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

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:22 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Dibs-y Goodness! :banana

Yay for great update-y goodness... I'm really glad that Buffy has finally seen the light and accepted that Tara is really back and that there is naked fun time with Faith in the future...

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:49 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Hey Zampsa!

Congrats on the dibs :kiss1

Yep, it's really Tara.

Yep, there's Buffy/Faith smooches in the future.
Also Tara/Willow smut.
And Dawn... somebody.
And Giles... somebody else.
and Xander... yet someone else still.

I guess what i'm saying is... smoochies, yes?
Possibly i'm channelling my inner desire for smooches?
Uh, i guess it's kinda outer now.

Fair warning, those two get put through the wringer a bit.
I needed targets for some drama, and i loved our two favourite girls too much to put the hurt on them.
It's a weakness, i know.

But, no major/permanent character death, happy endings all around, i promise.
It's a Kitten-Safe™ Story :)

More soon :)

R

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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: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:52 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
In a related matter, many many chapters from now, there's talk of babies and pregnancy.
Now i know there's a polls thread, but it's prettywell dead, so i'll ask you guys:

If Willow & Tara were to be mysteriously pregnant; of the two, who do you think should be in the family way?
Willo? Tara? Both?
And why?

Yes, it would be magical, yes it would definitely be their child. :wtkiss


I have my own ideas, though nothing is set in stone.
I shall explain them, after i've gotten a few from you gals :)
I don't want to poison the well, so to speak. :kiss1

Let me know!

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: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:35 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Great chapter. Really liked how Buffy was so used to bad in her life that she had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light. Hopefully with most of the tears out of the way the Scoobies can get underway with living their lives.

As to mystical pregnancies I'd go with Tara for your story. Coming back to Earth with the half celestial template from D&D probably gives her a whole bunch of extra means of conception that Willow doesn't have. Unless Angelic light can get whip thin redheads preggers faster than human sperm. In which case have Willow balloon out all the way. But that brings up the unexpected prospect of contraceptive sunblock.

In any case go with the one that feels right to you. Or have one get pregnant and then twenty or thirty chapters later have that one knock up the other one in return.

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:52 pm 
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Hey thanks Citanul!

Wow, good stuff!

Definately gave me some things to work from.

I'll see if the others have anything before i set anything in stone, but i have some better ideas now :)

Thanks! :balloons

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: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:13 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Heya!

Early update, because i love you.
No other reason.
Enjoy!


Tara and Willow unpack


Tara stood on the rooftop of Slayer central’s largest building, a picnic basket clutched in both hands, and a bag of climbing equipment borrowed from Xander at her feet.


The evening breeze was refreshingly cool after the heat of the day, truly a breath of fresh air from the darkening sky.
Though it did nothing to reassure her.


She mulled over the day just passed.
She had been surprised to discover that Willow was practicing the craft again, and more than a little concerned.


Her concerns had been evaporated by nothing more complex than observing Willow teach.
Everything she taught was rooted in the craft, in the earth, and she taught from the pain of her own personal experience.


She had learned the hard, hard lessons that Tara had tried so much to steer her from.
But from that terrible pain had come wisdom, at last.


And Willow had been determined, fierce in her devotion, that her pupils understand that experience.
She had bared her pain to her students, and made them feel what it was like to fall into darkness.

It had been harrowing.



She had been so confidant, so sure of herself earlier.
She had told Willow to meet her on the rooftop of the three storey admin building and told her to bring a warm coat.
Willow’s face had lit up with joy at the prospect of doing something secret and special with Tara, and she had typed frenziedly at her computer in order to finish quickly.
She had reassured Willow that she had time, to come up at sunset, as it would take time to collect a few essential supplies.

And now here she was, standing on the rooftop of Slayer central, waiting, terrified.
She had promised Willow that all their secrets would be shared, and now she was scared.
She knew Willow loved her, there was no doubt whatsoever in her mind. And she loved Willow the way the Goddess loved the world. She believed in their love, but she would not be human if she did not have doubts and fears.


‘Human’ she thought to herself with a sigh, ‘there’s the irony.’

She thought back to their earlier conversation, remembering Willow’s panicked expression when she had said ‘I am not quite the same woman you knew’.
She knew Willow would always love her, that wasn’t in question, but she worried that she might break willow’s heart with each fresh revelation.

‘Am I really still the same ‘me’ that she loved?’ she thought.


Every other time she had entertained such thoughts, she had put them aside, driving them from her mind with thoughts of Willow. She could not do that now. not when it was Willow that she was revealing herself to.
She thought about her friend Anya. She would have some good advice here, something like: ‘Does she love you? Do you love her? Well go have orgasms then!’
She smiled sadly, remembering how Anya could be: terrifyingly direct, but honest like no one else on earth.

She missed her friend. Somehow Anya made everything seem easier when she was around: Name the problem. Destroy the problem. Orgasms.
She anxiously looked around the rooftop, no Willow yet.

She sighed, she had to tell Willow everything, she had promised and she would, but she could not help worrying about the impact her secrets might have. When they had been reunited she had been confidant, flush with the joy of their reunion. Now, in the cold light of day, her fears were getting to her.

Then Willow opened the door to the roof.
And just like that, everything was better.


+++


(Five minutes ago)

Willow was trying not to go crazy.

Here she was, luckiest woman alive, and she was stuck waiting like a child the night before Christmas!
She managed to lose a few more tiny moments by reminding herself that the Scoobies did not celebrate Christmas, they had Xander’s special Hanumastice holiday (The Best holiday!™, that incorporated all the best features of Hanukkah, Solstice celebrations and of course Christmas.)


She managed to lose a few more minutes going through the results of her search, her current project to track down and collect all of the old Watcher’s Council assets.
She looked out the window to see the sun touching the horizon, ‘Hey! That’s a sunset right?’ she thought to herself, and bolted from the room.

Moments later she rushed back in, to type a few important commands and close her laptop, before bolting from the room.

She returned again to collect her coat, wave her arms around frantically in silent panic and leave, for the last time.
She hurried up the stairs to the roof, and nervously juggled her woolly hat and furry parka in order to open the door.

And just like that, all was right with the world, Tara was here.


Music
A goofy smile spread across her face and the nervousness fled from her like water gushing from a broken jar.
She slowly bumbled her way to Tara, bouncing off one of the air-conditioning towers without a glance, not taking her eyes from Tara even for a second.
Willow came to a halt in front of Tara, her hands clasped slightly in front of her and looking down at her feet.
She looked up and said with a shy smile. “Hey Tara.”


Tara’s heart swelled as Willow came close. When she looked up from her feet and said her name, she melted with joy.

‘Dear Goddess I love this woman!’
“Hi sweetie,” she said, folding her beloved into a warm embrace.


Willow sighed a happy little sigh. All was well with the world. She was safe and secure where she belonged, in the arms of the woman she loved.

“I...” they both said simultaneously.

“You go first,” said Willow.


Tara paused, gathering her thoughts.
“I love you Willow. So much it brings tears to my eyes just to see you. How did I get so, so lucky?” Tara said wonderingly.


Willow’s eyes glittered. “You... I... We both were lucky. No. Blessed. I love you Tara, I love you so much. When I see you, it’s like I’ve come to life. I can’t believe that you’re here, that you love me.”
“I feel you, y’know? Inside?” Willow pressed her fingers against her breastbone. “When you look at me I can feel how you feel, and it just takes my breath away.”


“Me too. Goddess I can feel how much you love me. And it’s stunning, absolutely stunning.”
Tara tightened her arms around Willow. “But I can feel something else too. Something dark. Baby I can feel it eating at you, I can feel the shame and guilt.”

Willow tensed up as Tara said this.

“Baby, I have my own baggage to unpack too. Things I’m,” she paused. “Things I wish I had never done.”

Tara took a deep breath and let it out. “Willow, we have to be strong, we have to share all our bad things, all our um... strange stuff. I love you Willow, even your dark places. No matter what you do Willow, now or in the future, I. Will. Always. Love. You,” she said, clearly enunciating each word.

“Nothing can stop me loving you Willow. Tara loves Willow, it’s written on my soul. I can no more stop loving you than I can stop my heart from beating. I only hope you can still l-love me when I t-tell you... when I tell you... what I am... what I have d-done.” She stuttered to a halt.


“Baby no,” Willow said sadly. “What I have done...” she crumpled with shame.
“Goddess Tara, you’ll hate me. You’ll hate me and you’ll leave me, and I’ll deserve it.”


“Sweetie no!” Tara protested. “Buffy loves you and forgave you, for whatever you might have done, so did Xander and the others. I don’t know what it is that has you in such knots baby, but I can forgive you and I will stay with you to help you move on. I swear I will never leave you baby. I fought my way across another world for you Willow. I’m not going anywhere.”


Willow gently disentangled herself form Tara’s embrace to pace frantically around the rooftop.
“Baby, we had just made up. We had just started to put our lives back together, I had started making real progress on the whole ‘abuse of power’ thing, I had just regained some hope, we were going to fix it and you... you were taken from me. I was at my most vulnerable and-and you died.”
Willow’s woebegone expression of utmost vulnerability changed to one of burning rage.

“So I let go. All the holding back, all the trying to respect the power I had been given, gone. I had nothing left to live for, nothing. So I called upon Osiris and commanded him to give you back to me. He refused, said that it was done by mortal hands and could not be undone. So I hurt him, I tormented a god for refusing to give you back to me, and I made him scream.”


Tara shook, she could feel the rage and the fathomless loss radiating from Willow. Even as memories, the emotions were mind-scouring in their intensity.
“I went to the magic box, I tore the spells from the books of darkest magic, I absorbed every scrap of power I could get my hands on. I tore the power from Rack and I went after Warren.”
“Buffy and Dawn tried to stop me. I couldn’t let them. They wouldn’t get out of the way so I drove them aside. I hurt them. Xander too.”


Tears streamed down Tara’s face as she felt the holocaust of pain inside Willow. Even at one remove, the agony roaring through her soulmate clawed and tore at her sanity.


“I hunted him, tracked him, ran him down like a fleeing dog. I tore his skin from his body, I flayed him alive and then I burned the rest to ash. I wish I could have brought him back to life so I could kill him again. A thousand times would not have been enough, I wanted him to burn forever.”

Willows face was contorted with rage and limitless hatred. “It wasn’t enough. His friends helped him kill you, they had to burn too. Anyone who had a hand in the destruction of such beauty had to burn.


Tara was desolated by the emotions radiating from Willow, there was nothing to say, nothing that could be said in the face of that loss.


“It was Giles. He tried to stop me. He tried to talk me round, to fight me, to stop me. He failed.”
“That was his plan, to let me take from him the magic he carried. The magic of the earth, woven through with spells to connect me to the world. To show me the damage I was causing. It showed me the pain of the earth. But I was not strong enough, I couldn’t take it, I had to make it all stop.”


Tears spilled unheeded down Tara’s face. The white hot flame of Willow’s rage and hatred was gone, all that remained was her unfathomable despair and pain, the remnants of a soul burned to ashes.
She could not bear the pain, the loss radiating from Willow was unimaginable.
Had she known, years ago, that loving Willow would cause her beloved this kind of unendurable agony, she would have sooner died than met her, let alone dare love her.

What kind of world would allow such terrible pain to fall on such a bright soul?

“I found the buried temple of Proserpexa. Easy to do when you have that much darkness in you. It calls out, like to like. I tore the ruined temple from the earth and fed it enough rage to awaken the queen of hell.”
Willow’s face was filled with self-loathing of the deepest degree as she met Tara’s eyes. To look into those endless pools of blue, to deliver the worst blow, to feel the pain she deserved as the light died in Tara’s eyes.
“I made the earth scream Tara. I tried to burn the world, to kill every living thing on the face of the earth, our family, our friends. And I did it in your name. I spat on our love, on everything you stood for, on everything you taught me.”


She felt the pain caused by Willow’s self-hatred. Willow hated herself for what she had done, for becoming the big bad, for becoming something worse than anything that they had ever faced.
To feel that level of hatred was appalling. To feel it turned inwards so destructively was unendurable.
And yet she endured it for Willow’s sake.
This was Willow’s journey, this was what her soulmate had done and had lived through.


“It was Xander. Xander saved me, saved the world. He told me he loved me, he told me he’d sooner die than let me destroy the world. He told me he’d still love me if I did. I tore him, I beat him and still he stood, still he told me he loved me. He stopped me and brought me back.”
Willow’s tear stricken gaze fell to the floor again.
“I wanted to die, and he wouldn’t let me. So I lived for him, to make it up to him and Dawn and Buffy. And I tried so hard, getting rehabilitated in England, fighting the first, setting up this place while Buffy was away finding herself. They forgave me, they wanted me happy. So for them I tried. I tried to move on, tried to forget you and what we had. Even got myself a new girl to prove it to everyone, kind of the anti-Tara. I got so good at faking it, that some days I nearly fooled myself into thinking I was happy.”

“But all that time I just wanted it to end. Every day I woke up just a little more disappointed to still be alive. I died inside that day, with you. My soul was gone, I was just waiting for my body to catch up.”
Willow started to babble. “And then you called to me, you healed me, you told me you were coming home. You gave me hope, you gave me my soul back.”
Willow’s huge green eyes glittered with tears as she looked her beloved Tara straight in the face. “I don’t deserve you.” she said hollowly.

“But I don’t care!” she said fiercely. “I can’t... I can’t be Willow without Tara anymore, I can’t baby, I’m not strong enough, I tried so hard for Xander, for Buffy, they love me and want me to be happy, but I can’t be, not without my Tara, Willow loves Tara. It’s part of the world, like gravity, and without you my world flies apart, an-an now I’ve told you everything and now you’re gonna hate me an-an I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” she wailed.


She collapsed on the rooftop, curled into a tight, agonized ball of loss and suffering.


Tara ran to her and enfolded her as completely as she knew how.
“Never! Willow do you hear me? I will never hate you, I will never leave you!” ‘Goddess, help me!’

“Oh baby, how can you love me after what I have done? After what I tried to do? I don’t deserve it,” she wailed.


“Sweetie, I love you, but whether you deserve my forgiveness and love is not something you get to decide. I decide who I forgive. I decide who I love. And I choose to forgive you Willow. I choose to love you.”
“I could tell you about the good you have done, about the lives you have saved. I could tell you that it was unfair to put so much pressure on someone so young. I could tell you that it wasn’t your fault, that you should have had better training, that I should have helped more. I could say so many things.”

Tara stood and lifted a weeping Willow to her feet. “But these are things you know already. We can’t change what has happened. These things did happen and while I am not happy about them, all I can do is accept it and move on.”
“In the end, your family chose to forgive you. They chose to love you. And so do I.” She said cupping Willow’s pixie face with both hands.
“I swore Willow. I swore before the Goddess that we would always be together and that I would always, always love you. And I meant it.”


Tara opened her heart and soul to her Willow, her soulmate. She showed her the truth that could not be hidden. Willow’s agony and fear and self-loathing collided with Tara’s love. Simple, endless, love.

In a world of pain, Tara turned her heart towards love. Despite the pain and misery of her childhood, she showed the world love. And in the face of Willow’s misery, she showed her love.
Her soul opened to Willow, took her inside and comforted her.
And Willow saw.
She saw Tara’s bright glowing soul. She saw the endless depths of Tara’s love, and all of that love, every bit of it, every fibre of Tara’s being, was directed at Willow.

Willow saw herself as Tara saw her, all her strengths, all her flaws. Every one of them seen and understood and cherished. Even her weaknesses, the terrible things she had done, had done to Tara. Even those things that burned Willow’s heart with shame, were understood, and cherished.
Tara loved Willow. It was written on her very soul.

‘I love you Willow Rosenberg. Always and forever.’
‘Goddess!’

And in the face of that understanding, of that absolute and total love, Willows self-hate and pain vanished like fog before the noonday sun. Nothing dark could withstand that kind of adoration and acceptance.

‘Tara, you... you’re perfect.’


‘I... I’m not perfect Willow. I need your love and forgiveness every bit as much as you needed mine.’


‘Then give it to me Tara. Give me your burdens. Let me wash them away, as you have washed mine from me. Let me be for you, what you have been for me.’


‘I-I’ve done terrible things Willow. I’ve made mistakes that got people hurt or killed, I’ve killed people, made deals with vampires, betrayed those who put their trust in me. All for one reason, to get back to you.’


‘Tell me baby. Tell me what you did.’


‘I tried to do my best, be good Tara, kind Tara, gentle Tara. To be the Tara my mother would be proud of. And so I would not fight, would not kill. And because of that people got hurt, my friends got hurt. And so I started to w-wonder, was it arrogance? Was I really standing by my beliefs? Or was I arrogantly letting people get hurt, because of the choices I’d made?’
‘So I fought back, like my friends thought I should, and people died. I killed monsters, I killed savage beasts, but I also killed people. Savage people, people not like us. But people who had children, who had language and who built homes. I didn’t know what to do! I had the power, so I had the responsibility to do things with it, things that no-one else could. If I fought I hurt people, and if I didn’t, people still got hurt!’


‘Tara baby, stop, please.’



Tara looked up with a woebegone expression similar to the one Willow had worn only minutes ago.


‘You were in a situation that none of us can imagine or understand. Let me ask you this: did you do the best you could to help, and to not hurt people?’


Tara nodded sadly.


‘Then you did the right thing, the best you could under difficult circumstances’


Tara burst into words, shocking after their silent communion. “It-it’s not that simple! I was b-brought back by vampires to do evil! They brought me back to raise their queen w-when they could not. And I did it! That was the deal, I betray everything that light magic is and stands for, in order that I could see my girlfriend again. How selfish could I be! And I did it!”


Willow could feel something building in Tara, some horrible metaphor-boil that needed to burst.
She probed. “How baby? How did they bring you back, when vampires can’t use light magic?”


Tara gripped the railing and shook with horror, but she grated out the words. “An angel... they bled an angel dry... to bring me to life... to do their will.”
Tara looked at Willow with absolute horror written across her face.
“They brought me to l-life in a place where millions died. My life cost the l-life of an angel. A p-pure being, a higher being, a child of the heavens, slaughtered for m-me.”
The uttermost horror rolled from Tara in waves as she confronted the circumstances of her rebirth in the presence of her beloved, the reason for her acceptance of that rebirth.


Willow was lost. What did she say to something like that? This was survivor’s guilt from hell, this was...

“Good!” Willow burst out.


“What!?”


“I said good!” Willow repeated vehemently, getting an inkling as to how this could have gone.


“Willow! How could you-” Tara protested.


Willow put her fingers to Tara’s lips and spoke softly.
“In a minute baby I’m gonna do what you did, and show you how much I love you. But before you do that I am going to give you the benefit of some Willow-braining, ok?”

Willow spoke. “You said the vampires captured an angel, huh?”


Tara nodded.


“Okey-dokey, and this angel would be a being of light-ness that could do your resurrection, else why bother capturing it?”


Tara nodded again.


“Baby? Do you think they would let it go once it had done the resurrect-y thing?”


Tara shook her head mournfully.


“So that poor angel was dead anyway, whether you were there or not.”


Tara nodded sadly.


“You said the vamps needed a pure soul, pure enough that even they could spot it, right?”


She nodded again.


“So this angel knew it was dead either way. And it knew you were a pure soul when it met you.”


Tara nodded slowly, obviously wondering where Willow was going with this.


“The only way any good was going to come from this situation was if it gave it’s life to you, to bring you to life, because if it didn’t, it was going to die with nothing to show for it.”


Tara slowly nodded, starting to understand where Willow was headed.


“Tara, baby? An angel wasn’t murdered to bring you to life. An angel gave up its life so that you could live. Your life is a gift baby, a gift to you, to me, to us all. From a dying being who wanted to bring some light to the world,” Willow said in as reassuring tone as she knew how.


“How is that better?!” Tara cried.


“It’s a choice baby. Just like your choice: you chose to love me. That angel chose to give its life for you.”
She said fiercely. “A choice I would make in a heartbeat. Any of us would. And Buffy and Xander nearly did.”


Tara looked shocked.


“Do you hear me baby? I would die for you. Gladly. I would die over and over again for you Tara. I would pay any price. Buffy, Xander, Dawn, Giles. Every single one of them would give their lives for you. They all love you that much. Because we choose you, we choose you over anything else, same as the angel.”


Tara’s expression was tearful, grateful, awestruck.


“Buffy nearly went mad after you were shot, Dawn screamed for days. Xander... he held us together, he... looked after you. He stayed with you while I tried to tear down the world. He did what no-one else could, arranged for the funeral, everything. It nearly killed him baby. And then after all that, he came and got me out of the deepest darkest hole in the world. No-one could say your name or see your picture without falling apart, the loss was just that intense.”

“Tara? Swear to me you won’t tell anyone what I’m about to tell you. Please?”


Tara took in Willow’s expression of pleading, seriousness and tears. She swore. “In the name of the Goddess, I swear I will keep this secret.”


“Giles doesn’t... doesn’t know that I found out, but when I was at the Devonshire coven, getting rehabilitated. He...” Willow choked up.

”Tara, he found a ritual, he... found a spell that can bring back the dead. A true resurrection, a spell of light. I’ve seen the spell, it would work. But it’s blood magic, for all its basis in the light. And with blood magic like that, only a life can replace a life. And with light magic, it has to be a life… given willingly.”
She looked Tara in the eyes.
“He tried to use it. Giles tried to give his life to bring you back. Baby he loves you, he loves us all so much, that... that he tried to die to bring you home to me. To us.”


Tears rolled freely down Tara’s face as she heard Willow’s testimony, a testimony of love, of grief, of how much her family was hurt by her loss, and how much they were willing to give up for her.


“That’s why he has a scar on his wrist, it was part of the ritual. The spell failed. Now I know it’s because your soul was not there to be called back. But if you had been, you would now be alive and he would be dead. And I know Giles, he would be happy with the trade. Because he loves you. And I love you.”

With that Willow opened her heart to Tara, to the person she loved more than life. Willow’s soul burned. It was glorious, a thousand rays of light, of passion flickered in every direction, green haloed with the gold of her love for Tara. It was powerful, vast, the strength of it took Tara’s breath away. Every fibre of Willow’s soul burned for Tara with a power that outshone the sun. At the heart of the firestorm was Tara, Willow’s image of Tara, and it was so heartbreakingly beautiful that it stole her thoughts. This was what Willow saw when she looked at her.


And somehow, impossibly, Willow offered it to her. She offered Tara her soul to keep safe, the deepest part of her, her secret innermost heart, offered up, for love.


And Tara accepted, with a kiss, a kiss that brought healing, that mingled their souls together.


+++


The wind ruffled their hair. The rooftop was silent save for the wind.

Eventually they parted, slightly dizzy and starry-eyed.


“Wow”


“Uh-huh.”


“We’ve been saying that a lot lately.”


“Yup. It’s all with the amazingness, oh yes.”


“I never want to stop having ‘wow’ moments with you sweetie.”


“I am definitely voting in favour of more wowiness.”


“Ready for one more? Before I lose my nerve and chicken out?”


“You mean...” Willow waggled her eyebrows suggestively.


Tara stifled her giggles behind her hand. “You know you look awfully like Groucho when you do that.”


“Nyuk! Nyuk!” said Willow.


“That’s Curly,” Tara replied.


“Poop. It was the only thing I could think of in a hurry. And hey missy, when did you get the time to get all crazy knowledgeable with the Marx brothers.”


“Anya. When you were study-girl and Xander was working late, we would hang out and watch movies sometimes. Xander has every Marx Brothers movie ever made so...”
She shook herself. “There’s one more thing I want to deal with tonight, then I want to snuggle up with my Willowtree and watch a movie with the gang. Or something else equally low stress.”


Willow’s brow wrinkled slightly with trepidation. “Um, ok. I’m all with the readiness and suchlike, hit me, only not actually hit me ‘cos it’s pretty bad form to beat up your girlfriend, unless her name is ‘Buffy’ in which case Faith calls it ‘training’, and you should probably forget that I said that, so I guess what I’m saying is... um, ready I guess?”


Tara smiled, basking in the Willowbabble. She raised an eyebrow at the Buffy-Faith revelation and Willow cringed slightly.
She let it go with a small nod and a small ‘phew’ of relief from Willow.


“I told you that the vampires sacrificed an angel to bring me to life.”


Willow nodded slowly.


“Well that effectively makes me part angel. That makes it easier for me to deal with light magic, gives me issues with dark magic and, um gives me the ability to fly,” Tara said.


“Really? that’s pretty cool, I picked up a flight spell a while back that I’ve been wanting to...” Willow trailed off.


Tara closed her eyes and let her magic flow, unfolding her wings, stretching them out wide across the rooftop. She glowed in the twilight, illuminating the rooftop with a soft white glow.


“Wowwie,” squeaked Willow breathlessly.


Tara opened her eyes and looked at Willow’s awestruck expression.
“Th-this is what I meant by ‘not quite the same Tara you knew’ a little w-while ago. I didn’t want to h-hide this from you, but I didn’t want to freak you out either, um.”


A wonder-struck Willow slowly reached out and stroked one of Tara’s snow white wings, feeling the softness of it, the heat of it against her skin.


Tara spoke as Willow ran her hands along her warm and living wings. “I, um, had a hard time coming to terms with this, w-with not quite being who I thought I was. I had a long struggle to find out who I really was, who I wanted to be.”
Tara looked a little nervous as she watched Willow’s face.


“Goddess, but you are beautiful!” Willow breathed. “Is this why your hair is white?”


“Um, no. That’s what happens when you use lots and lots of magic for a long time, it leaves its mark on you. In my case it changed my hair colour. It’ll grow out eventually if I stop using magic for long enough. I don’t see that happening somehow, not around you and Buffy,” she said with a wry smile.


“Weirdly, it’s times like this that I miss Oz, he’d just say something like ‘Angel. Huh.’ And then get pizza.” Willow realized where her wandering brain had taken her. And panicked.
“Not that I miss-miss Oz, y’know, he’s cool an all, but I’m a happy resident of girl-town now, no! I’m-I’m a happy resident of Tara town, yup that’s me: all Tara-tastic, and I’m sorry I mentioned Oz, I know you’re a bit wiggy about him what with the whole ‘trying to eat you’ thing, and you’re supposed to stop me before a get all crazy-fied and strange.”


“Breathe sweetie, just breathe.” Tara said with a smile.
“I’m ok with you and Oz. You two were really close and I don’t want to do some ‘butch possessive girl’ thing and stop you being friends.”


“Oh. Yay?” said Willow.


“Are... are you ok with this Willow? W-with me being different? N-not quite the same Tara you knew?” she stammered.


A determined expression came over Willow’s features. “Let me say a muchly ‘yes!’ to that question. This is part of you now. It is all of the suckage how you got them, but these wings are Tara-wings. So I love them as much as I love Tara-lips and cute Tara-ears and all the rest of the Tara goodness. I would love you in any shape. It doesn’t hurt one bit that the shape of the Tara goodness is very pretty, but I meant it, you’re my Tara. I love you always and forever, in any shape.”
Tara folded her wings across her back and hugged Willow tightly.


“Hey Tara, it’s ok. I probably would have felt the same if I was in your place. Like, ‘hey, I know she loves me, but what if this is one too many things in a hurry and I break her brain?’” Willow said quietly.


“I know I shouldn’t have worried but...” Tara shook herself from her reverie and looked at Willow, smiling her special smile, the one reserved for Willow.


“Even when I’m at my worst, you always make me feel special”
Willow’s smile was radiant.


“How do you do that?” Tara said


Willow replied softly, and with joy. “Magic.”


+++


“So... um, ah and other sounds of hesitation,” Willow said shyly.


Tara smiled. “Sweetie it’s ok. If there’s something you want to ask me, you can. I think we are a little past the nervous stage.”


“Tara? Um, can you take me flying with you?” said Willow, still slightly nervous.


Tara smiled and rummaged in the bag of gear she had borrowed.
She held up a purple climbing harness. “Tada!”


“Wow, check out you, all prepared-gal. You should have been a girl scout.”


“I was, for a little while,” Tara said with a shy smile.


“Neato! I gave that a try once with Xander when we were both little. For my nature badge I successfully found poison ivy, with my face. For rope-work I successfully managed to tie myself up, and the less said about the camping trip the better. The glories of nature are best observed from a safe distance, possibly from the other side of thick glass.” Willow babbled.


Tara smiled, basking in the babble. “I know how you feel sweetie. Growing up on a farm I learned to work with animals, which was pretty cool, but I never really got the hang of the whole ‘one with nature’ thing.”

Tara sighed. “Being Wiccan, or any kind of pagan, teaches you to revere nature, but it doesn’t grant any kind of automatic familiarity with it. Lighting a fire and maybe pitching a tent are about my limit. I’m a rural witch, not a wilderness witch. Kind of embarrassing when everyone thinks that, because you have fur-trimmed gear and spent time with druids, that you are big knowledge woman about the wilds.”
Tara untangled the harness as she spoke. “I think I need you to help me with this Willow, I don’t think they had winged people in mind when they designed these things.”


“Differently-abled. You’re differently-abled ‘cos you can fly and pretty much everyone else can’t.” Willow said in a ‘just so’ tone of voice.


Tara smiled slightly. “Very politically correct my love. Now can you help me get these straps over my shoulders without getting them tangled on my wings?”


“mm-hmm, I’m all with the helpfulness here,” Said Willow. “But how is this going to work with you wearing a long skirt?”


“Undress me sweetie?” Tara said with a quirky smile.


“Buh... I’m sorry, Willow-brain just shorted out. Service will resume shortly.”


“Don’t panic sweetie, I’m not suggesting we get sky-clad on a rooftop, just take my skirt off.”


Willow grinned and slipped her hands around Tara’s hips to get to the buttons at the back, snuggling in close as she did so. Tara breathed in the magical scent of Willow, a mix of her strawberry shampoo and the unique smell of Willow herself. ‘Goddess, I am never going to tire of this.’
Willow slowly slid the skirt down over Tara’s hips, kneeling as she did so. She pouted slightly as she realized that Tara had a pair of track pants on underneath.


Tara smiled again. “Flying while wearing a skirt is um, alarmingly breezy. So these days I usually make sure I’m wearing something like cycle pants under my skirts and dresses.”


“So no Marilyn Munroe impersonations for you then,” Willow quipped.


“Not unless you ask nicely baby, but that can wait until later. Help me with this please?” Tara said.


After some minutes of rearranging and fiddling with the straps, they managed to figure out how to fit it comfortably around Tara’s unique form. They had a much easier time fitting the other harness to Willow, though she had to make a hurried trip down to her room to get her own track pants.

Soon the two were stood atop the ventilator stack, looking down at a slightly more than three storey drop to the rear courtyard.

Tara intoned a spell with due ceremony. “Goddess grant me the strength to carry my love to the clouds, let me show her the wonder of the sky, let her see your world beneath her in all its glory, in my love’s name I ask you to grant me this gift.”
Tiny sparks of blue and white swirled about her for a second or two as her request was granted.
“I won’t drop you baby, I promise.” Tara whispered in Willow’s ear.


Willow replied softly “I trust you.”


Tara’s heart swelled as she heard the words, freighted with special meaning for just the two of them.
“Then hold on, because this is going to be intense.”
And she jumped, bringing her wings down with a powerful snap.


Willow screamed as they hurtled into the sky.
“Aaaaiiiiieeeeeewoooohoooooo!”


+++


Clouds lay beneath them. Thick and rumpled, glowing in the moonlight, a landscape of dreams.
The two lovers flew, the silence broken only by the sound of Tara’s steady wingbeats.


‘This is so beautiful, magical. God I’m glad I could share this with you baby,’ Willow sent on their newly discovered private channel.


‘This is something I wanted to share with you for so long sweetie. It almost makes all the struggling and fighting worth it. This makes up the rest,’ she sent, clutching Willow tightly in a cuddle.


Willow leaned her head back into Tara, rubbing her cheek against her beloved.
‘How many girls get to say they snuggled with their honey above the clouds?’


‘Like this? Two.’
Tara sent with a smile, nuzzling Willows neck.


‘I could stay up here forever with you.’


‘Me too, though even with the blessing of the Goddess, this is hard work.’


‘Am I too heavy?’


‘No sweetie, you’re perfect, but flying is hard work, even with magic helping out.’


‘Suddenly I’m finding myself motivated to figure out that flight spell. And get some goggles. Aren’t you cold baby?’



Tara chuckled, a sensation that sent happy shivers down Willows spine as she felt her girl moving against her back, her breath blowing warmly on her ear.
‘I’m plenty warm from the workout, and the company’ she sent, nibbling on Willow’s ear.


Willow shuddered in delight ‘Oh Goddess,’ she sighed. [/i]‘We should, uuuhhh, get back’[/i]


Tara whispered in Willow’s ear “Oh yes,” prompting more happy shivers from Willow.
She looked at the landscape visible below them, much of it was covered by clouds, and most of the rest was forest or lake.
‘Sweetie, where are we?’ Tara sent.


‘Well, normally I’d look up the GPS on my phone, but I didn’t bring it with me,’ Willow sent.
They looked around below them, visible through the clouds was the lake, and two separate glows of city lights.


‘I have my phone, but I haven’t got the fancy parts set up yet.’


’May I?’
Willow asked.


Tara rummaged in her zipped-up pocket and handed Willow the phone.


She fiddled with the phone and said ‘Yup. It’s not set up. Luckily it has everyone’s numbers on here. I have an idea: Xander will save the day.’


‘I bet we get great reception up here’
Tara sent.


Willow hit the speed-dial for Xander and waited for him to pick up.


Xander’s voice soon made an appearance. “Hello?”


“Hey Xander! Me and Tara are um, out and about. And we got lost. We can see two big sets of lights from here by the lake. Um, is the lake north of town or south?”


“Hey Will! It’s north of town. How did you manage to get lost? The lake’s only a couple of miles away,” he asked.


“Uh, we weren’t really paying a whole lot of attention, and there’s a lot of cloud cover tonight, um, which makes it dark and not easy to navigate by.” Willow hurriedly explained.


“Well hey, if you can find the lake, just look around until you find a signpost. Did you want me to come pick you up? I can hijack Buffy’s jeep if you like,” he said.


“Thanks Xander, but we’ll be ok, it’s not too far away, we’ll be back soon.”


“What’s that sound?” he asked.


“Um, whoo! That wind is really picking up, gotta go!”


‘Baby, we need to head for the lights south of here,’ Willow sent, feeling very pleased with herself.


Tara circled slowly to take in the two glows of distant lights, ‘Sweetie, which way is south?’


‘D’oh!’


‘Let’s go down by the lake and find that signpost,’
Tara suggested.


‘We can stroll around the lake! It’ll be like our first date, only by surprise and not exactly our first date because: hello, we’ve dated before, and not exactly the most romantic at night time, but hey at least it’s a nice night, and this babble thing is so much easier when you don’t have to breathe.’


Willow’s back was treated to another rippling massage as Tara laughed silently. ‘It’s perfectly romantic. A moonlit stroll with the woman I love, is the very definition of romance.’


Willow reached behind her and tickled Tara’s ribs, unfortunately getting an earful as Tara squealed at the unexpected assault on her sensitive ribs.
‘Oh you! You... you sneaky girl!’


It was Willows turn to laugh at Tara’s response, though it felt wonderful to have her wiggling against her back. She soon learned a lesson about why you don’t annoy the pilot.

Tara folded her wings and dove for the shoreline of the lake, Willow shrieking her head off, like a child on a rollercoaster.


Tara didn’t dive for too long, and she spread her wings to gently glide into a clearing on the forested shoreline.


Unfortunately they were not alone.


+++

_________________
“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: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:48 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

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Really enjoying the story so far. I'm still catching up but I thought I'd throw in my two cents about the pregnancy thing. I think it should be Willow that gets pregnant. There's a lot of pregnant Tara stories out there and not as many pregnant Willow ones. Also I have a soft spot for pregnant Willow, I don't know exactly why. I hope you continue soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:31 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Aww, thanks Guineapigpwr :blush

I'm slowly forming an idea, based on what my penpals, and the kittens have to say.

Most folks agree with you.
In most W/T baby stories, Tara's the birthing mom.
There's a good one, (Willow's child) where they manage to both be biological parents, and neither of them give birth, which was fairly unique :)
But yeah, most people (so far) seem to like the idea of Willow pregnant.

So i'm going to try for something a little different, without being too weird.
But i haven't done anything yet, still formulating ideas :)

In any case, it is MANY chapters away.

New update this weekend.

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: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:58 pm 
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Damn if that light hearted first flying lesson chapter didn't turn out to be a real tear jerker from the start. Great bunch of rooftop and aerial scenes. Now that just about everyone's deepest darkest secrets are out in the open and more or less dealt with things might start to look up.

Speaking of looking up, I can't wait to see who they almost landed on top of in that clearing by the lake.

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 16)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:05 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Hey Citanul!

Uh, 'scuse my disorganizedness, but i should have put up a chapter a couple of days ago.
I was actually formatting today's episode when you posted :P
So you won't have to wait long for an explanation.

Now you get to see how high level witches deal with everyone's favourite badguys.

later on you get to see both our favourite girls really lose it and cut loose.
But today... butts are kicked, and new friends are made.

Just gimme an hour or two...

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: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall (Ch 19)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:58 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
So here's the next ep, enjoy!

Also, i'll be going back to fortnightly updates.
Better to space it out and finish on time, than give you everything, and then wait forever while i finish it.



Light into Dark places


Tara and Willow landed in the clearing almost silently, and easily began to unhook themselves.
Then they registered the growls and shrieks of dismay.

Although they were in a clearing, there was noticeably less light available than there was out in the open air, and growling shapes could only be dimly made out.
Reflexively, Tara grasped Willows hand and murmured the words of a spell under her breath, casting a protection spell over herself and her beloved.
A faint shimmer washed over them both as the spell took hold.


“I think some light is needed. Get ready baby,” Tara whispered.

Willow nodded.

Tara murmured the words of one of the first spells she had learned, both in her new life and in her old one. “Fiat Lux!”

Pale golden light shone down from above, slowly gaining in strength. It illuminated the scene without blinding, and it revealed a scene both women had seen many times before.

Two cars were parked in the clearing, and a half-dozen vampires were attacking the couples in each car.


‘Ooops! Lover’s lane and vampires, never a good combination,’ Willow sent.

The vampires looked around, clearly alarmed by the influx of golden light.
One car had been broken open, the door wrenched off its hinges and the female occupant dragged out onto the grass.
The man was still in the car fending off the other vampire with kicks to the face.

The second vehicle was an old model jeep, clearly made of sterner stuff, as the vampires had yet to break in. The cracked and starred windows suggested that it would not be long before that changed.

The two witches clasped hands and let their power flow.
Willow was stunned at the power that flowed into her from Tara, though no less than Tara was at the avalanche of power from Willow.

‘You take to ones on the left, I’ll handle the right’ Tara sent.

Willow raised her hand and made a clenching gesture at the two vampires on the jeep.
“Ignio!” she shouted, her voice crackling with power. Two of the closest vampires erupted into blue and orange flames, screaming and writhing as they were consumed from within in mere seconds.
They left nothing but ash and a foul smell.


Tara gestured and an intense bar of burning sunlight lanced out from her hand into the chest of the nearest vampire.
The vampire exploded into dust before he could scream.
A second vampire met the same treatment moments later.


The remaining two vampires turned and ran. They did not make it far before one caught fire and the other was impaled on a bar of blazing sunlight.


‘Wowwie! That spell is bright, all I can see are purple lines!’ Willow sent as she blinked and waved her hand in front of her face.


Tara winced, ‘Sorry sweetie, I forget sometimes. It doesn’t get to me the same way.’
‘We should talk to the people and make sure they’re ok. Are you ok?’
She asked.


‘Yup, just don’t ask me to read anything for the next few minutes,’ Willow replied, blinking furiously.
Tara squeezed her hand and left to check on the occupants damaged car, while Willow hurried over to the jeep.


“Are you hurt?” Tara asked the fallen woman.
A good deal of blood was visible on her shoulder.


The woman winced and nodded painfully. “I think my arm is broken, and I’m pretty cut up,” she said in a watery voice.


“Let me see,” Tara said, kneeling beside her.



“Hi! I’m Willow and I’ll be your rescuer tonight. Are you ok?” she chirped at the jeep.


Willow was surprised to see the door open and an alarmingly tall, broad shouldered woman stepped out.
“Thank you for the rescue Willow. I’m Mary and this is Bridey,” said the enormous blonde woman, brushing off her jeans.
Willow noticed a faint twang of accent that she couldn’t place. Maybe English, maybe something European.


“This has been a hell of a date! Vampires, angels and magic! How are you gonna top this honey?” said Bridey as she bounced out of the other side of the jeep.
The tiny dark haired woman waved a small cross experimentally at Willow.


Willow smiled at her. “I’m Jewish.”


She looked down at her cross, puzzled. “Does that matter to vampires?” she asked.


“Nope. A star will hold them off just as well, but crosses are usually easier to come by,” explained Willow.


Mary smiled. “We’re ok Willow. We should see how those other guys are doing, I think they are in worse shape than us.”

When the trio made their way over to the wrecked car Tara was chanting quietly. Sparkles of blue and white were enveloped the woman’s injured arm. As they watched, the bloody gouges in her shoulder closed, leaving healthy pink flesh. The unnatural bend in her arm straightened as the woman gasped.


“That is so cool!” cooed Bridey.


“Wow,” said the woman on the grass, her voice a little stronger. “That feels incredibly strange. But better though, definitely better.”


Tara smiled. “By this time tomorrow it will be as good as new, until then, keep your arm in a sling, otherwise it will heal bent.”


“Wow again. That is amazing. So, vampires, angels and magic. All real huh?” the recovering woman said.


“I know, right! This is amazing!” Bridey chirped.


Mary groaned. “Yeah, on our next date we’ll get attacked by werewolves.”


Willow flinched slightly.


Mary spotted it. “Don’t tell me. Werewolves are real too?”


“Um, yep, the whole ball of evil wax: Demons, vampires, witches, evil warlocks... Oh! And secret government monster hunters,” Willow babbled on.


“Are either of you hurt?” Tara asked, interrupting the flow of supernatural explanation.


“Naw, they didn’t wanna mess with my girl here,” said Bridey. “She’s wicked good with a knife.”


Mary shrugged when Tara raised an eyebrow. “I’m a chef, I work with knives all day.”


“A chef!” Willow said, her eyes lighting up.
Tara gave Willow a funny look.


“Hey um, can you guys give us a lift back to town? We got sorta lost in the sky and came down for directions.”


Mary raised an eyebrow and grinned. “There’s a conversation you don’t have every day. Sure, we can give you a lift. Pine Ridge or Diamond Falls?” she asked.


“Diamond Falls please,” Willow said.


“Outstanding. Not even out of our way, we live there.” Mary said.


Tara turned to the two others present. “Are you going to be alright getting home?”


“Yes, he’s driving,” said the woman pointing at the speechless man.


“Please don’t tell anyone about what you saw tonight. It would make things very difficult for us and not make things particularly easy for you,” Tara said.


“You mean people will think we’re nuts? ‘We were rescued from vampires by an angel and a wizard.’ Sounds like a ticket to the funny farm.” The woman said.


“I prefer ‘Witch’ myself, but ‘Wizard’ does have a nice ring to it,” Willow said.


The woman shuddered. “If it’s all the same to you ladies, I think we are going to go home and pretend tonight never happened.”


“Good luck with that,” Mary said.


“Thanks, and thanks for rescuing us, I... I have the weirdest feeling that I should have died tonight, and I didn’t. So I am very, very grateful. And very tired.”


The four women watched the couple drive away.


“That whole time the guy never said anything. I woulda thought he would at least have had a freak out or something.” Bridey commented.


Willow shook her head slightly. “It’s pretty common. Right now he’s all: hello, this never happened, welcome to denial land: population, one. In a couple of days he’s probably gonna believe he was attacked by a gang of psycho’s or something, anything except vampires. Do you know them?”


Mary shook her head. “Nope, never met them before. They took a right on the main road, so I’m guessing they’re from Pine Ridge. Why?”


“Um, I was just going to say, that if you knew them, you should probably avoid them for a few days until they’ve had a chance to repress all this,” Willow said cheerfully. “People get kinda wiggy if they get reminders of what really happened, before they’ve finished working up a good case of denial.”


“Yeah, what’s with that?” Bridey asked.


Willow shrugged. “People have been told that they are at the top of the food chain for so long, that the idea that they aren’t king of the hill really messes with them. Add to that the idea that they share the planet with creatures that see them as food, and boom! Existential crisis right there.”

“Ok, I’m sorry, I mean this is very deep and meaningful, don’t get me wrong, but you two are together? And you’re an angel,” Mary said, talking to Tara before turning to Willow. “And you’re a witch? How does that work?”


Bridey piped up. “Hey, you had wings earlier! Where’d they go?”


Tara raised an eyebrow. “Willow, can I have a word in private?”
Tara took Willow by the hand and lead her a discrete distance away.
“Excuse us for a moment.”


‘Sweetie, are you sure it’s best to tell them everything? They seem like nice people, but is it a good idea?’ Tara sent on their private line.


‘I am only intending to tell them a tiny bit more than they’ve already figured out, and nothing much about us.’


Tara’s face wore a look of relief, ‘That’s good baby. I just am not sure yet about how I’m going to deal, now that I’m back in the world. I guess I just panicked a little.’
[i]‘No, I’m sorry Tara, I didn’t mean to give you the wiggins. The thing is baby, we’re on a recruiting drive at the moment, we need people. Not just more watchers, but people to help run the school. Now if Mary is a chef, that’s awesome, even better if Bridey has some talents that we could use too. And the watcher’s council pays well. I should know, I run some of the books.’



Hand in hand, the pair returned to their guests, who were currently leaning against the battered jeep and sitting crosslegged on the hood respectively.


“Do you guys know a girl called Dawn?” Bridey asked.


“What?!” Willow blurted out.


Tara hid her smile behind her hand as she watched her beloved Willow rendered nearly speechless.

“Heh, that looks like a ‘yes’ to me,” Mary said.


“So I’m guessing you work up at the school with Giles and Faith?” Bridey asked.


“Why do I get the feeling I’m the last one to be let in on the secret?” Willow grumbled.


“Don’t feel bad honey, I see Dawn all the time. She’s always talking about her family and how worried she is about you guys. She’s usually hanging around with Heather and Jules, my two best customers.”


“Customers?” Willow asked, still somewhat adrift.


“I work at the Peach Pitt, doing a bit of waitressing to pay the bills,” Bridey said.


“I’m guessing that ‘waitress’ was not your first career choice?” Tara asked.


“Ha-ha. No. As much as I love this place, there is a terrible shortage of jobs for engineers, especially female ones,’ she said with a small shrug.


“That matters? Still?” Willow asked, clearly surprised.


“Not a whole hell of a lot, but it makes things just a little more difficult, and there’s not exactly a building boom going on at the moment, so there’s not a lot of call for building designs or construction plans, which is what I do. So: waitressing.”


“Not helped by the fact that Bridey is tiny and five foot nothing. Guys just have this idea in their head about what an engineer should look like: Grizzled old guy with a hard hat and a cigar, clutching plans in one hand and a hammer in the other. Which is strange, because it’s mostly an office job.”


“One time, Mary gave me a lift to an interview and sat with me while I waited. When they came out, they thought she was the engineer. They actually looked disappointed when they discovered it was me. It didn’t matter what I had written on my brag sheet.”


“Oh wow, I feel like Santa at Hanumastice!” Willow blurted.


Mary looked puzzled. “Hanu... what?”


“Everyone loves Christmas, but if you’re Jewish,” Willow held up her hand. “or Pagan,” Tara held up her hand. “Then it’s really not the season for you. So ages ago, my buddy Xander came up with ‘Hanumastice’ which combines the best of Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Solstice Celebrations. A week-long celebration of food, family and presents with random vaguely religious themes thrown in from time to time. It’s a lot of fun.”


“Wow, so Xander is real? I kinda figured between Dawn and Heather’s descriptions of him he was like some mythical superman.”


“Yeah, Dawn loves her big-brother Xander something fierce, but Heather has the crush that just won’t die. Poor Xander, he’s handled it pretty well so far, but I think it could all go boom sometime soon.”


“And with that, I will smoothly segue into my job offer. Mary, Bridey, do you want a job?” Willow said.


“Uh, what?” Bridey said.


“What she said,” Mary added.


“The, ah, school, needs staff. We need someone to run the kitchen and take care of the nutritional requirements of around a thousand active growing girls. And I mean take charge of the whole thing: planning, ordering, preparation, the whole kit and caboodle. You’d also be in charge of the budget and responsible for hiring some staff. The reason we haven’t already got someone, is that they need to be able to deal with this sort of thing.” Willow gestured around the vampire-free make-out spot.

“We are also looking at expanding our base of operations and building facilities in other locations. Know any good engineers?” Willow said with a slightly goofy smile.


“Well I’ve done design work, but mostly my focus is on making it happen. Solving problems, organizing stuff, that sort of thing,” Bridey said.


“That sounds perfect, do you wanna give it a try?” Willow asked.


“Hell yes! Look, the Peach is a great place to work, but it’s not what I trained for. I’d much rather spend money there than earn it. Waitressing pays like crap too,” Bridey grumbled.


“There is a down side: you might be exposed to this sort of thing from time to time,” Willow said carefully. “The upside is that it pays well and you get to hang with the gang who save the world on a regular basis.”


“Told you there was something funny about that school,” Mary said, giving Bridey a nudge.


“Xander would never forgive me if I didn’t say this, but we’re kinda like the school from the X-men, all undercover and stuff. I’d tell you more, but I really can’t, not until we know you’re on board and we’ve had a chance to check you out.”

Willow looked slightly sheepish. “Sorry to be all ‘cloak and dagger’ but these people are my friends and family, and without them and what we do, the world would have ended a bunch of times already.”


“It’s ok Willow. It’s good that you want to protect your friends and family. So let me say, I’m interested in the job running your kitchens. That’s a hell of a promotion for me, and I think I can do the job justice. So do your checking and let me know. In the meantime, let me tell you what Bridey and I have figured out over many many coffees: Your school is not a regular school. All your girls are crazy-fit and astonishingly confident. I don’t know what you’re doing at that school, but it’s good for them,” Mary said.


Bridey cut in. “No one works regular hours, ‘cos mobs of girls show up for coffee day and night, all chatty and giggly. And they are all armed to the teeth. They hide it pretty well, but one of them always has a gym bag with suspicious clanking things inside. Also Dawn is the only teenage girl I have ever met with a concealed carry permit and a pair of pistols in her purse.”


Willow looked alarmed. “Um, about that...”


Bridey was reassuring. “Don’t panic, she showed me the permit one night, right after I spotted the pistols, she told me it was because she had been kidnapped when she was younger.”


Willow grimaced. “Yup, it’s true. Actually more than once, more like three or four times.”


“Whoa,” Mary said.


Bridey continued. “Your school does not have a name, and you don’t advertise that I’ve seen. You don’t have a school flag or uniforms, like a prep school would have. And you’re based out of an old government training facility, like, FBI or something.”


Willow looked a little panicked.


“Don’t feel too bad, at first we figured it was the world’s first all-lesbian school,” Mary said with a grin.


“With the what now?” Willow said, lost again.


“Sweetie, I did mention this to you the other day, remember?” Tara teased.


“Oh yeah,” Willow said, as the light went on.
“Uh, no. I think that would be all discriminatory or something, though it does sound kinda nice, going to a school where you know you aren’t going to get hassled for being gay, ‘cos everyone is gay, though people would probably get crap for being closet straight, and that only sounds funny, and why is everyone looking at me? Oh,” Willow babbled before taking a huge breath.


Tara cut in, laying a hand on Willow’s arm. “Were working on a theory to explain the um, gay factor, but it involves some of that stuff that we can’t tell you yet.”


“It’s cool. We can talk about some other, less secret stuff while we drive back to town.”


Everyone piled into the battered jeep and Mary kicked out the starred windscreen. Soon the four were on their way back to town, if somewhat breezy.


“So, has Faith got her girl yet?” Bridey asked.


“Nope. Though things are getting better for them. Huh, I did not know Dawn had spotted that,” Willow said.


“Nah, it was Faith that told me, she comes in pretty regularly. We got to chatting and she told me she has a thing for a girl. Said she thinks she’s giving off signals, but has always been kinda straight,” Bridey said as they drove back to town. “It sounds rough.”


“Yeah,” Willow said carefully. “They met a few years back and got pretty close. Things got pretty screwed up and they fought, were kinda ‘arch-enemies’ for a while. They’re friends again now though. Faith is looking to be more than friends, there’s a chance I think, but Whoo! There’s some history there, so it won’t be easy.”


“I hope it works out for them, the way Faith lights up when she’s talking about her girl... it’s something to see. Big tough Faith going all star-struck and melty when she talks about her honey. It’s very sweet,” Bridey said with an impish smile.


Tara smiled, knowing that her cute and goofy Willow was involved in Faith’s attempt to win Buffy over.


“Yeah, a lot like that actually,” Bridey grinned.


Tara looked away instinctively for a split second, before turning back and smiling proudly. She snuggled into Willow.


+++


When they pulled in to Slayer central, it was pretty obvious what Mary and Bridey had been talking about. The lights blazed into the night and several tightly knit squads of girls in dark clothing were coming and going.

Buffy waved to the four of them in the jeep as they pulled up to the kerb. “Hey guys. Uh, Faith should be back from her, um, field trip with the girls soon.”


“It’s ok Buffy, we rescued these two from a bunch of vampires. Mary here is likely to be our new chef, and Bridey is probably going to help us expand or facilities, after some Giles-style poking and prodding,” Willow explained. “Guys, this is Buffy.”


Buffy pumped her fist in the air and said “Yes!” she then did a little happy dance.


“I take it you guys are sick of mac’n’cheese?” Mary asked with a raised eyebrow.


“Nope. Xander does an amazing mac’n’cheese. Organizing food for a thousand hungry Slayers though, that is an epic pain in the behind. Seriously, these girls eat like NFL linebackers.”


“Slayers?” Mary asked.


Buffy shot Willow a questioning look. Willow shook her head.


Buffy grinned and clapped her hands. “Yay! I get to show off! Faith will be so annoyed, she normally gets to do this.”


She took up a low stance by the jeeps winch. She grasped the sturdy metal bars tight and lifted. The front of the jeep easily came off the ground. She kept lifting until the front of the jeep was over her head.


“Tada!” Buffy said proudly, holding the front of the jeep up at a steep angle.


“Holy crap!” said a stunned Mary. “That has to be half a ton!”


Willow was likewise impressed. “Goodness Buffy! I knew you were strong, but I had no idea!”


Buffy carefully lowered the front end of the jeep to the tarmac and made a show of dusting the bumper.

“Now you know why Slayers eat so much, and why organizing food for that many is such a pain. It takes a lot of fuel to drive a growing girl, now add on the kind of strength you just saw and multiply by a thousand or more.”

She turned to Mary. “Please be our chef! None of us know how to handle kitchen stuff on that scale, and it sucks totally.”


“Uh, yeah, I’m getting that. Wow. I thought I was pretty strong, being all Lucy Lawless and Xena-esque, but that is just... wow. You are tiny!”


“You do kind of have an amazon thing going on there, Mary. Um, you didn’t get suddenly stronger a few months ago did you?” Buffy asked.


Mary looked puzzled. “Uh, no. Why?”
Bridey likewise shook her head.


“Well it used to be all ‘One girl in all the world is destined to fight the Vampire hordes’ but we thought the odds kinda sucked. One spot of heavy witch-fu from our favourite wiccan here, and suddenly there are Slayers everywhere.”


“It’s great that I’m not the only one anymore, well one of two with Faith. But riding herd on these girls? Trying to keep them from getting killed, or killing each other, that’s a whole other thing.”


“That time of the month must be really harsh,” Bridey said.


Buffy giggled. “I worry about this place if all the girls get in sync. It’s only been a few weeks for most of them, so: not happening yet. But these girls are really close: they study together, train together, slay together, hang together. It’s going to happen.”
She smiled brightly. “Luckily Xander and Giles are completely clueless about this stuff, otherwise they’d already be packing and headed for the hills. Slayer PMS is not to be mocked.”
She turned to Willow. “Are you sure you won’t do an ‘anti period’ spell Wills?”


Willow shook her head. “Really bad idea to mess with natural cycles using magic. Especially stuff like that,” she shuddered. “Brrr. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Willow gave Buffy a mock-stern look. “Sorry young lady, you’re stuck with traditional remedies: painkillers, a hot water bottle and chocolate.”


Buffy opened her mouth to say something, when Willow saw her face light up. “Yes! They’re back!”


A silver school bus pulled in to the kerb right next to them, and the doors popped open with a hiss.


“Everyone keep their butts in their seats until we’ve off-loaded the injured, unless you really want a 30 mile run before bed,” Faith growled.


Jules carried a rather battered looking Heather from the bus. “I got an owie,” Heather said dazedly.


“What happened?” Buffy asked.


“Hey B,” said Faith, casually resting an arm around Buffy’s shoulder. “Heather dropped half a building on her silly ass. Most of it hit her head, so I figure she’ll be ok.”


Heather complained “Hey, it wasn’t a whole building, just one wall, and totally not my fault!”


Buffy looked pained. “Not the old brick factory again?”


Faith nodded. “Oh yeah.”


“I hate that place. It’s a hazard and should be banned.”


“Hence the warning signs and the fences,” Willow pointed out.


Buffy looked grumpy. “Some weekend, we should take Xander there and dynamite the place.”


“Wicked. Sounds like fun, I’m in,” Faith said.


Tara moved over to Heather and Jules. “Let me check you out, I have a fair amount of experience with this sort of thing.”


“Uh, right. Do I put her down?” Jules asked, her eyes widening as Tara’s hands started to glow softly.


“No, just hold on to her for a moment,” Tara said, laying her hand gently on Heather’s arm.
She hummed as she worked. “Hmmm, nothing major, just bumps and bruises. You are in luck, it’s an easy fix. Hold still.”


“Hey B,” Faith murmured. “Watch this, it’s pretty cool.”


Tara laid both hands on Heather and chanted in a sing-song voice. Tiny sparkles of white and blue sped from Tara’s hands to various parts of Heather.

Heathers eyes widened. “Whooo! That’s tingly!” she said as the magic did its work.


“All done,” Tara said. “You can put her down now.”


Jules lowered Heather’s feet to the pavement and stood her up.


“That is sooo cool! My leg doesn’t hurt. Also my headache is all better,” Heather said, bouncing on the balls of her feet.


Tara smiled happily.


“Uh B? Who’s Xena and Gabrielle?” Faith asked, pointing at Mary and Bridey, witnesses to the magic show.


Mary rolled her eyes and Bridey grinned.


“We have those outfits for Halloween you know. Faith I’m shocked you don’t recognize me.”


Faith looked blank for a moment. The light dawned. “Oh hey Birdie. Sorry, was thinking ‘Slayer’ not ‘getting coffee’. Didn’t recognize you out of your clothes. Uh... uniform.”
She turned to the blond Amazon. “So, you must be Mary. Heard lotsa good things about you. Damn girl, but they grow ‘em big in Texas!”


“I’m not from Texas, but yeah. You must be Faith. I hear so many things about you, if even half of them are true, you are up for some kind of award. Or a war crimes tribunal, could go either way.”


Faith looked away. “Uh, yeah. That sounds about right.”


“No. Faith is definitely up for the award, not the other thing. Faith is on the side of the angels,” Buffy said loyally, holding on to Faith’s arm.


Mary took in the determined look on Buffy’s face and the way the two stood.
“You know... I think the award sounds nice,” Bridey said carefully.


Mary yawned, and looked a little embarrassed. “Hon? It’s been a long night, what with all the excitement, you know: angels and vampires and witches and stuff, and we both have work tomorrow. And maybe a new job after that,” she said with a small grin.


Bridey nodded. “Yeah. You know I think I have had enough excitement for one night. I’m thinking it’s bed o’clock. See you guys tomorrow eh?”


“I’ll call you both tomorrow, ok?” Willow said.


Mary nodded. “Cool.”


The Scoobies watched the pair get into their battered jeep and drive away with a wave.


“So, why are we hanging with the chick from the Peach and her girl?” Faith asked.


“New cook. She’s a chef-person, only without all the screaming and tantrums,” Willow explained.


“Wicked. I gotta say, I really hate my turn in the kitchen, brings back memories. Though watching her go Gordon Ramsey would be quite a sight. I mean, that’s a big girl, watching her get into a fight with a tiny mini-me would be... really funny.”


“Hey! No staging fights with the mini-me’s,” Buffy grumped. “Ack! Now you have me calling them mini-me’s.”


Faith just grinned. “So, angels and vampires and witches? What did I miss?”


+++


Giles stepped into the grove. He looked around the peaceful glade, assuring himself that it really was as empty as he had hoped.

The sun was close to touching the horizon, painting the sky a pale shade of almost greeny-blue. The grove was as silent when he entered. Pleasantly cool after the heat of the day, there was a refreshing crispness about the clearing.

Moving slowly, he walked carefully over to the young tree and stopped short. Visible in the grass, even after several days had passed, was a dent. A dent in the soft soil, the approximate size of a human being. As though someone had fallen from a considerable height.
‘Tara’

‘Why did you come here Rupert?’
he asked himself.

He thought for a moment. And with the honesty of a man who knew himself, darkness and all, he whispered. “To give thanks”.


Reverently he bent down to one knee, between the tree and the mark on the soil which gave silent testimony to Tara’s return. And there in the peace of the grove Rupert Giles wept openly, his tears an offering to whatever god, whatever force had returned to them their most precious family member.
His jaw quivered as the normally reserved man wept truly and freely, for Tara’s return had brought with it a gift almost as precious, the gift of hope.


He wept as he allowed himself at long last to hope, to believe that in this dark world, there were exceptions, that some things were too precious to be lost, to believe that they could win, without dreadful sacrifice.

How long he stayed there on one knee, tears and quiet sobs spilling from him he did not know, it could have been hours or mere moments. Slowly and with great care, he gathered his thoughts. He reassembled himself, clothing his naked heart once more.

He took out his handkerchief and cleaned his glasses, taking a moment to wipe the tears from his face and of course, blow his nose.

‘It wouldn’t do for the others to see you like this old boy. Weeping like an old woman’ he thought to himself.


Reassembled, but still kneeling, he said in a reverential whisper. “I do not know if there is anyone there, if there is anyone listening, if any higher power had a hand in this. But if there is, I thank you, from the bottom of my heart I thank you, for that is what you have returned to us, our heart. For truly, that girl is the soul of us all. And for that, you will always have my thanks and my reverence.”

After a few deep cleansing breaths, he rose, brushing fallen leaves from his trousers.

He left the grove with a spring in his step, and if put to the question, he would admit to feeling a good ten years younger, as if a great weight had been lifted from him.


As he strolled back to Slayer central, lost in thought, a voice called out to him. “Damn G-man! Looking good!”


He looked up to see Faith walking towards him across the field, treading the now well-defined footpath between the grove and the buildings of Slayer central.
He smiled at her, a smile broader than he had felt comfortable with for a long time.
“Hello Faith,” he said gently.


Faith stopped to examine him, feeling that something was different about him.
He looked... lighter, as though a great burden had been lifted from him, almost as though years of exhaustion had been washed away.
“Whatever you’re doing G-man, keep it up. You look... good. Seriously, really good.”


He smiled again. “Thank you Faith, I feel very well, all the better for unburdening myself.”


“Yeah, that’s why I’m here. Normally I’d be up here with Red, but she’s out with her honey, which is all good.”

She patted the watcher gently on the cheek and grinned as he smiled. “Hang loose Watcher-boy,” she said, walking off towards the grove.


He smiled again and turned towards the lights of Slayer central.


+++

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:08 am 
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Dibs-y Goodness! :banana

Yay for great update-y goodness... Big yay for Willow & Tara sorting out their dark stuff... Extra big yay for Willow's first flying experience... I'm glad that they saved Bridie & Mary and offered them jobs at the Slayer Central...

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:12 am 
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Great fight scene, and it was fun having a look at Willow's "aggressive" hiring practices.

"I see you aren't fainting or crapping yourself while young women are running around disintegrating monsters. If I find out you aren't a sociopath would you care for a job?"

I can't help but wonder if Buffy's and or Faith's new power lifting abilities are a result of Willow's Slayer unlock spell or from the possibility that Slayers just get stronger the longer they last. No ones's expecting the girls to juggle Buicks but being able to lift the front end of a hummer straight up seems like a new trick.

Also Buffy's introduction to the Peach Pit seems like it'll be soon. I wonder if that's were Faith will more or less "propose" to her or just drag her into one of the bathrooms for a particularly wild experience.

And the "Hey, just so everyone knows. Wings!" (Willow might be doing jazz hands during the unveiling in my head.) Conversation will be fun as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:46 pm 
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Quote:
"I see you aren't fainting or crapping yourself while young women are running around disintegrating monsters. If I find out you aren't a sociopath would you care for a job?"


OMG! I just about pee'd myself when i read this.
Awesome!

As to Buffy's power lifting, that is based on the canon stats in the canon RPG game.
S7 Buffy has str 9, which according to the rules allows her to lift 1050 lbs (476kg) without effort.
Double that for short periods. Like showing off.

Given that a full-size jeep weighs 4000 lbs ish, and that she's only lifting half of it (admittedly the heavy half) and that the jeep isn't a full-on actual jeep, more like a little wrangler(2800-3200 lbs). then this is well within canon Buffy's capabilities.
A Humvee (5200 lbs) would be really pushing it. I think Faith could manage it, but she'd be complaining afterwards

for my mental 'character sheet' i have Buffy with 1 point more speed, and Faith with 1 point more strength. very similar otherwise.

No, it's not a side effect of the slayer unlock spell (there were some side effects, including one very surprising one :)) it's just TV show budget restrictions and/or not wanting to solve every problem with massive strength.
If you guess the actual side effect, you win a virtual prize.
But given that it relies on character not introduced yet, there's close to no chance for you to guess.

For example, with that strength, Buffy can pick up a vampire and throw him clear across the street without touching the ground. Handy if there's fire, a blacked out window, or something spikey.
Or she can punch through a concrete wall without any hassle.
'Oh no! we're trapped!'
*punch**punch**punch**punch**punch**punch**punch**punch**punch**punch*
'Ok, we're free.'

However, i do explore that in this story. Also, what happens when you put problems in front of high level spell casters.
(Hint: problems go away)

Tara got wings, due to me not having finished a storyline in a previous roleplaying game, with a character who was on their way to discovering some angelic heritage.

I wondered if the Wings were a but over the top until i noticed that *shudder* S 8+ buffy comics had Willow flying and teleporting submarines, and Buffy throwing tanks around.
And that's canon.
So... no.

But later on you get to see all our girls lose it completely and show how much power they really have.

The Scenery really takes a beating.
And new things are discovered.
Annoyingly, so many things are discovered that the girls have a hard time keeping track of stuff.
As did i.

Things to look forward to :)

R :flower

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:23 pm 
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So we have a flashback today. Not too confusing I hope.

This actually happened to me in the game this is all based on. I’ll discuss it more afterwards to avoid actually wrecking the story :P

Enjoy!


Dreams of Death


Her sleep was restless.


“Look Tara, I don’t know what your home is like, but here, walking on two legs doesn’t make you ‘people’,” Catherine said, in an attempt to placate her friend..


Tara looked unconvinced and had her arms folded. Nevertheless she was listening as politely as she could manage.


“They’re savage beasts. They just happen to walk upright. I know you don’t have a problem killing animals, I’ve seen you kill pigs.”


Tara sighed. “You misunderstand. I do have a problem with it. I don’t like killing. Period. I don’t even like killing pigs. I just had to. We needed the blood to summon the forest spirit, and we needed the meat for food.”
She looked at her friend. “I revere nature, Catherine. But the natural cycle is not ‘nice’. ‘Red in tooth and claw’ is the phrase most commonly accepted. I accept that for me to live, other things have to die, whether they be plants or animals. It doesn’t mean I have to like it though!”


Catherine just looked confused and annoyed, clearly not understanding what the problem was.
“They’re not people Tara, they’re monsters, animals,” she said in a placating tone. “They just happen to walk upright.”


“And I don’t want to kill animals unnecessarily either.”


“Unfortunately, that is our task,” Melchior said evenly. “We are here to do some preliminary exploration and remove any significant dangers to the archaeologists coming soon.”


“And oddly enough, a big bunch of carnivorous ape dudes with a taste for archaeologists would be a fairly significant danger,” Catherine added.


“We will drive them off. They will resist. Some of them will likely die,” Takarn rumbled.


“No,” Izolda said. “We must exterminate them.”


Tara stared at her.


“We are not staying to defend the archaeologists for the years it will take for them to do their work.”
Her cold blue eyes pierced Tara.
“Their guards are competent enough, but they will not be able to handle a sustained jungle war.”
She smiled coldly. Everything about the woman was cold.
“Which is what we will get if we drive the beasts off. This is their lair,” She gestured around at some of the titanic stones that formed the ruins.
“No matter how badly we scare them, they’ll just come back.”


The rest of the group was silent.


“We have to kill them all.”



+++


She smelled burned flesh, and she could hear the sounds of agonized screaming.
In the distance a baby cried.

‘Goddess help me, what have I done?’




Tara woke with a cry.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” Willow asked, sounding more than a little panicky. She hurriedly blinked the sleep from her eyes and stared around blearily, looking for trouble.

Tara breathed deeply, trying to calm her racing heart as Willow rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.

“Tara? Baby?” Willow said hesitantly, squeezing her in a tight embrace. “Did you have a nightmare about…” she touched the bare skin of Tara’s chest, just above her heart.

She slowly shook her head, grateful for Willow’s desperate hug. It brought a sense of reality to the situation
“No. That was a horrible day Willow. But this was worse.”

She put her own hand over Willow’s and squeezed tight. “For me anyway.”


Willow spoke softly. “Baby, what happened?”


Tara squeezed her hand, to let her know she was gathering her thoughts.
After more than a minutes strained and worried silence, Tara spoke. Her voice was hollow and shame-filled as she explained.

“You remember when I was telling the story about the, um, terminator zombies?”


Willow nodded. “When you had that lightbulb moment about me and my magic issues?”


Tara nodded silently.
The silence stretched on.

“Baby? Tara? What is it?” Willow said, close to panic.
“I didn’t tell you everything that happened that day,” she said, looking down in shame.

Willow felt the shame and horror pounding at her through the link that they shared. As much as she was tempted to say she didn’t care what Tara had done, as long as she made it home, she realized that was not the best idea, and more than a little self-centred.
“Tell me baby. I will always be here for you and I won’t judge.”
She lifted Tara’s chin. “I’ve sorta been where you’re going baby. Use what I’ve learned. Let me shoulder your burdens, Tara.”


Still holding on tight Tara explained.
“It was one of our more ‘adventure’ jobs. Buffy and Faith would have loved it, mister Giles, Dawn and Xander too. It was full of sweeping vistas, air ships and ancient ruins to explore.”
“I might have said earlier, I can’t remember. But we were there to do a bit of basic exploration and deal with any particularly dangerous problems. So that the archaeologists wouldn’t get hurt when they showed up a week later.”


“I remember,” Willow said.


“I was getting stronger in my magic. I could harness the power of the sun for my spells now. I could do lots of really useful things with it, but the easiest application of sun magic was blowing things up and setting them on fire.”


Willow nodded. “That sun-ray thing you took out the vampires with?”


Tara slowly nodded. “Yes.”


“Well, dangerous creatures were definitely on the list, so we started clearing them out of the area. Big snakes, giant spiders, and quite a few old booby traps.”


“Spiders are bad enough, but giant ones? Brrrrr!”


Tara smiled just a little. “There were some there that could give Shelob a run for her money.”


“Eeep!”


“All that was fine. Scary and occasionally gross, but generally fine.”


“Oookay.”


Tara sat silently for a long moment, gathering her thoughts. A look of pain crossed her pale and worried features.
“It was fine until we stumbled across the territory of a bunch of savage ape-men. They attacked us and we drove them off without too much trouble.”
“But then we realized that we had to do something lasting about them, because we couldn’t just scare them away. The archaeologists were going to be there for years. They wouldn’t stay away from their territory that long.”


“Oh no,” Willow said, guessing where this was going.


Tara slowly nodded. “The others knew, they knew without a shadow of a doubt, that these were just really aggressive animals. They’d dealt with them before.”
Willow squeezed her hand in silent support.
“We went in to clear them out. Izolda and Catherine suggested that I just blow up the whole village.”


“Yikes!”


“You can imagine I told them no.”


“They wanted you to blow up the whole village?”


Tara nodded sadly. “It would be less dangerous to us that way.”


“Um, village though? That doesn’t sound too monster-y.”


Tara shook her head.
“I couldn’t talk them out of it. I tried. A lot. In the end they were just going to do it without me.”
“I was semi-persuaded, so I went along to help if people got hurt, and because I needed to see this, witness it with my own eyes.”


Willow cupped Tara’s sad face. “Oh my love. My sweet, brave love.”


Tara smiled sadly and leaned into the comforting touch. “Not long after I arrived, a whole hunting party came back and attacked us from an unexpected direction.”
“Catherine was in trouble, I was terrified, so I over did it with a spell. That star-fire spell you’ve seen me use.”


“Oh my,” Willow said, stunned.


“It killed a lot of them. Saved Catherine, saved the day really.”


“That sounds good?” Willow said hesitantly.


“I didn’t mind saving Catherine in the slightest. We were becoming fast friends by that stage.”


“But then I found the bodies.”
She looked down at her hands, clammy and pale in her lap. “Most of them were disintegrated, but on the edges of the blast, there were bodies.”

She stopped, staring off into space again, a look of self-loathing on her face.
“They had necklaces, Will. And language. One of them had learned enough of another language to use a wizard’s staff he’d found when he attacked us.”

She looked up at her beloved, stricken, and saw the endless compassion there.
“Animals don’t have language. And monsters don’t make pretty bead necklaces for their children, Willow. They don’t build wigwams and paint them with pictures of animals.”


Willow could barely look. To see Tara’s beautiful face stained with tears and a look of uttermost shame.
And she did not know what to say. She wanted to find the right words, the perfect words to make it all better.
But what words were there to say? To make this better?

“Merciful Goddess, I am so sorry.”


Tara sniffled. “Will, you don’t have anything to be sorry for.”


“I feel terrible that you had to go through that baby. I know sorta what that’s like.”


“I mean, my thing was different, but I still killed someone for the wrong reasons. And I am going to have to live with that forever.”
Tara looked up, and Willow took her hand and held it to her own breast above her heart.
“I wanna say the perfect brilliant words that take away your pain and make everything alright again.”


Tara looked a little hopeful, her doe-eyed blue gaze cut Willow’s heart with its need.

“But those words don’t exist.”
She squeezed Tara’s hand over her heart. “Feel that?”


Tara nodded numbly, feeling Willow’s heart beating beneath her hand.
“Tara,” Willow said, and the beat sped up.
She smiled. “It’s yours baby. All yours and no-one else’s.”
She lay her hand on Tara’s breast, feeling her heart beat, “And this is mine.”


Tara nodded several times, bobbing her head jerkily.
“And I’m going to take care of it, ok?”


Tara’s eyes were huge and sad as she slowly nodded, trusting Willow to somehow make it all right.

Willow thought of the logical arguments she could make to refute this. That it wasn’t her fault, that she took her friends at their word.
Inwardly she shook her head. That would not have helped when someone told her that, and it wouldn’t work for Tara either. This wasn’t about logic, this was about killing people, and guilt.
Willow still felt the guilt to this day, for what she had done. Though more for her going dark and trying to end the world, than the death of Warren Mears. If anything, she felt guilty due of her lack of guilt regarding his end.

Tara’s situation was different though.
In essence, she had killed someone by accident.
Like Faith.


“I know what you need baby,” Willow said. Her voice was reassuring in its quiet confidence.


Tara looked up, buoyed by the confidence she heard in Willow’s voice.


“You need Faith.”


+++


“Uh, right,” Faith said awkwardly. “So, ya wanna talk about somethin’ important I’m guessin’, from the way Red was actin’ before.”


Faith and Tara were sitting in the cool green of the grove. Faith was looking a little apprehensive at the worried expression on Tara’s face.

“Uh… So I’m really bad at this whole ‘friend’ thing. But Red tells me ya need to talk to someone, an’ I’m it.”

Tara said nothing, staring at her feet.

Faith muttered quietly to herself. “Not sure what the hell kind of advice I’m supposed to give.”


“I killed someone,” Tara blurted.


Faith looked up in surprise and met Tara’s tortured stare.
Faith had no idea what her own face had looked like when she was alone, the night she killed Alan Finch.
But she had an idea that it might have looked a lot like Tara’s did right now.
Faith had spoken with Willow in the past about her collision with guilt and despair, and now she was struck by the realization that Willow had really listened.


And she had seen the differences enough to know that Faith stood a better chance of helping Tara than she herself did.

And she was awed by the trust Willow put in her, to help Tara. This wasn’t just anyone sitting on the grass looking miserable, this was fucking Tara. Soul of the Scooby gang, holder of Willow’s heart and soul. The person Willow loved more than the entire world. And her own life.

‘Fuck, talk about best-friend graduation exercise.’

“Jesus Blo- Tara. You killed someone?”


Tara nodded miserably.


“An I’m guessin’ ya don’t mean a vamp or some other monster type?”


Tara shook her head. If anything she looked worse like she was going to burst into tears at any moment.


‘Shit, what do I do?’ Faith thought.

She sat and thought about it for a moment.
Eventually she mentally shrugged and decided to go with what worked for her girls: talking about her own fucked up situation.

“Well shit Snowy. I don’t know how to make it better for ya, but I’ll try my best.”

She ran her hand through her hair as she thought.

“The night it all went to hell for me, was when I killed Alan.”


Tara looked up, her expression pensive, but still.


“Girl, ya shoulda seen us that night, we were on fire!” she reminisced about the good parts of that fateful night. The good feeling about how she felt, how she and Buffy were getting closer made the upcoming badness seem so much worse by comparison.
“It was wall to wall vamps and no room to manoeuvre, so me and B got a rhythm going. Sorta tag-team thing where we’d slam one against a wall and the other’d stake ‘em. B figured out Alan wasn’t a vamp when he didn’t bounce right, and she screamed at me to stop.”


Faith looked down, the look of reminiscence long gone from her face.

“I was too focused on the kill. I heard her fine, I just didn’t process what she said. Not till after I’d already shoved a stake in his chest.”


Tara’s expression was filled with a sad compassion. “Oh Faith.”


Faith stared off into space. “That’s when I felt it. That’s when I felt my future die.”


Tara took her hand and held it as comfortingly as she knew how.


“I’d never really bothered thinkin’ too much about the future y’know? Figured I had an expiry date, but y’know maybe I mighta had somthin’? Didn’t take it seriously, but there was always the hope, sorta lurkin’ round in back.”


Tara nodded her understanding.


Faith looked down, looking at Tara’s hand holding on to hers. “Not after that though. I knew. Man, I knew without a doubt that everyone would turn on me, that B would dump on me.”


Tara nodded again. She too knew the drawing power of such unworthy thoughts. She knew that Willow would choose Oz over her.
Worse, at the time she had felt that Willow should choose him, rather than the demon dyke.
She shuddered at the taint in her mind, that just the memory of those thoughts left behind.


Faith saw Tara’s shudder of revulsion and raised an eyebrow. “I’m getting’ the feelin’ ya know what I’m talkin’ about Tara-Bear.”


She nodded, not really trusting her voice.


“Man, I was one messed up chick. I knew B was gonna bail on me, so I got in first and dumped it all on her.”
She slumped. “I think I was more messed up about that, than I was about actually killing Alan, and that was bad.”


“What happened?” Tara said softly.


Faith looked up, a little surprised.
“I’da thought Red woulda told ya all about it way back?”


Tara shook her head. “No. Willow really didn’t want to talk about it. She bad-mouthed you a little, but she really didn’t want to dig in to what happened.”

It was her turn to look away. “I think she was guilty about not trying harder to be your friend. And how much the whole situation hurt Buffy.”

Tara glanced guiltily at Faith. “And, um, there was more than a little jealousy involved.”


“Really? How come?” Faith said in surprise. “I mean B woulda taken a bullet for Red. There was no way to get between ‘em, even if I wanted to.”


“Probably true. But you have to understand, Buffy was Willow’s only female friend. And she was Buffy’s. Willow had only Xander and Jesse for a long time, and Jesse was killed.”
Tara looked up with a sympathetic gaze, sympathy for the younger, lonelier Willow, and for the situation that the younger Faith had walked into.


“Buffy and Willow had both pretty much gotten used to being the centre of each other’s universes. At least in terms of girl-type relationships. Any change at all was going to have a huge impact.”


“Shit. An’ I show up all big an’ bad, an basically run away with all her girlfriends at the same time.”


Tara nodded. “A little bit. And you’re both Slayers, something Willow can’t be part of.”


Faith stared out at the sky beyond the quietly rustling leaves.
“Yeah, that’ll pretty much make it a fuckin’ meat-grinder, right there.”

She picked at a few errant blades of grass. “Startin’ to see why she hated me so damn hard.”


“And, um, the thing with Xander didn’t help.”
Faith winced, and nodded sadly.


The pair sat silently as Faith gathered her thoughts.

“We were fucked right from the start,” she finally said.


“Um?”


Nibbling on a bit of grass, Faith explained. “Did some reading’ inside. Not much else to do. Shrink stuff.”
She sighed and flicked the blades away.

“B really tried to hold out the olive branch. More than once. I was just too fucked up to take it. Trust issues. Couldn’t trust her motives. God I’m so fucked up.”


“Were. Not so much anymore, I think.”


Faith shrugged. “Whatever. Just sayin’ I needed way more. I was so fucked, so untrusting, that I had to be held down and have fuckin’ help pushed in my face. All while I was kickin’ an screamin’ to shove it away.”

She sighed again. It was a very un-Faith-like sound.
“B tried her best. She really did, but she had Angel to deal with, along with the crazy shit that was her regular life.”
“We never had a fuckin’ chance. Too much shit in the way. Too broken.”


“Not any more remember?” Tara said, squeezing her hand.
She essayed a small smile. “You got the girl, didn’t you?”


Faith smiled sadly. “No. I have a chance though, I guess. Maybe.”
Her smile faded as she took in Tara’s faint smile. “Shit, I’m supposed to be helpin’ you, an here you are lookin’ afta me.”


“It’s ok, really,” Tara said softly.


Faith gathered her thoughts for a while before getting back to her explanation. “Yeah, so take all that shit I just mentioned, screw it inta a tight little ball, and stuff it inta someone who has no idea about her own feelin’s or anyone else’s.”
She looked at Tara, slowly starting to get an understanding.
“Guilt. It’s the worst. Fucking poisons everything it touches.”


Tara nodded in agreement.


“I’m fucking serious Blondie, like a heart attack. Guilt over Alan fucked me and everyone near me for years. An’ you’re too good for that shit. Hell, I am, an’ you’re way better’n me.”


“How? How do you let it go? I killed people Faith! How do I just get over it?”


“You don’t. You get through it. You feel it, accept it. Let it hurt, and look at it Tara. Don’t shy away from the pain, ya look into it. ’cos then you can see it ain’t all your fault.”

“I feel all kinds of shitty about Alan. Even today. But I don’t feel guilty. I feel bad that he’s not around, that he’ll never get to see his kids grow up. But him being dead was an accident, Tara.”

Faith shook her head in disbelief. “He was roamin’ around dark alleyways, at night, in a place crawlin’ with vamps. And he went up to two Slayers in the middle of a huge fight. ‘sa fuckin’ miracle he made it long enough to get killed. He shoulda died, like a dozen times that night.”

She looked over at the young tree. “I’m sorry Alan. Sorry as hell that you’re dead. But that was a dumb fuckin’ move.”

She turned back to Tara. “Look T, I don’t know how close your thing is to mine, I don’t know squat about counsellin’ or any a that shit. But for what it’s worth, I’m here for ya.”


Tara smiled a little and squeezed her hand reassuringly.


“Hey I owe you an’ Red… well prettymuch everything. If it hadn’t been for you I wouldn’t have a chance to make things right with B.”


“It’s ok Faith.”


“No, you don’t get it Snow. Ever since you did your mojo thing in the food place, B’s been sorta… alive. I ain’t seen hide nor hair of ‘General Buffy’ an’ she’s eatin’ again like she’s actually got an appetite.”


Faith’s eyes glittered. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen next, but I owe you for that, if nothin’ else.”


Tara just smiled softly and nodded.


Faith grinned. “I can see why Red likes you. You’re quite the cutie.”


Tara blushed and looked away with an embarrassed smile.


“Oh relax Snow White, I ain’t hittin’ on ya.”


Tara met her eyes, still a little red. “So you’re…”


Faith smirked. “Family? On the bus? Play for your team?”


Tara laughed softly, almost a giggle.


Faith shrugged. “Not fussy I guess. Not inta guys or girls particularly, I’m inta whatever feels good.”
She smiled into the middle distance, obviously remembering something good. “My first girl, Kenny, was a drummer in a girl band.”


Tara looked at her questioningly.


Faith smirked. “Really good arms. Still kind of a loser. Thus ended my brief flirtation with butch chicks.”
She smiled a little as she stared off into space, reliving fond memories.

She let the faint smile slide gracefully from her face as she focussed again on Tara.
“Look, I’m glad I’ve cheered you up a little an’ all, which is a surprise to me I can tell ya.”
“But you came to me for the real heavy stuff.”


“So spill. I ain’t gonna judge ya, I swear. I killed Allen, killed a harmless rock guy and tried to kill the love a’ B’s life. I ain’t in a position to look down on anyone.”


Tara nodded absently as she stared at the grass between them.


Taking a page from Tara’s book, Faith squeezed her hand reassuringly.


“I um, killed a lot of people one day while we were exploring some ruins. I talked it over with Willow which helped a little, but she said her situation was different and I needed to talk to someone else. You.”


Faith raised an eyebrow at the revelation. “How? How’d it go down?”


“It was a values clash. The world over there has a number of creatures that walk upright, but aren’t considered to be people.”


“Just like here,” Faith said. “We got some demons that don’t cause too much trouble. If they stay away from killin’ people we leave ‘em alone.”


Tara nodded. “It’s a little more fuzzy over there. The whole gang knew without a shadow of a doubt that these, um, Trogs I think they called them, that they were animals. So to them it was no worse than culling a herd, or dealing with a pack of wild dogs. Unpleasant for sure, but not the end of the world.”
Tara fell silent again as she gathered her thoughts. A sense of reassurance and love flowed down the link from Willow. It was muted, letting her know that Willow wasn’t listening in, beyond a vague awareness of Tara’s emotional state.

She returned her love, and returned to the less pleasant task of organizing her thoughts about that awful day.

“If we drove them out, they’d have come back when we had left, and attack the archaeologists. So we had to kill them all.”


“Doesn’t sound like your style.”


Tara shook her head sadly. “Dangerous animals. That’s what I was told. Everyone got in on persuading me, and we’d done the same sort of thing with zombies and other monsters before.”


“Sounds like ya got tag-teamed.”


Tara nodded slowly in agreement. “They’d sort of gotten used to it. Um, I had sort of made a name for myself by this stage. I had spent months trying to curb their more bloodthirsty impulses, so they knew prettymuch I was going to try and talk them out of anything that involved fighting and killing unnecessarily.”


“Kinda surprised you were hangin’ with a bunch like that. Doesn’t seem like you.”


“Hanging out with people, who spend their nights fighting and killing things?” Tara smirked just a little. “Very out of character.”


Faith returned her smirk. “Point taken.”


“We were attacked unexpectedly. The others took care of the fighting usually and I stayed back and patched people up.”


Faith nodded, listening intently.


“But a hunting party came home as we arrived. They attacked from behind and I had to do something or my friends were going to be hurt.”


“That fireball spell thing?”


Tara nodded. “I’d had some training at the citadel. The mages there believed in a well-rounded curriculum.”


“Which I’m guessing, included the ability to blow shit up?”


“Yes. I wasn’t too happy with it at the time, but it made sense.”


“Even though it let you do this?”


Tara nodded silently, clearly thinking some more.
“They were right. I would not have made it home without the power of the sun at my command.”


“Sounds kinda cool.”


“It’s battle magic, mainly. Particularly good against demons and vampires. Things that like the dark.”


“So everything went to hell and you were just chock full of solar powered goodness?”


Tara nodded sadly.


“Normally in a fight I’d just put people to sleep.”


“But?” Faith prompted.


Tara sighed. “Sleep spells are unreliable. You can’t put large groups to sleep, they don’t stay asleep and a lot of things are just unaffected.”
“It’s such a basic spell that just about everyone knows about it. Anyone affected is just usually kicked awake by anyone who isn’t. And it’s easy to make a charm to protect against it.”


“So you blew the bad guys up? With your shiny new spell?”


Tara nodded sadly. “It seemed the cleanest way. More humane.”


“Yeah, well it reduced a bunch of solid wooden practice dummies to smoke. Thick chunks of wood like that are kinda fireproof, so that stuff is HOT.”


“The spell is usually called Star-fire. You can imagine why.”


“Uh, yeah. Was it? Clean I mean?”


“Yes,” Tara said. “It might not have been the right thing to do, but at least it was humane. Those I hit were just gone. Like vampires turning to dust.”


“Well it sucks that you ended up in that sitch, but I’m glad they didn’t suffer.”


“Hooray,” Tara said acidly. “To make it worse, everyone was really pleased with me. After all, I’d just saved the day.”
She threw away the grass blades she had been fiddling with, clearly disgusted.


Faith was thinking hard. Obviously the kind and caring approach wasn’t going to work.
If it was, Willow would have done it, so that left Faith’s particular speciality: direct frontal assault.
Praying silently to whatever gods might be listening, she fired her opening salvo.
“Well bully for you, sister.”


Tara looked up, quite surprised.


“Look Tara, you’re the good witch. That’s why I call you Glinda all the time. One mistake doesn’t change all that, even if it was a big damn mistake.”


“But-“ Tara protested before Faith cut her off.


“Don’t interrupt Twinkie, not when I’m busy kickin’ your ass.”


Tara glared at her, but she subsided.


“Lemme ask you this, if you had known they were people, would you have done anything different?”


Tara thought for long moments before reluctantly answering. “No.”


“Ok, how come?”


“Because I was the only one who could do anything. They would have attacked Catherine or Melchior.”


“How many of them were there?”


“More than twenty,” Tara said reluctantly.


“Right, and could your buddies handle that many at once?”


Tara shook her head.


“Could ya have live with yourself if you’d done nothing?”


Tara shook her head sadly.
“I’m not the Slayer, but I can’t just stand around doing nothing when people are in danger.”


“Then just chill, ok? You killed some folks who were after you and your friends. You didn’t want to, and you feel bad. Which shows that you’re a good person. But you did what ya had to do to save lives. Which is what heroes do, so relax.”


Tara huffed. “I guess I’m being overly dramatic about all this, aren’t i?”


“No. This is big deal stuff, sister. It’s supposed to hurt, that’s how ya know ya still got a soul.”



She squeezed Tara’s hand again. “Look, it was a fight. Lives were on the line. Sometimes ya can’t take the time to do what ya want, or the smartest thing. Sometime ya have to do the best thing for right now. Otherwise good people die. Heroes take those hits so others don’t have to.”


Tara nodded sadly.


Faith made an annoyed sound. “Look Snow-White, your guys were there to kill these dudes. They thought they were animals, so they weren’t gonna negotiate with them. They weren’t gonna drive them away, ‘cos they’d come back and slaughter the geek squad. Those savage dudes were dead either way. At least you made it quick, an saved your friends from having to act like a death squad.”


Tara though hard for a moment and took a deep breath. She let it out in a long measured breath.
“Thanks Faith. That helped a lot. I still have a lot of thinking to do, but that really gave me a new way of looking at it.”


Faith smiled softly, her dimples showing. “Glad I could help.”


She got smoothly to her feet. “C’mon Blondie, let’s get you back to your girl. She’s prob’ly bouncin’ off the walls by now.”


Tare took the proffered hand and climbed to her feet.


“She does like those mochas,” she said, brushing the grass from her skirt.


“Also a factor.”
Faith grinned impishly. “Red hopped up on caffeine is kinda fun, as long as you’re at minimum safe distance.”

Tara essayed a small smile. “Then we’d better go and rescue Buffy, and Mister Giles.”


+++

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:33 pm 
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So yeah, this actually happened in the game this story was based on.

The incredible thing was, that the whole group of players (university educated and everything) considered the bad guys (troglodytes i think they were) to be animals, not people.

Despite having their own language, building (crude) houses, making and wearing (crude) jewelery.
Also the shaman of the group had scrounged up an old wizard's staff from somewhere, and had figured out enough about magic to use it to zap us.

It was pretty surreal.

I went along with it, but after the ambush and zap, i complained that we never tried anything else, just standard 'sweep and clear.'

And got blank looks.
Not because 'dude, it's a game.'
Or 'dude, it's Eberron, this stuff happens here.'
or even 'people, animals, they still gotta go.'

But like, they literally couldn't figure out why i was complaining.

It was a little worrying.

But it gave me some stuff for Tara to work out, so all good.

More to come in a couple of weeks.

Yikes! Catching up. Better finish this!


Hope you enjoyed it :)

R :flower

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:36 am 
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... I'm really glad that Faith was able to explain things to Tara...

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 7:02 pm 
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Great chapter. Very moving and full of emotional poignancy. Also sheds more light on just why Tara was in such a foul mood right before they ran into and then out of that pyramid full of, what were they again, Mechazombies?

Great to see threads tying back and forth between the story time "prequel" chapters and the things the Scoobies are up to at present.

As for the RPG aspects of the story's inspiration that is a common mindset that has been explored somewhat thoroughly in a web comic series I've been reading for a while now.

Order of the Stick

As always looking forward to more.

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:29 am 
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Hey citanul! Hey Zampsa!

Yeah Tara was upset about the whole village destruction.
Also had to deal with an old problem: Mage-itis.
That thing you get in most game systems where the wizard has run out of power points/spells and is totally useless.

In the game i was playing, Tara was a pure spell caster. Her non spell talents were persuading people, cooking, art and such and some minor physical stuff like rock-climbing, picked up as a side effect of flight training with Takarn.

most wizards can't fight worth a damn. Tara was worse.

And we had over extended ourselves, in that i/she had used all her power healing the party and zapping the monsters.
and then we found the leyline.
The rest you know.

The mecha-zombies are a form of undead created by the nation of Karnath. They conscript the dead to fight in wars, and the good ones they upgrade with metal parts. They are not the first group to think of this.

Anyway, update incoming.
Enjoy! :kiss1

R :flower

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 2:31 am 
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Much unbearable cuteness abounds in today’s episode.
Also a degree of unexpected nakedness :P
Enjoy!

Flight spell 0.8 (Alpha testing)


The stars were out in full force and Willow skipped happily, bouncing through the ankle high grass of the darkened field like a particularly cheerful Easter bunny, complete with basket.

Tara walked along behind, smiling as she watched her love bounce with excitement.
Her brow wrinkled in thought, eventually breaking out into a grin. She skipped to catch up with Willow, the two skipping through the night time field accompanied by the sound of laughter.


Willow had put aside all but the most important of her daily duties aside to research her flight spell.
Danni had grumbled a bit, but had picked up the slack without major complaint, allowing Willow to put serious effort into spell experimentation.

And now it was burn time. Time to test the carefully calculated spell formula, and see if it crashed and burned, or soared like an eagle.
Tara was hoping for soaring.


Automatically, Willow was heading for the grove, her feet on happy autopilot as she bobbed along, her head almost literally in the clouds.


“Baby? Is the grove the best place to test your spell?” Tara asked.


Willow stopped and shook her head. “Ooops. Was kinda spacey there for a moment. Um, no. When I tested ‘Willow’s Flight Spell 0.5’ I kinda blew out some windows.”
She looked sheepish for a moment. “And slightly set some things on fire... and made Dawn’s hair stand on end for a whole day.”
She grimaced. “I’d hate to think I blew up the place that means so much to all of us.”


Willow looked around at the field they were standing in, which was also in full view of the lighted windows of Slayer central.
“I’m not eager to be dumped on my butt while everyone is watching through the windows.


Tara smiled, but didn’t complain. The walk was lovely, and the company was even better.


“I think there’s more grassy fields on the other side of the woods.”


Tara concentrated for a moment, visualising the shape of the spell in her mind, releasing the magic with a whispered word.
Willow blinked as Tara cast a spell, her head surrounded by tiny gem-like sparkles of blue and white that left sparkler trails in the night.
“Yes. There is another large field and a big tree on a hill on the other side of those trees,” she said, pointing away from the Grove.


“Neato,” Willow said. “You know we could have just looked.”
Tara grinned a wonky grin. “Yes, but I need to keep my hand in with the divination spells, and I’m not just saving time, I’m also looking for vampires who might be stalking the woods, looking for yummy treats in the form of pretty Redheads.”
Tara looked a little spacey as she concentrated on the picture in her mind, so Willow took her by the hand and steered her around the various minor obstacles in the field as they walked toward the trees.
“I really need more practice moving around while scrying,” Tara whispered. “It’s really distracting.”



Willow concentrated on a spell, a spell she had become so totally familiar with, that it needed no chanting, no blessed herbs.
“Fiat Tara Lux,” she whispered.
And a small blue light appeared in the air, softly illuminating the trees.


Tara blinked as the light appeared and Willow lead them
“Teeny Tinkerbelle light, oh how I’ve missed you!” she said happily.
Something percolated through her distracted brain. “Willow? Did you say ‘let there be Tara light?’”


Willow looked slightly embarrassed and fiddled with the edge of her sweater. “Um, it’s my own spell. It was part of my rehabilitation, to learn control. I mean, when it comes to unleashing the power, I’m your gal. But me with the control? Not so good.”
She fidgeted nervously. “I needed to practice on the littlest and most basic spells, like teeny Tinkerbelle lights and floating pencils, though I switched to ping-pong balls pretty quick after I exploded them, or fired them through doors, because hello? I like my eyeballs stake-free, so um, look at the light.”
She took several deep breaths as Tara turned to look for the light.


Tara watched the spritely little light as it bobbed merrily among the trees.
When it bobbed closer, she smiled. The tiny light was a perfect replica of her about 3 inches high, fluttering about on tiny fairy wings. Clad in a diaphanous Tinkerbelle dress that could only be called clothing by the most generous measure, the tiny Tara sprite drifted closer and placed a microscopic kiss on Tara’s nose, before buzzing around Willow’s head with a tiny, happy ‘Wheee!’ sound.
Tara laughed and clapped her hands. “She’s beautiful sweetie.”


Willow still looked embarrassed. “She, um, helped me read at night and helped me get to sleep when I was lonely. Um, she’s called Tarabelle.”
Tara pulled her into a hug. “C’mere you goof.”
she smiled and whispered into Willows ear. “She’s very sweet. But there’s something missing.”


She felt Willow frown. “Uh, no. Really there isn’t, she’s um... very detailed.”

She chuckled, feeling the heat of Willow’s furious blush against her cheek.
“That wasn’t what I meant,” she said softly, gathering her magic.
Tara stepped back a pace and cupped her hands in front of her tummy.
Soft green light began to form between her hands as she concentrated.
“Tarabelle is a little me, so what is she missing?” she asked.


Willow thought frantically. “Um, feathers?”
Tara laughed, and with that, the glow snapped into shape, as a tiny green fairy.
A tiny green Willow fairy.

The little fairy Willow blinked in surprise and sat down suddenly in Tara’s palm. Curious, she began to investigate the huge fingers she found herself sitting on.
The tiny Tarabelle light, which had been buzzing around above their heads, drifted cautiously closer to get a look at the new arrival.
Willow held her breath as tiny fairy Tara approached slowly, almost shyly.
Tarabelle landed on Tara’s palm near the little green fairy.
Tiny fairy Willow looked up in surprise and met Tarabelle’s eyes.

Blue eyes met green.
Her mouth fell open in shock.
Tarabelle gave her a shy smile and a tiny wave.
Tiny Willow stood up and smoothed off her little dress, before fluttering over to her new blue friend.
She waved her arms animatedly and babbled in a tiny high pitched voice, clearly excited.
The tiny blue fairy looked down shyly but peeked up through her hair at her new friend.

Shyly she held out her hand.
The babbling and gestures slowed and stopped.
Tiny Willow looked at the hand as though it were the most precious thing in all the world.
Hesitantly she reached out her own little green hand.
Their fingers clasped with a little sparkle of light.

Tiny Tara and Tiny Willow stared into each other’s eyes, as though the rest of the world no longer existed.
Together, hand in hand, tiny Fairy Willow and tiny Fairy Tara drifted up into the tree branches, leaving their creators below.


Willow whispered, looking up at them as they drifted together through the branches. “Wow. I can’t believe that just happened.”


Tara smiled. “Even tiny Tarabelle needs her Willow,” she said, touching Willow’s chest, just above her heart. “You told me. Willow loves Tara. It’s part of the universe, like gravity.”


“Willow very definitely loves her Tara,” Willow said with conviction.


“And Tara loves her Willow. All Tara’s love their Willow’s.”

They held each other in warm silence.


“You realize that it’s dark again? Now that your light ran off with mine,” Willow teased.


“Well I don’t want to start a fight by conjuring up another Willowbelle, so I might stick to basic magic. Fiat Tara Lux,” she whispered with a grin.
And she began to glow softly.


Willow waved her arms around in excitement. “Woohoo! I get my own life-sized glowy Tarabelle.”

She pulled Tara in for a passionate smooch.
When they eventually separated with happy if dazed expressions, Willow said. “Wow. Uh, what were we doing originally?”


As she spoke, a tiny giggling green comet shot between them, hotly pursued by an equally happy blue one.
Tara said “I think we are supposed to be doing that.”


Tara led the way, towing Willow through the now softly lit forest to the field on the other side.
“Oh hey, tree,” Willow said, pointing at the tree visible against the deep indigo of the night sky. “That looks like a good place to set up.”
They scampered quickly up to the tree, accompanied by two highly erratic light sources.

Perfect Moment
Music

Willow started unpacking her experimental materials.

“Willow stop,” Tara said, her hand reaching out to the tree.


Willow stopped her unpacking and looked up, puzzled.


“We shouldn’t be here,” Tara said softly.


Willow looked a little apprehensive. “What’s wrong baby?”


“Nothing is wrong Will. Come here a moment and let me show you,” Tara said.
Willow wrapped her arms around Tara’s waist and rested her head on her shoulder.

“Just stop and feel, sweetie. Feel this place,” Tara said.


Willow closed her eyes and slowed her breathing, focussing on stretching out with her senses.


“Do you feel that? This place is sacred to someone,” Tara said.


“So much love... so much fear,” Willow sighed.


“And something else. I can sense something familiar. A connection, like something from long ago,” Tara responded.


Willow’s brow furrowed as she concentrated. “It’s like... heat? It feels like heat.”


Tara looked a little frustrated. “Goddess, it’s maddening. Like something so important that I have somehow forgotten.”


“Um, that might be just you baby, I’m not getting that at all.”


Tara rubbed her head against Willow’s. “This is someone’s special place sweetie, it’s not right for us to be here.”


“Okie dokie. I’m glad you noticed this baby, I’d feel terrible if I’d blown up anyone’s equivalent of our grove,” Willow said. She gave Tara a squeeze and started packing up her equipment.


“How about the other end of the field? That should be safe shouldn’t it?”

Tara watched the tiny blue and green sparks of the Tinkerbelles spiralling around each other in the night sky.
“I think so sweetie, we did walk right through there just before, and I didn’t feel anything.”


“Well good then. I mean I am enjoying the night and the company too, but we did come out here for a particular reason,” she said, standing up with her neatly repacked picnic basket.
“I’m really excited about my spell. I mean I was kinda just messing around with it before, but I have totally been working super-hard on it this whole last week. I’m pretty sure it’s going to need some polishing and tweaking to make it work, y’know, totally smoothly. But I am pretty confident about it actually working this time.”


Tara took her by the hand and hurried down the hill. “Come on then! I want to see you fly baby.”


Willow bobbed cheerfully. “Now with 100 percent less exploding stuff.”


At the bottom of the hill, Willow put her picnic basket down and started unpacking.
Tara pulled a small feather-bedecked token from her pocket and placed it around Willow’s neck.
“Just in case,” she said, and trampled down the grass to make a level spot for the blanket.


Like any other activity, casting a spell became easier the more it was practiced. With enough practice, a spell could be cast with only a phase or gesture.
Experimental spells needed a lot of extra help, ‘training wheels’ as Willow put it. For a first-time spell, magic circles, ceremonial oils, candles and conducive crystals helped to bring the mind and body into balance, and to channel magic in new and unfamiliar ways.
Wedged as it was between 3 hell mouths, Diamond Falls and its Slayer academy had a high background magic level, making the casting of spells much easier here.
All in all, the field was an almost perfect place to test new spells.

Tara concentrated on her scrying spell, sending its viewpoint skimming at speed through the trees, eagle-eyed for any trace of supernatural activity.
“No trace of any nasty vampires for a good mile or two in any direction,” she said, and unfolded the light blue woollen blanket, smoothing it out.
Willow pinned the corners of the blanket with big chunks of clear quartz and carefully placed a large polished chunk of lapis lazuli in the middle.
Next to the lapis, she placed a wide crystal bowl. She sat cross-legged in the centre of the rug, next to the bowl.
In the bowl she placed pollen, a free-range eco-friendly eagle feather, a big handful of laboriously gathered dandelion fluff and lastly, ash from a lightning-struck tree.
Sitting cross-legged Willow studied the complex diagram in her notebook intently, lit by Tara’s inner glow.


There would be no prayers to Gods or Goddesses, no invoking the spirits. This was pure magical mechanics, harnessing magic and the air to control the power of flight.
She went over the diagram one last time, committing to memory the pattern and words that would control the magic, that would bend the laws of physics to her will.
Willow began her chant in Latin, her preferred language for spell-casting.
The magic began to flow and a smell of ozone filled the air as the ingredients rose from the bowl and spread around her in a slowly rotating ring.
The pale ring was barely visible in the soft light, but Tara could see it spinning faster now as Willow concentrated.
The air began to stir, blowing Willow’s hair wildly about, pushing Tara’s hair back from her face.
She wiggled about, getting a feel for how the magic was flowing around her, how it pulled at the sky.


The ring of dust was a blur now, spinning like a turbine, fast and close to her body.
Willow opened her eyes and smiled blissfully. “I think I’ve got this one baby.”
She pushed.


With a flash and a deafening boom, Willow, the spell materials and the rug exploded.


Tara was hurled backwards by the blast.
In months past, Tara had seen a lifetimes worth of magical combat and she recovered quickly. She saw that the grass around her had been hammered flat, sprinkled with a slowly settling cloud of blue fluff that was once a pristine woollen blanket.


And Willow’s jacket.
There was no sign of Willow.


+++


Tara was gripped with terror, as she took in the scene lit by the flaring light given off from her skin, she saw the shredded remains of Willow’s footwear, strips of cloth from her skirt and the trackpants she wore beneath.

As shock and horror began to consume her, the cold analytical part of her mind noted an absence of blood and any related gore.

A small green light drifted down from the night sky and a tiny hand lifted her chin.
Little green Willowbelle smiled and pointed.


Up.


Tara realized that the feelings of terror she was feeling were not her own, as her eyes searched through the night sky.
A strange, contradictory sense of relief passed through her as she realized that the terror hammering into her belonged to Willow, and thus Willow was alive.
‘Willow!’ she sent.
‘Tara! ... Help!’ Willow sent back.
Without a seconds thought, she gathered her strength and hurled herself into the air in search of her soulmate. Flares of magic trailing her wings as she pulled out all the stops.
‘I’m coming! Hold on!’ she sent as she clawed her way into the sky with desperate speed.

Behind her, unnoticed, a tiny green light and a tiny blue one circled the mark left by the blast.


Muscles and magic strained as Tara desperately struggled to gain height.


The torrent of fear raging through the link started to taper off, ‘I... think... I’m getting... the hang of... this... sorta.’


Tara exploded through the layer of low lying clouds, still climbing with frantic speed, ‘Where are you?’


‘Up... way up... clouds below... cold,’ Willow sent, slowly becoming more coherent and slightly less terrified.


Tara continued to power her way into the sky, filled with urgency, but no longer quite so desperate.
Driven by magic, muscle and fear, her wings took huge sweeps of the sky and she drove almost straight up.
The link between them still hummed with tension, but Willow’s terror had faded over the intervening minutes into a more manageable fear/apprehension, not unlike the feeling Tara used to get when she looked over the edge of a high bridge.

‘I think... I’m good... baby,’ Willow sent, ‘I think I’ve figured out... how to hover... I think... shortage of landmarks... up this high... wooo... looking down is not the best idea I’ve had.’


‘Don’t panic baby, that amulet I gave you will let you drift safely to the earth. And if that fails I’ll catch you,’
Tara sent, still working hard to gain height.

By this time, she was a couple of miles in the air, and still no sign of Willow.
‘Willow sweetie, I want you to look around for me. I’m going to make a flash of light, and I want you to tell me where I am in relation to you, ok?’


‘Um, ok. Good idea. I’ve figured out steering sorta, I just need more practice. Also the spell has some... interesting side-effects, that need serious work before I try this again, but hey, flying! Please get here quickly baby, because I’m really scared.’



Tara pushed hard, maybe a little harder than she intended, and she lit up like a star.

Willow had no trouble spotting Tara when she lit up, in fact Willow saw the clouds reflecting the light. It was like the sun came up for a moment.


Tara heard Willow’s voice in her head, ‘Whoa! I saw that! Actually I think the moon people saw that. And I feel a little bit safer knowing that you are not too far away. I’m coming down a bit, I’m above you and a little bit to one side, so keep going and I’ll tell you when to stop.’


It took less than a minute for Tara to find Willow.
And what a find.
When a sweaty and worried Tara found Willow, her breath was stolen from her, for it was like coming face to face with the Moon Goddess.


Willow drifted on the night air, sky clad, the moonlight painting her pale skin like finest silver, her hair floating out from her head as though she were under water.
She wore the moon and the deep indigo sky as though it was a majestic cloak. The image was only slightly spoiled by Willow’s watery eyes and shivering.


Tara was still faintly glowing when she found Willow and pulled her into the fiercest hug she could manage.
“I thought for a moment I’d lost you!” Tara said hoarsely, putting in significant effort to tread air.

“I thought I’d lost me,” Willow said, equally hoarse.

“I found you.”

“Yay for being found, I’m good at being found. Uh, maybe just ignore that part. Oh hey, look at those,” she said, looking down at her chest. “I could put someone’s eye out with those.”

Tara smirked. “Both eyes baby.”

“Well, this is not what I planned. I was hoping for a nice fun, possibly romantic flight, or maybe get dumped on my butt and get smoochies to kiss it better, not find myself miles in the sky and freezing my butt off.”

Tara laughed. “Well I like your cute butt attached to you, so let’s get you down to earth and in a nice warm bed for lots of snuggles.”

“That sounds really good, but I can’t go like this! Half of Slayer central will see me in my birthday suit, and that’s just not good.”

Tara switched to their private line, making conversation easier over the sound of beating wings, ‘The blanket exploded a little sweetie, so I can’t wrap you in it. It’s not too cold at ground level. Maybe if you go to the field, I can go back and get you some clothes?’

‘Clothes are sounding really good right now,’
Willow sent, shivering.

‘Let me go baby. I blew up my second-favourite jacket and froze my butt off, it would be a shame to do all that and not get some flying practice in, even if it is only getting down.’

‘Ok, good. Don’t worry, if you fall, I’ll catch you.’

‘Yay for not falling. It’s going to take me a while to get used to miles and miles of air beneath me, with nothing but magic holding me up.’

‘You should get over it around your third completely successful flight.’

‘Wow, that’s pretty specific Tara. Personal experience?’

Tara nodded, ‘Uh-huh. Also I know how you like specific goals. Now get ready, because I’m going to let you go now.’


‘3... 2...1... go!’
Willow sent.
And screamed as she dropped like a stone.


Tara shot upwards as she let go of Willow. She spread her wings, stalled and fell back toward the earth after Willow, only to shoot past her.

‘Oops, sorry! The spell’s still working, I just kinda forgot to use it.’

Tara laughed, ‘It’s ok Willow. Follow me down, we’ll make a game of it.’

‘Yay! Games and fun in the sky. This would be a lot more fun with clothes on... which is possibly the only time I have ever thought that thought in conjunction with you.’

Tara fell from the sky in a long, slow glide, followed by Willow. By the time they were close to the ground, Tara was dodging slowly from side to side, followed closely by Willow.


From a good number of metres up Tara spotted the field with its guardian oak, playful lights and blast crater. She broke off for Slayer Central as fast as she could manage, not wanting her girl to freeze.
[i]‘Land carefully baby, it’s harder than it looks,’
she sent.
She lit out for home at full speed, ‘I’ll be back as soon as I can manage.’


‘Brrr! Don’t be long baby, otherwise you are likely to be greeted by a Willow popsicle when you get back,’ Willow replied.

‘Well, if that happens, I’ll have to lick you until you melt.’

‘Vixen! At the moment though, you are likely to get your tongue frozen to my girl-parts, which would be not so much with the fun.’

‘Oh, I don’t know about that. I can’t think of a better place to get your tongue semi-permanently stuck to.’



Tara approached the rear entrance to Slayer central at speed.

With an ease born of long practice, she braked in a huge blast of wind and outspread wings, dropping lightly to the bricks of Slayer central’s rear courtyard.

Without stopping, she folded her wings and bolted inside.


+++


“Did... did that just really happen?” Jules asked.


Heather blinked. “Wow.”


Dawn blew a lock of hair out of her face. “So... that’s what Tara looks like... when she flies.”


Jules was still slightly stunned. “I didn’t just imagine that did I? You guys all saw that too?”


Heather nodded slowly. “Yup. That really happened. A pretty, very blonde angel, with big white wings, wearing a nice dress by the way, just landed in front of us and shot off inside without even stopping for breath.”


Jules looked relieved. “Oh good. I was starting to worry there for a moment.”


Dawn was unimpressed. “Pffft. You live in a world full of vampires, demons and other less identifiable monsters. And an angel gives you the wiggins? To this I say: cope.”


“Hey! It’s not every day an angel drops out of the sky on you ok? Stuff like that takes time to process,” Jules protested.


Heather spoke. “So, I’m putting this one in my journal, complete with a sketch, because that was the coolest thing I have ever seen.”


+++


A few short minutes later, all three were bickering.

“You can’t change your squad’s name to ‘Angel’, I said it first!” Heather protested.


“I think it’s a better fit for my squad, after we rescued your butt last week,” Jules said simply.


Heather smirked with triumph. “Well we still need to put it through the paperwork and I bet Xander lets me have it!”


“Ahem!” Dawn interjected. “Not that ‘Angel’ is a bad name or anything, but two things you should think about. One, anyone who names their team ‘Angel’ is going to seriously annoy Buffy, which would be all kinds of suck for you. And two, it’s not Xander who does the paperwork for that stuff, it’s me!”


“Ah, crap. Any chance I can use my feminine wiles on you?” Jules asked.


Dawn laughed. “You can give it a try if you want, but don’t hold your breath.”


Jules opened her mouth to make a witty comeback, when the doors slammed open and Tara came barrelling out.

She sprinted along the top of the wall beside the steps, raising her wings as she went.
When she hit the end of the wall she leapt off, bringing her wings down with a powerful snap, launching herself into the air.

With a few powerful wing beats, she was gone, vanished into the night sky.


There was silence in the courtyard.

Jules cleared her throat. “Uh, Yeah I was gonna say something clever, but it’s gone now.”

“Uh-huh.”

Heather picked an errant leaf out of her hair. “Yup.”

Silence reigned.


Jules eyed Heather thoughtfully. “You know, you’re pretty light...”

Heather thought for a moment, only to be interrupted by Dawn. “Ohmigod, that’s such a cool idea!”

Heather grinned. “Slayer air drop!”

“We should float this idea ourselves, that way we get first crack at it, well you guys get first crack, I’m a good deal heavier than you two twigs,” Jules added.


Heather picked her up in her arms. “Phoey! You’re a feather!”

Jules hugged Heather. “Thanks doll face, but you’re a Slayer, everything is light to you.”

Heather ignored this comment. “We should get some practice jumping off stuff to learn how to land properly. Well, more practice.”

Dawn joined in. “And I could take notes and write up a proposal and deployment plan.”

“This is gonna be awesome!” Heather enthused, bouncing up and down with Jules in her arms.

Jules chimed in. “Sweet! Let’s go find buildings to throw ourselves off of. Y’know, for practice.”

“Uh-uh! If we are going to do this properly, we’ll need to gear up. Go get your kit and some practice weapons, I’ll get mine and meet you back here. And wear your good boots, otherwise you’re gonna get sore feet.”

Jules poked Heather in the head. “You can put me down now.”


+++


When Giles came out for a breath of fresh air, he was greeted by a sight he just was not expecting.
Two of his Slayers were cheerfully hurling themselves off the roof of the three storey admin building.
Nearby Dawn was dressed in her ‘adventure’ gear, complete with climbing harness and rope. She appeared to be taking notes and egging them on.

He treated himself to a smile, as he contemplated what they could have been doing.

Giles shook his head ruefully, ‘What a world we live in, that I am relieved to discover three young women are only doing harmless things. Such as jumping off a three storey building in the middle of the night.’


+++


Tara swept down from the night sky holding a small duffel.

As she approached she saw a naked Willow sitting cross-legged in the middle of the blast mark made by her take off.
A tiny blue and tiny green light kept her company.

She touched down a few metres away and jogged briskly over to Willow. Willow was breathing hard and looking slightly pink, though the greeny-blue light made it difficult to tell.

“Are you alright sweetie?” Tara asked, handing Willow the bag.


“Whoo! That was really amazing baby! You have no idea how awe inspiring it is seeing you land like that. Uh, I was really cold, so I took Faith’s advice and did some push-ups and ran around a bit. It was great! I am so terribly bad at that stuff, that I got hot and sweaty straight away! Um, Willowbelle and Tarabelle have been keeping me company while I waited,” she said as she opened the bag and started to dress.

“Oh good, I was worried that random sweatiness was another side effect of the spell.”

Willow brightened. “I was sitting here thinking about the spell, and I think I know how to modify it so that my clothes stay on. I need to link the spell to my aura, not my body. That way the spell will push off from all of me, rather than from my skin.”


An excited Willowbelle and Tarabelle buzzed around Tara’s head, hand in hand, tiny voices chattering.
Tara smiled, though her brow soon crinkled in thought. “Willow? Have you been maintaining the Tinkerbelle spells?”

Willow’s voice emerged from a stripy sweater as she struggled with its grasping embrace. “Uh, no. Sorry I got distracted with the running and the sweating and the really awful push-ups, which are a whole new adventure when you do them naked in long grass.”

Tara smirked at the thought.


“Without anyone maintaining the spell, they should have faded away by now.”
Tara went cross-eyed as Willowbelle drifted over and planted the tiniest kiss on her nose with an equally tiny giggle. “Goodness! She’s so... you.”


Willow nodded. “I think they’re based on our subconscious impressions of one another, and I think they have been absorbing the energy left over from the flight spell, which is why they haven’t faded away.”

“Well I’m glad. I wouldn’t want little Tara to lose little Willow, even if they are only subconscious images. I know it’s silly, but it would make me a little bit sad.”

“I know. And I don’t think it’s silly.”

Willow’s brow crinkled in thought. “If they were able to last this long from only the um, ‘heat’ from the spell, what if we charged up this field?”


Willow got excited and started waving her hands around. “The same way I charged up the Grove! They should last for months, plus if we come back her every now and then and recharge it... well they would never have to fade away.”

Tara watched as Willowbelle babbled to Tarabelle, waving her arms excitedly. Tara could not make out the words, but Tarabelle nodded happily.
They joined hands and looked at Tara with a pleading expression.


“I think that sounds wonderful. I know I’ve got a good deal of energy to spare,” Tara said. “How are you feeling after your first flight?”

“Woohoo,” Willow said quietly, doing a slightly wobbly dance.

“You look a little wobbly my love, are you sure you’re ok?” Tara asked gently.

“Whoo, not so much. I think a couple of minutes of blind screaming terror are starting to take their toll. But yay, I not only got to test my spell, but my heart too! I mean if anything in the world could give me a heart attack, that would be it. Nothing like being catapulted naked a couple of miles into the sky to give the old ticker a workout!” she said unsteadily.


“Come here sweetie, let nurse Tara look after you,” she said pulling Willow into her warm embrace.

“Hellooo nurse!” Willow said indistinctly.

“You’re crashing sweetie, time to get you into bed I think.”

“Yay for bed. Can there be snuggles?”

“There can definitely be snuggles. Just sit down for a minute baby, I want to make sure our new friends are still here tomorrow.”

Willow’s knees gave out and she landed butt first on the grass. “Oh hey. Got the sitting-down part all sorted out. Yay me.”

Tara sat down next to her and took a slightly shaky hand in her own.
“Bed soon Willow, this will only take a moment. Hmm, I know a blessing that enriches crops and generally improves the health of the land. I think it will provide enough energy for our little friends to stay with us for several months. Plus it will be good for the land, which is something nice all by itself.”
Tara gathered her strength, closed her eyes and squeezed Willow’s hand.

She whispered in a reverent voice,
“Goddess, mother of us all,
all things to all people.
Grant me your blessing,
so that we might know what abundance is.
Now and forever more.”

And with that she released her magic, returning to the earth the strength she took from it, strengthened, concentrated, sanctified.


“Sooo beautiful,” Willow sighed.

Tara opened her eyes and saw the field. A ripple spread out from where they were sitting, a faint ripple of opening flowers visible in the moonlight. Each flower had a subtle glow emanating from it, barely visible. As they watched, more and more flowers opened, the field slowly filling with blooms and the rich scent of wild flowers.
Willowbelle and Tarabelle let out tiny squeals of delight and spiralled out to explore their beautiful new home.


“We do good work baby,” Willow smiled.

“Yes we do,” Tara said, standing up.

“I’m a bit wobbly, I might need help getting back.”

“Wobbly Willow,” Tara smiled, visible in the faint glow from the flowers. “I can carry you that far.”
She pulled her slender beloved to her feet. “My sweet love, our bed is calling.”

“You’ll carry me?”

Tara spread her wings. “Always.”


+++


“C’mon B, nearly there.”

Faith and Buffy were strolling through the woods on the way to their picnic spot. It was past midnight and dark this far from town, though both women had many years of experience operating in the dark.
Truth be told, the night was not particularly dark to Slayer eyes, which made the next view all the more surprising.
“Did you splash on some perfume B? ‘cos I can smell...” Faith stopped dead, causing Buffy to walk into the back of her.


Buffy blinked in surprise.
The field in front of them was a riot of colour and rich floral scents. Flowers grew nearly waist high, and in every colour of the rainbow. The perfume made for a heady atmosphere, and the faint glow of the flowers was more than visible to dark-adapted Slayer eyes.


“Faith, why is our field suddenly full glowy flowers?” Buffy asked.

Faith’s tummy lurched a little when Buffy said ‘our’ field. She clamped down, trying unsuccessfully not to get her hopes up. “Yeah, ‘cos I totally have an explanation for this. This shit is like, wall to wall.”

Buffy smiled. “It’s pretty. And it smells pretty too.”
She unexpectedly grabbed Faith by the hand and pulled her out into the field. “Come on Faith. We have a tree to get to.”

Faith was still a little spun by the sudden appearance of luminous flowers in ‘their’ field. “Man I am glad I don’t get hay-fever, because if I did? This would make me explode.”


Buffy wandered into the flowers.
With one hand she brushed her hand through the flowers, with the other she towed a slightly wiggy Faith.

It didn’t take long to get to get to the mighty oak at the top of the hill, giving the pair an unparalleled view of the field.
It was glorious.
The scent of wild flowers was intoxicating. Rich and powerful, but lacking the overwhelming effect of artificial perfume.
The field was an ocean of light, bright points of larger flowers here and there, standing out against the tiny sprays of wild flowers, rippling in the slight breeze, the path they had travelled through the flowers was visible as a darker line leading right to their feet.


Faith noticed that Buffy still had not let go of her hand.
‘B holds hands with Red and lil’ D all the time, X-man too sometimes. Don’t read too much into it’ she told herself sternly.

Buffy broke the silence. “You were right Faith. This is,” she paused to look for the right word. “magical,” she said finally.

Faith looked down at Buffy’s hand, still holding her own. “Yeah B.” Faith looked up at the field. “magical.”

Buffy yawned. “Ugh, long day. Can we just sit here a while?”

Faith cocked her head in thought. “Five by five. I’m in no hurry to get back to crazy Slayer kids.”
She reluctantly let go of Buffy’s hand and poked around at the base of the tree, looking for a dry spot. Parking her butt on the grass, she leaned back against the tree, the picture of relaxation in jeans and a leather jacket. She patted the dry grass next to her. “It’s dry. No wet butts, I promise.”


Buffy parked herself next to Faith and sat back against the tree. “I wonder what happened?”


Faith thought for a moment. “I figure magic. My money is on Red or Blondie, ‘cos I don’t see any of Red’s witchy kids pulling off something this big.”

“It’s really pretty. I wonder what they were doing?”

“Seems pretty wholesome, maybe they were doing some, uh, happy ritual. Or something. Um.”

The pair sat in silence, soaking up the floral scents and peace of the night.


Faith spotted two sparks of light flitting through the trees toward them. Really, really not wanting to break the mood, she stayed in her spot.
Next to Buffy.
“You’re seein’ this, right?”


“Yep,” Buffy said sleepily. “I think it’s ok. Not *yawn* setting off my spidey senses.”

They watched together as the two lights, one green, and one blue danced through the trees, zipping hither and thither, chasing each other and spiralling through the air together.
It took the little lights a couple of minutes to meander their way over to the reclining Slayers. When they spotted the pair under the tree, they buzzed their way over happily.


Buffy smiled a sleepy smile as she recognized the profile of the little green light once she got close.

Faith chuckled. “Heh heh, I guess we know who’s been doing weird things in the fields.”

The tiny Willow fairy kissed Buffy on the nose with a giggle.

Faith quirked an eyebrow at the tiny blue Tara fairy. She returned the look with a shy wave.


“You know, they’re kinda cute, though I don’t think there’s anything in the world that would convince Red or Angel-girl to wear a see through dress in public.”

“This is seriously good teasing material. I can’t wait to hear Willow’s explanation of this in the morning,” Buffy said with a yawn.

“I’m sitting here tryin’ to think, what in hell they were doing, that would leave a field full of glowin’ flowers and a nearly naked fairy copy of each of them flyin’ around?”

“Um, and?”

“I got nothin’. Well besides the obvious.”

“Hmm?” Buffy murmured sleepily.

“Uh, witchy whoopee I’m thinkin’.”

Buffy blushed.


They sat together in companionable silence for a while.

Faith noticed Buffy was starting to drop off.
“Sleepy?” she asked softly.

“Mmm-mmm,” Buffy murmured sleepily. “just wanna...” she sighed.

Faith took her jacket off and wrapped it around Buffy.
“Rest a while B,” she said softly.

Buffy snuggled into the jacket, making little sleepy sounds.
“I’ll watch over you,” she whispered.


+++

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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: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:04 am 
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That was just absolutely adorable.

Awww tarabelle and willowbelle were so cute, and yay for them being able to stick around!

and lol naked flying willow!

Loved the update.


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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 5:27 am 
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... Yay for Willow's flight lesson... Big yay for Tarabelle & Willowbelle... I'm glad that Tara figured out the significance of the tree in the field, I wonder if Willow & Tara learns the tree is "sacred ground" for Faith & Buffy... Big lol for Aerial Insertion Slayers...

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:08 pm 
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I love how what is essentially the back yard of Slayer Central is slowly turning into an offshoot of the magical land of Narnia. Or maybe Fern Gully would be a more apt example.

As for alpha builds of newly crafted spells I wonder when a duffel bag holding a change of clothes and possibly a sword will be considered just as crucial as the herbs, crystals, and various amphibian organs.

Seeing a brief moment of pure panic and terror grip the couple while there was no obvious threat from the start was also a compelling twist.

And this may sound odd coming from me, but I can't wait for Faith to make the move with "her girl." Or for her girl to finally put all the pieces together.

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:52 am 
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Hi Citanul, Zampsa, Mystic!

Nice to see you all here at one time :)

This is one of the few chapters that ever got beta'd, and yeah they thought it was pretty cute too.
Willowbelle/Tarabelle aren't major charactrers, or do anything major, but they're staying.

And yes, changes of clothing become more important later on :P

Buffy and Faith getting their act together isn't too far off.
Be warned, while promise a happy ending, i take the need for drama on these two.
It's a weakness, but i can't do anything too horrible to our favourite girls, so it happens to those two.

So yeah, there's a fair bit of violence and death involved.
But it'll work out eventually.

See y'all in a week or so.

Now if only i can shake my addiction to TerraTech...

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: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 9:33 pm 
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Hi all!
So, there’s not a lot of smut in this story. I want to do them justice, and I’m not sure if everyone’s tastes coincide with mine. So it’s hard work for me.
That having been said, some of it is right here, so smut-fans, enjoy!
Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!Smut!

P.S: don’t worry, it’s nothing too kinky, don’t let the previous paragraph worry you :P

P.P.S: This chapter was actually beta’d! I know, right?

Also, there’s a little shout out to a kitten in here, a virtual cookie to anyone who spots it :P


What I did last summer (When I was dead)


“Hey everyone,” Tara said. “Thank you all for coming.”


Tara stood with Willow, by the table which usually did munchies-duty on Scooby movie nights. Currently it was piled with unusual equipment. She was still dressed in Faith’s spare exercise gear and Willow’s favourite fluffy pink sweater.


Buffy smiled. “We really need to take you shopping.”

Dawn was sitting with Xander and Buffy on one of the couches, Faith sat on the arm of the couch next to Buffy.
Giles for his part was standing politely to one side.


Faith grinned. “C’mon Snow White, like anyone was going to miss it. I swear, English over there would have called off the apocalypse for this.”


“Well, I want to thank everyone for letting Willow and me spend time together, without bombarding me with questions. So now your patience will be rewarded with as many answers as I have to give.”
“And, along with the answers, I have some presents for you,” she said.


“I’m liking this already,” Buffy said, bouncing cheerfully.


“It really helped me keep my spirits up to go shopping for presents for you guys. It kept the idea of coming home fresh in my mind. It also drove my friends slightly bonkers, trying to figure out who you all were, from the clues I dropped,” she said with a fond smile.


“You made friends in the afterlife?” Buffy asked.

“Yeah, where were you? Was it the same place Buffy was? What was it like? Why is your hair white?” Dawn blurted.


Tara smiled. “That’s a good place to start.”


“Wow, I’m really impressed. Normally by this stage Buffy would have fought her way through everybody, to get to the presents,” Willow said, looking just a touch amazed.


Buffy poked her tongue at Willow. “This is important Will, presents can wait a while,” she said.
She looked thoughtful for a moment. “A short while anyway. On with the story Tara.”

“OK, I’ll start with the simple stuff. My hair is white because magic leaves its mark. You use enough of it, for long enough, this sort of thing happens. I have been using my magic to the very limit of my ability, almost daily for nearly a year. Heavy magic use typically leaves its mark in some visible way, such as hair, eye or skin changes. The more you do it, the more dramatic the marks and the longer they last. If I manage to avoid channelling lots of power for a good while, it will change back to, uh, ‘dark blonde’ otherwise known as light brownish.”


“You mean like when Amy went all dark eyed? Or when Willow, um...” Dawn trailed away.

Tara nodded. “Like that.”


Willow looked at her feet, shamefaced.
Tara lifted Willow’s chin with a gentle finger. “You channelled rage and darkness, baby. I understand. Can you imagine what I would have done if it had been you that was shot? It’s done and gone and in the past baby, it’s time to let it go, okay?”

Willow nodded, still not happy, but meeting Tara’s gaze at least.


“So that’s the easy questions dealt with,” Tara said as she took Willow’s hand in hers.
“Was I in heaven? No. What actually happened after I died, I have only been able to put together from bits and pieces, things people have told me,” Tara sighed.

“I was in a place that was formerly a hell dimension. Once, demons ruled there, as they once did here. They left or were driven out and mortals were able to rise and live there. In many ways it was like our world: trees, lakes, people and farms, all very similar. Not, um, clouds or fire.”
She squeezed Willows hand and smiled. “The main difference was that in that world, they used magic to do many of the things that we use technology for. Cars, trains, aircraft, all magical.”


Xander and Dawn exchanged a look that could only be described as ‘neat!’


“I came into that world on a hellmouth.”

Giles spoke up. “Really?”


Tara nodded. “They had them there, just as we do. They also had an organization dedicated to keeping them shut, and to destroying any evil that did manage to get through.”
She smiled at Giles. “I think you’d have liked spending time with Elder Gant, Mister Giles. He was a Druid and the lore keeper for the order. He had records going so far back they were recorded on clay tablets, and he, um, kicked butt with the best of them.”

He returned the smile.

“I fell out of the sky on one of the hell mouths they watched over. They found me and looked after me. For a while, I couldn’t talk or feed myself or anything. They looked after me for a long time until I could fend for myself, until I remembered how to speak, and dress myself. They helped me find the answers I was looking for, and helped me find my way home.”


“Tara? How come this happened to you? How come you didn’t end up where I did?” Buffy asked.


“After I died, my soul waited here for a time. I don’t know how long. I don’t remember anything much from that time, other than a terrible sadness.”
Tara squeezed Willow’s hand. “I sang to you baby, every night. I know that much.”

Willow smiled a sad smile. Dawn sniffled a little at the poignancy in Tara’s voice.


“Um, as you might imagine, many unscrupulous types have a use for a pure soul. And, um, I was a ‘pure’ soul. My lingering near a Hellmouth made it easy for someone to grab me and make use of me,” Tara said sadly.


“Who?” Buffy asked, anger colouring her voice.

Tara looked sad. “Vampires.”

“God! I am so sick of stupid blood suckers,” Buffy groused.



It seemed that the Scoobies agreed with her, if the nods were anything to go by.
Tara smiled slightly. “Don’t feel too bad Buffy, if it wasn’t for their crazy plan, I would not have been able to come home.”


Dawn spoke up. “Yay for you being home Tara, I mean really. None of us,” she took a deep breath. “None of us have been the same since we lost you,” she said, her eyes glittering with unshed tears.

The Scoobies slowly nodded.


Faith put in her two cents. “Snow... Tara? I wasn’t around properly when you were with Red and the gang. But I showed up afterwards and god, could I see the change! I mean Red was a ghost, but so was Buffy. It was like someone sucked the soul out of the gang, y’know?”

A moment of silence stretched on, until it became uncomfortable.


“Um, so the question I was working my way towards, before I derailed myself... why did the vampires grab you?” Dawn asked.


“They wanted to resurrect their Queen. The dark gods of that place are trapped, imprisoned, unable to do things like resurrect the dead. So, resurrection spells have to come from the light, the magic of life and love and sacrifice. Not the kind of thing that vampires can do. They needed someone who could wield that kind of magic. Someone pure, powerful and of the light.”
“There were only a few who could do so with enough power to resurrect their queen. Those who could were warriors of the light, not easily manipulated into doing the bidding of a vampire queen. Not like me,” Tara said sadly.


Faith piped up. “I realize that the answer to this has to be real obvious to the big brains in the room, but how come they could resurrect you, but not the queen? Why did they need you to do that?”


“Vampires cannot use light magic. I’m using ‘Light’ as a shorthand for benign magic here. By their very nature they are prevented from touching power of that type. Only mortals can cross the line between light and dark, the divine and the demonic. It is our strength, and it is why they needed a mortal to do the resurrection.”

“For a resurrection spell, you need the power of light magic, and the gods do not give it willingly.”

“There are however, dark rituals that can resurrect the dead, if you have the right fuel for the spell,” Tara said.


Giles spoke, a tone of sad recognition in his voice. “Oh dear.”

Willow squeezed Tara tightly to her, holding her while she told the most terrible part of her story.

Tara’s forlorn gaze met Giles’ compassionate expression.


Tara went on haltingly. “The ritual wouldn’t work for the vampire queen, but if they sacrificed a being of l-light... they could resurrect me. As a m-mortal, straddling the line between the divine and the infernal, I could use my magic to resurrect the queen. If I had enough p-power.”


“So they sacrificed a being of light. They... they k-killed an angel to bring me back to life.”

There was silence at this revelation for a long, horrible moment.


“Holy fucking shit Glinda!” Faith burst out. “You have to feel like eighty-five kinds of crap about that!”


“Quite,” Giles added.


Tara nodded glumly. “Willow talked to me about it earlier, helped me put it in perspective. A little.”

Tara looked up, making eye contact with the one person who could truly understand. She met Dawn’s huge grey eyes. “Ariel. Her name was Ariel... and she died for me,” Tara whispered.

Dawn nodded, tears in her eyes, connecting with Tara on this most primal level. To have someone understand what it was like to live on, after someone had made the ultimate sacrifice for you. To know, that however unworthy you may have felt, you had to live on, otherwise you made their sacrifice meaningless.

Tara spoke softly, her voice gaining in strength. “She can’t be here to light the way, so I have to.”
She looked at Dawn with determination. “I will take her light into dark places. I will take a stand for the light, and I will fight in her name.”

Dawn nodded her silent understanding.


There was one more thing to do before Tara could move on, one more sacrifice that had to be acknowledged.
She let go of Willow’s hand and moved over to stand in front of Mr Giles.
Silently she took both of his strong hands in her own and lifted them up to see the scar on his left wrist. Tenderly she kissed the scar, evidence of his love, his willingness to sacrifice all for her sake and Willow’s.
She wrapped her arms around him, inhaling his unique ‘Giles’ scent of soap and aftershave as he enfolded her in his strong arms.

She whispered to him. “Thank you Mister Giles. Thank you for... Willow.”


Giles whispered hoarsely. “In a heartbeat, dear girl,” he swallowed. “In a heartbeat.”

Buffy caught Faith’s eye, questioning. Faith shrugged, clueless.

She caught Willow’s gaze and gave her a questioning look and was given only a tiny shake of the head.


Tara looked up at mister Giles. “I think you deserve your present first,” she said with a sniff.


Giles’ green eyes looked into her own, and he smiled.


Disentangling herself from Giles, Tara moved over to the pile of her things on the table. Rummaging around in her pack she removed a small stack of books, perhaps 8 in all.

“What to get the librarian who has everything?” she said with a little ceremony. “Books from another dimension. I am confident that they are the only copies in our reality. They are treatises on magic, which might well help for the future, as well as being just interesting to read.”

She handed the stack neatly to Giles, who received them with a look of genuine pleasure.

“I have a translation spell, if puzzling them out becomes too much of a chore,” she said, with just a hint of teasing.


“Thank you my dear,” he said with a smile. “I just may take you up on that.”


Buffy rolled her eyes. “We are not going to see him for a week now. He’s going to be all ‘librarian man’ and wrapped up in his stuffy books.”
Giles said nothing, but opened one of the books to the first page and made a show of reading.
Willow giggled.


Tara returned to her pile of stuff and picked up a huge, long handled double axe. “This is for you Buffy,” she said, holding out the handle to the Slayer.


“Yeah, I did wonder about that, ‘cos a badass axe really didn’t seem like your style. Uh, from what I’ve heard,” Faith added.


Tara smiled. “I was given it by the Smith priestess that made my armour. She said that it wasn’t for me, but someone that I knew would need it.”

“It is a gift,” she said.


Buffy took the axe and examined the intricately engraved head. “Wow, that’s light. I was worried an axe that big would be too slow to use.”


Tara nodded. “It’s made from what they call flame-touched steel. In addition to being amazingly strong and light, it’s extra effective against demons and evil beings of all types. My friend Takarn had a sword made of the same metal. It glows when wielded by Paladins, ah, holy warriors.”


“Cool. Thanks Tara, it’s an awesome axe, and pretty too!”


Dawn was wriggling in her seat in anticipation of her present. Tara smiled. Over the years, Dawn had picked up many of Willow’s mannerisms.


“This next present is for Dawn, though I suppose it could be a present for Buffy as well. You remember the famous ‘leather pants and soda’ incident?” Tara asked with a smile.


Dawn groaned and buried her head in her hands. “I am going to be hearing about that when I’m old and grey aren’t I?”


“Hey, they were my favourite pants!” Buffy replied with mock outrage.


“Well this should prevent future incidents,” Tara said as she handed Dawn a pair of slim polished wands.


Dawn blinked. “Chopsticks?”


“Wands. Yes, actual magic wands. The shiny one cleans things and the other one fixes broken or torn things, as long as most of the bits are present.”


“You mean this will clean my room and fix my clothes?” Dawn asked, a little puzzled.


Tara nodded. “Uh-huh. Once per day each.”


Dawn bounced up and down. “Yes! That is totally wicked! Most awesome present ever!”


“Wicked? You’ve been hanging around with Faith too much,” grumbled Buffy.

“Well it is to be expected, she is much, much cooler than you,” Dawn hopped up and down on the spot and glomped Tara in a huge hug. “Thanks Tara, you may have just made young-adulthood a bearable experience.”


Tara smiled lopsidedly. “No problem.”


“You couldn’t have had that in Sunnydale? Those were like, the best pants ever!” Buffy groused.


Faith patted Buffy on her shoulder. “Look on the bright side B, she’s six inches taller than you now. About the only thing of yours that will fit her is a hat. An’ I don’t think you own a hat.”


Buffy shook her head. “Hats are not my thing.”


Dawn poked her tongue at Buffy. “And if you insist on hunting vampires dressed like a fashion victim, I may have to charge you to use my magic wand.”

Dawn paused for a moment in thought. “Uh I just realized, do I have to do Harry Potter style bad-Latin? Like ‘Occulus Repairum’ and stuff.”


“Um. Yes,” Tara said. “Wands usually have a command word to activate them. The cleaning wand has ‘Cala’ which means ‘clean’ and the repair wand uses ‘Naxo’ as a command word. I bet you can guess it means ‘fix’. It’s not Latin, but, yes, it’s pretty similar.”


“I guess I’ll just have to change my name to ‘Hermione’ then,” Dawn joked.


“Ugh. Please don’t,” grumbled Buffy.

Another round of tongue poking was had.


Tara looked at Xander. “Xander?”


“Yep. That’s me.”


“I know how much it bothered you not to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with Buffy in a fight. I can’t give you Slayer powers, but I can give you this,” she said, holding up a heavily worked metal bracelet.

“It is a container for a spell, the most powerful protection spell I can cast. With the blessing of the Goddess on you, hitting you will be like hitting a brick wall. Even an axe swung by a Slayer will have a hard time hurting you. It only holds one spell, which lasts for an hour, but it is a very powerful spell.”


Xander’s eye widened as Tara spoke.


“Sorry about the style, I know it’s a bit girlie, but it’s tough. If you prefer, I can swap out the spell for one which would give you Slayer strength, but without the resilience. Honestly though, the way you put yourself in danger, you should probably stick with the protection spell. It will stop bullets, fists, axes and even blasts of lightning, though the barrier needs a few seconds to recover between hits, so try not to get hit constantly.”


“Wow. I like it. And relax about the style, I am secure enough in my masculinity to wear a bit of jewellery. Thanks Tara, it’s awesome.”


Tara smiled. “I was forever getting ambushed without access to spells, so a bought this bracelet and stored my most potent protection spell in it. To use it, just press the stone on top really hard. I usually just bash it on a wall. You won’t scratch it, it’s pretty much unbreakable.”

She handed the bracelet to Xander and smiled as he immediately put it on and struck a pose.

There were many smiles.


Tara tenderly touched the side of Xander’s face. “I have another gift for you Xander. One I didn’t know I was bringing, until I saw you for the first time.”


He looked a little surprised. “Ooookay... I’ll bite, what?”


“If you want me to Xander... I can heal your eye. I can make you whole again.”


Xander sucked in his breath. The room fell silent and the Scoobies shot emotion-filled looks at each other.

Xander smiled and placed his hand over hers. “You already have,” he said.

He nodded to Willow. “That’s my best friend there. For years she was my only friend. No one else would hang with loser-Xander. She stuck by me when no one else would. We’ve been through everything together, even some really stupid stuff.”

Willow smiled a wobbly smile at Xander, her eyes glittering. She stepped silently over to him and held his free hand in both of hers.

“But there was one thing I could not help her with. One thing that pretty much sucked out her Willowy-goodness and left a Willow-shaped hole where she used to be.”
He took Tara’s hand. “The Tara-shaped hole in her.”

He squeezed both sets of hands. “You healed her, you brought her back to life in a real way. You gave me back by best pal, you gave us all our Willow back. I wasn’t right without her, and she wasn’t right without you.”

Tara was unable to speak. Her smile was sad and watery, as in a few simple words, he gave her a glimpse of Scooby-life without her.


“I think I’ll say thank you for the eye, but no thanks. I see better with one eye than I ever did with two.”


He squeezed Tara’s hand tightly. “You know what I see every day in the mirror? Pride. I look in the mirror and I am proud of the man I have become. I see the scar where I used to have an eye, and I remember what happened when I lost it. And I would do it again in a New York minute.”

“This scar is a reminder every day of what I fought for, of who I fought for, and why. Two-eyed Xander was kind of a selfish jerk. One-eyed Xander will put it all on the line for his friends. This scar tells me every day, that I am that man. I think I prefer being one eyed Xander, all things considered. Besides, stereo vision is over rated, and this patch? Totally cool, even Badass.”

“You have really thought this through,” Tara said softly.

“Heh, I know Wills. She’s been researching healing spells for ages, trying to find one that will fix my eye. I’m not the fastest thinker in the world, so I try to do my thinking ahead of time. So I had a sit down and a think about what I was going to say, if she came and told me that she had a spell to fix it.”

He smiled. “Thanks for the offer Tara. I’m glad you can do that for us, and one day I might take you up on the offer. But right now this,” he said, tapping his black eye patch. “This is my badge of courage. It’s mine. I earned it.”


“This is why you are awesome, Xander,” Dawn said, glomming Xander in a huge hug.

“Aww shucks. You’ll make me blush,” he muttered.


Willow tousled his hair. “You’re the best, you know? Genuine Xander, accept no substitutes.”


Giles cleared his throat adding his own two pennies. “You have come a long way Xander. You have become a fine young man.”

Buffy felt the need to weigh in and hugged him tight enough to make him gasp. “Buff... oxygen... issue...”

“Oxygen is over rated,” she said, though eventually she let go of him and smiled up into his dark eye.


There was the jingle of metal and Faith’s voice made itself heard. “Hey, Snow-White? What’s this?” she said, holding up a small bag.


Tara looked sad. “Money. It’s a bag full of gold and silver coins. It was going to be a present for,” her voice hitched. “for someone who’s not here.”

Xander’s face fell and Dawn squeezed him extra tight.

“I’m sorry Faith, I didn’t get you a present. I didn’t realize you’d be here when I was shopping for things. If you like, you can have the money.”


Faith opened the bag and let the sparkling coins fall through her fingers. “Thanks T, but I’ll pass. Like you said, not for me. ‘sides, we’re not short of cash here.”

She stopped when she hit a heavy gold coin, triangular, with angular lettering carved into its surface and a double-headed axe symbol on one side.

“Been seeing this logo a fair bit lately. Would it be cool if I snagged this? It would make a badass necklace,” she said with a smile at Xander.

Tara smiled. “Of course Faith, it’s yours.”

“Wicked.”


“Uh, Tara? This axe, it’s mine right?” Buffy asked, a thoughtful look on her face.


Tara looked puzzled. “Um, yes? It’s your axe Buffy, a gift from a Goddess, yours to do whatever you like with.”


“Ok, then good. It’s just that I know someone who needs this axe more than I do, I mean I already have a disco magic axe, and that sword that Giles got me for my birthday and a giant hammer. I currently have more favourite weapons than I have hands and, well we all got presents, except Faith.”


Buffy turned to Faith. “I want you to have this axe Faith.”
Faith looked shocked.

“I think as one of the chosen two, you should have a weapon worthy of the position,” Buffy said chirpily.

“B, you sure about this?”

Buffy bobbed. “Sure I’m sure. You need something special, so here it is. Think of it as a badge of office, or just a present from me.”

“You ok with this Snowy? I mean you did just give this to Buffy, like, less than a minute ago.”

Tara smiled. “It’s ok Faith. It Buffy’s to give, and I think it’s a lovely idea.”

Faith nodded. “Thanks T.”


Faith turned to Buffy and put her hand on hers. “Thanks B. This is the nicest present anyone ever gave me. Means a lot, y’know?”

She grinned. “And it is totally badass. Girlie, and totally deadly, just like us.”


Buffy was confused. “Faith, how is a huge axe girlie?”


Faith grinned and made eye contact with Tara and Willow. Tara smiled impishly, while Willow examined a spot on the ceiling with great diligence.

“B, your education has some weird holes in it, especially considering who you hang with. I’ll fill you in one day, but trust me, this?” she said gesturing with the double bladed axe. “This is a woman’s weapon.”


“It goes nicely with your pendant,” Tara said, her face the picture of innocence.


Buffy smiled cheerfully. “It does. Maybe I could get one?”


Faith coughed. “Uh, I guess. There’s another one o’ them coins in the bag if you really want one. You sure it goes with your, uh, style B?”

“It’s pretty, and only you have another one in the whole world. It’s like we’re sisters of the axe or something... Are you ok Faith?”


Faith was coughing and spluttering. Willow was still staring intently at the ceiling. Tara proved she was made of iron, by steadfastly maintaining her expression of innocence.


“Yeah. Just... something went down the wrong way I guess. Sisters of the axe huh? Well it is kid of a ‘woman power’ symbol, so I guess it’s cool.”


“Neat! Hey, there’s a jewellers in town. We could get them done up when we take Tara shopping.”


Faith nodded and spoke up in a raspy voice. “Sounds good B. We could do that.”


“Dawn? Why are you bashing your head with a pillow?” Buffy asked.


Dawn looked at her with sisterly pity. “No reason. Enjoy your jewellery shopping trip with Faith. Let me know if you see anything interesting.”


Buffy shook her head. “You are the weirdest little sister ever, you know that right?”

Dawn stared at her blankly for a moment, and then burst out laughing.

Buffy turned to the other Scoobies. “You see? This is what I have to deal with.”


Willow was staring at the ceiling as if trying to drill a hole in it with sheer mental force.

“Will? Earth to Will? What is so interesting up there?”


Willow looked surprised and slightly panicked. “Huh? Oh! Um, I was wondering if these old government-issue type buildings have um, asbestos! Yes, asbestos in them, and was trying to figure out how to get rid of it, because, because, asbestos: bad! And with the growing Slayer kids, and not wanting sick Scoobies, and somebody is supposed to stop me before I *GASP* run out of breath.”


Buffy smiled. “Sorry Will, Babble-Willow is someone we’ve all kinda missed. I don’t know if you know this, y’know, but you don’t do it when you’re unhappy. So Babble-Willow is someone we are all pleased to see.”

“Neato. What were we talking about?” said a slightly dizzy Willow.

“Shopping. We should totally go. We can get Tara a bunch of her own clothes and stuff for her room. Plus we can get our jewellery and generally hang and have girl-time.”


“Yes! Girl-time! That means no Xander standing around in a clothing store, holding all the bags,” Xander said triumphantly.

Willow rolled her eyes. “Xander, it’s not that bad.”

Xander disagreed. “Will, it is totally that bad. Everyone looks at me like I’m the last slice of pizza at fat-camp, or as if I’m some kind of pervert. Not cool.”

“Well we can’t have that. Go on, have boy-fun, you’re off the hook for bag-holding duty,” Buffy said.


“What is boy-fun for you Xander?” Willow asked.


Xander puffed out his chest. “Only the most manly activities satisfy the Xander-man.”


“Shooting guns while playing poker and smoking cigars?” Willow quipped.


He grinned. “Close. Working on cars.”


“Xander! I had no idea you were a petrol... monkey... grease... person,” Buffy got out hesitantly.


Faith nudged Buffy with her shoulder. “Yeah B, who do you think keeps all the cars and busses and stuff running round here. X-man here is a regular gear-head.”


“Which reminds me,” he said rummaging around in his pocket. “My chance to give someone a present,” he pulled out a key ring and handed it to Tara. “Tada! Merry Hanumastice.”


“You didn’t just give away my sneaky electric car did you?” asked a slightly worried Dawn.


“Nah, I don’t think Chevrolet do electric. I think those are the keys to the beast,” Faith commented.


Dawn looked surprised. “Omigod! Xander you’ve been working on that thing, like forever!”


He nodded. “Yep. And now it’s fixed. Time for it to go to work.”


“Are you sure?” Tara asked.

He nodded. “Sure I’m sure. It’s not every day someone comes back from the other side. C’mon Tara, think of it as a welcome back gift, one long overdue.”

“Thank you Xander. I will treasure it always.”


“You might not think that when you see it,” Buffy retorted.


“Hey, slow down there B. It’s been at the shop for the last week, getting the dents whacked out and a shiny new coat of paint.”


“And new leather upholstery,” Xander added. “I have no idea about paint and seats, other than there should be some, so I gave it to some guys who do.”


He turned to Tara. “Shoo, go play with your new toy while we play with ours,” he smiled. “Take your girl out for a spin.”


Willow smiled cheekily. “She already did that, but driving would be fun too.”

“Will!” blurted Buffy.

Willow smiled cheekily. “Whoops, that’s our cue baby, time to go.”

Willow exited the room towing a grinning Tara. “Bye guys, see you later, thanks for the car Xander!” she called as she was towed down the hallway by tugboat Willow.


+++


Willow pulled back the soft blue cover.

“Wow.”

Tara nodded. “Uh-huh”


“That’s a lot of car,” Willow said.

“Yes it is,”


They stared in amazement at the polished chrome and mile-deep paint of the car.

“It’s a black muscle car,” Willow said blankly.

“It’s an Impala, late 60’s I think,” Responded Tara absently, deep in thought.

“It’s not what I think of when I think ‘girl’s car’, and when did you get all car... expert... girl?”

“This is definitely not a girl’s car. This is the car of a strong, empowered woman, one who is not afraid to stand out from the crowd and break rules from time to time.”


Willow’s eyebrows really couldn’t climb any higher.

“I love this car. And it’s not black, it’s really, really dark purple,” Tara said.

She opened the door and took in the fresh, rich smell of new leather upholstery with a happy sigh. She turned to Willow with a mischievous grin. “Hey baby, going my way?”


Willow giggled behind her hand. “You need to borrow Faith’s leather jacket, then you’ll have the whole ‘Butch’ thing going on.”


She slid into Tara’s arms with a sigh. “Oh wow. Leather smells... mmm ... good.”


“Well what do you know, Xander was right. Classic cars are chick magnets,” Tara said with a lazy smile.

Willow snuggled in close. “Wanna make out in the back of your shiny new car? ‘cos I really, really want to.”


Tara pulled the seat forward and crawled into the back seat.

“Oh yes. Definitely. Come here baby, time to christen the car.”

Willow scrambled into the back of the car and climbed into Tara’s lap.

“Mmm, what to do? I have a pretty girl in my lap and I’m just not sure what I should do about it.”


Willow gave her a look filled with hunger as she straddled Tara. Her skirt slid up around her thighs as she wrapped her legs around her beloved.

Tara looked up at her beautiful Willow, unable to quite believe how lucky she was. Willow smiled back and gently undulated her hips against Tara, clearly feeling adventurous.

She laid a series of delicate kisses up Willow’s collarbone to her neck and was rewarded with a happy sigh, as Willow tilted her head back and exposed her neck to Tara’s soft lips.

Humming, Tara nibbled her way up the sensitive side of Willow’s neck to her ear. She nibbled on her ear, light lip touches interspersed with tiny nips. She blew gently on the oh-so-sensitive skin and was greeted with Willow’s incoherent murmuring and spacey expression.

She breathed in the scent of Willow’s hair, the clean smell of strawberry shampoo and the scent that was uniquely Willow’s hair. She would never get her fill of that smell.

Willow flushed lightly, evidence of her arousal. Moreover, Tara could sense her need through the connection they shared, a mirror to her own rising need.


She breathed hotly on Willow’s ear, eliciting a shiver. “I love you Willow,” she breathed into her delicate pink ear. Willow moaned in rapture. “Oh, Goddess yes!”

Everywhere Tara touched her felt like liquid fire. Every nerve Willow had was singing. It was more than simply the sensuality of the moment, it was the impossible joy of being here with her soulmate.

It was an un-hoped-for dream, made real with every touch, every sweet scent of her lover’s skin and arousal amplified by the connection they shared. Tara’s hunger for Willow intensified everything she felt in return and she surrendered herself to the moment.

Tara’s fingers buried themselves in her hair and gently tipped her head forward. Willow opened her eyes and saw her own hunger mirrored in Tara’s unending blue eyes. Willow felt Tara’s soft lips brush hers, so gently, so delicately.

Tara pulled her in close and kissed her passionately. It was like closing a circuit, fire flooded Willow’s veins, and lightning flowed back in return.
Their tongues wrestled, entering and receiving in turn, tasting each other in sweetest need.


Willow felt Tara’s stiff nipples pressing against her ribs, even through their combined layers of clothing.


They broke for air, breathing heavily. Tara smiled crookedly. “Is the car working for you, sweetie?”

“I don’t need a car to be turned on by you, baby. I... oh!”

Tara sucked on her lower lip, pulling it in slightly and suckling on it.

Willow felt Tara slide her hands along her legs and up under her gypsy skirt to cup her bottom.


“Yummy. Mmm... shapely Willow bottom.”

“Oh, yesssss, ahh, Willow bottom likes Tara hands.”

She felt Tara’s hands kneading her cheeks, pushing her panties aside to caress her bare flesh.

Willow whispered. “And they wondered why we wore skirts all the time.”

Tara breathed into Willow’s ear. “Easy access,” she said combining a playful ear nip with enthusiastic bottom groping.


“Oh yes,” Willow squeaked.

“You’re mine, baby,” Tara whispered.

Willow shuddered helplessly. “Always.”


Willow reached out blindly and cupped Tara’s breasts, eliciting a shiver.

Tara drew in her breath with a hiss. “Oh yesss!”
Willow gently massaged each full breast with a hand. Two full globes. Two hands full. Perfect symmetry.

She caressed, stroked and tweaked those wondrous breasts, and was rewarded in turn with sighs, moans and even an “Oh my!”

Willow rocked forwards and her eyes snapped open. “Mine,” she growled, her green eyes dark with hunger as she tweaked Tara’s nipples firmly.

Tara gasped. “Oh Goodness yes!”


Willow slid her hands down Tara’s sides and slowly back up again, taking the sweater and halter-top with it, pinning Tara’s arms above her head and exposing her perfectly shaped breasts to the air.


She just stared for a moment, basking in the beauty of Tara’s chest. Perfect teardrops capped with achingly hard light-brown nipples. “Gosh, look at those,” she said with a cheeky smile.

She pounced, leaning forward and taking one pert nipple into her mouth. She lavished attention on that stiffened peak, licking, sucking, nibbling.


Tara gasped, and groaned as Willow began to gently tease her nipple. She made a small sound of complaint as her nipple was abandoned, only to groan and writhe helplessly as Willow switched sides and licked and nipped her other nipple.

“Oh baby... oh my Willow... don’t!... stop!...”

Willow pulled back, bumping her head on the ceiling. “I’m sorry I’m sorry! Was that too hard?”


Without looking, Tara dragged Willow back to her breast. “Don’t stop!” she growled.

“Mmm, bossy Tara, I li-mmmph!” Willow said as she got a face full of Tara breast.


Willow sucked hard on the nipple presented to her busy mouth and was rewarded with arousing groans, she gently raked her teeth across the erect bud and was given a breathless gasp of joy in return.

She gently caressed the mouth-free breast with her hand, stroking the underside with delicate fingertips, lightly trailing her fingernails across the darkened peak.

The dual stimulation was driving Tara to distraction, she felt as if there were wires running between her nipples and her clit. Every time Willow nipped or nuzzled her nipple, she felt a buzz through her body, connecting the two with a jolt of buzzing, tingling, passion. She could not help but make a small sound of disappointment when Willow abandoned the lavish treatment of her nipple. More shooting sensations made themselves felt, as her love delicately nipped at her other taut peak, forcing a gasp of delighted surprise from deep within her.


‘You know, I just realized I can talk to you while my mouth is occupied,’ Willow sent, somehow managing to deliver the essence of a cheeky smile.

‘I... oh!...’ was all Tara was able to send as Willow tweaked and carefully raked her teeth across her captive bud.


‘Baby I love you more than can say, and you know me and words. So I’m going to show you my Tara, I’m going to show you how much I love you, every day for the rest of my life,’ she sent, pulling back from her nipple attention for just a moment, time enough for Tara to string vaguely coherent thoughts together.


Willow sat up, giving Tara the chance to lunge forward and capture her mouth in a passionate kiss.


‘Not... long... enough,’ she sent as she gathered her scattered thoughts, ‘Not by half. You and me, always. Forever is just the beginning.’


‘Always...’
Willow sent back as her tongue wrestled with Tara’s.
A small sound of need escaped her, somewhere between a gasp and a squeak.


Tara felt the need for more Willow skin.
She slid her hands up Willow’s sides, pushing her arms up over her head and divesting her of fuzzy sweater, cotton top and bra in one smooth motion.

By necessity, evening-up the nakedness scales broke their lip-lock, and Willow gasped to find herself suddenly topless. “Wha...?”


‘Oh yeah, I still got it!’ Tara sent, as she grinned at her pleasingly nearly nude soulmate.

‘How do you do that?’ Willow sent.

‘Magic’she replied with a satisfied smile and rocked forward slightly to return Willow’s attentions with interest.


She blew across Willows erect, pink nipple, eliciting a shudder in response and a belly deep gasp. She gently, teasingly, stroked both pert breasts with her fingertips, carefully avoiding the pointed tips until Willow groaned in frustration.

Courtesy of experience and the link they shared, Willow knew Tara was focussed on her chest. So she held off, nibbling her neck and teasing Willow’s sides and the undersides of her breasts with her fingertips until Willow was ready to burst. Slowly, lazily, she trailed her fingernails up and along her ribs, forcing a gasp from her love. She brushed her lips across Willow’s, a whisper of a kiss. A needy gasp escaped from Willow’s parted lips, ‘Oh Goddess, please!’


Tara smiled, ‘As you wish,’ and smoothly ran her fingernails up to Willows needy breasts. ‘Was this what you wanted?’ she sent as she tweaked both rosy peaks.

‘Ohhhh...’ was all that Willow returned as she cried out.


Tara replaced her hand with her mouth and teasingly flicked the captive nipple with the point of her tongue. She felt little spasms shake themselves out of the pretty redhead on her lap, each time she did so.

Willow sighed happily as her overheated nipple was exposed to the air only to emit a breathless squeak as her other nipple was engulfed by an enthusiastic and loving mouth.


‘You make the happiest and most wonderful noises, dearest,’ she sent.
Willow responded only with an incoherent and happy murmur.


It just couldn’t get any better. Or so Willow thought, right up until Tara slid her hands from Willow’s shapely bottom to her inner thighs.
Strong fingers massaged and stroked, working their way up Willow’s taut legs until one hand delicately stroked the outside of her wet underwear.
Willow shuddered as Tara’s hands worked their way closer to their goal and gasped when those hands made contact with her panties and the heat beneath.
She cried out softly and rocked her hips against Tara’s hand. “Oh... oh... ooohh!”


The edge of Tara’s hand pressed firmly against her covered folds and the sensitive bud hidden within.

Willow gasped and squeaked as Tara’s hand began to move, the heat and dampness increasing rapidly with each press of her hand.
‘Oh God yes!’ she sent as she shuddered. She held onto Tara’s shoulders as she unashamedly thrust her hips onto her lover’s strong hand, her chin resting on Tara’s head and her flame red hair curtaining her face as she gave herself over to the sensations her skilled lover was producing in her body.

She felt a hand slip inside her panties and stroke her slick folds directly, it was all she could do not to scream. She felt like she was on fire, being electrocuted by a happy executioner, and melting away.
Back and forth Tara’s hand worked, stroking her first gently, delicately, then strongly, fiercely.


‘Dear Goddess more! Baby please!’ Willow sent desperately.

And Tara’s fingers slipped inside her. The position was a little awkward, but Tara managed to press the heel of her hand against Willow’s clit, and Willow saw white.

She clenched tight, her back arched, taut as a bow string.
She took a deep shuddering breath, and her beautiful angel captured her mouth as she screamed, ‘Taaaaraaaa!’

She writhed and shook as she rode out her orgasm, bucking on Tara’s hand.
She bucked, rhythmically until she was spent and collapsed, completely limp on Tara.
For a time the only sounds heard in the car were heavy breathing and the occasional gasp of an aftershock.


It took some time for Willow to gather her thoughts. Eventually she was able to convince a synapse or two to fire in the right order, ‘Whooo!’ she sent, ‘Goddess, but you’re good at this.’

‘Handy being able to talk without needing to breathe,’ Tara sent, smiling.

‘Oh yeah. Still need to be able to think though. When you’re doing your thing baby... well, coherent though is way too much to ask for.’

Tara smiled at her slightly sweaty and panting love, ‘You turn the most delightful shade of pink, sweet Willow.’

‘Beats running any day, lots more fun, woooo!’
Willow replied.

‘I think you might need to join us for morning runs sweetie, get your stamina up a bit,’ Tara sent with a cheeky smile.

‘Haw-haw! Funny,’ Willow sent, ‘Right, that’s enough catching my breath. Time for round two, and you missy are wearing entirely too many clothes!’

Tara carefully slipped her hand from Willow’s sensitive nether regions and licked her fingers clean of Willow’s tangy juices. ‘Yummy. Who knew Willows could be sweeter than Maple trees,’ she said with an innocent expression.

‘Accept no substitute, genuine Willow sauce, only one customer,’ Willow sent.

‘Even sweeter from the source,’ Tara sent with a hungry smile.

‘It’s a big car love, but I don’t think they had that in mind when they designed it. We might have to save source sampling for when we get inside,’ Willow sent.
She looked thoughtful for a moment, ‘Actually...’ she said as she climbed off Tara’s lap.
‘Come on up baby, I’ve got a little somethin’ for ya,’ she said with a cheeky grin.


Tara got up from the oh-so-comfy rear seat and knelt breast to breast with Willow.

Willow kissed her sweetly, relishing her own taste on Tara’s lips.
‘Turn around baby, I’m feeling naughty,’ Willow sent.

‘Ooo! Naughty, I like naughty Willow,’ Tara responded as she turned.


Willow pinned Tara against the rear of the seat, forcing her nipples against the soft but textured suede, rubbing her own hard nubs into Tara’s back.

Tara felt Willows hands sliding up her sensitive sides, along her ribcage and around to cup her breasts.
She sighed as warm hands cupped her, nipples rolled between fingers and thumbs, sending little lines of lightning shooting through her body, ‘Oh Willow. That... feels... so... good,’ she sent lazily. She wiggled her rear at Willow, grinding her butt into Willow’s crotch.
‘Goddess baby, just... do things to me, take me please!’ she gasped as Willow kept hold of her breasts, while keeping up the most exquisite massage possible, began to nibble her way from her ear, down her spine to her sensitive back and beyond.
She could feel her love nibbling her way down her spine to her butt, it gave her goose bumps, and she shivered with anticipation.

Gentle kisses greeted each of the dimples on her lower back, ‘I don’t think I tell you often enough Tara, but you have a cute butt,’ Willow sent.


‘No more breast gal, huh?’ Tara sent.


‘No,no,no,no, Tara breasts are one of the eight wonders of the world, at least one of the ones only I get to see, but you still have a great butt.’

“Oooh!” she gasped aloud as Willow slid down her pants and boxers.

‘Gosh, look at that! All damp, I wonder what could have caused that?’ she sent.

‘What can I say, I have a thing for redheads, they get me all juiced up,’ Tara sent back.

‘Saucy!’


‘Oh!’
Tara sent with a sharp intake of breath.

‘Om-nom-nom!’ sent Willow, as she took playful bites out of Tara’s shapely bottom.

‘Oh, yes!’ Tara sent, as Willow’s lips and teeth grazed on her behind.


Willow ended up crouched behind her in the seat well, nibbling and massaging her rear.
Tara arched her back and pushed her butt out to give Willow better access. Willow responded by grabbing a cheek in each hand and spread them apart, revealing her furry prize.

‘Yummy and pretty,’ she sent.
Before Tara could respond she buried her tongue in Tara’s wet folds.


Tara gasped and shuddered with delight, ‘Oh, Goddess!’
She felt Willows nose wedged between her cheeks as she pressed in deeper, her tongue working its way enthusiastically into her melting sex.
Her skin felt like it was on fire, she pushed back against Willow’s probing tongue, only to have it flick out and hit her overheated clit.
She whimpered as a small orgasm rippled its way through her, adding more heat to the fire in her centre.
Willow’s tongue came back to her clit, flicking across it almost exclusively, sending jolts of wet lightning shooting through her body, through the very centre of her.
She gasped, she panted, she squealed, she came again.


Willow backed off for a moment, giving her poor, oversensitive bud a chance to calm down. Gently Willow blew on her bud, cooling her nethers and making her twitch.
When the little jolts of lightning had finished shooting through her, Willow traced the outline of her slick lips with a finger. Firm enough not to tickle, not so heavy as to irritate, the finger slowly circled her entrance, slowly spiralling inward.


When Tara felt her lovers finger start to enter her, she groaned, ‘Oh yes! Please baby!’

Willow obliged, slipping a finger inside with ease, smoothly working it in and out to the tune of Tara’s whimpers.
A second finger joined the first and Tara pushed back against them with a groan.


‘My baby is hungry today,’ Tara heard as Willow added a third finger smoothly to her activities. She picked up speed and pressed just a touch harder, Tara feeling her insides starting to tense and squeeze, building up to a serious orgasm. She was totally focussed on the sensations of her body, Willow’s strong, delicate fingers thrusting inside her, her own nipples rubbing deliciously against the new suede with the action of Willow’s pushing.
She was filled with the smell of fresh clean leather, and the musky smell of sex that filled the car.


She felt a new and unexpected sensation: Willow’s thumb rubbing on her rear entrance. Not penetrating, just pressing and adding delicious sensation to the mix. She felt her body starting to tense up in anticipation of the oncoming tidal wave.

‘You’re nearly there baby, almost there, almost, almooost... There!’ Willow sent as she prodded Tara’s rosebud with her tongue and firmly rubbed her spare thumb across Tara’s swollen clit.

Tara exploded, the extra stimulation sending over the cliff into the abyss. She saw stars, she thrashed, she tried to squeeze Willow’s hand from her body. She cried out. “Willooooow!”
And the hands and tongue did not stop as Willow drove her through her orgasm and back again.


Like fireworks in the night sky, she burst again and again, holding on for dear life and she screamed silently, all words having left.
Until she was spent, and collapsed against the seat, stunned and only conscious by the loosest of definitions.


It seemed like an eternity before she could think straight.

‘Oh Goddess, oh baby, oh dear, sweet Willow!’ Tara babbled mentally, as her oh so talented lover delicately removed her hand.

‘Mmm, Tara sauce. Better than honey,’ Willow sent as she licked her hand clean.
She pulled up Tara’s pants and was greeted with a mental ‘Ugh!’


‘Sorry baby. I know its yucky, but I figured it would be even less fun explaining suspicious stains on the new seats,’ Willow said.
The pair collapsed together, breathing as if they had just run a marathon, still magnificently topless.


Arm in arm they snuggled.
Willow softly stoked Tara’s hair
‘Wow just... Wow.’ Tara sent.


‘Tongues in new places,’ she sent with a wry smile.


‘Um, yeah, well I um, wanted to try something new and a bit naughty, because I was feeling naughty, hence the naughty Willow explanation earlier, was that ok?’ Willow sent, bringing all new meaning to the term ‘stream of consciousness’.


Tara laughed silently, which did amazing and Willow-brain derailing things in her chest area, ‘More than ok. Any time ‘Naughty Willow’ wants to come out and play, she is most welcome.’


‘Oh. Neato!’ sent an enthusiastic Willow, ‘And ‘Take charge Tara’ was nice too, I mean who could possibly complain about a face full of Tara-boobage? Uh-uh!’


Tara smiled, ‘Sorry sweetie, I was busy saying ‘don’t stop’ and you stopped. Very bad manners to leave poor nipples unattended,’ she said with a mock frown.


Willow grimaced, ‘Oops. Sorry, I kinda thought you were saying ‘Don’t’ and ‘stop’.’

Tara stroked her hair with her dry hand, ‘All is well dearest.’


‘So I’m liking your new car, and wow this head talking thing is easy to get used to, I’m almost afraid to actually speak for fear of deafening myself.’


“I don’t think we’ll go deaf,” Tara said out loud.


“Eeep!”. “Eeep!” Willow said in surprise, surprising herself again immediately afterwards.


“No lights and floating this time?” Willow said.


Tara pondered for a moment. “I think... that only happens when we are working together. Just now was us taking turns.”


“Good to know,” Willow said bobbing her head. “’Cos there might be times when we don’t want everyone within a mile to know what we’re up to. Like um, just now.”

Tara chuckled, mesmerizing Willow again.

“As much as I’m enjoying the show, and whooo am I!” Willow said, ogling Tara’s breasts at close range. “We should probably get dressed and cleaned up. I’d hate for someone to come down here and make us feel all flustered and awkward. Plus we are kinda naked in a public car-parking place.”


Tara smiled. “New pants would be nice too. Dampness is definitely sexier before, not so much after.”


“And I definitely want to wash up before I shake hands with anyone, because... well... yeah,” Willow said a little awkwardly.


“I understand sweetie, I don’t want to share you with anyone else either,” she said waggling her drying fingers.
“Well, I think this car is well and truly christened, in a way I don’t think most Christians would appreciate.”


“Yup, she’s definitely part of the sisterhood now, mean we totally and completely had sex inside her… and I will back away from the metaphor slowly, making no sudden movements.”


Tara laughed. “She?”


“Yeah, like you said, ‘car of an empowered woman’. Just because she’s big and strong, doesn’t mean she can’t be feminine too. I mean it works for Buffy and Faith, why not the car too?”


“Winona.” Tara stated confidently.

“Huh? You think she’s a Winona?”

“It means ‘Firstborn Daughter’ in the Sioux tongue. I think it’s appropriate for a car painted stealth-purple. And so much nicer than the usual ‘bessie’.”


Willow clambered out of the back seat and stood by the driver’s side door, pulling on articles of clothing as she did so. “Bessie would be a bit odd around ‘Buffy’ I think. There’s still one thing left to do in this naming ceremony baby,” Willow said. She pointed at the car keys.

Tara crawled into the front seat with the keys. With appropriate ceremony she checked the gear shift and turned the key.

‘Winona’ awakened with a throaty rumble. Tara revved the engine a little, taking in the engine’s growl of power.


“Wow. I’m starting to see why boys like cars so much,” Willow said as she pulled her sweater on. “Witches with wheels,” she said indistinctly through the sweater.

“Hey Red, Blondie... Whoa!” Faith said.

Willow screamed and jumped a foot in the air.
Winona roared as Tara’s foot slipped on the gas.


Willow leaned against the frame for support and clutched her chest. “Goddess Faith! Heart attack much?”

“Nice rack Snow-white!” Faith said, cheerfully ogling Tara’s chest. She turned to Willow. “Nice moves Red, shoulda played B-ball. Uh, sorry if I caught you in the middle of some witchy thing, I just wanted to give ya somethin’.”


She ran her hand through her hair. “I figured you were done with the sweaty stuff when I heard the engine fire up. My bad.”

Tara climbed out of the front seat and dressed with as much dignity as she could muster.


“Hey!” protested Willow with a scowl. “No ogling Tara-boobs.”


Faith cupped her own breasts. “They’re nice, but I still think mine are better.”


Willow tapped her foot impatiently. “Was there a point to all this ogling and heart attack stuff?”


“Yeah sorry, got kinda blown out of the water there. I got you a present Sn... Tara. I figure it’ll fit ya pretty good, given that you’re wearing most of my other stuff,” She said, holding out a black leather jacket.


Tara took the jacket. “Thank you Faith, it’s very sweet.”


“I wanted to give you a present to say welcome back, and sorry I was kinda bitchy when we first met.”

She grinned. “I figured Red here would probably give you something fuzzy, and B will get you something shiny, so I thought, ‘hey, every girl needs something leather’ so there ya go.”

“Leather is very sexy,” Tara said solemnly.

Willow blushed.


Faith’s grin widened. “So I heard.”

Willow turned noticeably redder.

Faith shifted her attention to the car. “Nice! Those guys do good work. What did ya name her?”

“Winona.”

“Huh, not what I would have expected, but still cool. I’ll get out of your hair and let you clean up. Have fun with Winona, she sounds like a blast,” Faith said with a wave, as she took off.


Willow looked at Tara, still pink in the cheeks. Tara looked back.
They both burst out laughing.

“Goodness I nearly jumped out of my skin when you screamed!” Tara said wiping her eyes.

“Welcome to life with Faith. Hit and run gifting, kind of a new experience,” Willow said, likewise wiping away a tear or two.

“She means well, I just think she’s new to the idea of sharing and feelings,” Tara said.

Willow held out her hand as Tara turned off the engine. “C’mon baby, let’s go get cleaned up before anyone else surprises us.”


+++

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2015 12:19 am 
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Dibs-y Goodness! :banana

Yay for excellent update-y goodness... I really liked the gift giving... Big yay for "christening" Winona...

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 2:31 am 
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Heya Zampsa, glad you liked it.

You know, of all the chapters i thought the Kittens would like, i figured it would be this one, because: Smut.



Seems i was wrong. Shame, i worked really hard on that. It's difficult getting something sexy and interesting, without getting too weird. Weirdness is in the eye of the beholder, after all. And it was beta'd!

I honestly can't remember if it was Julie or Heather. Eh, i hereby credit them both.
I really needed advice on getting frisky in a car. I've never tried it, even in a big american tank.

anyway, this episode is mostly Buffy-centred, though Tara makes an appearance.

Enjoy!





Buffy Deals




Buffy Found Tara in the food place, dressed in more of Faith’s exercise gear, and a fuzzy pink sweater that could only be Willows. She was busily making herself a tray full of snack treats, Willow was nowhere to be seen.


“We have got to take you shopping!” Buffy called out as she wandered into the food place’s kitchen.


Tara smiled and replied. “That would be lovely. Willow and I were going to go shopping sometime in the next few days, you could come too if you like.”


“Uh, Hey Tara do you have a minute? I have this wacky notion about apologizing for being queen of the bitch people,” Buffy said, looking slightly anxious and clearly guilt stricken.


“Sure Buffy,” said Tara with a smile. “For you I can spare two, or even three minutes.”


Buffy looked around. “Where’s the Willster? I would have thought you two would be joined at the hip?”


“She’s upstairs sleeping. I woke up early, so I thought I would make us some snacks. Delicious treats are in order for a hard working Red-head.”


“Early? It’s the middle of the afternoon!”


“Yes Buffy, but all that adventuring and wearing armour builds up... stamina,” she said with an impish grin. “Willow doesn’t have that advantage.”


Buffy blushed slightly and looked away.

Tara put the last of the small sandwiches and sliced fruit on the tray and poured some juice.


“Buffy?” she said gently touching Buffy’s arm. “Are you ok?”


“No Tara I’m not. I mean yeah, but no, y’know? God I suck at this stuff,” Buffy hung her head.


“The most important thing is to say what you need to say. Don’t try to make it sound good, just say what you need to say Buffy, I’ll figure it out.”


Buffy took a deep breath and let out a huge huff of air. “I’m sorry I was such a huge bitch to you earlier Tara. I kinda really messed everything up.”


Tara thought for a moment and then asked. “Why were you a bitch?”


“Because I was really mean and threatening to you when I found you and Willow in the field, and then I went after you earlier when you were with Dawn, uh, over there,” she said pointing to the eating area.


“I get it Buffy, I was asking why,” Tara replied. “Why were you so hostile? Why were you so angry?”


Buffy looked away. “I knew you couldn’t be you. You couldn’t be, I couldn’t allow myself to think that. There was too much guilt wrapped up in me to let me think that... I guess I figured you had to be a threat, a trap of some kind.”


“And you went off, because you were worried about what I might do to Willow or Dawn?” Tara asked.

Buffy nodded numbly, looking quite miserable.

“Buffy? I never want you to apologize for that.”


Buffy looked quite surprised. “With the huh? And the what-now?”


“You were acting to defend two of the people I love most in all the world, from an unknown threat. I want that Buffy. I don’t want you second guessing yourself about this. Willow is my family, Dawn is my family, all the Scoobies are my family Buffy. If something threatens my family I want it stopped. Hard,” she said with quiet determination.


“Wuh? Normally I would make some clever quip about ‘who are you and what have you done with the real Tara?’ but that would be cringe-worthy right now.” Buffy said, off-balance.


Tara explained. “I learned some things about myself Buffy. I learned that violence and anger are things which need to be controlled. Controlled Buffy, not eliminated. There are times when anger is appropriate. Necessary. Right even. My friend Takarn had a saying, one I have heard before: ‘Wrath is no vice when visited on the deserving’.”


“Uh, yeah Xander-”

Tara held up her hand, cutting Buffy off.
“I’m strong Buffy. Not because of any anger I might carry around, not because I turn the other cheek, but because I choose to do so. Meekly accepting the anger and hostility of others is not strength. Lashing out at others is not strength. Not caring what others do, is not strength.”

She locked eyes with Buffy. “You know this. Strength is making choices. Choosing the better path, accepting the rage of others and letting it fall away, not letting it affect you. Choosing what’s right and making a stand. That is strength. This is my strength, and it’s yours too Buffy.”

Her eyes continued to bore into Buffy’s as she recited the words from memory. “All else is transitory; the time will come when even the gods fade away. But love endures. Cherish love; nurture it, protect it, rejoice in its coming. Be true to love. And should any being, be they man or woman, demon or god, seek to take from you that which you love, defy them. For love gives you that power."


Buffy looked awestruck. “Wow.”


“A Goddess said that Buffy, a Goddess of Amazons. When it was darkest for me, those words reminded me what I was fighting for, why I was struggling and fighting in caves and jungles.”
“I will stand between my loved ones and harm, as you do Buffy. I will defy anyone who tries to hurt or cause pain to my family. Anyone. So don’t be surprised if I like your overprotective streak.”


“Uh,” was all Buffy managed.


Tara smiled shyly. “You were ready to fight to protect Dawn, to protect Willow. I love that about you Buffy. Your heart is always in the right place, don’t ever feel bad about that.”


Buffy managed a whole word. “Uh, Right.”


“Sorry Buffy, I’m still a little shy. I have to get a little bit grumpy to get stuff like that out,” Tara said with a shy smile.

“No. No, it’s all good. We were all just getting used to ‘speaks her mind Tara’ when...” Buffy choked off, clearly worried.


Tara reached out and pressed her hand to Buffy’s. “When I died.”


“Yeah, that.”


Tara gently squeezed Buffy’s hand. “It’s ok Buffy, I’ve had a while to come to terms with it. I can’t say I’m ever going to be glad of it, but you can talk about it around me. I’m not going to fall apart Buffy, I promise.”


“Yay for not falling apart. Also many thanks for being cool about the whole bitch thing.”


“Any time Buffy. Anyone who tries to hurt my family is going to see mama-bear-Tara standing right beside you.”


“Oh! Oo-Oo!” said Buffy excitedly, bouncing a little. “That reminds me! Giles wanted to get you to do some combat training and uh, ‘battle magic’ demos sometime. He’s hoping that your time served as an angel has left you a bit more fighty than Willow. I, uh, told him not to hold his breath.”


Tara looked a bit uncomfortable as she responded. “Yes, um, my ‘time as an angel’ was rather filled with investigation and fighting. I have learned to use my spell-casting in fights. Much as I wanted to stay out of the fighting, often it came to me, and I had something too important to live for to just roll over and die.”

She smiled at Buffy. “I’m happy to help, though I think you’ll find I can be most useful for finding things out and healing people after a fight. Like Faith’s broken nose.”


Buffy winced as she was reminded how she had acted, on what she was now thinking of as her worst day ever.

“Thanks Tara, I feel pretty bad about that whole thing. And for busting Faith’s nose, when she was only trying to stop me from screwing everything up.”


Tara smiled slightly. “I would imagine Faith would feel better, if you told her you were sorry for breaking her nose.”

“I still don’t like fighting Buffy, but I’ve survived some situations that would surprise even you.”


Buffy returned the smile carefully. “Hey that’s all of the goodness, and your Joan of Arc getup is pretty amazing.”


“Well, I tried to stay out of the fighting for a while. But like vampires, many of the dangerous things we encountered did not care whether you had a sword or not. Eventually I had to get some type of protection, otherwise I was never going to get home.” Tara said ruefully.

Tara looked at Buffy seriously for a moment. “Buffy? Willow told me that she once sat down with you and talked about the slaying. She told you she wanted to help you fight against the darkness. Well so do I.”

Buffy returned Tara’s serious look and waited for her to continue.

“I want in, Buffy.”

Buffy’s eyebrows raised in surprise.

Tara gestured at the building around her. “I could be an artist, a doctor, a social worker. But none of those life paths matter a fraction as much as what you do. I want to stand with you and Willow and the others. Let me help.”


Buffy looked thoughtful for a long moment.
“Are you sure? Because we could set you and Willow up somewhere away from all the vamps and demons and other craziness.”


“I’m sure Buffy. Besides, my family is here, and they are in the fight. I can’t just walk away from you guys, even if Willow wanted to come with me.”


“Well if you’re sure,” Buffy reached out and shook Tara’s hand firmly. “Welcome to the fight. I hope you know that you’re already helping us Tara.”

Buffy blew out a breath of air. “God you’ve no idea! Uh, maybe you do. But Will was kinda lost and hopeless without you. And I was... I was dead inside. God Tara, I feel like you brought me to life. What did you do? Did... did you heal my soul?”


Tara smiled. “A little. Mostly I opened your eyes to the connections you had with your family, once you realized how loved you were, how much you mattered to everyone, you healed yourself. All you needed was love Buffy.”


Buffy’s voice was hushed, amazed. “God Tara, what I felt, I’ve... I’ve never, never felt anything like that. And you feel like that all the time?”

Tara smiled warmly. “Only with Willow.”


“I think your love can do anything Tara,” Buffy said.


Tara smiled, managing to combine modesty and pride in the one look.
“Practice makes perfect I guess. I’m more sensitive now than I was, but I have to actively go out of my way to look. It gets too crazy leaving myself open all the time. But Willow? Willow I can feel all the time. That’s why I’m in no huge hurry to get back upstairs, I know she’s still sleeping.”


“Thank you Tara, just thank you.”


“It’s ok Buffy. We’re family, we look out for each other.”


“I ah, wanted to ask you something,” Buffy said, hesitation clearly evident in her voice.


Tara raised an eyebrow and patiently waited for Buffy to work through her thoughts.


“It’s about... Faith. We’ve always had a connection but it, when you hit me with the mojo, I saw...” Buffy trailed away.


“Love Buffy. You saw love. I’m not sure about the ethics of aura reading exactly, but I think it is important that you know what you saw, so you can make, um, informed choices,” Tara said.

“Faith loves you Buffy. She really loves you, and she’s terrified of what that might mean, or what you might do. I’ve only met Faith once before this. Um, not on her best day, so I can’t guess what she’s thinking or doing. But I can tell you she loves you truly and, um, Buffy? She loves you, the same way I love Willow, not the same way Dawn loves you.”


“Ohmigod, Faith is in love with me?”


“Yes Buffy, Faith is in love with you. And I think if you are honest with yourself, you’ve known for a while now.”


“But Faith can’t love me! I’m, I’m, I’m a girl!” Buffy stammered.


Tara said nothing, but she gave Buffy a ‘look’.

“Uh, right, sorry. I’m with the dumbness and stupids there.”


“Faith loves you Buffy. That’s for her to do, that’s her choice. You don’t get to decide how she feels. What you do get to decide, is how you feel about that, and what you are going to do about it.” Tara explained.

“Buffy, I can’t tell you what you should do or shouldn’t do, that’s for you to decide. But let me ask you something.”

She took a deep breath and let it out with a whoosh. She looked down at the counter top.

“You forgave Willow when she went dark, when she hurt Dawn and Xander and you. When she tried to burn down the world. You are the soul of forgiveness Buffy, it’s one of your best qualities. You forgave her when she hurt Dawn, your sister, the sister you protected over the lives of all of us.”

Tara looked up into Buffy’s lost and frightened gaze.

“So how come you had such a hard time forgiving Faith for what she did?”


Buffy was silent for a long time.
She spoke in a hollow whisper. “Fear and guilt. I was guilty.”

Tara waited patiently for Buffy to continue.

“If... I had been in the wrong place or a little faster, I would have staked the deputy mayor. I would have been a murderer, but Faith got there first”


“You can’t tell a vampire from a human? With your Slayer senses I mean?” Tara asked.


Buffy thought for a moment and explained. “Sort of. It’s kinda like ‘spidey senses’ you know? Like, you can feel them if they are around, and if you’re really paying attention you can sometimes tell where they are. And they move differently from people. But all of this is fairly easy to miss in a fight.”


Tara added thoughtfully. “And Faith missed it.”

Buffy nodded.

“I kinda, ugh, I’m no good at this self... stuff,” Buffy complained.


“You’re doing great Buffy, don’t get down on yourself now. What were you going to say?”


“I think I was kind of... attracted to Faith. I mean there she was, wild, living large, free-”


“Hot,” Tara interjected.

Buffy gaped at her.

Tara smiled. “I’ve got eyes Buffy. Willow’s ‘it’ for me, but I can recognize hotness when I see it.”


“Uh, yeah. We went dancing together, cut class together, slayed together. It was amazing,” Buffy said, a faraway look in her eyes.


“It sounds like you were getting really close,” Tara prompted.


Buffy nodded and continued. “Yeah. I think I was starting to get nervous about how close. I mean Xander? Willow? We clicked pretty quick, but not like this, this was wow-fast. And so intense.”

“And then the whole mayor thing happened, I guess it all got kind of stuck together, the fear and guilt and my whole self-image thing. I’ve never been good with this sort of... stuff. It’s probably a thing, with a name and everything, like ‘can’t deal syndrome’.”


Tara squeezed the hand she was still holding. “I have no ancient wisdom to pass on to you Buffy, I can’t tell you how this is going to go. But I can tell you what I would do in your situation: be her friend. If it deepens into something else, something romantic, then great. And if it doesn’t, then you’ll be closer friends, and that doesn’t sound so bad does it?”


“But what if it’s all horrible and awkward? What if she comes on to me or something, and I can’t deal?” Buffy protested.


“Then it’s horrible and awkward. Buffy you’ve faced vampires, demons and evil gods. Are you telling me that you’ll let a bit of potential awkwardness stand in the way of friendship? Or even love?”


“You know, when you say it like that, it kind of makes me feel like a dummy,” Buffy said, slightly shamefaced.


Tara squeezed Buffy’s hand and let go. “That was sort of the point Buffy. Go be by yourself and think about this, and then maybe talk to someone. Then when you have your wig firmly in place, go see Faith. Don’t have a big thing about it, just spend time with her, do things together like you usually do, and see how it goes ok?”


“Thanks Tara. You’re an angel, you know that?”


Tara picked up her tray. “I try my best, now if you’ll excuse me, I want to get upstairs before Willow wakes up.”


Buffy smiled, clearly thinking deep thoughts, but putting them aside for the moment. “Go look after your honey, she deserves it.”


Tara smiled and left.


+++

Buffy was lost in thought and looked up to find herself wandering through the back courtyard of Slayer central.

There were only a small number of junior Slayers present at the moment, the rest of them either being in class or training. Sure enough, the terrible two were present, along with a few of their team members.


Heather was wearing her usual outfit of ripped denim and ’something pink and sleeveless’, today a lovely fuzzy pink sweater-vest that totally failed to go with what she was wearing. Jules was still dressed like a mini-Faith: Tight black jeans and a sleeveless leather-look top. A look that irritated Buffy immensely.

Heather was deep in the midst of describing something totally exciting, and quite probably impossible if her waving arms and animated expression were anything to go by.


“Hey Buffy!” called Jules. “Whatcha’ doin’?”


“Just going up to the grove to do a bit of witchy-style meditating. My phone is going to be so-very not switched on, so if anyone comes looking for me tell them where I am, but I don’t want to be disturbed unless it’s like, crazy urgent, ok?”


“Sure, I’ll pass it along. Hey Dawn!”


Dawn gave a small wave as she wandered over. “Hey Jules, guys.”


Buffy waved to her sister as she wandered off in the direction of the grove.


+++


Buffy was alone with her thoughts, something she was not really used to, being more the sort of person who acted, rather than thought.

She lay on her back by the young tree, watching the clouds go by.

‘Cool.’
‘Go Buffy, all with the meditating and stuff.’



Time passed.


‘So I guess I came out here to do some thinking. About Faith.’

‘So I should totally do that. And then take Tara shopping. On the council’s card. This is going to be great!’

‘So Faith then.’


Time passed.


[i]‘Faith loves me. Tara told me. I saw it.’

‘God, what am I going to do?’

‘Huh, no-one else here... guess I’ll have to answer that myself.’

‘Oh wow! I just had a lightbulb moment, that’s why I’m here. Cool! Buffy gets the zen thing!’
she thought to herself in a celebratory way.

‘Faith loves me. Like Tara loves Willow. Which is practically a superpower. How do I feel about that? How do I feel about that?’

‘I’m so bad at this, I am suckage.’

‘So what can I do about it? Buffy is a doing person, not a thinking person. Which is ironic ‘cos that’s how Faith is.’

‘Huh I guess we are kind of alike after all.’

‘Ok, let’s make like Xander: up, down, or sideways. I guess I can go for it, go against it or ignore it.’

‘I can only ignore the situation for a little, while because Faith will get frustrated and do something. Which is pretty much always a bad thing.’

‘If I go against it, try to make Faith not love me, she’ll probably hate me. Which is definite suckage. I don’t want Faith to hate me.’

‘I want... I want it like it was before it went bad, when she was my new bestest bud. I miss that Faith.’

‘If I go with it, I get a friend or a lover.’

‘Friend Faith sounds nice. But how do I feel about Faith as a lover?’

‘I mean, Buffy likes boys right?’

‘Right?’

‘Of course, if Buffy likes boys, why does she keep messing up the relationships?’

‘Ack! I don’t like the tone my head-voice is taking! Inner Buffy asks nasty questions.’

‘Ok, think about the boys. What was wrong with them?’


Time passed some more.


‘Spike.’

‘Ok. Buffy was broken, no argument there, let’s just forget him.’

‘Riley was nice. Caring, even had that little bit of darkness. He would do anything for me. So why didn’t I fight harder to keep him?’

‘I know I could have gotten to the helicopter sooner, so why didn’t I?’

‘Because I didn’t want to. I was just acting like I should, like I was acting a role.’

‘I can’t even put it down to vampire weirdness like Angel.’

‘And Angel, god! Dark smouldering eyes, so soulful, so full of hurt, and that dark hair, and wow the fashion. Did he look good in dark colours, just wow!’

‘Parker I should have staked. Uh, nope, that’s how we got here dammit!’

‘Poor Faith. I was such a massive bitch to her. I really hurt her. Her dark eyes so full of hurt every time I fought with her, or spoke to her... and she has dark hair, looks good in dark colours, I mean, wow!’

‘Uh, who said that?’

‘Me!’

‘Who’s me?’

‘You!’

‘What?’

‘You’re alone out here dummy!’

‘Ohmigod, did I just confuse and insult myself while meditating?’

‘Yes.’


Buffy poked her finger at her imaginary thought-self, ‘Hey watch it smarty-pants! Don’t make me come up there and… well I don’t know what I’d do, but it probably involves punching and kicking and you wouldn’t like it much.’

Buffy slumped.

‘I am sooo bad at this.’

‘And I seem to being distracting myself from thinking about Faith.’

‘But hey, I cunningly spotted that. Ha! I’ve outsmarted... myself. Huh, so that’s what that phrase means.’

‘So Faith is… definitely a hottie. Willow is so lovable and huggable it’s crazy and Tara has that whole adorkable thing going on, but Faith’s not cute or adorkable, she’s stunning!’

‘So that’s twice now in the one brain conversation. That’s definitely a thing.’

‘Buffy you’re gay, or gay-ish.’

‘Ack! Don’t say that!’

‘Why not? It’s safe here in your head, no-one can hear you.’

‘I’m not gay, like ‘capital G’ Gay.’

‘Why not? You can’t make a relationship with a guy work, not seconds ago you were rating the attractiveness of your female friends. And you forgot the guys.’

‘Shoot! I did too.’

‘You know you really like spending time with her. Clubbing back in Sunnydale, slaying, washing her in the shower just days ago.

‘The shower! You had your hands on her girl parts! Her totally smooth girl parts! Washing her hair. And everything else.’

‘I’m not gay, capital G or otherwise. I just... am attracted to Faith is all.’

‘There’s a name for that: Denial. Or gay.’

‘Hey! I’m not liking where this is going.’

‘What are you afraid of?’

‘Wow that was a good question, go Buffy!’

‘What am I afraid of? Uh...’


Time passed.


‘Losing Faith. I lost Faith before, when things got sooo screwed up. I don’t want to lose her again, I don’t think I can handle losing her again. I just don’t want to screw this up.’

A tear slid unnoticed from the corner of Buffy’s eye.

‘And I’m frightened of change I guess. That people’s image of who I am will change, that my image of who I am is going to change.’

‘So what, you’re the Slayer. Deal. Besides, who’s going to care? Willow and Tara are gay, half of Slayer central is gay, if Dawn’s friends are anything to go by and... shocking Giles and Xander would be almost worth it.’

‘No, bad Buffy! Getting into a L-lesbian relationship to give Xander and Giles the wiggins is a bad idea.’

‘But is a nice bonus if you were going to do it anyway.’

‘Wow, I’m already planning this out, I think on some level I must have already accepted this.’

‘It’s new and scary.’

‘Yup, like every other thing that turned out for the best.’

‘What have you got to lose?’

‘Nothing really. But that does not mean I am comfortable or even approving of this... stuff. I’m scared of what this might all mean.’

‘I think I’ve gone as far as I can by myself, I need to talk to someone.’

‘God, I miss mom. I really want to talk to her about this.’

‘But I have Giles. I need some older person advice. I need my Giles.’[/i]


“Giles time,” Buffy said aloud, startling herself in the near silence of the grove.


+++


“Giles?”


Giles looked up from his pile of paperwork, to see Buffy peeking around the corner of his door, bits of grass in her hair.

He smiled. “Hello Buffy.”

The expression of worry and uncertainty on Buffy’s face was alarming enough to worry him. “What’s wrong?” he asked.


“I need some quality Giles time,” Buffy said, entering the room.


She carefully closed the door behind her.


“I’m really rather busy Buffy. We are trying to acquire a castle in England as it happens,” he said rather fussily.


Buffy stated seriously. “Giles I... I need you.”


Giles closed his books immediately, rising from his chair.


“Buffy, whatever is the matter?” he said.


“I know you’ve got lots of watcher-y stuff to do Giles, but I need to talk to a parent type personage, and you are it.” Buffy said with equal parts chirpiness and seriousness.


Giles eyed Buffy’s serious expression and sat on the edge of his desk. “I’m not sure whether to be flattered or alarmed, but thank you.”


Buffy was silent for a moment, pensive even. The moment stretched on.


“What, ah, parental service can I perform for you Buffy?” he prodded gently.


Buffy let out a huge sigh. “I really need to talk to you about some personal stuff Giles. Really scary personal stuff. Of doom.”


Giles’ brain worked overtime, frantically trying to analyse what might constitute ‘personal stuff of doom’. It flagged ‘illness’, ‘injury’ and ‘pregnancy’.
‘I really am hoping for illness or injury,’ he thought to himself.
“Of course Buffy. Just take your time and tell me whatever it is that is bothering you,” Giles said.


Buffy thought for a moment and spoke. “It’s about Faith.”


Try as he might, Giles could not keep the look of relief completely off his face.


Buffy picked up on it. “Giles, I’ll take ‘what the hell’ for one hundred please.”

Giles ran his hand through his hair, a habit Buffy knew well, as it signified general Giles-ish awkwardness.
“Ah, yes, well. I’m sorry Buffy, I rather jumped to conclusions for a moment.”

She gave him an expectant look.


“Well, there is one conversation that fathers of young women dread more than any other, and you did rather prime the pump with your comments about parental advice and ‘personal stuff of doom’...” he trailed off.


Buffy puzzled at this for a moment before the light dawned. “Giles! I am not pregnant!”


Giles smiled a tight, uncomfortable smile. “A great relief, I assure you.”


“God! So not possible, unless I got knocked up by a demonic vibrator or something, and that just does not bear thinking about,” Buffy rambled on, unaware of the pained expression on the watcher’s face.


“Thank you for that charming bit of imagery Buffy. Just give me a moment to bludgeon myself unconscious. I’m hopeful the concussion will prevent me ever remembering that bit of information,” Giles complained.


“Sorry watcher-man. I didn’t mean to overshare, penalties of living with mostly girls. And Faith.” Buffy replied in a sunny tone.


“Yes, well. You were saying that your personal issue was to do with Faith?” he prodded, hoping to get the conversation back on track, and away from terrible revelations.


Buffy sat silently for long moments, clearly working up her nerve.


“Giles? You know earlier when, uh, when I went crazy, broke Faith’s nose and was generally acting like a crazy person?” she asked with a visible wince.


Giles nodded and gave Buffy a sympathetic look.


Buffy continued. “Well, Tara showed me some things, she uh, she showed me...”


“She showed you that you were loved, Buffy,” Giles filled in.
“Yeah well, love, wow! Lotsa love! gotta love that love stuff, and what is love anyway? And boy those wacky Greeks! They had so many words for love and we’re just stuck with the one, which sucks totally and makes things so confusing!” she babbled, sounding a bit panicked.


“Buffy? Are you quite alright?” he asked with some trepidation, bringing Buffy’s shower of words to a halt.


Buffy sat in clearly awkward silence for a moment.


“Giles? I think… I think Faith is in love with me, and I... I don’t know how I feel about that,” she said.


Giles remained politely silent, waiting for Buffy to articulate her thoughts on a matter that was clearly causing her some trouble.


“And... and I think maybe...I might be in love with her,” she finished.


Buffy stared intently at a speck of fluff on the carpet, diligently avoiding Giles’ gaze.


“Buffy, I realize that you are expecting me to say ‘Good Lord’ or ‘Is it catching?’ or some such utterance that you would no-doubt characterize as ‘stuffy’ and ‘British’,” Giles said with a small smile. “But it really is not a surprise.”


Buffy was stunned. “What?!”


Giles sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose under his glasses ”You know how loath I am to get involved in your personal matters Buffy, or anyone’s for that matter. But I will say, that when you and Faith first met, it was rather obvious that there was an attraction between you.”


“Again with the what?!” she yelped.


Giles laid his hand companionably on Buffy’s shoulder. “Buffy, I know you think of me as an old fuddy-duddy, but I am a watcher. I watch over you. I saw how close the two of you were becoming. To be honest, I was glad you had found someone on your own level.”

“Giles, why didn’t you say something?” Buffy asked softly.


“What would I have said?” he asked gently. “I know how you have struggled with your role in life Buffy, with your self-image. What could I have said that wouldn’t have made things intolerable for you?”


Buffy thought for a while before finally speaking. “Not much I guess. Look how wigged out I am now, after Willow and Tara have been out and proud for ages.”


“Labels cause nothing but trouble Buffy. Watcher. Slayer. Gay. Straight. Look how these labels have hurt us over the years.”


“Huh?” Buffy said, a little lost.


“Look how much I hurt myself, and you, by trying to be ‘The Watcher’ when I should have been simply ‘Giles’. Look how much pain you caused yourself by trying to be ‘the Slayer’ when you could simply have been ‘Buffy” and happy about it.

Giles took his glasses off to give them a clean.

When he replaced them he spoke again. “I am saying that each of these labels carries the weight of other people’s expectations. Don’t be gay, or straight or the Slayer. Be Buffy. Love whoever makes you happy, be with whomever you wish to be with. And do not concern yourself with the expectations of others.”


“You kind of remind me of a fortune-cookie proverb. Fortune-cookie Giles.”


Giles smiled. “Love knows neither shape nor colour, Buffy.”


Buffy gaped and pointed at Giles. “See! See! That’s what I meant.”


“Sadly I do not come with a crunchy outer shell,” Giles said.


“Imagine how popular watchers would be if they did,” Buffy replied.


They sat in silence for a while. Buffy finally spoke.


“Giles? What should I do?”



Giles thought for a moment before responding. “I can’t tell you what to do Buffy. In anything like this it has to be wholly your decision. You’re a grown woman Buffy. Who, I might point out, has saved the world a number of times. Is Faith really so terrible?”


“No,” she said thoughtfully. “Not really, though remind me to thank you in some special way, for assigning me as her watcher for these last few days. It made things so much more awkward,” she groused.


Giles sighed. “If you recall Buffy, I simply asked you to say with Faith until she woke up. Anything after that point was something you volunteered for.”

Buffy protested. “Giles, she had her hands in boxing gloves! She couldn’t wash herself or even wipe after visiting the little Slayer’s room.”


“Ah. Yes, well, I hadn’t thought of that. I suppose that’s why the title on the door says ‘Watcher’ rather than ‘Head Nurse’ or some such,” he said with a trace of embarrassment.

“I’m sorry if being Faith’s helper made things awkward for you Buffy, but it was very important that her hands had the chance to heal. Even for a Slayer, the injuries to her hands were quite severe.”


“Well, let me tell you watcher-man, washing Faith in the shower was quite an experience,” she groused.


“It certainly sounds awkward for you both. I can’t imagine Faith enjoys relying on others for her basic toiletry. Though I am forced to ask: if you were having such difficulty with Faith, why did you volunteer to help her?”


Buffy rolled her eyes. “So not-helping Giles.”


He sighed. “Love is a terribly precious thing Buffy, and loneliness helps none of us. Don’t squander the chance for love. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. If not, it will soon become apparent. I just hope my cookie-based advice is of some help to you.”


Buffy stared off into space.
Eventually she spoke in a faraway voice. “My dad ran away with his secretary years ago. He just up and left me and Dawn and my mom. I had a crappy dad.”


Giles felt compelled to speak. “Your father was a fool to leave three such wonderful women.”


Buffy nodded sadly. “He was.”


She brightened. “Giles, you’re awesome, you know that?” She hugged him tight. “Accept no substitutes, only genuine Giles will do.”


“What will you do?” he asked politely, returning the hug.


Buffy shrugged, not letting go of Giles. “Tara said to have a think, talk to someone about this and then just hang with Faith and be her friend.”


“That sounds like excellent advice,” Giles said.


Buffy nodded. “It is.”


She looked up at Giles. “Giles? How did we live without her? Tara I mean, not Faith.”


Giles pinched his nose again and sighed. “We didn’t. We survived, we existed, but I don’t think we were truly living. How hollow did we become, that the First could prey on us so easily? I think if Tara had still been with us, things would have been very different with the First.”


Buffy looked sad. “I missed her so much Giles, I just couldn’t deal.”


“Neither could I Buffy. I am glad she’s back, I take her presence as a very good sign.”


Buffy sat quietly.


“Thanks Giles, for being listening-guy and stuff,” Buffy said as she disentangled herself from him.


“Of course, I’m glad I could help,” he said.


“I’m going to find Faith and talk to her about some of this stuff,” she said.


Buffy paused in the doorway and turned to her watcher. “Giles? You did good, you made great with the dad-ness just now. You would make... you do make a good dad.”


“Thank you Buffy, that... means quite a lot to me,” he said with a hitch in his voice. “Now run along, you have something important to do, if I recall.”

Buffy smiled radiantly and vanished, pulling the door shut with a bang.

Giles returned to his work, his spirits lifted by Buffy’s comment.


‘Now where is that blasted deed?’


+++


Buffy rampaged around the buildings of Slayer central at high speed, looking for Faith without any success. After a good deal of frustration, she found herself out by the obstacle course.
She watched the chatting and giggling junior Slayers hurling themselves across the logs, ropes and bridges with a speed and casual ease that would have made any marine drill sergeant eat his hat with frustration.

She smiled as she watched Xander cheerfully guiding his charges across the course with a uniquely Xander blend of humour, common sense and gentle mockery.

She caught his eye and he smiled. “Hey Buff!” he shouted across the noisy horde of girls.


“Heather, do me a favour and take over for a few will you? Just keep ‘em going for a minute and try not to break too many of them?”


“Sure Xander, no problem,” she said, favouring him with a radiant smile.


He smiled back and grabbed a couple of cold drinks from the cooler.


“Hey Xan, how’re the mini-me’s?” Buffy quipped, snagging one of the drinks from him.


“Pretty good. Things go a lot easier if you let them talk. Sooner or later one of them is so busy chatting that they fall off something and go splat. Which teaches them way more than any amount of lecturing from me. Plus I get to be ‘nice Xander’, that way I’m everyone’s favourite watcher,” he said pointing proudly to his chest with his thumb.


Buffy grinned back. “So I see,” she said, gesturing to his enthusiastic assistant.


“Uh, yeah,” he said running his hand through his hair, a mirror image of Giles’ ‘I am uncomfortable’ gesture.


“Poor Xander, It can’t be easy dealing with all those teenage crushes,” she said patting him consolingly on his shoulder. “Eeew! Sweaty!”


She wiped her hand on her pants and waved it in the breeze to dry.


“Sorry Buff, running around after junior Slayers all day has its down side. Behold, I am stinky-and-gross guy,” he said holding his arms out wide.


“It seems to be doing you some good though,” Buffy said, gesturing to his trim singlet-and-running-shorts covered body. “You’re looking pretty buff there Xander.”


He looked down at himself and grinned. “Yup, I’m in the best shape of my life. Between training these guys, training with you, Faith, Giles and Robin, it’s all go,” he grinned.

He sighed. “I am never going to mock Giles again,” he said.


Buffy gave him a questioning look.


“The first day I went for a run with Giles, he lapped me. That was super embarrassing. You probably wouldn’t notice miss ‘I can kick Mike Tyson’s butt’ but he’s pretty buff, Buff.” He took a big swig of his fruit juice. “I call it the ‘Slayer effect’, just trying to keep up, or stay alive near you guys is a hell of a workout.”


Buffy smiled at him. “You know what Xander? I think you make a great watcher, I’m proud of you. I don’t think this place would be able to operate without you holding it together.”


“Aw shucks little lady, it ain’t nuthin’,” he said in a fake cowboy accent.
They leaned against the railing, drinking and watched the chattering junior Slayers in silence.


“Have you seen Faith anywhere?” Buffy said.


“Yeah, I ran into her earlier. I have her axe here,” he said, nudging the gym bag full of weapons at his feet.


Buffy fidgeted with her drink bottle silently.


“Buff? Is something wrong?” he asked.


“Uh, no. Yes? I don’t know. Argh!” she said gently banging her forehead against the wooden railing in frustration.


Xander raised an eyebrow. “Well that pretty well covers all the bases. Did you have another fight with Faith? I thought you gals were doing ok these days?”


“Aside from enough embarrassment to make your head explode, yeah,” Buffy said. “I swear, superman may have kryptonite, but Slayers have ‘death by embarrassment.’”


Xander looked lost. “I’ll lead with a brilliantly phrased ‘Huh?’ possibly followed up by a ‘what-now?’”


“Well you know how Giles patched her up last week?”


Xander nodded uncertainly.


“Well, she couldn’t use her hands at all. For days. So I volunteered to help her out, seeing as it was my crazy sister who got her in the mess in the first place,” Buffy explained.


“Oh yeah, I’m in no danger of ever forgetting that day. Yeesh!”


“Yeah well, she had no hands for like, three days. So she uh, needed someone to help her in the little Slayers room and to help her in the shower as well.”


Xander sprayed fruit-juice from his mouth as he made the connection. He proved he had made great strides in the field of emotional maturity by saying: “Wow, that must have been really awkward for you.” He then proved that he hadn’t been replaced by a pod-person with his huge grin.


Buffy poked him in the ribs, prompting a yelp. “Don’t make me hurt you Harris,” she mock-scowling at him.


“What?” he protested. “I’m just saying, the two of you all wet and soapy, small space, it must have been really hard, uh, difficult for you,” he said, his grin resurfacing.


“Ugh,” complained Buffy, shooting him a dirty look. “It sure didn’t make me all clarity-gal.”


“Sorry if I’ve got the stupids here, but why are you telling me this stuff? I mean yeah, welcome to embarrassment town, population two, but why make it worse by telling me?” he asked.


“Because Tara showed me some things the other day with our Scooby hug-a-thon.”


“Ye-ah, that was intense. I think that was when we all stopped wondering if it really was Tara and not some demon or whatever. And Buffy? I’m glad you’re feeling... better,” he said.


“I’m feeling Xander, for the first time in years I really feel. God it feels so good. I guess I had forgotten what it was like. God how messed up was I that I was doing things with Spike?”


“Uh-huh, we all kinda thought you’d gone nuts. In fact Tara said that you were nuts. Those actual words.”


“Wow. And you didn’t listen to her?”


Xander ran his hand through his hair again, clearly feeling awkward. “Err, well we all kinda agreed with her, but what were we gonna do? Stage an intervention? Tell you no more Boinking Spike? Given how you were feeling at the time, would that have done anything other than make you angry-defensive Slayer-gal?”


Buffy nodded. “Good point. New Scooby rule number one: Listen to Tara.”


“That’s a good rule,” Xander said.


They were silent for a time.



Xander thumped his fist on the railing. “God Buffy, I’m glad we got her back you know? I mean it’s great that she’s back, but it’s even better than that, because we got Will back too, and Buffy as well. Alive, happy, like a family again.”


Buffy smiled at Xander, a smile so warm and natural that he felt something melt inside himself when he saw it.


“She loves us Xander, she showed me how much she loves me, how much she loves us all. And she said that I was never to apologize for defending her family, even from her. She forgave me for being a total bitch to her.”


Xander smiled back and shrugged. “She’s Tara. It’s what she does.”


“She said that if anyone threatens her family, they’re going to see ‘Mama Bear Tara’ come out to fight alongside the Slayer.”


“Buffy, you’ve died and come back twice now, which is pretty impressive. Both times someone else brought you back. Tara brought herself back, for Willow. I just can’t get my head around the kind of strength that would take.”


She nodded. “She healed me Xander, and she showed me things, she showed me how much I was loved by all the Scoobies and by... and by Faith.”


Xander’s eyebrows raised in a questioning expression.


“Xander? I think that... no. I know. I know I love Faith,” Buffy hesitantly admitted.


Xander sprayed fruit-juice again.


“Great googly-moogly! The apocalypse is nigh, nigh I tell you!”


Buffy poked him in the ribs, prompting another yelp.
Xander rubbed his side. “So I’m guessing you don’t mean you’re really good gal-pals now?”


Buffy took a deep breath, feeling as though she were stepping off a cliff, ‘Time to learn to fly.’
“Xander, I’m in love with Faith.”


Xander raised his eyebrows, but said nothing.


Buffy groaned and rested her head on the railing.
“God, I can’t stop thinking about her. Every thought that goes through my head involves her, what is she doing, how does she feel, hey I bet she’d like this outfit, ooo I must show Faith this thing later. I’ve been this way for a while, but you know me, I’m all about the self-absorption and denial, so it took Tara to spell it out for me.”


“Ok, as bizarre as that confession is, and I mean really. It does make a weird kind of sense. I mean you were, and are kind of obsessed with Faith. And when you guys first met, Willow and I both got kinda jealous of the time you two were spending together. Seriously, it was like the rest of us just disappeared when she was around.”


Buffy looked away in embarrassment.


Xander rubbed his head in confusion. “Uh, how does Faith feel about all this...” he waved his hands in confusion. “stuff?”


“That’s what got me into this mess. Faith already loves me, she didn’t say anything to me about it. She let me find my own way. That’s why Dawn locked the two of you in the basement it think, she saw Faith looking at me and thought it was aimed at you.”


“Wow. So what are you going to do?” he asked, a note of concern evident in his voice.


“Tara said I should be her friend and let things grow naturally,” Buffy replied.


He nodded. “That sounds like good advice, I’ve never seen Tara screw up this sort of thing.”


Buffy nodded with him. “It is, but I’m thinking that it’s time for action. I’m going crazy thinking about this stuff.”


“So what are you going to do Buff?”


Buffy looked thoughtful for a moment, then a smile slowly spread across her face, when she spoke she was perky and cheerful at last. “I think I’m going to go find Faith, tell her how I feel, and have the most terrifying and probably amazing kiss of my life.”


Xander grinned. “This I have to see.”


Buffy poked her tongue out at him. “Perv.”


“Uh-uh,” he said shaking his head. “I’m there to be supportive, to help my best bud do something difficult, to see true love blossom. And because I’m a perv.”


Buffy smiled worriedly at him. “I feel like I’ve stepped off a huge cliff Xander, I’m really hoping that I don’t fall. Fall-age is bad.”


He squeezed her shoulder reassuringly. “If you do fall Buff, Will and me will be there to catch you.”


“Thanks Xander. I gotta go find Faith, before I think too much more about all this and lose my nerve, or just fall to pieces. “

“God, now I’ve said it out loud it’s all so simple. Faith loves me, I love Faith, kissage ensues.”


“Then go Buff, I think she was in the rear courtyard. I’ll be along in a bit to celebrate with you,” giving her a gentle shove back towards the buildings.


Buffy walked back towards Slayer central. Before she had gone too far she picked up the pace and began a bouncy jog.


+++

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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: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 4:47 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Wow, two great chapters. I'm kicking myself for not leaving feedback earlier.

The round of gift giving followed by impromptu backseat of a muscle car sexcapades was fantastic. For a while now I was wondering how far you'd go with the sex scenes in this story when you finally reunited the girls.

The first "glowy bedroom ceiling" love scene was great but pretty much smut free. Which can work well for a lot of stories. But the "down and dirty, grab the nearest heavy object and hold on for dear life, fuck me harder baby" love scenes are always a good time.

And what they did in the back seat of Winona was definitely a good time.

Then you had Tara spill the beans and hit Buffy over the head with the great big clue two thirds of the cast already knows about all too well. That was fun. Though having Tara stop making snacks to literally draw Buffy a picture would have been hilarious.

Can't wait for Buffy's grand gesture O' love. Hopefully she leads with shoving her tongue down the throat of a very surprised Faith.

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 6:36 am 
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... Big yay for Tara and Giles confirming to Buffy that Faith loves her and that Buffy loving Faith is very good thing... Can't wait for Buffy confessing her love to Faith and Faith's reaction...

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 Post subject: Re: Coming home part 2 - And The Stars Shall Fall
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:51 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Sorry i'm late gang.

Nothing terrible happened, i just got distracted.

new chapter up shortly, just formatting it now.


Hey citanul!

Yeah, put a lot of work into that scene, even got it beta'd.

don't expect too much smut though. I prefer my sex scenes to be a bit more Noodle Incident-ish. That way you can add your own details ;)

The hard part was making it sexy, without making it weird.
Weird you ask? what's weird?
Depends who you ask.
and i don't like bland.
So i generally avoid it.

anyway, rough stuff ahead.
Possible trigger warning for extreme violence.

But i Kitten-swear, happy endings all around.

Though be warned, Buffy and Faith live their lives at a different emotional pitch from willow and Tara ;)

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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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