about. Surely she had friends but… not that got it. Not that understood… Faith had never mentioned meeting any of them. It didn’t sound like they’d even got out of bed much or gone anywhere except right here.

Paige’s apartment.

The tattoo artist’s bright smile along with her state of not very-much-dress and all around anticipatory happiness suggested Faith had been in the habit of coming around after she’d done her Slaying thing. And that Paige had been more than happy with that arrangement. It was about as much intimacy as Faith had offered anyone.

That wasn’t news. Ever since they’d known Faith, that had been her pattern. Slay. Party. Screw.

Except she’d used the F word. Usually.

I’m not going to hear her saying that again. I’m not going to wince and she’s not going to tease me about how much I do it so I should be able to say it.

She’s not going to call me and Willow funny names. Lip Smackers? Was that really the last one? I never knew there were so many ways to say ‘lesbians’. She taught me all of that.

And she showed me what a real best friend was… I’d called people that before but… She was the first real one. Even Willow couldn’t be what Faith was. Willow was something different.

Is something different.

Would be something different.


The fact that Faith had kept coming back here – to Paige - instead of just moving on as she’d always done before… That was the real sign of intimacy. Genuine… feeling? How deep had it gone? How hard is this going to hit her?

How am I going to be able to hold it together if she needs me too?

Faith would’ve said it was a different, more physical, kind of feeling that she was interested in and that Paige provided. But Faith came here, right before… When she knew she wasn’t coming back from this, Paige was the person she wanted to see.

But how much did she know?


“Oh – hey, Tara – Umm, I was expecting someone else.”

“Faith?”

“Yeah. She doesn’t hide it much, does she?”

“She didn’t… she never hid much at all.”

Except her feelings.

“And I thought I - wait – what do you mean – Why – Why are you using the past tense?”

Damn you, Faith… Damn you.

You left this poor girl wanting more. You didn’t tell her.

You didn’t warn her what might happen, even when you came here this afternoon. You put that all on whoever had to tell her. You put that on me… And I didn’t want to bring anyone else because I kind of knew you might.

I didn’t know if I could hold it together and… I’m not going to.


The immediacy of her tears must’ve told Paige everything she needed to know.

“What happened, Tara – is she okay?”

No.

Because that wasn’t why you slipped into the past tense, was it?

Somehow, she couldn’t manage two simple words like ‘She’s gone.’

But Paige got it.

------------------------

Willow held her girl in her crossed arms. They were on the air mattress on the floor and had swapped their usual sides of the bed because of the cast on her arm, she didn’t want to be flinging it around and hitting Tara but sleep seemed a long way away even though Tara – especially – was emotionally shattered.

Her mind – she knew she should’ve been making lists of all the things they’d thought about but she was at least pretending to try and sleep. Time enough for all that later… Morning was going to come eventually.

Funny, really… They’d finished – they’d won earlier than they’d even usually start slaying. That’d left hours in the bar and all of the night for her mind to turn everything over.

Relief. Gratitude. Helplessness. Concern. Worry. Love.

So, okay, this was what it was to be there for her girl. Just like Tara had been for her.

“It’s wrong. It’s just wrong - ” Tara kept saying it, over and over. So softly… but Willow heard her. They were close enough for that.

“It’s not your fault, baby.”

“It was the longest conversation I ever had with her,” Tara said softly, wary of disturbing the girl who was in their bed. “The longest conversation – it was when I had to tell her that Faith - And I couldn’t even say it to start with…”

No, it hadn’t been okay. How could it have been okay? It’d been a stupid damned question. And with Hope right here in their room too? Probably not asleep… Probably listening even if she’d managed to stop crying a little while ago and her breathing was shallow enough that maybe the girl was dozing…

They couldn’t send Hope back to the empty apartment where she and her sister…

Hope had a room at the Summers house, of course, but… Tara wouldn’t hear of it. Besides, Buffy was putting up most of the walking wounded while Olaf and Kassia had been out to check for any leakers, creatures that had escaped the rift and were loose in Sunnydale.

All that’d been important too.

Better Hope was here than with Xander and Anya where eau de cat-pee was the atmosphere. Anya tried but… her unfortunate tendency to get confused by grief wasn’t what Hope needed.

“She took it hard?” Stupid, stupid question. I don’t know how to do this…

“Faith - She went over there – right before – in the afternoon.”

“She hadn’t told her though – what she was planning?”

Tara moved in a way that was negative. “No. I think – I think she said some things that she’d never said before and… well, they did what they did. You know - And then she left her… I had to tell her.

She had no idea until I – I didn’t tell her at all, not really – I used the past tense. I screwed up and I used the past tense and she had to guess from that - ”

“Oh, I’m sorry, baby.”

“I – I couldn’t ask her to start to believe all the other things, I couldn’t tell her what really happened. I couldn’t help her even understand how important what Faith did was. How she saved us all – at least we know that, right? We think more of her because of that – but… I couldn’t tell her. I tried to make her understand

“I mean… she knew something was different about Faith but…”

“So you stayed a while.”

“I couldn’t just - ”

“No. That’s not what I meant. I…” She pulled Tara further into her embrace. Unlike her usual babble, she couldn’t find the words now. She didn’t know what to say. What did you say? What could you say that made any difference?

Or… did you just hold the girl you loved, who’d looked after you when you weren’t fully there? Yeah, pretty much it seemed like you did that.

“How long is it since I told you I loved you?” she whispered, wondering if that was the only thing she could say that would help at all?

“I don’t know. Before -”

“I love you, woman.”

-------------------------

Hope

Hope lay there, listening to Tara and Willow thinking they were being kind to her. Trying not to disturb her. Hoping she was asleep. Not happening, but she was pretending.

For them.

Apart from the need to pee, that one beer hadn’t done much. Less than she’d wanted it to. Not as advertised. How had Buffy gotten herself into trouble with this stuff? It didn’t even taste nice. But… Faith liked it. Liked what it did for her.

Whatever that was. She’d never had trouble with courage or letting go. Must’ve been something else.

Everything came back to Faith in the end. Including the couple on the air mattress beside the bed.

They’re talking about my sister like she’s gone.

How they feel, how other people feel about her.

Poor Paige…


She knew better than most that Faith had rarely gone back for seconds. Let alone thirds, fourths or mores. But Paige… Faith had gone back to her over and over and had actually been embarrassed by it. She’d known the signs.

Faith had even lied about it sometimes, insisted that she was going to pick up some guy and then staying out with Paige. But that was okay.

They’d always had this unwritten rule. About how it didn’t count as a lie if you knew how to spot the truth.

And Faith had known she could do that.

After all, it’d been easy enough to smell the difference when she came back.

And sometimes there were still guys – after Paige – but… not as many. Not as often. For Faith… that’d been pretty full on.

Paige, Tara – all of us. We all lost her.

She’s gone.

She promised she was never going to die and I told her that everyone did and…

Did that even happen? Did I know her as well as I think I do? Did…?

Am I just remembering things that – ?


But now memories were all they had and – no matter where they’d come from – they all counted. Memories were everything.

No one was going to forget Faith.

I’m not going to let them forget her.

Somewhere – she knew – Faith would approve of that.

She died to save the world even if she thought it was just for me.

******************

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 167 - 01/11/14
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:40 pm 
Offline
10. Troll Hammer

Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:08 pm
Posts: 1120
Topics: 1
Location: Easton PA
Sorry, I'm too tired to comment, but I really like what you're doing.

I have to ownder; does it register on the outside world that Faith is now considered dead? Will a new SLayer be vcalled?

_________________
Snapshots:http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10210 a Love Story


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 167 - 01/11/14
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:38 pm 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2000 4:01 pm
Posts: 1154
Topics: 1
Katharyn, Who is going to take care of Hope now that Faith is… err.. Dimension hopping? Buffy could take her in but she’s gonna be busy with patrol now that things are back to one girl in all this <cough-cough> world status. Giles is the only person familiar with Hope that could, logically, serve as guardian. It might be hard to convince him to move into the fancy apartment and visa-versa for Hope moving into Giles’ place. I can hear the squabbling already.

Willow, Tara and MKF should go on a nice long vacation. :) They’ve earned it for sure. Except.. you’re not done with the drama yet, are you? At least I can take comfort knowing W/T will definitely be okay!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 167 - 01/11/14
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 2:28 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Daddycatalso - Get some rest! Thank you for liking it though.

We will be addressing the 'next-Slayer' thing in coming parts. At least in a roundabout way. I mean there's only 9 more parts to go so not in great detail but... yes, it will come up.

Thanks

Kajun - Like the 'next-Slayer' thing, there are nine more parts to go so you can be sure that Hope's living arrangements will come up. Aside from the practicalities you mentioned, there's also her - precise - legal status to consider. Yes, she really does exist. And - presumably - she has records dotted around the place. On the other hand she's Faith's sister - Faith who was a wanted criminal... It's all taken of though, cos you know I am going to leave the characters in good places.

You will definitely see T/W take some time for themselves... :)

But no, I am not yet done... We're going to skip ahead a little more in time.... But the girls will be fine.

Thanks!

Katharyn

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 168 - 01/13/14
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:31 pm 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter One Hunded and Sixty-Eight
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: A memorial for Faith.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: This section is really just something to update a little on what happened in the aftermath of Faith’s loss. I wanted something that would fill the gap rather than just jumping to the epilogue and going ‘Four Months Later.’ I’m undecided about the value of it. On the one hand you can do the caption thing, but on the other than works better on TV than in a book. Plus there’s a good reason I can’t really update you all in the first chapter of the epilogue. Also it felt important to give some resonance to what had happened.
In terms of how I am drawing the characters here, you will notice first that it’s all from Willow’s point of view, but also that there’s something slightly different going on. The fact that it’s Willow serves a few purposes – one of which is that we didn’t see much of her for a long time. Also, I wanted to redress an imbalance in their relationship that comes from the fact that I just naturally favour Tara. Tara’s right. Tara’s just strong enough. Tara’s more of a contrast to how she was sometimes left unpainted in canon… And here, in the story, I wanted something where Willow had her moment for those kind of qualities.
Oh, I may turn out to be mistaken but I believe this will be the last ‘as new’ chapter written for this story. The last gap to be filled… everything else already exists as I do this pass and found I needed it. A milestone of sorts…
Thanks to: Anyone who can believe that time is passing. I really need you to believe that so I don’t have to write it all! It should be easy for you, look how much time has passed since we started (and that was months after I did!)



About a month later.

“Ethan - I – I wanted to thank you for staying this long,” Willow said. “Thank you for staying, I mean.”

Ethan’s look suggested he was possibly curious about whether she was joking but she was absolutely serious. She was grateful for him staying and she knew Tara was too. She just hadn’t meant to come off as bitchy about it.

And he seemed to realise that.

“Really,” she added. Just in case he hadn’t understood she was serious. She did appreciate it, as much for for Tara as for any other reason.

“Whatever my previous actions may have left you thinking of me, I certainly wasn’t going to leave before this,” he told her.

Some people – no names – might’ve been surprised by that. But to hear him say it, she could believe it.

Plus, here he was.

They both turned and looked at the scene where an unexpected number of people were still clustered around a small rock. Small as rocks went. The fact that only Olaf could carry it without tearing the glade up with a truck proved just how heavy it really was.

And on the rock had been attached a plaque.

All it said was ‘Faith Lehane.’

No dates. No other words. Nothing about being a sister. Or a friend. Nothing about saving the world and all of their lives. Nothing about any of that.

The plaque did say something on the back, but… that was for the poor unfortunate who tried to pry the plaque loose to discover. A few words and an unfortunate sigil Ethan had come up with that – once revealed to light – would place a (non-lethal) but highly obvious curse on the offender.

Tara hadn’t been exactly ‘happy’ about the idea, but… the curse was unfortunate rather than dangerous and Faith herself? She’d have laughed.

Her legacy was protected.

And in more ways than one.

Tara was with Hope. The girl, Faith’s only flesh and blood, was sandwiched between her and Paige. The three people who’d perhaps lost the most when Faith had stepped into the rift and vanished.

With no body to claim, nothing to bury or cremate – and because Faith hadn’t even ‘officially’ been in town - there hadn’t been the urgency for this service and they’d allowed it to creep further and further back because more and more people had wanted to come along.

That had included those wounded in the battle, some of them badly hurt. So, nearly a month since the world had threatened to end, here they were. Words had been spoken. Tears were still being shed even after the words had finished.

A lot of things had changed. But the world was still here. Finding a new kind of order, post-Faith Lehane.

“A lot of people came out,” she said, wondering why she was talking to Ethan right now. But… he was someone who’d known Faith. Not everyone here had – not to talk to - despite being grateful to her.

“Not just people.”

He gestured to the treeline where Olaf still lurked, hidden as much by people’s desire not to see him as the foliage.

“It’s a good job we had him,” she admitted. Someone had to pound the rock into place for them. Because… you shouldn’t find granite here. And the rock hid a few personal things of Faith that Hope had picked out and put under the spot. Secret things.

Maybe Tara knew what they were, but if so she wasn’t saying either. Like a Faith Lehane time capsule.

“Trolls are always useful,” Ethan said. “In small doses.”

Ethan had toned the shirt down; you couldn’t go wrong in black at what passed for a funeral. Not everyone had gone the same way. Kassia’s dress shimmered under the sun, respectful but a reminder of a side of Faith – the sensuality if not the dress itself – that was easy to ignore when you were memorialising.

Privately she speculated that a good number of the guys here that she couldn’t put a name to had been exposed to that side of her.

And sure… why not?

If – well, if she ever needed a memorial then she wouldn’t want the hot, lady loving with Tara to be forgotten. It was a big part of who she was. So – for Faith – Kassia was serving a purpose.

“I’m surprised you’re not with your good lady,” Ethan said.

“Don’t start trying to cause trouble,” she told him. “Not today.”

“I – I really wasn’t. This time, at least. I’m honestly just surprised.”

“Hope needs Tara. Paige too, I think. But mostly Hope.”

And yes, perhaps Tara would’ve needed her. Chosen her. But right now those three needed to be the ones who supported each other. An extra person would’ve distracted from the healing of those who were most in need of it.

Besides, she’d been here for Tara – and Hope – before. She would be later. Right now, right here… There were other things she could be doing. Because Tara… Tara just wasn’t up to it. It had been a month and she hadn’t been crying as much as she had been but it was hard again… today.

“Things aren’t going so well with your parents?” he wondered.

She nodded and then shook her head when she reconsidered. Whichever was supposed to be the answer? Ira and Sheila had taken the girl in for the last couple of weeks, while they all quietly researched what would happen to her now.

Faith hadn’t exactly been her sister’s legal guardian anyway but now they had to plan for the future and it seemed… better this way. Hope couldn’t stay in dorms with them long term, Buffy was back to being the one and only Slayer – at least in Sunnydale (no one knew if a new one had been called and the Council wasn’t saying yet) – and so she wasn’t home much of the time.

It wasn’t that Faith’s sister – the Key to nothing now – still needed to be protected. More that Hope certainly wasn’t staying on her own.

So… Mom and Dad had stepped up and she had no idea whether Tara had prompted and asked them to. It was the sort of thing her girl might do, already knowing they would. But… Tara hadn’t been quite herself since the battle. Loving, beautiful, sexy as anything but…

Haunted somehow.

And prone to some tears. Which was entirely understandable, but understanding didn’t mean she didn’t worry.

“No – I mean, yes things are fine – I mean – it’s hard, Hope’s grieving and they get that. They’re giving her space.”

“They’ll need space, for the dogs.”

“Yeah…”

They hadn’t even known – for a week – that Jupiter had survived the battle. Callisto hadn’t been seen since that night until the pair of them turned up on the Rosenberg doorstep. Dad had actually called her; worried about the possibility the two dogs sitting quietly on his porch might be Hell Hounds. He hadn’t explicitly said the words, but she’d beenable to tell that was what he’d meant.

And it had been a legitimate concern – occasionally they still ran across something that had come from the other side of the rift – but no, they were just Diana’s dogs. One still limping a little and less intimidating than once he had been.

And unbidden they’d attached themselves to Hope.

Try what you will – including calling animal control – they just came back. Nothing seemed able to hold them long and so, in the Rosenberg back yard, was a new kennel larger than some dorm rooms.

Oh, and vets bills. On top of teenager bills.

Dad hadn’t said a word about either.

Even if Miss Kitty hadn’t been happy, Hope had taken to the dogs just as obviously as they to her. Maybe she needed something to love, something that was hers.

Which was, perhaps, what Paige lacked right now. She was an outsider really, even though she and Tara had gotten closer in the past few weeks while they tried to bring her into their family. But it was hard, she could see that. So could Tara. There wasn’t really any connection between them except someone who was… gone. Which was why Tara was still trying, bringing Paige into the centre of the closest thing to a funeral that Faith would ever get.

That was it, you see. To the rest of the world they couldn’t admit that Faith was dead because they couldn’t admit that she’d ever been here. For Hope, as much as anything else. But questions would be asked about the wanted felon in the area. Her property and possessions – much more than you’d think thanks to the Mayor – could’ve been subject to seizure and…

Those were Hope’s now. Ethan had suggested some (probably shady) lawyers to make it happen. He’d recommended an LA firm who’d apparently handled the old Mayor’s business too. They were used to working with the supernatural and if Ira wasn’t exactly happy with whom was representing Hope’s interests, he understood the reasons it couldn’t be any other way.

Meanwhile this Wolfram and Hart looked like getting the job done.

No one much liked it, but no one liked any of this. Why should the lawyers be any different? And they were getting results. In fact they seemed to be quite tenacious, seemingly on the old Mayor’s behalf.

Like he’d left instructions – and funds – dedicated to Faith and her sister? He’d been a strange old bird…

“You’re leaving right after?” she asked. He’d been pulling a case when they picked him up to come out here.

“I have a flight at eight-fifteen,” he told her. When she didn’t really reply, he asked her if she was relieved.

“That you’re going?” she checked, actually wondering about getting back to Tara.

“Yes.”

“I think I’ll be happier when I know that you’re out for yourself again,” Willow told him after a moment’s thought. “It was freaking me out, you being on our side.”

“Should’ve seen it from my point of view,” he said. “Doubly weird, I assure you.”

She allowed herself a tiny smile. It’d been odd all around. “I should - ”

“Go,” he said, excusing her even though she really didn’t need his permission. “Say goodbye to your lady for me. Tell her…”

“What?” She didn’t try to argue he should speak to Tara himself. Not if it had to be now.

“Tell her I’ll see her around. And give her this.” He handed her an envelope. A sealed one. It didn’t feel like there was any ritual magic attached to it, but that was his forte. Surely after all this he wouldn’t mess with them…

He must’ve seen what she was worried about.

“Really?! Today?”

“I just need to get back into the habit of suspecting you,” she said. “But I promise I’ll give it to her.”

She even gave him a peck on the cheek.

After that, she slipped through the people, towards Buffy first. At least – with so many people here – she could do that. She had to be the hostess right now; Tara needed her to be all sorts of things today. This was… it was rough. Losing Joyce had been hard on everyone, but for Tara this was worse and there was just no way she could be the one to take care of and organise everyone today.

She’d have tried, for sure. But better this way.

I’d have taken care of her, but she has Hope and Paige. She needs me to do this, she needs it done right. And… I guess taking care of all this sort of thing is the best thing I can do for Faith.

The girl was never exactly organised.


“Never thought I’d see the day,” she said, coming up alongside Buffy. “You?”

“She deserves it,” Buffy said. “I – I don’t know what I’d have done.”

“You’ve already done it, honey,” Willow said. “That’s how she came to be, you know? I’m glad you didn’t have to though.” She tried to slip her hand into Buffy’s, only to find her friend resisting it being held.

“No way. I saw what you just did with that.”

“What?”

“You shook Ethan’s hand, and we both know too much about where it’s been.”

“Eww,” she exclaimed, realising Buffy was right. “Do you have Purell?” Buffy shook her head.

“Well, you’re getting it too. It’s what best friends do.” She grabbed Buffy’s hand and held on, feeling Buffy return the grip. They looked at their joined hands, raised up in front of them.

“She’d be making a joke right now,” Buffy said about their joined hands. “Hell, she probably is. Somewhere.”

“Probably,” Willow agreed. “If she’d been you – I mean – if she’d come here instead of you and – I don’t think she’d have had a best friend like me who she didn’t screw. I don’t think she could not do that.”

“Sure she could, Will,” Buffy said. “Tara was – Tara was everything to her that you are to me.”

Of course… She’d known that. Both in her head and her heart. But, somehow, she didn’t like to see a mirror of hers and Buffy’s relationship. Not even for Tara… Not for Faith. It’s because I still – even now – want to feel better than her in some ways and sacrificing herself… she’s making it difficult.

Heroic bitch.

She probably saved the world just to spite us.


She told Buffy and they laughed gently for a moment, but then the occasion got the better of the moment.

“Jesse was the first, remember that?”

“For you,” Buffy pointed out.

“I know, but here. Miss Calendar. Your Mom… I guess…” she trailed off into silence.

“It’s okay, Will. It hurts, but I know she’s gone. You can say it.”

She felt shitty just for making comparisons but Buffy was insisting. “More people here for Faith than any of them and lots of students came out for Jenny… But I didn’t mean – your Mom, I mean – she was better than Faith - ”

“Yeah, she was. But, much as I love her – my Mom never saved the world,” Buffy pointed out.

“Well, she did, kind of. I mean – she gave birth to the Slayer.”

Buffy squeezed her hand. “Nice of you to say, but – that means my Dad gets credit too and, I think I’d rather love my Mom for who she was. She wasn’t into the whole saving the world thing. She – she really loved Hope and – in the end she liked Faith. A lot.

“I think, maybe, because she knew Faith could do the things she didn’t want me to. So… I’m okay with more people being here for Faith. Numbers don’t mean anything except she touched a lot of lives.

“She saved the world,” Buffy said again. “There should be a million people here. A billion, even. She deserves it.”

------------------------

After Buffy – and looking to see Tara wasn’t alone - Willow made her way to her parents. Wisely, perhaps, they weren’t saying much.

Neither of them had really known Faith, but they were here for Hope. And they were here because they – sort of – understood that Faith was responsible for the whole world still being here too.

After all, worries about Hell Hounds – their words – had been a big clue.

They didn’t talk about it, they didn’t want to know even though they were aware. They were still – partly – under the Sunnydale delusion. But the difference between them and most people was now they knew they were. They chose it. And they understood her actions over the last few years a lot better.

They knew Tara a lot better too.

If they’d been in love with her girlfriend before… Now they were just… Sometimes, she thought Tara was the daughter they wished they’d had. Except, they were at their happiest pulling her into the family. Making it a family, like most people had.

And they were just starting to do the same thing to Hope – for as long as that would last.

Ira and Sheila Rosenberg officially got it now.

“Willow.”

“I expected you to be with Tara - ” Sheila told her. Almost like it had been a disappointment to her.

“Tara told me - ”

“Of course she did,” Ira said firmly. At that her mother subsided. Mom wasn’t always the easiest person to get along with but he’d managed it for more years than she could think about because he loved and understood her.

All at once she had this sense that – maybe – that was how Tara might be with her.

She’s my Dad and I’m my Mom?

No… that wasn’t something she really wanted to think about. And definitely never wanted to say or try to explain. To anyone.

All the same…

“It was a nice service,” Sheila said, looking for something else. “Did Tara organise it?”

She didn’t mind if they made that assumption, not at all. But, this time, it was wrong.

“Everyone had a hand,” she explained. “It – it was hard. Faith didn’t believe in much, certainly not in any God she couldn’t…umm… kill. But – not Tara. She was taking it harder the closer we got.”

“She needed closure,” Ira said. “She lost her friend. I can imagine – You should have heard her when she thought you weren’t going to recover from your illness.”

‘The illness’ – that was how they referred to it now. And when things had settled down Ira had marched her and Tara down to his lawyer for a properly documented power of attorney between the two of them.

He wasn’t about to let that happen again.

It was kind of like being married… But in a morbid kind of way.

“And Hope lost her sister,” Willow agreed. “You – you guys know you don’t have to do what you’re doing. We can find another way - ”

“Whatever makes you think we’re doing anything but what we want to?” Sheila asked. “Whatever makes you think we would?”

Ira nodded. Accepting everything his wife was saying.

“I’m just saying – don’t be grateful there’s still a world, I mean – do be grateful but don’t feel that – you know what I mean. Right?”

She didn’t want to deprive Hope of them, but eventually – very soon – someone would have to find a way to get that girl a real, permanent home.

Hope was a good kid, a tough kid. But she wasn’t Faith. And her place wasn’t on the streets or drifting from couch to couch.

In fact… the more you knew Hope, the more she was sure that Faith herself had been right in what she said to Tara. Hope was all that Faith could’ve been, if she’d had the chances that she’d fought to give her little sister.

Oh, and if she’d been able to keep it in her pants.

Or her pants on.

Had Faith known that the Rosenberg’s would take in her sister? Of course not. Everyone had been surprised.

But she’d have known that they’d never let anything bad happen to her, that they wouldn’t just leave her to the mercies of state care until there was no other choice and the law took her away.

No. Not with those lawyers on the case. Hope wasn’t ever going to need that last resort like too many kids that overwhelmed the system.

“Willow,” Sheila said. “There are times when it’s wisest just to close your mouth. Like now, for example.”

She turned and saw the girl, easily as tall as Tara now, arrive with her. They’d been supporting each other, arms linked, until Hope handed Tara off to her and the girl went over to the Rosenbergs. Willow couldn’t honestly remember the last time she’d gotten a hug from her Dad like the one that Ira have Hope now.

Or the ones he gave Tara all the time.

But that wasn’t how they were – and she didn’t mind that. She didn’t mind it at all.

“Hey, baby,” she said. “Are you okay?”

Tara nodded, but she was still wiping tears from her face where her eyes were already red. Willow pulled her girlfriend closer, squeezing her. It was hard; it was certainly hard but… She had the sense that a lot of things were rushing from Tara now that had been bottled up by necessity.

Grief, of course.

But fear too.

Fear for her, about whether she’d ever be herself again.

Fear for the world and their friends.

Fear about what had happened to Faith… whether she was really ‘gone’ or somehow she was in a worse place, on the other side, all alone and cut off…

They could only pray that wasn’t the case. Try to use logic to say it couldn’t be, or why would the rift have closed at that very instant?

Tara had another fear though, one that had haunted her for some time. Fear that she’d got things right.

Everyone had been looking to Tara to make decisions. Everyone. And she hadn’t been able to help her with that towards the battle; in fact she’d been a burden. Something else to worry about. So… if Tara wanted to let that all go, if she wanted to lean on her now then…

Good. It’s about time, baby.

“Ethan left this for you,” she said, tucking it into Tara’s bag for now. But her girlfriend just sniffed and pulled at it, even though she’d meant it for later.

“He’s gone?”

“I think so, I don’t think he likes big goodbyes,” she explained. Tara was looking for him as the crowd started to thin and people prepared to leave.

No sign of him though, especially with a more conventional shirt on. He was incognito.

Disappointed, Tara opened the card and even in her grief, did find a moment where she was almost, almost letting a smile break through.

Almost.

“What does it say?”

Tara showed her, handing it over.

‘Think of those who’ve left from time to time.

Maybe when you’re dancing around doing the witch thing.

And if you need help...

ER.’


Below it was a phone number. And… what was that? A Dewey reference for the library? Could be.

“Wow. Do you think you’d ever call?” Willow wondered, curious what the book was as well as what they might use the number for. If it was a book... And how bad would things have to get to call Ethan Rayne? “I think you’d have to be pretty desperate right?”

Tara squeezed her and then put the card in her purse. Carefully, she noted.

Maybe not that desperate then.

“I have to – we have to take Paige to the wake,” Tara said.

“Sure.”

“She wanted to be alone for a moment - I just – I just wanted to bring Hope to your parents.”

Ira coughed.

Willow knew what he meant. He wasn’t about to get Tara to start calling him Dad, not yet. Nor ‘our parents’ but…

“Ira and Sheila,” Tara corrected, forcing a tiny smile while she wiped her eyes again.

“We’re coming,” Ira said. “All of us.”

“But this young lady,” Sheila said. “Is not drinking beer again.”

“It was ale,” Hope said. “And only a small one. But I think – I mean I don’t think Faith would want me to.”

Willow judged that she was probably right. Faith had had her head screwed on better when it came to her sister than she ever had about herself. But then Hope wasn’t the Slayer. Didn’t metabolise a bottle of beer in five minutes flat.

“I - ” Tara nodded towards the trees. “I should – you know.”

Willow nodded, understanding. Olaf was over there and much as he enjoyed a yard or two of ale, there were far too many civilians. Tara needed to say something to him. To make his exclusion right. And what did you say to a giant troll?

“I’ll grab – get Paige,” she said and they went their separate ways. But only for a few moments.

Walking over, she noticed that Paige hadn’t been left alone. Kassia was with her and – as she got closer – she realised that the natural effect of the Succubus… well, it wasn’t affecting her at all. In fact, no one had really looked twice at Kassia all through the service.

Okay, that wasn’t true. Plenty of people had looked. But… not with the eyes of someone who was struck down by her whammy.

“Hey,” she said.

Paige smiled, but it was a sad smile. Willow had sometimes wondered whether it would’ve been better for her not to be pulled into their extended family at all. If she could’ve got past her – Faith would’ve insisted - ‘casual’ lover sooner if they hadn’t… Well…

Or maybe Tara had understood better.

Probably. That was what Tara did better than anyone else. Understanding.

“Kassia – thank you, for coming.”

“I respected her,” Kassia said. “In many ways.”

Having seen the succubus fight and then knowing what else they did… she could imagine. Maybe Faith and Kassia had more in common than it had seemed. “I have to ask… the whammy?”

“Hmm?”

“Why isn’t it…?”

“It isn’t appropriate, is it?”

“No – but – if you could turn it off… why didn’t you all those other times?”

“You should ask about living up to expectations?” Kassia asked. Then she clasped hands with Paige one more time and took her leave.

And the depths of people just kept on surprising her.

“Are you ready?” she asked. “We thought – you’re coming to the wake, with us? Aren’t you?”

Paige didn’t say anything right away; instead she turned and looked at the stone which marked… well, nothing really. But she pressed a finger to her lips and then to the plaque.

“Yes. I’m coming.”

******************

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 168 - 01/13/14
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:18 am 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2000 4:01 pm
Posts: 1154
Topics: 1
Katharyn, I didn’t even consider Shelia and Ira as potential guardians for Hope. Mainly because I didn’t think they were around much. Any planned trips to remote areas with limited and/or non-existent communication abilities will need to be postponed while Hope is in their care. Glad to know they’ve made arrangements for Power of Attorney for Willow and Tara. Ira was right to get that done asap. Glory may be dead, but the threat of badness, from the supernatural and natural world, hasn’t gone away.

Hell Hounds or not, the dogs had 8 paws in the fight against Glory. They are heroes too and should be treated as such. No doubt they will protect Hope with as much loyalty and determination as they did Diana.

Very curious what book, if that’s what the reference is, Ethan is suggesting for Tara. Another mystery to be revealed --soon I hope! :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 168 - 01/13/14
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:14 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Yeah, you see, Kajun, I like to surprise you from time to time. True, Ira and Sheila weren't around so much (but more than in canon cos they had to be spending all that time with Tara planning for the baby!) but it was also convenient for them to be out of the way again when Willow was brain-sucked...

Of course I am playing fast and loose with adoption laws and the like. I did the same for Toni in Sidestep 2 but hey... I surprised people there too by not making it T/W :)

Told ya the dogs would be fine. Not sure Sheila really gets on with them, but they're having fun :)

As for the reference to the book... Yeah... I snuck that in there. All will make sense in the next part. Which you - if you remember - had a very real hand in. Just that you thought you'd already had your hand in it and now you found that you have your hand in it again. Second date! ;) Just kidding... You will probably recognise what follows (the notes certainly make that clear!!) but you just never knew WHEN it was... Now you do.

Thanks so much for this and for the idea for what follows...

Katharyn

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 169 - 01/14/14
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:19 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter One Hundred and Sixty-Nine
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: The beginning of the Epilogue…
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: I am not going to apologise for lifting an entire scene from the very beginning of this fic. I’ve changed 2 or 3 lines and otherwise left it alone, repeating it here.
Why? I hear you ask the question and so I shall answer it.
Well, I chiefly write for the people who are reading this fic along with me. I’ve gone back and edited the very first part of the story to add in the few extra words that I added in this tweaked version (though not the last paragraph which only appears here). That way new readers will get to see it mirrored perfectly from the start. But I wanted to bookend the fic this way.
Kind of. With a bookend that’s like – not at the actual end of the book.
It was Kajun that had the really good idea to use a scene that – at the time – would just be a prologue as a way of proving Tara and Willow are together at the end of the story without Oz. Why? Well, if you remember we started when Oz was still around, so to make it clear FAQ was being observed. What Kajun didn’t suggest was what I am doing with this here… But it just works so well in story terms though. It’s just luck. Pure dumb luck. And good judgement on her part.
So you don’t need to feedback on the dancing, naked – some might say frolicking - lesbian witches (though it’s been more than a year since you did so it may feel shiny and new again? Maybe it just never gets old?). But I think you might want to read it anyway. Just for the very slight tweaks and to set up the last paragraph. I could’ve just relied on you to remember the beginning, but I also write for myself and – frankly – my memory is so poor that I didn’t want to try. Let’s just discuss the final lines…
You know what’s really hard though? Looking at this – over a year later – and NOT changing more than I did. Apart from adding the final paragraphs, I’ve only tweaked 17 words. That’s unheard of for me. I had to do the writing equivalent of putting a bit between my teeth not to revamp it unrecognisably...
So though you’ve seen all but 17 words before, it’s important to read it because the next parts of the epilogue will pay all this off.
Thanks to: Kajun, I guess. For being the lucky b*tch with a reasonable idea that turned into a really good one LOL. *HUGS*!


Three months later.

“It’s actually cooler than I thought it’d be,” Willow said, hugging herself.

Tara nodded, she’d certainly noticed that too.

“And I don’t mean cool in a good way or even ‘yay, it’s not hot for once’,” her girlfriend clarified.

Again, Tara nodded. Her arms were also folded across her chest and she was just about as close to the fire as she thought was safe and prudent, what with having no clothes on.

Butt naked. Not just butt.

“Do you think the breeze will be a problem?” Willow wondered, watching warily as the flames licked towards the tree line when the wind blew.

She didn’t think that it was setting fire to the vegetation that Willow was worried about. There was more than one kind of bush fire that would be considered unfortunate here tonight.

“I don’t think so,” she said after watching it for half a minute or so, vowing to stay far enough from the fire – despite the cool night – to make sure that nothing else went up in flames.

“So… we should probably do this?” Willow asked. “I mean, it’s not getting any warmer.”

Her girlfriend was just as naked as she was and they’d been very careful to make absolutely certain that nothing any smarter than a deer or a rabbit was around for miles. No one would come blundering in, looking for a warm fire in the night. Vampires wouldn’t be this far out of town so that wasn’t going to be a problem either and there were no rangers to worry about them lighting a fire.

Bearing in mind the possibility of triggering a wildfire though they’d both worked on a spell that could – the shower room down at the swimming pool could attest – flood out a small space in a matter of seconds. Then they’d be cold, wet, fireless and have soaked clothes too.

But at least they were thinking safety first. That had been easier with clothes though, like everything else.

How…? She had to wonder whose idea it had been to come out here.

The research about the ideal place, that part had been Willow. Even though she was getting better at it, Willow had access - on her computer - to information way more quickly than she would’ve managed and it was Willow who’d decided that this was the perfect spot for them to ‘do the lesbian witch thing.’

Dancing around a fire.

Naked.

At night.

The trouble was that, in the movies and the books, it must have been warmer. Really, it must’ve been. Of course back then those girls hadn’t shaved, but really, was that going to make that much difference? She was shivering and she was showing the cold in every way, so was Willow. But now they’d driven out here in Ira’s car, they’d arrived and had the fire and everything…

“Maybe if we dance we’ll warm up,” she wondered. It was more hope than anything else. She really just wanted to be warm again.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this in California. It was supposed to be warm and nearly every time they went out at night and had reason to expect it to be warm, it wasn’t. A couple of years ago – before she’d arrived - it had snowed in Sunnydale, maybe it had been something to do with that? Climate change?

Or could it be a right wing conspiracy to make sure that lesbian witches dancing around fires just never caught on. At least not naked.

“I was comfortable in my clothes,” Willow pointed out.

“Me too.”

“Could we – I mean – I don’t think underwear’s going to make a difference, we’d really need to get dressed to make any difference. Maybe a jacket?”

“Lesbian witches,” Tara reminded her. “Naked dancing around fires. We wanted to know why they do it. Supposedly do it.”

“We should’ve asked when we had the chance,” Willow said.

“It didn’t seem important... even when the Wicca Group were all out there.”

“Do you think they’d have helped if they had to get naked?”

Tara considered that for all of a couple of seconds. “No.”

“Not even if it was the end of the world?”

Another couple of seconds. “Some, maybe…” She shrugged. They didn’t know though, whether it was even necessary or easier.

There’d been a theory as to why the presumption about naked dancing around fires had come about. Actually there’d been a few theories.

Theory number one had gone something like it being a back to nature thing, getting closer to the primal elements, air, earth and fire, with nothing to impede the flow of power. She could kind of see that, but were the primal elements so weak that some cotton, maybe a dash of lace and some leather shoes would really mess up the flow?

Theory number two had it that the act of the dancing stirred the witches in question to some state of awareness that improved their access to the power that was latent within them. And yeah, she could see that too… if it was a warm night. Otherwise all you were stirring was an understanding of how cold it really was when you took your clothes off.

Theory number three, the last of the realistic ones they’d discussed, was linked to the second but subtly different and that was that the dancing, the nudity and the fire – everything about it – just increased the witch’s belief that something should work. And so it did.

She was putting a lot of credence in that last theory. Magic was all about belief. If you didn’t believe in what you were trying to do it just wouldn’t happen. Period. Equally the more you believed in it, the more focused you could be on making it happen. That was where she’d have put her money if she’d been a betting lesbian witch.

But then she didn’t have any money on her because she was fricking naked.

“How badly do we want to know whether this is better in any way?” Willow asked. Were her teeth chattering? Or was that just for effect?

“It was you, sweetie, who wanted to do this. You said, ‘why don’t we try it’?”

“That was when we all snuggled up and it sounded like a fun idea. And you, you said ‘sure.’ I didn’t know my girlfriend was really a naked dancer.”

“You knew I was a lesbian and a witch,” Tara said, hopping from foot to foot, trying to keep herself warm and using her hands to keep everything under control while she jiggled.

“That’s a kind of circular argument, love,” Willow said. “I mean, you dance naked around fires because you’re a lesbian witch and you’re a lesbian witch because you dance naked around fires? Which witch came first? Which witch, did you hear what I did there?”

She smiled, “I heard. But… We’re here now. We came a long way and… what else are we going to do?”

Actually she could think of a few things, but… hey, they had come here for a reason. This reason – kind of.

“So… You first,” Willow said.

“Together,” Tara insisted.

“No, I… I want to see how you do it. I mean, you’ve been a lesbian longer than I have – and a witch. So… it makes sense you should be better at it than me.”

“Oh, come on!”

“Really, you know how I am with dancing. I… I really don’t know what to do unless you’re leading. Think of it like that, you’re just leading. And naked.”

Tara watched the fire crackle for a moment, judged her route in safety terms when the wind blew a little stronger and… “Really? That’s your best argument?”

“Please?”

Sighing, she dropped her hands and started to move around the fire.

“That’s walking and there’s not much dancing going on. I mean, you’re still hot and all but – not what we’re here for.”

“I’m trying to find the rhythm,” she pointed out. What? Did Willow think that dancing came naturally to her?

“Should we have brought music?” Willow wondered.

“Maybe.”

“I could always go to the car, crank up the stereo?”

“Don’t you move, missy!” Tara told her. She wasn’t having Willow wandering off and settling into the car with the heater on.

“You look hot,” Willow said. “You know… in the firelight. Definitely… hot.”

“Funny, because I’m freezing my b-butt off.”

“Not just your butt,” Willow said, reaching out and tweaking her cold-stiffened nipple as they passed each other.

“Hey!”

“Sorry, I just couldn’t help it… you’re just looking so… perky.”

“I’m perkier than I ever want to be,” Tara said, starting to move into some version of what a naked witch dance – for lesbians – might look like. It wasn’t exactly rhythm that she had but… who was she going to embarrass herself in front of?

“Maybe a little faster?” Willow asked, smacking her on the ass this time as she went past.

After yelping, Tara glared. “You’re not taking this seriously – ow – there’s something on the ground there!”

“It’s just a twig,” Willow said, kicking it towards the fire. “Don’t worry.”

“Watch you don’t get anything singed!” Tara worried.

“I am… there’s not going to be any burning bushes on this trip into the wilderness, I can promise you that much.”

Tara laughed. “I was thinking about that too.”

“Maybe we’re getting in synch,” Willow suggested.

“Maybe we would be if you were dancing?”

“Like that?”

“Or… whatever, but…” Tara paused in front of Willow, half expecting a mildly-intimate assault on her person but only half pleased that there wasn’t one. Instead she drew Willow towards her, moving backwards as she pulled her lover – her fellow lesbian witch – into motion. No more excuses.

“You’re all jiggly,” Willow said. “I like it.”

“You’re…”

“I don’t have much to jiggle. But I’m doing my best. See?”

Watching Willow trying to shake her chest, it was something Tara thought she’d ever be able to loose from her memory, but then she wouldn’t want to, would she? “I see.”

She turned, facing forwards again and knowing that Willow’s eyes were probably fastened on her butt much more than the possibilities of magic… Nope, it still couldn’t ever be a bad thing that her girlfriend loved her butt.

“Come on,” she said. “It does help you warm up.” Now she’d made a couple of circuits at speed, yeah… things were warming up..

“I have a theory,” Willow said, just a little breathless after they’d been going for a while.

“You think we should be chanting? Or know what spell we’re trying to do?” Tara suggested. Those were the things that had crossed her mind after all. They really had no idea what they were supposed to be achieving. Dancing naked around a fire had been the thing. That was what they’d read anyway. Guided reading, but it was in books.

“Umm, maybe. But I think I have a fourth theory for you, another reason why this might’ve worked.”

“Go on?”

“Slow down, we’re not all as fit as you,” Willow said and then, when she did, “Slower…”

“How slow?”

“This slow,” Willow said, pulling her to a stop, turning her around and embracing her. Despite the cold, a light sheen of sweat covered them both by now and that was nothing new. Usually though, they were in bed and breathing hard for another reason, if they were feeling energetic. The open air and the crackle of the fire, sure it was attractive… That was the new part.

“What’s your theory?” she asked, pressed up against her girlfriend. Willow’s stiffened nipples brushing against her.

“I think, maybe, they were just girls who were into each other… because this is kind of hot and you’re all sexy and sweaty and if you were even more worked up and…”
“So you mean it’s because they were lesbians? And maybe they needed to get away from the eyes of the rest of their communities?” Okay, now she was messing with Willow’s head, trying to keep things vaguely intellectually even though her girlfriend’s intentions were pretty clear. They weren’t going to be dancing anymore.

“Because if you take a hot lesbian into the back end of nowhere, have her get all worked up dancing around a fire with you and then pull her down into your sleeping bag or under some skins or whatever they had, down by the fire…”

“Uhuh?” Tara asked, allowing herself to be drawn downwards in just that way.

“Then you’re probably going to get some pretty amazing sex out of it,” Willow went on.

“Oh.”

“I’d like to test the theory.”

“I think,” Tara said. “I think maybe we owe it to… academia. You know, in case we’re ever asked.”

“You’re absolutely right. This is snuggly, huh?” Willow’s questioned followed zipping themselves into the bag.

“You’re sure the sleeping bag won’t catch fire?” Tara asked.

“We’re fine. After everything we’ve been through…”

Tara kissed the tip of her girlfriend’s nose. “It’s been a lot.”

“And you still love me.”

“I still love you,” she agreed. “Do you love me?” She didn’t need to worry about the answer. But… the last couple of years had been a roller coaster ride and it was nice to just hear it all the same.

“You know I do.” Willow wriggled – which was all sorts of stimulating – until Tara found she was spooning her, pulling the sleeping bag tighter around both of them.

“Do you remember?” Tara asked, slipping her hand downwards and finding the bush that she’d really not wanted to get burned.

“What?” Willow gasped.

“All of it? How things were…”

“How could I forget? Mmm, right there.”

Even though she’d found exactly the spot, they both froze at the same moment, knowing someone was here that hadn’t been a moment before. The spells that had ensured there was no one around… didn’t. Not anymore.

Someone was right here. With them

Talking.

“So, Willow, the carpet really does match the drapes.

“What’s going on, minge-munchers?”

*******************

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 169 - 01/14/14
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:04 pm 
Offline
5. Willowhand
User avatar

Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:09 pm
Posts: 298
Topics: 5
Location: California
I have no words.

Sorry for lack of feedback in a while, college has been a killer, and the holidays basically destroyed me.

My train of thought has been, "No. She wouldn't. She wouldn't kill Faith. Not again. Not after the last time." The one person not in my dead pool. I placated myself with that knowledge that you at least didn't kill the kitty or the doggies. I'd never forgive you.

...Don't get any ideas from that, I swear.

And now the newest chapter? I'll admit I shrieked a little at the end.

EDIT Woah it seems in my bluster I pulled the dibs rug right out from under Kajun. But I'll let you have this, oh spicy one, on account of me not declaring

_________________
"If I can't be a good example, might as well be a horrible warning."

"Friendship is obviously magic. Love is a sorta super strong friendship. We gay people love so hard we broke 'Social Norm'. Ergo, we gay people are ultra-strong wizards."


Last edited by faolan228 on Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 169 - 01/14/14
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:06 pm 
Offline
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
Ms. Moderator Fantastico
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2000 4:01 pm
Posts: 1154
Topics: 1
Katharyn, WHAT? WHAT? That is most definitely Faith!!!! No one else addresses the girls like that. Why is she out in the boondocks? Was she specifically looking for Willow and Tara or is the three of them being at the same time/place a weird Sunnydale happenstance? Is she real? I don’t see how the naked dancing and such could have accidentally created a spell. They weren’t focused on much besides being cold.. and naked. LOL So that can’t be what’s happening. I was kinda grumpy, regardless of my attempts at denying Faith’s fate, and now you’ve gone and got my hopes up that the Slayer is back. I mean really, truly back and not a ghost or freaky mimic demon or robot.

I love what you did here, going back to the erm.. beginning and extending the scene. You took a smidgen of an idea and turned it into something really cool and fun that also fits perfectly with the story. Bravo to you!

Faith revealed her presence just in time. She obviously took a second or two to observe the pair but who could blame her for being curious to see what the witches were trying to conjure up. She could have guessed the first thing to be summoned was their passion. LOL No fear though, the Slayer talks a good game but she’s a doer, not a watcher. It’s still pretty funny that neither girl had an actual spell in mind.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say WHOOHOO!! Probably be saying, “Uh-Oh” in a couple days. LOL :)


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 169 - 01/14/14
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:34 pm 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Faolan - HEY! Great to know you're still reading and I completely understand, life gets in the way...

Got in my way for a couple of years there on Sidestep, so I can't complain!

Faith's place in the "dead pool"... Well, partly this was what the re-writes of the whole ending addressed. In the original it was too much like canon with Faith instead of Buffy. We'd always have come to this point, but things would be a little different to how they are now.

Yes. It is Faith. More than that I shall not say right now.

And I know WAY better than to kill the doggies. Or the kitty. Hope will never be 'playing with a crossbow' GRR.

Thanks so much, so glad you're reading :)

Kajun - Yeah... I wanted to save one of the best Faith greetings for this so you would know it was her, still leaving it as a 'cliff hanger' though...

As I said, yes. It's Faith.

Definitely not a robot.

Or a ghost.

And not a mimic demon.

But addressing your 'uh oh', how bad can it be? We end in part 176. And I am leaving it in a good place, I promise. So not to say that there's not stuff to get through but... we will.

I couldn't say much when you were grumpy. And this is why :D

But thank you for the idea about that first scene... I had no idea until quite late that it would be so perfect here. A few years ago I might have just ended the entire fic with Faith's last line there. But back then Xita would've told me off for not showing her what she wanted to see so... Yeah, several more parts dealing with all this.

The big thing though is... Willow and Tara really weren't trying to summon ANYTHING. They were just into the naked dancing thing cos... Lesbian witches and that - apparently - is something they're supposed to do. At least before they leave college...

So they did and...

Yeah :)

What's going on will be in the coming parts.

Thanks!

Katharyn

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - Chapter 170 - 01/16/14
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:19 am 
Offline
23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter One Hundred and Seventy
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: 2nd part of the epilogue after Faith’s return.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: So… last time we repeated a part that you’d all already read but then threw a cliff-hanger in there. I already commented on the fact that time had passed since Faith left, four whole months where Tara – especially – had struggled with it. I’m not sure we get the full feeling of that since only three scenes exist where she’d gone. But hey…
So, Faith’s back. And we have to deal with that.
Oh, and by the way, the 17 new words added to the prologue (which is the last part) were supposed to imply that they’d been guided in their reading about the dancing… If you remember Ethan’s card to Tara? That was a VERY late addition for me, because the funeral scene didn’t exist until my redraft pass when I needed more of time passing. Did he know? Did he suspect? Maybe… or maybe, as the rest of the epilogue implies, things just happen…
You decide.
We’re into a couple of slightly shorter parts in this and 171 just because of how the breaks between scenes need to fall. Please excuse me on that 
Thanks to: My ever supporting friends.



“Jesus!” Tara exclaimed as Willow went to hide behind her, leaving her to cover both herself and her girl. Obviously that worked out better for Willow but -

“No, T. Not him. It’s just me.”

Faith.

Faith Lehane.

Faith Lehane. Stood there.

Right there.

In front of them.

Four months after she’d disappeared at the end of the world. Preventing another place from unfolding over their reality – Sunnydale first – and now there she was. All… dark?

“Might be you want to put some clothes on,” Faith said, pulling her own jacket on. She’d been carrying it, like she was just out for a stroll in the woods and not… dead. “Looking kind of naked there, ya hippies.”

Contrary to everything they’d worried about, being caught out here – naked – was the smallest thing right now.

“What – how – what - ?”

“Use your words, Red,” Faith said, otherwise ignoring them to walk up to the fire where she was holding out her hands. “I know you’re proud of them.”

She and Willow looked at each other, even though her girlfriend shuffled to stay behind her. Was this real? Was this Faith? Some delusion they were sharing? A nightmare? Willow often had naked nightmares but usually in class and… Am I in Willow’s nightmare right now?

Or is it my own?


“You two know how to pick your moment, I’ll give you that. What, I didn’t show up fast enough so you thought you’d get busy?”

“No! I mean – what?”

Her mind was whirling while Willow was giving that voice. She had no idea what was happening either. But Willow was – at least – hidden behind her. It was only Faith – or something that looked like her - but, that didn’t mean she didn’t want to be flaunting her bits and –

Was it Faith? What made them so sure it was Faith?

Nothing. Once over the shock, now she had to worry about that.

And having no clothes on.

They’d seen – and fought – enough to understand how things could get in your head or take on other shapes and bodies and –

And you didn’t want to fight any of those things naked. It was a new rule. They were never doing this again.

“Who are you?” she asked. “Are you really her?”

It looked like – but it didn’t.

It did but – there was something different. Something… dark. Or was it the firelight?

Am I not remembering her as she really was?

She’d spent a long time telling any one who’d listen that Faith was… a better person than most of them had thought.

Was that behind the ‘differences’ she was detecting now?

Have I idealised her in my mind?

“I’m me, if that’s what you mean,” Faith replied, looking at them from the fire where she was still trying to warm herself. “Seriously, you dykes need to put some clothes on. It’s freezing out here. I don’t care how hot to trot you are.”

Okay… Now, see, it was chilly at night without clothes on but – not that cold. Not freezing. Not for Faith who was dressed and had already put on a jacket.

Not unless you’d been somewhere… warmer.

Oh no, Faith hadn’t been in… well, a place with lots of fire?

She didn’t even want to think the name that had come to mind. The things she’d done – could that be real? They knew the underworld was and there’d been talk about a hell like component of that place… Tartarus. Was that filled with fire?

No, that was the Christian belief, wasn’t it?

Stop.

They didn’t even know it was Faith – so… Just. No.

But whoever it was, whatever it was – it was right about the clothes. No good came from fighting monsters in the nude.

Except that one time Faith had done just that and –

Even Willow had been impressed. Especially the thing with the thighs…

Should I ask her – it – about that? Something only Faith would know? Is that what’s supposed to happen now? We try and trick it?

No, what was supposed to happen now was that they got less naked.

Shuffling slowly around as a pair, they moved towards their pile of clothes and she nodded fervently at Willow to sort them out, while she ‘covered’ them both – squatting at the same time as her girlfriend - and herself with her hands. “No, those are mine,” she pointed out when Willow picked up the wrong pair.

“I know – I was – I was going to help you on with them. Being the good girlfriend?”

Faith – if that was who she was – wasn’t even paying any attention, hands over the fire. Close - very close - to the fire.

“No need, honey,” she hissed and took them from Willow, pulling them on and following them quickly with her jeans and shirt, not worrying about anything else for now.

Faith was here? Could it really be her?

Already, just looking at her… Look at how she moved, stood. How she rubbed her hands together. The way she talked – teased them about just being who they were. The language? It was all… Faith.

But she couldn’t shake the feeling there was also something… off?

It really might just be her memory playing tricks. When you’d missed your best friend for months – seen her walk to her death… Maybe the mind could do that. But why about that – why about the air of ‘dark’ she had to her? Why not to how she talked or moved or… any of the things that said it was Faith?

Of course, they’d never seen a body. They’d never really understood what had happened beyond the fact that they’d won the battle, Glory was gone – head ripped off by a suspiciously strong and fast Faith. The walls between dimensions had been reinforced again.

And Faith had said, she’d said there was a price to pay so she’d – they’d all – just assumed it had been paid and that aspect of what had happened had barely been talked about since that moment.

Faith had sacrificed herself for her sister and the world. That was all anyone really needed to know.

“You two lezzas dressed yet?” Faith asked.

“Umm – sure.”

“So – what - can I get a hug?” the seeming-Slayer asked, turning to them.

“That’s not Faith,” Willow hissed, stuffing her bra into her pocket for her. “Faith never asked for a hug in her life.”

A faint smile crossed ‘Faith’s’ features. It looked like her. It looked very, very like her. But… darker. Not in the skin. Nor the hair. Not in the sense of being bad either – which some people might’ve called ‘dark’.

The fire… The way the fire cast its light on her was all-wrong. No, not that – not exactly. The other way… It wasn’t about the light. The shadows. It was just… like the shadows wrapped around her. Flowed through her.

From her.

The way the shadows…

“Red - ” Faith said, taking a step forward and stopping as they both backed up. Yes, she was afraid. Willow was too. Last time they’d seen Faith she’d been… more powerful than she had any right to be. Way beyond being a Slayer.

Way beyond Glory…

Sacrificing herself for the world, for them and mostly for her sister.

Not even phased by the hideous bellows of the giant creature on the other side…

Different then. Now though…

“I’m me. Seriously.”

“Prove it,” Willow said.

“You’re a nerdy, ginger dyke with better taste in girlfriends than you have in clothes,” Faith said to Willow.

“Sounds like her,” Willow admitted. “And I do have great taste in girlfriends.”

“Where’s my sister?” Faith asked, seeming to tire of their scepticism before they were really over it. “Is she okay? She’s the only reason - ”

----------------------


Turned out that Hope wasn’t the only reason.

And Faith had admitted as much. Since it was – they had to conclude – Faith. She knew too much, she knew everything and there was really no denying it.

No matter if she was… something was off, they both saw it but… Getting to the bottom of what it was meant spending time with her. And the returned young woman wasn’t happy to do that out in the middle of nowhere.

Faith had two reasons for being here. The first was Hope and the other one was obviously – well - food.

Watching Faith eat was a little like – she imagined – watching a starving man at a banquet. A little of this, a little of that and then back for the rest of all of it.

She’d already demolished most of two cooked breakfasts and nearly a whole key lime pie. Not a slice, the whole pie.

The girl was evidently starving even if she didn’t look much different to how she had when she left. As a Slayer, she – like buffy – would never carrymuch weight but she didn’t look thin and malnourished (or even especially muscular). In fact she looked great. Except for the shadows and all…

Those absences of light were less pronounced now - in the artificial overheads of the diner - than they had been out in the woods.

Actually, she was a little surprised that they’d stopped here at all – or she had been until she’d seen Faith start on the food. She’d been trying to figure out how to stop the urgent need to wake up Hope and shatter her world.

Again.

Then they’d driven past this place and they’d been asked to stop and… yeah. Eating had commenced. Seeing how much, and how hungry she was, Willow understood why – at least for a moment – Faith had put her sister on the back burner.

Maybe it had something to do with being the middle of the night too. Maybe… Which should’ve been her first reason not to take Faith right there.

Faith Lehane…

That it was Faith seemed clear even if there was no way to definitively prove it, not exactly. But there was plenty that she wasn’t saying. Like anything about where she’d been or what she’d been doing and why she wasn’t actually dead.

She wasn’t dead was she? That was something she’d thought maybe they had to worry about but… Not a vampire because – food. Not a ghoul because if she was, she’d be eating them. And not in a sexy way. But something else? She had colour in her cheeks, blood was pumping – she’d watched the spot on her neck where the artery… Faith looked alive.

Just… shadowy.

And she knew Tara saw it too. It worried her…

It should.

“Haven’ you – umm – eaten?”

“It’s kind of a limited menu,” Faith said. “And we do not have pie like this, God… why didn’t you tell me about this pie before? This is better than a long screw against the wall.”

How did you answer that? Maybe… go back to the key word in what Faith had said. “We?” she asked, glancing at Tara.

“Sure. We.”

Tara shook her head slightly, signalling that maybe now wasn’t the time for an interrogation. They needed to know more though, before they took Faith to her sister.

Hope deserved more than just being faced with her shadow-laced sister without any warning or explanation. Or before they knew what Faith wanted. Because… it’d crush Hope if she’d turned bad somehow.

Again.

Just when time was proving to be the bets healer.

So, okay, well, if she couldn’t ask about who was sharing the ‘limited menu’ then onto the next important thing. “So, what’s with all the shadows?” she asked.

Tara would – she was sure – have slapped her own forehead if that were something she’d been prone to when showing her exasperation. Luckily it wasn’t and self-inflicted bruises didn’t marr that pretty skin.

But it wasn’t about the food, or who ‘we’ was or where she’d been… So, why not? Faith was ‘laced’, that was the perfect word, in shadows. She looked like she’d just blend into a dark space. Not like camouflage, but literally blend into it.

Because the shadows seemed to be… alive.

Or maybe not quite ‘alive’.

Unusual, for sure. It was pretty much a rule. If the light was static and the person wasn’t moving then… the shadows shouldn’t be shifting like that. Almost as if trying to reach Faith.

Given what they knew, all of that was a definite possibility. Stranger things had happened… They were in a booth, with Faith blocked in by the pair of them. Usually they’d have sat together but… not this time. They didn’t want her leaving or running off after Hope and…

How in hell are we going to stop her if she decides to do that? Look what she did to Glory? Look what she could do when she was ‘just’ a Slayer.

“Oh, this? This is just me now,” Faith replied, glancing down at herself. “Cool, huh?”

Ain’t no thing.

She and Tara shared another glance.

“Umm…” Okay. I’m out. I don’t know how to deal with that. Because, really, it was a thing.

“You look beautiful,” Tara said.

Willow’s eyes widened. Not because of the choice of words, or even how they’d been meant. But because it appeared… Tara was just accepting this? She knew better, of course. Tara would never put Hope or anyone else at risk by being blasé about it.

But evidently her girlfriend had decided to approach this another way. And she’d know if it was the right one better than anyone else. Faith had never been one to explain herself all that much. Not even when she was justifying some self-described ‘fucked up shit.’

You never got an excuse out of her. She didn’t usually care enough to try and make one up. Just the facts. From her own point of view.

Faith stopped at the compliment though, fork in mid-entry to her mouth. “Thanks, T. I feel good.”

“Hungry,” Willow said. “Obviously.”

“Problem?”

“Don’t you have any money?” she wondered.

“Willow!”

“No, come on. She’s here. She’s not – exactly – dead, are you? Well, whatever you are – you’ve not got any money? Have you?”

“I knew you girls wouldn’t go out doing the naked, lesbo dancing without some cash on you. You’re too well prepared for that,” Faith said.

She wanted to bite back. But everything Faith had said was true but – aha! There was one flaw in her argument. “Witches. We were dancing as witches. Not lesbians.”

“Because that’s what you sluts do.”

“Not anymore,” she said under breath. If your book learned naked, lesbian witch dancing was going to be calling disappeared, vanished, presumed dead Slayers from… well, wherever she’d been, no, they wouldn’t be doing any more of that.

And she’d thought it was just a good idea because – hello – how else was she going to get a naked, jiggly Tara? Okay, silly question, she could get Tara jiggly practically at will. And naked. But running around?

It’d seemed like a good idea, while they were still in college. It had seemed like the kind of thing you wanted to look back on in twenty years and say ‘Hey, baby – you’re still really hot but remember the time…?’

That was all she’d wanted and Tara had been surprisingly easy to persuade but then… this? It had to be the dancing right? They’d made a circle – in a way – and they’d had a fire. They’d been energetic – if cold – and of course Faith had probably been on their minds at some point because she often was but –

Really? They’d done this? That easily?

“So… where have you been?”

“Willow!” Tara protested again.

“What? Oh, come on. You really don’t want to know now? And if we wait for her to finish eating - ”

“You’d know all about eating, I guess…”

Faith raised her eyebrows over a spoon full of pie, looking right at her. And even though she thought she saw… it was like something in her eyes, something that hadn’t been there before. But there was no doubt this was Faith Lehane. No mere copy could’ve laced so few words with so much innuendo. Faith was unique in that respect.

Actually, no. You couldn’t really call it ‘innuendo’ when there was no attempt to conceal it.

“Yes, I do,” she said, owning what she was being accused of. Why not? When it came to that other kind of eating, she was a truly cunning linguist.

She could wrap her tongue around anything.

Which made Faith smile. A big, genuine smile of the sort they’d rarely seen. And that seemed more out of sorts than the shadow and the thing with her eyes and – and – if something had planned to copy her, to make her convincing, then really… wouldn’t they have done a better job with the shadows and the eyes and…

While they couldn’t possibly have done a better job with the mind and the spirit. And that was what counted. What was inside.

This was like… Faith+

Nothing was missing, the snark and the attitude was all there. The swagger – well, she hadn’t been paying attention to Faith’s ass while she’d been scrabbling for her clothes, but that seemed to be there too.

She was still beautiful – just as Tara had said – but darkly beautiful now.

Less of the skank and more of -

And she had that mystery thing going on for her too. She’d vanished and… they’d all just assumed – not without really good reason – that she’d died.

Apparently not?

And now she was back. What did that mean? Where had she been? What had happened to her apart from dealing with limited menus? They still didn’t know.

Why was she… changed in the ways that she was? What was up with that lacing of shadows – which was going to be totally the way they described this later. Because people would ask once they found out…

“I’m sorry to be the one to – you know – cut to the chase, what does that mean anyway? Never mind, but – Faith you were gone. You were dead - ” She hesitated as the waitress passed the table and gave her a shocked, hard look “ – right. You were dead right.”

“Huh?”

The waitress – the same one who, on arrival, had shown way too much interest in the fact neither of them had taken a moment to put their bra’s on – had passed them by though and she was able to get back to what she was saying. “You were dead,” she said again.

“No, definitely not. That was part of the deal,” Faith said. “No dead time.”

“Deal?” She looked at Tara, confused. There had been a deal? No one had told her about a deal.

“You didn’t tell her about the deal?” Faith asked.

No, no one told me about the deal. “Tell me what?”

“We – we didn’t know much about it,” Tara said. “Not for sure.”

“Didn’t know what?” Faith asked. “I told you everything that mattered.”

Tara shook her head. “I didn’t not tell you anything, baby,” she said confusing her with a double or maybe even a triple negative, but whatever she’d said grammatically she knew what Tara meant.

“She was brain sucked,” Faith said. “I guess, once she was fixed, it might’ve slipped your mind? Better things to do? Never mind poor Faith…”

“You don’t need to offer Tara excuses,” Willow said. “Especially not dirty ones.”

Once Faith had been gone Tara had been caught up in the twin compulsions of grief and the need to make things work for everyone, including helping her after she’d got her mind back. Sexy time wasn’t something that – It’d been a long time before they’d found the chance and the mood to - “What was it you didn’t tell me, Tara?” she asked.

“No. I mean – we had – I thought maybe there was a bargain. Faith seemed to confirm it – she did – I guess – but – it wasn’t what I thought – I mean, she’s here – I thought she’d be… Gone. Forever… She asked for a coin for the Ferryman and we knew – we all thought we knew what that meant. But - ”

Willow could see that her girlfriend was freshly confused by Faith’s reappearance. That in her concern – and wary happiness – she’d not stopped to consider the detail and what it meant for what she’d previously assumed.

Yeah, Sunnydale had a way of doing that to you.

They thought the bargain was that Faith had to die. Obviously it had really been… something else.

“You really thought I was dead,” Faith said. Even though she’d already finished most of a Key Lime pie, she was going back to the bacon now? That was really, really hungry. Or just not very organised. Maybe both.

And after all that food, why didn’t she have a belly?

Slayers… designed just to make the rest of the female population feel bad about their post feast stomachs.

“We thought you were…”

“Dead,” Faith said again.

“Maybe,” Tara said. “We didn’t – we didn’t think too much about the deal once that happened. It – it seemed better just to say that you saved us all. Because you did. Maybe I just thought it would’ve been - ”

“Better?” Faith asked. “You didn’t like the alternatives, did you?”

“Was I supposed to?”

Willow understood why Tara wouldn’t have wanted to talk about it. Wouldn’t have wanted to think about it. Hades was the Lord of the Underworld. Everyone and everything there… Well, they were they had one thing in common, right? And she’d paid the ferryman and –

Tara was supposed to have thought about what else the deal might’ve been? The underworld… it was no place for the living. Right? The clue really was in the name.

“It was my choice,” Faith said. “No one twisted my arm. You know, you saw, I was the one twisting arms. Remember that?”

Tara smiled, as if she was doing just that. But… probably not. Not exactly. Tara didn’t enjoy that sort of thing – the violence. More likely she was really coming to believe this really was Faith. No matter what had changed. Because this did sound the most like her. Right now, it sounded exactly like her.

Not the Faith who’d come to Sunnydale to make trouble and switch bodies and hurt people. No, it sounded exactly like the Faith Tara had stood up for, gotten everyone to give a chance to and… changed. For the better.

The Faith with a sister who worshipped her.

That was the Faith that was sat between them now.

Just with shadows.

“So, it was worth it, right?” Faith asked. “I nearly ripped the bitch’s arm off.”

“Yeah, you did -”

“And then I did take her head. Shame I missed the tits, after I promised her and all.”

“What was the idea?” Willow asked. “What are we talking about?”

“Faith made a deal…” Tara said.

Willow’s girlfriend was reconsidering. Rethinking. Tara was coming to conclusions. Realising. Was it… that bad? From her expression… It was bad. It was worse and not just because they hadn’t understood their friend was still – somehow – still alive.

Sort of, at least.

“What?”

“Hades - ” Tara started as it dawned on her. “Why didn’t I…? I never thought – Oh, no. You can’t have – Honey, no…”

“What – what did he do? He didn’t just do it to survive?” she asked, looking from one to the other. Still existing wasn’t enough for the ancient Lord of the Dead? That wasn’t enough of a bargain?

Tara didn’t think so. In fact she was… She was horrified. Almost shaking with it.

How could it be worse than dead?

Eventually Faith answered her question. Tara didn’t seem able to.

“I married him.”

*********************

_________________
-------------------------
If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1082 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37  Next

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

W/T Love 24/7 since July 2000
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group