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

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:12 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Dibs!

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“All I feel is sunlight. All I hear is music.” Willow
How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 1:13 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:45 pm
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Topics: 15
Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Dibs!

Wow, what an episode!

I was surprised when the girls revealed that they remembered their other incarnations so well.
Sort of a crossover... with another chapter of the same story.
Very cool.

And i laughed out loud when Joyce popped up with her 'long distance relationship' comment.
I think Joyce knows something that Buffy hasn't figured out yet.

Woohoo!
Roll on Boston!

Looking forward to that, between glimpses of other worlds :bounce

I can't wait!

R :flower

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“All I feel is sunlight. All I hear is music.” Willow
How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:11 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Hi Azirahael. Yup pretty much right after "their first kiss" the girls remember everything. It's a fun trick that will let me use blatant foreshadowing and dramatic reveals without resorting to flashbacks, retcons or heavy handed exposition in the busier story lines.

Just wait till you see where they picked up some stuff they already talked about in the early Buffyverse chapters. And before you ask I'll answer the obvious question.

Yes, Buffyverse Willow knows by heart exactly how to build fully functional Iron Man Armor. She learned from Tony Stark himself.

No, she can't make any in the Buffyverse storyline. The physics on the hellmouth don't allow it to do half the good stuff Iron Man is famous for and the elements the suit requires to function don't exist in Sunnydale.

Like when Landok came to LA and said to kill Drokkens you need to dip a blade in thromium or unobtainium or some shit. Lorne was all like "Yeah, we don't have those in this dimension." So then Landok was like "Okay then we need to beat it to death with something heavy." What was I talking about again?

Having Slayers run around in Iron Man/Patriot/War Machine/Rescue Armor seemed like a cheat that would break things too easily. But they did learn other useful tricks in that world.

I think it's safe to reveal by now that Joyce has her suspicions, and that those suspicions are based on empirical evidence that won't be revealed for a while. But when it comes I believe we'll all get a laugh out of it.

Boston is coming. But first we have to check in on the wacky antics of the Witch King.

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Time and Time Again


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:25 am 
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Time and Time Again.

Author: Citanul

Feedback: Be kind, rewind?

Spoilers: Just about all of them. Go watch the show.

Rating: NC-17 Sex scene right off the bat. You've been warned.

Pairings: W/T, B/F

Disclaimer: You all know I don’t own the rights to characters you’ve seen on TV.

Summary: A story of reincarnation and interdimensional travel made possible through the power of love. What misfortunes will our two favorite love birds be able to prevent with the aid of experience from countless past lives.

Author’s Note: Okay so there's a bit of the sexy sexy lovey dovey right away. I think I'm getting better at those scenes. I'll admit the one back in chapter 2 wasn't my finest work but it was a dream sequence so it being a bit screwy may have just added to the shock of the Rick Roll. We're back with the Witch King's crew, and there are some familiar faces you'll get to see again.

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

Dark Age Chronicles: Good Things Come In Threes

In a windowless room half way up the central tower of the citadel of the Witch King there was a chair. The chair was unlike any other chair in the kingdom. The Queen, or consort, or royal inventor? Whatever they were calling the slender redhead that guided the kingdom through the technological revolution it was currently engaged in, the fact remained that she had designed that chair specifically for that room.

For unlike any other chamber this location was special. Its purpose and use were exclusively reserved for the monarch of the citadel. In the room stood a circular raised dais. The walls had been shaped and worked so they formed an almost perfect sphere. Every surface of the interior of that sphere was covered in plates of silver polished to a fine mirror shine. The many reflective surfaces did their job so well that it only took a single candle to bathe the spherical room in light.

At the center of this sphere was the chair. It had taken some work with the tools available but Lady Willow had managed to recreate the finest in reclining lounge chair innovations. The seat at the center of the special room was well cushioned with leather upholstery and built to swivel and recline. It gave the Witch King an incredible advantage whenever she used this room.

A hatch in the dais opened as Tara Maclay climbed the tight spiral staircase tucked into a corner of the uppermost level of the great library on the floor just below. That staircase and hatch was the only point of entry for her observatory.

Tara placed the lantern she had brought in an alcove built into the dais. It filled the room with light and wouldn’t get in the way of her work. The Witch King then sat in her well cushioned chair and began a ritual she now knew by heart. With a brief prayer to the Goddess the mirrors came alive.

Countless images flashed into being. Aerial views of the countryside played across the majority of the surfaces. Many mirrors showed what looked like the view from a tall tree branch or lamp post. Several showed signs of human activity.

Tara smiled at the tireless work her vast conspiracy of ravens was engaged in. Though she often made a show of summoning them to her with magic she knew her research was still years away from being able to magically create the little black birds from thin air. So she had been breeding them for years. Each and every egg lain in the roost she maintained had been blessed by her personally. They truly were her eyes in this world.

A very small number of the dear creatures had even learned to mimic human speech. Those she took special care of. The limited ability they possessed made them the perfect conduits for relaying verbal messages she recorded with magic.

From the moment Tara had told Willow about her birds Willow had set to work designing this chamber. In the weeks since the Rosenbergs were rescued and took over management of the library the observatory had been finished and Tara had expanded her scouting capabilities exponentially.

The raids on slave caravans had gone from a handful a week to as many as a half dozen a day. The ranks of The Witch Kings army had swelled and the number of refugees desperate for a fresh start or in search of lost loved ones had made the city into a thriving metropolis of people from countless backgrounds.

Each and every soul brought some contribution to her kingdom. Whether they had studied as a scholar and were currently working closely with Ira to revolutionize education, or had only the skill to haul heavy loads all day long and went to the work crews Xander had shown adept skill at managing they all made a difference.

Perhaps that was the difference that made life in service to the Witch King appealing. Everyone in the kingdom, from the greatest soldier to the guy who moved rocks all day long, was told on a daily basis how important their efforts were to life in the kingdom as a whole.

Tara wondered idly if any other warlords in this world had tried this method. She doubted any could even fathom the emotions necessary to even pretend they cared. She knew her father didn’t.

With a shudder Tara banished the stray thought of her father. He was gone and she ruled a kingdom he could never hope to equal. She and Willow were as safe as they ever could be in this barbaric world. Yet there were others less fortunate.

Two recent caravans had brought in people Tara and Willow had been keeping an eye out for. Seeing Roger and Trish Burkle in slave collars with no idea what happened to their daughter was a frightening event. Though deep down Tara and Willow both knew Fred was a survivor. She had survived life in Pylea for years at least the handful of times they had the chance to meet her.

Tara hoped the slim brunette would prove just as resourceful having grown up in an Earth that gave the classic Pylea a run for its money in the medieval fantasy land department. With Fred’s parents safely within the city walls and plying their trades for the community she had hope things would work out.

A slightly more shocking turn of events was seeing the face of Harriet Doyle in the very next influx on refugees. She had been taken from their home while her husband was out trying to build a new schoolhouse. She had no idea what had become of him in the week since.

Thankfully she already knew he was a half demon. Willow had expressed no excitement at the thought of reuniting the couple only to have them fall apart again the second the poor man sneezed his spikes out.

So two of their friends and allies were out in the wilds and needed finding. Luckily Tara had a great many more ravens. She had sent the vast majority of the avian populace of the citadel out in all directions. On a happy note they had successfully mapped out slave caravan routes for all the surrounding kingdoms, and had mobilized troops accordingly. Her neighbors may declare war or gratitude over the loss of slavers within their borders. Neither reaction would stop her from freeing people carted off against their will.

They had stepped up raids significantly yet they hadn’t found a trace of the people she was searching for. Tara had to go back to the drawing board. She would find them but it required a new approach.

With an act of will the images displayed upon the mirrored surfaces changed. Many showed the same sections of countryside viewed from multiple angles. The Witch King cast her focus on the region both families had come from. The Burkles used to live in a quaint little village relatively isolated from the outside world. It was reduced to ash. The Doyles had a small cabin halfway between the Burkles hometown and its nearest neighbor on the other side of a small mountain.

The cabin was gone and the neighboring village had fended off the raiders that came for them. The small town hadn’t lost a single person to slavers and had managed to kill a third of the raiders before driving them off.

A smile crept across Tara’s face at the thought that she wasn’t the only one taking the proper stance on dealing with slaver trash. Returning to the matter at hand she decided to change her search methods.

The slavers in the region had already been wiped out. Instead of migrating the conspiracy as a whole to other areas Tara sent out orders through her magical connection to the ravens. They split into smaller unkindness’s and searched the mountain for any signs of humanoid habitation. Starting at the peak and working their way down through thick forests.

There was a chance, ever so small, that Fred and Doyle were in hiding. If they went to ground the densely wooded mountain was as good a place as any to start the search. Tara hoped it would be a simple case of finding them both alive and half way up the mountain in a cave or improvised camps. With luck they would be together.

As the mirrors began to display the altered search patterns and views of the heavily forested wilderness the hatch at Tara’s side opened once more. A head covered in shoulder length red hair emerged from the stairwell.

“I knew you were up here.” Willow called with a bright smile. “How goes the search?”

“I think I just figured out where they might be hiding.” Tara replied as the redhead sealed the hatch behind her and strolled over. Tara stared in awe as she caught sight of her love dressed in a light, loose fitting sundress. Her breath caught in her throat as one of the straps slid provocatively off the pale, lightly freckled shoulder and down the redhead’s slender arm.

“Is that a fact?” Willow remarked as she leaned over her honey blonde love and locked eyes with the warlord. “Well, looks like someone deserves a reward.”

Willow leaned in and captured Tara’s lips with her own. The inventor placed both hands on Tara’s cheeks as she drew the kiss out slowly. Willow slipped her tongue past Tara’s lips. She begged for further entrance by eagerly dragging the soft, wet muscle back and forth across the honey blonde woman’s teeth.

Tara could only moan in appreciation as she surrendered to the silken probe’s ministrations. She couldn’t help herself. Her petite lover knew her far too well.

With steady confident strokes Willow’s hands worked their way down Tara’s body. The first task they went about was slowly unfastening the leather jerkin the Witch King wore. Tara shrugged off the outerwear as soon as she could. All the while never breaking the kiss that grew evermore passionate.

The redheads tongue worked around the inside of the honey blonde’s mouth until it settled on wrestling its counterpart. Moans escaped throats only to be swallowed by hungry mouths.

Willow’s graceful hands danced up Tara’s chest as she made quick work of ridding her love of the shirt standing between her and the heaving breasts she loved so dearly. Tara tried to help the lithe woman divest her of her clothing but the second the blonde brought her hands up to the last buttons of her shirt Willow grasped her by the wrists and firmly placed both hands back on the armrests of the chair. Tara smiled into the kiss as she realized her love had plans for their playtime. Willow was very clearly saying who was in charge for this session of lovemaking and Tara was more than happy to sit back and hold on for dear life.

As the last buttons came undone Willow reached for the collar and slowly began to spread the fabric outward over smooth creamy shoulders. She brought Tara’s shirt down across her back until it bunched up at her elbows providing another light impediment to her movements.

The redhead was far from done as she traced her hands around the sitting girl’s arms to her exposed stomach. Delicate fingers ending in finely trimmed and manicured nails dragged upwards over taut stomach muscles and barely visible ribs. Tara’s heart pounded in her chest as Willow’s fingertips brushed the underside of her breasts and stopped.

With a grin Willow began to trace back and forth just under the exposed breasts until she heard Tara let out a whimper. At the pleading tone held within the pitiful sound Willow began her ministrations anew. The redhead spread her fingers wide and cupped the underside of Tara’s breasts. Then she broke the kiss. Instead of pulling back Willow slowly worked her lips across Tara’s jawline and back towards her ear.

For the briefest of moments Willow sucked on the earlobe hard enough for the warlord writhing beneath her to let out a strangled yelp. She then took her lips off of Tara for the first time in several minutes. Bringing those lips ever closer to her love’s ear, Willow blew across the ridged surface seductively before squeezing the poor blonde’s breasts still clutched in her hands. As Tara gasped at the mix of sensation Willow softly spoke directly into her ear.

“I designed this room to be completely soundproof the moment that hatch closes.” The redhead whispered almost tauntingly. “I did that for one purpose Baby.”

After a pause Tara realized her love wanted her to ask why before they continued. “Why?” She whispered with a ragged breath.

Willow smirked. “I’m gonna make you scream.” She promised softly while she brought her lips back down to suck on Tara’s neck just below the ear, and began to kneed Tara’s breasts.

Tara was in heaven. A shudder ran through her body as Willow’s lips locked onto the pulse point at the side of her neck. The hands massaging her chest worked their way up to her nipples, tenderly circling the large dark areolas. If there was one area of study the redhead excelled at after all their years together it was Tara’s most compromising spots.

As Willow began to pinch and twirl the tender nubs at the center of Tara’s breasts she slowly sucked her way down to the honey blonde’s clavicle. Tara threw her head back into the chair and almost lifted her hands up to grasp at the slim woman torturing her. Luckily she still had just enough of her wits about her to obey the rules her love had set for this play session.

Willow alternated between sucking on her curvy love’s collarbone just hard enough to leave marks and lightly biting the creamy skin as she worked her way down Tara’s chest. Tara couldn’t hold back the moans and cries this mix of pain and pleasure elicited. The hands at her nipples were slowly dragged back down her stomach. Willow’s lips reached the center of Tara’s chest and began to hungrily kiss their way towards the spectacular breasts that fascinated the petite redhead.

With her heart racing and a familiar slickness growing between her legs Tara gasped for air once Willow’s mouth latched onto her still tender nipples. If that weren’t bad enough the fingers that had deftly navigated her quivering flesh finally reached the hem of her trousers.

Willow made quick work of unknotting the ties holding Tara’s pants in place. With a deceptively strong tug the redhead yanked the trousers down. The unexpected force dragged Tara’s ass to the very edge of the cushioned chair. The startled warlord was quick to raise her body just high enough for Willow to remove the baggy men’s pants and lacy women’s panties that lay beneath.

Where Willow had been rough with the distinctly male outerwear she was surprisingly gentle with the more feminine underwear. Tenderly sliding her thumbs beneath the waistband and slowly dragging the fine fabric down luscious curvy thighs. All the while sucking hungrily on both breasts, moving back and forth between each nipple.

Once the garment was cast aside and the Witch King was naked save for the shirt loosely binding her arms Willow placed her palms on Tara’s knees. The redhead began to kiss her way downwards again, taking time to lick the underside of each breast thoroughly.

Tenderly traveling down taut stomach muscles, kissing, sucking, nibbling. Willow paused again as she came to her love’s belly button. With an eagerness that foreshadowed events to come the slender young woman drove her tongue into the naval and massaged it completely with ever widening circular laps.

Heading southward once more on this devastatingly sensual journey Willow came to a lush mound of honey blonde curls, slick with arousal. The redhead spread Tara’s knees wide as she nuzzled her face into the damp hairs. Placing a single kiss upon the curls nearest the belly button Willow pulled her lips away from Tara’s quaking body for the first time in what seemed like hours.

Emerald gems looked up into lust filled sapphire pools. “I love you.” Willow whispered as she took both of Tara’s knees and lifted them over her shoulders. Placing light kisses on either thigh the redhead began the return trip to the lush patch of lust soaked curls. As she drew ever closer the kisses to both inner thighs grew harder. Tara let out a yelp as she felt teeth teasingly nibble on the tender flesh near her aching center. The cry was replaced by a sigh of utter contentment as she felt lips gently kiss her quivering molten core.

Willow brought her arms up around Tara’s thighs so that her ever wandering hands could continue their ministrations while she attended the banquet held in her honor. Placing light kisses upon her love’s outer lips Willow slowly traveled from the bottom of Tara’s entrance to the apex. At the top of the mound she cherished Willow gently kissed the sensitive bud she knew awaited her.

Tara’s hands clenched the armrests as Willow drove her mad with desire. Her breathing continued to grow shallow as Willow flattened her tongue and licked the entire length of Tara’s center. As the tongue came up to the honey blonde’s throbbing clit the redhead lightly flicked it once, causing Tara to buck hard into Willow’s face.

With the game thoroughly underway Willow began to circle the achingly sensitive bundle of nerves with her tongue. Bringing her lips down, she sucked the nub hard as she felt a fresh wave of liquid gush onto her chin.

Tara cried out in ecstasy as her clit was mercilessly drawn into the mouth of the woman she loved with every fiber of her being. As the pressure continued Tara felt the first signs of the explosive release Willow’s actions had coiled within her. Spasms overtook her form as waves of undiluted bliss and pleasure cascaded through her entire body.

“WiiilllooOOOOOOOOWWWW!” Tara screamed as her legs wrapped around her love’s back, locking her ankles together, and her hands flew from the armrests and latched onto the head covered in shoulder length red hair and the evidence of Tara’s arousal.

Willow smirked into Tara’s center. She wasn’t done yet. Not by a long shot. The inventor continued to lightly massage the delicate bud until the last tremors of Tara’s orgasm began to dissipate. Slowly releasing the precious bundle from her mouth, Willow slid down ever so slightly.

Tara gasped as she felt the tongue enter her still throbbing center. “Sweetie no, too soon.” She begged meekly out of breath. Willow’s hand grasped at the honey blonde woman’s breasts and the combined sensation drove doubt from her mind.

The redhead brought as much of her tongue as she could as far into her love’s opening as she could reach. As she mashed her face hard up against Tara’s outer lips, grinding into the paradise she never tired of, she felt the fingers in her hair clench once more. The not so subtle signs of Tara’s enjoyment, mingled with the ever growing scent of the nectar that was pouring into Willow’s mouth drove Willow on. She lived for this.

Tara continued to cry out in rapturous delight as Willow’s tongue explored her depths. Slowly the building tension once again coiled in Tara’s stomach. Willow was merciless in her navigation of her love’s body. Especially the most sensitive parts she knew so well.

Once again the fluttering prelude to the storm that was about to rip through Tara’s body took hold of the honey blonde’s senses. She felt Willow’s tongue massage the tender spot within her and screamed out her love’s name. The floodgates opened as spasms rocked the warlord’s body for several long minutes. Willow lapped up as much of the precious liquid as she could. She had no idea how much she had swallowed and only the barest hint at how much was covering her face and chest.

As the tremors once again subsided Tara’s legs gave out. They fell to either side of Willow’s shoulders in a seemingly boneless fashion. Her arms similarly relaxed as she let go of the long red tresses she had clung to so desperately. A dazed look was plastered across her face and a contented smile took shape.

Willow looked to her love and slithered her way up the nude form. As she straddled Tara’s thighs the redhead brought her hands up to cup the honey blonde’s cheeks. With a tenderness that belied the aggressive posturing earlier Willow captured Tara’s lips in a soothing sensual kiss. The taste and smell of her essence on the redhead brought Tara back to the world as their tongues dueled once more.

Tara slipped a hand up the light sundress Willow wore. Shock gave way to delight as she realized there was nothing beneath the simple dress but a slick coating of lust on the redhead’s inner thighs. Tara began to roll the skirt of the dress upwards until it no longer covered the petite young woman’s small yet pert breasts. Reaching one deceptively strong arm around behind Willow’s waist Tara brought her free hand up to the redhead’s center.

Two fingers slid inside Willow with ease. She gasped as her love’s dexterous digits began to torment the sensitive bump deep within her. Willow’s arms wrapped around Tara’s shoulders and hands clutched at her back as Tara sped up the motions of the fingers Willow’s inner walls were now clenching. As the slim redhead’s body began to shake Tara looked up and whispered into Willow’s ear.

“Come for me Baby.” Tara said as spasms wracked the slender frame in her arms.

“Goddess Tara yes. Yes Tara. Yes! Tara! Tara! TARA! TAARRRRAAAAA!” Willow screamed as her head flew back and he body convulsed as she tumbled over the precipice of ecstasy and into boundless depths of pleasure.

The grin on Tara’s face was undeniable as she continued to savagely stir Willow’s center with her fingers. Her efforts were rewarded by torrents of liquid lust erupting across her chest, stomach and thighs. Tara loved the way the sweet nectar covered her skin and the smooth leather of the chair.

As the slender redhead came down from the high of the orgasm that ripped through her body her head fell to Tara’s shoulder. Her body still hummed with sensation as the aftershocks began to tapper off. After several minutes of pure post coital bliss Willow lifted her head to bring a series of light kisses to Tara’s face.

The honey blonde tenderly kissed back while still holding her love firmly in place. The two young women never tired of the intimacy their lovemaking brought about. After the kiss began to trail off Tara slowly pulled back on the fingers still nestled within the redhead.

“No!” Willow cried piteously as she clung to the honey blonde. “Just a little more Baby. Stay with me a little more.”

Tara smirked at how heartwarmingly timid her love had grown in next to no time at all. From the moment Willow entered the chamber she had projected a commanding presence. Now that presence had given way to the aura of desperate need and dependence permeating the room. The duality Willow was capable of always amazed her.

“Forever love.” Tara whispered to the redhead nestled in her arms.

Long moments passed by as Willow relished the contentment she received from the simple yet powerful physical connection. Tara likewise couldn’t get enough of the sensation. Life before Willow came into the picture was always difficult. It left a void in her heart that only the babbling redhead could fill. Times like this, where they both just relaxed and allowed themselves to feel the fullness of their connection to one another, brought everything into perspective. Their love was all they needed.

After several minutes Willow finally raised her head from Tara’s shoulder. Staring into cerulean pools she gave a faint nod. Tara stared right back into the green depths she loved so much. As slowly and gently as she could manage Tara withdrew from her lover’s velvety folds. The redhead let out a mournful sigh at the loss.

While maintaining her steady gaze into her love’s eyes the warlord brought the now free hand up to her face. Tara slipped the wet fingers into her mouth and with a gleefully erotic flutter of her eyelids licked away all the juices coating her hand.

Willow’s breath caught in her throat with a gasp. No matter how many times she witnessed it the sheer wanton nature Tara hid from the rest of the world always took her by surprise. Tara loved that she could still take her girl’s breath away with light flirtations and the occasional lewd innuendo.

After the last of the petite woman’s nectar was cleaned from the curvy woman’s hand the slim girl leaned in and they shared another long sensual kiss. Unlike the kisses before, filled with hunger and driven by the need to find release in each other, this kiss was fueled by contentment and sought only to bask in the connection the two women shared.

As the tender duel of tongues wound down to light brushing of lips both young women sighed into each other. Willow leaned back to take in the full beauty of the girl she straddled. Tara sighed as the small of Willow’s back pressed lightly against her clasped hands.

“I love you Sweetie.” The warlord intoned.

“And I love you Baby.” The inventor promised.

A slight smirk spread across Tara’s face as an amusing thought played out in her mind. With a smile she looked to her love and spoke in a serious matter of fact tone.

“You know if we’re not careful this room is going to get awfully musky.” The honey blonde stated.

Willow stared at her quirky love before laughing whole heartedly. “No worries Baby. I designed vents behind most of the mirrors for air flow.” The redhead replied with a grin.

Tara looked at Willow with a wide eyed expression of wonder before she was overtaken by light giggles. “Sweetie only you, my genius girl, could use medieval technology to build a well ventilated sound proof room.” She said after catching her breath.

A bright smile spread across Willow’s face at hearing praise from the woman who held her heart. Holding her head up high the redhead beamed with pride before her eyes caught sight of something wonderful that required their attention.

“Baby look!” Willow cried out in excitement. “Your birds! They found them!”

“Our birds Sweetie.” Tara gently corrected. “Everything I have, everything I am, it all belongs to you.” She swore before swiveling the chair around and glancing over a pale lightly freckled shoulder.

Taking up more than half of the mirrored surfaces in the spherical room were images of a forest from several different angles. In the center of each point of view was a crude campfire under a shallow rocky overhang. Signs of protracted habitation littered the scene. Foraged plants and berries were piled in a number of bowls. Several small game animals were hanging from a horizontally placed pole. A pile of logs and a hatchet were off to one side. But most important of all were the three figures huddled by the fire.

“We found them.” Tara marveled at their luck.

“And look who’s with them Baby.” Willow cheered. “This saves us so much time having to look for him. I’ll get things ready here while you roll out the welcome wagon. Oh, don’t forget both of them will need protective charms when they enter the city.” She babbled away as Tara just smiled while gazing up into the beautiful face that got her out of bed each morning.

“Sweetie, you realize for any of this to happen we’re going to have to get dressed.” Tara quietly stated. Willow’s bright excited smile immediately turned to a puzzled frown.

“I may need some time to work out a solution for that.” The slim young woman replied.

“I’m not pulling an emperor’s new clothes, walking around the castle naked fiasco.” The Witch King stated firmly.

“Oh Goddess no!” Willow immediately agreed. “I’m way too jealous to ever let that happen.”

“Good.” Tara smiled back at her love. Any minute now Willow would have to climb out of Tara’s lap and they would both have to clean up just enough for Tara to ride off and save the day. Yes any minute now.

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

Half way up a small mountain covered in dense forests a trio of lost and hungry refugees huddled by a camp fire that kept the bitter chill of the oppressive night air at bay. They all knew action needed to be taken but none knew just what to do.

“We have to come down from this mountain.” The pale man with dark hair said to his two allies with his trademark Irish brogue. “I have to find my Harry.”

“We know Doyle.” The slender brunette woman replied testily. “I want to track down my parents too, but we have no money, no supplies and no idea where to start looking.”

“Kiddos, calm down.” The green man with light hair and red horns and eyes said trying to soothe fraying nerves. “We need to figure out a way to get what we need with the little we have.”

“Well it’s not like we can go to the nearest town to trade in anything.” Doyle whined. “They don’t take kindly to demons, they keep running me off every time I come by looking for help building a school and they think Fred here is a witch.”

“I’m not a witch!” Fred yelped. “I just refused to marry their mayor’s son. The brat went around and told everyone I’ve been sitting on his chest at night and sucking out his vitality. I’m sure he meant to imply I’m a whore but the townspeople heard that and immediately demanded I be put in a dunking stool.”

“Oh Sugar, that’s terrible.” Lorne replied.

“I agree.” A fourth voice added. “It’s so shameful when yokels jump to the worst conclusions about a person.”

The trio huddled around the campfire looked up into the darkness. A well dressed man with blond hair tied back in a loose ponytail was standing just outside of the edge of their camp. He took one step towards them and stood fully in the light cast by the fire. He had a genuinely cheerful smile.

“Hello all. I’m Penn.” He said cheerily.

Suddenly the tree branches above the camp came sounded off with a deafening cacophony. Looking up the four figures took not of the gathered conspiracy of ravens. The small black birds lined every branch and even sat atop the stone overhang. All of them screeched at the arrival of Penn.

“That’s strange.” Lorne commented. “Those birds have been gathering all day but they haven’t made a sound until you showed up.”

Penn had a worried look. He didn’t know the strengths of the demon in the group and if they willingly associated with one such as the green man then he also didn’t know if that girl he had been watching since sunset was human enough to feed upon. Yet she did look so much like his long dead sister. Maybe a little older but still worth the effort.

“How strange.” The newcomer remarked while moving closer. “So you fine people were just discussing travel plans? I myself am looking into taking a journey fairly soon. Perhaps we could help one another.”

Doyle and Lorne both took a long hard look at the man. Neither of them liked the way his gaze was fixed on Fred.

“I don’t think we’re in any position to help you out stranger.” Doyle said with quiet resolve as he slowly placed a hand on the dagger at his back.

Lorne was quick to agree. “We have so many troubles of our own we couldn’t possibly burden you with them.” He said trying to sound almost apologetic.

“Pity.” Penn replied as his face morphed before their eyes. “I guess I’ll just kill you gents and be taking the girl then.”

The vampire readied to leap over the fire at the three huddled refugees but before he could move a hand reached out of the darkness and yanked him back by the collar.

“There’ll be none of that blood sucker.” The figure in pitch black armor intoned. Before the fiend could turn on his attacker the heavily armored stranger grasped him by the belt and the throat. With deceptive ease the vampire was tossed straight up into the air. He screamed as the mass of ravens swarmed him. His cries of outrage faded and the ravens dispersed revealing only empty air in the place the vampire had been.

“Well now that the trash has been taken out let’s talk about our travel plans.” The Witch King said in a cheery tone. About a third of the ravens flew off in one direction as the rest settled back down in the trees and even on various pieces of improvised camp gear around the small clearing.

The trio looked nervously around at the newly frightening birds before locking eyes on the armored figure that took a seat on the other side of their fire. No one spoke for several long moments.

Finally working up the courage to speak Lorne asked the obvious. “So that man was a vampire?”

“Yes Lorne.” Tara replied in the masculine tone her armor produced. “It was a vampire and I sent it far away from here. I’ve been collecting a few of them you see and well.” She paused. “It’s a long story.”

“So what do you plan on doing to us?” Doyle asked with a nervous edge while his hand still clutched the dagger at his waist.

“I plan to reunite you with your families by taking you back to my citadel.” The Witch King said with a calm tone that implied the decision was blatantly obvious.

“You have my family?” Fred cried out in shock.

“I have Trish and Roger Burkle back at my home.” The armored head turned from Fred and looked directly at the dark haired man. “I also have Harriet Doyle safe and sound.”

“How?” Doyle asked still not ready to believe the stranger.

“I’ve been using my forces to hunt and eliminate slave caravans all over my kingdom.” Tara answered. “Once the slavers are dealt with I or my forces make the freed people an offer. Take a horse and a weeks worth of supplies and be off on your way or return with us to the citadel and help build a brighter world while I try to find any family members you may have lost.”

She paused again for effect. “So far no one has turned down the chance to join my citizens. In two of the most recent raids we found your wife and your parents.” Tara gestured to Doyle and then back to Fred at the mention of their specific loved ones before turning to the green man.

“Lorne I doubt we’ll find any of the Deathwok Clan in future caravans but the offer to join me is extended to you all the same. I would love a singer of your talents hanging around the city and your empathic gifts would be a blessing to anyone who needs help finding their path.” The Witch King promised. “Plus having a few good demons around to teach the townsfolk that not all nonhumans are evil monsters would help make the city a better place to live.”

The three homeless campers were stunned. The last thing they expected was to be offered a new home where the people they cared about were already living. They couldn’t help but feel a glimmer of hope.

“Tell me Doyle.” The armored figure began. “Have you been suffering from vision lately?”

The man looked shocked. “How did you know?” He asked with a worried tremor.

“They don’t call me the Witch King for my looks.” Tara replied. “It can be a gift if you embrace it. Whenever a vision hits you, tell my nearest guards and they’ll send teams out to save whoever might be in danger. So far I’ve had to make due with my ravens scouting from the air.” She paused again to think about the limits of that method.

“But depending solely on them makes my efforts strictly reactive.” Tara continued while looking down. “There have been so many close calls. Times when I was a few seconds away from arriving far too late to save people.” She looked back up at Doyle and in a surprisingly soft voice pleaded with the half demon. “Please use the visions to help me.”

Doyle’s throat caught at the emotion conveyed in the plea. After taking a minute to clear it he looked back at the newest arrival to their camp and nodded slowly. “I’ll do it.” He replied solemnly. “I’ll help give you as much warning as I can.”

“Perfect.” Tara cheered. “While you’re not being my oracle you can help with our education system. My future father in law has been put in charge of my library and the army of printing presses I have turning out new books as we speak. We’re printing texts in every subject we can think of but finding competent teachers is proving difficult.”

A bright smile spread across Doyle’s face. The self proclaimed king wanted him to teach. He would be able to commit to his favorite profession again. That and the fact he was being promised the return of his wife made the decision easy.

All the while Tara was explaining the roles the two men would have in her city Fred was slowly letting her hopes down. She couldn’t imagine the armored stranger would have a job for her to do.

“And Fred my fiancé needs a lab assistant for all the work she is doing.” The Witch King added. “I’m sure a woman as smart and skilled in as many scientific fields as you are would make the work she’s doing fly by.”

Fred’s head shot up as the offer took her by surprise. “Really?” She asked in shock.

“Of course really.” Tara answered. “We have so much work still to do that we need all the help we can get. The three of you each have unique skills and gifts that will help shape the future of the kingdom. I’d be a fool to ignore what you’re best at.”

The three refugees took this in and decided they really had no choice but to see just what this new city was like. Fred and Doyle desperately wanted to find their loved ones and Lorne was almost jumping at the opportunity to sing for an audience again.

“We accept.” Fred said.

“Great.” Tara beamed. “Now all we need to do is pack up this camp and head down the mountain to my carriage.”

Fred and Doyle each walked over to small bags set farther under the rocky outcropping the fire lay beneath. Checking to make sure the few possessions they salvaged from the wreckage of their homes were safe they returned to the fire.

“Done.” They said, almost in unison.

Tara reached out a hand and one of her Ravens landed on her outstretched arm. “Go forth and check the surrounding area for any other vampires. If you find any send them to join the last.”

With a squawk the bird nodded and flew off. The rest of the massive conspiracy followed suit as they flew in every direction. Tara took one look around the camp and then raised a hand over her head. With a snap of her finger dozens of tiny lights sparked into being in the darkened woods all around. Hands by each spark moved the lights around briefly as more light blossomed all around. In the now illuminated forest stood dozens of men in dark armor, each holding a now lit lantern and shaking a spent matchstick.

“Boys break camp. No reason to let the food and furs our new friends spent time gathering go to waste.” The Witch King ordered.

Fred, Doyle and Lorne were shocked. They had been quietly surrounded the entire time and didn’t even realize it. What’s more the men had moved into position either after the vampire was dealt with or had been so stealthy they even escaped the demon’s notice.

“Don’t worry guys.” Tara added. “The men all know you are on our side. Many of them were in the same position as you three not too long ago.”

The soldiers made quick work of packing up the camp and returning the clearing almost completely to what it was like before the three wanderers had moved in. With slight trepidation Fred, Doyle and Lorne followed Tara and a group of the lantern carrying men down the mountain. In the distance they heard a rustling. A slight chuckle from the armored figure gave the group pause.

“The ravens found another blood sucker lurking about.” The Witch King reassured. “I’ll have to talk to my love but I think he matches a description of a vampire she once knew. If I’m right about who he may be then we’ll have to go over this area more thoroughly. That one never strayed far from his master’s side.”

The men at the Witch King’s side nodded and gave each other meaningful looks. One of them sent a messenger back to the group wrapping up the camp site and the other sent a man ahead to their destination at the foot of the mountain. Everyone was to keep on high alert. This mountain might contain a nest.

“Let’s pick up the pace a little.” Tara said quietly. “I want you three back safely by dawn. My love is sure to be worried sick about us.”

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

Willow sat in the cushioned recliner at the center of the Witch King’s Observatory. She had asked Tara to leave the projections running so she could watch the looks of surprise on the three faces she knew needed help. The show had been worth the effort.

What she didn’t expect was for that awful puritan Angelus sired to show up. The vampire another Cordelia had once told her of over the phone was a creature of habit that they didn’t want running free. And yet there was an even more sinister fact revealed.

She recognized the second vampire. The large muscular build, the furrowed brow, the light brown bowl cut hair. It was him. The most loyal flunky to a truly frightening foe had shown up on the mountain at the same time as Tara. If “His” nest was in the area they had to move quickly. No good could come of this.

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

The party made their way quickly down the mountain. Minutes after the second vampire was captured the team left at the campsite caught up to the main force. So far no one had been ambushed by any other blood sucking fiends prowling the night.

Casting her senses outward Tara saw through her ravens that the main force guarding the horses at the foot of the mountain was undisturbed. The scout sent ahead had made it to them and the men were well underway preparing to leave.

Coming out of the woods Tara and her escorts were greeted by the sight of her main carriage and the troops on horseback arrayed around it. With a nod to the men at her side the three refugees were quickly moved into the large vehicle. Tara took one more look around before turning to join them.

The sound of a twig snapping alerted her to a presence. Before any of her men could react three vampires dressed in brigandines charged from the shadows. Tara reacted quite nicely however.

With a practiced sidestep The Witch King dodged the first and brought her massive sword around cleaving the second and third in half. One crumbled to dust as the blade bisected his heart. The other fell to the ground screaming and flailing his one remaining arm. His viscera poured out onto the grass as his lower half crumbled to dust several yard away.

Glancing to the first vampire Tara was delighted to find Gunn and Xander had already skewered him to the ground with boar hunting spears. The ebony man drew out a long wooden pike from a nearby horse’s gear and drove the point home. Two of The Three were reduced to ash.

Tara then took her blade and neatly drove the tip through the neck of the still struggling foe on the ground. He was dust before the blade touched earth.

“I’ve gotta say that was impressive.” A strange voice came from the dark as the sound of slowly clapping hands accompanied a figure slowly walking towards them. “Not many humans could handle a blitz attack from The Three. So who do I have the pleasure of killing this evening?”

A vampire dressed in an oddly casual leather jacket strolled towards them. He had wavy black hair and a distinctive, some might say ‘Roman’ nose. Though his face was hideously twisted by his demonic countenance Tara knew she recognized him from her love’s memories.

The Witch King barked in laughter causing the vampire to halt suddenly. Turning to face the demon she silently sent her will out to the still very nearby conspiracy. With a wave of her hand she signaled her men to fall back.

“Well will you look who finally made an appearance?” Tara called out in her booming masculine voice. “Jesse McNally is that you? Oh dear boy, you should know better than to blindly follow your sire’s orders.”

“How do you know that name human?” Jesse demanded while tensing up. He was ready for a fight and if this armored fool was dumb enough to challenge him he would gladly reciprocate.

“Oh poor Jesse.” Tara said in a mournful yet chastising tone. “You never stood a chance did you? So tell me, did you ever end up with that girl Cordelia? Did you eat her?”

“The first human I feasted on was that vapid twit!” Jesse shot back. “And I’ll do the same to you.”

“So I just killed The Three.” Tara went on to count off confrontations as if bored. “You are standing right in front of me. I captured Penn less than two hours ago, and half an hour ago I caught a big ugly slab of undead muscle. This attack gives me a pretty good idea who he is and just who may have a nest nearby.” She paused again to give the vampire time to process that list of events. “Anyone else wandering about this night I should look for?” The vampire remained silent.

“Tell me, is the nest in the only village still standing near the mountain?” The Witch King queried. “Or maybe it’s further up the mountain in a cave system?”

“You’ll be dead long before you’d ever find it.” Jesse promised as he lunged forward. What he hadn’t counted on was the mysterious armored figure matching his move with blinding speed and precision. Before he knew what was going on his head jerked back as a heavily armored gauntlet grasped his throat in a viselike grip. The vampire struggled meekly as he found himself lifted off the ground.

“Jesse let me be the first to welcome you into the service of the Witch King.” Tara intoned as she spun him around and threw him up into the air. Ravens flocked around the flailing vampire as his scream was cut short. The unkindness dispersed and flew off in the same direction the others had.

Tara took a moment to reach her senses out to the remaining birds in her conspiracy. Though many were busy transporting the new prisoners the remaining birds were still a great many more than would suffice. She ordered them to fan out and fly over her forces as they moved and report any sign of activity on the perimeter.

Xander came up to Tara and offered a slight smile. “Boss the boys have everything wrapped up and ready to go as soon as you give the word.” The young man said in a slightly worried tone. They were ready to fight if it came to it but it was still the dead of night on a relatively isolated mountain and no idea how many more undead may turn up if they stayed.

“Move out.” Tara ordered. “We can come back to deal with that damned monster’s nest later in the day light if need be. I want those three we rescued safely back behind the city gates before dawn.”

Xander nodded as he and Gunn turned to relay orders to move out. Tara strode towards the dark carriage her friends waited in and climbed inside. With a rapping on the outer wall they burst into motion and all of her soldiers quickly followed. No one wanted to be caught by another vampire attack even if they had suffered no losses.

With the journey home underway Tara turned to her friends. “Well that was bracing wasn’t it?” She asked.

“You took out six well trained vampires.” Doyle said in awe. “And none of them was a fresh risen fledge.”

“That was terrifying.” Lorne said with a sigh.

“Where did you send the three your birds took?” Fred asked almost afraid to know.

“Oh they’ll end up at the mines to the north of my kingdom before dawn.” Tara replied. “I have a container there they’ll never escape from. So long as they dig and send up the minerals we send down just enough live pigs to keep them from starving.”

“Wow.” Doyle said with a mix of awe and fear. “So I can take it by the fact you haven’t thrown Lorne to your birds that you are okay with some demons?” He asked.

“Doyle I know you are a half demon.” Tara replied calmly. “I also know that the two of you are good men and more or less harmless. I would never throw either of you down that pit with those disgusting people eaters.”

The three figures Tara had just rescued sat in stunned silence at the turn the conversation had taken. They had never heard of anyone taking such a balanced approach to dealing with demons. Most humans were of the opinion that kill on sight no matter the breed was the only solution. They had never witnessed a ruler offer sanctuary to pacifist while swiftly putting down the obvious threats.

Most rulers couldn’t put down a single demon for that matter and this one had killed three and imprisoned another three since walking into their lives a few hours ago. The Witch King’s actions suddenly demanded a great deal of respect.

Sensing no surprises ahead or behind Tara turned towards the other three passengers and smiled behind her helmet’s visor. “Okay so there are some things I’ll need you two boys to be aware of.” She stated in a friendly manner. “The city around my citadel lies within a large circular wall. Anything that touches the walls or the ground within the walls is exposed to a protective aura I have cast over the earth the city is built on. The very ground in blessed. Nonhumans who set foot upon it are harmed the same way vampires are harmed by holy water.”

As nervous looks were cast about the carriage Tara forged ahead. “Lorne and Doyle that is why I’ll need both of you men to wear these whenever you are not inside my citadel or your homes.” Tara said as she pulled two silver pentacles suspended from woven leather cords out of a pouch at her side. Handing them to the two men they gleamed in the dimly lit carriage for a brief moment.

“I didn’t want the general protective field over the rest of the city to clash with anything in my central fortress. No matter what buildings you choose to move into once you get used to the town they can be modified so the aura can’t hurt you once inside.” Tara promised.

The two men took the silver amulets and looked over the strange baubles long and hard. With trepidation Lorne closed his eyes and placed the cord over his head. The pentacle hung down to his chest and emitted a brief flash of light. Doyle quickly followed suit.

As both the necklaces fell into place the carriage came to a halt. Fred, Doyle and Lorne looked up as if expecting an attack. The armored warlord let out a relieved sigh. The carriage door opened and the Witch King stepped outside.

“We’re finally home.” Tara said with an upbeat cheer.

The three other passengers stepped out onto the grounds of a large walled courtyard attached to the citadel of the Witch King. They marveled at the massive tower before them that stretched far into the night sky. Suddenly Lorne and Doyle looked around themselves as if they felt a strange sensation flow over them.

“What is that strange feeling?” Doyle asked.

“It’s kinda like a warm tingle throughout my whole body.” Lorne remarked.

“That is the necklaces reacting to the protective aura.” Tara stated. “As long as you feel that tingle don’t remove the pentacles.”

Both men looked at each other and let out a nervous chuckle. Just as they were about to ask something else a large set of doors leading into the castle opened and a petite redhead came running out towards them.

“Tara!” Willow cried out in a mixture of relief and worry.

“Willow!” The Witch King cheered as she removed her helmet and let it drop to the ground.

The redhead flew into the arms of her love as long honey blonde locks fell over armored shoulders. They met with a searing kiss that left no question about their relationship in the minds of any witnesses. The three newcomers stared in open mouthed shock as the mysterious figure that carried them out of the wilderness revealed herself to be a woman.

“Well that certainly didn’t take long.” Xander said as he dismounted his steed nearby.

“You kidding me?” Gunn asked. “I expected her to rip the carriage door open and jump the boss the second we rode through the outer gates.”

“Francis!” Screamed a woman with light curly hair.

“Harry!” Doyle cried back as his wife came running into his arms. “It’s true! You’re here.”

“I missed you so much.” Harry wept into the small Irishman’s neck.

“I know Babe. I missed you too.” Doyle swore.

“Fred!” Came yet another feminine cry from the castle.

“Mom, Dad!” Fred shrieked as her parents came running over.

‘Oh Honey we’ve been so worried about you.” Trish Burkle cried tears of joy and relief as she hugged her daughter.

“When Lady Willow said they found you and were bringing you in we almost couldn’t believe it.” Roger Burkle added as he joined the hug.

“Please tell me no one from my family is going to come running out of that building.” Lorne pleaded as the overtly tearful reunions filled the courtyard.

“Not a chance big guy.” Gunn replied. “The boss and her lady were very clear on the fact your relatives wouldn’t play nice around so many humans.”

At the odd remark from the ebony soldier both of Fred’s parents looked up and almost screamed. Fred turned around to look for the problem but couldn’t understand what had frightened Trish and Roger so badly.

“Demon!” Cried Trish in a panic.

“Stay away from our little girl!” Roger demanded.

“Do what now?” Lorne asked confused.

“Mom, Dad stop it!” Fred yelled more forcefully than anyone who knew her thought she could. “Lorne and Doyle are friends. They helped me survive after our town was destroyed. If it weren’t for them I’d be dead.”

“To be fair Pumpkin you pulled your weight on that mountain.” Lorne added with a smile. “There any chance I could mix a cocktail somewhere around here?”

“Xander, could you show Lorne to the lounge inside?” Tara requested.

“No problem.” The dark haired man replied. “Come with me Jolly Green. The wet bar is this way.”

“Oh Sugar you are a Peach.” The emerald demon remarked cheerily as he strolled alongside the young man.

“Roger, Trish I know it may be hard to believe but Lorne is a good man.” Willow stated calmly. “Most of his species are violent warriors but he himself is the most peaceful guy you’ll probably ever come across.”

“He really is sweet once you get to know him.” Fred added.

“And he’ll be using his gift to help anyone willing to ask for it.” Tara remarked.

“He didn’t try anything on that mountain did he?” Roger asked in a harsh tone.

“Dad! No!” Fred answered with shock. “Of course he didn’t. I don’t even think I’m his type. He just calls everyone Sugar or Pumpkin or Sweet Pea or some kind of pastry.”

“He called me Sweetie and Muffin a few times.” Doyle added. “And just to be brutally honest he wasn’t the only demon looking out for Fred on that mountain.”

“Come on Honey let’s go home.” Harry said while nuzzling her nose into her husband’s neck. “I want to show you the lovely house Willow and Tara gave us.”

“They gave us a house already?” Doyle asked in surprise.

“Yup.” Willow chimed in. “And it’s already been made safe for you so don’t worry about a thing. Harry, remember what I said about the amulet.”

“Don’t worry.” The curly haired wife of the half demon replied. “I won’t ever let him leave the house without it. You hear that buddy? I’m gonna be keeping you around for a long time.”

“I can’t wait.” Doyle smiled back at his love. The two strolled out of the courtyard, arms wrapped around each other’s waists, in the opposite direction Xander had taken Lorne.

Watching the couple go Willow turned to Tara and nuzzled deeper into her neck. “Harry raises a good point.” She remarked.

Tara nodded. “It’s really late. We should all get some s-sleep.”

“Fred, we’ll talk in the morning about all the ways you can help my work.” Willow called as she and the Witch King turned towards the castle. The redhead yelped as Tara scooped her up in her still armored arms and carried the slender woman off to their bed chambers. Both women laughed into the night.

Gunn bent down to pick up the discarded helmet. Looking it over in his hands he let out a slight smile. A moment later he looked up to the Burkle family.

“Well it’s been nice talking but the ladies made a good point.” The ebony man sighed. “I’m heading for a nice soft bed. Take care you three.” With a casual bow Gunn turned and proceeded to strut towards the suite of rooms he and his sister had earned.

Roger and Trish turned to their daughter. Before they could ask more questions about her hardships Fred held up and hand and gave them a pleading look.

“Can we talk in the morning?” The young woman asked. “It’s really late and I was about ready to go to sleep an hour before that armored woman showed up and saved us from the vampire.”

“Course dear.” Roger said with his usual drawl. “Let’s get you home.”

With that the reunited Burkles made their way out of the citadel and down the street the short distance to their newly finished home. Life was looking up for one more family that owed their happiness, at least in part, to the Witch King.

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

Angelus paced back and forth along the edge of the barrier keeping him sealed within the mine. The metal ring worked into the surfaces of the entry chamber was unapproachable. Even if he wanted to try whittling it down by throwing pickaxes they always ended up bouncing off it harmlessly.

Trying to throw rocks or mine tools through the skull of that smug little weasel bore similarly fruitless results. In fact the only outcome of the attempt was thinner, almost anemic, pigs for a month straight. Drusilla was still a bit loopy from the less filling diet even though Spike had made sure she was drinking her fill. Then again she was just like that even on a full stomach.

No the entry chamber didn’t hold their escape. That left tunneling out which had proven just as fruitless and slightly more fatal. He had to think of a plan. To have a vampire of his magnitude rotting away in a mine shaft. It was just wrong.

He looked over his shoulder at the sound of footsteps approaching. Darla was coming to join him. Could his night get any worse? He turned to see what new demands his sire had this time. Perhaps she wanted him to force another vampire to dig through the topsoil again. Sadly that idea was doubtful. They were down to four since the last attempt at digging out. Maybe she had finally decided to end his misery and stake him. If only.

“Darling, when are we leaving this dreadful place?” The blonde asked in her bored tone.

“Just as soon as the mountain splits open and winged swine come to carry us off.” He brooded.

Suddenly there was a noise coming from the entrance. The flapping of a thousand feathery wings filled the cavern with a deafening cacophony. From the tunnel leading up to the opening of the mine poured a torrent of black birds. The ravens sped towards the vampires who dove out of the way. Just as they were about to reach the barrier each and every bird banked a hard ninety degree angle away from the metal ring set in the walls, ceiling and floor.

Out of the heart of the unkindness of ravens the form of a man came sailing across the threshold. Just as Angelus got back up the vampire with the loose blond ponytail landed screaming at his feet with a hard thud. Angelus looked down at the man and realized who he was immediately.

“Penn!” The brunette vampire cried in shock and outrage.

The puritan looked up at the familiar sound of his sire’s voice. “Angelus? What the hell are you doing here man?” He looked around at the unfamiliar surroundings. “What the hell am I doing here for that matter?”

“Welcome to our own little hell boy.” Angelus said almost mournfully.

Darla came up to look at the man. “Ah Penn, so dreadful to see you. Tell me are you still killing people who remind you of your family?”

“Why Darla you still know me best.” He replied with false cheer. “Tell me is Drusilla still calling you, what was it, Grandmummy?”

“Tell us what the last thing you recall is.” Angelus demanded.

“I was on a wooded mountain, about the feast on this slip of a girl who was travelling with a green demon and a man that might have been a half-breed when a figure in black armor grabbed me and tossed me into the air.” The puritan replied.

“You actually saw the bastard that trapped us here?” Angelus roared.

“Only for a moment.” Penn answered. “Then there was darkness and I was looking up at you.”

“When we were taken it was by complete surprise.” Darla chimed in. “The six of us were exiting a bordello when those dreadful little flying vermin swarmed us.”

Just then the sound of wings returned. Only this time it seemed slightly louder. The ravens flew in through the entrance and filled the chamber. Once more they performed the banking maneuver only this time a large muscular vampire came hurtling out of the heart of the conspiracy. He soared over the threshold and slammed hard against the farthest wall with a sickening sound of crunching bones.

He slumped weakly to the floor of the cavern with a moan. Once he finally managed to look up the other three vampires recognized his face immediately. Angelus and Penn let out exasperated moans. Darla had a slightly stronger reaction.

“Luke!” She yelled as the brawny figure slowly climbed to his feet.

“Darla?” He asked confused. “Angelus? Where are we? What is the meaning of this?”

“Apparently this is hell.” Penn smirked as he strode confidently towards the barrier. If he had been less confident he might not have landed so hard. The instant he touched the invisible field imprisoning them his head snapped back as if a strong combatant had just swung a tree trunk into his face. His body went stiff as a board as he tipped back on his heels and fell to the floor in a daze.

“Tell us what you remember.” Angelus demanded once again.

“I was obeying my Master’s orders.” Luke replied still confused. “I was in the woods looking for The Three to guide them towards our new home when I noticed this fool had wandered off. I sent Jesse to find him but then there were ravens and darkness.”

“Jesse was with you?” Darla asked. “I would have thought the Master would have killed him by now.”

“Once he settled his old human grudges the boy learned quickly to obey his elders.” Luke replied almost mockingly. “Something you would do well to recall.”

“We don’t need to be drudging up old arguments.” Angelus spat. “We need a plan of action. What are the chances Jesse could handle himself in a fight against the one that put us here?”

As if on cue the sound of wings returned. The now familiar aerial maneuver was performed perfectly. This time the unkindness delivered the vampire with dark wavy hair that had been the most recent topic of discussion. He flew through the barrier directly into Luke’s chest. Both demons came tumbling to the ground with a dull thud.

“Well I guess that answers that question.” Angelus sighed.

Darla rolled her eyes as the tangle of vampires on the floor of their prison struggled to climb to their feet. After several long moments Luke, Jesse and Penn were up and looking around the cavern.

“Jesse what happened just before you ended up here?” Darla commanded.

“Hey Darla.” Jesse said as he recognized his long lost sire. “Well I was looking for Penn when I found The Three. They were about to jump this guy in black armor from behind.”

All the vampiric faces around him had glimmers of hope. They were quickly dashed. “Yeah this guy was something else. He dodged the first and spun around with this massive sword cutting the second and third in half in one swing. His soldiers skewered then first of The Three and staked him right there.” Jesse finished.

“Then what?” Penn asked.

“I jumped in ready to make my move.” Jesse stated. “But then the figure said my name and acted like he knew me. He asked if I ever ended up with Cordelia, or if I ate her. I answered and jumped at him ready to kill but he lunged at me and grabbed my throat. He said ‘Welcome to the services of the Witch King.’ Then he tossed me into the air.”

As the story came to a close crestfallen looks came to all the faces around the dark cave. No one knew how to react to being bested so thoroughly by a strange figure they knew nothing about besides a mysterious title.

“So what’s the what with this cave?” Jesse asked after a long silence.

“It’s a mine new meat.” Came a smug voice from the entrance. “And you lot are the workers.”

“Who dares address us human?” Luke said still unaware of the full situation.

“That would be me.” Snyder replied cheerily. “I’ll be your warden for the foreseeable future.” The little bald man smirked as he walked into the chamber with a stool and an apple. Snyder set the stool up six feet away from the barrier next to the mine cart tracks. He then sat down and pulled out a small knife. As he began peeling the skin off the piece of fruit he addressed the vampiric horde.

“So Spike and Dru didn’t come up to see what all the hubbub was about?” Snyder asked nonchalantly. “I gotta say that’s surprising. Oh well they’re probably just off doing it. Angelus, do you want to fill your friends in on how things work here?”

The Irish vampire sneered at the little man with hatred in his eyes. He didn’t say a word.

“Oh well, I guess I’ll have to explain it again.” Snyder said with false boredom masking his cheer. “This is a mine. You lot dig.” He took a bite from the apple he was idly slicing. “Minerals and metals go in the cart. Cart gets pushed across the line. Cart gets emptied outside. Have I lost anyone yet? You guys still follow right?”

His questions were only met with more sneering and growls. The vampires were furious with the gall this human showed.

“Anyway, cart gets emptied outside. The goods get shipped to the capital.” Snyder smiled once again. “Every now and then I put a pig in the cart for you to enjoy.”

Looks of shock mixed with outrage came to the faces of the three new miners. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing.

“And every once in a great while.” Snyder elaborated with dramatic flourishes of the apple. “The great and benevolent Witch King sends a human for you to feast on.”

Now there was only shock on the faces of the three vampires to just arrive. “Why give us humans?” Luke asked.

“Very good question.” Snyder remarked. “What’s your name big guy?”

“Luke.” He seethed.

“Well Luke the Witch King comes across a lot of slavers while protecting the kingdom.” Snyder smiled again. “And as you can imagine killing them all can be tiresome. So the mouthiest and dumbest get sent to me and I, being the kind and generous sort, convince them to walk into your arms.”

“And you expect us to live on pig’s blood in between these human offerings?” Penn asked incredulously.

“You can feast on whatever you like.” Snyder said. “But the only living things crossing that line are pigs and whatever slave traders piss off my boss enough that they get sent here. So the choice is yours.”

“Not much choice.” Jesse remarked.

“No I suppose not.” Snyder agreed. “So what are your names?” He said while facing Penn and Jesse.

“Your death.” Penn said with a cold sneer.

“Festive.” Snyder smiled back. “But I already know a Death, and he’s prettier than you. Hmm, let me think.” The little man paused while tapping a finger to his own chin. “I know! I’ll call you Lazy Susan, and you, let’s see.” He paused while examining Jesse. “You look like a Sally. That’s it you’ll be Mustang Sally.”

“Now see here human.” Penn yelled.

“Well it’s been fun but I’ve gotta get some sleep.” Snyder mused as he stood up and collected his stool. “Busy day tomorrow putting lipstick and dresses on pigs. It really was a pleasure to meet you three. Have a pleasant stay Luke, Susan, Sally. Oh, and Angelus.” Snyder called as he strolled towards the exit.

“What else do you want troll?” Angelus growled.

“Do try to convince one of these three to try escaping.” Snyder called back. “The boys and I always get a laugh out of that, and it’s been so long since we lost James and Elisabeth.”

With that parting shot the little man left the vampires to their own devices. Luke turned to Angelus and almost growled.

“What happened to this James and Elisabeth?” The large brute asked.

“They tried to dig out of here.” Angelus replied with cold detachment. “Once the got within ten feet of the surface the dust from their digging started to burn them like holy water. A cave in crushed Elisabeth and the blessed soil burned her to ash. James, being the love sick idiot started digging bare handed and soon followed her example.”

The vampires stood in shock. None knew how to react to the grim reality of their situation. Just as they were about to desperately try hurling themselves into the barrier again they heard footsteps coming from deeper in the tunnels. Spike and Drusilla turned the corner and stopped when they saw the new arrivals.

“What did we miss?” Spike asked as the five vampires that had been in the entry cavern rolled their eyes.

_________________
Time and Time Again


Last edited by Citanul on Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:34 am 
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I know it's been ages since I've posted a reply, but I've been dropping by faithfully every wednesday for your updates, and I'm still loving this story. I just have to say that, either you have one hell of a memory, or you're putting in a hell of a lot of research to put this together. And I'm thoroughly impressed that, with all the details, you're managing to keep up the posting schedule you've set yourself. So, I just wanted to drop a line and let you know I'm enjoying this.
I also love your humor in this. I think I made a comment about something that made me laugh way back early on, but I find myself bursting out in loud laughter in nearly every part.


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:52 pm 
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Holy poop batman!

That's the first time i've ever seen a Snyder that i actually like :)

Kudos to the Witch King for finding a constructive use for the little worm.

And the scene with the Witch King grabbing Penn from the darkness was awesome!

Though most folks would be a bit more freaked when a black armoured form shows up in the middle of the night.

Is it just me, or is everyone else picturing this guy for the Witch King?

Image

Very Sauron-esque :)

I've got to admit, this episode made me like the Witch-King sections a whole lot more.
Not that i hated them or anything, just that i didn't like it as much as much as the other parts.
I think it's now my favourite, after the 'Prime' timeline :)

I can't wait for more :bounce

R :flower

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“All I feel is sunlight. All I hear is music.” Willow
How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2014 2:21 pm 
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P.S: i think we should start calling Tara/the Witch King the Breaker of Chains

:banana

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“All I feel is sunlight. All I hear is music.” Willow
How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 4:48 am 
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Mysticrain thank you for your continued support. Feedback is always appreciated. I don't know if watching episodes on Netflix and dicking around on a few different wiki sites counts as a hell of a lot of research but it is fun in its own way. What helps is the vast array of memorable characters in the source material.

And to hear that I'm tickling your funny bone is an added bonus. I mostly set out to make myself laugh and see what happens from there. Knowing I'm succeeding and not just cracking myself up over my own weirdness or undiagnosed dementia is a relief.

Azirahael good to hear from you as always. Finding fun and unexpected uses for a bunch of the older characters or one shot appearances was part of the main reason for writing the Dark Age story line in the first place.

The best part is I'm not actually changing Snyder that much. The big difference is who he gets to lord his power over. In Buffyverse it's the main cast we all care about the most. In Dark Age it's damn near the entire order of Aurelius. Being a dick to the heroes has such wildly different results than being a dick to Angelus, Luke, evil Jesse, and evil Jeremy Renner.

Dark armored figure on a scary mountain in the dark of night is definitely scary. But that same figure did just get rid of the vampire that they were about to be eaten by. So I figure Lorne and Doyle decided to save the pants crapping terror for the next dark figure to jump them.

Thanks for the visual. I loved the Overlord games. Great franchise. I've been especially vague describing Tara's armor other than it being black, shiny and relatively smooth. I figure the readers mind can fill in details for a far more impressive design than I'd describe in eight pages.

Though one key feature is no massive shoulder pad spikes or pointy studs and hooks covering the plates. Tara doesn't want to have to worry about Willow popping a boob or skewering herself every time the redhead runs or jumps into her metal clad arms.

Other than that yes the whole thing is very reminiscent of Sauron showing up and freeing all the slaves in Westeros. Though I should note the characters here are probably younger than the characters you've seen naked on the HBO show but older than the exact same characters in the books the show came from.

Probably early seasons of Buffy age ranges for everyone, but still old enough that the love scene in the mirror ball room doesn't put me on a watch list. It is the dark ages after all and most people don't live to thirty. Of course that changes when Willow and Tara show up and tell everyone to boil their drinking water and wash their hands regularly.

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Time and Time Again


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:08 am 
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Time and Time Again.

Author: Citanul

Feedback: Be kind, rewind?

Spoilers: Just about all of them. Go watch the show.

Rating: NC-17 Love scene early on. Also some strong language because you know who has joined the party and that character thinks with curse words more than most.

Pairings: W/T, B/F

Disclaimer: You all know I don’t own the rights to characters you’ve seen on TV.

Summary: A story of reincarnation and interdimensional travel made possible through the power of love. What misfortunes will our two favorite love birds be able to prevent with the aid of experience from countless past lives.

Author’s Note: Boston here we come. Quick side note. A character from the season 8 and 9 comics makes a brief appearance. Not much needs to be said about her other than she's a scaly slut and a core cast member's big mistake from those seasons. I had Willow mention her before but this time she actually shows up. Drama ensues.

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

Chapter 8: Boston Herpetology Expedition

The private jet owned and operated by the Law Offices of Rosenberg & Maclay landed at Logan International Airport and pulled into a private hangar. The pilot went to check on his passengers. He found the two young women lounging on one of the couches, the redhead sleeping peacefully in the honey blonde girl’s lap.

“Ms. Maclay?” He asked quietly, only continuing when Tara looked up in his direction. “We’ve landed. There is a car ready to take you to the Four Seasons. I believe Ms. Rosenberg reserved rooms there.”

“What? Frogs! No.” Willow yelped as she awoke before looking around. “We made it to Boston?” She asked.

“Yes Sweetie.” Tara answered. “The car is waiting for us.”

“Good.” The hacker replied before turning to the pilot. “Get everything squared away so the plane can stay here at least overnight then stop by the hotels front desk for your room key. I got you a nice room since we’ll be busy most of this trip. Do whatever you like while in town but don’t get eaten by any demons. Once we finish things here we’ll make a few stops then head back to Sunnydale and then you’ll take the plane back to LA. I don’t want its constant presence drawing attention to us.”

The man smiled at the thoughtful gesture from his new boss. “Thank you Ms. Rosenberg.”

Willow and Tara gathered up the few bags they had brought. They exited the plane and made a quick beeline for the waiting town car that carried them off to the hotel. Once there Willow made sure to tip the driver generously.

“Come pick us up when we call later tonight.” The redhead said as she slipped the man a hundred dollar bill. “We have a lot of errands to get through and only a few days to spend here.”

“Certainly Ms. Rosenberg.” The man nodded with a smile and went back to his car.

Turning towards the hotel Willow proceeded to tip the bag handler and doorman equally well. She and Tara walked hand in hand into the lavish lobby and up to the check in desk.

“Checking in.” Willow told the woman behind the counter. “It should be under Willow Rosenberg.”

The woman looked at the hotel’s registry on her computer and then did a double take when she saw what room had been reserved. How two teenage girls had managed that was a mystery.

“Ah yes we have you right here Ms. Rosenberg. It says you reserved the penthouse suite. Is that correct?” The woman asked with a slightly skeptical tone.

“Yes that’s right. We also reserved a separate room for an employee who’ll be by shortly.” Willow smiled back.

“Okay.” The desk clerk said. “Everything is ready and the bell hop will take you up to your room. Please enjoy your stay.”

“Thank you.” Willow smirked.

As the two young witches went to the elevator they were joined by a young man towing a cart with their bags on it. He nodded politely and once they were all inside the lift he pressed the button and swiped the key card that would take them to the hotels penthouse floor.

As they exited the elevator into the short hallway their guide led them to one of a small handful of doors on that floor. He opened the room for them and stepped aside as Willow dragged Tara inside.

The honey blonde girl couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The “room” was in fact a fairly large apartment with its own foyer, luxurious common room, two large bedrooms, a kitchen and a balcony that overlooked the city with a massive hot tub.

“Willow.” Tara breathed out slowly. “I, I don’t know w-what to say.”

Willow quickly slipped the young man who unloaded their bags another large bill. He smiled brightly and saw himself out. The redhead then skipped over to the love of her life and wrapped the curvy girl in her arms.

“I love you Tara.” She intoned. “I wanted to treat you to some of the things you more than deserve.” Willow paused for a moment before overcoming slight hesitation. “And I wanted our first time in this life to be special.”

Tara’s eyes widened at that last statement. Her breath caught as Willow brought her lips to the side of her neck in a series of feather light kisses. They would finally be together fully and completely.

“I’m ready Tara.” Willow continued. “Ready to be with the person I love.”

“You mean?” Tara breathed out as she turned her head to gaze into emerald pools.

“I mean. Okay?” Willow smiled back as she brought a hand up to stroke Tara’s soft cheek.

“Oh yes!” Tara moaned out breathlessly just before Willow kissed her. It was a slow sensual joining of lips that promised so much more passion in the hours ahead. After several long moments spent melting into the kiss Willow pulled away slightly.

“Come on Baby.” She said while taking Tara’s hand and heading into the bedroom on the left side of the suite. Once inside Willow guided her love to the bed. Tara took a seat on the edge of the mattress and Willow kneeled down and removed the curvy girl’s shoes and socks. She tenderly ran her fingers up Tara’s legs.

Willow tenderly massaged Tara’s knees as she knelt between her legs. Tara leaned down to kiss her love yet again. The honey blonde ran her fingers along the hem of the redhead’s t-shirt and hurriedly pulled the garment up over her head. As soon as her hands were free of the garment Willow began unbuttoning Tara’s blouse. Once the last button was undone Tara flung her arms back and practically tore the fabric from her own body.

While Tara strained against her top Willow went to work unfastening the long skirt her girl wore. Taking note of her love’s efforts the Wiccan raised her hips, giving the energetic redhead ample opportunity to drag the fabric down her curvy hips.

“I need you up here Sweetie.” Tara said as she put her arms around Willow and pulled her onto the bed. She then hastily removed Willow’s sneakers before crawling up to the fly on her jeans. Tara slowly ran her tongue around Willow’s naval while her fingers popped the button and worked the zipper of her pants.

After dragging the jeans down pale, lightly freckled legs Tara flung them across the room. Her breath caught in her throat as she took in the sight of Willow’s slender form clad in nothing more than the matching set of lacy green bra and panties.

“Goddess you are so beautiful.” Tara whispered.

Willow looked up at her voluptuous lover. Her curvy thighs drawing the eye to the black cotton underwear stretching across her hips. The stomach Willow couldn’t get enough of. Her ample breasts cradled in a black bra. The redhead was in awe.

“Not half as beautiful as you are Baby.” She moaned in reply. Willow sat up and pulled the honey blonde into another kiss. She leisurely stroked her hands up and down Tara’s arms. As the kiss deepened the hacker slowly worked her hands around to the clasp of her love’s bar. With only a brief struggle Willow unhooked the clasp and slowly dragged the straps down creamy shoulders.

Tara let the article of clothing slip down her arms and be tossed aside. She looked up into green eyes she found transfixed on her chest. As the redhead continued to stare into the wide dark areolas around Tara’s nipples the honey blonde let out a slight giggle.

The motion from the laughter reverberating through her chest must have broken the spell because Willow immediately looked up and leaned in to capture Tara’s lips in a smoldering kiss. Tara grinned into the lips of her lover as she went to work removing the redhead’s lacey bra.

Willow gasped into her love’s throat as she felt Tara’s hands slide beneath her bra and cup her petite breasts. She hurried to free her arms from the straps and tossed the bra aside.

Tara pulled back and gazed at her lover. She cupped the underside of each breast in her hands and squeezed gently as her eyes followed the tiny pink buds adorning Willow’s chest. Leaning forward she captured one in her mouth.

Willow moaned as rapturous ecstasy filled her heart. Tara pushed gently into Willow until she was practically straddling the redhead. While slowly kissing her way up the pale lightly freckled chest to the slender clavicle Tara’s hands worked their way south. Hooking her thumbs into the waist line of the lacey green panties she slowly dragged them ever downward. Once they were gone Tara pulled back and took in the sight of her lover in all her glory.

Willow’s breath caught in her throat under the honey blonde’s steady gaze. The love they shared could be felt filling the room. With a tenderness and longing in her eyes Tara leaned over her redheaded love and kissed her lips gently. One arm snaked around Willow’s back as the hacker wrapped both her arms around Tara and held on to her shoulders.

With great care and tenderness Tara took her other hand and gently cupped Willow’s mound. The feeling of Willow’s fine curls already soaked through with arousal combined with the heat her center radiated into Tara’s palm almost brought tears to the sapphire pools.

The honey blonde gently moved her fingers through the slickness, stroking the outer lips tenderly. Coaxing the inner lips and tight bundle of nerves to swell with every beat of Willow’s heart. Always circling the slender girl’s core, not wanting to rush the moment that meant so much to both of them.

“I love you Willow.” Tara pledged as she brought one fingertip to rest at the opening of Willow’s aching molten core.

“I love you Tara.” Willow moaned with anticipation for what was to come. “Always.”

Tara slowly slid one finger into her love’s soft velvety folds. She gently stroked Willow’s inner walls until she felt a slight resistance blocking her exploration. Tara braced herself for what was to come.

Green locked with blue as Tara slowly pulled her finger almost completely out of Willow until only the barest hint of the tip remained. She brought her middle finger up alongside her index finger.

Willow nodded slowly as Tara mouthed ‘I love you.’ With a heavy heart Tara thrust both fingers deep inside Willow. Tara gasped as the redhead’s muscles clenched down on her hand tightly, and the hands at her back grasped her shoulder blades, pressing their chests together ever closer. Panic set in her heart as tears streamed down Willow’s cheeks.

“Oh Goddess Sweetie, I’m so sorry.” Tara pleaded. “I didn’t want to hurt you.”

Willow choked back a sob as she shook her head. “You didn’t.” She promised.

“Then why?” Tara began to ask.

“Happy tears.” Willow answered. “Very happy tears. I’m so happy right now. This moment. You completing me. Even with all we’ve been through I feel like my life is finally beginning.”

“Sweetie.” Tara felt her own tears start to flow as Willow shared so much of herself.

“Stay with me Baby.” Willow begged. “I want this moment to last.”

They lay still for several long moments, holding each other tightly in different yet profoundly powerful ways. Both young women gazed deeply into each other’s eyes. Both felt all the love the other had for her. Both let tears flow as the gift they gave each other freely overwhelmed their hearts.

After the need for more grew Tara shot Willow a coy look. The redhead smiled and gave a brief nod to continue. The curvy girl leaned down to kiss her slender love. As lips brushed against one another, and tongues slowly began to struggle for dominance only to surrender and start again, Tara renewed her explorations deep within her love’s folds.

Willow let out a series of soft moans and relaxed sighs as Tara stirred a sensual rhythm within her. Slowly relaxing her grip on the honey blonde’s shoulders she began to work her way down. Willow caressed and stroked the deceptively strong back muscles her love possessed. She gracefully trailed her fingertips along the indentations at the small of Tara’s back. Massaging ever more vigorously as her hands slipped beneath the waistband of the curvy girl’s panties and firmly cupped her ass cheeks.

Tara let a moan slip past her lips and be swallowed up by the slim girl writhing beneath her. Willow knew just how to touch her. As she felt her panties slowly dragged down her hips she stroked over the spongy bump along Willow’s front wall which she had been avoiding. A shiver went through the redhead as Tara graced the special spot and retreated.

With her love’s soaking wet panties pulled down past her knees, and dangling on one ankle with the help of Willow’s toes, the hacker decided to go exploring as well. A slender hand traveled around between the two young women and cupped the treasure hidden behind slick dark blonde curls. Willow smiled as she circled and stroked until she noticed the ever so sensitive bud at the apex of her love’s opening brush against her fingers.

Tara yelped and bucked into Willow’s hand. Fingers slipped past lips and were driven deep within the curvaceous girl. Willow gingerly felt around within the depths of her everything until she noticed an absence. The barrier her love had just overcome in her was nowhere to be found.

Tara felt Willow pout into their kiss and pulled back slightly. “Sweetie?” She asked as a nervous look came over her.

“Damn horses always spoiling my fun.” Willow pouted with a frown.

Tara couldn’t help but laugh at the deeply put out act her love was portraying. With a renewed smile she once again kissed Willow with resounding passion.

Both girls curved their fingers within their mate to bring pressure to the sensitive spongy bump within their love. Breathing became erratic. Stomach muscles contracted. Hips began to buck wildly.

Willow felt the pressure Tara coiled within her build to a crescendo. Tara felt herself teeter on the edge of a precipice. Both screamed into each other’s mouths as they tumbled over the edge and into the abyss of orgasmic pleasure together.

Panting into Willow’s shoulder Tara regained some of her senses. She tried to roll off of her spent lover only to have the arm around her waist tighten. She tried to lift her head enough to look in her love’s eyes but stopped when she heard a soft voice heavy with emotion and full of desperate need.

“Stay with me Baby.” Willow begged. “I need to feel you. In me. On me. Keeping me safe.”

“Always.” Tara whispered as she relaxed her whole body atop her slender love.

Willow loved moments like this. She loved being surrounded by Tara in every way. She loved feeling the strong heartbeat of her everything pound steadily against so much of her skin. She loved feeling the weight of her always wrapped around her. Pressing her into the mattress beneath, anchoring her in the world. She loved Tara.

Tara smiled as she felt the entirety of the emotions Willow was experiencing through their connection. Her smile widened even more knowing that Willow felt all of the love Tara held in her heart for the slender redhead come right back in return. What they shared was simply amazing.

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

It was dark when Willow and Tara stirred. They slowly sat up and embraced each other. After a moment they looked around at the strange place they found themselves in. The bed had changed. The walls of the penthouse were gone. A vast expanse of darkness stretched out in all directions.

“We’re not in Boston anymore. Or Kansas for that matter.” Willow remarked.

“Willow, Tara welcome to my realm.” Came a soft almost serpentine voice trying to sound seductive.

“No.” Willow seethed.

A figure emerged from the shadows. With green scales covering her naked body, exposed breasts, and long silver hair she was a truly impressive sight. As she rose to tower over the bed both young women saw her lower body was that of a serpent. Long and green covered in darker scales than the upper body.

“I have so much to teach both of you.” The snake whispered.

“No.” Willow said more forcefully. Tara shook her head solemnly as she took Willow’s hand.

“Come join me in my realm.” The intruder continued. “Saga Vasuki has much to teach you of the High Witching Arts.”

“I said NO!” Willow screamed.

A shockwave erupted from the two women on the bed and Saga Vasuki was flung backwards.

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

Willow and Tara awoke in the penthouse suite. They both sat bolt upright, breathing heavily. They had fallen asleep after making love less than an hour ago. The unwelcome awakening required an immediate response.

“Goddess Baby I am so sorry.” Willow began to babble. “We’ll deal with her. I only put her name on the board as a joke but if she’s gonna pull crap like this.” She stopped to look Tara squarely in the eyes. “I won’t let her hurt you. I can’t”

Willow climbed out of bed and went to the bag of magic supplies they left in the foyer. Tara quickly followed her anxious love.

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

In the mystic realm of the witch demon Saga Vasuki the serpent awoke from her travels through the dreams of mortals. A sneer grew across her face. She had been denied. No mortal ever denied the power she offered. And yet here were two who had displayed great power on the mortal realm and still refused what she offered.

The plans she had to bring the two into her coven aside, the snake demon wanted to physically indoctrinate both girls. It had been forever since her magic sensed a connection like that between two magic using mortals.

Tapping into that power sexually was what Saga Vasuki lived for. Who were they to deny her?

“No matter.” The demon said after calming herself. “They aren’t going anywhere. I have all the time in the world to turn them.”

Suddenly a blinding light filled the demonic realm. The mistress of this dimension could taste the power of the Goddess fueling the invasion of her sanctum. How dare she! How dare they! Saga Vasuki would make them all pay.

She heard only two words before she felt her precious magicks drain away.

“Be Sealed!” Willow and Tara ordered. The light faded and the demon readied her counter attack.

And nothing happened. She tried again to call on the ancient arcane forces. Nothing. She tried casting her mind out to the mortal realm. Nothing. There was nothing left for Saga Vasuki.

The demon wailed her fury to the walls of her prison.

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

In the penthouse suite of the Four Seasons in Boston two young women looked up from the circle of salt they had made on the floor. They blew out and set aside the candles they each held.

“Baby I am so sorry.” Willow pleaded desperately.

“It’s okay Willow. There is nothing to forgive.” Tara replied. “What did we decide? Mistakes made in a past life should be learned from and never repeated, but don’t dwell on them. Move on.”

“Tara please.” Willow almost cried. “I know you’ll always forgive me even when I don’t deserve it. I just don’t ever want you to think less of me for the relationships I failed at after losing you.”

“Willow, Sweetie.” Tara paused. “I was dead. You had every right to move on.”

“That’s the point!” Willow cried out. “I didn’t move on. I couldn’t. When I lost you that part of me died. I tried to let others in but I wasn’t fair to them. I was just wasting time until I could find my way back to you. I figured if I was gonna be miserable why not make a trickster demon who knew more about magic than me just as miserable. Towards the end, when the lies started being more than I could ignore, I don’t think I even liked her anymore. But that’s the point. Without you I don’t even like myself.”

Tara stepped forward and wrapped her arms around the crying girl. Her heart broke at the sight of all the neuroses Willow still carried from so long ago. She recalled that it had almost always been like this. Yet as time passed and they matured together Willow would learn to let go of the pain from memories that wounded her so deeply. For now that pain guided them both through the troubles that lay ahead.

No matter what, Willow would have Tara at her side. Tara embraced that supportive role just as fervently as she embraced the redhead crying in her arms. She embraced it just as hungrily as she embraced the deepest recesses of the redhead’s body earlier that day. She accepted long ago that Willow, for all the strength and resolve she showed the world, needed her support, affection and love desperately. And Tara was only too happy to give everything she had to that role in life. That mission.

“Come on.” Tara whispered after several minutes of holding Willow while the redhead desperately clung to her. “It’ll be sunset soon. Let’s go take a shower Sweetie.”

Willow nodded into Tara’s shoulder and they went back into the bedroom where they had shared so much of themselves and into the bathroom it held. The honey blonde pulled open the glass door of the marble tiled shower and turned on the water, adjusting it until the temperature held just the right amount of heat.

She then took Willow’s hand and guided her fragile love under the stream. They stood there for a long time , holding each other close, letting the warmth soak into their bodies as the water cascaded down their skin.

After the tears subsided Willow slowly began to trail tender kisses down Tara’s body as she moved her love so that her back was pressed up against the tiled wall of the shower. Slowly working her mouth down to Tara’s collar bone then winding her tongue over and around the honey blonde’s voluptuous breasts. Paying special attention to her love’s sensitive nipples.

Tara moaned as the redhead continued down her stomach. Willow slowly sunk to her knees between Tara’s legs. She nuzzled her face into damp honey blonde curls. Tara threw her head back as she felt Willow’s tongue caress her center. The hacker hungrily drove her tongue up into the paradise that was Tara.

She squealed with delight as one of her legs came up and draped itself over Willow’s shoulder. Tara glanced down to see the look of pure rapture play across the portion of Willow’s face not buried in her core. The emerald eyes Tara loved so dearly were fluttering closed as the tongue she cherished continued to stir her depths.

A cruel thought struck Tara as she grew suspicious of the source of this renewed vigor. She stroked her hands through long red locks as she gently massaged Willow’s scalp.

“Sweetie?” She asked breathlessly, causing green eyes to fly open and meet blue. “I love you Willow.” Tara continued in a raspy voice. “You don’t ever need to prove anything to me. But please don’t let that stop what you’re doing.”

Willow’s eyes widened slightly before closing again. Tara felt the redhead’s lips form an unmistakable grin as that beautiful tongue continued to drive her to new heights of ecstasy. The honey blonde’s breathe caught in her throat as she felt the inevitable release build inside her.

Suddenly the tongue was gone. A pout spread across Tara’s face but before she could look down to chastise her love’s teasing she felt Willow’s lips wrap around her clit as the redhead sucked with all her might. A strangled cry escaped Tara’s lips as her legs all but gave out.

Willow reveled in the sensation of Tara surrounding her. The steady flow of Tara’s essence continued to pour down her throat. This was heaven. She quickly wrapped her arms up behind Tara’s thighs and around her stomach, holding her love against the marble shower wall.

The redhead’s delicate hands grasping her shaking form were all Tara needed. She lost all sense of restraint and dove head first over the edge of pleasure. Her hips shook as her hands grasped Willow’s head desperately.

“WillLLOOOOOOOOOWWwwww!” Tara screamed as water cascaded down her shaking form and mixed with the overflow of her juices that absolutely covered the overjoyed redhead still lapping hungrily at her opening.

Tara slowly sunk to the floor of the shower. Willow cradled the honey blonde in her arms and kissed her passionately. Tara melted into the kiss and reveled in the taste of her own essence in Willow’s mouth.

As they held each other, kissing on the marble shower floor, water poured down and over both of their naked bodies. After a long while they helped each other to their feet and slowly lathered each other’s bodies with the vanilla scented body wash Tara had packed. The petite redhead washed the curvy honey blonde slowly and sensually. And she, in turn, was washed by her love.

Once both their bodies were slick with cleansing suds, and the only trace of arousal left on their skin was the slow trickle coming from Willow’s center that always emerged when her curvy Goddess was wet, naked and in her arms, they rinsed off. Tara poured out a dab of shampoo and slowly went to work massaging Willow’s scalp and long red locks. Willow similarly worked shampoo into the long honey blonde strands she adored.

As they worked up the lather blue pools stared into green depths and they slowly kissed. Though filled with just as much passion, this kiss had set aside the earlier hunger and desperate need in favor of a tender reaffirmation of their all encompassing love.

After rinsing off the shampoo Tara pulled out the cinnamon scented conditioner she always loved when mixed with her redhead’s own natural scent. Willow likewise pulled out the vanilla conditioner she favored for the same reasons. Taking small dabs each young woman set to work on her love’s hair yet again, never once breaking eye contact as they gazed deeply into each other’s souls.

When the slow sensual ritual was complete Willow and Tara shared a gentle kiss. They stood together under the pouring water that cascaded down their bodies. They never stopped holding, stroking, rubbing against one another. As if the very thought of not touching as much of each other as possible was painful.

Once the last traces of conditioner had washed away Tara slowly reached behind the slim redhead and turned off the water. Willow opened the shower door and retrieved a large towel hanging from the nearby bar. She wound the soft slightly plush length of fabric around the two of them and continued to stroke her love’s creamy skin.

“I love you Tara.” Willow pledged with all her heart.

“And I love you Willow.” Tara breathed into the slim girl’s mouth just before kissing her soft pink lips yet again. The tender drying motions of the towel slowed as Willow melted into her love’s embrace. They stayed in each other’s arms for several minutes.

It took Tara a while to build up the will to break away but when she did she couldn’t hold back her smile. Hearing Willow whimper at the loss of contact with her lips always sent her heart soaring. Even with all they had done together throughout the millennia they could still lose themselves in the simple act of kissing.

Tara took the towel and finished drying the two of them off. While on her knees before the redhead, working on drying pale lightly freckled legs, she looked closely at her love’s inner thighs and smiled. The honey blonde then looked up at her girl with a smirk.

“Not that I wouldn’t love another round Sweetie but we really need to get out there and do what we came here for.” Tara said coyly before running a single finger along the pale inner thigh. The digit gathered up the light slickness that had been building since the water had ceased. Willow gasped with delight as she saw Tara slide the finger into her mouth and thoroughly enjoy the taste.

“You are so going to pay for that later Missy.” Willow promised.

“Vixen.” Tara smirked.

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

It was a typical autumn evening in the city of Boston. People went about their afternoon. Many leaving work and returning home for the night. Others preparing to go out and partake in the city’s nightlife.

The sun had just set and Faith Lehane was sneaking into the ratty motel room she was crashing in after running out on her last foster home. They were nice enough on the surface, but she knew once the other shoe dropped they would turn her life to shit.

At least they weren’t as awful as her first foster home. Those people were monsters. Just as Faith was getting settled in for the night the manager slammed a fist on her door.

“Rent’s due in the morning Sweetheart.” He called with a crudely suggestive tone.

“Shit!” Faith muttered. She only had enough cash to get a meal or two over the next week. She would have to run. It always ended up like this. She left a home, crashed somewhere till she couldn’t afford the rent, then either went back into the system or tried to steal to get by on the street until she was caught and forced back into the system.

Faith heard loud footsteps carry the heavy motel manager down the hall. This place might not have been much but at least it was off the streets and away from the average vampire. Sure there was no threshold to speak of in the rat’s nest but most blood suckers didn’t bother checking random rooms for meals.

The angry brunette went about packing the few things she had into the one worn down backpack she used whenever she had to migrate. She was about to climb out the back window and shimmy down a nearby drain pipe when there came a soft knocking at her door.

“Hello?” Came a young woman’s voice. “Faith we have something you’ll want to hear.”

They knew her name. Whoever was out there knew who she was. That settled it. Faith immediately climbed out the window and down the side of the building. She quickly made it down to the alley behind the motel and stepped onto solid pavement.

“That w-was impressive.” Chuckled another soft feminine voice from behind her.

Faith spun around ready to fight and came face to face with a curvy young woman around her age with long honey blonde hair. Her defensive posture eased slightly when she noticed the girl was alone and seemed human.

“Whatever you want with me it ain’t worth it.” Faith promised. “Back off or I’ll make sure you regret coming for me.”

“So kind of you.” Tara replied. “But are you s-sure hearing us out won’t be w-worth your time? I m-mean, what do you have to lose by t-t-talking to me for one hour or so?”

“You deaf Blondie?” Faith shot back. “I ain’t playin’ no games.”

“I’m not playing either Faith.” Tara replied calmly. “Please just listen to w-what we have to say and if you still don’t want anything t-to do with us then you’re free to go.”

“How do you and your friend upstairs know my name?” Faith asked. No sense in letting these people in if this was some cult setup or a new way for the foster system to round up strays.

“Would you believe we all met in a past life?” Tara said with a hopeful smile. As Faith frowned and began to inch away Tara panicked. “Okay w-w-wait. I-it’s a longer story than that but please h-hear us out.”

“Why should I?” Faith demanded. She was losing patience with this stuttering blonde.

“Because we need your help.” Tara stated almost pleadingly. “If you don’t help us things will turn out badly for us and even worse for you.” Tara paused again to collect her thoughts. “Please Faith just follow us around for the night. Once you see what we can offer you then you can decide for yourself.”

Faith was about to argue with the strange girl some more but apparently she had wasted too much time. Just then a skinny redhead came running around the corner and almost bumped into Faith.

“There you guys are.” Willow wheezed. “That manager wouldn’t believe I was trying to pay off one of the room bills. Faith please don’t run out on me like that.”

“And just who the hell are you?” The brunette demanded.

“You haven’t introduced us yet Baby?” She asked while looking to her love. The blonde shook her head slightly. “Okay I’m Willow Rosenberg, this is my girlfriend Tara Maclay, and you’re Faith Lehane. Now that we all know each other can we take this conversation elsewhere? I’m getting kind of hungry.” Willow finished her babble with a slight frown.

Just as the mild shock at hearing the word girlfriend stated so boldly from the redheaded slip of a girl set in for Faith her stomach growled. She hadn’t eaten all day. These weird chicks wouldn’t get the drop on her just because of a little hunger.

“I still haven’t decided if I’m gonna hear you out yet.” Faith replied hastily.

Willow looked at her puzzled for a moment then reached in her pocket and pulled out a handful of bills. She handed them over to Faith with a smile.

“That five hundred dollars is yours to keep.” Willow stated slowly. “If you listen to what we have to say and come with us as we run errands tonight then I’ll give you five thousand and let you be on your way. Or you can come with us when we leave town tomorrow and potentially earn a whole lot more.”

Willow took Tara’s hand and slowly turned to walk down the alleyway. Faith looked at the crisp bills in her hand then back at the two girls. Could she trust them to deliver? Could she afford to pass this up?

“Wait up!” She called before jogging after them.

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

The three young women of varying hair colors were sitting around a table in a pizza place on the fairly upscale side of town. Though the restaurant was fairly run of the mill and geared towards middle class locals it was still the nicest place Faith had ever eaten in.

Just as the pizza was brought to their table Faith looked up at a pause in the two strange girl’s story with an incredulous smirk. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“So this Sineya chick got all this demon power and then they just sent her off into the woods to fight the boogey man all on her own?” Faith asked with a laugh.

“That’s how the story goes.” Tara remarked with a sigh.

“Funny bedtime story.” Faith admitted while picking up a slice. “Still doesn’t explain why you guys are after me.”

“It will in time.” Tara promised as they all ate the large margherita pizza Willow had ordered.

Willow and Tara shared a look as they let Faith eat her fill. They suspected this was the first full meal the girl had in years. They both knew they had to do everything in their power to change her standard of living.

“So anyway.” Willow began. “Faith we know a lot about you.”

At this statement the troubled brunette stopped chewing. She swallowed the bite of pizza in her mouth and set the rest of her fourth slice down. She looked across the table at the two girls who still hadn’t explained themselves and scowled.

“My life ain’t your personal peepshow.” Faith growled out.

“I’m explaining this wrong.” Willow muttered to herself. “Faith the truth is Tara and I are witches.”

The girl from Boston laughed at the outlandish statement but stopped the moment she saw a slice of pizza float off of the serving tray and onto the plate before the redhead. A napkin soon followed suit and sailed into Tara’s open palm.

“And because we are witches we know certain things about the world and the people in it.” Willow forged ahead. “Important people. Like you.”

“I ain’t nobody important.” Faith whispered.

Tara and Willow smiled at that statement. The brunette had no idea just how correct that double negative would prove to be.

“No you are.” Tara stated firmly.

“There are things you don’t know about yourself Faith.” Willow replied. “Very important things that we can’t just tell you right away until we show you more of what we can do.”

As the last slice of pizza disappeared Willow waved the server over and paid. Faith noticed the redhead left a tip roughly three times the size of the bill on the table. If worst came to worst she could always rob these two and try her luck hiding from actual witches.

The trio left the restaurant and piled into the town car they had taken from the slum where Faith had been hiding. Faith looked around the inside of the car as they drove. After a few minutes Willow and Tara began to rummage through a bag they had brought. They pulled out many bottles and vials of odd and strange substances and powders. The car came to a stop and the sunroof was opened letting the night air roll in.

Faith looked out the window and noticed they had come to an even worse part of town than the one where they had found her. This place was worse than the neighborhood where she was raised. Worse than a lot of places she knew to avoid.

It made her skin crawl.

Before she could voice her concerns about not stopping the car in such a “shit hole” she heard her two strange abductors chanting. Things were about to get far too interesting.

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

Inside a massive warehouse the newly risen vampire who liked to call himself Mr. Trick was busy trying to convince his sire Kakistos that they could use modern technology to revolutionize the way they did business. They had been discussing the ebony vampire’s ideas for some time while most of the nest had gone out hunting. With the sound of the large iron doors sliding open they knew the hunting party had returned with the evenings meal and hopefully some entertainment.

The vampires dragged a dozen humans into the central chamber of their nest. Once all were accounted for there had to be fifty vampires present. Kakistos was planning a move that would turn the city into his personal playground over the next few years. If all went according to plan he would have enough fledges by spring. They would be trained and ready to carry out his plans by the end of summer.

What was truly great about his plan was the location. Many master vampires his age ended up carrying out their evil on one hellmouth or another. The profane sites offered great power but attracted guardians like flies.

Boston wasn’t a demon hotspot. What’s more he knew the current Slayer was stuck on the hellmouth out on the west coast. He was practically guaranteed success. The only possible problem would be if the humans pulling the Slayer’s strings sent her here on a whim or she died and a new one popped up in his back yard. He had his boys out listening for any watcher activity and so far nothing had come up.

All of these thoughts went through his mind as he gazed upon the terrified faces of his victims. Then his world changed.

There was a soft knock on the iron door. A few of his minions nearest there went to check on it. Then a second slightly louder knock sounded through the chamber. Kakistos and Trick both looked towards the main entrance.

The third knock changed their entire evening. With a deafening boom the massive iron doors flew into the warehouse and flattened a dozen vampires. Most were dusted by their heads being smashed so thoroughly their necks just ended. A few were trapped under the twisted metal.

Within the blink of an eye the entry way was swarming with tiny points of light. They darted around and circled many vampiric heads. Through the ruined doorway waltzed Willow and Tara. They laughed as the shocked faces all around the warehouse stared at them.

“Oh, Sweetie looks like w-we got here just in time for supper.” Tara said.

“I know Baby.” Willow replied jovially. “And here I thought we might miss the party.”

Faith slowly stepped inside and looked at the mess these two had led her into. If she made it out of this deathtrap she wasn’t going to make the mistake of trusting anyone ever again.

Kakistos stood from his improvised throne and stamped a massive hoof. “Take them alive.” He roared. “I’ll show them personally what happens to little girls that cross me.”

As soon as he spoke the lights circling his minions nearest to the captured humans made their move. The pixie lights flew with unerring accuracy into the hearts of thirty of his Vampires.

The ones still trapped under the door suffered the same fate. The followers of Kakistos were reduced to Mr. Trick and a mere handful of other blood suckers. With a casually dismissive wave from the honey blonde Trick and the remaining vampires were surrounded by a third of the lights. The rest circled the ancient cloven pawed vampire with ever tightening circles.

Faith was stunned beyond belief. The first two lesbians she had ever met had walked her into a huge vampire nest and burned it down. She may not have had a good idea of where this evening was heading when she scurried down that drain pipe but this was not on any list she could have come up with.

“Faith.” Willow said calmly. “I want you to see this. What we’ve done to that vampire is something we need you to remember. We brought you here so you could understand just what we are capable of. You need to know this so that when we tell you we desperately need your help you’ll know how high the stakes are.”

“Five by five Red.” Faith replied.

With that ominous statement the witches clasped hands and focused all of their concentration. The lights guarding the remaining vampires shot through their hearts. The last to go was Trick who screamed as he was consumed from within.

The mystic fireflies left over joined the mass circling the master now bereft of followers. From the center of this tight formation five points of light arose to form a pentagon. Kakistos sneered at the three women who ruined his plans.

With outstretched arms Tara and Willow guided the five lights into the massive barrel chest of the master vampire. His incineration was slow and allowed the smoldering hate in his eyes to leave a lasting impression on Faith.

With the warehouse devoid of undead the remaining few dozen lights slowly circled the witches. Willow and Tara muttered a short prayer to the Goddess and looked up to the lights.

“Go forth and find as many vampires as possible. Slay them all.” They spoke in unison.

With orders given the lights flew off into the night with blinding speed. Willow and Tara went to the battered and bewildered survivors. Several had managed to slip out after the first round of vampires were dusted. A small handful remained around two injured looking people. They looked up at the witches fearfully.

“We’ll call an ambulance.” Willow said. “Please stay with those two until they arrive.”

With that the three women left the run down warehouse. The ambulances arrived soon after and a cop took statements. The official report cited gang violence and commented that the witnesses were distracted when the perpetrators made their escape. No arrests were made.

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

Faith awoke the next morning in the most comfortable bed she had ever slept in, in the most lavish room she had ever seen, all within the most luxurious and extravagant building she had ever set foot in.

Needless to say her life had changed. She rolled over to see that she had slept in well past ten. Could anyone really blame her with the fact that she had just experienced what life could be like if you could afford sheets with something like a bajillion thread count?

She slowly crawled out of bed, completely naked, and went into her amazing bathroom. She found a brand new toothbrush still in the package on the sink with toothpaste and a note. It read. “Faith we hope you had a pleasant night. After you’ve had a nice long shower you’ll find a present in your room. When you feel hungry join us in the dining room. W+T.”

The street smart girl smiled at the note. No one in her life had ever been thoughtful enough to write her a note. This being friends with genuinely nice people thing seemed like it might be worth a shot.

Then again she was still waiting for them to drop the other shoe and spring the punch line on her. She still had no idea if she could actually trust these girls. When they first brought her up to the hotel she had feared for a brief moment that two incredibly powerful witches had lured her into a love nest where they could take turns chewing her up and spitting her out.

Granted the two girls only slightly older than her were probably the best looking of anyone who ever tried anything with Faith. Though she had always been able to fend off unwanted advances Faith honestly didn’t know if she could do anything if the witches tried something. She had seen them dust around fifty vampires. How could she possibly defend herself against that power?

All those fears floated out the window the second they came into the living room of the penthouse suite. Tara pointed to a door on the far right wall. “That’s your room Faith.” She then pointed to the far left wall. “And th-that’s ours. Feel f-free to talk to us if you want but knock first okay? I love it when Willow gets all possessive and jealous over me but we don’t w-want an audience for our private life. Especially not someone we want as a friend.”

With that simple statement Tara completely alleviated the fear brewing in the brunette. These two young women were in love and wanted nothing to do with Faith as far as sex went. They wanted something else entirely and could only get it if Faith trusted them. That much had been made clear. The specifics were more hazy but so far this was better than any other offer Faith had ever been given.

With a relieved heart Faith climbed into the shower and washed herself more completely than she had ever been able to before. After she had lathered herself up multiple times she simply stood beneath the stream of water and let the pain and turmoil she always felt wash away with the suds. She remained like that for a long time.

After the lure of pounding water lost its appeal Faith killed the stream and stepped out of the marble and glass stall to wrap her body in a nearby towel. She stood before the bathroom mirror drying herself off and gazing at her nude form with an appraising eye.

Faith honestly didn’t like what she saw but at least she could tell herself that she didn’t look anywhere near as bad as the strung out whores she had grown accustomed to arguing with every time she went by her more familiar haunts.

Though she had lived a hard life she never let herself live down to her mother’s most vocal expectation. She had yet to resort to selling herself on the street, even though every pimp in the city couldn’t wait to get a fifteen year old with such pouty lips into his stable.

Putting aside dark thoughts of how messed up her life was and how much worse it could be Faith resolved to hear these two out before making a run for it. If she was lucky she could probably get them to fork over more cash.

The brunette wrapped her hair up in the towel and padded her way into the bedroom she had enjoyed so much. On the bed was a long box with a bow and a note on the cover. Faith leaned over it to pick up the note.

Reading it quietly to herself brought another smile to her face. “Faith, we hope these are the right size. We have travel plans to make and wanted to take you shopping for a new wardrobe before we left town. These should get you off to a good start though. W+T.”

Setting the second note aside Faith slowly opened the box and found her jaw dropping to the floor. These two strangers had gone out and bought Faith the most expensive looking black leather pants and jacket the brunette had ever seen. The quality was unmistakable. Looking more closely she saw the outfit also came with a matching black lace bra and panty set and a white tank top sporting just the right amount of tightness that Faith loved to flaunt.

Turning the white cotton over faith noticed it had a joke written on the chest. “Don’t come a knockin’ if you can’t take the rockin’!” She laughed. Faith Lehane actually laughed. She couldn’t remember the last time that happened.

Okay then if they wanted to play dress up then Faith would play along. Just so long as they didn’t want anything more intimate. She quickly donned the new threads and took a good look at herself in the bedroom mirror. She looked hot. Hotter than she ever thought she could.

Taking the notes and her new bathroom supplies, as well as a few of the hotels nicer complimentary accessories, she stuffed them into her bag with her old clothes and stepped out into the penthouse’s common area.

There was a delightful smell coming from the dining room around the corner and she could make out distinct conversation. Faith crept ever closer to try listening to the goings on. The more she knew about these two the better off she would be when it came time to run.

“Lilah!” She heard the redhead say cheerfully. “I’m glad I got you. Is Lindsey there? You two were in the middle of a meeting when I called? Good, send anyone else out then put me on speaker so I can talk to both of you.”

There was a clicking sound then another woman’s voice came in over the phones loudspeaker. “Ms. Rosenberg, so good to hear from you. Lindsey and I are ready to fulfill any orders you may have.” A man’s voice with a distinctly southern drawl came in right after the woman was done. “Just say the word boss.”

“Glad to hear it.” Willow said as she fiddled with her laptop. “I just sent both of you a list. It has the names, holdings and businesses of every member of the Delta Zeta Kappa fraternity based out of Sunnydale. Students and Alumni. By the end of the week everything they have ever earned or built up will be taken from them by their own doing. Companies will go bankrupt, government agencies will raid and confiscate everything they own, criminal charges will be filed, and boardrooms will be littered with bodies as the suicides start to roll in.”

There was dead silence on the phone line. The man and woman on the other end had no idea how to respond to this. Willow continued on unperturbed.

“This turn of events has nothing to do with our actions.” The redhead stated. “They’re a demon worshiping cult and the frat boys who’re tasked with feeding the snake demon they owe everything are gonna screw up this year’s anniversary feeding. The idiots are going to drug and chain up the Slayer as a sacrifice. She’ll kill the demon without batting an eye.” She paused to let her words sink in. “I want you guys to set up everything so that Tara and I make a fortune off their crumbling empires. Short sell stocks, snatch up properties at auction, seize possessions that slip through the cracks in evidence lockers, take them for everything you can without drawing attention from the authorities. Tara and I will use their blood money to save a great many lives and finance the tech boom Pentacle will start in a few short weeks.”

The specific orders and their inevitable outcome seemed to light a fire under the two voices on the other side of the phone line. “Right away Ms. Rosenberg.” The woman said. “I told you these new bosses knew how to party.” The man said to his counterpart. “This will be so much fun.” He finished as Willow told them good bye and hung up the phone.

“Faith I’d just like to say that conversation was a lot less evil than I made it sound.” Willow said as she turned to look directly at the brunette standing in the archway. “I have a certain ruthless reputation I need to maintain lightly around some people or they’ll end up working for the less cuddly side of the force again.”

“No sweat Red. Five by five.” Faith replied with practiced casual disregard. “Not really any of my business.”

“I really hope it will be soon though.” Willow replied forlornly. “Tara and I need your help.” She looked the girl over once more and a bright smile spread across her face. “You’re wearing the clothes we got you.”

“Yeah seemed like a waste to take such a nice shower and then put my old ratty duds on again.” Faith answered.

“Do they fit right?” Willow asked as she got up to walk around the brunette. “Tara is just getting breakfast ready once we eat we’ll tell you our plans for the next few days.” The redhead paused again. “I really hope you’ll hear us out and really think about what we are offering.”

“Yeah they’re five by five.” Faith answered nonchalantly. “Sounds fair enough. You two have been nicer than a lot of the folks I’ve had to deal with.”

“Perfect.” Willow cheered. “Come on, let’s see how my girl is doing.” The two girls went to the kitchen to the rear of the penthouse suite and found the honey blonde toiling over a stove. Without looking up Tara addressed her love as they stood by the archway.

“Sweetie the pancakes are almost done. I made funny shapes. Did the call to LA go through okay?” Tara said. “You should check on Faith if…” She looked up and noticed the brunette standing beside her love. “Faith! Come eat with us Sweetie. I ran out and got the stuff to make my mom’s special recipe this morning.”

With an ease she was fearful of getting dependent on Faith settled in to eat with the two young women who had gone out of their way to make her feel welcomed. For a brief moment she idly thought this was what it might be like to have a real family.

She quickly banished the wasteful hope and went back eating the delicious food the tall girl had made. Once the redhead was visibly stuffed and the honey blonde settled in to blissfully rub her love’s tummy Faith decided to ask specific questions of the couple.

“So you girls are from LA?” Faith inquired.

Light smiles broke out on the pair’s faces. Willow chuckled as Tara stammered out an answer.

“No Sweetie.” She replied. “Willow is from Sunnydale California. W-which is a day’s drive from Los Angeles but n-not really close by. I’m from r-rural Alabama.” She paused. “Very rural.”

“We just took over a law firm formerly run by demons in LA and set up a group of demon hunters in an old hotel in the city though.” Willow chimed in.

“How did you take the law firm over if it was run by demons?” Faith asked stunned.

“We made the demons and a lot of the more murderous humans working for them former.” Willow whispered.

“Okay see, that right there.” Faith shot back. “You two have all this power I can’t even understand and you still waste your time asking me for help. What are you really after?”

“We want you to come back to Sunnydale with us and meet our friends.” Tara said solemnly. “You may not know it now but you have great potential Faith. You can be someone great if you just had the right chance. We w-want to help you get that chance and so m-much m-more.”

“And you aren’t planning any surprises once you get me on the plane?” Faith asked. “You ain’t gonna trick me or sell me to some guy who buys underage girls?”

“Sweetie, no never.” Tara promised, sounding almost hurt at the accusation.

“Faith you don’t know us yet but we swear you will arrive in Sunnydale safely.” Willow said very calmly. “Once you meet our family we’ll make you the full offer and whatever you decide we will go along with. You can leave us at that moment or stay in touch and we’ll set you up with an apartment somewhere nice. It’s all up to you.”

“Okay.” Faith said with a slightly timid tone. “That seems fair. Your note said we’d go shopping?”

Smiles broke out on both witches faces. Faith was going to go along with them for at least the first part of the journey. The hardest obstacle they had accounted for was overcome. Now they just needed to follow through.

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

Hours later the three girls had hit a dozen shops in the down town area. Faith picked out several outfits. Many were predominantly leather. Willow and Tara each bought things for several friends they casually mentioned in front of Faith.

Several expensive looking suits with buttons running up the center to banded collars were picked out for a guy named Xander. “He needs a bit more adult in his wardrobe.” Tara remarked.

Classic looking tweed jackets from well known designers and button down shirts in various colors were earmarked for a Giles. “Our favorite librarian deserves more than what the idiots on the council are paying him.” Willow scorned.

And a truly impressive array of expensive high end shoes were picked out for a girl named Buffy. “She’ll flip when she sees this.” The redhead grinned.

Willow and Tara also picked out several full length dresses that would fit on more mature women. “Mom never had anything this lovely.” Tara remarked as Willow folded her arms around the honey blonde. “She’ll love it Baby, and Joyce will love these.” Willow assured.

Over the course of a few short hours Faith marveled as the two witches filled the town car with gifts. They had already checked out of the hotel and the few possessions Faith brought there were in the trunk. Turning to look the brunette in the eye Willow asked a hesitant question.

“Faith once we go you may not come back here for a long time.” The redhead cautioned. “Is there anywhere you need to go or anyone you want to see before we leave?”

Faith looked at the two girls who were so busy changing her life. She honestly didn’t know how to respond to that question. This city was her home. But for Faith home was a place of pain and suffering. With a slow smile she answered Willow.

“Five by five Red.” Faith replied. “Let’s get outta here.”

They told the driver to head for their hangar at Logan International Airport. Upon arriving they found the pilot was hard at work preparing for takeoff. The three of them made quick work of loading the excessive number of bags into the plane.

Just as they settled in Willow made a call back to Sunnydale. It was picked up after only two rings.

“Hello.” Said the perky feminine voice on the other end.

“Hey Buff it’s me.” Willow replied.

“Willow!” Buffy cheered. “How’s Tara? How’s the trip going?”

“Tara is great.” Willow said while gazing into her love’s eyes. “She says hi. The trip was an absolute success. We have a huge surprise for everyone when we get home. We just need to make a few short stops along the way.”

“That’s all great.” Buffy said. “I kinda had something I needed to talk to my best friend about.” Buffy hesitated. “Cordelia wants me to go to this frat house party with her. One of the college guys stopped by and was trying to be all suave with the self-deprecating charm. What should I do?”

Willow froze. She didn’t expect that to come up for a few more days. “When is the party Buff?” She asked very careful to not let her nerves play out in her voice.

“Tomorrow night.” Buffy answered cheerily.

“You should definitely go.” Willow said. “But be careful, okay?”

“Sure.” Buffy replied. “Thanks Will. Oh tell Tara I said hi. I really miss you guys. I love you Will.”

“Love you too Buffy.” Willow smiled. “We’ll be back real soon.”

As she hung up the phone Willow stood and strode to the cockpit. Tara and Faith listened as she addressed the pilot.

“Change of plans.” The redhead declared. “We need to be back in Sunnydale by tomorrow afternoon. Cleveland is definitely out of the question now. Can we afford an hour’s pit stop in Miami?”

The man looked at the clocks he had set for time zones and cities the redhead had told him this morning. He realized they’d be cutting it close but gave an honest response.

“If we just idle on the tarmac for no more than one hour each we can hit Miami and St. Louis.” The pilot stated. “We’ll be flying all night, but I’m well rested right now. Will you be able to handle whatever business you had planned under those conditions Ms. Rosenberg?”

“Yes. Perfect. Thank you.” Willow cheered. “You may have just saved a few hundred lives.”

The man’s jaw fell open as the redhead revealed what was at stake on this mission. “Please take your seat Ms. Rosenberg. We should be heading underway quickly.”

Willow thanked him again and returned to the two stunned women in the cabin. Tara had a worried look on her face and Faith was completely lost.

“What’s up Red?” The brunette asked. “I thought you and this Buffy were tight?”

“We are.” Willow sighed as she sat down. “She’s my best friend. After Tara there is no one I’d rather spend time with than her. I just had to lie to her about her safety at this frat party tomorrow night. We have to get there in time to help her win a fight. If we don’t people die. We also have to stop in cities along the way to deal with future threats that are poorly defined. Our best bet is to deal with the dangers by casting spells from this plane while we stop.”

“So we best hurry then.” Faith guessed.

“Right Sweetie.” Tara replied.

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

The private jet touched down in Miami International Airport and idled for ten minutes before the hatch opened. A steady stream of hundreds of tiny lights flew out of the plane and sped off along the ground. All headed into the city seeking out the nearest undead targets. As the plane took off forty minutes later the people of Miami were unaware that the vampire population of the surrounding region was reduced by three quarters.

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

A very similar thing happened in the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport hours later. This time the plane was refueled before the hatch opened and pixie lights streamed outwards. Though the number of lights was only in the dozens this time. They all seemed to veer off in one direction.

A terrible commotion was reported in a warehouse on the outskirts of town. Law enforcement arrived to find the building devoid of any suspects. All they found were a large number of dust piles scattered around the site and a number of large Alligators in a massive pool in the middle of the warehouse. Animal control was called in to take the creatures off to a medical facility associated with the St. Louis Zoo. Months later they found their way into their own exhibit.

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

With the sun high in the sky the private jet finally touched down in the Sunnydale airport. Jennifer had been called upon their arrival in California airspace and was waiting for them at the now familiar hangar. As the weary girls stepped out of the plane carrying far too many bags they greeted the blonde woman with all the love they could muster.

“Jennifer there’s someone we want you to meet.” Willow said as Faith slowly stepped out of the plane and walked up to the family.

Tara’s mother took one look at the tough looking girl and couldn’t help but feel the raw pain pouring off the teen in waves.

“This is Faith Lehane.” Willow stated. “Faith this is Jennifer Maclay. Tara’s mom. Faith will be staying with us for a while.”

Jennifer glanced to her daughter who only nodded then stepped forward to wrap the brunette in a tight hug. “Don’t worry about a thing Sweetie.” She whispered into Faith’s ear. “I was just as lost as you the first time Tara brought me here. You can trust my girls. They’ll help you if you only let them.”

Faith had no idea how to respond to that. With little more than a few words from the redhead the honey blonde’s mom was rolling out the welcome wagon. A very small part of her wished she knew what it was like to have a parent that cared half that much. She might not have lived the life she had if she was as lucky as Tara.

Then again Faith realized she hadn’t met the curvy girl’s other parent. If the vibe she had gotten off Tara from the moment they met in the alley was any indication then her old man might have made Faith’s drunken deadbeat of a mom look like Mother Teresa.

As the heartfelt introductions went underway Willow returned to the pilot and thanked him again for his excellent work. She told him to rest up and worry about returning the plane to LA after he got a good nights sleep.

The girls then went to work filling Jennifer’s car with all they had brought back from Boston. It barely fit but in the end there was still enough room for Faith to ride up front with Jennifer. Tara was crammed into one end of the back seat and would have minded more if not for the fact that Willow was perched on her lap with a happy smile. The slim redhead made sure the trip was worth Tara’s time by not too subtly grinding her hips and ass into Tara’s lap during the entire drive home.

Once safely back at the large manor on Rovello Drive they quickly unloaded the gifts into the library. Faith was floored by the house and its impressive features. But what really surprised her was the moment when they were showing her the second floor and Tara turned to her after opening a door.

“And this is your bedroom Faith.” Tara said with a wave to the sparsely furnished room. “If you want any specific furniture just s-say so. We can all go out shopping for whatever you need.”

“For real?” Faith asked stunned. “You guys know me a day and I already get a spare room in your mansion?”

“Faith the whole story is complicated but you need to understand.” Willow replied. “Tara and I know you from countless past lives. We know the kind of person you are and what you are capable of if pushed into a corner. We also know how loyal you are to those you care for. We know you are something special and we want to make sure your gifts aren’t wasted.”

Faith was continually floored by everything these girls were doing for her. No one had ever been this kind to her. The fear that this was a huge trick at her expense was diminishing with each passing hour.

“It’ll be dark soon.” Willow said. “Let’s get all of Faith’s clothes up here then go find Giles and Xander. Buffy will need our help.”

The three girls made short work of moving the various leather garments the brunette had picked out. They then called Giles at the school library and told him they were coming over. Jennifer offered to drive and they were off.

A few hours after sunset they all found themselves in the bushes looking at the Delta Zeta Kappa frat house. The party was long over and only a few of the members remained upstairs for the cleanup. Just as Willow was about to explain a robed figure approached them.

“Hey.” Xander said. “What are you guys doing here?”

“Demon worshiping frat house.” Willow answered. “They need to sacrifice three girls once a year or their fortunes dry up. That isn’t the shade for you Xander.” The hacker remarked as she noticed the lipstick on her friend.

“Oh dear lord.” Giles muttered before looking to Xander. “Why are you wearing that?”

“Found it in their trash.” The dark haired teen replied. “Saw a bunch of them wearing robes and heading down to the basement.” Sudden realization hit the young man. “They’re gonna sacrifice Buffy and Cordelia. Cordy’s car is still here.”

“And a girl from Kent prep school whose been missing all week.” Tara added.

“Let’s go be heroes.” Faith said with a smirk.

The group made their way up to the house. Xander knocked on the door to draw attention. As one of the overly muscular frat boys came to let him in the young man surprised the foe with a quick punch to the face. As the frat boy staggered back Xander grasped his hand at the stinging and Faith speedily slipped inside.

The Boston girl made short work of an approaching guy with a distinctive unibrow. With a quick punch to the man’s throat and a nasty kick to the side of his knee the bruiser went down. Willow idly wondered if he’d ever walk straight again.

As a few more men came running from the basement Giles joined the fray making short work of less experienced fighters who faced him. Faith continued to employ all the tricks she had picked up on the less cuddly streets of Boston.

Xander, still occupied with his first opponent, was riding the foe’s back while punching him in the back of the head. The young man was loudly listing off all the grievances he had ever accumulated over interactions with jocks and bullies. The oaf staggered around the room before falling to the ground.

Willow and Tara chanted lightly in Sumerian. As they finished the spell several of their foes stopped advancing and began waving their arms around in a panic. They had no idea what to do while temporarily blinded. They were sitting ducks as Faith casually strolled up to them one by one and bashed them from behind with a chair.

Once the last of them were down Willow called out to the Scoobies. “Guys Buffy is in the basement fighting a giant snake we have to hurry.”

The Scooby gang ran to the basement stairs. As they began filing down they each took in the sight of the chaos before them. A large demon with a long serpentine body trailing down a deep well had his arms around Cordelia. Several frat boys were on the ground. Buffy had just thrown a young man in green robes through an altar and was running up to the well with a sword.

Faith stopped dead in her tracks to marvel at the Slayer. She couldn’t believe her eyes. The strength, the power, the speed. All wrapped up in the body of the most gorgeous woman the brunette had ever seen. She stared in awe as the Slayer brought the sword down bisecting the snake demon.

Apparently this breed couldn’t handle losing eighty percent of their overall body. As the group went about making sure the other girls were okay Faith stood by and watched as Buffy removed the shackles from her wrists.

“You guys.” Cordy moaned on the brink of tears. “I just hate you guys. The weirdest things always happen when you’re around. And you!” She yelled grabbing the boy in green as he was dragged past her. “You’re going to jail for fifteen thousand years.”

Faith saw Giles approach Buffy but was dragged away by Willow and Tara before she could listen. There was still work to be done.

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

Hours later all the questions from police had been answered. The Scoobies had disbanded for the night. Giles drove Xander home as all the girls piled into Jennifer’s hatchback.

Faith sat between Buffy and Willow and couldn’t help but gawk at the petite blonde more than a little. After a few minutes hazel eyes flew open as the former cheerleader realized she had completely overlooked something important.

“Oh god I’m so sorry.” She said turning to Faith. “With all this crap I completely missed being introduced to you. I’m Buffy Summers.” The tiny girl said with an outstretched hand.

“Don’t worry about it B.” Faith replied taking the offered hand. “We’re five by five. Those were some pretty tight moves back there with the sword.”

“You should see her when she’s holding her favorite sword.” Tara smirked from the front seat.

As they got home Willow told Buffy good night and to swing by with Giles and Xander tomorrow evening. The petite blonde still had questions about the new brunette but nodded and went to bed.

Once inside their house Willow, Tara and Jennifer turned to Faith. Willow guided the young brunette into the living room and sat her down. She and Tara sat across from her.

“So Faith.” Willow said. “This is where we make you the full offer. Whatever you decide we will go along with.”

“Okay shoot.” Faith replied.

“First you need to answer one question.” Willow stated before a wide smile broke out on her face. “What do you think of Buffy?”

Faith’s eyes widened before she lowered her head almost shamefully. “That’s not fair.” Was all she could mutter in reply as a cold edge worked its way into her voice.

“What?” Willow and Tara asked in unison.

“You can’t just!” Faith started angrily but lost all her steam right away. “Fine okay whatever! She’s amazing. The most beautiful girl on the fucking planet! She’s everything I ever dreamed about and the worst part is she’d never lower herself for gutter trash like me.” The brunette looked up and the witches swore they almost saw tears in her eyes. “Happy now?”

“Oh Sweetie.” Was all Tara could say as she and Willow wrapped their arms around the distraught potential.

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

Late in the afternoon the next day almost the entire Scooby gang, including Joyce and Jennifer, were gathered in the large kitchen just down the hall from Slayer central. Jennifer had greeted them all and brought them in to share the meal Willow and Tara invited them to. Even with the kids returning to school tomorrow they all had a sense of hope. Something in the air was happening and it raised all their spirits.

Buffy looked around before finally asking her new friend’s mom the important question. “Where are Will, Tara and the new girl?”

“Oh Sweetie they’re just down in the cellar.” They should be up any minute now.

Just then light seemed to fill the entire house. Buffy felt a massive force sweep through her. This was all eerily familiar. Just as the light seemed to peak they all heard one sentence.

“Make this potential the Slayer!” Willow and Tara roared as the light vanished from the house.

Moments passed before anyone moved. Suddenly the door on the far side of the kitchen opened and the two exhausted looking witches made their appearance. Turning to see her family gathered around Willow smiled brightly. As the brunette stepped out of the doorway Willow and Tara knew the time was right.

“Guys I’d like you all to meet Faith Lehane.” The redhead announced. “She’s going to be living with us.”

“Sup, y’all?” Faith said with a wave.

Buffy was up and across the room in a flash. The Slayer wrapped the startled brunette in a surprisingly tight hug and whispered in her ear.

“Thank you so much Faith.” Buffy almost cried. “You have no idea how hard it was going through this crap alone.”

Faith was stunned. Deep down a small part of her let a brief flare of hope rekindle the dream she spent all of last night crying over as soon as her new housemates left her alone.

“Five by five B.” Faith finally replied quietly. “I got your back anytime.”

As the newest Slayer was greeted warmly no one noticed Willow quietly slip down the hall and into the library. She quickly entered the hidden vault and made her way to the white board. Picking up the green marker she crossed off one name written in red.

“So much for Snake Bitch.” Willow muttered.

The hacker then picked up the pair of Butterfly swords with a smile. Once her training was started Faith would need them as well as a special gift Willow was almost finished designing. With a spring in her step Willow sealed up the vault, placed the twin short swords in an open shelf, and went to join her family. They had a long road ahead, many hardships to face, but for now life was so good. She couldn’t hold back her smile.

_________________
Time and Time Again


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:28 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Wooo, not gonna be an easy road for Faith, but with Willow and Tara pushing things along, hopefully they'll get there in the end :)

Nice work with Saga vasuki, though Sentinels has an even better one.

Tara runs into her, kills her, and uses her skin as the handgrip of a sword.
Bad. Ass.

Still, the girls dealt with her, and that's all of the good :)

Can't wait for the next bit :bounce

R :flower

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:12 am 
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Hi Azirahael. No the Buffyverse Faith is not going to have an easy path, but she will have help along the way from surprising corners.

Yes, the Saga Vasuki solution in Sentinels was a fun little read. Making their weapons transdimensional by using demonic snake skin in the handle is a neat idea. But I think my favorite part of that fic was the car ride lap dance all the way up Kingman's Bluff.

I'll be honest. One early idea I had for dealing with her was to have Willow and Tara disappear for a day and come back with snake skin boots and belts for the core cast members.

The boots would give a speed boost or allow them to fly or ignore the limits of a liquid's surface tension, and the belts would probably just make them invisible or something. But it seemed excessive giving them more junk like that to swing around at enemies.

Having established what they do to demons who live in their own little pocket dimensions though this seemed the way to go.

Also remember that this is a Willow that can still recall skinning Warren and dealing with Skinless Warren. As such the couple has an issue with spells that remove enemy skin.

For anyone keeping track of where I am in the order of the original episodes I have to say I'm pretty sure Chapter 9 will be a blast. But first we'll stop by Marvels.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:28 am 
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Time and Time Again.

Author: Citanul

Feedback: Be kind, rewind?

Spoilers: Just about all of them. Go watch the show.

Rating: NC-17

Pairings: W/T, B/F

Disclaimer: You all know I don’t own the rights to characters you’ve seen on TV.

Summary: A story of reincarnation and interdimensional travel made possible through the power of love. What misfortunes will our two favorite love birds be able to prevent with the aid of experience from countless past lives.

Author’s Note: Okay we're back to the Marvel universe again. I think the overall tone I intended for this storyline will come out strongly in this chapter. Some interesting characters will make an appearance as things pick up pretty much right where we left off last time.

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

Primer: Marvels

Willow = Wanda Maximoff = Scarlet Witch

Tara = Carol Danvers = Ms. Marvel

Buffy = Jennifer Walters = She-Hulk

Faith = Faith = X-23

Xander = Pietro Maximoff = Quicksilver

Anya = Jessica Drew = Spider-Woman

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

Marvels: The Morning Aftermath

The sun rose over the city of New York. Though it seemed like any other morning in the world renowned city, things atop one of its most important towers had changed. Events took place the night before that would prove to have wide reaching ramifications.

Jennifer Walters awoke to find the body of Faith wrapped around her petite form. She stared in wonder at how tightly the toned, muscular physique of the brunette clung to her. The extra weight from her metal coated bones sinking both women into the bed. No one had ever embraced her so completely. Never before had she felt so cherished. As she stared into the peacefully sleeping face nuzzled into her chest a sense of joy blossomed in the lawyer’s heart.

After several long moments the brunette stirred. Deeply expressive brown eyes fluttered open and beautiful pouty lips drew back to form a wide smile. Faith gazed into Jennifer’s hazel eyes and knew happiness for the first time in her life.

“You’re still here.” Jennifer whispered, both surprised and overwhelmingly happy.

“Of course I’m still here babe.” Faith replied with a smirk. “You think I’d ‘get some, get gone’ right after giving myself to the first person I ever loved?”

“You love me?” The blonde asked as her eyes widened.

“Of course Babe.” Faith chuckled. “Wasn’t that clear from all the world rocking last night?” A nervous look crossed the brunette’s face. “It was good right? I made you feel good didn’t I?”

Jennifer caught the fear in Faith’s voice. She smiled warmly as the fullness of what they had shared filled her soul. This girl who didn’t even have a personality twenty four hours ago was sharing a vulnerable side to herself that none had ever seen before.

Last night Faith had taken the lead. She put all she had out in the open with no way of knowing how the blonde would react. Right now in this moment Jennifer needed to put herself out there as well.

“You gave me the single greatest night of my life.” The blonde assured.

“So far Babe.” Faith added with a smile. “Greatest night so far. I’m gonna give you so many more.” Another nervous hitch entered her voice. “Right?”

“This happened so fast Faith.” Jennifer answered as Faith took on a fearful frown. The lawyer hurried to reassure the young woman in her arms. “But I can already tell you are the one thing I’ve been missing all my life. I love you and I want to be with you always.”

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

In a nearby room a silver haired man and a black haired woman slowly dressed. They avoided eye contact as they tried to process the things they did together only hours ago.

“So, I’m over you now.” Jessica said hesitantly.

“Okay?” Pietro replied with a confused tone.

“Okay?” The dark haired woman exclaimed almost outraged.

Before he spoke again Pietro took a moment to think. He looked the visibly angry woman in the eye and decided he was done with one night stands. No matter how crazy the last few hours made Jessica seem there were sides to her he wanted to get to know so much more.

“Do you have to be?” Pietro asked with slight confidence.

“What?” She said with a puzzled frown.

“Over me.” Pietro continued. “Do you have to be over me?”

The frown gave way to a slight grin as Jessica played with the buttons on her blouse. Was he saying what she thought he was? Could this go somewhere?

“I suppose not.” She responded cautiously.

“Cause if you weren’t over me there are other things we could do together.” He added. “Things that couples do together. Things that you’d only share with someone special.”

Jessica thought his words over for a moment. She smiled as she leaned in to kiss him tenderly. She thought that just maybe this could work out.

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

Various residents of the Avengers’ level of Stark Tower awoke to find strange circumstances. As Tony and Pepper stepped into the hall they were greeted by Natasha, Ororo, T’Challa, Bruce and Logan. They all sported confused looks as they slowly made their way towards the kitchen. Delicious smells and heartfelt laughter came from the room. Sensations that until now, were almost unheard of this early.

As the group rounded the corner they finally saw what odd happenings were going on in the kitchen. Carol was hard at work cooking massive quantities of pancakes on the stove. Wanda was practically wrapped around the blonde and had her chin draped over her shoulder whispering sweet nothings in one ear.

Across the room seated around the table were several of their teammates. Jennifer was perched in Faith’s lap, whispering into long brunette hair every so often. Faith was eagerly eating pancakes with a fork in one hand while casually stroking the petite blonde’s back with the other.

Pietro was trying not to look too uncomfortable as Jessica clung to one arm with an overtly possessive determination. At the sight of the new arrivals Jessica perked up and smiled brightly.

“Pietro and I are now orgasm friends.” She declared causing heads to swivel around and eyes to pop open.

Sam and Clint, while eating their own pancakes, were also managing to snicker ever so derisively at the poor white haired man. As Jessica made her statement they both snorted with laughter.

Blue Hank was off to one side of the room leisurely thumbing through a dense tome containing great works of classical literature. The furry man always seemed to be doing so when not engaged in the lab or field.

Steve had a mug of coffee on one hand and an unfurled newspaper in the other. Natasha was relieved when she glanced at the front page and realized it wasn’t the Bugle. The last thing they needed at breakfast was some bigoted tabloid editor denouncing the newest members of the team. The super soldier looked up and saw the group standing nervously in the archway.

“Come on in guys.” Steve said cheerily. “Carol made breakfast.”

“Carol cooks?” Tony blurted out. “When did Carol learn how to cook?”

“My Baby is a great cook.” Wanda beamed. “Always has been ever since our first life together.”

“Yeah we were just debating that.” Clint said with a smirk. “What would you like to wake up with one day if you could suddenly remember a skill set from a past life?”

“Can’t be something you have already.” Sam added.

“Does lucid dreaming count?” Bruce asked. “Might be fun or help me remember where the other guy leaves stuff sometimes.”

“Oh, that’s a good one.” Jessica remarked.

The newest arrivals to the breakfast club each took plates loaded with food still steaming from the griddle, and sat around the table. Smiles broke out as they each tasted the blonde’s cooking for the first time.

“Carol this is amazing.” Pepper said in an awed tone.

“You’re not having any Steve?” Natasha asked perplexed at the man’s reading of the paper while everyone else ate.

“I was the first person in here after they started cooking.” Steve replied. “I already had three helpings by the time everyone else woke up.”

“You know you can always have more if you want Cap.” Carol said with a smile.

“We both have a lot of experience with friends who had super fast metabolisms.” Wanda added. “Eating four or five times as much doesn’t count if your body burns through every calorie at six times the speed.”

“Which is why each of my helpings was doubled and why I’ve been helping with dishes as everyone else left for the day.” The super soldier remarked with a grin.

As the light breakfast conversation continued the assembled heroes shared all manner of stories. A short while after getting his second plateful Bruce glanced across the table towards Jennifer and the new girl and let a smirk cross his face.

“Logan I know you’re new to this whole parenting thing but your kid seems to have misplaced her tongue in my cousin’s throat.” The gamma ray enriched man said slyly.

“Seems that way.” Logan replied with a casually disinterested grunt.

“Pops I’m dating someone.” Faith stated, still holding Jennifer while looking across the table. “You’re cool with that right?”

“You know.” Logan began. “If you were a boy and brought home a girl half as good looking as Jennifer and a tenth as good at fighting I would probably take you out for a beer and buy you a box of condoms. So yeah, just don’t get knocked up before graduating or earning a G.E.D. and we’ll be fine.”

“Sweet.” Faith smirked as most of the table stared in open mouthed shock at the diminutive Canadian’s reaction to the now blaringly obvious state of affairs. Clint and Sam were snickering the whole time.

“Tony do you need to check out the tower’s water system?” Sam inquired. “Cause the ratio of hot lesbian couples living here has gone up something like five hundred percent since last week.”

“I swear it isn’t something in the water.” Tony claimed with a placating gesture. “If it was I would have patented it and made about forty billion off adding it to shampoo or something.”

Laughter erupted around the table. As it died down several eyes looked towards Jennifer who had grown quite red all of a sudden.

“So I’ll say it.” Tony announced after a while. “Jennifer I had no idea you like younger women.”

“A lot younger.” Jessica remarked.

“Guys!” The petite blonde almost shrieked. “It’s way more complicated than that. Can we just pretend Faith is in her late teens? I feel conflicted enough as it is but I can’t help it. This is the best relationship I’ve ever had.”

“I’m happy for you two really.” Pepper said before a worried look crossed her face. “But how old is Faith exactly?”

“Six months give or take.” Faith replied causing jaws to drop completely to the floor. “I know, precocious little scamp ain’t I? Guys come on I was grown in a glass tube. You were all there. Most of you saw the first twenty two tries. Catman here used the glass tube as a weapon during the fight.”

“That’s what that machine I blew up in Viper’s face was used for?” T’Challa exclaimed in shock. “I thought it was a pizza oven.”

“Can we just pretend I’m eighteenish and say that yesterday was my birthday?” Faith pleaded.

“Why yesterday?” Natasha asked curious to know the girl’s reasoning.

“Because I wasn’t free to have my own life until you guys pulled me out of there.” Faith replied holding tightly to Jennifer as the words came out. “Goddess I wasn’t even a person until Red and Blondie played around in my head and fixed me.”

Silence reigned over the breakfast table as the pain and suffering the brunette went through was brought freshly to everyone’s mind. Jennifer kept both her arms wrapped around the girl and tried to convey all the love and support she could muster through the physical connection.

Blue Hank closed his book and strode over to the table. He pulled out a chair and sat beside Faith and Jennifer. As he removed his glasses and folded them into a pocket he looked around the table at all the assembled heroes.

“I agree with Faith on just about all these matters.” The blue furred man said calmly. “She has been deprived of so many of the stages in life which we all take for granted that the fact she is still capable of forming emotional attachments to any person is itself a miracle.” He then looked over to Wanda and Carol and gave them an odd look. It was hard to pin down the expression but Ororo and Logan had known him a long time. They both couldn’t help but sense the trepidation coming from the otherwise confident man.

“I am actually more worried about learning the exact details of how they went about “fixing” Faith.” He stated coldly. “And what this Goddess she has already mentioned three times has to do with it.”

“Seven.” Jennifer said quietly.

“What?” Several people asked at once.

“Seven.” Jennifer repeated slightly louder. “Faith has mentioned a Goddess seven times.”

“Well yeah I mentioned the Goddess a few times I guess.” Faith replied. “I mean I felt her presence as strongly as I feel my Babe here sitting in my lap. She was pretty crucial to the whole me getting my head on straight thing.” She paused again before looking into hazel eyes. “You were counting Babe?” Faith asked with a smile.

“A little.” Jennifer replied meekly. “You seemed so full of passion each time that word slipped out. I thought if it mattered to you so much it would be important to learn about.”

“Awe Babe.” Faith smiled through watery eyes. “You’re gonna make me cry with all this mushy stuff.”

“Which Goddess?” Natasha asked.

“How many can there be?” Steve asked mildly amused. He figured if a few of his teammates were actual witches the topic of pagan gods might come up at some point. Surprisingly there was an actual pagan god on the team and the topic had never surfaced before.

“Thousands.” Ororo stated in a restrained tone.

“I don’t know if she has a name or if it’s one of those older than words so no name fits deals.” Faith said with mild confusion. “Red and Blondie could explain it better.”

“No, you’re actually doing a pretty good job of explaining Faith.” Wanda stated. “The force we refer to as the Goddess is very very old and very very powerful. She is a presence that any can feel once they know how to look. For the more science minded of you the only part of her that is detectable by machinery you’re familiar with is static mixed in with the background radiation left over from the Big Bang. I know this because I spent most of a lifetime in space looking.”

“I was there.” Carol added with a smile. “It was an adventure.”

“We focus on our connection to the Goddess so that our magic is more pure and doesn’t rely on the corrupting influence of the grumpy side of the force.” Wanda continued. “To fix the damage Hydra did to Faith we tapped into the power and will of the Goddess to form a subtle link between Faith and her doubles in other dimensions we have come across.”

“So she’s like you two then?” Tony asked. “She’ll get memories from past lives at some point?”

“No.” Both women said in unison.

“Shoot!” Faith cried sarcastically. “And her I was hoping I’d wake up one day and have a bachelor’s degree in hotel management waiting in my head.”

“Trying to work s-something like that on another person m-might have destroyed us.” Carol said.

“Even if we did try that on Faith remembering all that pain wouldn’t have helped her.” Wanda added. “What Faith has now is more or less the accumulated instincts of a very select few of her alternate selves. Not actual memories, but enough of the stuff a personality is made of to fill the holes in her psyche left by what Hydra did and hopefully in time guide her through the major stumbling points in her life.” A beat passed as the redhead took in the sight of the blonde cradled in the brunette’s lap. “And it’s clear to see she is already getting a great deal of help on the life’s obstacles front.”

“How can you tell?” Clint asked.

“It usually takes them a few years of hemming and hawing and dead end relationships and sometimes a few actual fights to the death before Faith and Jennifer even think about getting together.” Carol said with a wry smirk. “And in the meantime everyone around them with any sense can see that they need each other.”

Mouths hung open in shock once more as Wanda laughed. “Oh Baby that was good.” She wheezed. “But seriously we are so glad Faith and Jennifer are already dating. Life just seems to go by more smoothly when you guys are together. Things are just happier.”

“Hear that Babe?” Faith asked the slender woman cradled in her lap. “We’re ahead of the curve. Go us!” She laughed.

Jennifer smiled gently as the brunette cheered. She reached out with a fork and speared a piece of pancake then popped it in her girl’s mouth. Laughter came from several people around the table as the brunette chewed behind a happy grin.

“So Faith, have you always…” Steve began to ask.

“Known guys would do in a pinch but that chicks are where it’s at?” Faith finished. “Yep.”

“Oh god! Please say you didn’t… not with Viper?” Natasha gasped in shock.

Faith gagged vehemently at the accusation. “Snake Bitch?” She practically screamed. “Fuck no! That ugly skank had so many layers of dried Nazi spunk caked on her face it would’ve made my fun go soft.”

Loud groans came from around the table. No one liked the ideas brought to mind by the horrible scenario the conversation had veered towards.

“Oh god.” Steve cried as he set down the newspaper and buried his face in his hands. Light moans came from the super soldier’s hunched form.

“You okay there big guy?” Natasha asked worried if her fear had struck a nerve with her friend.

“I just got this really disturbing visual of Viper on her knees with every costumed nut I fought during World War II standing around her in a circle with their puds in their hands.” Steve’s admission brought even more pained groans from the assembled heroes.

“Okay new rule.” Clint shouted with raised arms. “No more talking about Nazi Lemon Parties at the breakfast table. In fact let’s not bring any Lemon Parties up at all.”

“Seconded.” Sam agreed.

Pepper suddenly looked across the table and noticed something she should have long ago. She had a pretty good idea why Faith looked like she was dressed in Jennifer’s spare clothes but was shocked when she noticed Wanda was wearing stuff she vaguely recognized from Carol’s closet.

“Faith, Wanda!” Pepper exclaimed. “You girls don’t have any clothes of your own here do you?”

Faith’s head popped up at the question. “Um, you guys brought me back here in a hospital gown last night so no.”

“And it wasn’t really an issue for me the first week I was here.” Wanda added. At the confused looks around the table she elaborated why she didn’t need as many articles of clothing. “Carol kept me pretty busy.”

“I didn’t hear any complaints from you at the time Sweetie.” The curvy blonde remarked.

“No complaints Baby.” The redhead affirmed as she grabbed her fork and picked up a syrup laden piece of pancake from the plate they had been nibbling at while preparing breakfast for everyone. “I never have any problems with the way you keep me busy.” Wanda smirked as she popped the piece of food into her love’s mouth.

Carol smiled as she chewed the morsel. Upon swallowing the blonde turned to Wanda and leaned in for a tender kiss. The redhead almost swooned at the taste of her love’s tongue mixed with the added sweetness of the syrup.

Pepper took in the sight of the two women expressing their love. She then looked to find Faith and Jennifer also sharing a quick kiss. Two of her closest friends had found the kind of loving relationships she knew in her heart that they deserved. The heartfelt intimacy of the scene just crystallized the fact that the idea currently forming in her mind was the right thing to do.

“We should all go out shopping.” Pepper stated to the room. “We’ll take the whole day and get both of you ladies new wardrobes.”

Feminine eyes flew open and brightened at the prospect of a day spent in Manhattan’s finer boutique stores. Ororo, Carol, Wanda, Jennifer and Jessica all held matching expressions of joy on their faces. Surprisingly both Faith and Pietro held nervous looks.

“I don’t want to put anyone out guys.” Faith said nervously. “Who’d pay for everything?”

“Tony!” Practically everyone in the room shouted with cheer.

“Of course I’m paying.” Stark announced with a wide grin. “What’s the point of being a crazy billionaire if I can’t buy all of my girlfriend’s gal pals dozens of bags of new clothes every other month?”

“And Pietro can carry our bags back here in between stops.” Jessica added.

“Okay fine I’ll come along.” Pietro relented. “But only because I didn’t actually bring any clothes either when I moved in here. I did a quick sweep by the last warehouse we crashed in before joining this team but everything was cleared out.”

“Don’t worry bud.” Tony stated. “There’s a special tailor we can swing by and get you fitted for just about anything.”

“You mean Leo’s Tailoring on 23rd?” Steve asked. “He does great work.”

“It will also be good to get Faith measured there.” Ororo remarked. “Putting in the order for her “school uniform” will save us some time.”

“Okay fine we can stop by Leo for capes and masks but we’re still going to hit Fifth Avenue for pretty shoes right?” Jennifer pleaded.

“Of course!” Pepper said with a smirk. “They both need new evening wear for some mission involving a fancy ball or whatever.”

“Oh yes of course.” Natasha added with a mockingly serious tone. “We get one of those a month at least.”

“How could I forget?” Jennifer exaggeratingly chastised herself.

As the girls all ran off to change for the big day ahead the boys finished off the last of the delicious pancakes and went about cleaning up the kitchen. Sam and Clint elected to remain in the tower in case anything happened. T’Challa regrettably had a matter to attend to at his nation’s embassy. Steve was going to stay behind as well but Natasha goaded him into coming along on the off chance he might meet someone. Bruce and Blue Hank had lab work they wanted to wrap up together before his teaching duties pulled Hank away from the facilities of the Manhattan tower.

In no time at all Tony, Steve, Pietro and Logan were standing by reluctantly as Pepper, Natasha, Jessica, Ororo, Jennifer, Faith, Carol and Wanda gathered to hit the town.

“Oh wait one sec guys.” Pepper said as she pulled out her phone and made a quick call. “Hey you there? Good meet us downstairs. We’re stepping into the elevators now.” The redheaded business woman hung up then turned to the large group. “Okay all set.”

The team of heroes, all dressed in civilian clothing of drastically varying styles, made their way to the elevators and down to the building’s main entrance. As the impressive group exited the elevator security teams gave fond greetings to Tony and Pepper along the way. Everyone knew who signed their paychecks and who was responsible for putting the pen in the signer’s hand.

More importantly the staff of the building knew how powerful the more prominent members of the group were. As well as how important their work was to the safety of the city and indeed the whole world. No one wanted to be responsible for giving an Avenger a bad day. You never knew what might distract a hero the next time they had to save the day. Everyone in New York remembered the Chitauri invasion and the last time Green Goblin snapped and dangled a school bus full of children and endangered animal cubs over the side of the Brooklyn Bridge.

As the team strolled outside they came upon a woman with long dark hair, dressed as casually as any student, with her attention focused on the screen of her smart phone.

“Darcy!” Pepper called joyfully.

The dark haired girl looked up and saw Pepper coming her way. She slipped the phone into a pocket and threw her arms up in the air. “Muggle pride, represent!” She yelled.

“Where my Muggle at?” Pepper hollered back while walking up to her with open arms.

“Girl!” Darcy replied. “You my Muggle.”

“No, you my Muggle!” Pepper countered as they hugged. They both laughed as they turned and rejoined the group. “Guys!” The redhead cried gleefully. “This is Darcy Lewis. Thor may have told you about her. She’s his girlfriend’s former student intern and she helped save the world a few times.”

“Yup.” Darcy said casually as she examined her own nails and brushed imaginary dust off one shoulder. “Laid the smack down on an army of dark elves from space using math and a bunch of tripods while Goldilocks was busy bonking dudes on the head with his Meow-meow. What can I say? I’m pretty amazing.”

“Sounds like it.” Natasha said with a grin.

“I met Darcy soon after that and realized she was just fun to hang around.” Pepper said. “Darcy these are my friends, the Avengers. Well, most of them.”

“Oh let me see here.” Darcy said looking over the assembled cast. “Of course there’s your boyfriend the toy boy who turned a heart condition into a super power.” She said pointing to Tony who grinned.

“The Russian Femme Fatale.” Darcy waved to Natasha who smiled back.

“Captain I smacked the taste out of Hitler’s mouth.” She gestured to Steve who looked nervous. “Oh Pepper you didn’t tell me he could blush like that.”

She then looked at Logan and Ororo. “I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you two on some bigot’s angry rant about genetic purity or some other bullshit. Claw Dude and Weather Girl right?” Darcy said while extending her hand in greeting.

“Correct.” The white haired Egyptian answered, taking the girl’s hand. “But you can call me Ororo and he goes by Logan.” Logan grunted in mild approval.

Darcy then walked over to Jessica. “Do a spin for me Sweetheart.” She asked while pointing one finger to the ground and twirling it around. Jessica cooperated and smiled as she came back around to find the other brunette’s hand held up so it blocked the top half of her face. “You’re the chica who runs around in that really revealing, skin tight, red suit with the yellow bits on the stomach and the armpit wings aren’t you.” Darcy whispered.

Jessica looked angry for a second before turning to Pepper. “Pepper?”

“I swear Jessica, I didn’t say a word.” Pepper replied.

“Girl with curves like that she didn’t have to.” Darcy smirked. “It’s cool though. I ain’t sayin’ nothin’.”

Darcy turned to Faith and Jennifer and let out a slight grunt of disapproval. “I got nothing on these two. Hi I’m Darcy.” She smiled.

“Jennifer.” The blonde replied as “Faith.” came from the Brunette.

“Nice to meet you.” Darcy replied before moving to the last three.

“Okay I can tell who you two are right away but only cause that rag, the Bugle, has been bad mouthing you guys all week.” Darcy said to Pietro and Wanda.

“Pietro.” The man said.

“Wanda.” His sister added.

“A pleasure.” Darcy replied. “And don’t worry about what they say too much. Print newspapers are dead. All the cool kids get their deets from mouthy peeps on the twitter.” She then turned to Carol and brought her hands up. She connected her thumbs and index fingers to form little circles and positioned them to form a small mask over the blonde’s eyes. “Didn’t you retire?” Darcy asked slightly confused.

“Coma.” Carol admitted tightly. “Lasted six months and ended six months ago last week.” She then turned to Pepper with a sly smile. “And you’re sure you didn’t slip her a cheat sheet?”

“No.” Pepper answered with a grin. “She’s just really good at that.”

“Yeah it’s great isn’t it?” Darcy asked with a mild amount of sarcasm. “I can’t be the girl who shoots laser beams out her ass. Nope! I get to be the one who looses a bunch of teeth by guessing the wrong guy’s secret wardrobe.”

As Darcy finished the remark with a wide grin the heroes assembled around her began to laugh. Whatever else was known about her she had a personality.

“Pepper where have you been hiding this girl?” Natasha chuckled. “I want her around all the time.”

“She’s feisty that’s for sure.” Logan whistled.

“She should definitely hang around the tower more often.” Tony added.

“Ah shucks guys.” Darcy quipped. “Gonna make a girl blush here.”

“Come on.” Pepper said. “Let’s start hitting stores.”

With renewed vigor the group made their way through the busy streets of Manhattan. The day was off to a good start.

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

“What do you guys think of this one?” Faith asked as she came out of a changing room and did a spin for Pepper Wanda and Ororo. The brunette was sporting some of the tightest leather pants the women had ever seen and pulling them off wonderfully.

“Though they may not blend in with how the other students of the institute dress on a daily basis I must say you wear them well child.” Ororo stated calmly with a sly grin.

“Thanks Storm.” Faith replied casually as she checked herself over in the mirror.

“I have to say Faith.” Pepper added. “I was not expecting you to be able to take one look at anything on the racks and immediately tell if it fit you or not. This is almost uncanny.” The business woman marveled at the impressive array the young woman had picked out in almost no time.

“She’s always been able to do that.” Wanda chimed in as she was looking over a selection of corsets to try on. The other women in the small room stopped what they were doing and turned to look at the petite redhead. “What?” Wanda said after noticing the silence and looking up. “Oh sorry, I forget you guys are still getting used to the cross dimensional cheat sheet thing.”

“So Red.” Faith began slowly. “How well do you know me from all that other stuff I wasn’t there for?”

“Well.” Wanda said with a sigh before plunging in. “We didn’t always get along. The first time through I’m ashamed to say I spent a few years jealous of you and hating you up until I learned what it was like to make some of the same mistakes you were forced to make. And don’t get me wrong. We were kids back then and I made a bunch of mistakes of my own. I wasn’t there for you when I should have been. I only realized that after I ruined my life and stopped looking down on you like a self-righteous bitch.”

“Jeez.” Faith whispered in shock. “How bad was I?”

Wanda looked at the brunette and laid out the whole mess. “You had a terrible home growing up and the first foster family the system placed you with tried to feed you to their vampire son in their attic. You burned him by yanking down curtains blocking the sun and went on to other homes that may have been less deadly but not much better. Later you came to my town and I couldn’t handle you “stealing” my friends away. You screwed up pretty bad and the people who should have helped you make things right betrayed you at the worst time. The ones who tried to help gave it one half assed attempt in the most annoyingly heavy handed way and ended up letting you down. Mistakes were made on all sides and years later I learned the hard way that you deserved better.”

Pepper and Ororo stared at the babbling redhead in open mouthed shock. The horrors she glossed over were terrifying. They both could tell by the tone that there were worse details yet that had been omitted to spare Faith’s emotions.

Faith was speechless. There was no frame of reference for the events Wanda shared. The ramble of a life she could have suffered through was beyond what she had expected. “So I don’t have it easy no matter the world.” She finally said.

“No Faith.” Wanda replied. “It’s sad but you live through some terrible ordeals. The only upside is that you are a survivor. Most can’t handle what you can.”

“But you and me are cool right?” Faith asked as Wanda gave her faint praise. “I mean whatever that other girl did you don’t blame me for it right?”

“We’re cool Faith.” The redhead agreed as she pulled the brunette into a hug. “You aren’t responsible for anything that happened on another world. Also.” She paused for a moment before smiling. “Carol and I like having you as a friend. It may seem at times like we are pulling your strings but never doubt that we care about you.”

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

In a nearby shoe store Carol, Jennifer and Jessica were accumulating a pile of designer boots and shoe boxes in varying styles. The three friends had been casually catching up on all the time spent apart and all the developments in their relationships.

“I can’t believe you’ve only been back in the city a week Carol and already the three of us have found Honey’s in that time.” Jennifer remarked.

“Thank you for giving Pietro and his sister a reason to stay with us Carol.” Jessica said cheerily. “I enjoyed many orgasms with him and expect to enjoy many more in the future.”

“You’re welcome Jess.” Carol sighed before turning back to the other blonde. “I know it seems fast Jen but it just feels so right. I mean Wanda.” She paused and took a slow breath as if she could breathe in her love’s scent by mentioning her name alone. “The memories from other lives aside, she completes me. I was in a bad place for so long after what happened. The day I came back to the tower I was on edge and ready to bolt at any moment. I didn’t think I could do this anymore. And then I saw my girl and my life began again.”

“I know how you feel.” Jennifer replied. “For so long I’ve been missing something and didn’t even see how bad it was. Then Faith practically jumped me in my bedroom and everything made sense. I thought I was doing okay then but looking back on it now I realize I was miserable and didn’t even know it. I never knew I could feel this happy.”

“Goddess I missed this.” Carol sighed. “Talking with you guys, being able to share my life with friends. I even missed Jess’s orgasm talks.”

As they continued to try on shoes Jennifer took notice of some of Carol’s choices. Long red leather thigh high boots in a few different fashions. They just didn’t seem like her.

“Carol what’s with the red boots all of a sudden?” She asked before realization hit her. “Oh they’re for Wanda! But how do you know her size already?”

“Yeah they’re for her.” Carol replied before turning to her friend. “I’ve known her shoe size since forever. We’ve been together for centuries after all.”

“But I thought you said things changed all the time.” Jennifer said mildly confused.

“Some things like names or hair, eye and skin color might change.” Carol admitted. “Or whether or not either of us has superpowers. But we have the same basic shape every time. She always has those same beautiful feet. And those delicate graceful hands.” She couldn’t hold back the joyful glee on her face. “Oh Goddess, I love her hands.”

“I’ll bet.” Jennifer said with a smirk.

Jessica had a perplexed look on her face until her eyes widened and her face lit up with realization. “For orgasms right?” She asked.

Carol sighed exasperated at her friend. “Yes Jessica for orgasms.” She rolled her eyes. “And so much more.”

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

Logan, Pietro and Tony were in yet another store checking out suits. Tony had taken the liberty of picking out several styles for the two men to peruse.

“I’m telling you guys.” Tony said to his companions. “It’s amazing how many places will just let you stroll right through security if you are wearing a thousand dollar Armani suit.”

“Like either of us have a problem with that Bub.” Logan replied.

“Yeah but it’s a lot less messy with the Armani.” Tony countered.

“He’s got a point Logan.” Pietro said while looking himself over in a mirror. He had never worn something so expensive and stylish.

“Besides.” Tony proclaimed with a wide grin. “Pietro is gonna need some nicer clothes for wining and dining Jessica.”

“Yeah good luck with that Bub.” Logan added. “I’m not saying she’s not worth it, but I don’t go for high maintenance myself.”

“Now Logan, be nice.” Tony responded. “We have to let the younger generation find these things out for themselves.” He smirked.

“Very funny guys.” Pietro sighed as the two men laughed.

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

Everyone gathered together at a nearby café for lunch. The ladies got two tables outside pushed together and sat around them as the boys took up seats at the bar inside. They all had stories to share.

“So I’m in this simulator just tearing through Hydra Killbots and all of a sudden a disco ball drops from the ceiling and the cast of Leave it to Beaver struts onto the battlefield and challenges me to a dance off for the fate of the galaxy.” Faith said. “I don’t know what they wanted me to take away from that but I think they killed the guy who programmed the room that day.”

Laughter erupted from all around the table at the outlandish story. If nothing else Faith knew instinctively how to draw a crowd in with a story.

“What song did they play when the dancing started?” Pepper asked.

“Screw that.” Darcy chimed in. “I want to know how she knows what the cast of Leave it to Beaver looks like.”

“I think “Ooh Child” was the song.” Faith replied. “And I’m not really sure how I know but there are a bunch of pieces of black and white TV shows knocking around up here.”

“Hydra programming.” Natasha said casually causing everyone to look at her confused. “Should be a whole lot of Andy Griffith and Dick Van Dyke in there too.”

“Why?” Jennifer asked utterly lost. “Why on Earth would they want her to know about old TV shows?”

“All part of some dumb plot they had going since day one.” Natasha answered. “The classic all knowing father figure from fifties era and later shows is a subliminal mind control trick they cooked up to get people thinking the way they wanted them to think.”

“Did it work?” Wanda asked, suddenly worried they might have overlooked things when healing Faith.

“Not really.” The spy replied. “Mostly it just made a lot of people less likely to question things they should. On the plus side Shield put a stop to it after a while by making a show about a father who is the exact opposite. Which is why Matt Groening is one of the best deep cover Shield agents in history.”

“No way.” Darcy said as her jaw fell open. “No freaking way.”

“Oh yeah.” Natasha affirmed.

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

“So the girls seem to be hitting it off.” Tony remarked.

“Oh yeah.” Steve replied.

“Good.” Pietro added. “The last thing any of us need is a cat fight to break out.”

“Yup.” Logan grunted.

“Should we be trying to bond like that?” Tony asked.

“Nah.” Pietro answered.

“Yeah, the most we should be doing is talking about sports and grunting in the affirmative.” Steve proclaimed.

“Yup.” Logan grunted.

“See?” Steve said. “Logan gets it.”

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

“What?” Darcy exclaimed. “Pepper you got a super suit too now?”

“Yeah Tony built me some armor of my very own.” The redhead said with pride.

“Ah, you’re not a Muggle anymore.” Darcy lamented sarcastically. “Gurl, you’ve changed.” She finished with a distinctive drawl that brought many of the women around her to fits of laughter.

“So Darcy.” Jessica asked. “Where is your buddy, Thor’s girlfriend? Jane?”

“Ha! No clue.” Darcy replied. “Probably off playing hide the hammer with Goldilocks.”

Ororo’s and Jennifer’s eyes widened at the remark. Jessica, Faith and Natasha laugh out loud at the blatant innuendo. Pepper, Carol and Wanda shared grins.

“She has been kind of nervous and clingy since the last time Sif showed up on Earth.” Pepper added.

“Yeah, I mean what the hell is her problem.” Darcy asked as most of the other women gave her knowing looks. “No seriously, Asgardians live for what? Five thousand years give or take so long as a giant or an elf doesn’t stab them. Jane has maybe forty more years before her mind starts to go or her body can’t handle Mr. Muscles rolling around on top of her anymore.”

“That has to be rough on her.” Natasha remarked.

“Little Miss Immortal Alien can’t wait a few decades to try and get the big guy back?” Darcy pondered. “Or is her problem that just about all the other aliens look at Thor dating one of us the same way we’d look at a guy who tries to marry a box turtle?”

“Probably the box turtle thing.” Faith answered as just about everyone else groaned painfully at the implied bestiality.

“I hate to admit it but she’s probably right.” Natasha said. “Just before the invasion Thor didn’t show up to take back the Tesseract because Asgard wanted or needed it. He showed up because they saw us studying it and said “Oh no take that away from them before they put an eye out.”

“In any case bitch needs to step off while Muscles has his fun playing house with my friend.” Darcy declared.

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

After the odd group had finished eating they gathered up their things and made their way to Leo’s Tailoring. The brisk walk to Mr. Zelinsky’s shop gave everyone time to discuss what they still needed to pick up. Faith looked over at Jennifer and decided there was something special she needed to get her girl.

Once they arrived the heroes fanned out to examine new concept work and prototype designs lining the store’s walls. They mingled and moved about at a leisurely pace. Wanda and Pietro found themselves near the back wall looking at a display when the nearby door to the backroom opened up. Leo Zelinsky jumped slightly when he saw the two siblings standing so close then took another look at them and began to panic.

“Hey don’t think I don’t recognize you two.” The old tailor said in a hushed tone. “Your Papa should have told you Monday, Wednesday and Saturday are for the good guys. Tuesdays and Thursdays are for the not so good guys to come by. This is not a Tuesday or a Thursday. You gotta leave out the back before my store gets wrecked.”

“Actually they came with us.” Carol said as she sidled up to Wanda and slipped her arms around the redhead’s waist. Resting her chin on one pale lightly freckled shoulder the blonde fixed the man with a firm gaze. “They won’t be part of your Tuesday Thursday crowd anymore.”

“Really?” Leo asked as he looked around and got concurring nods from Jessica, Tony and Steve. He stopped to stare for a moment as Logan and Ororo joined in and a slow smile crept across his face. “Fantastic!” He cheered. “I can’t tell you how good it is to see someone switch to the sane side for a change. What can I help you all with today?”

Wanda nodded towards Faith who stepped up with Ororo and Logan on either side of her. The brunette raised a foot to remove one of the sandals she had borrowed from Jennifer and extended the single blade nestled between her toes. She then raised one hand across her chest and let out both blades from her knuckles. Leo whistled appreciatively.

“My baby girl needs a new school uniform.” Logan said with no small amount of pride.

“Does she have your healing thing too?” Leo asked not taking his eyes off the blades.

“Yup.” Logan grunted.

“Good, then I take it she’ll want to focus on maneuverability over padding and defense?” Leo began to mutter before his eyes widened and he finally looked Faith in the eye. “I’m sorry young lady. I’m Leo Zelinsky.” He said extending a hand in greeting.

“Faith.” The brunette said as she retracted her claws and took the man’s hand. “But my costume name will be X-23.”

“I can’t say I’ve ever heard that one before.” Leo replied with a smile. “Please come this way and I’ll take your measurements in private. I also have some catalogs you may want to look through if you need ideas for a design. The specialty boots and gloves will be easy enough.”

As the old man led the young woman off they were soon followed by Jennifer, Ororo and Logan. The rest went back to browsing. Darcy raised a speculative eyebrow. She felt she had missed something and turned to Natasha and Pepper for answers.

“So, wait.” The brunette began slowly. “This guy makes costumes for both sides and no one has a problem with that?”

“Everyone needs clothes Darcy.” Pepper said.

“And what is he supposed to do when Dr. Doom, Black Tom Cassidy, Juggernaut or any one of a thousand other crooks, monsters or crooks with bodies shaped like monsters come in here and demand that he fix the threads we tore up?” Natasha asked. “No one wants to see this place turned into a warzone and no one wants to fight naked in the streets.” She paused. “Well a few guys might want to see some naked cat fights but they tend to get smacked around by the more serious baddies.”

Across the showroom floor Wanda and Carol were taking much closer looks at varying types of padding and light armor.

“See anything useful?” Carol asked.

“It’s all nice but I’m starting to think we’ve perfected the armor design we got a while back.” Wanda replied. “I’m actually thinking we might have better luck if we take a closer look at the armor scales on part of Cap’s uniform and compare them to the stuff Clint and Natasha’s suits are made of.”

“You ladies looking for armor?” Tony asked as he and Steve walked up. “I didn’t think either of you would need any with your powers.”

“Not for us.” Carol said with a smile. “But we’re always l-looking for improvements to designs w-we come across. In most worlds the number of humans with superpowers is so small they don’t even have public awareness.”

“We always check to see if there is a polymer of material that can make the armor we give to our friends better.” Wanda added.

Tony let out a small smile. “If you want I could let you have a peak at some of the designs lining my armory.”

“That’s very kind of you Tony. But your armor can’t really help us.” Wanda said trying to let him down easy. “See, your suits require a number of rare elements to function and the power sources are incredibly tricky to duplicate. Several key pieces may be easy to come by in this dimension but nonexistent in others. Also the physics on this world might be a tad out of line with others. I could spend a decade memorizing how to build every suit you ever designed and when it came time to move on to another world find out that none of it is useable in worlds where you haven’t already built your own.”

As Tony began to frown disheartened Steve let out a laugh. “Don’t get too bent out of shape Stark. That just means your toys are even more rare than you thought.”

“Now something that could help us save a great many lives down the road is the chance to take a much closer look at Steve’s, Natasha’s, Clint’s and T’Challa’s costumes.” Wanda added. “Light flexible body armor designed to block most knives or claw attacks and small arms fire but still concealable under clothing. We have this design for a special Kevlar weave coated in polymer plates but we are always looking for tweaks to the chemical composition of the polymer and other improvements.”

“Claw attacks?” Steve asked. “Who are you giving this armor to and what are they fighting?”

“A few of the people on this team that we almost always seem to stumble across.” Carol said. “And they fight very scary monsters.”

Steve thought about what they were asking for a moment. They weren’t telling him everything but they were saying that there were people they came across who fought to save others and that those people could use copies of his suit. He smiled knowing his decision was clear.

“I’ll talk to everyone.” Steve replied. “I’ll make sure they know where you’re coming from and understand that it’s to help save lives.”

“Thank you so much Cap.” Wanda said.

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

A short time later Faith, her girlfriend, her father and her prospective teacher came out of the back room along with the tailor. Leo was smiling and mildly excited about the prospects new students at the Xavier institute always brought. The design Faith had settled on was fairly conservative compared to the oftentimes gaudy things the other students asked for. It was clear she wanted something suitable for stealth and close quarters combat. The tailor mused that if anything would draw attention to the girl it would be the outrageously tight leather pants she strutted around in.

“The suit will look lovely and should be ready by Monday.” Leo stated.

“Good.” Ororo said demurely. “We should be all but ready to bring Faith around the institute by then. We’ll pick it up on the way out of town.”

“I still can’t believe you’ll be moving out so soon.” Jennifer said with no small amount of emotion in her voice. “I’m gonna miss you so much.”

“No worries Babe.” Faith replied. “You’ll come by and visit.”

“Given the circumstances I think it would be a good idea for Ms. Walters to accompany us to the school grounds.” Ororo said with a slight smile.

“She’ll need to get used to the place sooner or later if you’re gonna have her drop by so often.” Logan added gruffly.

“Sweet!” Faith cheered as she kissed her girl. “Oh Babe I wanted to go check something out real quick see you back at the tower.” The brunette grinned as she skipped off to grab Wanda and Pepper.

Jennifer smiled then closed her eyes. “Thank you both for being so understanding about all of this.” A slight laugh slipped out as she turned to the short hairy man that was her girlfriend’s father. “God Logan, yesterday we were at each other’s throats and today I’m in love with your kid.”

“No worries Jen.” Logan replied with unusual kindness for him. “The fact that she’s so into you just means I don’t have to worry about the dumber boys at the school sniffing around.”

“Indeed.” Ororo added. “Besides this is nothing compared to having to watch Kitty fawn over Piotr all the time.”

Logan laughed. “I know right. That guy is terrified one of the other students will complain or report about all the sex he’s not having with an underage girl.”

The three of them shared a light laugh as they continued out of Leo’s.

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

Natasha elected to drag Steve along with her and Darcy into a smaller boutique store. She had been monopolizing the new girl with specific intent to see how the brunette got along with her shy friend from yesteryear. As Darcy was looking over some of the finer wares the redhead cornered her blond friend and made it clear what was on her mind.

“Well what do you think?” Natasha whispered.

“About what?” Steve asked already confused.

“Isn’t it obvious?” She asked losing patience with her old fashioned friend. “Darcy! What do you think about Darcy?”

The Captain looked across the room to the brunette in question and a slight smile crept over his face. “She seems nice.” He finally admitted.

“Well?” Natasha goaded. “Do you maybe want to find out if she’d go out with you?”

“You’re not going to let this go until I ask her out are you?” Steve said with resignation.

“Nope.” The Russian femme fatale declared with a grin.

“Okay.” Steve replied as he tried to look casual while strolling over to the girl Pepper had introduced them all to. “So Darcy, see anything you like?”

The brunette looked up into nervous blue eyes. “Sup Cap.” She said with a smile. “Yeah they got some cool bits of shiny in here.”

“That’s great.” Steve replied. “So I was just wondering, see I don’t have any plans for this weekend, and I thought maybe you might also not have any plans.” He stopped himself as a smile broke out on the girl’s face. “I was wondering if we could make plans. Together.”

Darcy smiled at the large muscular soldier. She then had a curious thought as she glanced across the room and saw Natasha deliberately avoiding watching them. She smiled again and thought the experience might be fun.

“Did Natasha put you up to this?” Darcy asked Steve.

“A little.” Steve admitted timidly.

“You know normally my answer would be a flat hell no.” She said causing a surprised look to cross the man’s face. “But you two seem really cool.” The brunette then leaned in and kissed the veteran on the cheek. “This could be fun.” She whispered. “I’ve never been propositioned for a three way before.” Darcy then turned and strolled out of the store.

Steve stood there stunned. He did not have the life experience necessary to handle this. Natasha quickly ran up to his side.

“Well that looked positive.” The Russian spy said. “Did you ask her out or just make plans to make plans?”

“I don’t actually know.” Steve answered. “I think she thought you were going to be involved somehow.”

“Why would I be involved?” Natasha asked surprised.

“I don’t know but Darcy immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was asking for a three way.” Steve said still confused.

“A what!” Natasha cried.

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

Faith pulled Wanda and Pepper along with her into a medium sized jewelry store on the way back to the tower. She wanted a surprise for her girl and something inside told her Wanda would understand where this feeling was coming from enough to get Pepper to go along.

“It just feels like my Babe is missing something you know.” Faith said.

“She seems happier than I have ever seen her.” Pepper replied.

“I know but I just feel like there’s this thing she should be wearing and I want to be the one who gets it for her.” Faith answered.

“We understand Faith.” Wanda assured. “Go ahead and take some time to pick something out.”

The brunette smiled and went over to a counter. She leaned over to get a better look at one selection of items in particular. As Wanda approached she noticed the specific type of items the girl was looking at most closely and her eyes widened with comprehension.

“Oh.” Wanda whispered.

“Red, tell me what you think of this one.” Faith called. “You think Jennifer will like it?”

“She’ll love it.” Wanda answered.

“Awesome.” Faith said with a grin before turning back to the clerk. “What kinda gems do you have in that one in stock?”

As the lady behind the counter showed Faith a number of different setting options Pepper turned to Wanda with a confused look.

“I didn’t think Jen was that religious.” The tall redhead stated.

“She isn’t.” The witch stated. “But that gift is more than a religious icon for Faith. It’s a symbolic reminder of the worlds they had the biggest obstacles in. She may not know it but once she gives that to Jen it’ll be like she’s stamping out mistakes and doubts they once couldn’t get past.”

The clerk wrapped up the gift in a tiny box with a small red ribbon and handed it to Faith. Pepper paid and the three women made their way home. Faith had an irrepressible smile the entire time.

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

Back at the top of Stark Tower Carol, Jennifer and Jessica were going through the bags Pietro had brought back throughout the day. Steve was acting as a pack mule and Bruce, Sam and Clint were having a good laugh about the whole thing.

Logan, Ororo and Blue Hank were discussing the things Faith had picked out and the time table for bringing her and Jennifer around to the school. Tony had managed to slip down to his lab moments earlier and no one knew exactly why.

All in all it was a good day as the team wound down and took pleasure in the simple joys of life. With the bags and purchases sorted into the rooms of their owners the different members of the group settled in for the evening.

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

Faith, Wanda and Pepper returned to find a number of their friends gathered around the common room. Faith looked around for her girlfriend but came up empty handed.

“Yo T-Money.” She hollered at Tony with a playful grin. “Where my girl at?”

Stark smiled widely at the nickname he received and pointed towards the private rooms. “Pretty sure she’s straightening out things and waiting for you in her room.”

“Thanks big guy.” Faith replied. “Everyone today was amazing. Thank you all so much.” She said warmly before heading off to surprise her girl.

“Should we give her a room of her own?” Bruce asked half heartedly.

“Why would she want a room of her own when your cousin’s room has all the pu, oh hey Logan didn’t see you there.” Clint said a little hastily as the new father walked up behind him. Just about all the women in the room rolled their eyes at the archer.

“Watch your mouth there Bub.” Logan said darkly before turning to Bruce. “Seriously though why would she want a room of her own when your cousin’s room has all the pussy she could eat?” Just about everyone groaned loudly as Logan smirked wickedly.

“Pussy jokes aside.” Wanda said, exasperated. “The time she spends here is gonna be with Jen. She wouldn’t take her own room even if we asked.”

“Agreed.” Tony stated. “Now there was something else I wanted to bring up.” He turned to look at Wanda and Pietro. “Guys, having you here has been great and it’s long past time we made it official.”

Tony pulled a parcel out from beneath the coffee table and handed it to the redhead then pulled out two cards and gave one to each sibling. Wanda and Pietro looked at the cards that held extremely detailed pictures of the person holding it and a large “A” emblazoned across the surface.

“Are these what I think they are?” Pietro asked slightly awed.

“Your Avengers ID cards.” Tony said with a smile. “Congratulations, you’re officially on the team. Welcome to the family.”

“Thanks you guys.” Wanda said as Carol wrapped her arms around the slender redhead. The blonde kissed the side of her girl’s head and then mouthed a silent ‘thank you’ to Tony.

“Yeah, thanks.” Pietro added, still stunned by the honor as Jessica took a seat in his lap and kissed him.

“You’ve both earned it.” Tony stated as the dozen or so teammates gathered round concurred with light applause and congratulatory words. “Now that package is something I think you’ll also get a kick out of Wanda.”

Wanda turned to the parcel he had handed her and opened it slowly. From it she removed an exceedingly high end looking laptop and a wide smile broke out across her face.

“Ah, Tony you shouldn’t have.” She remarked.

“Actually I don’t think I had a choice.” The billionaire replied. “This is the least I could do after the huge tech upgrade you programmed into the whole system. Hell after I had Pym and Richards double check my math I figured this and the money I placed in a private account for you was getting off cheap.”

“You put money in an account for her?” Carol asked as Wanda opened up the machine and fired it up. Quickly moving past the setup menus to the home screen she found an icon that linked to an off shores account she could wire money to or from with ease. There was twenty million in the balance.

“Tony this is perfect. Thank you.” Wanda said. She looked into Carol’s blue eyes and an idea struck her. “Baby with this we can setup the mission to take down that one threat.”

Carol’s eyes widened. “Which threat? You mean the guy with the big robots?” She asked.

“No the big guy.” Wanda answered trying to recall more obscure details from works of fiction she only had second hand knowledge of. “Crap I can’t think of his name right now, but I know he’s a problem later on.”

“Space guy or Earth guy?” Carol asked.

“Earth based space guy.” Wanda stated. “Big threat. I think he’s hibernating now which makes this the perfect time to hunt for his base. We could probably take out the really big space guy with a spell but the other space guy is going to take time to get everyone ready to fight.”

“Oh him.” Carol said. “Yeah it’ll take time to find his base under all that sand.”

Wanda quickly pulled up several programs on her new computer and accessed several databases looking for the right person for the job. The rest of the team stood by with varying expressions of confusion and interest in what the couple had gotten so wrapped up in. Steve finally couldn’t take the suspense. He looked directly at Pietro and nodded vigorously.

The white haired speed runner caught the gesture and rolled his eyes. He knew the fancy new ID cards slash badges would come with responsibilities. Apparently one of his responsibilities was going to be prodding straight answers out of his sister.

“So Wanda?” He asked in a casual tone. “Did you and your Gal Friday have something to share with the rest of the class or are we gonna have to guess what you mean by threat, and big?”

Wanda and Carol both looked up at the question and then caught the looks from around the table. They were going to have to explain this one carefully.

“Sorry guys.” Wanda said after a few seconds passed. “We thought we’d have to build up to this first guy but this money allows us to speed things up. There are a few bad guys that make other bad guys you’ve had to stop seem all kittens and puppies in comparison. We’re talking very bad, like eats babies bad. All of them have to go in order for life on this and many other planets to be safe.”

“How does that money help speed thing up?” Tony asked thinking he should have done something with his wealth earlier if it was that simple.

“By allowing me to do this.” Wand said as she pressed a button on her laptop and the sound of a phone ringing came from its speakers. At the end of the second ring the phone on the other end was picked up and a gravely, slightly distorted and mildly depressed voice came through.

“Hello?” Said the strange voice as Logan’s eyes widened.

“Hello, this is Wanda Maximoff.” The redhead replied. “I’m calling about some mercenary work. Is Deadpool available?”

A rustling sound could be heard over the line. It was as if the phone had been set down and whoever was on the other end got up and crossed the room to look for something.

“No.” Logan said in shock. “You can not be serious. That guy is a complete nutcase.”

Just then the phone was picked up again and there was a slight almost unnoticeable muffling over the same throaty strained voice. Only this time the strange man had a much more chipper tone.

“This is Deadpool.” The gravely voice said before growing higher in pitch. “She sounds hot ask her if she’s hot.” A gruffer version of the same voice fired back a rebuttal. “Shut up you. This is a business call.”

All around the room mouths hung open in shock as the madman on the phone continued to argue with himself. “Does he know he’s saying all that out loud?” Jessica asked quietly.

“Hello Deadpool.” Wanda said calmly. “I have a job for you and it will take some time to complete. I need you to explore the Egyptian desert and find a cave. It will be a very special cave. Full of monsters and robots and a giant spaceship. The spaceship is the most important part. Once you find it I need you to send the coordinates to a frequency I’ll give you. For this I am willing to pay you fifteen million. There is no way of knowing how long it will take to find this place so take your time on this mission but I need you to refrain from killing any humans. Are these terms acceptable?”

“Go to Egypt. Find space cave. No wet work unless I come across body snatchers or people eaters and get to play the big damn hero.” The main voice replied.

“Sounds easy enough might even take in a show.” The gruff voice opined.

“One with dancing girls and men in body oil.” The higher pitched voice added.

“I’ll wire the first half to your account right away.” Wanda replied as the rest of the team looked at her in complete shock. “Thank you.”

She ended the phone call and set the communicator in her Avengers card to pick up transmissions from a specific frequency. She then sent the frequency along with the wire transfer of funds to Deadpool’s off shore account. Once everything was set she looked up into the shocked faces of her new friends.

“Okay so I know this may seem crazy, and it is, but his specific type of crazy makes him the best option to find the hideout we are looking for.” Wanda said in one fast babble. “When he finds it there is something specific I want him to do when we go in guns a blazing.”

“You can’t trust Deadpool.” Logan said firmly.

“I’m not asking any of you to trust him.” Wanda replied. “He can’t be trusted. His insanity makes him a threat to all the people he gets close to. But we don’t need trust for this. We need someone whose perception of reality is so strained and altered that they see past the disguises the bad guy’s lair has. Besides it could be months before he finds anything.”

“You’re confident he’ll find it though?” Steve asked.

“Definitely.” Carol replied.

With that the heroes reluctantly opted to wait and see what came of this strange twist their lives were taking. Logan in particular didn’t like leaving things up to fellow Weapon X alumni but the fact that Wanda and Carol asking him for a blood sample led to meeting his daughter eased his doubts about the women’s plans. The rest of the team opted to call it a night.

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

Jennifer was rearranging her room when Faith snuck up behind her and pressed herself tightly into the petite blonde. She yelped in surprise but soon recognized Faith’s generous curves massaging into her and melted into the contact.

“What’cha doin’ Babe?” Faith asked luridly.

“Clearing out closet and drawer space so you can keep as much of your things in here as you want.” Jennifer answered.

“Sounds good Babe.” Faith said as she built up her courage. “I’ve got something for you.” He said after a moment.

“Ooh. You got me a prezzie?” The blonde asked, turning around in Faith’s arms.

“Yup.” The brunette replied as she pulled the box out of her back pocket.

Jennifer quickly tore the ribbon away and opened the small box. Her breath caught as she took in the sight of its contents. Inside was a long silver necklace with a distinctive pendant hanging from it. The object consisted of many interwoven strands of silver wrapping and weaving around one another to form a beautiful Celtic Cross with a Triquetra at its heart. On the ends of each of the four points of the cross was a tiny ruby set in the weaving bands of silver. Within the center of the Triquetra lay a ruby the size of the other four put together.

“Faith.” Jennifer gasped. “I don’t know what to say. It’s beautiful. Thank you so much.”

“I saw it and thought of you.” Faith replied. “I know it’s not anything special but I wanted you to have something pretty to remember me. You know?”

“I love it.” Jennifer said. “And I love you. I’ll never have trouble remembering you. You’re kinda memorable Honey.”

Faith smiled at the loving reassurance Jennifer gave her. She didn’t know how she could have ever gotten so lucky but she wasn’t going to give this up. The earlier hints from Wanda and Carol about the troubles her roads less traveled faced and the difficulties they had at finding love had crystallized one driving force in her mind. Don’t lose this woman. Love her. Cherish her. Fight for her. Do whatever it would take. Just don’t lose her.

“Put it on me.” Jennifer said as she stared into the deeply expressive brown eyes she adored. Faith slipped the chain around her girlfriend’s neck and fastened the clasp. As the intricate cross fell to the petite woman’s chest Faith smile and leaned in for a sweet kiss.

It soon turned more passionate as Jennifer deepened the slow sensual clash of tongues. She ran her fingers through long brown locks and slowly came to a decision to give Faith something special in return.

Faith almost staggered forward as the kiss was broken. Before she could complain or pout her jacket was flung aside and her tank top was pulled over her head. Jennifer slowly kissed her way down Faith’s body, savoring all her most sensitive spots, until she had descended to her knees in front of the athletic young woman. Intense hazel eyes locked with pleading brown and Faith knew she was in for the night of her life.

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

Darcy stirred in the early predawn hours the following morning. She slowly and carefully slipped out of the loving arms that tenderly embraced her all through the night. Taking a moment to gather her discarded clothes she quietly slipped out. Her body was still humming from the hours of lovemaking the night before. Even with that misunderstanding in the store, or perhaps because of it, last night was the most fantastic sexual experience of her life. If nothing else came of it she at least had that beautiful memory.

Leaving the hall the private rooms lined and turning towards the elevators Darcy was surprised to see a swirl of red and blond come to land on the balcony just outside the glass wall in the main living room. Thor had come back. Darcy quickly slipped outside to greet her friend.

“Muscles!” She called. “Sup buddy? How’s space?”

“Darcy?” Thor asked surprised to see the young woman atop Avengers Tower. “Space is good. What brings you here?”

“Pretty sure it’s the same thing bringing you here big guy.” Darcy smiled before raising one hand towards the Norse God. “Walk of shame, represent!”

Thor watched her with a look of complete befuddlement before slowly raising one hand to meet hers. As he neared Darcy pulled back and then slapped his open palm.

“Awesome high five Muscles.” Darcy smirked. “Listen, it’s been fun seeing you again but I gotta bounce. See ya around big guy.”

“Fair thee well Darcy Lewis.” Thor called as the brunette ran off. He wondered idly what he had missed since leaving early yesterday morning as he slipped inside the tower’s penthouse.

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Time and Time Again


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 1:56 pm 
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I have a bit of trouble with this slice of the picture, because of all the extra non-Buffy faces.
But it's still fun :)

Is it wrong that i see Steve/Captain America as Giles? because of the easy embarrassment :P

And i'm so glad you added Darcy! She's like, my favourite character!

Though, due to the conspicuous lack of details, i can't help wonder if she ended up with Natasha. Or both.

She's like a cooler version of Anya, she just says stuff :)


Nice to see Buffy/Faith getting along. I imagine there's going to be a bit of angst in the prime line, so it's nice to see things being easy for one of their incarnations :)


Generally great, though i do have one niggle:

The gamma ray enriched man said slyly.

I direct your attention to this link and the phrases "Burly Detective" syndrome and "Tom Swiftly."

I thought Gamma enriched man was a little overkill :P

Wow, i am so looking forward to the next chapter :bounce

Keep up the good work!

R :flower

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 10:49 am 
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So much to catch up on! I am sorry I haven't been commenting but I have been reading. One think that really stuck out as powerful is Willow's need to feel connected and grounded by Tara. That profound level of need comes through in the past few chapters as they are with each other. It is a profound thing to contemplate as still being that strong through so many lifetimes.

Seeing the girls reel Faith in within the world much like the original was really nice. Faith gets a real chance to be a whole person without all the mistakes. It is also nice to see her come in within the Avenger/XMen world and connect so readily. It is fun to see each of these stories develop and I look forward to continuing to read.
-H.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 4:02 pm 
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Hi Azirahael. Yes, I'll admit the extra non Buffy faces may be excessive for now but they won't always be there in every update. For now the first few chapters of Marvels and Sirens are going to feature a lot of unfamiliar faces just to flesh out the world and establish who is who for when they show up later.

The next Sirens update will also throw a lot of new faces and factions at the audience so It'll have links and an Appendix at the bottom for the most convoluted aspects. Plus a link to one Deviant Art picture I saw that perfectly encapsulates a coming costume change.

With Marvels we are coming to the end of the roster of recurring faces i'll be using. There are some X-Men who will show up just because I like them and they have some connection to Willow/Wanda, Tara/Carol. But I'll be ignoring half the team at least.

I have absolutely no interest in having the girls run into Jean Grey or Emma Frost. The way Cyclops has acted in the last few years in the main story arcs is a blend of insufferable douche and sanctimonious prick. Honestly if X-23 didn't feel so much like Faith when I sat down and looked at these characters I don't even know if I'd have Logan in the story.

Another point is I'm trying to have Marvels have more of a laid back Sex in the City feel but having the Anya/Jessica talk incessantly with Buffy/Jennifer and Tara/Carol about their sex lives with their partners sitting right there seemed like torture. Hence the need for Natasha, Pepper, and Darcy.

Darcy is one of my favorite characters as well. Unfortunately I have no idea how to get my other favorite from the movies off of the Rainbow Bridge and onto the Jersey Turnpike. Oh poor Heimdall.

Steve may be as embarrassed as Giles but for completely different reasons. Mostly due to levels of life experience. When I do bring Giles in soon I think the reveal of who he shows up as will be just a bit on the funny side.

Who Darcy slept with is still a mystery to me. Was it Steve or Natasha or both or neither. For all I know she could have followed those two back to the tower and disappeared into Logan's room. I'm honestly hoping to see some theories show up in the comments. I'll say it probably wasn't anyone in a committed relationship.

I agree that description of Bruce got away from me. Thanks for the link. I skimmed it and found out I probably overuse a few other tropes/traps on the list.

Hello Loislane1. No worries about amounts of feedback. Any amount is appreciated and life stuff always comes first.

Yes "needy" Willow is sight to behold. One way of looking at it is that because they've been together so long the need to connect has only grown. Another might be that Willow subconsciously fears she has to outdo her past iterations. She does have that overachiever streak.

Faith getting second chances is something that will play out very differently across each story. Marvels has already taken their easy road. The rest, not so much.

As always thank you everyone for reading and commenting.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:08 am 
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Fun update. it's nice to see wonda and faith bonding with the rest of the team before the action happens. Also, and I know I'm gonna be lynched by the kittens for saying this, but I've always been just 'shrug' when it comes to fics with a b/f relationship, but it is nice to see them get together without all the angst that's sure to happen in the prime universe.

And, ooo cool. The holloween ep is coming up right? I've always loved that one. I can't wait to see how you handle ethan. I'm curious what was in cleveland that they had to put on hold in order to get back to sunnydale. I'm also curious if, in any of the worlds, you'll deal with a certain "potential" pain in the ass. And I'm still wondering who the weapon's for that willow picked up in la.

Looking forward to lots and lots more updates!

Jen


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:50 am 
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Helloe Mysticrain. Yes, there's a lot of pre game setup that has to happen before the Avengers take X-23 on a run.

Yeah, I've read more than a few fics that just say stuff happened differently and run with a B/F pairing but don't seem to get the main reason Faith and Buffy didn't work in the show. I like to think it isn't that they couldn't work because she turned evil but that she turned evil because she couldn't get Buffy to love her.

There aren't too many things that feel worse than moving to a new town and falling in love on day one only to find out the person you fell for is still hung up on someone who was no good for them anyway. But you try to go along and help them through the grief and get them out and living life again only to have to sit there and watch as they run right back into the arms of some prick you hate.

What were we talking about again? Oh right, Buffy / Faith pairings.

Cleveland is a dormant hellmouth. Giles mentions it once in the wishverse/vamp Willow episode and once at the last three minutes of the series finally. They don't actually need to go there. It was just an idea Willow had. In case anyone didn't notice Miami was me saying "okay they might have fixed the life of Gio from that one episode of Angel but maybe not they never got a good enough look at his life story."

The pain in the ass is mentioned pretty specifically in the FAQ so if I ever broach the subject it'll be something along the lines of "a new group of potentials show up and one with brown hair gives Willow and Tara funny looks before being dragged off by another new girl that knows better" and then just never bring it up again.

Honestly I'm of the opinion that character was added to the show because Joss Whedon couldn't figure out a plausible way to put Willow and Faith together half way through season 7. Which would have been just as equally wrong as what he did.

The owner of the Khopesh is revealed in this imminent chapter. I haven't settled on a google image search pic of a khopesh or Dao Broadsword I like above all the rest but I do have a favorite Butterfly Swords Picture. The better looking one at the top of the butterfly sword wiki page. Those are what Faith's dual blades look like.

Buffy's sword looks like the sword of omens but with a glowing, multicolor, mood ring stone instead of a red and black cats eye crystal.

As always thanks for reading.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:09 am 
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Time and Time Again.

Author: Citanul

Feedback: Be kind, rewind?

Spoilers: Just about all of them. Go watch the show.

Rating: NC-17

Pairings: W/T, B/F

Disclaimer: You all know I don’t own the rights to characters you’ve seen on TV.

Summary: A story of reincarnation and interdimensional travel made possible through the power of love. What misfortunes will our two favorite love birds be able to prevent with the aid of experience from countless past lives.

Author’s Note: Okay, so there are some schedule notes. All next week I'm traveling so the update may be delayed I don't know how long. I do have a buffer of updates built up so I don't expect too many problems down the road.

We're up to the Halloween episode. Going forward I probably won't stick to the episode lists as tightly as I have before and after the four LA chapters but for now the changes Willow and Tara have wrought haven't quite spiraled the rest of the events from this early in the show completely out of whack. Just wait to season 3 stuff comes up. That won't even be recognizable.

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Chapter 9: Halloween

Two days before All Hallows Eve the Slayer found herself in a tacky seasonal pumpkin patch. It might have been almost a pleasant evening if not for the vampires. The blond vamp she was facing proved to be an exceptionally tough fighter if not the most intelligent she had ever faced.

At first, being knocked to the ground served only to anger Buffy Summers slightly. As she pelted her attacker with gourds and a pumpkin she briefly wondered where the hell Faith was. This vampire was nothing she couldn’t handle but they were supposed to be patrolling together.

Leaping up to her feet with a practiced flip Buffy drew her stake and threw it with pinpoint accuracy into the chest of a scarecrow the vampire grabbed as a shield. This was going to be extra annoying. After landing a few backhands and roundhouse kicks Buffy pulled a pumpkin sign staked into the ground up and drove it into the prone vampire’s chest.

Before Buffy could focus her senses to find her sister Slayer she heard the distinctive sound of a vamp dusting in the bushes. Looking up sharply, Buffy saw the cocky brunette strolling towards her dangling a video camera.

“Smooth moves B.” Faith whistled. “Check what I scored off the perv in the bushes watching you work your magic.”

“One of them was filming me?” Buffy cried in shock.

“Yup.” Faith said before renewing her smile. “Don’t worry B. I dusted him for ya. I always got your back.”

“Thanks Faith.” Buffy smiled at the brunette. “Let’s head back and report this.”

“Good idea B.” Faith said with a chuckle. “Red and Blondie should have the skinny on vamps turning into voyeurs. Maybe G man will have an idea too.”

Buffy smiled with relief. Faith had been going out of her way to make it clear she wanted nothing more than to fight at the former cheerleader’s side. Even when Buffy was supposedly fighting on her own Faith had been there watching from the sidelines making sure none of the enemies got away. Making sure Buffy had room to stretch her muscles.

The blonde couldn’t help but feel so incredibly happy she had the brunette Slayer at her side. In only a few short days Faith was family.

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Across town Ethan Rayne was totaling up receipts and examining his inventory. He had no idea how but his stock had been altered somehow. Maybe a truck had been sent to the wrong building. After considering things for a moment he decided it didn’t matter. If Chaos had played tricks on his stock then it was all the better. The people of this town didn’t know the wonders in store for them.

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The bus and the moving truck pulled up in front of the old industrial building. Doyle and Gunn hopped out of the truck and went to open the backdoor. Alonna and the rest of the Crew filed out of the bus. As the doors opened Angel popped out of the truck and smiled.

“Thanks again for helping me pack up guys.” Angel said. “I have a feeling that I need to get all this out of the way sooner rather than later.”

“No big Fangs.” Gunn replied. “Besides the witches made such a big deal of inviting us all to their Halloween bash that we couldn’t pass this up.”

The teens made short work of loading the vampire’s antiques and spare weapons into the truck. With nothing left to hold Angel to his old apartment the Hyperion Crew set off for Rovello Drive. The party was just getting started.

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Buffy and Faith walked through the front door of 1632 Rovello Drive and headed straight for Slayer Central. Turning the corner, they stood in the doorway of the library, and watched their family.

Giles was organizing books on different shelves. His collection of rare, old, arcane and occult books was entirely moved from the school library to the library Willow and Tara had built in their home. Having the texts safely behind a threshold and under the wards erected by the most powerful witches in the area gave the Englishman a tremendous sense of relief.

Xander was off to one side of the room playing with the Khopesh Willow had set aside earlier that day. For some reason the Slayer had no idea where the weapon had been stored since their return from LA. She had looked in the training room each time she went there for a workout. In fact none of the loot they had brought back from LA was out in the open. She had a suspicion it was all either in the cellar or some room she hadn’t seen yet.

Joyce was sitting at the table with Jennifer casually chatting while occasionally stealing glances at the Brit. Faith cracked a smirk at the way Mrs. Summers “socializing” always got Buffy worked up.

Willow and Tara were sitting at the computer station sharing light kisses and whispering to each other so softly only the Slayers could hear the words. Buffy smiled at the overwhelming joy the couple emitted. Seeing them so happy had given her real hope for what might have been the first time in her life since she was chosen.

“What up party people!” Faith hollered into the room.

Giles jumped, surprised, and almost dropped the book in his hand. Xander did drop the curved sword. Tara and Willow snapped apart with a yelp. Jennifer and Joyce shared a look and then laughed.

“Ladies, welcome back.” Xander called trying to reclaim some of his masculine image.

“Yes, quite.” Giles added. “Anything to report?”

“The vamps are starting their own film studio.” Faith answered as she strolled up to the table and set down the camera. “We can’t tell if it’ll be porn or snuff films but they wanted the first starlet they splash across the big screen to be Lil’ ol’ B here.”

“What?” Giles asked in shock as the two mothers in the room shared concerned looks.

“I fought a vamp.” Buffy said slightly disinterested. “After I dusted him Faith got the drop on his friend in the bushes who was filming my fight.”

“They taped you dusting one of their boys?” Xander asked. “Do you think he just drew the short straw on the chore list or was their more to it?”

“His master must be planning to fight the Slayer.” Giles said. “Why else would he send out minions with video equipment if not to study your fighting style?”

“Too bad for his little AV club I was there watchin’ B’s back.” Faith added.

“Yes, thank you Faith.” Giles replied warmly. “You’ve proven yourself quite adept at your calling.”

“Thanks G!” The brunette beamed. “Yo Mrs. M, I got you a brand new, slightly used, camcorder.”

“Oh you’re so thoughtful Sweetie.” Jennifer replied with an amused smile.

“You two are awful quiet over there.” Buffy said as she turned towards Willow and Tara. “Care to share?”

Willow started pressing buttons on the array of keyboards before her and pulled up several images on the screens. As the displays changed the Scoobies gathered around the pair of young witches. One screen showed a map of Sunnydale with a steady blinking red light parked in a factory in the industrial district. Another screen showed a pale woman in a long white dress with long black hair. The most prominent screen displayed a platinum blonde man in a long black leather trench coat.

“Who invited Billie Idol to town?” Faith asked as she looked the image of the man over.

“A few weeks ago we ran a vampire out of town with a light show.” Willow said. “Now he’s back.”

“How does a light show scare a vampire?” Xander asked.

“What you guys haven’t seen Red and Blondie’s Tinkerbelle swarm?” Faith asked. As the faces around her stared back with blank expressions she let out a chuckle. “Man you guys don’t know what you’re missing. When they picked me up in Boston we went for pizza then hit up this big vamp nest. They blew the warehouse doors in and filled the room with these tiny firefly lights. Each one shot through a vamp’s chest and burned them from the inside out. The big one in charge was the last to go. Old cow fingers didn’t know what hit him.”

“Cow fingers?” Buffy asked, surprised.

“The vampire master Kakistos had cloven hands and hooves.” Willow answered. “Older vampires tend to accumulate demonic deformities that only a mother could love. The vampire we ran out of town is named Spike. He also goes by William the Bloody. His sire, Drusilla, was sired by Angelus after being tormented, tortured and driven insane by him.”

“Oh dear lord.” Giles breathed.

“Damn it.” Buffy moaned.

“How bad are all these new vampires?” Joyce asked. “You haven’t bothered mentioning names of any other vampires before.”

“V-vampires come in a couple flavors Joyce.” Tara replied. “M-most are fledges, fresh from the g-grave.”

“Buffy slays dozens of them in the course of a week.” Willow chimed in. “Most are dumb as a rock and barely able to think beyond their hunger. If they last a few months and feed regularly they might grow into the minion stage. These are the ones that are dangerous to just about everyone they come across. They can fight more effectively and follow orders from masters.”

“What makes one a master?” Joyce asked.

“Vamps that last a hundred years or more can pretty much be assumed to have fairly high intelligence.” Willow continued. “They’re stronger, know the rules about the supernatural more intimately, often gain some level of spell casting or ritual magic ability, create large numbers of vampires to follow them and tend to develop powers like hypnosis, illusions, mind control, aura reading and a bunch of other stuff that might give the average Slayer serious trouble.”

“Mom, a master vamp that called himself The Master is the one that beat me and left me for dead.” Buffy admitted.

As Joyce gasped at the horrific revelation Jennifer placed her arms around her friend. Giles lowered his eyes at the memory of that terrible day and prayed he would never again come so close to loosing his charge. Looking up to find Faith resting a hand on Buffy’s shoulder reassured him for some reason. He hoped Willow and Tara would continue to use their new expertise to help him guide the Slayers through the worst of it.

Willow collected herself before continuing. “In sixteen o’ nine the Master sired a whore dying of syphilis in the Colony of Virginia. In seventeen fifty three Darla sired a drunken Irish whoremonger named Liam. Since he had “the face of an angel” they called him Angelus. For over a hundred years Angelus was the most vile monster to ever walk the Earth. In eighteen ninety eight Darla presented Angelus with a gift. A gypsy princess they spent the better part of a week violating and torturing before they killed her.”

Before continuing Willow opened a drawer and revealed over two dozen crystal orbs the size and shape of billiard balls. Pulling one out she held it up for her family to see. “This is an Orb of Thesulah. It can be used once in the casting of a gypsy curse. They used one of these to force the human soul back into Angelus so he could suffer. Since then he has felt guilt and remorse for all the lives he ended while he didn’t have a soul. He now goes by the name Angel and the forces of good and evil have been manipulating him for years.”

“Is he dangerous even with a soul?” Joyce asked as several faces around the room grew nervous.

“Only if you’re dating him.” Xander said with a smirk.

“Xander!” Buffy cried as both Faith and Joyce looked around at all the worried faces.

“What’s going on?” Joyce asked.

“Mom.” Buffy said slowly. “Angel and I began working together right after I moved to town. We got really close and I was really starting to care for him.”

“No!” Joyce said adamantly. “Buffy, no, you can’t date a vampire. I may have had trouble with all this at first but I love you and I’m going to be supportive of your work, but you are not going to waste your life on a walking corpse!”

The voice of the Slayer’s mother rose steadily throughout her entire speech. By the end she was almost screaming. Unfortunately by that point she was also shaking badly. As the wind left Joyce’s sails her legs almost gave out. Giles was quick to rush in and grab hold of her before she started to teeter. He gently guided the single mother to a chair.

“Mom, please listen.” Buffy began almost pleadingly. “Nothing happened. Nothing is going to happen for a long time.”

Joyce looked up at that last statement but Buffy was quick to explain. “When we went to LA we took Angel and Willow made it very clear that he had to stay there. He’s with Alonna’s group. He’ll help her train and fight. Willow also mentioned a prophecy that said he might become human again.”

“Emphasis on the word might.” Willow added. “If he devotes his existence to fighting evil and averting many of the coming apocalypses then there is a chance he’ll be allowed to live out his days as a human. Or it is talking about some other vampire with a soul.”

“You said it’s a gypsy curse.” Joyce stated, still shaky while regaining her composure. “Curses can be broken right? How does he lose his soul?”

“Perfect happiness ends the curse.” Tara answered.

“What makes him happy?” The still rattled mother asked.

“Nuns and petite, virginal, blondes.” Tara deadpanned.

“Which is why he is going to spend the next few years in LA, far far away from your daughter.” Xander added trying to help and failing miserably. Everyone was silent for several long moments.

“Buffy I want to trust you.” Joyce said after calming herself down. “I love you and I accept that all of this danger is going to be a part of our lives. But I don’t want you seeing this man. You’re only sixteen and it doesn’t matter how pretty he is. He’s over six times older than me and sixteen times older than you. Even if he turned human tomorrow I’d still tell you to wait till after college to waste time being chased by older men.”

“Mom I know all this okay.” Buffy said trying to keep calm. “I’m not some ditzy schoolgirl with a crush. I won’t do anything to put my family in danger.”

Faith turned to Willow and Tara with a curious expression. “I know I’m the new guy here but is this vampire gonna be a threat that requires staking?”

“Angelus is the most dangerous threat we could face for a while.” Willow answered. “Angel is a mopey ally that we need to keep around for a few very important moments of crisis. We’ve seen it before. If Angel dies before certain powers get a chance to use him he just ends up getting brought back to screw with us again. With us keeping him active in LA and away from fulfilling sexual relations he can be used for much more important things.”

“What about his offspring?” Faith asked.

“Drusilla was injured by a mob in Prague.” Tara replied. “They are here because Spike wants to heal her.”

“Guys this is important.” Willow said gaining everyone’s attention. “We need Drusilla for something down the road. Even if Spike manages to bring her up to full health she is still crazy. She isn’t the type to plan major evil. After the event we have to manipulate her into is done you can dust her at any time. But if she isn’t there for that one key moment things may spiral out of control.”

“So we protect her?” Xander asked confused.

“She’s mentally unstable but she’s still a vampire Xand.” Willow chastised. “Even at her weakest she isn’t a complete invalid. If she causes trouble we stop her. We smack her around and send her packing. Maybe even use the threat of staking her to manipulate Spike, but don’t dust her till we give the go ahead.”

“If she gets back to full strength she’s more of a threat.” Tara added. “She killed the Slayer called after Buffy by hypnosis. Don’t look her in the eyes if you face her.”

“Got it. Stare directly into her tits when I fight her.” Faith responded, causing her sister Slayer to roll her eyes.

“What about Spike?” Buffy asked, rejoining the conversation.

“He’s incredibly dangerous.” Tara answered. “He would m-make the perfect sacrifice for a big problem s-several years from now but g-getting all of us through to that point alive is going to be hard enough without babysitting him.”

“If he lets you then don’t hesitate to stake him.” Willow agreed. “But he’s a survivor and a lot smarter than he looks. He’s killed two Slayers in the past, one in China during the Boxer rebellion and one in New York in the late seventies. He won’t make it easy on either of you.”

Just then the doorbell rang. Willow and Tara locked eyes before nodding. The redhead took the orb and placed it back in the drawer then closed and locked it.

“Please don’t tell anyone what is in that drawer.” Willow said. “If we ensoul any vamps in the future and they break the curse we don’t want them knowing where the collection is.”

With that Tara and Willow got up and headed for the front door. They were accompanied by just about everyone. As they reached the main entrance Willow took a breath. She then pulled open the door revealing a heartwarming sight.

“Sup y’all?” Gunn called out with cheer. “We need a place to crash. Seemed like all the white folks round these parts started worrying about their property values when we rolled into town.”

“Their property values are already nonexistent.” Xander replied with a grin. “Word to the wise, don’t invest in real estate sitting on top of an active hellmouth.”

The Scoobies stepped aside to allow the Hyperion Crew space to walk inside. No one said anything that could be construed as an invite. As the last of the teens and Doyle filled the living room only one figure was left on the porch.

“I’ll just wait out here.” Angel said as he looked between the witches.

“Wait Angel.” Willow said causing him to stop. She turned to Joyce and Jennifer and asked a simple question. “Either of you ladies want to see what a threshold looks like?”

Angel perked up and smiled at the very carefully worded lack of an invitation. He stepped up to the doorway and leaned against thin air. After a moment he leaned at an even more precarious angle to show how solid the thin air blocking him was. He even took a hand and tapped out an unfamiliar rhythm on the barrier. Tara and Willow looked at each other then back to Angel.

“Come in.” Tara said.

Angel fell forward onto the entryway floor. Loud peels of laughter came from the few LA residents that had loitered in the hallway. Joyce and Jennifer were shocked at the display.

“How on Earth does that work?” Joyce asked flabbergasted.

“Magic.” Willow and Tara replied as they stepped over Angel and went to join their guests. The vampire picked himself up off the floor and closed the door. He turned around to find the two blonde single mothers staring at him. Joyce had a skeptical look in her eyes but Jennifer’s held something closer to curiosity and awe.

“By the Goddess he really does have a soul.” Tara’s mother proclaimed in amazement.

“How can you tell?” Joyce asked somewhat confused.

“She can see auras.” Tara called back from the living room.

“What does it look like?” Joyce asked with even more interest.

“Vampire auras look like swirling masses of darkness with shadowy tendrils reaching out in all directions trying to pull in anything around them.” Jennifer answered not taking her eyes off Angel. “This one looks just like that except there is a single glimmer of light flickering in the darkness about where his heart should be. It’s pretty in a sad way.”

“So you ladies must be Mrs. Summers and Mrs. Maclay.” Angel said as they continued to stare at him like a carnival curiosity. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you both.”

Joyce smiled politely before nodding towards the living room, implying they should follow. As they joined the large gathering they heard Willow address them all.

“Thank you all for coming.” The redhead beamed. “Incase it wasn’t clear Tara, her mother Jennifer and I live here. Buffy and her mother Joyce live next door.” As she mentioned each mother’s name she gestured towards them to point out the faces the Crew wouldn’t recognize. “Some of you may already know that Halloween is pretty much a work holiday as far as demons are concerned. A few of us are going to be drafted by the principal to escort Trick or Treaters. Once that’s out of the way it’s party time. Tara and I have costumes picked out for everyone. We just need to make a quick stop tomorrow before we hand them out to you guys. There is a theme and guessing it will be half the fun. Upstairs at the end of the hall are two bedrooms filled with bunk beds. Next door is a room with two twin beds and blackout curtains for Doyle and Angel. Alonna, you and Fred can either bunk with Buffy and her mom or squeeze in with Faith. Everyone, make yourselves at home.”

Before the crowd dispersed several faces turned and looked at two of the young women in the room. Alonna and Faith were circling each other and not breaking eye contact. An eerie tension could be felt in the air.

“I’m such a colossal dork sometimes.” Willow chastised herself. “I forgot the best piece of news. This is Faith Lehane.” The redhead said, waving a hand towards the brunette. “We unlocked her potential just like with Alonna. She’s the third Slayer to join our family.”

The crowd had several reactions to the startling revelation. There was light whispering, a few appreciative whistles, the occasional laugh and of course resounding joyful cheers from the least likely of suspects.

“Fantastic, another Slayer!” Doyle cheered. “That’s brilliant that is!”

“It really is amazing what you two have accomplished.” Angel said wholeheartedly.

“Thank you Angel.” Tara replied with a smile.

“That explains why my radar has been going off since I got off the bus out front.” Alonna sighed with relief before reaching out to shake Faith’s hand. “Hello Faith it’s wonderful to meet you.”

“Likewise Al.” Faith smirked while shaking the ebony girl’s hand.

“Where did our witchy bosses find you Faith?” Gunn asked with genuine interest.

“Boston.” The brunette replied. “Pulled me out of a nasty slum and let me tag along as they dusted a nest.”

“Was that your first vampire encounter?” Rondell asked, starting to think this new recruit was in over her head.

“Hell no.” Faith laughed. “I wish that was the first time I saw a vamp. See way back when I was like ten the folks at child services found out my mom wasn’t the responsible type. So they sent me to live in a foster home.”

“That sounds rough.” Chain remarked.

“Homeboy we ain’t even gotten to the rough yet.” Faith smirked. “Now see that first family had a pretty high turn over rate. They’d get kids sent their way and the kids would run off so the brain trust at child services would just keep sending kids their way.”

All around the Hyperion Crew along with a few of the Scoobies that didn’t know this story by heart were paying close attention. The girl from Boston had them eating out of her hands.

“So my first day there the lady of the house drags me up the stairs and locks me in this dark attic.” Faith said, pausing for effect. “Now that would be all kinds of fine except for her vampire son being locked up there with me.”

Just about everyone gasped at the turn of events. None could imagine being locked up with a vampire at ten years old and surviving. Faith was someone they could easily respect and possibly follow.

“What did you do?” Alonna asked.

“Got lucky.” The brunette answered. “Jr. Fang Brigade liked to play with his food. Give them a little taste of fear. He’s coming at me, taunting me the whole time, backing me into a corner. As I hit the wall I fell and reached out. Ended up yanking the blackout curtains from the window and flooded the attic with not so cuddly sunlight. Few hours later mommy dearest comes up to get rid of my carcass and finds her boy drifting in the breeze. Caught a hell of a beating for that and went to another foster home.”

“Wow.” Rondell said in awe. “You might be the toughest person here.”

“Nah, see what I heard is that title is already taken.” Faith disagreed, drawing confusion from her audience. “The way I see it Texas here has that rep on lock.” She finished her statement while staring directly at Fred.

“Oh no.” Fred said as her head shot up when the newest Slayer singled her out. “I’m not. No.”

“Not many people can get dropped into a hell where they beat and execute humans for fun and survive all on her lonesome for over a year.” Faith countered with a disarming smile. “Just by standing here, that sweet little girl’s got to have bigger stones than all y’all realize. Plus the fact she hides all that behind those glasses and that timid mouse act. Pretty dangerous if you ask me.”

Heads around the room slowly turned and faced the slim brunette. Half the people Fred had been living in the hotel with looked at her with newfound respect. Alonna swore she had explained how awful Pylea was, but for some reason the Boston girl’s explanation was what it took for them to see the timid girl for what she was. The definition of bravery and perseverance.

“It’s getting late.” Willow stated. “Why don’t we get some sleep and tomorrow we’ll get ready for the fun.”

The teens from LA began to head upstairs and strolled into the two oversized bunk rooms at the end of the hall. Before Joyce could greet the two young women properly Faith jumped in with a suggestion.

“Say Mrs. S?” The pouty lipped brunette asked. “Why don’t Tex and Al take my room for this visit and I’ll crash with you and B.”

“That sounds delightful.” Joyce said as a slight smile spread across her face. “I want to get to know all you kids so much more while you’re here.” The art gallery owner then walked up to Alonna and hugged her tightly. “Thank you so much for taking on the danger my daughter was forced into. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to repay you for helping Buffy. For what it’s worth you and your brother will always have a place in our family.” Joyce whispered.

The ebony Slayer was completely stunned. This woman she had known for all of three minutes had offered more love and affection than just about any other adult to enter her life. Alonna had anticipated danger when she agreed to become the Slayer. She had expected her life to take new and surprising turns. But she could never imagine being accepted with open arms by a woman like Joyce.

Alonna chose to become powerful mainly because her life was already fraught with dangerous vampire encounters. Weakness wasn’t an option for anyone in her brother’s crew. Sooner or later they would be hit hard by some monster and suffer losses. So Alonna chose power.

Only now was she beginning to see that her choice meant something precious to others. This upper middle class white woman that had absolutely nothing in common with either of the Gunn siblings was so grateful that her daughter’s burden was being shared that she all but offered to adopt the pair on the spot.

“Thank you.” Alonna whispered while hugging her new friend’s mom right back. She couldn’t help but feel the emotions stinging her eyes. It had been so long since she had felt a glimmer of what it would be like to have a mother. She resolved to never let down this woman who so freely trusted and accepted her.

Gunn stood close by as his sister embraced the single mother. He barely heard the whispered words but the sentiment was clear as day. Someone cared about his sister and him.

“Well, why don’t I show you boys to the guest bedroom?” Jennifer said to Doyle and Angel. “I knew there was a reason Willow was so adamant about blackout curtains in one of the rooms.” The two not quite human men followed the witch up the same stairs the Crew had ascended.

“Come along Xander.” Giles said as Alonna, Fred and Gunn followed up the stairs. “I’ll drive you home.”

As the two men left the house Faith and the Summers girls quickly followed. Willow and Tara were left in the living room idly holding each other.

“You ready for this to get messy Sweetie?” Tara asked her heart.

“As ready as I’ll ever be.” Willow answered her soul. “We’re lying to them pretty blatantly but they’ll thank us in the long run for what they each receive.” Willow thought back to the thirty of so duffle bags lining the basement wall. She and Tara had made several stops at Ethan’s Costume Shop. The Hyperion Crew’s outfits were already settled and organized. Each bag held a note describing the person they would be dressed as and instructions to hold on to all the accessories in their bag. Their friends had no idea what was going to hit them.

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“Here we are.” Jennifer said as she led her guests to the room next to hers and across the hall from Willow and Tara. “I hope this is okay. Angel there’s a mug by your bed and some pints of pigs blood in the fridge downstairs.”

The vampire looked across the room and chuckled slightly at the “World’s Best Grandma!” coffee mug on the nightstand.

“Thank you again for letting us stay here Mrs. Maclay.” Doyle smiled to the witch. “Most people wouldn’t be so accommodating.”

“Please call me Jennifer.” The woman replied. “The sooner I no longer have his name hanging on me the sooner I think I can get back to living my life.”

“Only if you’ll call me Allen.” Doyle replied taking Jennifer’s hand in his.

“I always liked that name.” She smiled as he gently stroked the inside of her wrist with his thumb. “It’s beautiful like its owner.”

“Did Tara happen to mention my secret to you Jennifer?” Doyle asked.

“She said you were a teacher but faced a crisis and separated from your wife.” Jennifer answered. “I figured you’d tell me more.” She hesitated for a second. “Did she tell you mine?”

“Yes, but only to tell her own.” The Irishman assured. “I know about her father being a right fool and not deserving to have such wonderful women in his life. I know about the lie he told you and it hurt me more than I think the others could understand.”

“Why?” Jennifer asked.

“Because I’m.” He paused, holding back slightly before laying his darkest shame bare. “Half demon on my father’s side.”

Jennifer choked back a gasp as the admission came out. Still holding onto the man’s hand she took another, closer look at him. In his aura Jennifer saw a great many things. Pain at coming to terms with oneself. Anguish at letting love wane and slip away. Suffering at living with the stress of hiding half of who he was. But beyond all that she saw hope, compassion and love yearning to reach out for someone to share everything with. She saw a good man.

Jennifer held Doyle’s hand and gazed into his eyes. She slowly placed an arm around his shoulder and pulled him into a brief hug. After a moment passed she pulled away and ran a hand along his cheek.

“Thank you for sharing that with me.” Jennifer whispered quietly before turning and leaving the half demon and vampire to settle in for the night.

“Well I was not expecting that.” Angel said bringing Doyle out of his dazed reverie.

“Neither was I.” The short man admitted. “But she deserves more than what she’s been forced to settle for. Why shouldn’t I put myself out there and see if she reciprocates?”

“No reason not to.” Angel said. “Just don’t rush anything or make a big fuss about it in front of her girls. You have time. She isn’t going anywhere.”

“Wouldn’t want to piss off the boss by nailing her mom.” Doyle sighed before turning back to the vampire. “And don’t you be sneaking into any bedrooms this trip. The Slayer’s mom is onto you.”

“Even if she wasn’t, I can’t put Buffy through that knowing I’m leaving in a few days.” Angel replied. “Probably for good.”

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Joyce led Buffy and Faith into the Summers house. Buffy smiled at her friend and ally. Faith gazed into Hazel eyes and almost lost herself. The petite blonde’s beautiful smile always seemed to break her defenses.

“I’m gonna head up and take a quick shower.” Buffy said cheerily. “Why don’t you head up to my room and pick out something to wear then I’ll get us some snacks while you hit the shower Faith.”

“Sounds good B.” Faith replied. “You always have the best plans.”

Buffy laughed before turning and skipping up the stairs. Faith watched in awe as the girl left without a clue that she had stolen the brunette’s heart along the way. A light coughing sound broke the spell and drew the dark haired Slayer back to reality. She turned with a weak grin and looked at Joyce standing there watching her.

“Faith.” The Gallery owner said coldly. “Kitchen. Now.”

This was it. Faith was caught. She shouldn’t have risked this. Joyce would put a stop to things and all her newfound hopes and dreams would die before even the glimmer of any progress was made. She slowly followed her crush’s mother into the kitchen. Joyce stood by the sink waiting for something.

All of a sudden Faith heard the sounds of water running coming from upstairs. Buffy was in the shower. With a relieved sigh Joyce turned to Faith and let it all out.

“I’m not blind Faith.” Joyce began. “I see the way you look at my daughter. I see the way your eyes follow her every move, and I see the way she looks right through you.”

“Mrs. S.” Faith begged as the barest signs of tears began to overwhelm the proud girl. “Joyce please, I’m sorry. I’ll go back next door. I’ll try to stop. I’ll, I don’t know but whatever you want I’ll do it. Just please don’t tell her. I can’t handle her looking at me like I’m a freak and I’ll die if she looks at me with pity.”

“Oh, god Honey no.” Joyce said while quickly running around the island bar and wrapping the terrified brunette in her arms. “She won’t look at you like you’re a freak. Do you see her look at Willow that way? At Tara? No. She won’t hate you for being in love with her.” Joyce promised.

“You’re not mad?” Faith asked piteously.

“How can I be mad?” The woman asked the girl in her arms. “You had so many options. You didn’t have to come to this awful town but you did. You didn’t have to be the Slayer but you chose to help my baby girl anyway. I’m sure if you had said no the girls would have set you up in an apartment somewhere nice but you chose to stand by my daughter and fight every ugly nightmare that comes for her. I could never hate you for falling in love with Buffy Faith.”

“Then why this talk?” Faith asked with a sniffle fighting back the emotions warring within.

“Because Buffy isn’t ready to love you.” Joyce said sadly. “Deep down I think she already does but it’s going to take her time to see it.” The woman loosened her grip on Faith and looked her in the face. “Did she tell you anything about her time in LA?”

“No.” Faith answered. “Just that before she was called she was a lot like that Cordelia chick from school.”

“The crowd she ran with back then put some very shallow ideas in her head.” Joyce replied with scorn. “I think she’s still working through all the changes she had to make to be accepted by them. The point is you need to be patient with her. It’ll take time for her to realize but you can’t give up hope.”

“So you’re okay with me and Buffy maybe one day.” Faith trailed off.

“She’s still my baby girl Faith.” Joyce said flatly. “I’m not sending you upstairs with wine coolers and massage oils. You will be respectful tonight and every other night you stay over. You will not push her before she’s ready.”

“Yes Ma’am.” Faith squeaked.

“Faith.” Joyce said letting her voice soften dramatically. “I know it isn’t my decision who my child will spend her life with. I’m not going to be an overbearing ogre about her sex life when she starts having one. Though I will expect anyone she’s with to have some common sense about where and when they do things.”

Faith’s eyes widened at the light accusation that was almost a house rule for the future she could only dream of. This conversation was going so very differently than what she had expected. Never did she suspect Joyce would be open to Buffy dating someone with her background. This was almost too good to be true.

“But I’ll be damned if I let my little girl throw her life away on some two hundred and seventy year old serial rapist.” The cold steel was back in Joyce’s voice. She may have been polite during her first encounter with the vampire but she wasn’t going to back down from the stance she took in the library.

They both heard the water upstairs shut off and Joyce hurried the girl off. Faith took a quick ice cold shower and then slipped into some shorts and a tank top Buffy had left out. She held her breath as she slipped into bed alongside the already dozing slayer. Once she was settled in Buffy turned in her sleep and wrapped her arms around Faith tightly.

Faith held her breath for a long moment as the petite blonde settled in, nestling into Faith’s curves, using the brunette’s ample chest as a pillow. If only her friends could see the Slayer now. If only she could see how good they were together while she was awake. Already regretting the limits of her cold shower Faith tried to relax enough to get some sleep. Tonight would be the hardest night of her life.

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

The next day at school Buffy, Xander, Willow, Tara and Faith found themselves drafted into trick or treating escort duty. With heavy hearts they strolled into the student lounge discussing their still secret costumes for the party. Apparently Willow and Tara had ideas for each of them. Xander, feeling a need for something carbonated, went to the vending machine. A meaty hand grasped his shoulder in an all too familiar way.

“Harris.” Larry said with a curious expression on his face.

“Hey Lare.” Xander replied casually. “You’re looking cromag as usual. What can I do ya for?”

“Rosenberg and that new girl, the blonde, what’s their deal?” Larry whispered quietly.

“Tara?” Xander asked nervously. He didn’t exactly know what his friends’ wishes on the issue of publicity were. Then again he turned slightly to see them kissing and then saw Larry’s eyes widen in shock. They couldn’t be that closeted. “Those are my friends Larry.” Xander finished with a hard edge. “Don’t be a pig about them finally being happy for the first time in their lives.”

“What?” Larry asked slightly confused. “Oh no, it’s not like that. It’s, I don’t know. What about Summers and that Brunette?”

“Faith, no she’s not.” Xander trailed off before some things fell into place. He couldn’t believe he was so blind. “Then again that would explain some things. Listen Larry, what I said about being a pig? That goes double for Buffy and Faith. Faith isn’t someone you’d mess with if you knew anything about her.”

Larry’s eyes widened dramatically again. “No Harris it’s not like that. I just.” He paused as an idea came to him. “I’ll talk to you later. There’s something I need to do.” Then the oversized jock turned and was heading off down the hall.

Xander returned to his circle of female friends. He briefly thought about the implications of Buffy and Faith. If it was a possibility then he had even less hope with the beautiful Slayer. Then again he also couldn’t help but think that with the rate Willow and Tara were collecting allies they might help pick out a beautiful one just for him. He also wondered briefly, that since he was the only straight guy in an otherwise possibly all gay girl group if that made him their “Hag.” Was there a better term or was him asking Tara if he was their hag considered a hate crime. He couldn’t help but marvel at how complicated the issue could get, and resolved to just sit back and enjoy his friends’ company.

“What was that about with Larry?” Buffy asked, slightly curious that Xander had a run in with a jock that didn’t end in her intervention.

“Not too sure.” Xander replied. “He was asking about certain ladies' relations. I thought he was just being a guy but it might have been something else.”

“He’s going through something big.” Tara said surprising the group. “If he talks to you later m-maybe invite him to our Halloween party.”

“Is this one of those we know you know but we don’t get to know you know we know things?” Buffy asked drawing confused looks. “That one got away from me.”

“It’s a personal thing Buff.” Willow answered. “Once Larry is ready everyone will know.”

“Oh Sweetie, that reminds me.” Tara said. “I have to go invite some others to the costume shop and our party.”

“Go ahead Baby.” Willow said as Tara kissed her then dragged Faith off down the hall. The poor Slayer had the saddest hurt puppy dog look in her deeply expressive eyes. Xander headed to class while Buffy and Willow went to the ladies room to chat.

“It’s so weird.” Buffy said in mild shock.

“What?” Willow asked.

“Remember the last time we were in here talking?” Buffy asked. “You were so afraid I’d hurt you and now you’re so confident it’s a little scary. So much has changed in so few weeks.” Her eyes widened. “Does that make me a horrible friend?”

“No Buff.” Willow smiled. “You’re just cautious. So much more is going to change very soon. I can’t wait to really get to work on all the inventions I’ve memorized from other worlds. Buffy it’s going to be amazing. They’ll change the world and you’ll be there with us all the way.”

“I can’t wait Will.” Buffy smirked at her friend’s cute hopeful babble. Then the door opened and in walked Cordelia. The cheerleader set her purse and makeup kit on the shelf in front of the mirror then addressed the Slayer and Witch.

“So you guys have been all big with the disappearing lately.” Cordelia said. “And what happened to that Angel guy? I never see him.”

“Not during the day anyway.” Willow smirked.

“Oh please, don’t tell me he still lives at home.” Cordelia snarked. “Like he has to wait for his dad to get back before he can take the car?”

“Cordelia I think his parents have been dead for a couple hundred years.” Buffy replied mirthfully.

“Oh good.” The cheer leader murmured while applying lipstick. “I mean.” She looked over confused “What?”

“Angel’s a vampire.” Buffy said slowly. “I thought you knew.”

“Oh he’s a vampire.” The brunette replied sarcastically. “Of course. But the cuddly kind. Like a care bear with fangs.”

“It’s true.” Willow smiled. “Also he’s moved to LA.”

“What?” Cordelia exclaimed. “He moved?”

“To the Hyperion Hotel.” Willow added. “He’s in town for the holiday. You should stop by our party after trick or treating is done.”

Buffy and Cordelia widened their eyes at the invitation from the redhead. “What’s your deal Rosenberg?” Cordelia asked skeptically.

“No deal, just having some friends from out of town over to celebrate my life finally starting.” Willow grinned.

“I’ll think about it.” Cordelia said slowly, before leaving the restroom.

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

Tara pulled a confused Jonathan, Amy and Faith into the new costume shop. Faith was more than willing to play along with her new friend’s whims but the other two barely knew who the honey blonde was.

“What’s going on again?” Amy asked, confused.

“Willow and I are h-having a Halloween party to celebrate all the good things h-happening in our lives and you two are coming.” Tara stated. “It’s a costume party with a s-special theme only w-we know about and I have the perfect costumes for you guys.”

“We’re invited to the party?” Jonathan asked hopefully. No one had ever invited him to anything before. Ever. “What do I get to dress as?”

“Radagast the Brown.” Tara said with a smile handing him a large brown coat and hat along with a fake beard and staff.

“And me?” Amy asked slightly worried.

“Glinda the Good Witch.” Tara said pulling a prepackaged costume off the shelf.

“Nah.” Faith chuckled. “That’s not just a Glinda the Good Witch costume. That’s a sexy Glinda the Good Witch costume.”

“Yup.” Tara replied.

“What about me Blondie?” Faith asked hopeful to get something good.

“I have yours at home Faith.” Tara replied. “You’ll love it.” She added as she brought the other two confused teens up to the counter to pay for their outfits.

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

Spike stood in the factory seething. His flunkies had vanished. Most likely dusted by a Slayer he knew nothing about. Add to that the insane rumors that there were apparently two Slayers on the Hellmouth and his mood only fouled as the day wore on.

He had nothing to go on. Other than having seen a brief glimpse of the girl in town over a week ago when he had returned. But a face wasn’t a video of her fighting style. Going in blind was how master vampires far more senior than he got slaughtered.

“Ms. Edith needs her tea.” Drusilla said as she walked up to her Spike.

“Come here Poodle.” Spike replied pulling his girl into his arms.

“Do you love my insides?” She asked. “The parts you can’t see.”

“Eyeballs to entrails my sweet.” Spike assured. “That’s why I need to find out about this Slayer, and that sorcerer that chased us off before. Once they’re dead you can have your run of Sunnyhell. Get strong again.”

“Don’t worry.” Drusilla said circling him and growing more dazed. “Everything’s switching. Outside to inside.” She moved behind him and breathed heavily upon his neck with a hiss. “It makes her weak.”

“Really?” Spike asked with renewed interest. “My pet had a vision?”

“Do you know what I miss?” Drusilla asked. “Leeches.”

“Come on talk to daddy.” Spike said playfully. “This thing, makes the Slayer weak, when is it?”

“Tomorrow.” She answered.

That couldn’t be. “Tomorrow’s Halloween. Nothing happens on Halloween.”

“Someone has come to change it all.” Drusilla said while listening to her doll. “Someone new.”

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

After the last of his customers left the shop Ethan Rayne donned his ceremonial robes and anointed himself for the sacred rites. He moved into the back room with the statue and altar dedicated to Janus and began the day long ritual.

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

The rest of the day passed by with ease and before anyone knew it Halloween had arrived. The teens gathered. The boys getting changed at Willow and Tara’s house and the girls at Buffy’s. Everyone had been handed a duffle bag with their costume and an explanation. Most of the teens were dressing as historically or contemporarily relevant scientists and intellectuals. Though there were a few exceptions to that rule.

“Come on Will.” Buffy complained loudly. “You gotta be kidding me with this.”

“What’s up Buff?” Willow called from the other room with a smirk.

“Marie Curie?” Buffy begged as she gestured at the miniskirt, lab coat and two Nobel Prizes hanging from her neck.

“Not just any Marie Curie.” Faith chimed in. “Sexy Marie Curie!”

“And just what are you supposed to be Faith?” Buffy asked the girl dressed in an obscenely tiny, black mini skirt that may have been one third of a tube top, thigh highs, a big billowing black blouse with full length sleeves, a gavel and comically oversized glasses.

“Isn’t it obvious B?” Faith asked with a smirk and a lurid wiggle of her hips. “Sexy Ruth Bader Ginsburg Baby!”

“I think it’s cute.” Alonna said wearing a skirt and lab coat similar to Buffy’s only with a model of a Saturn V rocket hanging around her neck. “I like my Annie Easley costume.”

“Sexy Annie Easley!” Faith chortled.

“I don’t know about this you guys.” Fred said timidly as she came into Buffy’s bedroom nervously.

“See, what kind of theme is this if we all get scientists and Fred gets a Slave Leia costume and a gallon of green body paint?” Buffy asked.

The girl from Texas by way of Pylea was indeed wearing the classic gold bikini and every inch of her skin was slathered in green paint. Interestingly enough the Khopesh was strapped to her slender hips.

“Who the hell is Gamora anyway?” Buffy asked just as Willow and Tara came in the room covered up in paint smocks, still wiping green body paint remnants from their hands.

“Marvel Comics' number one Space Pirate Ninja Assassin.” Willow said.

“Okay I’m lost.” Alonna said. “Unless the theme is space age courtroom drama?”

“It’ll be clear soon enough.” Tara said.

The Slayers and Fred made their way downstairs to find Xander and Gunn waiting at the front door. As the boys caught sight of all the miniskirts and Fred it became apparent that all higher brain functions ceased. Gunn had the tightest black leather pants they had ever seen, a billowy long sleeve blouse just like Faith, a gavel, what might be an Einstein wig and Groucho Marx glasses. Xander was, well.

“Okay why is Xander dressed as Batman in my house?” Buffy asked. “And who is Gunn supposed to be?”

“Isn’t it obvious Slayer?” Gunn asked as he struck a pose. “I’m Sexy Thurgood Marshall Baby!”

“Damn straight!” Faith laughed as she high fived her fellow justice.

“Oh you kids look incredible.” Joyce said as she sauntered into the room wearing a classic sexy skin tight devil costume.

“Don’t they just?” Jennifer added. Decked out in a sexy eighties punk rocker costume that would have given Pat Benatar a serious run for her money.

“Where are Willow and Tara?” Joyce asked as the pair appeared atop the staircase. Everyone stopped to look at the couple in their newly donned costumes. Tara was once again in her sleek black plate armor. Though this set looked more ordinary and lacked the helmet. Buffy doubted they had conjured it with magic. Willow was something else all together.

The redhead was clad in even tighter black leather than Gunn and sported a red rimmed corset that really made them wonder where certain assets had been hiding all along.

“What are you two dressed as?” Jennifer asked her daughter with no small amount of shock.

“This is my Witch King armor Mama.” Tara replied. “I w-wore something very s-similar in an early life Willow and I lived through.”

“And what, pray tell, is the Willster dressed as?” Xander asked with a glazed look in his eyes.

“One time we ran across a vampire version of me from a dimension created from a poorly thought out wish someone made.” Willow explained. “Vampire me dressed like this.”

They all stared in shock for a moment before deciding to move next door as a group. Once there they found that just about all of the Hyperion Crew were dressed as sexy versions of various noteworthy figures. It seemed that just about every scientific field was represented. Then there was Doyle.

“Hello all.” The short man said coming up to the group dressed in tweed and glasses.

“Oh my god you made Doyle dress like Giles.” Buffy cried in shock.

“My card just said Watcher on it but I do see the resemblance now that you mention it.” Doyle admitted.

“Where’s Mr. Giles?” Joyce asked eagerly. She really wanted to see his reaction to the costume the girls had convinced her to wear.

“We called him and asked him to meet us at a place Tara and I need to go.” Willow said. “After we pick the kids up from the school Alonna, Fred, Gunn and maybe a few of the boys will need to accompany my and Tara’s groups.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Gunn replied still barely able to take his eyes off Fred. He’d have to call rank and keep her nearby for the evening.

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

At the school the teens quickly picked up their assigned kids and reconvened. One of the more interesting developments unfolded as Larry ran into Xander.

“Harris, buddy, sweet Batsuit.” Larry greeted as he walked up to Xander in a gray three piece suit and an odd looking toupee.

“Larry.” Xander greeted nervously. “Who are you dressed as?”

“Harvey Milk.” Larry answered with a wide, uncompromising smile.

Xander thought for a moment then understood the reference. Things Willow and Tara said about Larry coming to terms with something suddenly made sense. He smiled knowing that Willow was right about inviting Larry to the after party.

“Say Lare.” Xander began. “Willow and Tara are throwing a big party after trick or treating is through. You should come over. Share the news.”

“Thanks man I will.” Larry said before leaning in close. “And thanks again for being honest with me when we talked earlier. I didn’t think I’d ever have the courage for this but knowing I’m not alone, even if it’s just me and all the girls you hang with, it helps.” Another slight smile came to the jock’s face. “Say Harris you wouldn’t be?”

“No Larry!” Xander yelped. “Sorry no, I have a very diverse group of friends. All of whom I love, but I personally lean very much towards the ladies when it comes to the companionship.”

“It’s cool man just checking.” Larry smiled. “Thank you again for everything. I’ll see you later tonight.”

“No you won’t.” Xander said, earning a puzzled look. “Cause I’m Batman. No one sees Batman coming.”

Larry laughed and walked off.

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

Willow and Tara met Giles outside Ethan’s Costume Shop. The watcher had no idea what was going on but he suspected magic was involved. He could feel someone building power.

Suddenly a wave of energy poured forth from the storefront and the winds picked up all around town. Giles stepped forth to burst into the doorway but the girls stopped him.

“Giles let the effect last for ten to twenty minutes.” Tara said.

“We need them to retain as much as possible before breaking the spell.” Willow added.

“People could be hurt or worse.” Giles said in shock.

“The rewards for our team are worth the risks.” Willow replied. “In other worlds this spells goes on for hours. All we are asking for is less than a half an hour. Please trust us.”

“Alright.” Giles relented. “What does this spell do?”

“They become their costumes.” Tara answered.

“Oh dear lord.” Giles whispered.

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

Batman came too surrounded by chaos. A number of notable scientists and Supreme Court justices were all over the street about to be menaced by monsters of varying shapes and sizes. A green woman was dancing through the chaos incapacitating the more fearsome looking demons.

“Where the hell are Etrigan and Doctor Fate when I need them?”

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

The Watcher came too sitting next to two middle aged women in fairly attractive costumes. He had no idea where he had come from or how he got there.

“Doyle, are you alright?” The punk apparel clad woman asked.

Looking at the woman dressed like a rock star he suddenly realized he didn’t actually care about his point of origin. His current location was far too interesting.

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

Spike was ecstatic. This was sheer chaos on Halloween. He had never seen anything like it.

“Well, this is just, neat.” He said with a smile full of fangs.

He looked around the street and saw the Slayer dressed in a lab coat fighting off minor attackers as if she was a regular girl. He took one step forward and was knocked back hard as a green fist sailed into his face and nearly dislocated his jaw.

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

Gamora was aware of a great many things. Having navigated battlefields rife with far more chaos than this suburban street she was quick to recognize true threats from beguiled innocents.

One such threat was bearing down on a woman trying valiantly to defend herself. She stopped him. When he got back up swinging Gamora neatly grasped one arm, brought it around behind her attacker using his own momentum, and swiftly dislocated the shoulder. The bleach blonde earthling screamed in pain and fury.

Other threats were on the move. She always loved the rare opportunities she got to play the hero. With casual disregard she backhanded the snarling creature so hard he blacked out. Gamora had work to do.

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

Batarangs flew through the air connecting hard with creatures menacing the civilian populace. The green woman leapt and rolled through chaos with unmatched grace. A short man in brown furs and leather walked down the center of the street. Each demon that approached him was answered with a swift tap of his staff to the ground and an angry badger to the face. A fairy godmother dressed in pink floated through the tumult waving a sparkly wand at each and every aggressive creature. They all found themselves trapped in large bubbles that no amount of effort could free them from.

Chaos reigned over the streets of Sunnydale for fifteen glorious minutes.

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

“Okay it’s been fifteen minutes.” Tara said gravely. “Let’s go in.”

The trio walked up to the door and entered the nearly empty costume shop. The shelves had been picked over and the wares had been carted off. As Willow and Tara led Giles towards the back room they heard a sound. Moaning was coming from the room and when they opened the door they saw Ethan lying on the floor exhausted of all his strength from hours of focusing energy into the city wide hex.

“Ethan?” Giles asked with a mixture of pain and rage.

“Giles, please make sure Ethan doesn’t leave.” Willow said calmly. “We need both of you for a task.”

Giles nodded grimly and hovered over his one time friend. Tara went to the two faced bust of the two faced god and picked it up easily. Ethan waved his hand weakly and managed a pitiable moan as the honey blonde threw the statue to the ground and broke the spell.

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

Across town Batman saved a politician named Harvey from a beast, only to find he was facing a child, the man he protected turned to a young jock more than capable of defending himself and he was soon whisked away as well.

“Larry?” Xander asked.

“Harris?” Larry said in wonder. “What the hell was that?”

“I don’t know but let’s round up these kids and go some place where there’ll be answers.” Xander replied.

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

Gamora turned to see the platinum blonde vampire gaining a second wind. She back flipped a half dozen times to land right in front of him and threw a solid punch. It connected with his jaw but had nowhere near the effect from earlier. Winifred Burkle looked into the snarling yellow eyes and suddenly felt very much alone in the world.

Spike leaned down to drain the slender brunette in his clutches only to be stopped half way when another fist connected solidly with his jaw. He flew back into a tree and slumped to the ground. A second later Spike looked up to see three young women in an overtly defensive formation around the green girl.

“Hi Honey, I’m home.” Buffy said before taking one step forward.

Spike leapt to his feet and ran into the night. The three Slayers eased their guard realizing the vampire was the only real monster on the surrounding street.

“And don’t come back ya limey ponce!” Faith yelled at the distant and ever retreating Spike.

“Come on.” Buffy said. “We need to get these kids back to their parents and then find Will and Tara. We need answers.”

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

In a distant demon dimension fueled by the dreams of mortals and ruled by a demonic source of temptation Eyghon the Sleepwalker stirred. His realm filled with light as he heard two women say “Be sealed.” He suddenly felt very cold.

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

Back in the costume shop Ethan awoke to find a redhead and a honey blonde standing over him, blowing out candles clasped in their hands. His old mate Ripper was at his side examining the inside of his arm. Ethan looked around and found he was on the floor in a circle of salt.

“Wha?” He managed weakly.

“Ah good.” Willow said. “Ethan is starting to stir.”

“What was that just now Willow?” Giles asked nervously.

“That was the dimensional sealing spell we used to overthrow Wolfram & Hart.” Willow answered plainly. “Among other things.”

“That was the two of you?” Ethan cried in shock suddenly regaining his senses. “Ripper you had two of your students destroy one of the most powerful demon organizations on the planet? I must say I’m actually, rather, very much impressed by that.”

“Yes Ethan now that you’re awake we can begin our business.” Willow said far too cheerily. “I am Willow Rosenberg, this is Tara Maclay and we are the senior partners of the Law Offices of Rosenberg and Maclay.”

The middle aged warlock whistled appreciatively. “I was wondering about who would have the stones to slap their names on the wreckage of that old organization. It truly is a pleasure to meet you.” He groveled. “I recognize you both from several different visits to my shop this last week. May I ask if it was the two of you that altered the contents of my main stock shipments?”

“Yes Ethan that was us.” Tara said coolly. “We needed to give our friends gifts for all their hard work and knowledge from your cursed costumes seemed perfect.”

“May I ask what they dressed as?” The smarmy Brit inquired.

Willow handed him a short list of about 30 names of renowned people and fictional characters. He took in the esteemed names with a whistle.

“The top three women on the list are costumes worn by our Slayers.” Willow added. “The two comic book characters were for friends of ours with no combat training.”

“I can see I have been soundly manipulated and deceived in just about every way.” Ethan admitted. “And by the taste of that spell just now you are both followers of the Goddess steeped in the light?” They both nodded. “Would it convince you not to bind me if I told you I also worship the Goddess in my own way?”

“It bloody well better not!” Giles cried out, still angry that the man he once trusted as his closest friend had come to his town to sow chaos.

“We’re not binding you Ethan.” Tara said calmly.

“You’re not?” Both men exclaimed in surprise.

“We have a deal to make.” Willow said pulling a flip open cell phone out of her pocket. “This phone’s has a special number on speed dial at one. We want Ethan to leave town tonight and make sure he keeps his ear to the ground for any happenings in the underworld. When something interesting comes up make a call to us and leave a message on the machine then wait for a call back from us. We may ask you to infiltrate certain organizations that are working against us.”

“And what do I get out of this?” Ethan asked curiously.

“You get to keep practicing magic.” Tara said. “You get to serve the Goddess in the fight against her enemies, and we promise to t-try and keep our Slayers and th-their watchers from smacking you around.”

“We’ll also send you large sums of money to a numbered account as long as you do well.” Willow said with a slightly bored tone. “But there are some rules, and they’re not up for debate. Break them and all bets are off. Including promises of your safety.”

“I’m listening.” Ethan said honestly.

“Don’t betray us to any group we send you against or into.” Willow said. “No more blatant evil. If you take a job from another client you will tell us about it and you will not do anything that lets them murder innocents or sacrifice babies to demons.”

Some of those were fairly obvious Ethan thought. But some specific examples were oddly emphasized. He wondered why they mentioned baby sacrifices. He had never in his life dreamed of knowingly doing something so foul. Though now that he thought about it one of his tricks might be the perfect distraction to raid a nursery.

“Agreed.” He said, shakily raising to his feet.

“One more thing guys.” Willow said. “We just sealed Eyghon in his dimension. Your tattoos are gone along with his death curse.”

“Death curse?” Both Englishmen asked in shock. “Willow what do you mean?” Giles asked nervously.

“When a follower of Eyghon dies the demon has or had a chance to enter their remains once more and walk the Earth.” Willow stated firmly. “Thomas Sutcliffe may be dead by now. If he’s still alive his time may be short. His body under Eyghon’s control would have hunted down Diedre Page and she in turn would have hunted Philip Henry to your doorstep two weeks from now Giles. Now that Eyghon is sealed away none of you can become his zombies after death.”

“Tomorrow y-you should both make calls and find out about y-your old friends.” Tara said kindly. “Make amends i-if you care to.”

With that the three Scoobies left Ethan in his shop. Both Englishmen came away from the encounter thoroughly shaken. Giles didn’t even put up a fuss when the girls made him change into an off the rack Angel costume.

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

Back at Rovello Drive the Crew and Scoobies had gathered along with Cordelia, Amy, Jonathan, and Larry. Gathering up the stray children had been easy enough and everyone waited the return of the witches. As the couple and Giles came in the door they were greeted by oppressive silence all around. Finally one voice spoke up.

“I think we’d all like to hear what happened tonight.” Buffy stated firmly.

“Let’s just start by saying we didn’t do any spell casting tonight until after we broke the spells on the costumes that the guy who sold them to most of the people in town cast on them.” Willow said easing some of the tension. “Giles please tell everyone about Ethan.”

The man looked nervous but gave in anyway. “Yes well I suppose this night is partly my fault.” He said polishing his glasses. “In my reckless youth I was friends with a few other minor magical practitioners. We made many mistakes that cost a dear friend his life. One of the members of the group was Ethan Rayne who opened the costume shop Willow and Tara bought almost all our costumes from.”

“Well not all.” Willow chimed in. “We got Joyce, Jennifer, Giles and Angel’s costumes from Party Town where Cordy got her cat suit and I don’t actually know about Larry’s costume.”

“Thanks for making me dress like the corniest version of Dracula you could find by the way.” Angel called out only slightly sarcastically.

“You’re welcome.” Tara replied with a grin. “Larry what about you?”

“Oh I got my costume from Ethan’s on my own apparently.” The jock answered. “Harvey Milk.” He said with a coy smile.

Willow and Tara looked at him more closely and then broke out laughing wholeheartedly. After several long moments of gasping for air they finally righted themselves then Willow handed Tara a dollar.

“Oh Goddess Larry that was good.” Willow said with a smile. “We needed that after tonight. Thank you for that and welcome to our home.”

“Thank you two for being open and out.” Larry said honestly. “I really appreciated finding out I wasn’t alone.”

“This is great and everything.” Gunn said, jumping into the conversation. “I mean it’s good that big guy here is out and proud and all that. Good for him. But you two knew this was going to happen and made us dress like this without telling us. Why didn’t you stop this Ethan if you saw it coming?”

“Because of tonight’s theme.” Willow said. “Power.”

As the crowd continued to stare at the pair of witches with confused looks Willow let out another smile. She had been waiting for this reveal.

“Buffy!” The redhead called. “What are the subcategories of elements on the periodic table?”

“Alkali metal, alkaline earth metal, lanthanide, actinide, transition metal, post-transition metal, metalloid, polyatomic nonmetal, diatomic nonmetal and noble gas.” The blonde rattled off before raising a hand to her mouth. “How did I know that?”

“Alonna what are the lift capabilities of the Saturn V rocket and the space shuttle?” Willow quizzed.

“One hundred and thirty metric tons and twenty four point four metric tons respectively.” Alonna shocked herself by answering.

“Faith please explain Jurisprudence and Mens rea.” Tara said.

“The theory or philosophy of law or the legal system itself and the guilty mind or mental ill will that compounds guilt in a criminal offense.” The brunette shot back with a smile. “Look at me rocking the legalese! Yo Gunn, you got this too?”

“Yeah pretty much now that I think about it.” He paused. “And for some reason a mess load of Gilbert and Sullivan.”

“Great for elocution.” Tara quipped.

“Why Batman and Gamora?” Rondell asked looking across the room at Xander then at Fred.

“Good question.” Willow said. “Left to his own devices Xander buys a cheap toy gun and puts on old army fatigues to go as a generic army grunt. Basic training and built in knowledge of the local military base’s layout can be helpful but having him be a genius detective, escape artist and martial artist is better. As for Fred she is now something like a twelfth degree black belt in every fighting style and martial art on the planet, and well.”

“Go ahead and say it Red.” Faith chimed in. “Girl looks bangin’ in a gold bikini and green paint!” At the overzealous compliment the Texan squirmed nervously. The green paint concealed any blush she may have had. Then her eyes widened and she looked at Willow and Tara with shock.

“Oh god I remember.” Fred whispered.

“Me too.” Xander said quietly.

“What?” Buffy asked. “What is it?”

“They probably recall things that happened to versions of their characters we met in previous dimensions.” Willow babbled. “Yes a few of the worlds we’ve been to are indistinguishable from comic books. Fred, Xand that stuff happened a long time ago. Please don’t hold that against us.”

“What did they do?” Buffy asked, exceedingly curious.

“They kicked a lot of ass.” Xander said before dropping it.

“There was ass kicking in yours?” Fred asked. “In mine they just showed up at any huge end of the world crisis, cast one spell that made everyone give up and then they’d take us all out shopping.”

“The point is you each have gained something you didn’t have before.” Willow said. “Can we please start the party now?”

“What about us?” Amy asked, pointing to her and Jonathan.

“Amy you have it in you to be a great w-witch some day.” Tara said encouragingly. “But if you follow in your mother’s footsteps you’ll become a problem we can’t allow to hurt us.” She finished coldly.

“By giving you Glinda the Good Witch’s understanding of magic and the Goddess we hope to set you on a path in life that will lead to happiness.” Willow said with a light smile for her childhood friend. “Jonathan.” Willow said with a calm voice. “Even if you don’t realize it you have just enough natural talent with magic that you can maybe learn to do great things but will much more likely just end up getting yourself in serious trouble. If you take the wrong path in life you’ll end up being manipulated by our enemies and hurting a lot of people. Everything about putting Amy on the right path goes double for you. I mean it guys, you can go on to do great things but you need to be careful. I don’t want to end up enemies with either of you again.”

“How bad could we possibly be?” Amy asked.

“Amy you turned yourself into a rat for three years to flee from an angry crowd of hypnotized idiots. Jonathan you put a spell on the whole town to make yourself everyone’s ideal man and in the process unleashed a demon that caused nothing but pain and suffering.” Willow stated growing slightly agitated that these two didn’t get the dangers they could unleash. “After those problems get fixed by me or Buffy you then ally yourselves with actual bad guys that I haven’t crossed off my kill list yet but will be getting around to soon enough.” That seemed to mollify the two teens that had yet to perform any deeds that could be deemed evil.

“You have a kill list?” Buffy asked her friend while growing evermore cautious.

“Shit.” Willow moaned as Tara chimed in with a wearily sighed “Spoilers.”

“Yeah Buff.” Willow admitted. “There’s a list of the really bad world enders and the ones that get away from you because they are more powerful than the Slayer was ever meant to be. It’s in the secret, spell shrouded panic room Tara and I have yet to show anyone. Once we clear off the seer’s and mind readers on it we’ll pull the whole thing out and let you look it over.”

“There’s a secret room in this house?” Jennifer asked.

“You didn’t even tell your mom?” Faith asked with a laugh. “Damn Blondie, that’s cold.”

“Guys can we just start the party?” Willow begged. “It’s been a stressful day and I need to unwind.”

“What about me?” Cordelia asked petulantly. “Why didn’t I get a special costume?”

“Damn it Cordy!” Willow just about yelled. “Do you know how many times I tried to get you to wear a magic Ethan costume in past lives? I lost count. There isn’t a force on this or any other Earth that can keep you from dressing like a slutty cat this Halloween!”

“Okay I see your point.” The cheerleader replied.

With all that out in the open the crowd drifted into the kitchen where food was laid out by Jennifer and Joyce and the training room where weapons and mats were set aside for a sizeable dance floor. The girls opened a panel along one wall revealing a high end music system. The party had finally begun.

Willow and Tara drifted through their home enjoying the newly lightened atmosphere and company of their friends. The shared light smiles as they noticed the angelic Giles and the devilish Joyce talking, laughing, slow dancing and lightly patting each other’s arms through out the night.

They held a knowing glance after seeing Buffy and Faith tear up the dance floor, and watching Cordelia fawn over Angel, even eliciting a laugh from the vampire here and there.

They stifled laughter each time they saw a guy come up to Fred only to be met with hard denial in the form of angry glares from Gunn. Even more interesting was the same posturing and territory marking seemed to be going on with Rondell every time someone interested approached Amy. For her part the young witch didn’t show any outward sign of noticing.

Perhaps more telling were the few times those couples danced together. Fred would put her arms up around Gunn’s wide shoulders and stare up into brown eyes that never left her face. Amy would do much the same with Rondell only with a coy smirk in place of Fred’s wide eyed hope.

Even more surprising was the sight of Jennifer sitting on the edge of the dining room table with Doyle standing between her knees ever so gently kissing her lips. Willow and Tara turned the corner and had the good sense to duck out of the room immediately upon seeing the display.

With a light laugh Willow turned to her love. “You sure you’re okay after seeing that Baby?”

“Yes Sweetie.” Tara answered truthfully as always. “He’s a good man and Mom deserves someone to make her happy.”

“I know.” Willow agreed.

In the morning things would go back to what passed for normal. The Hyperion Crew would take the bus and moving truck back to LA. Life would resume and their work would continue. But for now Tara and Willow just danced to the music and enjoyed their party.

_________________
Time and Time Again


Last edited by Citanul on Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:19 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... I really liked how they used Ethan's magical costumes their advantage and got useful skills and abilities to their friends...

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:55 am 
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Hello Zampsa. Yes, manipulating Ethan here and later down the road is going to bring a fun twist that will take the main characters in whole new directions.

Trying to find the right mix of useful and outlandish for each main character's costume was also a fun exercise. Though I have to admit, the "badger to the face" scene holds a special place in my heart, but the look my sister gave me the first time I explained "Sexy Ruth Bader Ginsberg" to her while writing this was priceless.

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Time and Time Again


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 4:07 am 
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Time and Time Again.

Author: Citanul

Feedback: Be kind, rewind?

Spoilers: Just about all of them. Go watch the show.

Rating: NC-17

Pairings: W/T, B/F

Disclaimer: You all know I don’t own the rights to characters you’ve seen on TV.

Summary: A story of reincarnation and interdimensional travel made possible through the power of love. What misfortunes will our two favorite love birds be able to prevent with the aid of experience from countless past lives.

Author’s Note: Posting this while visiting family. This update may be on the shorter side compared to some of my other chapters, but there are some major game changers in play by the end. Tell me what you guys think. Are my ramblings better in longer sessions or smaller easily digested chunks?

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

Primer: Sirens

Willow = Dr. Harleen Quinzel = Harley Quinn = the blonde/blue eyes

Tara = Dr. Pamela Isley = Poison Ivy = the redhead/green eyes

Xander = Bruce Wayne = Batman

Anya = Selina Kyle = Catwoman

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

Sirens: Jungle Love

Deep within the heart of the Amazon Rainforest the residents of a small camp were heavily underway aiding research. They moved to and fro like bees in a hive, all the while never tiring. Perhaps the one thing that stood out about the workers and their efforts most was the fact they were not human. No the workers of this camp were tall, seemingly brawny, plants that lumbered about.

Their green bodies composed mainly of sturdy yet flexible fibers similar to that of many common varieties of vines. Overly long arms made of loosely woven vines nearly dragged the ground as the creatures bobbed along on spindly legs composed of tighter weaves. Their torsos held dense wooden growths that verdant clusters of various vines and leaves emerged from and wove around.

The closest things they had to heads were thick wild bundles of long, soft stalks sprouting from the top of the body where the neck should have been. Each tendril was covered in fine cilia that sensed just about any form of vibration and soaked up any odor emitting particles present. The creatures’ senses of smell and hearing were developed to the point they could pinpoint just about any nearby moving or even stationary life forms, and more importantly they could easily distinguish different voices those creatures had.

All these things made them the perfect servants for Ivy and Harley. The Botanist had engineered them from various plant DNA samples they collected on their journey. When the first one sprouted in the soil of the ship Love’s Bitch it was cause for much celebration between the two women. Ivy could use her plant powers to communicate with them as easily as talking face to face with Harley. The very first lesson they each learned was that the slim blonde was to be protected and obeyed at all times.

Harley had engineered a number of simple modifications to the ship’s systems to allow them to set sail with no crew to speak of, but the going was slow. Using a combination of witchcraft and chemical engineering to boost intelligence their first hundred plant creatures made an excellent crew.

The five months since leaving Gotham Harbor had yielded many other remarkable finds. Ivy had discovered a dozen unknown plant species. Harley had cataloged each and uploaded findings on their medicinal properties and chemical compositions to the various research divisions at Star Labs and Wayne Enterprises. Wayne Chemical, Biotech, Pharmaceutical, and of course Botanical were especially interested.

The discoveries led to remarkable new advances which increased the net worth of the couple by over ten times their initial seed money. With the majority of that windfall they bought up land, logging rights and major logging companies in a handful of rainforest rich countries and shut the agents of deforestation down. Harley had practically filled the lower decks to the stern of Love’s Bitch with machines, tools, equipment and vehicles she had long term plans to break down and repurpose.

As an added benefit of their findings while exploring various jungle terrains Lexcorp stock had fallen ten percent a month for the last three months. Things were looking up as the couple searched the dense, verdant wilderness for anything that might help them once they moved on from this world.

“Baby, look what the mass spectrometer found in this plant!” Harley called to her love while holding a sample of a small leafy bush with dark green leaves covered in a thick latticework of deep blue veins. The readings were unlike any their findings had discovered. The simulations Harley’s computer ran were all coming up with amazing results.

“Oh Goddess Sweetie.” Ivy whispered as she wrapped her arms around the slender woman from behind. “This could be it. This might help them, or at least buy us time.” A frown soured her emerald features. “Goddess please don’t let this species be isolated to this dimension alone.” She prayed.

“I know.” Harley agreed solemnly, trying not to luxuriate too thoroughly in the feeling of curvy breasts pressed into her back. “We have to get these samples back to the ship and start readying the greenhouse.”

Ivy closed her eyes and focused on her connection to the Green. A slight shiver ran up and down Harley’s spine as their link allowed a kind of feedback to ripple through her body while her love communed with nature. At first the new and odd sensation was slightly disturbing. But as she grew accustomed to the way Ivy reached out to the natural world the tingle started to become evermore erotic.

Harley squirmed in her seat as her verdant love reached out with her senses while still draping her arms and a large amount of her naked body over the blonde’s mostly exposed back. Harley nearly came right there as a wicked smirk spread across green lips.

Suddenly the tingle was gone and Ivy straightened up. She placed both hands on Harley’s shoulders and turned her around. For her part Harley looked thoroughly put out.

“I just gave the order to break camp.” Ivy said with an innocent tone.

“Baby?” Harley whined, her body still humming with sensations she’d grown to love. “You know what that does to me! You’re going to pay for that later missy.” She promised.

“I always love the way you make me pay Sweetie.” Ivy replied with another smirk.

Harley grabbed her love and pulled the emerald woman into a searing kiss that lasted for several minutes. The slender woman brought her leg up between curvy green thighs and pressed in a way that she knew drove her love crazy.

Ivy gasped into the kiss. She could already feel her arousal build to dangerous levels. Then the kiss was suddenly cut short. Ivy pouted as she nearly stumbled when the contact with beautiful pink lips was ended.

Harley smiled sweetly as she traced a lone finger up the inside of one green thigh. She gathered copious amounts of the nectar and brought the finger back up to her mouth. As she slid the digit past her lips and over her tongue her eyes fluttered closed at the syrupy sweet taste unique to Ivy’s altered physiology.

The blonde then hopped up and left her dazed lover still stunned at the display. Poking her head back in the shelter the lab equipment had occupied Harley gave one last parting shot.

“Like I said Baby. Later.” And then the psychiatrist was off.

Ivy stood there stunned as she clutched the edge of the table trying to get her lust back in check. Harley knew just how to work her in the best ways imaginable. Oh there would be payback later. On both sides.

For now thought, they had a camp to break and plants to ready. Introducing new babies to her floating nursery was always a delight. These ones held so much of her hopes and dreams that she didn’t know if she’d be able to contain herself.

In short order the camp was cleared out. The equipment was loaded back onto the helicopter they flew from the ship. The lovers dressed and readied the multiple samples to be moved safely. The plant creatures had been grown on the spot in a matter of minutes and would soon find nice sunny spots to go dormant in until Ivy called on them.

The couple flew the helicopter out of the grassy clearing in the dense rainforest and made a bee line straight for their ship. It seemed as if nothing could ruin this amazing day.

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

In orbit around the Earth a number of factions convened in a secured chamber on the Watch Tower. Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner who made up the majority of Earth’s Green Lanterns, and other members of the Justice League supervised a meeting between Carol Ferris, the current leader of the Star Saphires, Larfleeze, the lone Orange Lantern, and Saint Walker, the founder of the Blue Lantern Corps.

Several Blue Lanterns, Green Lanterns and Star Sapphires were attending what was initially a peace summit. Unfortunately it was breaking down into a very vocal argument regarding what to do about the Red Lanterns that were still acting as mindless rage zombies throughout several sectors.

The Orange wanted to kill them all and assimilate every single one into his ring’s menagerie of stolen specters. The Violet wanted to launch full scale assaults as their power could bring a Red down instantly if they were focused enough. The Blue wanted to at least try healing them. Being as a Blue ring was one of the only forces known to reverse the destruction of the heart and blood in Red Lanterns it was technically a feasible plan.

Of course having a Green standing by augmenting and being augmented by the Blue was the only way it would work. Having the Lone Orange there with his shadow army running interference was also an ideal situation. The Violets could more than prove useful in the endeavor as well.

The most obvious obstacle to this marvelous plan was the Lanterns themselves. As of late Love had a haughty attitude that bordered on insane. Greed was greedy as always and wanted to know what was in it for him. Hope was growing exasperated at the deadlock. And Will wanted actionable solutions to the crisis.

Getting four Corps representing the embodiments of four radically conflicting emotions was proving to be quite the task.

“What I want to know is why no one invited the purple guys to this party.” Flash said with exasperated arm flails as he stood by and watched the talks dissolve. “I mean isn’t their entire deal convincing people to have the tiniest shred of compassion for one another?”

“Having that many color guards at the table would have alerted the Yellow and Red Corps to this meeting.” Batman replied stoically. “That is if the Indigo didn’t tip them off on their own.”

“And we don’t want a Lantern war to break out over Earth.” Superman added.

“Indeed.” Wonder Woman agreed.

Just then a siren went off and a young man’s voice came in over the communications system. “Guys we have incoming.” Cyborg stated. “Red Lantern drop ship just came out of warp and is entering the atmosphere. Trajectory indicates a crash site in northern Brazil. Looks like Belém.”

As the League and present Corps mobilized they all had an eerie feeling this was only the beginning of something dreadful.

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

Harley and Ivy landed on the helicopter pad to the stern of their ship’s tower. They were greeted by a dozen of their plant crew. The lumbering masses of greenery began unloading equipment as Ivy brought the most important samples to the greenhouse below the section of transparent deck. Harley refueled the chopper and went to join her love.

The psychiatrist entered the greenhouse to find her girl singing softly to the tiny blue and green shrubs she was replanting in a medium sized soil box. The botanist’s singing voice always brought a tear to Harley’s eye and joy to her heart. She couldn’t imagine life getting any better.

Then things became far too interesting. A thunderous roar tore through the sky and both women looked up to see a flying ball of fire sail over their freighter and towards the mainland. They ran to the bridge atop the ship’s tower. Harley turned on the radio and started scanning frequencies trying to determine what was going on while Ivy had the plants on the bridge bring her binoculars.

There was a terrible crashing sound in the distance in the direction the fireball had traveled. Harley tuned into a naval emergency frequency and listened in.

“Alien craft has crash landed in the city of Belém.” Was all they heard before the signal cut out.

Harley looked to the charts they had of the surrounding seas and countries. A scowl crossed her face as she calculated their distance. “We can be there in thirty minutes if we load the chopper with emergency and combat gear right now.”

“What?” Ivy asked in shock. “Are we heroes now?”

“It wouldn’t be the first time!” Harley replied.

“Oh Goddess you really miss it don’t you?” Ivy whispered.

“Don’t you Baby?” Harley asked with a slightly pleading tone.

“Yes alright.” The green woman admitted. “I miss it, but this w-world has h-heroes that won’t accept us.”

“We’ll make them change their minds Baby.” The slender woman assured. “We can do anything together.”

“Alright, you get the chopper ready while I load soil and seed pods for our troops once we get there.” Ivy said boldly.

“I love you so much Baby.” Harley replied as she kissed her love then ran off.

Within minutes they were in the air and heading towards the city bordering on the jungles and rivers of Brazil. They didn’t know what lay in store for them but it didn’t matter. They were going to make a difference.

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

Panic and chaos reigned over the streets of Belém. Red Lanterns poured out of the spacecraft and attacked the first thing they came across. Several buildings had sustained structural damage as the crash tore across part of the city. People were running for their lives.

Then the Justice League showed up and brought several Lantern Corps with them. Things got better for a moment. Then they got worse.

Red Lanterns started to spew their deadly corrosive blood from their mouths at the sight of so many other lanterns. Each hero fought valiantly in the face of mindless rage. The League was spread across the city and each member was using what they excelled at to either fight off the invaders or save civilian lives.

Several minutes into the fray Batman thought he saw a familiar sight out of the corner of his eye. He turned to see a helicopter dropping plant creatures down to a building while ferrying people from a badly damaged roof to more stable terrain.

“It can’t be.” He said as he threw a sonic disruptor batarang into the face of yet another Red Lantern to face him. “What the frilly heck are they doing here?”

Just then he saw two of the Violet light wielding Star Sapphires consumed by the horrible red plasma spray of a gang of Reds. Their constructs immediately faded into a disorienting mist and tiny points of pink light rose from their remains. Their rings were in search of new hosts.

“Oh no.” Batman thought as he saw the lights head straight for the now grounded helicopter. “Please no.”

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

Things had been going better than Harley expected. They arrived to find chaos and immediately began to aid civilian rescue efforts with their refurbished helicopter. Ivy worked on growing plant creatures and massive vine growths to aid in moving people to safety and shoring up damaged buildings.

Harley flew the chopper from roof to roof. They were making good time and managed to save a great many people whose homes now lay in ruins. Then things turned sour as a glob of the toxic Red Lantern ooze hit their rear rotor. Harley barely managed to set it down but they were grounded dozens of miles away from their ship. What’s more Ivy was running low on plants.

Just when it looked like they were out of the fight two points of light shot towards Harley and Ivy. The Violet lights proved to be rings with distinctive starburst patterns on them. Harley felt like she should recognize them more readily. It was the last thought she had as light consumed her and the woman she loved. Violet light.

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

Light blossomed in all directions and subsumed the districts of the city most affected by the chaos. Fires were snuffed out and damaged buildings had their structures shored up by massive growths of opaque pink crystal.

The people in the city looked up to see a massive crystal canopy stretching across the sky as tendrils of Violet light snatched up Red Lanterns left and right. Each crimson warrior was dragged into a crystalline cocoon of their very own.

Members of the League and the other four Corps stared in wonder as the structure formed a crystal orb and hovered over the city. Blues went about healing the wounded. The other colors went to work ferrying people to safety. Catwoman walked up to Batman and wrapped her arms around him nervously.

“Is it going to just hang there or will it try to eat us up too?” The thief asked.

“I doubt it.” The vigilante replied as Martian Manhunter, Doctor Fate, Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Wonder Woman and Superman came to land beside him. “Carol.” He called. “How long do Star Sapphires remain inside the crystal once the ring chooses them?”

“No more than thirty seconds.” The leader of the Star Sapphires replied. “Why?”

Batman looked the woman in the eye with grim resolve. “It’s been fifteen minutes since Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy were chosen as new Star Sapphires.”

“What?” The leader of the Violet Lanterns cried out. “This reaction is completely unheard of. Who are the lovers of these two women?”

Catwoman looked Carol Ferris in the face and burst out laughing. Superman and Wonder Woman soon joined her with heartfelt laughter of their own. Everyone else save for Batman looked at the three as if they had gone mad. After a long minute the man of steel straightened up and cleared his throat.

“It was funny.” The Kryptonian said while shrugging his arms.

The cat burglar looked the Star Sapphire in the eyes and grinned sarcastically. “Carol, Harley and Ivy are orgasm buddies.” She said drawing a confused look from the woman.

“The kind that don’t need a man to have a good time.” Wonder Woman added. “You know? Lesbian gay type lovers.”

“I didn’t think the rings would ever choose a gay couple.” Carol whispered in shock. “They draw power from love but just about every woman in the corps has to make due with a long distance relationship or abstain from dating completely.”

“So this is what happens when the rings bond with two people in love with each other?” Hal asked. “Or just when they bond with a gay person?”

“I don’t think the rings have ever chosen a gay woman before let alone two.” Carol answered.

“I sense a darker hand in this.” Doctor Fate chimed in. “There are powerful magicks at play here.”

“Harley did say they were both powerful witches.” Batman replied. “J’onn do you sense anything?”

The Martian faced the floating crystal construct and grew still. He closed his eyes and concentrated on his psychic abilities. With a sudden startling burst his head snapped up and his eyes widened in confusion.

“There is a massive presence at the heart of the sphere unlike any I have felt before.” The green alien said as his reaction drew concerned looks from the group. “We need to investigate further.” He finished in a hollow voice.

“We’ll come with.” Said Saint Walker as he and a number of Blue Lanterns flew up.

With determination the group went up to the sphere and found a small opening in one side. They quickly entered and found a corridor made of the pink crystals Star Sapphires could form with their powers. The group hung together as they navigated what turned out to be a maze of twisting and winding tunnels.

After several minutes they came across another occupant of the maze. A Red Lantern trapped in crystalline stasis. Saint Walker approached the confined invader with confidence. He reached out with the Hope in his heart and touched the crystal. As he did there was a slight rumbling from all around them.

The crystal confining the Red menace began to vibrate as its hue shifted from light pink to a deep blue. Matching light swirled within the crystal and spread across the Lantern within.

“Wow, that’s neat!” A voice cheered from behind them.

The League and Lanterns turned and saw the source of the voice. A holographic projection of Harley Quinn dressed in a tight violet and black outfit with a distinctive pattern that alternated from one color to the other in an almost checker board fashion.

The tight pants had clusters of four diamonds at different spots on the legs. The even tighter vest left her midriff exposed and acted as a corset. It was mostly that same violet shade all the Star Sapphires wore but it had heavy black belts holding it together.

The left breast and shoulder strap was black while their counterparts were violet. There were sleeves and fingerless gloves on each arm that had the same alternating color scheme. The tips of her long blonde pigtails were colored to match the alternating patches of black and violet. All in all the hologram was an impressive sight.

“I can already tell his vital signs are picking up.” Harley said through the projection. “Is that how you deal with these red guys? Massive infusions of blue energy to rebuild their circulatory systems that the ring destroys.”

“Yes.” Saint Walker replied calmly. “The blue light of Hope is perhaps the only way to heal a Red Lantern and remove his ring. Though I have seen the violet light of Love remove rings it almost always proved fatal. Normally it takes a long time and careful concentration to complete the healing process but it would seem these cocoons take care of most of the work.”

“So that’s what these powers are running off of.” Came a new voice. A hologram of Ivy formed beside Harley. She was dressed only in bright violet lingerie that left little to the imagination. Her vines and leaves had retained their deep green hue while her hair stayed the same shade of crimson. “Love?”

“It’s amazing Baby.” Harley added. “Our love actually saved the day.” The holograms kissed and clasped hands for a moment. After pulling out of the tender embrace of lips Harley turned back to Saint Walker and levied a request. “I’ll open up more entrances. You should have your buddies come in here and begin that healing process on all our guests once they are done tending to the victims in the city.” With that the holograms vanished.

“Well that was different.” Superman said.

“This is unbelievable!” Carol cried. “They shouldn’t be able to do anything like this so quickly. It takes months to master these rings and they have had minutes.”

“I feel we should press onward.” Doctor Fate said with his normal voice that was a blend of monotone and command. “We’ll most likely find these two at the heart of this maze.”

Silent nods all around the group confirmed their course. They continued down winding corridors and twisting pathways, stopping every so often to allow Saint Walker and his Corps to convert a crystal prison to the Blue.

They had made progress steadily towards the center of the orb when suddenly Doctor Fate stopped dead in his tracks. The others looked to him worried as the gold helmeted man brought a hand up to his head and staggered.

“I have never felt such power before.” He intoned with a hollow voice. “The presence I’m feeling rivals that of any Lord of Order or Chaos.”

“I guess we are pretty powerful.” Harley said, causing the entire group to jump at the sudden reappearance of her projection. “Guys relax.” She said offhandedly. “We don’t want to start a fight with any of you.”

“How is it possible you came to such power?” Doctor Fate demanded.

“Memories from lives lived by other versions of us in other dimensions.” The shadow answered. “Are you going to be cool or do something stupid like try to break our reincarnation spell?” She asked the magical figure decked in blue and gold.

“We shall see.” He answered ominously.

The image of the woman scowled and disappeared. A few League members looked to Fate with questioning eyes.

“Why in Hera’s name would you piss them off this early in the encounter while we’re standing in what could easily be their death trap?” Wonder Woman asked haughtily.

“Agreed.” The Martian added. “We know nothing of their intentions so far.”

“They’ve been keeping to themselves since they left Gotham and started exploring various rainforests.” Batman said calmly. “In the last few months they have discovered several new plant species whose chemical compositions have led to multimillion dollar breakthroughs in several fields. They appear to be searching for something but have yet to let on what.”

“You know these women?” Carol asked as several of the aliens not familiar with Batman turned to look at him.

“Ivy is one of Batman’s rogues.” Catwoman replied. “Though she claimed to retire from crime a few months back when she met Harley, her new psychiatrist.”

“A gifted psychiatrist turned computer programmer overnight and a genius botanist and chemist turned eco terrorist after her teacher poisoned her and turned her into a plant human hybrid.” Batman stated with cold analytical detachment.

As the group continued through the tunnels they came to a massive intersection. Dozens of tunnels branched off from this one room in all directions. They each looked around but couldn’t find any clue as to which way to proceed. With no better ideas they looked to Doctor Fate and Martian Manhunter. Both men reached out with their different senses.

“Something is blocking the flow of my magic.” Fate admitted after a moment.

“They are above us.” J’onn said as he brought a green had up to massage the bridge of his nose. “The presence is strongest in the chamber above. I don’t think it’s wise to try interacting with them psychically.”

“We have defenses in place to protect us Martian.” The image of Ivy said as it popped into the middle of their ranks. “You aren’t the first mind walker we’ve met and you won’t be the last. Please be respectful of our boundaries.”

“Understood.” J’onn remarked.

Superman looked up to the ceiling with his x-ray vision and whistled appreciatively at the sight he saw. “Now that’s impressive. Let’s head on up.”

They made their way through a hole in the domed roof and found themselves at the center of a massive arena. The wide field around them stretched out to a series of raised shelves circling the lower half of the huge chamber. Off to one side of them was a badly damaged helicopter. Lining the stands as if on display were the hundreds of Red Lanterns to attack Earth. Each and every one was incased in the violet crystal cocoons.

The ceiling of this chamber was similarly domed like the room below but it was of a much more imposing scale. Upon its surface played images of the surrounding countryside. The dazzling display showed the heroes that the massive crystal orb was moving out over the ocean.

Perhaps most impressive of all was the structure at the center of the room. Out of the floor grew a pillar of crystal supporting a perfectly spherical orb. Within the orb they saw the two women wrapped in each other’s arms.

“The boy scout was right.” Catwoman remarked. “This is impressive.”

“By Hera it is.” Wonder Woman agreed.

Blue Lanterns spread out to convert crystal prisons to healing chambers. “I shall call in the rest of my fellow Lanterns.” Saint Walker said in an awed tone. “Jordan if you could perhaps ask Green Lanterns Stewart and Gardner to aid us it will speed things along.”

“Of course.” Hal replied as he used his ring to communicate the message.

“How did they build all this so fast?” Wonder Woman asked as she gazed around. “I thought all of your rings had energy limits.”

“I don’t know.” Carol admitted. “It is possible with enough Love they could have overcome the limits but I never imagined anything like this was possible.”

“Imagination and Love would be the key words in that statement.” Harley’s shadow said as it appeared along side Ivy’s.

“You spoke of other dimensions and reincarnation.” Doctor Fate stated. “Please explain what you meant more clearly.”

The two specters looked at each other and sighed. Harley’s shade turned to face the assembled heroes head on. With grim determination she began her tale.

“Once upon a time there was a girl.” The woman recalled as images of a skinny redhead filled the canopy above. “She lived in a small town built on the mouth of hell. All her young life she searched for meaning. She had a friend she loved dearly and thought she wanted to be more than friends with. But this was a lie she told herself because she couldn’t face her own heart. So she muddled along until she and the boy she loved like a brother met a girl.”

“But this was no ordinary girl.” Harley said as the dome displayed a petite blonde girl fighting wave after wave of monsters. “She was the chosen one. She strolled into their little monster riddled town and slew beast after beast. She even stole the boy’s heart.”

“She could have picked anyone in the town to stand at her side but she picked the girl who yearned for meaning she couldn’t grasp.” The shadow of Harley continued. “So there the young girl stood. In the shadow of her best friend. The Hero of the story. Their adventures changed the lives of so many people yet it still didn’t give her meaning. She thought she found what she needed in magic. So she studied day and night to be a witch so her best friend would have someone strong to fight beside her. This would lead her astray.”

“She thought she found meaning in a boy she met soon after.” The crystal ceiling showed the audience a small but confident man. “But he was cursed by the bite of a wolf under the full moon. He soon found meaning in another who shared his curse.”

“What was the girl to do?” The shade asked as the scene of the redhead walking up to a cage with two naked bodies lying within played out. “She thought all was lost. And in her darkest hour she found meaning. Love came running into her life and knocked her off her feet.”

The projection of Ivy let out a slight giggle as the crystals splashed the image of a curvy young woman with honey blonde hair. “Hush you.” The hologram of Harley said to her love as the shade of Ivy grinned sweetly at the fond memories.

“All was right with the world after she found her meaning.” Harley’s voice continued. “The lover joined the girl in aiding the Hero. Many lives were saved. Then a beast came and crippled Love’s mind. The beast cared not who she consumed only that she fed on a conscious mind. Distraught the girl went to where her teacher kept the most dangerous of magic. She dove head first into darkness to battle the beast that ruined her Love. It was not enough. The beast raged on and even though the girl found a way to steal back her Love’s mind from the beast and restore the one who brought her life meaning they still paid a terrible price.”

As the images of fingers boring into heads and people in torment faded they were replaced with images of two girls atop a tower of scrap metal. The petite blonde gave a tall brunette a meaningful look and leapt from the tower into a vortex of light and energy.

“The world was saved but the Hero was slain.” The shadow grew silent for a moment before continuing. “The Hero the girl relied on was gone. The darkness she consumed to battle the beast told her she had it in her to fix things. She continued down this misguided path until she brought the Hero back to life. Little did she know her friend was enjoying her final reward. They all muddled on until it became clear the girl was a menace to herself and others. The magic took everything from her. She tried to fix her friends and only hurt them. Even her Love could not stand by and watch her descent into darkness ruin the person she had cherished. The girl continued like this until she almost ended the life of a child.”

The dome showed a dark alley, a car crash and a broken arm. Several of the people gathered stared in shock at what they were seeing.

“So the girl quit.” The shadow continued. “She stopped casting spells. She no longer practiced magic. She was done. It almost worked. Her life was hard from then on but she put the pieces back together. Her Love even took her back. For two glorious days they were reunited.”

The crystals darkened and the images blinked out. The captivated audience stared in confusion and wondered about the rest of the story.

“Then what happened?” Superman asked.

The specter looked up and stared directly into each of them. She spoke with pain and rage in her voice. “Then a misogynist with a gun walked into my back yard and put a bullet in my best friend’s chest and another through my girlfriend’s heart. She was dead before she hit the floor of our bedroom. So I loaded up on even darker magic like a stupid junkie, saved my friend’s life and hunted him down. I strung him up between two trees and tortured him until my friends caught me.” The specter closed her eyes and paused at the memories of her own descent into darkness. “The second she called my name I skinned him alive. Once he was dead I went completely insane and tried to destroy the world.”

“Did you?” Doctor Fate asked as everyone else stared at her in shock.

“My brother stopped me at the last second.” Harley’s image said with a laugh. “Stupid me, even loaded up with all the magic in the world, I can’t stop one powerless man from talking me out of ending it all.”

The image of Ivy wrapped her arms around Harley’s hologram and held her. “I’m so thankful he got through to you, and I’m so proud of you for stopping yourself.”

“So anyway.” Hologram Harley said after several moments passed. “I went to magic rehab. Relearned how to use magic from the start. But then another apocalypse sprung up and I was called back home. I struggled with moving on before realizing I never would. Then at the final battle I cast a spell that made it so instead of one chosen hero there would be a few thousand. The battle was won but we lost the town. It turned into a giant crater. I then spent a few years on meaningless relationships, then a lifetime trying to get back to her. Near the end I came up with a spell to send my soul to my doppelgangers on other worlds.”

“And you found her.” Catwoman said, slightly awed.

“Yup, she found me.” Ivy’s projection remarked.

“I can not abide this.” Doctor Fate said, shocking many of his teammates. “The magic you’ve accumulated is too dangerous to be left in such reckless hands. This spell ends here. You will not be allowed to taint a second world.” He floated up and spread out his arms as a giant glowing ankh appeared behind him. “So Fate….”

Before he could finish the spell a massive beam of Violet light erupted from the crystal orb and consumed his entire form. The ankh faded and as the light dimmed everyone in the room saw a crystal cocoon floating where Fate had been. The golden helmet shone within the translucent rock.

“This isn’t our second world ghost.” The images of the two newest Star Sapphires said in unison. They linked hands and began a low chant in Sumerian. Runes appeared all over the chamber as light blossomed within the sphere at its heart.

“Goddess grant us your power so that our foe may be lain low and his victim restored.” They chanted as one.

“Bind the spirit!” They said as light within Doctor Fate’s cocoon grew to near blinding glare.

“Free the man!” They cried as the crystal containing the ancient mystic cracked.

“Release!” They shouted as the crystal floating above the members of the justice league shattered.

Hal Jordan reacted instinctively and shrouded his companions in a protective bubble as the remains of the violet crystal dissolved into a disorienting mist unique to Violet constructs and crystals. Once the air was cleared they all marveled as they saw the form of a man many of them recognized. Slowly floating down to the ground was the dazed and exhausted form of Zatara the Magician.

Wonder Woman and Superman rushed to him. Batman stayed back to watch the other object still floating above their heads. A perfectly spherical white crystal ball was hovering in the place Doctor Fate had been.

As the remnant of the Lord of Order floated in his crystal prison two voices speaking as one emanated from every crystal within the giant sphere.

For hearts long lost and full of fright,
For those alone in blackest night,
Accept our ring and join our fight,
Love conquers all--
With violet light!


The massive crystal orb in the center of the grand chamber began to shimmer and dissolve. With a swirl of mist it faded away until all that was left atop the central pillar was a small, oddly shaped violet stone the size of a heart nestled in the hands of the two women who had been cocooned at the center of the crystalline structure.

“Well that was a brisk nap.” Harley said as she took the stone she and Ivy clutched and placed it in a secure pocket. “Don’t want to lose our doll’s eye Baby.”

“Of course Sweetie.” Ivy replied with a smile.

“What did you do to Fate.” Wonder Woman asked with an edge to her voice.

“We threw sand in its eyes.” Harley shot back before smiling. “But if you’re asking about that guy in your arms then the answer is we freed him.” As she said that the white orb floated down to land in her palms. She turned the ball around so they could all get a better look. “Nabu can come out to play once he learns not to break other people’s things.”

They all gasped in shock as they saw the gold helmet of Doctor Fate encased in the white crystal. One of the most powerful magic users on Earth was put on the sidelines by two women who had not even been on their radar before today.

“The overwhelming psychic presence.” J’onn said in shock as he looked up. “It’s gone.”

“S-sorry about that Mars guy.” Ivy apologized sincerely. “The crystals were drawing from us and amplifying our mental barriers. Now that we’re free we’re able to keep things in check.”

With unceremonious disregard Harley dropped the oversized bowling ball of crystal to the floor. It bounced once then rolled towards the magician who had just been freed from the artifact. The man looked up in a daze then panic set in as he recognized the object.

“Get it away from me!” He shouted as he jumped back and scooted along the floor away from the orb. “I can’t go back! Please don’t make me go back! It wouldn’t let me go. I was trapped. Please, someone, help me!”

“Zatara, everything is alright.” Martian Manhunter said soothingly trying to calm his old friend. “No one will force you to put the helmet on again.”

“J’onn is that you?” Zatara asked piteously. “Oh Goddess I was trapped in there so long.”

“We’re here for you old friend.” Batman said as he knelt by the man who taught him everything he knew of magic, sleight of hand, stage presentation and escape artistry. “You’re daughter will be overjoyed.”

“Batman?” Zatara asked as his eyes widened and he looked around the room. “My daughter, Zatanna. I’m starting to remember now. Oh I’ve missed so much of her life.”

“Hey! Can one of you blue guys come over here and check him for injuries?” Catwoman called to the Lanterns. One hurried over and knelt beside Batman and the devastated magician. Placing a hand on the man’s chest a soft blue light spread outwards.

“He’ll be okay.” The Lantern announced with a smile. “He’s just in severe shock but he’s unharmed physically and with you all helping him he’ll make a full recovery.”

“This has been fun and all, you guys.” Harley said as she put her arm around Ivy and started to walk towards the helicopter. “But we have work to get back to and all that. Good working with you all. Go team!”

“Wait!” Catwoman called. “You’re leaving? What about this huge crystal ball? What about all the guys still trapped in it?”

“It’ll be fine.” Ivy replied.

“Any Violet Lantern that stands on that pillar can control it.” Harley said. “Have, what’s your name? Carol? Have Carol move it into space and let the Blues finish healing the prisoners.” A small smile spread across her face. “Why don’t you do something cute like name it the “Love Star” or something?”

“Wait, you can’t just go.” Carol cried in shock. “You’re new Lanterns. You need to come to Zamaron and train in how to use your powers.”

“Oh boy, lessons in wielding the power of True Love from a gal who let that power wreck the longest standing relationship of her life.” Harley said with sarcastic glee in her voice. “Thanks but no thanks straight girl. Pretty sure we’ve got this handled.”

Carol Ferris was taken aback for a moment. This new member of her corps was boldly denouncing her love in front of all of them. She would have done something to put her in her place if not for the fact that her ring allowed her to look directly into the Love the two women shared. What she saw was beyond anything she had seen before. The depth and power of the emotion made it no wonder to her how they managed all of this while still inside the crystal.

In fact, the sheer purity of what they shared probably explained why they had spent just over an hour inside the cocoon. There wasn’t anything Zamaron could offer them and the leader of the Star Sapphire Corps knew it.

“Carol is right.” Hal said with a serious tone. “There are nuances you two can’t imagine.”

“Nuances?” Harley cried out before laughing. “Nuances he says. This from the guy who doesn’t understand one tenth of what the ring on his finger is capable of. Okay hot shot, how’s this for nuance?”

Harley raised her ring hand and pointed to a spot on the ground nearby. A perfectly spherical orb with the starburst symbol of the Star Sapphires covering one side sprouted from the floor and flew over to hover at her side. She then repeated the process and a single pillar of crystal arose from the ground at her other side. At about her waist height it widened and flattened out into a large oval. With a nod of her head the floating orb spun and an image took shape on the screen. The Lanterns and heroes standing by stared in awe as they realized the screen displayed whatever the symbol on the orb was facing.

“I’ve already figured out how to use this ring to replace about ten million dollars worth of lab equipment on our ship.” Harley said with a slightly smug sense of satisfaction. “You want to learn something? Try having one of the scientists on the League wear a ring for a week. Maybe then you’ll be able to think up a use for it besides forming a giant fist to smash things with. Now if you’ll excuse us, we need to go test some plants back on our ship and see if they contain the cure for five different end stage cellular degeneration diseases and put a few of these crystal eyes at every single Lagrange Point in the solar system.”

“What about Nabu?” Superman asked.

“Put him on display in one of your trophy rooms.” Ivy said with a grin. “We don’t care. As long as he doesn’t bother us again with his discriminatory views on our magic you can do whatever you like with the helmet.”

“Hold on.” Wonder Woman said before Harley and Ivy could take another step. “You said this wasn’t your second world. How many have you known?”

Slight smiles spread across both their faces. With a hand clasped in Harley’s Ivy looked the Amazon in the eye and winked. “That would be telling.” The couple was then enveloped in violet light. As the glare subsided they, and the broken helicopter, were gone.

The members of the Justice League looked around at all the shocked Lanterns. None of them had seen this coming. What had started as an alien invasion swiftly turned into utter chaos as two brand new Lanterns were born and immediately exhibited powers far beyond their fellow Lanterns. A sense of dread filled the air.

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

Violet light blossomed on the deck of Love’s Bitch. As it dimmed Harley and Ivy, along with the remains of their helicopter, were left sanding in its wake. Several of their plant creatures reacted almost cheerfully at the return of their mistresses. All was good on the ship practically overflowing with vegetation.

“I’m so proud of you Sweetie.” Ivy said. “You shared our deepest pains with the League and probably talked them out of a serious fight.”

“I don’t know if I did anything to be proud of Baby.” Harley replied. “They might still come after us. I don’t think Batman has ever taken his eye off us since leaving Gotham. Goddess what are we gonna do if they come for us in force?”

“We’ll survive, just like we always do.” Ivy answered.

“Ooh Baby great news!” Harley said with an upbeat cheer. “Speaking of survival look at what I got while everyone was listening to me ramble.” She held up her ring hand and projected a holographic display for her emerald Love. Ivy leaned in close to see and was stunned to find a detailed chemical composition analysis of the body armor Batman wore.

“Isn’t this great?” Harley said. “It looks like a simple enough combination of multiple polymer armor plates mounted to and covering key parts of a suit made mostly of flexible woven Kevlar. All designed with a heavy emphasis on mobility and close quarters combat. Can you imagine what a Slayer could do with this?”

“We’ll be able to protect all our friends.” Ivy replied. “Sweetie you’re a genius!”

“Should I even bother fixing the chopper, or just strip it for parts?” Harley asked as she abruptly shifted topics.

“Put it in the hold with all your other broken toys.” Ivy said. “We don’t really need it anymore and you might find a use for it later.”

“We’re Lanterns now.” Haley said with a growing smile. “Real Lanterns, like in space and stuff.”

“But we st-still have to protect the Earth.” Ivy stammered nervously.

“Of course we’ll still protect the Earth.” Harley said, shocked such an obvious statement had to be affirmed. “That’s not even a question. But with these new tricks we can protect so much more than what we have so far.”

“We can’t just start randomly attacking logging camps.” Ivy said with a reluctant sigh. “It’ll draw attention from the League.”

“No, but we can put eyes in every patch of forest we’ve bought up and guard against trespassers much more effectively.” Harley replied. “And when we make more eyes and leave them around the solar system we’ll have an early warning system incase any other invading forces come through the neighborhood.”

“We’re really going to turn things around aren’t we?” Ivy said after a long pause.

“We’re gonna do it all Baby.” Harley promised. “Our Love can move vending machines.”

Ivy giggled at the fond memory from so long ago. She wrapped her emerald arms around her girl and pulled her into a deep sensual kiss. So long as they had each other everything would turn out great. Even with all their new powers their Love was unchanged.

It just had a new outlet to express itself.

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

In the wake to Ivy and Harley’s departure the Blues returned to helping heal imprisoned Reds. The few Greens present helped by standing at equidistant points and empowering them. The Violets quickly went about examining the new crystalline vessel and checking the labyrinth within for more prisoners.

The members of the League stood in a tight circle and discussed what might happen. They didn’t have much in the way of information so they turned to Batman.

“No, they are definitely staying on Earth for the foreseeable future.” He stated as a matter of fact.

“How can you be sure?” Superman asked, already suspecting he knew why. Of the teammates, the man of steel had perhaps the closest relationship with the dark knight. Batman had been keeping tabs on the couple since they left Gotham and had shared most of this information with Superman.

“For the last five months they have been traveling the world’s rainforests cataloging unknown plant species.” Batman said calmly. “They have made millions by selling their findings to Star Labs and Wayne Enterprises. Each and every transfer of money and information has been accompanied by one request from them. Cripple Lexcorp.”

“What are they doing with all that money?” Wonder Woman asked. She couldn’t imagine the sums of money the man was talking about. Her island kingdom had no such equivalent to the driving force in “Man’s World.”

“Ivy is an eco terrorist.” Batman replied. “Or she was. Since meeting Harley she has apparently cleaned up her act. She is obsessed with the plants of the world to a fanatical extent and since going straight, kind of.” He paused as all the women nearby groaned at the terrible pun. “The two of them have spent almost all of their net worth buying up logging rights, vast quantities of land, and the parent companies of major logging enterprises in countries with the largest amounts of forests. Once they buy these up they dismantle the systems, equipment and infrastructure entirely.”

“So the most threatening thing they’ve done is find a perfectly legal way to cripple the logging industry.” Superman said in assessment. “They definitely won’t be leaving Earth anytime soon if they care so much.”

“And I don’t think Ivy will ever willingly set one foot on Zamaron.” Hal Jordan added.

“What’s so bad about Zamaron?” Carol asked in a slightly agitated tone as she joined the gathering.

“Nearly the entire planet is covered in those damn crystals.” He replied. “Think about it Babe. What would a nature crusading plant woman and her enabling lover want with a planet that doesn’t have any real forests to speak of? Hell, they’re far more likely to show up on Mogo before they visit any of the main Lantern Corps home worlds.”

“I’d say they will most likely place those crystal eyes across the solar system as Harley stated and then place others in trees throughout the forests they bought.” Martian Manhunter said.

“If we play nice do you think they would install a view screen for those eyes in the Watchtower?” Superman asked.

“So we aren’t going to strike back at them for what they did to Fate?” Guy Gardner asked as he floated up to the group.

The core Leaguers present just stared at the man. A few held looks of contempt. “After all the years Zatanna has tried to do that exact same thing I don’t think anyone here will hold that one act of aggression against them.” Superman said calmly.

“Okay just wanted to know if we were circling the wagons.” Gardner replied.

“Besides if you look at it from their point of view Nabu was going to kill them by breaking a spell they have come to depend on.” Catwoman said.

“Well yeah but that spell has turned them into immortal body snatchers that go from host body to host body and completely take over the lives of others.” Hal said.

“Okay, first off you just perfectly described Nabu and the whole persona of Doctor Fate as well as what little we are assuming about these two women.” Batman told the Lantern.

“Secondly, look at the two women who you claim were taken over.” He continued. “An eco terrorist I put in Arkham Asylum several times and a psychiatrist assigned to her after outright refusing to take the Joker’s case. The man who worked with the Joker in her place has himself turned to a life of criminal insanity. During the battle they flew in on that helicopter and helped ferry people off rooftops. The old Ivy would never do that.”

“No one knows what would have happened to Harley if the Joker got his hands on her.” Catwoman said. “For all we know this dimensional memory spell that no one has seen real proof of could have saved the city the instant they met. And as someone who knew Ivy for over a year before this happened I can tell she is a completely changed woman. I just feel the joy coming off her whenever the two of them are together. That never happened before.”

“I felt that too.” Carol whispered. “The Love they have is a breed apart.”

“So we do what Batman has been doing for months.” Superman said after a long pause in the conversation. “Keep tabs on them from a distance and carefully take any assistance they offer us.”

“What about the guy Harley killed?” Hal asked.

“You mean the murderer who got what he had coming after he shot the people she loved most?” Carol retorted, shocked the man she cared about would even bring him up.

“Statute of limitations?” Superman guessed. “She seemed genuinely torn about her actions and near as we can tell it all happened so long ago on a world so far away that we’ll never be able to verify a thing she said.”

“No body no crime.” Batman summed up. “Besides losing a loved one to something like that can make anyone do crazy things.” His stance shifted slightly and a few of those closest to him swore they almost saw his lower lip betray the emotions they knew had to be boiling inside.

Before any other objections could be brought up a burst of light and smoke erupted out of the far side of the chamber. Doves flew from the smoke as a beautiful dark haired woman in a top hat, fishnet stockings and a tight fitting jacket with coattails emerged from thin air.

“Daddy?” Zatanna cried out as she searched the whole of the cavernous chamber for any sign of her father. “Where is my father?” She practically yelled in a commanding voice. “I felt him being released from that damn ghost and his ugly tin can!”

“Zatanna, over here!” Catwoman cried grabbing the attention of one of the few female friends she had the fortune of making in the months since joining the League. “You’ll never believe what happened.” The cat burglar said excitedly as she guided the distraught woman to the resting form of her father. The teary scene ended all discussion about the two women responsible for reuniting father and daughter.

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

Inside the central greenhouse of Love’s Bitch the two newly empowered Star Sapphires were exploring the extent of their new rings’ capabilities. They had already analyzed the tiny blue and green shrubs in every way the now superfluous machines lining their labs could.

It had taken all of twelve seconds to open up the tiny pocket dimensions the ring’s previous owners used to store their lantern shaped Power Batteries. With their ring’s power sources sitting on the floor nearby and their overwhelming Love to bolster their efforts there was nothing Harley and Ivy couldn’t do.

The rings proved to be even more adept at scientific examination than Harley had assumed. They were now able to find out things about the chemistry and physiological effects of the plant they never dreamed of before.

“This is it!” Ivy said with hope and joy erupting in her heart. “This is exactly what we’ve been looking for! Sweetie with this we can save them.”

“I know Baby!” Harley cheered. “On any world were this plant evolves we will be able to save our family. I Love you so much.”

Both women were overjoyed. They ran into each other’s arms and stayed there the rest of the night. Their Love making emanated a soft pink glow that caressed every plant on the ship and energized their crew of shambling vine creatures.

In the weeks ahead they would use their more familiar magics to fully study the small blue green plants. They would commit them to memory so well that they would be able to reach out with the power of the Goddess and draw them forth through the Earth even if no human had ever laid eyes on them before.

Through it all one constant force remained unwavering, as it had since the earliest years of their relationship. Though they now had a way to express that force as energy they knew it had been there all along. For they had always known.

Love conquers all!



******************************
Appendix
******************************

Summary of all Lantern Corps

Why these characters are easier to follow in the cartoons than in the last eighty years of books Part 1

And Part 2

Plus another screwy gimmick that helped lead to all of this.

Harley’s new look taken from a deviant art pic I saw by random chance.

_________________
Time and Time Again


Last edited by Citanul on Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:37 am 
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Location: Kaskinen, Finland. Citizen of Kitopia
Dibs-y Goodness!!!

Yay for excellent update-y goodness... Nice to know how they found the plant to cure Joyce & Tara's mom... I like the way they handled Doc Fate and his misguided magic views...

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:03 am 
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Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Woohoo!

Spiffy new update!

Sorry i didn't comment last episode, i lost track of time, and then here's a shiny new episode.


Discovering the special blue plant in this timeline, for the prime one, made me go back and re-read the start again.
And i loved it. Again! :)

The reason i liked it so much, was for the changes in the Scoobies lives that Willow and Tara's soul bond made.
That's what i was interested in, not who's butt they kicked today, but the very human stuff.



On one hand, i'm glad that my least favourite timeline ended first.
Not that i hated it or anything, just that i liked the others more.

But on the other hand, oh no! The story is starting to end!

NOOOOOOOOO!

KHAAAAAAAAN!

Eeek!


On other matters, violet is not pink.

Seriously, i have a violet torch, it's definitely not pink.

pink's got red in it. violet has violet in it.


OMG! Was that real? Like, did a ring of love really never select a gay person?

If i can quote Faolan:

Quote:
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."


Gay people totally should OWN the violet/pink/purple ring. :wtkiss
And Willow and Tara are gay ultra-strong wizards.
You don't have to be gay to have super=powers, but it helps.


I bet those violet rings recharge in a pink lantern. Um.

So i hope there's no sharp corners on the rings...



Right, so.
Awesome episode, i can't wait for the next one :bounce

R :flower


P.S: on an only-slightly-related note, i just finished Divinity: Original Sin.

And i made my characters a redheaded mage called Willow, and a blonde ranger called Tara.

Spoiler:
As it happens, in the game, they were in love/together/married and lived in the garden of eden.
which i thought was awesome!
Woohoo!
Gay love in a mainstream game!
(Admittedly, only because i happened to make my two characters both female.)

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“All I feel is sunlight. All I hear is music.” Willow
How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:23 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Hi Zampsa. Yes the reveal for the sources of their new tricks in the Buffyverse story are a fun excuse for a bit of foreshadowing. As for Doc Fate there are other factions they'll have to face down the road that hold to his more puritanical views. Dealing with them while not violating the doctrine of the Goddess is going to be half the battle.

Hello Azirahael. I'm glad my ramblings are holding up after repeat readings and that the callbacks from one storyline to another are encouraging re-reads.

Rest assured the butt kicking they performed in this last entry and in future entries will have a serious impact on the way the very human stuff from the Sirens world plays out.

I'm not sure about the end coming any time soon. I may run out of material for the 3 side stories before I finish the Buffyverse story but I have 3 more entries planned for Sirens at least. Entries that will reveal more as yet unseen Scoobies and take the couple in new and unexpected directions.

Dark Age Chronicles is only beginning. Marvels has some surprising reveals yet to come that I honestly need to flesh out more.

Harley and Ivy getting their hands on new space conquering super weapons is not the end. Like I said before, just because the main characters can throw the hardest punch doesn't mean the drama and angst will just disappear.

As to Violet vs. Pink that isn't my fault. Here is another link I just found outlining the details.

Star Sapphire/Carol Ferris has been a DC comics character since the "Silver" age. She was employed at her father's aerospace manufacturing company and Hal Jordan was a retired air force pilot who tested her father's jets. He got the green lantern ring and went off to play space cop. She stayed on Earth for a time.

The Zamarons found her and gave her the singular Star Sapphire gem that turned her into a crazy love scorned super villain. I'm not even kidding on that. DC comics made the brilliant decision to have Green Lantern's two main enemies be the dirty cop who trained him and then left the corps and his vengeful harpy ex girlfriend.

And they stayed just like that from the sixties on through the nineties. Then the "dirty cop" took his one yellow ring and made it into a thousand others to form his yellow corp that he named after himself.

Within the last five or so years the aliens that put the super gem in Carol realized that it was too unstable. So they took it back and reforged it into a few thousand rings and made "violet" lantern shaped power batteries just like the green lantern's to charge their rings with the "Violet light of Love."

I'm guessing that at some executive level they decided they wouldn't have pink and purple lantern corps. So the Star Sapphires who are dressed head to toe in pink call the pink light they use Violet.

The purple guys don't even get to be called lanterns. They got labeled the "Indigo Tribe." They dress in tan loin cloths and purple body paint and wield the Indigo light of Compassion. To add insult to injury they don't even have lanterns. They get to charge their rings in their big "indigo" staffs.

At some point in the last few years Carol Ferris was put in charge of the entire Star Sapphire corp. So When Hal Jordan's "girlfriend" says no ring has ever chosen a gay person it goes with the caveat that the rings have only been in existence for a few short months and "She" has only been on the job for a few weeks.

Also the two stories I've been trying to convey assume that the rise of superheroes is a recent phenomenon. There are huge swaths of comic book continuity that simply don't apply.

Of course with the bond our favorite couple has it goes without saying they have "other" means at their disposal to "charge" their rings.

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Time and Time Again


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:23 am 
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Time and Time Again.

Author: Citanul

Feedback: Be kind, rewind?

Spoilers: Just about all of them. Go watch the show.

Rating: NC-17 Faith's normal amount of swearing and a Love scene a third of the way in.

Pairings: W/T, B/F

Disclaimer: You all know I don’t own the rights to characters you’ve seen on TV.

Summary: A story of reincarnation and interdimensional travel made possible through the power of love. What misfortunes will our two favorite love birds be able to prevent with the aid of experience from countless past lives.

Author’s Note: Just got back from vacation and getting into the swing of my normal work flow. I think you'll all get a kick out of how the episode "Lie to Me." plays out differently.

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

Chapter 10: The Lies We Tell and the Games We Play

Buffy and Faith were walking along the edge of the park late one night. They had just found a young boy waiting for his mother to pick him up. Sending him home at a run was easy enough. What was turning out exceptionally harder was shadowing the female vampire that showed up soon after.

Both Slayers recognized Drusilla as soon as they saw her. Willow had left pictures of the dark haired and bleach blonde vampires up on two of the screens in Slayer Central for the better part of a week. Everyone in the close knit group knew to look out for the two newest lead vampires to come to town.

Avoiding the notice of the detached blood sucker was excruciatingly simple. She wandered around the playground of the park in a daze. More then once the Slayers gave each other serious looks as the vampire meandered about. Dusting her would be so ridiculously simple. Without warning they would strike. Within a minute their foe would be dust.

But they couldn’t. Willow and Tara had plans for this one. More importantly she was the biggest weakness a much more serious threat had. They would need every edge they could find to slay a vampire that had long ago taken the lives of two Slayers. It may seem underhanded but if holding a blade to the throat of one vampire stopped a much more dangerous one then so be it.

After what seemed like forever the raven haired vampire staggered off towards the warehouse district. The Slayers did one more sweep before heading home for the night. A short distance from the warehouse they now knew to be a nest they managed to get the drop on a trio of fresh from the grave fledges and the one moderately dangerous vamp that accompanied them.

The fight was quick and brutal. Buffy got the drop on the experienced threat by leaping up to a nearby pipe running across the alley. A handstand and well executed gymnastics move allowed her to deliver a surprise boot to the leaders face. Faith cut through fledges with a flash as her butterfly swords made short work of her slow witted foes.

“Killer freestyle routine B!” Faith said while sheathing her blades and shaking dust from her sleeves. “If you ever get tired of this whole destiny thing and feel like taking lip from an angry Russian gym coach you could have a shot at a silver medal.”

Buffy quirked her head to the side at the comment. “Only silver?” She asked her brash friend.

“I can’t have you gettin’ a swelled ego now can I?” Faith replied. “What am I gonna do if you get dreams about the big city in that pretty little head of yours. Run off, leaving me here all by my lonesome?”

The blonde let out a heartfelt laugh as the duo made their way home. “I’ll never run off and leave you to handle this town on your own Faith.” She assured.

Faith couldn’t help the flutter of hope in her heart. With the simplest of smiles and the most innocent of words Buffy could break through even the toughest of walls the streetwise girl had long ago learned to build up. If only the blonde realized the effect she had on Faith. If only she knew how amazing she was.

“You really mean that B?” She asked with a slight tremor in her voice.

“Of course I mean it silly.” Buffy answered. “I’d get Willow and Tara to turn about a dozen other girls into Slayers. Then I’d take you with me. We make an awesome team.”

‘Aww B.” Faith said with a wide smile. “Gonna make a girl blush over here.”

“With our looks and fashion sense the boys won’t stand a chance.” Buffy said, completely killing the mood.

Faith was crushed. She let the innocent conversation build her up only to have the ground pulled out from under her. It was obvious they still had miles to go. Faith steeled herself for the long road ahead.

“Damn straight.” Faith lied from behind a false grin.

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

The next day the Slayers found Giles in the halls of the school. He was not alone.

“Alright, alright I’ll put myself in your hands.” He said to the dark haired computer teacher.

“Sounds like fun.” Jenny Calendar said with a coy smile. “Okay, tomorrow night. Seven thirty, right?”

“Yes.” Giles replied as the slender woman strolled off.

“Check out the G-man gettin’ his play on.” Faith hooted with a delighted smirk. “What ever will the rest of the tweed brigade think?”

“Yes, well.” Giles stammered. “Hello, the, um, hunt last night?”

“Did a sweep down town.” Buffy stated. “Found a little boy sitting in a park and sent him home. Saw Drusilla a minute later, followed but didn’t engage. After tracking her back to their lair we dusted four vamps on the way home.”

“Really?” Giles asked as Faith confirmed the blonde’s report with a nod and smile. “Excellent work, both of you.” The watcher had no clue why Drusilla was so important to some future event Willow and Tara had their sights on, but just the fact that their plans so far had resulted in at least a doubling of the number of active Slayers on the planet more than convinced him to give them the benefit of the doubt.

“I’ve done some preliminary research on this Spike and Drusilla and so far it all backs up what Willow said about her history.” Giles said before pausing and looking thoughtful. “The only major discrepancy is the books all seem to think the angry mob in Prague killed her.”

“Well they don’t make angry mobs like they used to cause this girl’s alive.” Buffy smirked.

“And loony as all get out to boot.” Faith added. “Elvira wandered all over the damn park for an hour, talking to plants and crickets about tea parties with Ms. Edith. At first I was all like “Yo, what makes this ho so special? We need to stake her for the greater good.” But after watching her I don’t even know if she can feed herself.”

“She could have probably taken that kid.” Buffy said with grim certainty. “Whatever the crisis down the road is we can’t let her eat children.”

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

Faith and Tara sat at a lab table in the chemistry class they shared. At first Faith had been reluctant to even try to get into the class work but Tara had been an excellent tutor and lab partner. Though she and Willow had been particularly tight lipped on the subject their friends were starting to realize the two young women must have retained memories from multiple years spent in college courses on just about every subject.

Xander had even guessed Willow probably had a few doctorates under her belt. Little did they know Tara had almost as many of the esteemed degrees as the redhead she loved so dearly. Of course ever since Halloween Faith, Buffy, and Xander had begun showing dramatic improvements in their schoolwork. What all four girls had yet to share was the fact they also retained a great many memories of drunken college parties. Each now recalled a time when far too many late night study sessions turned into drinking games.

So here the Slayer and the witch were. Finishing up an assignment ahead of schedule and quietly talking about the far too interesting aspects of their lives.

“So I’m all overjoyed and shit that Buffy is talking about taking me with her and us being so great together. Then she goes and says it’s all “cause the boys won’t stand a chance.” Faith groaned with a despondent sulk. “What am I gonna do Blondie?”

“You’ll find a way Faith.” Tara assured. “It won’t happen today or tomorrow but don’t give up on her.”

The bell rang and the two girls filed out of the classroom. They both followed the connections they felt at almost all times back to the group. Tara, through the bond woven into her soul and strengthened over time, always knew where Willow was and what she was feeling.

Faith followed her Slayer senses. From the second she had been unlocked she reveled in the almost psychic abilities her enhanced senses gave her. The demon radar was perhaps her second favorite new trick. She spent hours focusing on it trying to both widen her range as far as possible and build up her accuracy and sense of “taste” so she could pinpoint specific breeds of demon in a given area. Walking around the outsides of mausoleums during the day was an excellent way to exercise these powers and find nests to hit later.

What she hadn’t told anyone was the details of her favorite trick. They all knew she could sense other Slayers but from the moment Faith first felt Buffy through her radar she knew she was in serious trouble. Faith could feel Buffy’s presence almost all the time and she worried if it would be like this for every other Slayer she came across. Fortunately enough she met Alonna right away. The other Slayer was nice, a great fighter, and a friend. But she wasn’t Buffy. Faith could tell Al was a Slayer before she even walked in the house but she didn’t have anywhere near the all consuming presence Faith felt washing over her whenever Buffy was nearby.

The brunette spent long hours at night just basking in the warmth of her Blonde friend’s radiant aura. Thankful every second that the room she had been given was the closest to Buffy’s bedroom in the whole house. In fact the two Slayer’s bedrooms were only separated by about a dozen of so feet of open air. The first thing Faith did when she realized this was move her bed to the wall closest to the Summers’ house.

So Tara never had to worry about finding Willow. Her soul pulled her in that direction all on its own. Likewise Faith never had to worry about finding Buffy. Every instinct from the spirit of the Slayer within her honed her senses towards that goal. The young women turned a corner leading to the student lounge area and found their hearts.

Unfortunately for Faith her heart was in the arms of a boy she had never seen before. She was about to turn and run, unable to tell if she’d break down in tears or just waltz up and beat the competition into the ground. Neither outcome appealed to her.

Her escape was blocked though. Tara had a deceptively strong hand wrapped around her shoulder and clung to the brunette. The honey blonde stared into Faith’s eyes, and with a serious expression Faith didn’t even know Tara could make, stopped her dead in her tracks.

“Don’t abandon h-her Faith.” Tara said forcefully despite the stutter. “Th-this might break her. Sh-sh-she’ll n-need you more th-than ever. You have to be there for her.”

“You’re scaring me Blondie.” Faith whispered. “Is that guy gonna hurt her?”

“Yes.” Tara admitted. “But you can’t fight him here. When the t-time comes st-stand by Buffy and make s-sure the others he’ll betray make it out alive.”

With that ominous warning the witch and Slayer went to join their friends. “Oh Ford here comes Tara and Faith.” They heard Buffy say with cheer as they walked up. “Guys this is my friend Ford from Hemery. We were just talking about hangin’ at the Bronze tonight, and you have to come.”

“I’d love to.” The dark haired boy said. “But if you guys already had plans, would I be imposing?”

“Oh, only in the literal sense.” Xander said while waving his arm dismissively.

“Okay then.” The newcomer said. “I gotta find the admissions office. Get my pappers in order.”

“Well you know what I’ll take you there and I’ll see you guys in French.” Buffy said while walking the boy away.

“It’s good to meet you.” Ford said as he left.

“This is Ford.” Xander snidely remarked. “My bestest friend of all my friends. Geez, doesn’t she know any fat guys?”

Faith watched the new arrival walk off with her girl and seethed. Willow and Tara gave each other knowing looks. The next few days would prove hazardous. Ford had come to town.

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

Faith stood at Tara and Willow’s door. She couldn’t help but feel a mixture of nervous dread and cooling anger. It had been hours since she trailed Buffy and that Ford punk home from the Bronze.

She had stuck to rooftops as the girl she pined over and the old childhood crush she now had to compete with walked hand in hand and talked with such casual ease. The way Buffy’s eyes lit up when Ford walked in on her dusting a vamp and claimed he knew all about Slayers was especially troubling. It made her sick.

What was even worse was the fact that she had managed to follow Ford to an old building in the industrial district. He took a side door and disappeared inside. Faith scouted the upper levels of the almost abandoned building but found nothing. No signs of habitation by the living or dead. The door must’ve led to an almost inaccessible basement.

She needed someone to talk to so she knocked on the door of the couple that seemed to have all the answers. “Faith, come in.” Willow said with a smile.

“Thanks Red.” She replied. Upon stepping through the doorway Faith noticed bags being packed in haste. “You two are leaving again in the middle of this Ford crisis?” She asked in disbelief.

“S-sorry Sweetie, but things will start happening soon.” Tara said. “If w-we don’t go to London now and make our p-presence known w-we’ll miss our chance.”

“Buffy can handle this Faith.” Willow said confidently. “Ford is someone she cared about in her past but he’s going to cross a line she can’t forgive. When that happens you need to step up and show her you will always be her friend.”

“What do I do to get this guy?” Faith asked eagerly.

“Tomorrow night take Xander by the Sunset Club.” Willow said. “The place you followed Ford to after the Bronze.”

“How’d you know I?” Faith began to ask with confusion plain on her face.

“Sweetie, we know how much you love Buffy.” Tara replied before the question was even done. “It’s obvious you’d make sure she was safe.”

“It’s a bomb shelter they modified.” Willow said to bring the discussion back to the bad guy’s lair. “The door can only be opened from the outside. Once you see the type of people there you’ll get the picture pretty quickly. Don’t mention Buffy or the Slayer or knowing anything about vampires to them. They need to see evil with their own eyes to understand.”

“Just make sure you get there in time to help Buffy when she rushes off on her own.” Tara added.

“Okay.” Faith said calmly. Now that she had the barest outline of a plan she could roll with just about anything. “Thanks you guys. I don’t know how I’d make it without you looking out for me. I don’t even know how I made it before.”

“You’ll never have to worry about that Faith.” Willow stated confidently. “You’re a part of our family. Whatever we do to support or help you it isn’t because we expect anything in return. We do it because we really do care about you getting the chance to live a better life.” Willow paused for a second as if thinking of something. “We have something for you. A new toy you’ll love.”

Willow and Tara then led Faith down to Slayer Central. They made her close her eyes and wait outside for a minute. As soon as she was starting to think they were messing with her they called her inside.

At the end of the central table closest to the door was a massive case. The kind of long rectangular plastic box you might expect in a warehouse that specialized in technical equipment. Faith slowly walked up to it and ran her hands along the cover.

“I hope you like it.” Willow said with a slight smile. “I designed it myself based on something similar that we came across long ago.”

Faith looked at the pair of witches before reaching down and opening the lid. What she saw inside amazed her. She gasped as she took in the sight of her new toy.

“Oh, wow, you guys.” Faith said with heartfelt gratitude at the beautiful gift. “You really did this for me?” She looked up and received happy nods from the couple. “Thank you.”

“Just wait till I show you the special tricks it can do.” Willow said with a wide grin.

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

The next day Faith, Buffy and Xander went off to school while Willow and Tara went to the Sunnydale airport and boarded their private plane. The pilot they had on their last trip greeted them as usual and then finished preparations for the five hour flight they had ahead of them. If it weren’t for the fact their plane was faster than just about any other model the jet lag on this trip would have been a killer.

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

Buffy walked Ford through the school grounds just after sunset. She wasn’t anticipating any action but the undead never seemed to give proper warning. The two she and Ford came across had a goal in mind within the school. She dusted one then went to save Ford only to find he had taken out the other in record time. As Buffy quickly sent Ford home and then went to call Giles and Ms. Calendar she couldn’t help but feel happy her old friend was taking to this all so well.

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

Willow and Tara’s plane touched down at Heathrow Airport in London. Even with the speed of their flight they were still too late to make an appearance at the old English institution they had business with. They breezed through the obligatory customs checkpoint in the private hangar. They took their few bags and climbed into the town car awaiting them.

In no time at all they were checked into the Savoy hotel, giving their usual tips to the drivers, doormen and bell hops they ran across along the way. The view of the London Eye, the River Thames and the rest of the city from their royal suite was truly magnificent.

“Enjoying the view Baby?” Willow said as she walked up behind her love and wrapped her arms around the young woman.

“Oh yes Sweetie.” Tara replied as she melted into the contact.

“Tomorrow, after our business.” Willow said. “I’ll take you there. We can ride the Eye, visit a few shops. Anything you want.”

“Anything?” Tara asked, letting a coy smirk spread across her face.

“Anything.” Willow agreed.

Tara quickly grabbed the slender redhead and pressed her back against the window. The kiss she planted on Willow’s lips stopped all thoughts going through her mind at the moment. She could feel Tara unbuttoning her shirt and then working the button and zipper of her pants.

As she tried to bring her hands up to desperately touch her love she felt her wrist being grasped and pressed against the glass. Her now open shirt was slipped over her shoulders and dragged to her elbows. The kiss ended and before her eyes could fully open Willow felt Tara’s breath at her ear.

“What I want is to fuck you in every room of this suite.” Tara whispered in a husky, lust ridden voice.

“Oh Goddess yes.” Willow whispered back almost pleadingly. “I’m yours Tara.”

“Damn straight you are.” Tara said with a smile as she slid one hand beneath the waistband of Willow’s lacey underwear and through already wet, fine curls. Willow let out a whimper, expecting to be thoroughly teased. What came next shocked her.

Tara ran her fingers down, through her love’s wiry hairs, towards the girl’s already aching center. She circled the opening, massaging the swelling lips once as she captured Willow’s mouth with her own in a hungry and needful kiss. Then without warning she made her move.

Willow cried out in shock as Tara bit down lightly on her lower lip and plunged two fingers deep inside of her at the same time. The mix of sensation brought tears of joy to her eyes and sped up her already rushing heartbeat. As Tara stirred her with a fast, almost vicious pace, with her back pressed up against the cool glass Willow couldn’t help but moan appreciatively into the honey blonde’s mouth.

Before she could try to reciprocate her whole body quivered as she felt Tara withdraw from her far too soon. “No, Baby, please.” Was all Willow could manage before Tara slid her fingers in the redhead’s mouth and made Willow taste her own essence on her love’s amazing fingers. The hacker nearly swooned at the lurid rush she felt overtake her.

Tara brought her hand up behind Willow and unclasped her lacey black bra. A smirk returned to her face. Tara sensed that there would be a pattern to their travel plans.

“Well it looks like someone was expecting to get lucky on this trip.” Tara said as she stripped the intimate apparel from Willow’s upper body revealing her beautiful pert breasts. For her part Willow only sucked on Tara’s fingers in a bliss fueled daze. More than happy to let “Take Charge Tara” guide their amorous efforts this night.

Tara slowly withdrew her fingers from the mouth she loved to hear babble so much. She ran her hands down her girl’s slender frame, caressing the sides of her ribs along the way. When they reached the now soaked panties and the still troublesome pants Tara grasped the offending garments firmly. Without any fanfare Tara dragged them down Willow’s pale legs. The redhead leaned even more against the window as the honey blonde hastily removed her shoes along with the last of her clothing.

There Willow was, completely naked, leaning up against the window of one of the most luxurious hotels in England. Tara’s breath caught at the beautiful sight. Still fully clothed Tara stood before her girl and brought her hands up to cradle flushed cheeks. She kissed Willow once again and slowly ran her hands back down the naked body she adored. Tara broke the kiss then grabbed Willow by the hips and spun the confused girl to face the window.

Willow was shocked as she looked out at the enormity of the city while standing completely nude. She felt Tara’s curvy body press into her back and relented as hands grasped her wrists once more. Tara moved her hands so Willow’s arms were raised up to either side and her hands were braced against the window at about the height of her head. One strong arm wrapped around Willow’s slender waist and pressed her ass into Tara’s body.

“I want you to enjoy the view Sweetie.” Tara whispered huskily into the red locks around Willow’s ear. Willow could only pant in anticipation as she felt Tara’s other hand slide down the center of her back, between her ass cheeks and cup her quivering center.

“I love you Willow.” Tara said right before she thrust three fingers deep inside her love.

Willow let out a strangled gasp as she felt Tara fill her. The honey blonde’s long dexterous fingers worked their way through her core, massaging her inner walls as they went. Willow was panting heavily as Tara held her firmly and explored her depths. She looked out the window at the sights of the city of London and felt ecstasy bloom within her very soul.

Tara continued a slow torturous pace that lasted well beyond the sunset’s spreading beautiful colors across the sky. As the lights of the city came on, and the light inside their suite began to outmatch that from outside, Willow began to see her reflection in the glass she was braced against. The redhead took in the incredibly erotic sight of Tara thrusting into her from behind. She basked in the sensation of watching herself as her love brought her to the heights of ecstasy. It was all too much.

Tremors wracked Willow’s body as she struggled to call out her love’s name. Her legs gave out and Tara struggled to hold Willow up as her feet wrapped around and behind Tara’s knees.

“TaarrRRRAAAAA!” Willow screamed as the orgasm ripped through her body with thunderous release. Tara held on tightly as Willow practically vibrated in her arms. The spent redhead nearly slipped as her arms fell to her sides but Tara pulled her back and the couple collapsed into a comfy chair just behind them.

Willow was sprawled out across her lover’s still clothed body, legs and arms spread, as her head rolled back to rest on Tara’s shoulder. The honey blonde still had her fingers buried deep within her lover’s velvety folds. She luxuriated in the sensation of Willow’s strong inner muscles clenching and releasing her over and over again as they rode out the aftershocks of their lovemaking together.

Tara gently stroked her now free hand up Willow’s stomach and chest. She brought the hand across the slender girl’s chest to firmly grasp the petite breast awaiting her and continued to stir ever so slightly. As she sensed Willow coming out of her haze Tara pinched the nipple she had been circling and began to thrust with her firmly nestled hand much more vigorously. She focused exclusively on the spongy bump tucked along Willow’s front wall.

Willow came again almost immediately. She screamed incoherently as her body convulsed repeatedly and an impressively surprising amount of her nectar shot through the air and splattered across the massive window at about the height of her chest.

Tara smirked proudly that she had been able to bring about such complete release by pleasuring her love. As the waves of rapture tapered off and her breathing came under control Willow turned her head and tried to kiss Tara but couldn’t lift up enough to reach. Tara noticed this and leaned in to devour her girl in a searing kiss that she couldn’t help but notice caused a slight rippling of the muscles still clenching her fingers.

After several long moments passed Willow finally regained her strength enough to reach up and wrap her arms around Tara. They sat there, kissing until a pout spread across Willow’s face.

“You have too many clothes on.” Willow declared.

“You’ll take them off slowly one by one Sweetie.” Tara replied with a smile. “I still have six rooms left to fuck you in.” Tara couldn’t help but feel the rippling and clenching against her fingers increase as she swore. Tonight was going to be so much fun.

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

Faith grabbed Xander and brought him to the Sunset Club. They had checking up on someone’s lies to do. With a hard knock on the heavy steel door Faith announced their presence. The doorman’s tiny window slid open and a hard set of eyes looked at them.

“Yo, we’re friends with Ford.” Faith called to the man. “Open up.”

The door opened and the teens walked inside. They stepped through another door onto a walkway overlooking a large room that had been converted into a club. Vampire paraphernalia adorned just about every wall and surface. Goth pop music played over a shoddy sound system. Monitors set up all over the place played the same old Bela Lugosi Dracula movie. Every person there was dressed in some outlandish misconception of how vampires looked.

Faith took all of this in and laughed. She laughed until she doubled over and had to brace herself on the guard rail. Xander looked at the Slayer and wondered what part of this was so funny.

As Faith continued to enjoy herself a tall blonde wearing a slinky dress and a choker collar walked up to them. “You guys are newbies, I can tell.”

Xander looked at the girl and smirked. “Sure. Why not?”

Faith looked the blonde up and down and her laughter completely stopped. It was immediately replaced by loud cackling.

“Don’t be ashamed.” The blonde said, starting to sense something was amiss. “It’s cool that you’re open to it. We welcome anyone who’s interested in the lonely ones.”

Faith looked at the girl once more and broke out in an even louder fit of laughter. “Phhbt bwah ha ha! Oh god, heh, X man, hehe, make her stop. He ha ho ow. I’m gonna piss myself over here!”

“So you guys are all yay with the vampy bitey nastiness?” Xander asked as Faith tried to contain her mirth.

“So many people have that misconception, but they who walk with the night are not interested in harming anyone.” She replied while Faith continued to gasp for air.

“Have ya met one?” Xander questioned the girl.

“No, I have yet to be so blessed.” She said.

“Oh wow, I needed that.” Faith said as she finally stood up and turned to Xander with a smile. “Come on big guy let’s go. We got all we need from the free lunch bunch.”

“You really are a people person.” Xander remarked cheerily to the Slayer who responded by slapping his arm not quite lightly enough. “He he ow!” The two Scoobies turned and walked out the door and into the night.

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

Buffy, Giles and Jenny walked into the library trying to figure out what the vampires might have wanted. They were surprised to find a female vampire with long blonde hair trying her hardest to break into the locked cage across from the main desk. Buffy charged ahead and staked the unlucky thief before the vamp was even aware of the danger.

“A book!” Giles exclaimed. “It was after one of my books.”

“Well at least someone in this school is reading.” Jenny quipped. “Where are all your books anyway?”

“Our new headquarters has a much more secure library.” Giles remarked as he saw Buffy staring at the dust pile in confusion. “Buffy, what’s wrong?”

“He said he killed it.” She whispered before looking up to the adults’ confused faces. “That was the vampire Ford said he killed.”

“Something is amiss.” Giles said.

“Wait.” Jenny called suddenly. “What new headquarters?”

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

Buffy walked home in a daze. She couldn’t help but feel like she had missed something important. As she entered her home she went to the kitchen to make herself something warm to drink. She was barely done fixing the beverage as there came a knocking at the back door.

“Yo B!” Faith hollered, almost jumping in surprise at how fast Buffy opened the door. “Can I come in?”

“I don’t know Faith.” Buffy replied. “Can you?”

“Ha ha very funny B.” Faith said as she stepped across the Summers residence’s threshold. “So tell me how your night went. Did prince not so charming make a move and have to be put in his place?”

“No, nothing like that.” Buffy said as she started pouring a drink for Faith. “We just talked and walked around town. Then we saw two vamps trying to break into the school and went to stop them. I staked one and Ford said he got the other but an hour later I found her in the library trying to break into the cage. She was after one of Giles’ books.”

“Sounds like the vamps need intel for whatever they are planning.” Faith guessed. “More importantly it sounds like your boy might not be all he’s cracked up to be.”

“We don’t know that.” Buffy said a little too defensively. “He might just have been trying to impress me. Maybe?”

“He lied to you B.” Faith said. “Simple as that. Now there is something I ain’t told you about yet and I was really hoping I was just being worried for nothing but I did some sneakin’ around the last two nights.”

“What are you talking about?” Buffy asked with an edge to her tone.

“Listen B, I’m real sorry I didn’t say nothin’ sooner but I didn’t know if I was just being jealous or paranoid until just now.” Faith said. “Please listen to everything I found out and remember that I thought what I did would help keep you and the others safe.”

“Faith?” Buffy asked. “Why are you so nervous?”

“I followed you after you and Ford left the Bronze B.” She admitted. “I’m sorry, I know I probably violated your trust but this whole caring about people and having a family thing is new for me. I thought there was something messed up about your friend. He sets my nerves off something fierce so I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

Buffy remained silent for a long moment, staring at the kitchen counter. Faith had followed her. She could feel Faith with her Slayer senses the entire time they had been talking and yet she had missed the girl’s presence the other night. She needed to do better than that if things like this were going to happen again. She didn’t like being left in the dark by her friends.

“B?” Faith asked, causing Buffy to look her in the eye. “I’m so sorry B, I just.” She paused for a second as her eyes grew cloudy. “Buffy please don’t hate me.”

The blonde Slayer had a brief flash to a moment not too many weeks ago. A moment when her friend was trying to tell her something important and feared loosing what they had together. Buffy realized she needed to get over whatever she might be feeling and just be there for her fellow Slayer.

“I don’t hate you Faith.” Buffy said. “I just don’t like being lied to by the people I trust the most.”

“I know B and I’m sorry as hell but there was some more badness I found out.” Faith said, quickly trying to get the rest of her intel gathering efforts out in the open.

“What else did you find out Faith?” Buffy asked.

“After you and Ford split up last night I followed him to this place.” Faith said. “Checked out the rest of the abandoned building and found the entrance he used was the only way into this old bomb shelter. Tonight me and Xander.”

“Xander is involved in this?” Buffy cried out in shock.

“Yeah he went with me incase I needed a sarcastic quip to doll out.” Faith answered, drawing strange looks from the Blonde. “What? B don’t look at me like that I didn’t have you there to liven the conversation so I asked Xander to tag along. Anything to get him out of his parents’ house right?”

“Okay I’ll let that slide.” Buffy said jokingly.

“Thanks B.” Faith replied with a smile. “So we go there and this place is wall to wall vampire wannabes. Every warm body in the joint practically had free lunch tattooed on their foreheads. It was all glam goth, pop sploitation. This one guy was wearing this shiny blue cape that even Elton John would have called him out on for dressing too gay.”

Buffy laughed. She couldn’t help it. The image Faith painted in her mind was too much. She had to give her fellow chosen one credit. The girl could tell a story. “Oh god Faith that’s terrible.” Buffy said as she got herself under control.

“I know right?” Faith agreed. “So I take one look around the place and I just bust a gut. I tell ya, it was hilarious. Then this ditzy blonde with too much cleavage and a choker collar saunters up to us and starts talking to the X man about how misunderstood the lonely ones are and how they mean all of us walking happy meals nothing but warm cuddlies.”

“Oh god she didn’t!” Buffy gasped.

“You bet your sweet ass she did.” Faith said before growing serious. “Listen B, I know Ford was your friend. I get that letting go of someone from your past can suck like nothing else. I do. But he’s hiding something. If it was something simple it might be easy to explain away but the whole thing just don’t feel right.”

“I know.” Buffy admitted. “I have to take care of it.”

“We have to take care of it.” Faith said.

“No Faith.” Buffy replied. “I’ll take care of it.”

Faith looked at the blonde she loved. “Okay B whatever you say.” Faith hated lying to Buffy’s face but there was no chance the brunette would wait on the sidelines. Not when she finally had someone worth fighting for in her life.

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

At ten in the morning, local time, Quentin Travers was sitting down to a cup of tea in his office at the London headquarters of the Watchers Council. He had no idea how much his world was going to change in a matter of minutes.

His phone rang and as soon as he picked it up he heard the panic in the voice at the other end. “Sir, there are intruders in the main library requesting an audience with you.”

“Well how the devil did they get inside the building?” Travers barked back.

“They just appeared sir.” His assistant said.

“That’s not possible.” He proclaimed. “Our wards are the best in the world. They couldn’t have just appeared.”

“Sir, I believe one of them is searching the library for something.” The man on the other end muttered.

“I’ll be down shortly.” Travers said with a sigh. This was ridiculous. To think that two intruders had made their way inside the heart of the Council and made themselves at home. He would not stand for this. Quentin Travers stood up and marched down the hall to the central library. What he found shocked him.

Two young women were standing at the head of the table in the middle of the room. Books were sprawled out along its length. The girl with honey blonde hair clutched a large tome to her chest. The redhead was bent over examining various texts and muttering to herself satisfactorily.

“Yes, we knew that already.” She said closing one book and turning to another. “Oh now that is interesting. It’d certainly explain how his magic got that stench. And as for that well we found that out the first time we killed him.”

“Just what is the meaning of this?” Travers called out.

The honey blonde smiled. “Sweetie it’s time.”

“Yes Baby.” The redhead agreed looking up at Travers for the first time. “Quentin dear boy.” She called. “Come have a seat. We have much to discuss.”

“Who exactly are you and where are the guards that should have tossed you out?” He asked in a bored tone only to see the redhead point up. He glanced to the ceiling and saw two dozen watchers and security personnel suspended by unseen forces.

“Oh.” Travers remarked before advancing and taking a seat. “So just what did you expect to accomplish with this little show of force?”

The blonde giggled and the redhead smirked at his question before joining her in light laughter. After a moment they both straightened up and looked him in the eye.

“This isn’t a show of force Quentin.” The redhead stated loudly enough for all to hear. “If we did a show of force you could tell by the fact your employees would be trapped in another dimension. No this is us saying hello and not taking “go away” for an answer.”

“So who might I be addressing?” He asked as the shocking statement sunk in.

“I am Willow Rosenberg and this is my girlfriend Tara Maclay.” Willow stated proudly. “You may have heard of us through our work with Buffy Summers or through our hostile takeover of one of your primary competitors on this plane.”

“Rosenberg & Maclay?” He asked as realization dawned on him.

“That’s right Quentin.” Willow said. “You are looking at the Senior Partners of the Law Firm of Rosenberg & Maclay. And if you think this is a show of force you should ask the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart what a real show looks like.”

“What the devil do you want with the council?” He asked with a harsh edge to his slightly quavering voice.

“We have four reasons for coming to you this day.” Willow said as Tara stepped up to him and placed the book she held in front of him. “The first is this gift to be received.”

“This is a source book.” Tara said calmly. “Whisper the name of any book in our archives into it and the book will show you the text written in a language of your choosing.”

Travers looked back and forth between the book and the two girls. He slowly picked up the heavy tome and brought it to his lips. With a whisper he asked to see the oldest text he knew the Law Firm possessed. He then opened the book to see the words flow into being across the page.

“This is our gift to you. To do with as you please.” Willow said, as she lowered the people that had been bound to the ceiling the entire time. They slowly floated down to rest peacefully on the far side of the room. “We want you to know that we don’t have to be enemies but we are very serious about what we have come here for.”

“I believe you’ve made your point.” Travers said calmly. “You said there were other reasons.”

“A command you will obey.” Willow said. “From this day forth no Slayer will be put through the Cruciamentum.” Shocked gasps spread throughout the room.

“Now see here.” Travers said. “The way the Council governs the Slayer is founded on centuries of tradition and proven methodology. You can’t just come in here and.”

“Your traditions are rooted in an unspeakable series of atrocities committed against one girl after another for longer than the written word has existed.” Willow cut him off. “Your methodology is faulty and gets people killed. The way you play your game is going to change.”

“Or else what?” Travers asked.

“Or else we will use our Slayers and you will use yours and in the end we’ll see which side has the better methodology.” Willow said.

“Even if you have turned Miss Summers against the Council you can’t expect us to hand over any other future Slayers without a fight.” He declared.

“We’re not talking about future Slayers Quentin.” Willow said. “You have one Slayer. Kendra Young. She won’t last long if you keep training her to fight without imagination. We have three Slayers. You know the name of one and the only way you’ll ever find out about the other two is if you cease performing the Cruciamentum and go along with our next reason for coming here.”

“Which is?” Travers asked tightly.

“A requisition of personnel to be fulfilled.” Willow said.

At his puzzled look Tara spoke up. “Mr. Rupert Giles and Wesley Wyndam-Price now belong to us.”

“You will have Wesley pack his things and meet us in the lobby of the Savoy Hotel at ten tomorrow morning.” Willow stated as if the matter was already done. “He will accompany us to America and work with one of our Slayers and her team of trained demon hunters. If you refuse this or try to use him as a spy against us it will mean our organizations can’t cooperate and we won’t be able to help you in the years you have left.”

“What do you mean have left?” Travers asked growing irritated.

“The last reason why we came to you today.” Willow said sadly. “You see the reason we were able to best the old senior partners is because we have access to knowledge of certain things yet to pass. We are giving you a warning that you are going to ignore. This isn’t the first time we have tried to warn you and it won’t be the last yet every time we come here you ignore the experience we are offering. It’s sad really.”

“So what is this warning you’re so certain I’ll ignore?” The man asked with a slight smirk. If these two little girls thought they could bully him they had another thing coming.

“War is coming and you won’t survive.” Willow said. “You die horribly. In fact now that I think about it most of you die in this room the moment the enemy declares war on your life’s work.”

“Preposterous.” Travers dismissed.

“Lets see.” Willow said before turning to look around the room. “Blake, Lydia, Nigel, Phillip.” She counted off men and women around the room. “Pretty much this whole side, and you Quentin all die almost exactly where you are standing a few years from now when a truly ancient enemy starts the war you won’t see coming. The Council as you know it dies that day.”

“What about me?” A man on the other side of the room asked.

“Hobson?” Willow asked. “Now that we showed up it’s a bit harder to tell with you. See nine times out of ten you and Blair are in charge of handling the vampire Zachery Kralik for Buffy Summers’ Cruciamentum. He tricks you and sires both of you each time Quentin tries to go through with his precious tradition.” She paused to let that bit of information sink in.

“This is our one olive branch.” Willow concluded. “We don’t have to be enemies but you will have to change the way you play the game. If Mr. Wyndam-Price isn’t in the hotel lobby by the time we are ready to leave for the airport then we’ll have our answer. Be prepared for what comes next and try to survive.”

With that ominous statement Willow and Tara clasped hands and disappeared. The watchers that had witnessed their entry and list of demands stood there in shock. No one knew how to handle this turn of events.

“Sir?” Nigel asked in a hushed tone. “How shall we proceed?”

Quentin Travers sat there for a moment and pondered his options. He didn’t like any that presented themselves. With a sigh he gathered his wits and girded himself for the task at hand. He stood and looked at his fellow watchers. Though the agents of the council present had a combined number of hours in the field that could be counted on one hand he knew they would prevail.

“Call the Special Opperations Team.” Travers declared. “They’ll need to leave at once to gather as much information as they can. We have a new foe to study and they obviously have plans for us.”

“And Mr. Wyndam-Price?” Lydia asked.

“We send him into the belly of the beast.” The leader declared. “It’ll do the boy a world of good.”

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

Buffy walked into the courtyard of Sunnydale High and was almost immediately confronted by Ford.

“Buffy!” He called out.

“Ford.” She replied.

“I had a great time last night.” He said with a smile she knew was hiding something. “Well, an interesting time.”

“I’m glad.” Buffy said with a slight pause.

“Do you want to go out again tonight?” Ford asked.

Buffy smiled slightly. “Not busy.” She said.

“I sorta had an idea.” Ford went on. “It’s a, It’s a secret. Kinda want to surprise you.”

“I like surprises.” Buffy said trying to sound coy.

“Can you meet me here?” Ford asked.

“Sure.” She agreed.

“At nine?” He stipulated.

“At nine.” Buffy said.

Ford leaned in and spoke directly to her. “It’s gonna be fun.” Then he walked off.

Buffy went to go check with Xander. She found the boy sitting alone on the stairs. He looked up and saw her staring at him.

“Buffy!” Xander said in surprise. “Did Faith?”

“I know Xander.” Buffy told him. “So you and Faith huh?”

“What?” Xander asked. “No? Wait, what?”

“I’m kidding.” She said to let her friend know she was teasing. “You never know she might surprise you.”

“Yeah well let’s just say I doubt I’m her type.” Xander retorted.

Buffy took that in and wondered what he could possibly think Faith’s type was. She wondered if the brunette even had a type. She certainly didn’t notice Faith checking anyone out the handful of times they had hit up the Bronze together.

“Did you find out what Ford is up to?” Xander asked as he noticed the perplexed look on Buffy’s face.

“I will.” She said coldly as she walked off.

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

Tara and Willow awoke in their hotel suite. Astral projecting incorporeal shades that could seemingly interact with and transport physical objects always taxed their reserves. By contrast the simple telekinetic trick used to pacify the watchers was a breeze. But it would soon all be worth it.

“You think Travers w-will listen to us this time Sweetie?” Tara asked with a sigh.

“No.” Willow replied flatly as she got up and helped Tara stand beside her. “That pig has always and will always be set in his ways. Which makes him the perfect tool to manipulate the forces that have to torment Angel for our plans to work. He’ll figure out his men can’t enter the hellmouth soon enough and focus on LA. They won’t be able to resist taking a few shots at our vampire. Once we have things lined up everything should fall into place.”

“I know you meant that to s-sound less evil mastermind-ish Sweetie.” Tara stated with a coy smirk.

“I’m sorry Baby.” Willow replied. “You know I don’t want to torture our family and friends. But we’ve tried other ways and failed so many times.”

“I know Sweetie, and I agree with you.” The honey blonde assured. “He’ll thank us once we make the big reveal and give him the chance to make the choice.”

“If things go like they have before getting everyone up to that day alive and without seriously hating each other will take everything we have.” Willow added. “But that may be the only way to win the war.”

Even if they had long ago settled on what courses of action to take when it came to the events they had to manipulate they still found time in private to talk through the hard choices they had to make. Even though they were in complete agreement they both knew open and honest communication without holding anything back was the cornerstone to every relationship. If only they could so easily convince their young friends of this.

“Let’s set all that aside and enjoy the rest of our day in London.” Tara declared after a pause. “You promised me a day on the town.”

“And you made love to me so many times and so hard that my brain crashed and I had to perform a hard reboot.” Willow retorted as Tara giggled. “I’m just lucky I can still walk straight.”

“Oh, my poor sweet Willow.” Tara mockingly lamented the exertions her love had so vigorously enjoyed the night before.

“I am you know.” Willow started with a coy smile as Tara’s eyes lit up with joy at their age old affirmation.

“What?” Tara asked with a brilliant smile, knowing full well the answer.

“Yours.” Willow said as the two women met in a tender yet passionate kiss. As the kiss deepened Tara recalled that first year she had spent loving Willow so completely. So far into the past and yet so easily brought to the surface by the slightest utterance.

With a reluctant moan Willow pulled away from her love’s luscious lips. At the sight of Tara’s pout she fought with everything she had to put on her resolve face. “Hey none of that now Missy.” Willow chastised the curvy girl in her arms. “I promised you a day on the town and I’m going to deliver.”

“Yes ma’am.” Tara said with a giggle as they readied for the day. They put on some of their finer clothes, grabbed a backpack full of emergency spell components and walking around money, and cast the cloaking spell.

All it required was a brief prayer to the Goddess. They had gained a great deal of expertise with this spell as Willow had learned it while studying with the Devon Coven the very first time. Since then they had perfected it to selectively block specific targets.

In this case the specific targets that would be unable to detect their presence were any human to ever bend a knee to the Watchers Council. They didn’t need any trouble from tweed clad spies while enjoying themselves. Once out the door of their suite they put up the do not disturb sign and a ward making anyone who tried to enter with ill intent suddenly have the urge to be anywhere else at that moment.

With everything secure the two young lovers took a quick cab ride down to the famous giant Ferris wheel known as the London Eye. At the top they marveled at the sights of the city that lay before them.

Tara turned to Willow and whispered in her ear. “We’re so lucky that they built this over three years ahead of schedule in this world.”

Willow’s eyes widened at that fact before she burst out in laughter. She recalled that in many other worlds the giant attraction would not be finish with construction until early two thousand. Leave it to Tara to bring a smile to her face by reminding her of the oddest little variations in the lives they lived.

“Have I told you how very much I love you Ms. Maclay?” Willow asked as she caught her breath.

“Not in the last ten minutes, no Ms. Rosenberg.” Tara replied with feigned casual disinterest.

“I’ll have to rectify that.” Willow said with a gruff business tone. “Take a memo Ms. Maclay. I, Willow Rosenberg, love one Tara Maclay.”

“Let me guess.” Tara said in a slightly flippant tone. “It’s because of my rack isn’t it?”

Willow sighed as if she’d let some big secret slip. “Okay, it’s mostly cause of the rack.” She admitted. “But you probably have other nice qualities.”

“Oh you are so going to get it for that Rosenberg.” Tara said with a grin.

“Promises, promises.” Willow replied.

After they finished their ride on the Eye they spent the afternoon walking up and down the Thames pointing out sights to one another and visiting small shops and boutiques. They ate at a small pub and continued their tour of the area.

Eventually coming back to the Eye at night for one more ride while the city glowed with electric light. They then stopped by a fine restaurant for a nice diner. All in all their time spent in the city was tremendously enjoyable. But then again they enjoyed all the time they spent together.

Upon returning to the hotel they found everything as they’d left it. Apparently the Council wasn’t making a move on them just yet. With a sense of relief Tara turned to her love and delivered the promised payback from earlier in the day. They both enjoyed the experience as thoroughly as they enjoyed christening each room of the suite.

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

Faith slowly walked up to the door of the Sunset Club just before sunset. Inside she could hear Buffy trying to get the mindless fools to fight their way out of the deathtrap. Some people just didn’t get it. They had to be shown what real evil looked like.

“I am trying to save you.” The Slayer said. “You are playing in some serious traffic here do you understand that? You’re going to die, and the only hope you have of surviving this is to get out of this pit right now and my god could you have a dorkier outfit?”

“Gotta back her up D.” The traitor said. “You look like a big ninny.”

“I don’t know about that Billy Boy.” Faith called out as she opened the door to the bomb shelter and stepped inside. “I’d say there’s enough “ninny” in this room to go around. You being the biggest.”

“Faith!” Buffy cried in relief as the hopes of the wannabe vamps faltered. “Faith we have to.” Buffy began but stopped as she saw Faith close the door behind her. “Stop! Faith we’re trapped! Why did you do that?”

“Nah B.” Faith said as she pulled Buffy’s longsword out from behind her back. “You got it all wrong.” The brunette said as she casually tossed the sword to Buffy who caught it without even batting an eye. “You and me ain’t the ones trapped in here. These little walking happy meals aren’t going to learn their lesson until they see a real pair of fangs up close. Soon as they get the “picture”, soon as Captain Peroxide and the vamps show up.” Faith said as she pulled her new toy from the holster on her back.

The shock mingled with outrage melted away from Buffy’s face as she watch Faith pull a small rectangular contraption from her back. The brunette flipped open a latch and flicked her wrist. The device in her hand unfolded in the blink of an eye to reveal a sleek black recurve longbow that seemed like it was made specifically for Faith’s hand.

“Well they’ll find out they’re the ones in the trap.” Faith said menacingly.

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

Faith stood on the gangway overlooking the club. She was almost directly across from the door and checking to make sure her equipment was ready for the fight ahead. Her mechanized quiver was set to eject whatever arrows the dial on her bow told it to. She figured with the hostages and tight confined spaces she should stick to regular broadhead arrows.

Too much could go wrong with flash bangs, concussion grenades and thermite charges. She still marveled at the memory of the mess she made of the city dump after Willow told her to try the more dangerous toys out in a safe place.

She was just able to make out the tail end of Buffy’s conversation with Ford. The prick had a brain tumor. Good for him. That still wasn’t a good enough excuse to take away the best thing Faith had going for her.

Buffy came over to Faith as she heard the sound of a car pulling up. “So what’s the big plan here Faith?” She asked coldly.

“The sheep get a taste fear.” Faith said. “Then we move in. I figure I dust a few with arrows and you run up and put your blade to Elvira’s throat. They should give up right away once the boss’s girl is in danger. We all walk out and leave Billy Boy in here with the vamps.”

“Leave Ford?” Buffy asked in shock before realizing it was for the best. “I still can’t believe you locked the door knowing what would happen.”

“The traitor is right about them Buffy. They’re sheep living on the hellmouth.” Faith replied. “If they don’t learn now they’ll go out and get eaten anyway.”

“You’re right.” Buffy said sadly as the door opened. Spike swept in and grabbed the blonde vampire wannabe.

“I won’t let you stop this.” Ford came up to them brandishing a tire iron. Faith struck him in the face with one swift punch and knocked the boy over the railing onto a couch below.

“Take them all! Save the Slayer for me.” Spike ordered.

Vampires poured in through the entrance and leapt down to the floor of the club. Members of the vamp fan club were grabbed and bitten left and right. Buffy went to her target as Faith let arrow after arrow fly. While their numbers were reduced to Spike Drusilla and about three other vamps Buffy called to Spike while holding her glowing sword to Drusilla’s neck.

“Spike!” She yelled causing the bleach blond to look up.

“Everybody stop!” He ordered causing the remaining vampires to pull their fangs out of necks all around.

“Good idea.” Buffy said with cold menace. “Now you let everybody out or your girlfriend fits in an ashtray.”

“Let them go.” Spike ordered. Injured and terrified humans moved up the stairs. Faith ran to Buffy’s side, still keeping an arrow trained on the lead vamp’s heart. Once the last of the sacrificial lambs was up the stairs and out the door the Slayers moved with Drusilla towards the exit.

“Down the stairs.” Buffy ordered. Spike slowly backed down as Faith slipped out the door. Buffy walked Drusilla to the top of the steps and with a smile threw her into Spike and slammed the door shut on her way out.

Spike ran to the sealed entrance and reached for the latch only to grasp empty air. “Um where’s the doorknob?”

Outside Buffy and Faith walked out to find the crowd of people they saved quickly exiting the scene. Xander came running up after a minute and the three began walking home.

“So did everything go smoothly?” He asked as the silence between the two Slayers wore on.

“As smooth as it could have gone with a messed up deal like that.” Faith replied. “B I’m sorry if I got outta line or stepped on your toes but I figured better safe than standing over your grave and blaming myself for it the rest of my short life.”

“You did the right thing faith.” Buffy relented. “I know that, it’s just hard seeing my friend like that.”

“Yeah, that’s a rough deal he had going.” Faith said to appease her friend before coming out with the brutal truth. “But there were something like two dozen people in there he was gonna have killed just to get what he wanted. That’s something pretty much none of those vamps could claim while they were still human. He made his choice and he chose to be a monster even before he came here.”

“It’ll take me awhile to realize that. So, you coming with me when I go back there?” Buffy asked.

“Of course B.” Faith answered. “You know I always got your back.”

“Go back for what?” Xander asked.

“The body.” Buffy whispered.

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

Wesley Wyndam-Price stood in the lobby of the Hotel Savoy at precisely nine forty five. He awaited the two young women his superiors at the Council told him he would follow to the states. He was to do everything in his power to steal back the Slayers that were rightfully the instruments of the Council.

He knew there were two Slayer, as did just about every watcher. This claim of their being four all of a sudden needed to be verified. The Council needed to know what dangers this posed to the Slayer line and what steps would be necessary to put things back in order.

And Wesley Wyndam-Price was just the man for the job. He’d prove himself and soon enough return home a hero. That would be the case if these two women even actually showed up.

Just as he was starting to have his doubts he heard a voice off to his side. A slight giggle followed by another voice almost chastising the first.

“Now Sweetie, don’t poke fun before we even introduce ourselves.” Tara told Willow as the air beside Wesley shimmered and a veil of mystic energy fell to the ground and dissipated before his eyes.

“You’re early Wesley.” Willow said with mild approval. “That’s good. It either means you’re eager to meet the people you’ll be helping or you’re eager to infiltrate our ranks and destroy us from the inside. Either way we can make good use of you while preparing for the coming catastrophe.”

The Englishman stood there in shock. The redhead had just laid out exactly what he was ordered to do and brushed it aside as if his eventual betrayal was of no concern to them. He suspected this would prove harder than anticipated.

With little fanfare the two witches escorted the watcher to their waiting car. All three loaded their bags in the trunk and rode the short distance to the section of private hangars at Heathrow International Airport.

Wesley, Willow and Tara went through the customs checkpoint and once clear their bags were loaded on the plane and they prepared for the flight to LA.

“So you’ve been awfully quiet over there Wesley.” Willow said as they crossed over the Atlantic Ocean. “Anything in particular you want to ask us?”

A slight smile crept across his face. He had a very specific question in mind and before he committed to his next course of action he wanted their honest answer to it.

“Just the one.” Wesley said after a moment. “It is fairly obvious why you wanted Giles on your side. He is the primary watcher for Ms. Summers and already established as having cover in the field.”

“Go ahead and ask the question Wesley.” Tara said with a smile.

“So my question would be simple.” Wesley replied. “Why me?”

“The devil you know.” Willow said quietly.

“The what?” Wesley asked in shock.

“Listen Wesley.” Willow began to explain. “The first thing you’ll need to know to work for us is that we are incredibly powerful witches not because of what we can do with magic but because of how we got the recent boost to our powers in the first place.”

“How then?” He asked with a curious tone.

“The moment we met each other in this dimension we gained the accumulated memories of lives other versions of us lived in a great many other dimensions.” Willow said. “That makes us aware of certain major threats that will try to destroy the world and the people we love.”

A slight smile spread across his face. “So am I to believe I was once one of these people you loved in a far off world I’ll never see?”

“Barely.” Willow said with a laugh.

“Now Sweetie, no reason to be mean.” Tara admonished.

“The fact is Wesley.” Willow continued. “The Council would have betrayed the Slayer’s trust and fired Giles at some point. They then sent you to act as watcher for both Buffy and the girl called after Kendra died. You were terrible. No one listened to you and when the Council told you to keep the secret to saving an ally’s life from the Slayer she told you to leave her town and to inform the Council that they would no longer have any say in her life. They didn’t even let you fly home to England after they fired you as well.”

“Oh dear.” Wesley muttered quietly.

“It isn’t till a few years later that we saw you again and found out you were working in LA for the ally the council told you to let die.” Willow went on. “You had grown into a fairly mature and reasonable person by then and were doing great work helping to hunt the more violent demon populace of LA and help the people and demons who were just trying to live in peace.”

“Help demons?” He cried in shock.

“That’s another thing.” Willow said. “To be of any use to us you’ll have to let go of some of the more dogmatic crap the Council taught you. There are demons who serve the forces of good. Especially in a city like Los Angeles. You’ll be working closely with a Slayer we unlocked, her brother and their gang of humans who’ve been living on the streets most of their young lives and fighting off vampires on their own. Convincing them to accept the three demons they needed for their mission to succeed was one of the trickier things we had to do, but we did it because the fate of the world is depending on their ability to work as a team.”

“So you want me to lead this team.” He said proudly.

“Never.” Tara retorted. “We want you to help them when it comes to the r-research and study parts of demon hunting.”

“You won’t be their leader Wes.” Willow said. “In our experience you trying to be the leader this early in your career as a watcher leads to you getting kicked off the team just about every time. They have leaders. Hell thanks to a chaos worshipping nut they have a guy with all your watcher knowledge and then some.”

“So why do you even need me then?” Wesley asked yet again.

“There are four Slayers right now Wesley.” Willow said. “Two of them were potentials we found and offered to empower. That’s the key to the unlocking spell. The potential has to be aware of the consequences and willing to become one of our Slayers. She is then removed from the line and her full potential is unlocked. One is in LA. Soon there will be more.”

“How many more?” He asked slightly awed by the implications what they claimed could lead to.

“As many potentials as we can find and unlock before the w-war kills them all.” Tara said with a sad resolute tone.

“What war?” He begged.

“We can’t say everything just yet but you’ll know when the time comes.” Willow said with just as hollow a voice as Tara had adopted. “The point is we chose you because you have the potential to be one of our generals once the time is right. But right now you are of almost no use to us. You need to get a lot more field experience to make a difference in this fight and LA is the perfect place to do that.”

“If I were to believe what you’re telling me.” Wesley said after taking a long moment to think the answers they gave him through. “And I agree to work for your cause. Then who or what are the demons I’ll be expected to work with?”

“One man you’ll only see on occasion or if a teammate needs guidance is named Lorne.” Willow answered. “A demon lounge singer from a nasty hell dimension. He owns and runs a karaoke bar for humans and demons alike. It has a spell on it preventing any violence from taking place within. He himself is a devout pacifist who uses his empathic powers to advise and guide anyone who sings for him.”

“Plus, he really is a Sweetie.” Tara said with a fond smile. “Most people can’t help but like the man once they get to know him.”

“You’ll work much more closely with the two non humans living with the Slayer and her Crew at the hotel.” Willow continued. “One is a half human half Brachen demon. He is a decent man who is deeply ashamed of his demonic ancestry and works tirelessly to help others. The powers that be have marked him as their conduit on this plane.”

“What?” Wesley asked in shock. “The powers are involved in this? How can that be?”

“They’re involved in everything they can get one of their hooks into.” Willow remarked. “Doyle may be half demon, but the visions they send him are a burden he suffers through. If he were to die and pass the power on to a human then the pain and trauma of the visions would eventually blow the back of that person’s head open. We don’t want that.”

“I can see why not.” Wesley said quietly. “And the last demon?”

“A vampire cursed by gypsies to suffer for his atrocities by bearing a human soul.” Willow said.

“You don’t mean?” Wesley said after recovering from a gasp.

“Angel.” Tara said calmly. “Like Doyle he is marked by the powers as a tool they want to use desperately.”

“If he were to be slain then they would just bring him back.” Willow said with slight despair. “If he were to loose his soul we will be the ones you contact to force it back into him. We know the old gypsy curse by heart.”

“One of your duties w-will be translating the Prophecies of Aberjian.” Tara said. “Especially the parts that say the vampire with the soul will Shanshu.”

“Oh dear.” Wesley said with shock. He had no idea what the specific parts of the prophecy they mentioned could mean but he instantly recognized the name of the infamous scrolls thought lost for centuries. “How did the vampire get his hands on those scrolls?”

“We let him and the rest of our friends into the vault of the LA branch of our law firm.” Willow answered. “He was drawn to them by destiny because they mention him or some being so like him it doesn’t matter. We want you to aid in the translation and help him come to terms with his destiny so we can use him to save lives.”

“This is all so much.” Wesley said not fully understanding the ramifications of what the witches revealed to him. He looked up and decided that he could do real good with this group until his true calling returned him to the Council. “I’ll do it.” He smiled with a forced bravado.

“Perfect.” Willow and Tara said as one.

They settled in for the remaining hour before landing in LA. Soon enough they would introduce Wesley to the Hyperion Crew and the man would be in for a severe shock. With any luck he just might turn out to be half the man he was by the time he died in the service of Angel Investigations.

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

Buffy, Faith and Giles were sitting on a long relatively flat tombstone in the cemetery. They were waiting on the vamp they had all known to arise.

“I don’t know what I’m supposed to say.” Buffy said after returning from putting flowers on the nearby grave.

“You needn’t say anything.” Giles assured his charge.

“Be simpler if I could just hate him.” Buffy guessed. “I think he wanted me to. I think it made it easier for him to be the villain of the piece. Really he was just scared.”

“Yes, I suppose he was.” Giles remarked.

“Nothing’s ever simple anymore.” Buffy lamented. “I’m constantly trying to work it out. Who to love, or hate. Who to trust. It’s just like the more I know the more confused I get.”

“I believe that’s called growing up.” Giles said.

“I’d like to stop then okay?” Buffy asked.

“I know the feeling.” Giles assured.

“Me too.” Faith chimed in while pulling out her bow and handing it to Buffy. “Here B you do the honors.”

“What, really?” Buffy asked the brunette.

“Sure.” Faith said as she put the weapon in her hand and moved behind the petite blonde to help guide her form. “Here hold your arm out straight like this. There’s a dial at the top of the grip. I’ll just twist it to load one of Willow’s special arrows.” As the knob turned an arrow popped out of the quiver on Faith’s back. She placed the arrow in the rest just above the grip and helped Buffy nock it on the bowstring.

Buffy looked at the odd arrowhead and wondered what made it special. Faith guided her movements as she drew the arrow back. The there was a rumbling as the dirt on the fresh grave began to shift. Ford climbed out and began to stumble towards them.

“Take your time B.” Faith advised with a whisper in the blonde’s ear. “Slow breaths, line it up and let go in between breaths.”

Buffy followed the advice and let the arrow fly. If hit Ford in the lower stomach and for an instant Buffy though she had failed him again. Then something unexpected happened.

Ford looked down and his entire body burst into flames for about a second as what looked like molten lead poured out of his groin. Within the blink of an eye he was dust and a smoldering orange glow was left to cool on the ground.

“Bloody hell!” Giles exclaimed in shock.

“I missed the heart.” Buffy said. “What just happened?”

“I told you it was one of Willow’s special arrows.” Faith said with pride. “All these arrows got wood shafts but the dial on the bow tells the quiver to load special heads when I need something extra.”

“What was in the arrow head to make it do that?” Giles asked, still shocked at the sight.

“About a thimble full of thermite rigged to ignite after impact.” Faith answered the stunned Brit.

“Thermite!” Buffy and Giles exclaimed as one.

“Yeah, I figured give the boy you knew a Viking send off deal.” Faith said.

“Where did Willow get thermite?” Giles exclaimed.

“I think she stuck to the easy cheap way for this batch.” Faith answered. “Roll of tin foil in a blender and a wire brush on some rusty metal.”

“What other arrowheads does that thing do?” Buffy asked in mild awe.

“Some ones with wicked sharp blades that slide out as it spins, mostly iron broad heads, a few silver broad heads, oh this one fires a grappling hook thing and is connected to about a hundred feet of cable in my quiver.” Faith listed her armaments. “Let’s see, oh there are these ones with a holy water capsule behind the arrowhead that breaks open once buried in a vamp. Some magnesium flares that are a bit showy but could also probably burn a vamp in a pinch. Smoke grenades, flash bangs and for emergencies a few concussion grenades.”

“Faith, do promise me you won’t use the more dangerous grenades in populated areas or underground.” Giles said as he nervously polished his glasses.

“No sweat G man.” Faith said making him cringe. “That big stuff is overkill for just about everything we’ll run into any given night.”

“We so need to go practice at an archery range.” Buffy said, letting a slight smile spread across her face for the first time since Ford’s betrayal.

“Hells yeah.” Faith said with glee. “It’s a date B.”

Giles smiled as the two girls began to walk off together. He couldn’t help but notice the way Faith fawned over Buffy. He wondered when Buffy would notice herself. But that was a matter for another day. For now the Brunette had succeeded in raising their spirits with the promise of training. A minor miracle in and of itself.

Giles couldn’t help but hope this would signal the start of great things to come for their little extended family. The walk home was brisk and uneventful. For now all was well. As well as could be expected on the hellmouth anyway.

_________________
Time and Time Again


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:23 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Time and Time Again.

Author: Citanul

Feedback: Be kind, rewind?

Spoilers: Just about all of them. Go watch the show.

Rating: NC-17 A raven catches the tail end of a love scene early one.

Pairings: W/T, B/F

Disclaimer: You all know I don’t own the rights to characters you’ve seen on TV.

Summary: A story of reincarnation and interdimensional travel made possible through the power of love. What misfortunes will our two favorite love birds be able to prevent with the aid of experience from countless past lives.

Author’s Note: So we're back to the Witch King for a fourth installment. Things will start to pick up in this story line as a certain someone makes their first appearance in this world. Though it won't be as happy an event as it should be. This is the Dark Ages after all.

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

Dark Age Chronicles: Slayer

“Giles I don’t get it.” The Slayer said with an exasperated whine. “What did this big bad do that has the Council’s panties so worked up?”

“I actually have no idea Buffy.” The watcher replied as they slowly made their way down the road that wound through the dense forest. “To have us travel across several kingdoms to investigate must mean this particular foe is a serious threat.”

“But what did the guy do?” Buffy begged. “I get my whole destiny thing. I do. I understand the reasons why you said I should listen to the council. I want to avenge the deaths of my mom and sister. I’ll gladly slay any demon or vamp that’s about to eat run of the mill townsfolk.” The Slayer finished before letting out a long sigh.

“I’ll even go out of my way to fight world ending baddies like the one I got this toy from.” She said gesturing to the object wrapped in cloth and leather, strapped to her back. “But I’m not going to kill some guy for no good reason just because he makes others jumpy.”

“What little I know is that this foe has recently come into a great deal of magical power and that hundreds of slaves have gone missing in the last year or so. Just about all the poor souls from this land and all its neighbors for several hundred miles.” Giles answered. “We should ascertain the fate of these slaves and act accordingly.”

“All those people.” Buffy whispered. “Do we know if he’s killing them all or just working them to death?”

“That’s one fact we’ll have to find out.” The librarian said. “Hopefully, before you slay him.” Giles had often harbored doubts about the motives of the Watchers Council. Though he had known Quentin Travers for years that didn’t necessarily mean he liked or trusted the old conjurer who led the Council from the safety of the well fortified keep that had been the organization’s headquarters for centuries.

Sending out orders through magic may have been necessary to find newly called Slayers but he and Buffy had been travelling the world, fighting evil for the better part of a year and a half now. Ever since Giles got the word her old watcher Merrick died shortly after helping her recover from the loss of her family Giles had made sure Buffy never felt like she was alone in the world.

“I don’t like killing humans Giles.” Buffy said adamantly. “If we get there and this guy is no threat I’m leaving him be.”

Before Giles could say anything in reply he and his charge gasped in shock as they stepped out of the forest and onto the hill that sloped down onto the wide open plains the massive walled city rose from. An imposing circular wall no less than thirty feet high surrounded the city that had to be two miles wide. In the center of it all a singular large tower reached into the sky. It was a dreadfully intimidating sight. The tower seemed to have formed from flowing obsidian. Spires and sharp spikes of the black stone jutted out in all directions. To the rear of the city there was a truly impressive aqueduct that stretched all the way towards the huge mountain miles in the distance beyond the city.

The grandeur of the citadel was only equaled by the horror of the debris lining the fields between the tree line and the walls. Broken cages littered the terrain. Some were built on wagons whose axels had been split. Yokes too small for cattle were scattered all around. Whips hung from bars of cages, dried by the sun far past the point of cracking into hard rigid strands.

“Oh dear lord.” Giles whispered.

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

“What are you doing up here?” Alonna said as she stepped out onto the parapet of the gatehouse watchtower and eyed her wayward quarry.

“Shoot Al.” Faith said with a mournful whistle. “Can’t a girl go someplace quiet to think on her day off?”

“A girl can. Faith Lehane can’t.” The ebony girl smirked. “Or do I have to remind you about the chore wheel you’ve been ignoring all week.”

“I wasn’t ignoring it.” The brunette said defensively. “I was just psyching myself up before I get around to it.”

Alonna looked out over the wreckage littering the field just past the gates. It always struck her as odd that such decent farmland was reserved for piling up the scrap metal the smithies hadn’t gotten around to smelting down yet. Even stranger were the teams of men Lady Willow sent out regularly to gather rust scrapings from the old cages.

“Why do you come up here so often?” Alonna asked after she could no longer bear the way Faith stared off into the distance over the tools of their former oppression.

“Bunch’a reasons.” Faith replied with a smile. “I see those heaps and I see where I stand now and I get a rush like nothing I ever felt before. Al, six months ago I was a slave in a cage just like one of those and the only thing I had to look forward to was the hope that maybe after the piece of shit that bought me thought he was done “breaking me in” he’d get sloppy and give me a chance to bite his dick off. Now look at me. I’m healthier ‘n happier than I ever was before and I’ve been hand picked by our leaders for training as some kinda mystic warrior order they dreamed up. Look how far I’ve come. How far we’ve come. I know you haven’t forgotten those days.”

Alonna shuddered at the memory of the life she once had. “No, I’ll never forget.” She said coldly. She may have been a slave longer than Faith but she was so unbelievably grateful none of her tormentors had what some of the men in town referred to as the “jungle fever.” “You’re right. Now that I look at them I can’t help but appreciate all that Lady Tara has done for me even more.”

“See? That’s what I’m sayin’.” Faith hollered. “You and me get it. We got ourselves trapped in nightmares and then Blondie came along and pulled us out. What’s more she is setting us up so we never end up in that crap again.”

“You really think the Slayer Academy is training us to be mystic warriors?” Alonna asked.

“What else can it be?” Faith retorted. “In the last six months I’ve learned twice that many fighting styles with bare hands and started on ten times as many weapon styles. They got us memorizing weak points on demons and monsters and whatever oogly booglies we might run up on, and a few of the girls are getting real good at that lucid dreaming shit.”

“Yeah, there’s not much else all that stuff can be used for.” Alonna admitted. “I never thought I’d become a killer.”

“Slayer Al.” Faith corrected. “Listen to the way Red and Blondie say that word some time. It ain’t anything like the way they talk about killers.” A thought crossed Faith’s mind as she recalled the things she overheard Willow and Tara discuss. “Hell it ain’t even anything like the way they talk about all the times Blondie has had to put down a slaver during a raid.”

“You’re right.” Alonna agreed before a puzzled look overcame her. “But wait. Doesn’t it always seem like they talk about it with an emphasis on the singular? It’s always the Slayer. Never just slayers.”

“Yeah, and I swear I heard them talk about a chosen one a few times.” Faith admitted. “They got like twenty or so girls in that academy and they never act like they think we’ll all graduate as a unit. Sure they have us train in teams every once in a while but they keep acting like one day one of us is gonna flip a switch and do something none of the others can.”

“Hey what’s that coming down the road?” Alonna asked as she gazed out over the field.

Faith picked up the spyglass she kept near her at all times and drew a bead on the approaching target. She let out a deeply appreciative whistle and a wide grin spread across her face.

“Well hello legs, lips, breasts and ass!” Faith chuckled as she took in the figure of the petite blonde approaching the gate.

“Faith! Behave!” Alonna cried out. “You can’t just jump every cute girl you see stroll through the city gates.”

“Ain’t no thang girl.” Faith said as she continued to leer. “Just appreciatin’ the view.”

“She’s really that cute?” Alonna asked, as she lightheartedly shook her head at the more amorous side to her friend.

“Cute don’t even begin to describe her.” Faith replied as her eyes worked their way up and down the blonde. “She may be a little on the skinny side but I know more than enough food joints in town to take her to. Damn if she don’t look fit too. Like really strong for such a tiny thing. Those hips got me thinking all kinds o’ things.”

“Okay you don’t have to tell me every detail that goes through your head as you continue to eye bang the poor girl.” Alonna interrupted with a laugh.

“Damn if the dad won’t be a problem though.” Faith sighed. “This may take some planning.”

“Go now.” Alonna encouraged causing Faith to look at her curiously. “Run and wash up or take a bath or something. I’ll keep an eye on her as she enters the town and if I get a chance I’ll strike up a conversation and say that I have this friend who’d love to meet her.”

Faith’s eyes widened in shock. “You’d do that for me Al?”

“Of course Faith.” Alonna smiled back. “What else are friends for?”

“Thanks girl.” Faith cheered as she hugged her ebony friend. “You’re the best. I couldn’t ask for a better wing woman.” Faith then ran off with a speed Alonna didn’t think she could have matched if she was given both advanced warning and a head start.

Alonna picked up the discarded spyglass and examined the pair of travelers. She thought the dad was a little on the cute side in a rugged sort of way. For some reason she thought of Joyce and Dawn. Maybe the four of them could make one happy family. That all depended on whether or not the newcomers seemed nice up close and had the right friend to introduced them.

With a smile Alonna folded the spyglass and put the caps on either end. She went to position herself in a way that she could closely observe the travelers as they entered the city without drawing any unwanted notice. If nothing else today was off to an amusing start.

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

As the two wanderers passed beneath the massive city gate a raven that always seemed to perch in one particular nearby spot raised its head and watched them keenly. As the bird observed the blonde move into the city it was suddenly overcome with a presence it knew since the day it was hatched. The bird let out a loud caw and took flight.

The raven flew through the town winding its way down alleys and over buildings until it came to the castle. With a heavy beat of its wings the small black bird ascended towards a massive balcony three quarters of the way up the tower and landed on the raised stone crenellations just outside the Witch King’s bed chambers.

“Oh, Tara Baby.” Willow moaned in ecstasy as the honey blonde wound her tongue through the slick, velvety folds at the redhead’s center. “Fuck Baby, don’t stop.”

Tara smiled into the paradise she treasured above all the other spoils her raids had brought to the citadel. Hearing Willow curse during their lovemaking always ignited passions deep within her. The warlord continued to work her tongue deep into her soulmate’s core. The feeling of Willow’s thighs pressing against the sides of her head and the continuous quivers and tremors of pleasure cascading through the redhead as she relentlessly stirred her love’s depths brought joy to Tara’s heart.

The thin, delicate fingers that wound through honey blonde locks spurred Tara onward as she lapped up the stream of concentrated lust pouring over and down her face and throat. The fact that she and she alone could bring such wanton need out in her love gave Tara drive and purpose unlike anything she had ever known.

“TAARRRRRAAAaaaaa!” Willow screamed as her back arched, sending her chest skyward and driving her head and ass into the mattress of the huge bed they shared. Tara felt every shock and quake of the orgasm that ripped through the slender frame of the woman she loved. The warlord wound her arms around Willow’s thighs and cradled the girl’s writhing stomach as she continued to slowly work her tongue throughout each and every aftershock. As they always strove to do, Willow and Tara rode out wave after wave of pleasure together.

Once Willow lay still, her breathing returning to something resembling a normal pace, Tara slowly pulled her tongue out of the glistening folds of her love’s center. She placed one delicate kiss on Willow’s still erect clit causing the girl to yelp in a mixture of delight and shock. Tara then kissed the dense red curls above the sensitive bundle and slowly worked her way up Willow’s body, lightly kissing a trail that elicited more moans of pleasure from the spent girl.

With heartfelt joy Tara reached her destination and captured Willow’s mouth with her own in a deep searing kiss that both young women moaned into, reveling in the sensations their lovemaking brought about. Willow brought her aching arms up and wrapped them around Tara as tightly as she could manage. Tara knew in her soul what this meant the redhead wanted and relaxed her body to allow all of her weight to rest on Willow. The inventor felt this and smiled into the kiss, overjoyed by the very tangible sensation of her love’s embrace and delighted that Tara knew her needs better than she did.

The Witch King and her consort lay there, wrapped up in each other’s embrace, completely naked. They kissed each other slowly and tenderly for several minutes. As the passionate kiss tapered off to a gentle brushing of lips they finally separated enough to look one another in the eye.

“I love you so much Willow.” Tara pledged to her heart.

“And I’ll always love you Tara.” Willow promised her soul.

Before they could kiss again the raven on the balcony cawed loudly and tapped its beak on the glass doors. Tara sighed as Willow smirked up at her love.

“Duty calls my King.” Willow said with a mildly sarcastic tone.

“You know every time you call me that it makes me feel like the butch one.” Tara replied with a wry smile.

“Oh my deepest apologies my liege I have forgotten myself.” Willow begged sardonically. “My tongue knows not its place as I have just been so thoroughly ravished by the great and powerful Witch King. Though I have claimed to prefer the company of young maidens on many occasions my King has still taken me unto his bed with such vigor I know not if I shall ever be able to walk straight again.”

“Very funny Sweetie.” Tara replied with light laughter. “Keep it up and I’ll show your tongue its place soon enough.”

“You promise Baby?” Willow asked with boundless hope seeping from her voice.

“Yes.” Tara said before turning to look across the room, through the glass doors, to the balcony. “Oh Goddess.” She whispered, causing Willow to follow her gaze.

“Isn’t that the gatehouse raven?” Willow asked. She had been trying to learn each of the birds Tara had spent so much time hatching and raising. Though not able to claim anywhere near the ability to identify specific members of the vast conspiracy, Willow was beginning to be able to recognize some of the constable of ravens that hung around the tower and city.

They both wondered if this bird had actually seen the one person that would be able to trigger the enchantment Tara had placed on him. As Tara was just starting to lift her self off the enthusiastic redhead the raven let out another loud caw and said one word.

“Slayer!” He screeched.

Tara and Willow looked to each other with overjoyed smiles. “She’s here!” Willow cried as she kissed Tara once again. “Oh Goddess please let it be Buffy.”

“I know Sweetie.” Tara said just as excitedly. “Quick. Let’s wash up and get dressed. We can both come out to meet her and welcome her into the kingdom.”

“I’m so excited Baby.” Willow replied with a laugh. “We’re finally going to get our friend back.”

The two rulers of the happy kingdom rushed to bathe and dress for the important event. Little did they know things would not turn out as smoothly as they hoped.

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

Faith ran into the citadel. She was on a mission. Quickly running trough corridors towards her private chambers, the brunette spared only the briefest of greetings to castle residents who had come to know her.

“Hey. How ya doin’? Gotta go.” She said with cheer as she sped past confused classmates and servants. She had good reason to hurry. This was the day her life would change forever.

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

“I don’t get it Giles.” Buffy said as she and her watcher navigated the town. “Everyone seems so happy to be here but after seeing all those slave cages out front I can’t understand why. This warlord they live under has rounded up hundreds of people but they don’t seem to mind.”

“They may have lived with the fear so long they don’t know any other way.” Giles replied. “What troubles me is the fact we have yet to see any slaves or even auctions and traders. Whatever this fiend is dong with them they aren’t being left out in the open.” He paused, considering darker thoughts. “Indeed I find it troubling that none of those cages contained a body or at the very least a skeleton to intimidate visitors. I am left to wonder where the bodies are being stacked up.”

The Slayer shivered at the thought of all those cages filled with corpses. She wondered briefly if the former occupants had suffered an even more gruesome fate before another detail drew her attention.

“Well judging by the streets they have very specific ideas about handling garbage.” Buffy remarked. “This really doesn’t smell like any other city I’ve ever been to.”

Giles wondered what she was getting at for a moment before the truth struck him. This city was spotlessly clean by the standards of its contemporaries. The simple fact that they were standing in the middle of a paved street and not on a dirt path covered in ankle deep human waste spoke louder than any other detail he had been searching for.

Suddenly Buffy felt a presence with her Slayer senses. Turning to look up the street the blonde saw what was unmistakably a demon. He had pale skin that hung in loose, saggy folds all over his body. His ears were pointed but floppy and sagged at either side of his bald head. His eyes were a deep crimson and hung above drooping cheeks. Buffy’s hand involuntarily reached for her sword before Giles put a hand on her shoulder to steady her.

“Watch him first.” Giles whispered. “Notice how none of the humans around him seem to take exception to his presence. He may be cloaked in a way that only our training can perceive.”

Just as Giles said that a man behind a produce stand looked up and saw the demon eyeing his wares. A bright smile spread across his face as he looked the demon over.

“Clem!” The man called with excitement. “How’s my favorite demon customer been? I haven’t seen you all week. The Missus was worried you forgot to wear one of your talismans.”

“Ha!” The loose skinned demon laughed. “I don’t ever go anywhere without five of these things tucked away.” Clem replied as he held up the silver pentacle hanging from a necklace around his wrinkly neck. “It’s great to see you Gary how is your wife doing?”

“She’s doing great ever since you told me about that herb.” The vendor said. “Found some and mixed it in her tea and her back pain just melted away.”

“She should still take it easy though.” Clem said. “If she overdoes it she could end up hurting herself even worse.”

“I know, I keep telling her to rest up and get better while I take care of things but she keeps insisting on helping out.” Gary admitted.

“Well just keep being there for her and maybe throw in a few foot rubs here and there.” Clem assured the man.

“Hey did you hear the news?” Gary asked. “The soldiers are bringing in a new caravan of slaves later today.”

“I heard.” Clem replied with a smile and nod. “I was gonna go down by the gates and see if any of them tickled my taste buds.”

“Ha, good.” Gary said. “The newbies always seem so surprised when they get brought in.”

As their conversation drifted to talk of produce for the salsa and dip Clem was preparing Buffy turned back to Giles. “So they’re bringing slaves here in large numbers and then feeding them to demons?” She asked.

“I’m not sure.” Giles remarked. “I was under the impression that loose skinned demons were something like vegetarians. Not one of the breeds that typically dine on people.”

“In any case it’s clear the people of this city are going along with whatever badness their leaders are brewing.” Buffy said. “I think I’m gonna have a fight on my hands.”

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

Faith exited her bathroom and hurried about the bedchamber to brush and dry her hair while laying out a few of the nicer clothes she owned. In only a few short months she had gone from not even owning the rags that barely provided her with a humane level of modesty to a complete wardrobe.

She settled on her favorite leather pants and matching black jerkin that gave her the ability to control just how much cleavage she wanted to display. If Alonna could really play up the role of wing woman and distract the guy she assumed was her potential soulmate’s dad then Faith could really wow the dazzling blonde with an even more dazzling view of the girls.

Just as the leather pants and vest were donned, and Faith bent to retrieve her nicer pair of boots, she heard a knock on her door. Muffled giggles came from outside and Faith rolled her eyes.

“D, for the hundredth time you can’t use my bedroom to pretend to “practice kissing boys” with your girlfriend.” Faith hollered through the door.

“Faith!” Came a shocked voice from the other side of the door. “Come on, open up so we can talk about what’s got you so worked up.”

Faith smiled at the almost petulant tone in the girl’s voice. She swore Willow and Tara dotted over Dawn almost as much as the girl’s own mother. The whip thin brunette was lucky to have a “role model” like Faith looking out for her and keeping her ego in check.

“Okay come in and ask me what you came for.” Faith replied as the door opened and Dawn Summers walked in and flopped down on the end of the bed.

“So, tell me already.” Dawn begged. “What’s the what?”

“I think I’m in love.” Faith whispered while staring off out her window.

“What?” Dawn shrieked. “Faith that’s amazing! I didn’t know you even knew what love is. Who is it?”

“Shit D, of course I know what love is.” Faith replied, only slightly insulted. “You think anyone could live in this castle with Blondie and Red and not know what love is? And I’m not just talking about them constantly running off to screw. I mean the eye contact, the hand holding, the almost constant touching. The whole deal.”

“Well yeah but I don’t think there are many people capable of what those two have.” Dawn said. When Faith gave her a curious look the young brunette hastily continued. “I mean comparing what the rest of us might call love to the thing Willow and Tara share seems like comparing stale beer to hundred year old wine. Technically they fall into the same category but they can’t really be compared.”

“If your mom, or Red and Blondie for that matter, heard you talking about fine wine they’d skin one of us. And it ain’t gonna be me Dawn.” Faith said seriously. “But you’re right. What they have is something the rest of us can only dream of coming close to. But a girl can still dream can’t she?”

“Of course.” Dawn assured. “So what’s this new heartbreaker like?”

“She so unbelievably beautiful.” Faith answered. “I was up on the gatehouse tower with Al and we saw her and this old guy coming up to the main gate. I’m hoping he’s just her dad and not some creepy sugar daddy. She’s a little on the skinny side but the curves she has are bangin’. Oh and blonde too. I only saw her from a distance through my spyglass but I can’t wait to get a nice, up close view of her eyes.”

“She sounds great.” Dawn said. “What’s your plan?”

“Soon as you give me a chance I’m gonna finish tying on my nice riding boots and go find out where around town Al has followed her to.” Faith said. “I’m thinking a horseback tour of the entire city. Show her some of the nicer fields on the back stretch. Maybe find a shaded spot to steal a few kisses. I’m already praying to Blondie and Red’s Goddess that she isn’t stuck in, what did they call it, boystown?” She finished with a questioning look.

“Oh like she’d really be the first straight girl you’ve ever gotten in the sack.” Dawn smirked.

“Hey watch it D!” Faith warned. “That could be my wife you’re talking about.”

“Wife?” Dawn asked as her jaw fell open. “Seriously? You’d settle down?”

“If I found the right girl then yeah in a heartbeat.” Faith answered. “And I got a good feeling about this one.”

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

Alonna followed the young woman and the man she figured was the girl’s father through the market. They stopped and watched Clem chat with Gary about the usual things the two men always chatted about then moved on. The way the girl reached for her sword at the sight of Clem worried Alonna more than she thought it should.

Alonna watched the strange blonde’s movements and recognized she carried herself, not as the average young woman did, but as and experienced warrior. The way she studied a scene without staring too long at any one individual occupying it. The way her hand gripped her weapon in a way that wouldn’t draw immediate attention. The way her eyes assessed her surroundings for possible dangers, weapons, and assets before moving on.

This girl Faith had lusted over from afar was trouble if Alonna ever saw it. As the afternoon had progressed her little fantasies about matchmaking and families slowly withered. Alonna could now only pray they didn’t start a fight over some minor misunderstanding.

“Hey Alonna, how’s tricks?” Clem greeted the ebony girl with a smile and wave.

“Hi Clement.” Alonna said with a tight smile. “I’ve been following these two people Faith and I saw enter the city earlier and I’m starting to get worried.”

“How come?” The demon asked with a droopy frown.

“Faith’s jaw practically hit the floor when she saw the girl and I said I’d keep an eye on her and see if I could introduce them later but this girl worries me.” Alonna replied. “I don’t know what but something says she’s trouble.”

“Need a hand playing detective?” Clem asked.

“No I’ll be fine Clem.” She answered. “You should be careful though. When they saw you earlier the girl reached for her sword expecting a fight. I don’t want you getting hurt if they start something over a misunderstanding or because they don’t know the rules just yet.”

“Gotcha.” Clem said with a smile. “I’ll leave you to it then. Good luck Alonna.” He said as he left for the city gates.

“Thanks Clem.” Alonna waved as he left.

Things were beginning to go sideways for the happy kingdom and for some reason Alonna was certain she was the only one to see it coming.

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

Fred was sitting on the balcony connected to the throne room. She looked out over the town’s central square and couldn’t help but appreciate how well her life had turned out.

“Well hey there Sugar Muffin.” Lorne said as he strolled up beside the thin lab assistant. “Lady Willow let you have the day off I take it.”

“Not much lab work gets done whenever Lady Tara storms in and throws her genius love over one shoulder and storms right back out.” Fred said with a smile. “I finished up the project we were working on and cleaned up enough to start fresh in the morning, but to be honest some of this is a little over my head. If I tried continuing without Willow I might blow up her favorite lab.”

“Well we wouldn’t want that now would we Sunshine.” Lorne said as he took in the view. “I always love coming here.”

“Me too.” Fred admitted. “They hardly ever use the throne room for anything aside from balls and parties. Plus the view from here isn’t too high up the tower. You can still get a good feel for the city and do a little people watching.”

“Ain’t that the truth?” A voice from behind them said.

“Doyle.” Fred greeted cheerfully. “And Harry! It’s been too long since I saw you guys, come join us.”

“We’d love to.” Harry said as she walked beside her husband and took a seat next to the young brunette. “Look Honey you can see our house from here.”

“Oh yeah, there it is.” Doyle replied as he sat behind his wife and wrapped his arms around her. “This really is the best place in the world to live.”

“No arguments here.” Lorne said as he stood and started to sing.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true


As the green man continued the song his voice carried out over the town square. Many people stopped for a moment to take in the beautiful performance. In what seemed like no time at all the human populace of the town had grown to accept the very small minority of demons their rulers allowed to live along side them. Lorne’s skillful singing voice went a long way to win the majority of them over. Few bards or minstrels compared to the green man and many who did were not half as easy to get along with.

Very public shows like this were just one more perk of serving the Witch King. As Lorne sang Roger and Trish Burkle along with Ira and Sheila Rosenberg and several other members of the castle’s staff came to the entry way of the balcony. The rarely used throne room had become something of a communal gathering point for the residents of the citadel and performances like this were only one reason.

Everyone on the balcony and within the town square below took time out of their already leisurely afternoon to enjoy life.

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

Willow dressed in some of the finest clothes she owned. An elegant yet tastefully simple emerald gown that hugged her few curves while still remaining somewhat modest.

Tara donned her armor for the event. She couldn’t wait to see the Slayer’s face when she removed the helmet. For some perverse reason that simple act had become one of her favorite tricks to play on those she met.

They found Xander and Gunn as the two men were returning from welcoming the newest liberated slaves to the city. More than a few of them already had family here waiting for them. As Gunn and Xander were about to report in the exact numbers Willow stopped them.

“Guys great news.” The redhead cheered. “She’s here. The gatehouse raven saw her enter the city. Isn’t it wonderful?”

Both men looked at the pair with utterly confused looks. “Who?” They said in unison.

Willow looked to them then to Tara and it dawned on her. “Baby, we never told anyone about her did we?” Willow asked.

“Oh Goddess we didn’t.” Tara muttered to herself. “How could we forget? I mean with the Academy I just assumed. But no one here has ever actually met her.”

“Well almost no one Baby.” Willow corrected, causing Tara to look up in shock.

“How could I forget?” Tara chastised herself. “Gunn go round up all the girls from the Slayer Academy and have them meet in the town square. Xander go find Dawn and her mother Joyce. Don’t tell anyone why but do tell them something wonderful may have happened.”

The warlord and inventor sped off out of the citadel gates and left the two men standing there wondering what could have been so important to cause this reaction.

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

Faith found Alonna following the pair of newcomers around the outskirts of the sparsely populated town square. She went to approach the petite blonde with a smile before Alonna grabbed her by the arm and dragged her off.

“Yo Al, what the hell?” Faith protested after the blonde girl was far enough away. “What’s going on? Oh don’t tell me you’re sweet on her now too. Damn it if I known you swung that way we could have had so much fun together, but you heard me call dibs on that sweet little blonde.”

“What?” Alonna asked before half of Faith’s statement registered. “Eww, Faith no, you and I are not going there, ever. We’re too far into the friend zone. Yes I know you called dibs, I’m not trying to steal her from you.”

“Then what’s up?” Faith asked slightly relieved.

“Something is strange about her.” Alonna stated. “She’s a strong warrior with skill far beyond her age would suggest. I think she’s planning something.”

“Damn it.” Faith all but screamed. “The one time I get my hopes up about anyone and it turns out to be either an enemy assassin or some skin walking demon struttin’ around in the shredded leftovers of my dream girl.”

Alonna froze for a second. “Dream girl?” She asked. “I knew you had a bit of a crush but dream girl?”

“Well look at her Al!” Faith demanded. “Don’t you just see her and me on a beach somewhere or snuggled up by a warm fire on one of those cold winter nights? Can’t I have dreams and romance too?”

“I’m sorry Faith.” Alonna apologized. “I knew you liked what you saw but I didn’t think you wanted anything more than one of your get some get gone deals.”

“Of course I wanted more.” Faith said. “You can’t just rush into one night stands with eyes like hers. Girl like that you got to romance first. A classy dame that fine is a marathon you train for. Not some three legged race at the country fair.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say anything that deep about someone who caught your eye.” Alonna whispered with slight awe.

“It ain’t all about the fuckin’ Al!” Faith retorted. “I get lonely too some nights. I see what Blondie and Red have and I want something a tenth that good. Someone worth getting out of bed for each morning and even more worth stayin’ in bed all morning with. Someone to hold me when I feel like I got nothing left but the pain.”

“I’m so sorry Faith.” Alonna said again.

“What did you see my lost cause do anyway?” Faith asked, thoroughly devastated.

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

As Willow, Tara, Buffy, Giles, Xander, Gunn, Alonna and Faith gathered in the town square just in front of the main gates to the citadel the stage was set.

The girls from the mysterious Academy began to trickle in. A few of the town’s more colorful residents came to see what the commotion was about. Dawn, her friends and her mother came as well and stayed off to one side of the gathering as the key players began to converge on the center of the forum.

What happened that day shocked everyone present. It was spoken of for years to come and many looked back to one moment in that fray as the turning point.

The instant where one decision altered the entire world.

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

“Do you see her?” Tara asked Willow.

“No Baby.” Willow replied, looking around almost wildly. “But I see him!” She cheered. “Giles! Hey Giles!” The redhead cried and ran off. Tara soon followed. If the librarian was here then the Slayer the gatehouse raven saw just had to be her.

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

“What?” Giles looked up startled to see a young red haired woman in a dress too fine for a commoner running up to him. Even more startling was the fact that she was followed by a figure in the most intimidating black armor he had ever seen.

“Giles, you’re here.” The redhead cheered. “We were looking for you for so long. You have no idea how glad we both are that you’re safe in this world. Tell me she’s with you. Please, I don’t know if I can take the suspense any longer.”

“Young Lady I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Giles said. He had no clue how they knew his name or if they knew any real details about his charge but the tone of familiarity with which she spoke sent a chill down his spine.

“Sweetie, he doesn’t recognize us remember.” The armored figure said as he stood beside the girl. “Mr. Giles please come with us. We have much to discuss and you and your student being here means the world to us.”

Giles practically began to panic as the extent of their knowledge became evermore clear. How could this foe the council had said almost nothing about know him? How could they know he wasn’t just a man wandering the countryside alone?

“I assure you Sir, I know not what matters you assume I’m involved in but I am of no concern to you or the goings on of this city.” The Englishman said half heartedly.

“Okay Giles, you don’t have to worry about us.” Willow said with an exasperated roll of her eyes. “Believe it or not we are friends and we know all about you know what and you know who.” She paused for a moment as if considering her next question. “Just please, tell me the Slayer you came through the city gates with was Buffy. Please tell me she’s still alive.”

The mention of her name and title knocked the wind out of Giles sails. Before he could react he noticed two young men in armor had taken up flanking positions behind him and a large number of young women had formed a semicircle at his back.

With a weary sigh he resigned himself to his apparent fate and looked directly at the dark figure he assumed was the fabled Witch King. With steel in his gaze and a sneer almost as dark as the one he wore in his Ripper days he spoke what could have been his last words.

“Whatever dark designs you have for this world and its people the Slayer will stop you.”

As the watcher finished his statement chaos broke out in the town square.

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

Tara almost didn’t react in time. The attack came from behind and the only warning she had was a deafening battle cry and a brief flurry of panic from the nearby ravens that were watching her surroundings.

“Die Sorcerer!” Buffy screamed as she drove her longsword at Tara’s back.

Tara spun around and deflected the blade upwards with one heavily armored forearm. With her other arm she reached up and pulled out her greatsword. The battle had begun.

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

As the Slayer and Witch King began to exchange blows Willow set aside the pain and panic overwhelming her heart and went to action.

“Everyone clear back! Give them room to fight! No one interfere unless it looks like she’s going for the kill! We need the Slayer alive!” Willow shouted as the crowd thinned and melted to the edges of the square. “Xander, Gunn! Hold Giles. Don’t hurt him but make sure he doesn’t get away. Girls watch and learn.”

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

“We don’t have to do this Buffy!” Tara said in the deep masculine voice her helmet projected. “Please, I’m not your enemy.” She said as she raised her sword to deflect another blow from the Slayer.

“Right, and I’m just supposed to believe that with everything I heard that demon living under your rule say.” Buffy retorted as she continued to strike. “Tell me are you feeding all of the slaves you abduct to demons or just the tasty looking ones?”

“No one is getting fed to demons in my city.” Tara said with such conviction the Slayer almost paused her attack. “You’ve been lied to. What did the council say about me to get you this worked up?”

“Stop trying to trick me monster!” Buffy shouted as she brought the sword in for another thrust. Tara dodged and managed to trap the Slayers blade in between her own and one gauntleted fist. With a twist Buffy was disarmed and thrown of balance. She didn’t go down without a fight though.

As the Slayer approached the ground she tucked into a tight ball and rolled. She then braced her hands against a spot on the cobblestone street and propelled herself back towards the Witch King feet first. She sailed through the air and connected hard.

Tara had forged and enchanted her armor herself to ensure it defended her from the vast majority of blows she could safely expect to come her way. Unfortunately she never expected to fight an enraged Slayer. A large piece of her left arm guard was shorn off and laying on the ground after the initial blow. Even with Buffy’s petite form the entirety of her Slayer strength focused on one point was enough to outright kill most opponents. As it was Tara barely survived the blow to her head.

As the Slayer’s boot glanced off the side of the helmet it was knocked loose. Tara recoiled back in a daze and with the wave of one arm sent the constable of ravens around the square to envelope Buffy before she reached the ground on the far side of the battlefield.

The Witch King’s helmet fell to the ground as honey blonde locks cascaded over ebony pauldrons.

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

“Giles please make her stop.” Willow begged. “We aren’t your enemy.”

“I’m sorry to say it will take much more than your word to convince me of that.” Giles replied drolly.

“You’re under orders from the council to slay the Witch King aren’t you?” Willow said drawing a briefly startled look from the man. “It’s that pig Travers isn’t it.”

“Oh so you’ve met Quentin then?” Giles asked casually.

“In another life.” Willow whispered as she turned back to see the fight take a surprising turn.

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

Tara looked up to the swirling mass of ravens and then pointed to the fountain in the middle of the square. They dove and circled just over the ornate sculpture. After a moment the Slayer came tumbling out of the constable and fell five feet into the water with a splash.

With an annoyed sputtering she stood up and glared at her opponent only to find her glare replaced with a look of utter confusion. “You’re a chick?” Buffy asked in surprise. “Have you been a girl this whole time or is this another trick?”

“No tricks Slayer.” Tara said as she leaned heavily on the pommel of her great sword. “I’m a w-woman, and though I may n-not have your Slayer strength or any of y-your other powers I’m more than strong enough to defend my kingdom.”

Just then an apple came sailing out of the crowd directly towards Buffy’s head. Without even looking she caught it in one hand. Both women turned to see a small boy standing on the edge of their battlefield staring daggers at the petite woman who invaded his home.

“Leave Lady Tara alone!” The boy shouted as his panicked mother struggled to drag him back into the crowd.

“Okay.” Buffy said quietly. “That was kinda adorable in a sad, scary way.”

“Everyone please stay back!” Tara ordered. “This will be over soon.”

“We’ll see about that.” Buffy said as she stepped out of the fountain and reached for the long heavily wrapped object strapped to her back. With the snap of a clasp and a flick of her wrist the strap holding the heavy leather shroud together fell to the ground. The Slayer slowly removed the leather coverings to reveal a weapon unlike any the assembled masses had ever seen before. In fact only one other person there beside Buffy and Giles had seen that weapon before this day.

“Oh no.” Willow whispered as the long metal and wood shaft of the weapon came out first revealing a sharp wooden stake at one end. “Please Goddess no.” The redhead said as she turned to Giles. “Why the hell is she walking around with that thing and still taking orders from the damn council?”

“The Scythe belongs to her.” Giles said with an almost smug grin. “Ever since she took it off that priest and his eyeless cult she has had it by her side.”

“Willow!” Tara called with a nervous tone that hadn’t been there before. “Is that what I th-think it is?”

“Yes it is.” Willow answered sadly. “It’s the Scythe. I don’t know if the war was already fought and won but if she has it and is still taking orders from the council it means the guardians are all dead.”

“So this just got serious then.” Tara said as she raised her sword towards the Slayer. The warlord had no hope of beating Buffy in her current state. She could already feel some of her wards straining under the sheer menace generated by the ancient weapon. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the one hope she had of taking Buffy by surprise and she smiled.

“It’s been serious from the start witch.” Buffy said as she dropped the last piece of shroud to reveal the wavy, red and silver blade fixed to one end of the Scythe.

“No it hasn’t Buffy.” Tara replied. “Believe it or not I w-was hoping we could sit down and talk about things. Maybe become friends.” Tara said as she slowly started stepping to the side readying the Slayer’s view for the shocking reveal. “But the fact that you are walking around with the w-weapon that was destined to remain hidden until the eleventh hour means this world is in far more danger than I thought it was an hour ago.”

“This weapon has helped me save the world a dozen times.” The Slayer shot back. “Someone like you would never understand.”

“Oh I understand Slayer.” Tara replied wearily. “I’ve heard more than enough stories of the countless deaths putting that weapon into play too early has caused. I may not have seen it before today but I know the council was never meant to get their claws on it.”

Without warning Buffy struck. She brought the Scythe up in a wide arc and hammered into Tara’s greatsword. She brought down blow after blow driving Tara to the edge of the square. Tara finally managed to lock her blade in between the shaft and blade of the Scythe.

“Hey Slayer.” Tara whispered. “Want to see something funny?”

“No more of your tricks witch.” Buffy yelled struggling to free her weapon and deliver a killing blow. She knew she could kill this tyrant. Even if she couldn’t make it out of this city she knew the next Slayer would come for the Scythe and avenge her.

“No tricks.” Tara assured. “Just look over my shoulder.”

Buffy spared a glance and finally saw the one thing she should have noticed from the start. She looked up into the terrified faces of her mother and younger sister. The family she thought died long ago was standing within arms reach and looking at her with fear in their eyes.

“Mom? Dawn?” Buffy said as she let her focus slip and her Slayer instincts dull just enough to turn the tide.

Without warning Tara delivered an armored elbow to Buffy’s face. The stunned Slayer loosened her grip slightly allowing Tara to fully release her greatsword and grasp the shaft of the Scythe with both hands. With one swift flurry of motion the Witch King wrenched the weapon from her opponent’s hands and sent Buffy flying across the square with a boot to the chest.

Before the Slayer could get back up Tara proved to her opponent and her citizens just how powerful a witch she was.

“Thespia I call upon thee. Bind my foe. Thicken!” Tara chanted as the air around Buffy hardened and held her to the ground. “Goddess hold her fast with your radiance. Prevent her from doing harm to herself and others.” Chains of light appeared around the prone girl and stopped all movement. With a decidedly vicious glare the Slayer whispered one final demand.

“Give me back my Scythe.” Buffy ordered.

Tara walked up to the bound warrior and held the Scythe up for all to see. She looked down into outraged hazel eyes and gave the defeated champion one promise.

“You’ll get this back when you prove to my girlfriend that you won’t try to kill us with it.” Tara declared before turning and walking off towards Willow.

“No, Tara please.” Willow begged as her love approached with the terrifying weapon. “I can’t. I’m not strong enough. I haven’t cast any spells since the day you found me. Please I can’t do it.”

“Take the Scythe Willow.” Tara said firmly. “You are the strongest person I know. I believe in you.”

With reluctance Willow reached out and grasped the ancient weapon in both hands. The familiar flow of energy poured into her and she had to struggle to remain standing.

“Hello darkness my old friend.” Willow said with a weak chuckle.

Without warning Tara reached out and held her love’s checks lightly in her gauntleted hands. There before all of the citizens of her kingdom the Witch King captured her love’s lips in a searing kiss that drove all doubt from their minds. Moments passed before Tara broke the kiss and Willow practically swooned.

“I believe in us. We can cast the spell together.” Tara said. The warlord then turned from her love and looked up to the familiar faces lining the balcony that overlooked the square. Once she found the person she was looking for she began doling out new orders.

“Fred!” Tara called the young woman to attention.

“Yes Lady Tara?” Fred responded immediately.

“Go to the lab and get the black bag from the red case hanging on the back wall.” Tara ordered.

“Oh god you mean the “Don’t!” shelf?” Fred asked in a panic. “Willow said never to touch it.”

“Things just changed.” Tara yelled back. “The one thing that shelf was meant to guard against just fell into our laps and we’re using it to change the world. Now move!”

With a yelp Fred was off and running into the castle. Tara then turned to see a hesitant Dawn and Joyce approaching Buffy. It broke her heart to ruin the family reunion like this but she needed to act quickly.

“Dawn!” Tara called getting the young girl’s attention off her long lost sister. “You and the girls need to get me out of this armor right now. We have work to do.”

The young brunette took one last look at her sister and then resigned herself to her duty. “Yes Tara.” Dawn walked over to the Witch King and began undoing straps and buckles holding the intimidating plate armor in place. She was quickly joined by Cassie, Lisa and Janice who had been watching the fight from different sides on the square.

“What about the fight.” Janice asked nervously. “Is she going to get up and try to kill us?”

“The fight is over. She lost.” Tara said coldly.

“Are you going to kill her?” Lisa asked causing Dawn to freeze up and stop mid buckle.

“Dawn look at me.” Tara said firmly. “Dawnie I will never kill your sister. Please believe me w-when I say that. I promise that I w-won’t kill Buffy.”

“But she attacked you.” Dawn said quietly.

“She was lied to.” Tara answered. “Some idiot who wants to destroy everything we built here ordered her to come here and slay the monsters running this place. That’s what she does. She’s the Slayer. She slays the monsters. They probably t-told her I was a dark wizard who has been stealing the souls of all the slaves brought here.”

“Actually they just told us a local mage had gotten far too powerful too quickly and it coincided with all the slaves in the surrounding kingdoms disappearing.” Giles admitted while Gunn and Xander held him by the arms. “We were to investigate but after we heard a demon and a local merchant talk about fresh shipments of slaves being tasty we assumed the worst.”

“Oh Goddess no.” A man in the crowd cried as he stepped up to the group. “Lady Tara I am so sorry.” Clem said. “I was talking to Gary about all the usual stuff we always talk about and I mentioned heading to the gate to watch the people you liberated come in. They are always so surprised when they see how nice the city is. Please don’t banish me.”

“It’s okay Clem this fight wasn’t entirely your fault.” Tara assured. “Giles I expect better from a trained watcher. Loose-Skinned demons are low level empaths who feed on basic emotions.”

“Oh dear lord.” Giles muttered.

Tara smiled as she went on. “Almost all the towns people living in this city are the freed slaves you were told had been stolen. I stole them from slave traders in all the surrounding kingdoms and gave them the choice to stay and help build our nation or take a horse and a weeks worth of rations and set out on their own. So far everyone has chosen to stay and help.”

“Well um, the council, can be vary convincing when, when.” Giles began to trail off before taking a deep breath and admitting his lapse in judgment. “I’m very stupid.”

As the last of her armor was removed and Tara stood there in the padded jerkin she wore under it she turned to Faith and Alonna. “Guys the second we finish what we have to do Buffy is going to break free. Stop her from taking back the Scythe or escaping.”

“Us?” Alonna cried in shock. “How? We’re no match for her.”

“You will be.” Tara promised. “Just believe in yourself.”

“I’m here!” Fred called as she ran up with the bag. “I got the forbidden thing you wanted. Why was it forbidden again?”

“It’s very simple spell components for a ritual we hoped we wouldn’t have to complete for a very long time.” Tara answered before turning back to Willow who was silently praying over the Scythe. “Come Sweetie. We need to get this done fast.”

Tara led Willow to the far side of the square from where Buffy was still bound and began to spread the ritual items from the bag in a circle around the two of them. They then sat down cross legged facing each other. Tara placed her hands beneath the spots where Willow’s slightly shaking hands clutched the shaft of the Scythe.

“I love you Willow.” Tara swore as sapphire pools gazed into nervous emerald depths.

“I love you Tara.” Willow replied with a slight smile as she set her fears aside for the task at hand.

Both women began chanting under their breaths as they held the Scythe between them. After a few minutes went by the circle of ritual objects began to glow around them. They both let out a gasp as light suffused the circle they sat in and spread out across most of the town square. A pillar of blinding radiance shot up into the afternoon sky and caused just about everyone around for miles to shield their eyes.

At that moment Buffy felt a surge like nothing she had ever experienced before. Alonna, Faith and all of the other girls enrolled in the Slayer Academy felt the same surge. As the light faded the girls realized they had been changed. Moments later they realized they liked it.

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

All across the world young women felt the same surge. Each and every one of them stood up and for the first time in almost all of their lives felt something completely new.

They felt powerful.

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

On the plateau of the great mountain the Witch King’s mining camp was built upon Snyder and Larry looked into the distance at the massive beam of light that pierced the heavens.

“Is it my imagination or is that light coming from the capital.” Larry asked.

“You’re not imagining it my boy.” Snyder replied with a worried tone. “Get a raven and send it to the city with a note asking them what the hell just happened and if we should seal up the mine or not.” The diminutive man wanted nothing left to chance. If the mysterious light show somehow interfered with the barrier then the only sane option was to seal the mine entrance and flee the mountain before nightfall.

Sure the vampires couldn’t cross the threshold on his small house but he had no idea if the barracks and garrison all the other men slept in fell under the same protection. Things could fall apart so easily if the magics they depended on broke down.

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

In the town square set before the entrance to the citadel of the Witch King several things happened all at once. Willow felt an overwhelming euphoria. She giggled and began to tip over. Tara caught her love and eased her gently to the ground so she could ride out the high she was feeling.

“Nifty.” Willow said with a chuckle.

“Rest my love. You did so well. Goddess I hope your hair turns back to its beautiful red after this is over.” Tara said soothingly. She would love Willow no matter what but she felt they both had a few more decades to enjoy before their hair turned white as snow. It was something they should have gone through together slowly over time.

Buffy roared as the last of her mystic bindings broke away and she leapt to her feat ready to fight again. She lunged towards the witches and her Scythe but was tackled out of the air by a toned and muscular brunette that wrestled her to the ground.

“Give it back.” Buffy cried before she looked up and her eyes caught sight of something that stopped her dead in her tracks. Deeply expressive brown eyes gazed down into hazel pools only a few inches away. Long brunette locks flowed down and encircled both of the faces. The false sense of privacy from the dark curtain allowed both Faith and Buffy to be lulled into a state of fascination with one another, almost transfixed by each other’s physical presence. Faith was sprawled across the blonde. Their chests mashed into each other. One muscular thigh pressed firmly between Buffy’s legs as both young women struggled to catch their breaths.

After a few moments the blonde realized the mysterious brunette was holding tightly onto both of her wrists. She began to struggle again but a desperately whispered plea stopped her cold.

“Please beautiful girl.” Faith begged. “Please don’t make this any harder than it already is.”

“Okay.” Buffy whispered back quietly. She didn’t know what it was but for some insane reason the dark haired beauty straddling her while clad in nothing but leather made the blonde Slayer feel safe.

“What on earth have you done?” Giles pleaded.

Tara looked up to see the man’s shocked and worried expression. She smiled at him, trying to reassure his fears about their supposed dark intents for he and his Slayer.

“We changed the world Mr. Giles.” Tara replied. “The rules are different now. Where th-there was one girl in all the world destined to die alone fighting the monsters there are now many.”

“How many?” Giles asked with wide eyes astonishment.

“Thousands.” Tara whispered.

“Oh Goddess I can feel them all.” Willow giggle as she rolled around on the ground in a dazed high. “So many Slayers like flecks of golden light dancing all over my skin.”

“Yes Sweetie.” Tara agreed as she turned to face the watcher. “From now on every girl who can have the power of the Slayer w-will have the power of the Slayer. No more sending one girl after another to her death until time stops.”

“Oh dear lord.” Giles whispered. The number of potentials the council knew about was widely known to be only a small fraction of the actual number. If there were really thousands of girls scattered across the world just now coming into their Slayer powers then the game truly had changed.

Before anyone else could respond to the news or ask Tara what was going on an ear piercing scream tore through the square. Tara spun to see Willow writhing in agony on the ground.

“TARA!” The girl cried as the white slowly faded from her hair and the natural red hue began to seep back in. “Oh Goddess Tara please don’t leave me Baby!” Willow begged as she flailed about wildly looking for her love.

“I’m here Willow!” Tara cried as she knelt beside her tormented love and wrapped her arms around the lithe young woman. “Willow Sweetie, please look at me. I’m right here with you. I love you Baby. I’m never going to leave you again. Stay with me Willow.”

“I’m so sorry Tara.” Willow cried out. “I trapped us like this, to suffer forever.”

“Hey don’t talk like that.” Tara shot back. “Every second I get to spend with you is a gift worth a thousand years of torment. I love you Willow. I wouldn’t give up all the lives we’re going to have together for anything. Stay with me Baby. We’re all we have. You’re all I need.”

The heartfelt plea seemed to get through to the suffering redhead. Her anguished cries subsided as she curled up, whimpering, in Tara’s arms. As the warlord clutched her love to her chest she looked up to see the entirety of her kingdom staring at her in horror. The sight of the young woman they had come to view as a genius visionary rolling around in a state of uncontrolled hysterical madness struck them with more fear than watching their king fight and almost lose to some strange girl with powers beyond their understanding.

Tara stood with Willow clutched in her arms and looked around the square at her subjects. She needed to put these fears to rest before something happened. “Faith, Alonna!” Tara commanded. “Take Buffy and Giles to the dungeon. Put them in separate cells next to each other and have no less than six girls from the Academy guarding them in shifts. They can have as many visitors as they want but no fighting and no one is to stand within arms reach of their cells. Gunn, Xander! Take the Scythe to the empty vault and post a guard of a least two dozen men at the door and in the corridor. No one is to so much as look at the weapon until Willow or I say otherwise.”

“Is Lady Willow going to be alright?” Someone in the crowd asked with a timid voice.

Tara glared in the direction of the voice. How dare they doubt her girl after everything they had done to make life in this wretched, primitive, savage world better for everyone.

“Lady Willow is going to be fine as soon as the backlash from the spell wears off.” Tara replied with false cheer. “Until then she will need nothing more than rest.”

Tara turned and strode right through the rapidly parting crowd and into the castle. She was done playing at being a leader for this day. Her girl needed her undivided attention.

As the new Slayers and the men in charge of most of Tara’s forces hurried to follow her orders an eerie calm spread over the city. Things had changed in the small kingdom and only time would tell if the outcome was for the better.

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:18 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Dibs-y Goodness...

Yay for excellent update-y goodness... I really hope those stupid council creeps don't cause any damage before they expire...

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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 5:21 pm 
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Cool updates!

This is still my Fav story at the mo, though i'm careless and forget to post feedback :(



I might be reading this wrong, but is 'Witchking-world' their first world after Buffy-canon world?

I ask because of Willow's comments in the magic backlash:

Quote:
“I’m so sorry Tara.” Willow cried out. “I trapped us like this, to suffer forever.”


It seems fairly immediate to me. Like, if they'd been through a whole bunch of lives together already, she wouldn't be saying that.

And i was really worried how far you were gonna take the Buffy-craziness. You really had me worried she was gonna kill someone. Whew!

And on the Prime timeline: Poor Faith!
Man, that's gotta suck. Waiting for Buffy to come round, it's really gonna hurt.

Anyway, can we have some curtain shopping for the girls? Maybe a day where they hang out and talk about stuff, rather than blowing stuff up? I'd really like to see their thoughts on the changed world of the Prime timeline.

Anyway, looking forward to the next bit! :bounce

Bravo!

R :flower

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:43 am 
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awesome update!

I'm curious if the next installment of the dark age chronicles will pick up directly after this one. It'd be interesting to see giles and buffy's reactions to learning what the kingdom is really like. As well as Buffy's reunion with dawn and joyce.

I also am curious if this is the first world with slayers since willow did the spell. I mean, I know they had to live at least one life between this and that one, because willow said she had to find tara and give her her memories and they had to rework the spell. so is this maybe their third life or something?

It'll be interesting to see what happens in this world with all the slayers in it but with the old counsel still in charge because of what the girls said early on about unlocking all of them eventually biting them in the ass.

Back in chap 10, it was sexy as hell to see take charge tara! I hadn't reviewed then. lol so thought I'd add that.

Also, a while back, when they were in boston, I forgot to ask. Was there a specific reason willow was worried about saga vasuki possibly hurting tara?

Can't wait for the next update. I'm still absolutely loving this story, and look forward to the updates every week.


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 Post subject: Re: Time and Time Again
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:20 pm 
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Hello Zampsa. The council is a very formidable foe, but the damage they can cause might not be as devastating as it seems at first glance.

Hi Azirahael. The exact number of lives they had prior to Dark Age Chronicles, and what went down in several key past lives will be answered in the next Dark Age entry. Willow and Tara both have some explaining to do after the mess in the town square.

Yeah, Buffy came real close to "Slaying" Tara. Especially after she pulled out the Scythe. There aren't too many tricks up the Witch King's sleeve that can deal with that Scythe.

Going forward we'll see that what really sets these four worlds apart is how many of their friends they can find and whether or not any are antagonistic towards the couple.

And in the Buffyverse storyline Faith still has a long road ahead of her. But the payoff will be all the sweeter in the end.

Yes, I promise they will get to do some curtain shopping and processing. The changes they have made will be addressed but they still have a few big changes to make before they can rest. Also it should be noted that there are more than a few 'Episodes' coming up where they can sit back and relax because they won't have to worry about a certain soulless vampire running around without his curse.

Hello Mysticrain. Yes the next Dark Age Chronicles entry will pick up with Tara storming into her castle with Willow in her arms. Buffy and Giles will become intimately familiar with the kingdom. Starting with the dungeons. And the Summers family reunion will take up at least a few pages.

Then Willow will explain what life they are on in grave detail. The fallout from unlocking all the potentials will have a lot of ripples throughout the rest of the Dark Age story. It will come back on them but it will also affect the council in unexpected ways. Willow will also explain what she meant in that early chapter by it biting them in the ass.

Yes the hotel scene with Take Charge Tara was fun. Going forward, even when I don't explicitly write the scene, it should just be assumed they defile every scrap of furniture and every surface in each and every hotel room they stay in. Why? Because they're hormonal teenagers and that's what luxury hotel suites are for.

As for Saga Vasuki's one and only appearance it should be noted that one of the things Willow is most ashamed of is the relationships she let drag on far too long in her first life after she lost Tara. It's a pretty sure bet that the one demon she ended up sleeping with back then showing up and asking for a three way with her and Tara is going to hurt someone's feelings.

Also, when Willow said that, a part of her brain was in panic mode that Tara would feel either jealous or disappointed about the whole thing. Hence the overenthusiastic performance in the shower scene immediately following.

Thank you all for reading my ramblings and for leaving such great feedback.

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