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 Post subject: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - COMPLETE - 04/17/15
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:09 pm 
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23. Volumey Text

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Tara and Willow: The Blessed Unrest

Introduction:
Originally – for readers who have seen my most recent work – I had intended (and promised) to work on and complete the third part of the Tara and Willow crossover with Raiders for the Nanowrimo 2014.

Didn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Raiders idea and the third part is about half written in first draft and I’m actively working on it. I have definite plans to finish off the trilogy (because anything Raiders SHOULD stop after three stories) but I knew that I needed to tell this story instead.

In many ways, this is a departure from my longer Tara and Willow fiction because it’s really only about their relationship in an alternative reality that was – almost – canon (from what we’re told). Well, not quite, but there was a point in time, back in S5 when Tara was almost made something other than a witch in canon. This story is about that possibility…

Anyway, I came to October and I had the idea and I just knew I had to write it. Much changed in the telling, my original ‘plans’ were actually more of a simple idea and I only found what story there is through the process of writing. So it’s almost ‘plot what plot’ but without the hot T/W sex that label is supposed to designate. It also features very little in terms of BTVS characters apart from the first chapter and the aftermath.

In other words, I was indulging myself in the girls, their budding relationship and how wonderful that was. My favourite topic. Oh, and no little teasing, because you knew that’s what must’ve happened.

And naked Tara.

Because, that’s always good.

But it’s not a smut-fic (much as I’ve loved writing the couple of such stories I did once upon a time) and more about characters than anything else. Just not much more than that.

So what we have here is a complete story about another version of canon, what might’ve been but wasn’t – at least in terms of Tara’s background – and my extrapolation of what that might’ve meant (even though it could never have happened in the show like this because… well, sadly it was never the Tara and Willow show!)

So that little idea has turned out to be about 105,000 words long (short by my standards) but a decent novel in length and it will grow a little more in the posting draft process, but it’s all complete and all written – as regular readers will know I like to ensure so as not to leave you hanging when life overtakes me. Won’t take that long to post – at least a part a week - but I’m not going to rush either. The time I take to post this I’m investing in writing the next T/W story I want to complete.

Which, for those who care, is completing Raiders 3 (first draft) as well as thoughts on (Wo)men in Black and an all new story. I’m actually quite excited about that last one, if it turns out as well as I hope. But, basically, I’m tying myself into 3 or 4 T/W stories including this one. Feels like the old days! Should keep me going a year or two!

Title notes: The title of this story comes from the Sara Bareilles album of the same name that I was listening to when I came up with the overarching idea and some of the scenes. I had vague ideas about theming chapters after song titles – or just including them – but that faded away. But I still like the name, so I stuck with it even though it’s not really relevant to the story anymore. I’m sure you can live with it. It’s a wonderful album though, if you’ve never heard it.

Story notes: This entire story was prompted by a throwaway remark from JW (who shall otherwise remain nameless) that was made in an interview from around the time ‘Family’. As such you need to throw away most of what you know think you know about Tara from that, though some of that background is still worked in around the alternative possibility. But this is looking at things a little differently, based on that possibility and starts back at the time of Hush. I won’t be discussing the ‘alternative’ possibility in feedback responses too much until we get into it in the story. Unless someone else does, I which case… sure!

Finally - for the record: I’m a huge believer in Tara and Willow hooking up in the laundry room when they were locked in during Hush. Just because I don’t do that this time around (Chapter 2 shows what happened instead)… doesn’t mean I don’t still believe in it. It’s an AU!!



Title: Tara and Willow – The Blessed Unrest – Chapter One
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but nothing much apart from the episode ‘Hush’ in S4. And let’s face it, if you’ve not seen that then… what are you doing here?
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: This chapter is actually set after the events that are about to be told… It’s a teaser really, to show what we’re moving towards. What questions will need answering. We’ll come back to this time at the very end too. So, in fact, it seems like it must be a chronological sandwich. (I may be the first person to use that description!)
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
The title ‘The Blessed Unrest’ came from and belongs to Sara Bareilles from the album of the same name.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: No more, for this part. I’ve said enough in my notes in the first post. Other than to say, this is fairly short but it’s just a tease - ending on a very teasing note. It’s all about the tease. Get it?
Thanks to: It’s traditional, at least for me, to thank the mods and the owner of the board at this point, for continuing to give me somewhere I can share these kinds of stories with people who love similar things. So, this is for all of them (and for releasing this fic from moderation so that I could immediately re-post a modified version!)




AFTER

Sunnydale, 5th November 1999.



“Remember what we said?” Tara asked her.

“Contrary to what some people may think, I can retain information for more than, like, ten minutes,” she replied.

“I never said ten minutes. And you know it. Stop exaggerating.”

It was still difficult to believe that… This.

All this.

People were more… alive. She couldn’t remember being around so many people who felt so alive – so clearly conscious of it – at the same time. The relief was so thick, it seemed like you could just reach out and touch it.

And yet… they weren’t part of that.

Not this time. For them… it was much more distant. The immediacy was gone. The impact was more one of being an observer than a participant.

Most of what happened after dark in this town had always been to the truly unfortunate and… well, them. Usually ‘them’ at the very least while everyone else had just bought into the collective delusion and went on living their lives.

For now though, for right now, all these people were so very, very glad to be alive. Their fellow students. Faculty members too. Still aware on some level of what they’d survived. The horror of the last couple of nights. Maybe they’d started to rationalise already, but they hadn’t nearly forgotten.

Not yet.

At least until they managed to forget, people were all about laughter. Joy. Tears. Hugs and kisses. Most likely some more intimate demonstrations of ‘thank God we’re alive’ in some of the rooms upstairs. And in nine months? Someone would probably notice a spike in births, but by then no one would remember why.

No one except them.

The whole place was just… yeah, there was no other word for it other than ‘alive.’

It was all a little overwhelming, especially after what she and Tara had… well, what they’d been doing. So very different…

What had happened here last night felt like – and was - so long ago? A different experience. A different time even… Weird.

Weirder even than they’d thought the transition would be.

“I remember,” she pointed out, “what this place was like – well – yesterday, I guess. When everyone was afraid. People had been… is vivisected a word? You know, in the past tense? I’ve never had to think about that before…?”

“It’s the only word,” Tara said, slipping a hand into hers. “But not one for right now. What else do you remember?”

“I remember when sometimes you struggled with your words,” Willow said. “I remember that like it was yesterday too.”

“I sometimes - ”

“No, actually you really don’t,” she said. “That’s one thing I can’t remember. The last time you stumbled over your words. Actually, I’m lying. I do. I remember the very last time it happened.”

“And when was that?” Tara asked, curious and she really sounded like she was wrapping her tongue around the words. Testing the hypothesis.

“You know.”

“Oh. Really? Then? Before or after?”

“Before, of course. Remember, you broke me. Not the other way around.”

“Oh. Yeah. Are you sure though?”

No matter what and how long your tongue was doing what it was doing to me, or how tired it might’ve gotten, it definitely was before.

“Every moment of that is imprinted on my mind. Every second. Cos of the more than ten minute memory that I have. You know?”

“For the last time, I never mentioned ‘ten’.”

Before they could take that any further, a girl stepped in front of them. A familiar face, but – despite her boast – she needed to dig deep for the name.

Nicole. Yes, it was Nicole from the Wicca Group where she and Tara had first met. They’d only been there… yesterday? Except it was much longer ago than that. “You two,” Nicole said, holding up her hands for them to stop.

That was her name? Wasn’t it? Nicole? After all, it’d been a while. Yes, Nicole. Definitely.

Almost definitely.

“Umm, hello?” Tara asked.

“You know, those kinds of stereotypes aren’t very helpful,” Nicole said, waving generally at them. No, she meant their hands did she?

“Sorry – we might’ve missed something?” she said, except she really didn’t think they had. Well… not much anyway. That was sort of the point of what they’d been talking about and why they’d had to agree how to approach this.

Nicole looked – significantly – at their joined hands. Yup, that was what she was bothered about. “I’m surprised at you, Lara.”

“Oh?” Tara asked.

She was pleased to see that the other girl looked a little uncomfortable when Tara didn’t buckle and just apologise for something she didn’t even understand. Ha! This is my Tara, not the Lara you thought you knew.

Emphasis on ‘mine’.


“You always seemed so… quiet. I never had you down as ‘out and proud.’ I’m all for everyone being who they are but - ”

Once again, Nicole paused when they showed no sign of buckling.

“Anyway my point is that, well – Lara, not every Wiccan has to be a lesbian. It’s been a rough few days, on everyone, but some – most – of us are perfectly happy with boys. Very happy, in fact. So I just – I hope you can understand that and won’t get all radical on us?”

“Nicole,” Tara said, without even waiting for her to say anything, which she was absolutely ready to do because yesterday she hadn’t been a lesbian and today she was ready to say ‘yes, I am!’

“Yes?” Nicole really did seem confused by the change in Tara. But of course she would. It was only natural.

“First of all, my name’s Tara. With a T.”

To be fair to Nicole, she had the impression that perhaps that was never something Tara had corrected before. Because, well, that Tara had been a little shy. With the shy little smile and the shy… Yeah, the smile was all she needed to remember.

“Oh.”

“And second,” Tara continued, “Really, you don’t need to worry. Because we’re never coming back to your group anyway.” And as if that wasn’t impressive enough, as she said it, Tara made some small gestures with her free hand and Nicole only slowly became aware that there were no less than five books that had originally been in her backpack that were now slowly circling her head.

After the slow awareness, a scream and a respectable turn of speed.

Onwards they went. But after picking the books up and stacking them neatly. Because they were books.

“You were right, baby. She did run away when she saw a real witch.”

“Pay up,” Tara said.

“We didn’t actually bet on that,” she said.

“All the same.”

“Okay, I’ll get it to you. After all, you’ve already got all my money,” she complained. “And then some.” And considering where they’d been, until now that hadn’t seemed to matter at all.

“You’ll find a way to pay me back.”

They quickly found themselves at what – by now – seemed an unfamiliar location. After… Well, Stevenson 214 just didn’t seem… It felt like she needed to knock. Which was ridiculous because… right here in her pocket she had the key and evidently it’d still work because… things weren’t happening the way they’d thought they were.

Knowing Anya had just been up here though, she tried the door first.

It was unlocked, so yes, Buffy was home.

Tara slowed her though, pulling her back before she could cross the threshold. Those beautiful blue eyes said it all. Everything there was to say. In the whole world. But – she kind of got the specific message too. They were expressive that way.

“I know,” she agreed and pushed the door open.

“You know what, Will?” Buffy asked, smiling up at her.

“Just – wow, it’s good to see you, Buffy.” She rushed to her friend and wrapped her arms around her. Kissing her cheek.

“Woah… What – It’s good to see – Oh – hey, that’s a big, tight hug, Will. A Slayer style hug – Have you been working out – What’s wrong? Did something happen? It was just a little creepier than usual, but I got my voice back, screamed and they all went pop! No big… Umm, oh. Hi.”

Buffy had seen Tara and was – presumably – reluctant to say anything in front of a civilian.

Anything more. Because she’d already said enough.

Tara was no civilian though. Not by a long shot. “Who’s your friend, Will?” Buffy asked.

“Buffy, this is Tara,” she said and that just felt inadequate, but… it was how they’d agreed to start. Simple introductions and all that.

“Hi, Tara,” Buffy said, freeing a hand to wave in her direction. “Any time you want to let go, Will, that’s just fine.”

Tara waved right back. With that cute, beautiful smile of hers.

“Tara’s not my friend,” she said.

“Oh – She’s not one of those Wiccans is she? Sorry, I mean, is she one of those Wiccan friends you were telling me all about?”

“Yes. Well, no. We quit a while – we just quit – but yes and no. And yes. Look, the point is, Tara’s not my friend. She’s…”

Willow took a deep breath and then she explained it.

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

“Guess you owe me another dollar,” Tara said a moment later.

“No. No way. You didn’t have ‘passes out in shock’,” she said, easing Buffy back into the chair to support her.

It probably was a good thing she’d been right next to her at that moment, and it took help to make sure Buffy was comfortable and – you know – not dropped on the floor.

“I had the closest thing. You said she’d be fine,” Tara said.

She shook her head. “No, I said she deals with the unexpected every day. That’s not the same thing. Definitely not what I meant.”

“Does she usually deal with the unexpected like that?” Tara asked as they looked down at the gentle breathing of her unconscious roommate.

“No… That really is unexpected. The world would be in trouble if this was how she dealt with shocks. And after she saved the day – again – too. She must’ve followed through on the plan and killed the Gentlemen.”

“Of course,” Tara allowed, “for her… She only saw you yesterday.”

That was what they had to keep in mind.

For them… Well, it had been longer. Much longer. Like more than a year.

“Didn’t happen on ‘lesbian’ though,” she said. “I said she’d be fine on that point.”

Tara nodded.

“Lesbian, gay-type-lover,” she repeated. “Sorry about that. It’s… kind of clunky as descriptions go.”

“But all true.”

“Yeah, but…”

“What?”

“It doesn’t do you justice though,” she said.

“You told me once that words never could,” Tara said. “So… that’s okay. You got your excuses in first” It came with a kiss too. So, that was even better.

“She was doing really well up to the point where she - pfft,” she said, looking at Buffy.

“I know. She’s your friend though – she should – I mean, I expected her to. Not to pass out, but when you told me about her, I expected her to be happy for whatever made you happy. But…” Tara gestured at the unconscious Slayer. “I guess, maybe it’s because – well, the whole ‘day after’ thing.”

“Uhuh.” That might well be it.

“Lesbian gay-type lovers? I suppose – for some people – that could happen in a night but the other thing, not so much…”

She nodded, convinced of that herself. “You definitely could’ve flipped my coin, honey.”

“Flipped your coin? Really?”

“I’m experimenting with both slang and terminology. Look, I’m going to have to explain this a lot and I can’t have people passing out on me all the time, so… If I can ease them into it with some descriptive, but street-smart linguistics then… I’m all for it.”

“Flipping your coin, that’s probably that’s not very street-smart,” Tara said. “We’re really not. Either of us.”

Willow nodded, seeing her point. “I guess. But whatever you want to call it - I honestly, never saw this coming. It’s just a four letter word. I don’t see why it’d – do… well, this?” She slipped her hand back into Tara’s and squeezed it.

“Wife.”

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

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

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


Last edited by Katharyn on Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:52 am, edited 30 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:05 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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Location: Los Scandalous, CA
:D Dibs!...Do we still do that here?

BRB...with feedback!

Oh Happy Day!!! :eatme

Okay...Wow :clap

So, during the ritual hiding from the Gentlemen in the laundry room, Willow and Tara were thrown into some kind of dimensional portal/alternate Universe, for a year, and came back all self-confident, minus a speech impediment, plus some short-term memory loss and very happily married?

:o

Oh, how I love thee, Katharyn! :bigkiss

Buffy going " heels up " after hearing the news was funny as hell.

I was kinda surprised by Tara's show of magical ability in the hallway. But, it was fun to see her stand up to the " Wanna Blessed Be ". This gives me the impression that this won't be the same meek and mild Tara of Season 4 that was cowed so easily. Take charge Tara is so very yummy :flirt .

You know I read your story notes just as closely as I read the updates.

So, I can't wait to read the explanation on what brought about this change in Tara. Is it the experiences from the past year? Was she really part Demon? A mixture of the two?

No hints or extensive explanations during feedback?

:crash

I love it!


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:41 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
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Topics: 5
Yeah, because I am a bad, bad writer I posted the first part without doing the 'posting draft' on it where I read it aloud to myself.

And it suffered for it. So... I've refreshed the first post with a smoother version. But it's not changed enough to need to read it again.

Part 2 will be posted in just a moment so that I can get the events all set in motion and get to the real story...

For now though...

Grimm - Hey! You can still dibs if you like. Whether there is anyone to dibs against will make or break it :)

So I have to be careful what I say here because - even though you can just do a search and find out what Tara was once/almost going to be - I want to keep the effect of that for the story if you don't know. For now then, no spoiling that... but I probably won't last long! For example, I can't help telling you... no demons! Real or imagined!

The laundry room is coming up in part 2 - kind of. And so, no... not actually IN the laundry room. You're reading between the wrong lines LOL

Tara - and Willow - will both change over time. But yeah, there's going to be something over a year involved. What/where etc is the point of the story :)

Thanks so much!

On to part 2...

Katharyn

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

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


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 Post subject: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26/15
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
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Topics: 5
Title: Tara and Willow – The Blessed Unrest – Chapter Two
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but nothing much apart from the episode ‘Hush’ in S4. And let’s face it, if you’ve not seen that then… what are you doing here?
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Story notes: Tara’s background is different to that presented in Family and instead based on a throwaway remark made in interviews around the time Family first aired.
Summary: Back to the beginning. Hush now.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
The title ‘The Blessed Unrest’ came from and belongs to Sara Bareilles from the album of the same name.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: So… Yes, Tara and Willow are married. Or will be. We’re actually going back to the day before now, when they’d barely met. So how does that work? Let’s see…
I suppose I should also address the fact that I am somewhat ambivalent about ‘marriage’ and everything that goes with the word. I’d scream and fight for everyone’s right to be so if they wish and for the legal and civil protections that are associated with it, but – for me and mine – I’m really not sure I need the word itself. Or how I feel about the word, with its cultural baggage. But, I’m not Tara and Willow and I’m not living in the late 90’s and – like it or not – it is a convenient shorthand for a whole lot of things. So, wife. And marriage. And all.
Thanks to: Kajun, but this time for a different reason. A few stories ago, I was faced with a situation where I needed to demonstrate a story was within FAQ (it was) during a narrative opening that might not of been. Her idea was show the end and then use the story to reveal how it got there. Well, I’ve kind of done that here again, but mostly just because I like how that works, and you can throw words like ‘wife’ out there and get the readers (hopefully) giddy!




BEFORE

Sunnydale, 4th November, 1999.



Tara ran up the stairs. She’d stumbled at the first flight, trying to take them two at a time and quickly realised, that one by one was the way to go.

Don’t argue with stairs.

But – after running across campus – there seemed like a lot of stairs. Was this two floors? Three? Had she gone too far up? How would she get back down if she had? Being chased - Her heart was beating so hard and fast it felt like it might explode out of chest which… wasn’t so far off what they said had happened to that poor guy –

Don’t think about THAT. Not now.

Just focus on where you’re going. Just that. Nothing else but keeping your feet moving.


Two-fourteen.

Two-fourteen.

Yes, this was the second floor coming up now. There was a sign.

Which way was two-fourteen? Left or right?

Which way?!

Maybe, given more time, she’d have wondered why she was so utterly certain that if she could just get there - to two-fourteen - then she’d not only be safe but things would be somehow better. The doors here weren’t that thick. In that they were only the same as in her own dorm. The creatures that were after her hadn’t respected the doors when they’d cut open that poor boy last night either.

Safe?

The things that were lurching up the stairs after her – maintaining the chase on behalf of the obscene floating grins – weren’t going to be phased by flimsy barrier like those. Some creatures, she knew, couldn’t come in unless asked.

Others – these - didn’t care about niceties like that.

Bursting through the door at the top of the stairwell, she was faced with the question she’d feared. Which way? Left? Right? It was critical – get it wrong and she might be cut off but there was no sign…

Spending too long trying to get it right would be worse.

She picked a direction, uncertain whether –

No. Not uncertain.

Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson – 214 was down here. For sure. She just… knew it. How? No idea. And if she was wrong then it really was likely to be the last mistake she ever made.

It didn’t feel like a mistake as she headed to the right though. Seconds later, unsure which door was which, she heard the stairwell entrance crash open again.

And didn’t dare look back. Seeing them didn’t help. She couldn’t go faster than she already was.

Seeing them just risked breaking down in fear.

Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson - 214. Where was she? What if she wasn’t in? No… that wasn’t possible. She was here. She had to be.

Together… Together they’d be safe. Together they might even do something. She pounded on doors, wanting someone to let her in. Hoping that person would be Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson - 214. Then she realised where the numbers were situated – not the same as her dorm –

I’m at the wrong door.

Even so, it opened and her mistake was just as obvious as any in history could possibly have been. Inside the room - It was just horror. She dared not stop to try to give help that would’ve been futile. The occupant was so far beyond anything she could possibly do –

Nor did she dare to close her eyes, even though the poor kid - Even though it was something she’d probably never be lucky enough to forget.

Run.

Run FAST.


Another door opened, ahead of her – Not another one of those things. No, it was –

Thank everything and anything.

Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson – 214.

And…

They collided as the other girl came out of her room and pulled up when she saw what was coming for her. When she was caught in a moment of indecision and by doing nothing caused them to collide.

It was all silent, of course. Like an old movie. She tried to yell out a warning. She tried to cry out as they tumbled to the floor but –

Nothing came from her mouth but a sharp exhale.

There was nothing wrong with her hearing though, she could still hear them coming after them, getting closer and closer.

After them both now. Her and Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson – 214.

She pulled the other girl to her feet, dragging her in her wake even though she was limping a little.

That didn’t matter.

They had to go.

They had to go, now.

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

Her ankle was the only thing that was screaming.

She’d fallen badly, tangling her legs with the girl from Wicca Group and her own weight had gone over on it and –

It hurt. It really hurt.

But no way was she stopping. There was no stopping here. She’d seen what was coming after them. Hiding out and hoping ugly death wouldn’t come your way? Really? Since when had they done things that way in Sunnydale? And trying, this time, had proven to be a false promise.

This girl who’d run into might’ve hurt her ankle, but she’d certainly just saved her life. No question. They’d have come for her and she wouldn’t have even heard them. They’d have come in the door and – no one else had been here to stop them.

They’d have opened her up like she remembered the frogs in science at High School.

And that could still happen.

So now they really had to go.

They had to get down the stairs, even though every other step was sheer agony, forcing her to put some of her weight on the girl from Wicca Group.

Her ankle - it wasn’t broken, that was the good news. It still worked. It just hurt. A lot.

The really good news was that with her hand in the other girl’s she felt…

It wasn’t that she felt ‘safe’. Not in any way safe because lumbering death was coming their way. Safe wasn’t it at all. Nor was it really ‘confidence’. She knew what that felt like, she’d been scared plenty of times but because Buffy was there she’d always known – deep down – it would be fine.

It was kind of like that though. It would be fine. So long as they ran faster than the things that were coming after them.

Somehow… the fact that Buffy wasn’t here didn’t matter so much as she’d have thought.

Or maybe she’d just hit her head as well as her ankle.

Because a girl whose name she didn’t really know shouldn’t be making her feel any better about their predicament.

I don’t want to be sliced up.

I don’t want my heart removing.

Or other parts.


Running though, not a long term plan. The bad guys could always go for longer than you could. It was like a rule. If they couldn’t find Buffy – and who knew where she was – then they needed to hole up somewhere. Yes, that was the better idea. For sure. They needed a good door. They needed a place without windows and without any other way in…

They needed laundry!

Or the laundry room.

She tugged on the girl’s hand as she ran on past the door and pulled her back. Tara… Wasn’t it? Yes, Tara. That was her name. Tara’s hand. That was the hand she was holding. Pulling. Drawing strength from. Squeezing when she hit a step the wrong way and – ow.

She used her eyes to try to convey her plan.

In here!

Tara seemed to get the idea and followed her through the door only –

Inside was one of the Gentlemen, supervising as one of its minions emptied a bag into the washing machine.

A bag of bloody clothes…?

No. Not exactly… The clothes were incidental. It was skin. Human shaped skin, sliced from bodies in intact pieces. They were putting skin into the machine and it turned and grinned at her. Because what else could they do…?

She swallowed the urge to barf right there and let Tara pull her back, back out into the corridor.

They had to keep going.

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

Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson – 214 was hurt. She was slowing down and…

They needed to be safe.

Somehow.

The idea about the laundry room might have been a good one. But not with those things in there. And that had left them nowhere – in Stevenson – to go. Not that was safe.

The trouble was, she wasn’t sure how much safer they could be out here. They’d pushed their way out of the door and into the open spaces again.

Right into another of the leering creatures and their shambling servants. They’d almost run into them and –

That would’ve been the end of both of them if Willow hadn’t jerked her backwards.

She hadn’t let go of Willow’s hand, even allowing the other girl to stagger through a low hedge because she couldn’t reach out to stop herself. She couldn’t let go, she knew what would happen if she did.

Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson – 214 had looked at her and –

Go.

They’d spent no more than a total of half a second looking into each other’s eyes since they’d met but already understood each other perfectly. She’d seen the nobility of the self-sacrificial offer there. That Willow was scared but – somehow calm about it. Like she’d done this before and…

Wanted her to save herself.

Willow obviously thought, with her ankle, that she was slowing them down and that it’d get them both killed. Or worse. But no. Willow didn’t understand like she did.

Saving you is the only way I’ll save myself.

It’d been obvious to her, but obviously their visual connection hadn’t been enough to convey it because the other girl had shook at her hand as if meaning to be the distraction, to run off in another direction and draw them away from her.

No.

Instead of letting that happen, she’d pulled Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson – 214 after her. Made her run. Even though it was hurting and every step was agony. Even though it was maybe damaging her ankle more. If they stopped, it wouldn’t matter what had happened to it. So they couldn’t stop.

Knowing with absolute clarity that letting Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson - 214 do the ‘noble thing’ would end both their lives. Maybe one a little later than the other but –

No.

Of course, it was tough to see how their present situation was much better apart from they were together…

They still had each other’s hand as no less than four of the floating, impeccably dressed, monstrosities drifted closer to them from the four points of the compass while their footmen formed a loose circle around them.

They sat there, in the middle of the quad, just by the fountain and…

I can’t believe the wrong choice.

I can’t believe staying together was the wrong thing.

I won’t believe it.


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

So this is it?

This is how it happens?

Facing vampires that wanted nothing more complicated than to suck the life out of you while they killed you, it did make you think. Wonder. You know, in the moments that were… less great. How – one day – it would all come to an end and one of them would get lucky or Buffy would make a mistake or… Something.

But this? I never saw this coming.

They were surrounded. They were… trapped. There were no doors. No one running to the rescue. No tricks that she could think of. Not even something to throw.

Leaves.

And a wind-broken stick.

That was all… She picked the stick up, offered it to Tara. Because… who had the good ankle?

Tara didn’t seem that impressed. She shook it, making a stabbing gesture towards the nearest creature that was threatening to end their lives.

It just grinned, but Tara got the idea. Took the stick from her and…

Throwing it at them wasn’t what she’d had in mind.

After all, it wasn’t a very big stick.

Or sharp.

Or heavy.

Pretty much it just… bounced off and landed in the leaves. Tara gave her a look that said ‘now what?’

Now what indeed? That hadn’t been what she meant at all, but – in hindsight – had probably had about as much effect as her stabby plan would’ve done.

Too much hanging around Buffy. Not everything could be solved with a… blunt, small, misshapen piece of a branch.

Pretty much nothing could be.

At least I’m not alone. At least she’s here.

The Gentlemen grinned – because of course they did – and came closer. They whirled around them in a tightening circle and – all of them were about to fall on them. Scalpels glinted under the streetlights that kept the quad such a welcoming place in the evening.

Would people feel that way after they were found? Would it be a nice place to get coffee and hang out?

No.

Then she felt…

Something was happening.

Something weird.

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

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:03 am 
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DIBS! I win, Grimm! Yay! I love it!

I wrote is review for the first chapter, but it works for this one too. Yay a for slightly unexpected updates!

You haven't seen me commenting on your posts before (probably because I haven't before now.) But there's a first time for everything! You're awesome. I'm workin' on reading some of your other stories, and they're all great. But that's not what I'm here for. I'm here to give feedback on this story! Yay!

Awesome story you got here. I can't seem to find anything wrong with it. *applause* to you, Katharyn! I love how they were kinda betting on what would happen. And Nicole. Oh, Nicole...she's not the nicest, is she? I love it!

Now for the second review:

I love how Tara kept calling Willow “Willow Rosenberg - Stevenson - 214.” And gosh dang it, Katharyn! I love it even more now! God, your writing is so...detailed. I love it! Yay!

Can't wait for the next update! :)

-William (Or just Will. Or Sal. Or Gabe. Or Gabrielle. You pick.)

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:24 am 
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_Salix_ wrote:
DIBS! I win, Grimm! Yay! I love it!



Damn, you :devil

It's more fun when there are lots of us to speculate together :hmm .

On to the feedback.....

Is it wrong that I'm picturing a thermo shirt and long johns made of skin after the Gentlemen laundry room scene?

Yuck!

Question: Will we have a fixed update day or should I just subscribe to the thread?


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:45 am 
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Yay for great update-y goodness... I guess they have a mystery portal trip to somewhere mysterious...

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:16 pm 
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Woohoo, you are back!

That was a happy surprise for my Monday afternoon. So I have to admit I am super curious as to what Tara almost was and I am not familiar with the interview where that was reference but I'm going to just sit down and enjoy the ride. Nice twist on the laundry room scene. I'm looking forward to what happens with time and space with these two since they live a year and to everyone else it is a day.

The marriage comment in the notes is an interesting subject. We're getting closer in the U.S. to it being legal in all 50 states. Of course, that is just leading to individuals coming up with new and more creative ways to discriminate. There are so many other things we could focus on but I will refrain from fully climbing that particular soapbox.

I'm also happy to hear Raiders part 3 is still in the mix as is Women in Black - I still think that is a great universe to play in. So again, happy to have your writing skills back on the board for our viewing and reviewing pleasure.

-H.

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:12 pm 
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Yay! A new story! I'm totally stoked!

When you wrote that it was something from s5 that Tara might have been, I was guessing that she's going to be either a demon or the key. But when you said it was something from an interview, now I have no idea. I didn't see that interview.

Chapter 1 definitely hooked me. I loved Tara standing up for herself with that wannablessedbe. And I cracked up at buffy actually fainting! lol

Can't wait to see how they get out of being surrounded!


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:36 pm 
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Katharyn, I was expecting the first chapter of “Women in Black” but you surprised me with a whole new story! I sure don’t mind either way.. Hooray!


Wha? The floating suits are laundering skin? GAH! How dare they desecrate Willow and Tara’s special place. Grr, but mostly.. Yuk! I loved Tara swirling the books above Nicole’s thick skull. Nice reference to Tara’s famous line. We’ve all imagined the WannaBlessedBe’s hightailing it outta there at the slightest hint of a real witch. LOL.

The girls are married?? When? How? When?

I think I’ve come up with the most efficient way to leave feedback: Wait for Grimm to post and then simply say ditto. :D Dear Grimm, feel free to DIB as often as you like. :D

Getting the popcorn and pulling up a comfy chair! THANK YOU!


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:43 pm 
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Kajun, I have missed our story related hijinks!

We are back, Baby!!!

I guess I should wait until Katharyn introduces some other characters before I start the dead pool?

In the notes it states that the peeps from cannon will be largely absent or scarce.

But as always, I nominate Dawn to bite the big one A.S.A.P...just in case :grin

**All my new thread mates please remember, Katharyn can be motivated to post rapidly if she receives early and often feedback**



:kgeek

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:08 pm 
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Grimm wrote:
Kajun, I have missed our story related hijinks!

But as always, I nominate Dawn to bite the big one A.S.A.P...just in case :grin

:kgeek



Grimm, Good times were had and will be had again! Your hatred for the annoying teen is admirable. :D

I vote for everyone except Willow, Tara and Faith. LOL Just kidding! There's little doubt there will be a character, familiar or original, I will relish getting tossed into the depths of hell, or worse, thrown in with the Gentlemen's wash. EWW!

Katharyn, Regarding what Tara is:
Spoiler:
I'm pretty sure Tara was going to be a wood sprite. Yes? No?


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:02 pm 
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This story is off to a great start. I can't wait to see where you take the girls. It will be interesting to see what they did while displaced in time, if that is what happened. And just as interesting to find out if their displacement is going to let them avoid any major curve balls in future episodes.

Though the way you handled Warren in "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda." leaves no doubt in my mind that they will end up in a good place regardless of time loop shenanigans.

Random, off the wall guesses for the "Tara is something else." topic.

Spoiler:
1. Time Lord
2. Hulk
3. Looper
5. Jumper
6. Lucy?... I think I'm running out of recent Sci-fi movies with sketchy premises.
7. Power Top

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:49 am 
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Thank you all for the enthusiasm. I hope I can maintain it... This is not a 'plot' driven story and so the 'mystery' and the 'excitement' of the first couple of chapters won't continue in the same way. But the humour, the growth of their relationship and all that means (plus the 'what happened' and 'what is Tara') will all come to the fore... sort of.

Salix - Well, I always wanted to put the 2nd chapter up so it's not unexpected at my end!! :)

My other stories... wow. Do you have a few months spare? ;) I think of my other stuff, I'm happiest with Sidestep and Sidestep Part 2 (Sidestep 3 was fine, but not as big a deal for me). Also I loved the writing process of Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda... So there's more than 2 million words right there for you. Don't go back to 'The Beginnings Cycle'... that was the fic where I had training wheels and it really shows!! But all of them were valuable and helped shape me - more particularly the interaction with the readers (back when the board was even more popular even more so) was very important.

So lovely to have you along this time. As you will see, I am happy to talk about nearly anything! :)

The 'betting' thing is curious... See, I wrote this first chapter at the very start when what I should've done is write Ch2 onwards and then do that at the end. So... now I have Ch 1 and Chapters 26+ and they're not very like each other. The betting doesn't appear as much in the story. But I will fix that as I do the final polishing draft before posting each part :) At least I intend to!

And my writing is detailed? Wow... See, that's interesting too. A criticism of my writing (including by me) is that I rarely do 'detail' except in thought and dialogue. I very rarely describe what something looks like, for example and if I do it's a dead giveaway it's important in some way!! But yeah, I overdo the thought. As I said in past fics, it's because I hate the idea of literary criticism (this is not literature!) where you interpret what the writer meant. Well, I meant what I say and that's all!

Next update in a day or so...

Thanks

Grimm - Since we're not plot heavy there will be less speculation this time, I think!

I never really speculated on what the Gentlemen were doing with the laundry, but I just wanted to get the girls away from that room where I refuse to believe they'd keep their hands off each other :) This seemed like a good way!

Updates... I suspect I will default to every 3 days or so. So not a 'fixed day' but that kind of pace.

Thanks!

Zampsa - Thank you very much, again!

Portal... might be. Kinda. Maybe. Or not. :)

Loislane - Hey! Thanks! The main point of the story is about what happens to them in that year really. And it's not really 'adventurous'. Just more about them... The very end starts to look at how they deal with living a year when everyone else has a day, but now you've said that I might explore that a touch more... It's an interesting point to consider.

I am fortunate enough not to have to deal with the US approach to marriage equality and in a country that - though not first in the world - has offered a form of marriage for several years now and (finally) 'full' marriage by the name now... My perspective is therefore different and I'm not dragging it into this story apart from to admit where I come from. The girls would see things very differently and - technically - that is the term that they will apply to themselves. Other people (where they end up) will call it something else...

Raiders 3 - about 30,000 words written and maybe half way through. By the time it gets redrafted it will be about the same length as the last one.

Women in Black... As I said in the teaser thread, yeah... I really, really WANT to do this, but I need to do it justice to have fun with it.

Thanks so much!

Mysticrain - It's not really something from S5, it was just mentioned during an interview around the time of Family. It's not the most important thing in the story, but it is the root of what happens to them... (that seems like it should be a contradiction!)

One thing I have to credit the show for/with is that it never did the 'coming out angst' episode. That's a valid experience for a lot of people, but has been massively overdone in movies, shows and books because it lends itself to character drama. Having one show where characters just realise their in love with someone of the same gender and their friends accept (just because they're friends) was really important too. It's also a theme I've used in every fic so far. Here, Buffy accepting Willow was queer was a given, but the wife thing (after one night) that had to get to her and comically!

Thanks!

Kajun - I felt I was disappointing you when I saw you were expecting WiB, LOL...

To be fair it's not YET T&W's special place. Just where Willow does her laundry. So it's not desecration as such LOL. As for the marriage... I refer you to my earlier comments in this response! Yes, that's about as much 'mystery' as this fic will manage :)

Thanks!

Grimm - Dead Pool... Hmm. I'd certainly be interested to see that. But look, I don't ALWAYS have to kill people. Seriously... You're not going to see a canon character until Chapter 20+ now :) Rest assured though, if Dawn looked likely I'd either kill her or - more likely - rewrite reality to get rid of her. After all, that's where Coulda Woulda Shoulda came from!

You think I update more if I get more feedback? LOL. All I do it for is to bump the thread!! ;)

Thanks

Kajun - Deadpool... again... see above!! But no. I will never Deadpool Faith. Except, when I, kind of... did. Twice. But look, seriously... Oh, yeah... there's no escaping it.

As to your speculation... well, I found it easier to reply to Citanul's below cos... really? LOL

Thanks

Citanul - I don't mind admitting that this story, literally, takes place in a canon day... We won't be looking at what happens after that because actually there's no need. Even a sequel (no, that's not an offer!) wouldn't really need it because - in canon - things just keep happening. The change is their relationship. Thinking about it though, being wives the day after Hush means they will probably miss more of their own cute moments from S4 rather than anything else...

Damn. I hadn't realised I'd done that to them! Good job I inserted cute moments in the story :)

As to your speculation... I take it as slightly less serious or at least something I can reply to because they couldn't have used someone else's property in BTVS... So, in order...

Is Tara...
a) A Timelord... No. Though Timelords do have form for having hot redheads in the Tardis.
b) Hulk. Umm... no.
c) Looper - I had to look this one up. Intriguing idea, might need to watch the movie (Emily Blunt yum!). But no.
d) Jumper - I had to look that up and realised I had seen it!! No. I would not make Tara into Hayden Christian. Though Jamie Bell did marry Evan Rachel Wood so... No.
e) Lucy - Wow, you're making me dip into all my fave eye-candy (even by roundabout ways!) I loved that film. But no.
f) Power Top - ummm. Okay, you know what you get when you google that and get urban dictionary? Make me blush! Possibly you meant something else....

Thanks for the laughs and attractive thoughts

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2 - 01/26
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 9:08 am 
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Katharyn wrote:

Kajun As to your speculation... well, I found it easier to reply to Citanul's below cos... really? LOL


yes, really:

Spoiler:
Back in 2001 Joss really did say he was originally going to make Tara a wood sprite (half-demon). Granted, it was his usual joking response so it most likely wasn't even remotely true and, as we know all too well, he said lots of things that turned out to be less than truthful. Still.. he did say it in an interview. :) Anyhoo.. you clearly have something else in mind. Cool.


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 Post subject: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chapter 2.5 - 01/29/1
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:48 am 
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Title: Tara and Willow – The Blessed Unrest – Chapter Two and a half
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but nothing much apart from the episode ‘Hush’ in S4. And let’s face it, if you’ve not seen that then… what are you doing here?
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Story notes: Tara’s background is different to that presented in Family and instead based on a throwaway remark made in interviews around the time Family first aired. (Though I now realise not the precisely terminology used there)
Summary: The passage of a few seconds from the end of the last part until the resolution of this situation they’re in.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
The title ‘The Blessed Unrest’ came from and belongs to Sara Bareilles from the album of the same name.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: This part is shorter than I usually like to post (as – actually – were the first two, but the breaks just weren’t in the wrong place to leave a cliff-hanger at the end of each without splitting it this way. I mean, how can the last line of this part NOT be a last line? (Answers in feedback please!) Once we’re into the next few parts then that should go away. Then I won’t need cliff-hangers so much and will just have to hope you come back anyway.
It’s also named ‘part 2 and a half’ because I clearly can’t count past 2 without screwing up and ended up with 2 part threes… So rename this one and we’re back on track without me changing all the future numbers!
So, to this point, the real difference in the story from canon is that they couldn’t get into the laundry room (curses, love having them hook up in the laundry room!) but that’s not the real difference. It’s just a coincidental side-effect because if they HAD made it into the laundry room and you DO accept how they probably spent that first night together *COUGH* let’s face it they weren’t thinking about much else other than, well, that. Unlike my previous stories, therefore, this isn’t about ‘one thing changes and look what happens’. You’ll see shortly…
Because this part was so short, I’ll post another tomorrow.
Thanks to: All the readers who have already joined for the ride. It’s so wonderful to see that after so long there’s so many Kittens who are a) still here and b) I haven’t p*ssed off!



For fear of looking at what was about to kill them, instead Tara looked at the girl she was clinging to. Really looked. There was no judgement there. None at all. Not for bringing them to Willow Rosenberg’s door. (Stevenson – 214)

Not for getting them chased out here and surrounded. Not even for throwing away their only weapon - the stick - which hadn’t been her finest moment but might almost be the last –

I’m glad she’s here at least because, at least I don’t have to face this alone.

It was selfish. It was horribly selfish but… you couldn’t help feelings, could you?

And at least this way I’ll never have to embarrass myself by trying to talk to her.

And then she felt a stirring.

They’d been holding hands – clutching was probably a much better word – for what seemed like hours now. She was sure that their nails (and yes, Willow Rosenberg’s were pleasantly neat and short though why she’d notice that right now was a mystery to everyone, right?) would’ve left half-moon impressions in each other’s palms.

That much pain was good though, it meant they were still alive even if that state wasn’t going to last too much longer.

The creepy things were circling, closing in. Life was about to be taken away from both of them but – Somehow, everything had just changed.

It wasn’t the pain though. It wasn’t anything these things were going to do to them. It was something… else.

Something like a connection had kicked into life and she didn’t know what that meant but she knew what it felt like…

I can feel her.

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

I can feel her.

That was what she realised. How she knew – what it felt like, Willow wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to describe to anyone who hadn’t experienced it. There weren’t words for it. Not really. Not even concepts…

Not yet, at least.

And… things had slowed down. There was Tara - this girl she barely even knew – and, well, not much else in the whole world.

Not really.

Not fear.

Not dread.

Not even hope that Buffy or someone would come to the rescue.

Just Tara.

And she couldn’t resist that. Not when the alternative was horrible awareness of her own death at the hands of the Gentlemen. To have every sense tied into – feeling – Tara rather than that was –

Better.

Definitely better.

But this? What was it? It wasn’t touch – No, it wasn’t just touch. Because they were holding – clutching really – hands. So there was definitely touch.

Sight? Sure, she could see her. Much better than the leering terror that was circling around them. Much, much better.

Hearing? Not so much, but that was just a spell or something.

We’ve not ever really talked, but I know the sound of her voice anyway.

Smell? One deep, slow breath and there was… Something floral, delicate. Maybe a touch of honey. But -

All that would’ve been appealing enough, not even because of the grim alternative. But on another level that’d never really happened before, she could feel another person - Tara. Just by holding her hand she could feel the other girl’s heart beating. Hear it, a counterpoint to her own. They weren’t beating together, but they were beating in time.

Two people. Two hearts.

One rhythm.

Deeper even than that. After all the running the heartbeat might be unusual, but not that surprising. The thing was, she had a sense of the girl behind the eyes. Beyond the clutch of their joined fingers.

Tara was afraid, of course she was but… there was hope in her too.

Because she feels it. Just like I do. Maybe we see it in each other?

They hadn’t stopped looking at each other in that long moment. And where before, when their eyes met, they’d struggled to make things that were already pretty obvious clear to each other through the language of motionless mime, where they’d made mistakes and gotten it wrong - this was – This was like the serious version of that first time they’d ever met eyes.

When Tara had lifted her head during the Wicca group, looked at her from under her beautiful, long hair.

When she’d smiled… Everything, every disappointment those wanna-blessed-be’s had lumped on them both had faded away and hadn’t even mattered anymore.

She’d known in that moment that going there hadn’t been a waste of time or a mistake.

And now – faced with a different challenge – she simply knew that they weren’t going to die.

They just weren’t. The universe wasn’t going to allow it. It’d let them meeting and have this connection. So… no. It wouldn’t end now. That possibility was up there with turning lead into gold or mud into chocolate. It was impossible for this to end that way.

So what if it might look hopeless, what with 12 creatures gathered around them – any one of which could kill both of them and barely waste a moment? So what?

So what if there was no one coming to her rescue? Buffy was… off somewhere else. Giles was wherever he was and everyone else on campus bar the two of them was holed up, shivering and hoping grisly death didn’t come to their door.

So what to… all of that?

We’re not dying here. Not now.

Tara nodded. Not only did she understand, but something silent and beyond language passed between them. She felt it. She knew it. When she should’ve been as scared as she’d ever been in her life… No.

Just no.

Instead she felt hope. Even satisfaction.

I’m where I’m supposed to be, and it’s going to be okay.

Only seconds had passed since they stumbled and huddled together there. Since they’d been surrounded. But it felt like a lifetime of discovery and understanding of another person. Barely having exchanged a word she felt like she knew Tara better than anyone else she’d ever known.

It wasn’t easy familiarity, it was much deeper than that.

Their grip on each other shifted, without ever easing. It was like their hands and the fingers merged and reformed. From how you might shake hands or drag someone around a campus to an interlinking of the fingers, palms pressed together. Just the one hand.

She felt it without seeing it. All she saw was those blue eyes.

Green eyes… Tara saw her green eyes.

Looking into Tara was like looking in a mirror. And then seeing Tara again because she was looking back at her and –

Reflections of themselves within each other. Receding into infinity.

No. Not receding.

Proceeding into infinity.

They weren’t one. They were everything.

Each other. Themselves. The air in their lungs. The leaves and even the useless stick that’d been thrown.

The concrete paving beneath their butts. The fibres in the clothes they were wearing.

The water in their bodies and the ground and the roots and branches of the trees around them.

Everything. They were everything.

Mirrors have power – that was a basic tenet of magic and what a mirror another girl’s eyes and soul would be when you connected like this –

Somehow the part of them that was Willow, recognised the knowledge had come from the part of them that was Tara. They were sharing now. Two minds. One awareness. One heart – now the beats were in synch.

One spirit.

One desire to be away – away from here. Safe. Together. Seconds had passed and they’d found each other. Seconds more and it would all be over. They knew it and so –

A new level of awareness and power surged through both of them and they reacted the same way – backs arched, shaking as if they’d been struck by lightning but the power wasn’t coming from outside.

It was all coming from within them until their heads whipped around, faced each other and –

Everything went black.

Lost in the infinity of one soul with two reflections.

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

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 2.5 - 01/29/
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:36 am 
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Yay for great update-y goodness... Soulmate teleportation?

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 2.5 - 01/29/
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:32 am 
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Interesting. I'm glad I only have to wait until tomorrow to find out where they ended up.

Assuming I understood it right, and they transported away.

Can't wait!


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 2.5 - 01/29/
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:20 pm 
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Aw, I didn't get the dibs. Oh well. The update was much too fabulous for me to really care. Yay for FABULOUS updates! Boy, I can't wait for the next one. :P You're pretty awesome. I like you.

Thanks for the epic update, mate.

-Salix

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 2.5 - 01/29/
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:55 am 
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Pretty much, Zampsa, pretty much. Thanks!

Mysticrain - Wait no longer... going up in a minute! Yes, they will be somewhere else where time passes differently or means something different. Got that year to explain away...

Thanks

Salix - More chances for dibs!! 'Fabulous' is what I should aim for, so thank you! And epic too, apparently LOL. You should've seen some of my really 'epic' updates (by which I mean long!)

Thanks

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 3 - 01/30/15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:57 am 
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If you missed the fact there was a part 2.5 it's the short post just above. I had to insert that number because I am lazy... So don't read the below until you've gone back to 2.5.

K

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

Title: Tara and Willow – The Blessed Unrest – Chapter Three
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but nothing much apart from the episode ‘Hush’ in S4. And let’s face it, if you’ve not seen that then… what are you doing here?
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Story notes: Tara’s background is different to that presented in Family and instead based on a throwaway remark made in interviews around the time Family first aired. (Though I now realise not the precisely terminology used there)
Summary: So, faced with imminent peril, Tara and Willow find themselves… somewhere else.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
The title ‘The Blessed Unrest’ came from and belongs to Sara Bareilles from the album of the same name.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: So in terms of the canon timeline, most of the rest of the story takes place between parts three and four. This is all what I wanted to actually tell and where the idea that came to me demanded I go. I just hope it’s interesting enough to sustain at least one other person following along.
Musical note: It has nothing to do with the story, but I’m going to pause and recommend that you go off and listen to iTunes previews or whatever of Skunk Anansie’s ‘Wonderlustre’ album. Maybe those who are old enough thought they vanished back in the nineties, but they’re back and terrific. This part was re-drafted with that album playing way too loud.
Thanks to: Those who are guessing what Tara is/could’ve been. Thanks for pointing out (in your way) that I’ve got the terminology wrong. I could do find/replace to change it but then I’d lose one, perfect line later on so… no. The line, one joke, is much more important than accuracy!



Between



“What - ?”

Tara blinked.

Stars? Were those stars?

She lay there, looking up and wondering what was nagging at her. The stars. Her stars…

Momma always told me they were mine…

Finally awareness intruded enough that she figured out that she was lying on her back, looking right up at the night sky. The ground was cool. Stone. Hard and… ouch. Because the ground was cool. Stone. Hard. ‘Ouch’ was what that combination did when you were just laid out on it. More so when you didn’t remember how you got there.

How? Was that the question? Really?

Maybe?

She felt -

She felt… Willow Rosenberg.

Stevenson.

214.

They’d –

They were…

“We’re alive?” she said/asked. Not entirely sure, but seeing whether she could speak because a spell had blocked it but not here -

And then… Another voice. She hadn’t imagined her own if that was any sign.

“I can – you can - ” Was that…? Willow?

“T-Talk,” she confirmed, another little test.

What? Had they… done something?

Was it maybe a spell? Hadn’t they been about to - ?

Die…?

She sat up, seeing Willow Rosenberg still lying there beside her.

“We got our voices back?” Willow checked, feeling her throat and her lips, like she doubted the evidence of her ears. She felt just the same way, it was hearing Willow that was convincing her that they were really talking and not just – well, whatever that had been before the surge of… what? Awareness? If it was awareness it had sure gone away now because she had no idea…

A surge of… everything? Overwhelming?

Could this be death or what came after? It didn’t feel like death though.

“I don’t think that’s the b-biggest question,” she said. “It’s not even…” Not even up there in the top ten. Not if I’m right.

“What do you mean?” Willow asked, sitting up and coming into her peripheral vision. “Ohh.”

Yeah.

The thing was… Well, they were alone.

Absolutely alone.

There was no sign of the creatures that had been chasing them. Which, considering the alternatives, was almost definitely a good thing.

But what had happened?

And…

“Where - ?” Willow started.

“Are we?” she finished.

Yeah… there was the question she’d been waiting for Willow to get to.

UC Sunnydale was… gone.

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

“Umm… No,” Willow said. “Actually, I was going to ask where everyone else was. Including, you know, the monsters that were just trying to kill us. Did we maybe ‘make them go away’?”

She made little quotes with her fingers, as she asked the last part of the questions and then realised that – with Tara – that was entirely unnecessary. They’d come together seeking magic and perhaps she ought to be grown up enough about it to use the actual word in her company.

“You know, with magic and all?” she offered. “Did we do a spell?”

She’d heard about spells that could do that. How during wartime – even in World War 2 – witches and warlocks had held back whole armies. Even wiped them out… Exaggeration or… was there some truth to it? Had they done something like that?

And if wiping out armies felt that good then… bring on Napoleon.

“No. No… I… I don’t think so,” Tara said, looking around.

“But then you know what that was? It felt – it felt – scary wonderful, you know?”

“I thought maybe you did?” Tara suggested, but she was obviously distracted. Why was the other girl so distracted?

Shaking her head, she knew what was coming and it was – maybe – a little overwhelming to someone who barely knew her and for most of that little time had been listening to her say – well – nothing. But they had saved each other’s lives – probably – and things did need to be said so… Yeah, babble was sometimes absolutely appropriate.

“If I’d had something to do with whatever that was then I’d know what that was and what happened, but because I don’t know what that was – and by the way do you feel… Umm – well, I guess I don’t know and if you don’t know and I don’t know then who knows who knows what that was? Or what happened? You know?”

Tara nodded, as if she’d been dispensing the wisdom of ages. No eye-rolling at all. Which was… new. But from what little she’d seen of the girl so far, she wasn’t sure that Tara had ever rolled her eyes. At anyone.

About anything.

She just… didn’t seem the impatient type. Or one to be taken by surprise in the kind of way that’d make eye-rolling a thing to do.

But… “Wait - You said – you asked where we were?”

Then she looked around. And she understood that Tara’s question had been the right one. One that answered hers without Tara saying anything.

“Ohh.”

Yeah, she got it now.

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

“Tara, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore,” Willow said as they wandered through somewhere that was… else.

“Have you ever been to Kansas?” she asked.

“Actually, no. But – you know, the movie. The Wizard of Oz?”

“I know the movie – I just thought – maybe – never mind.”

“Oh. Sorry – I thought maybe you might not. Not everyone has – I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t have seen it but some people – Buffy hasn’t – Oh, you don’t know Buffy do you?”

“She’s your roommate, right?” She knew Willow shared Stevenson 214 with someone and it’d begun with a ‘B’ in the directory.

“And my best friend,” Willow said.

“That’s nice.” Sharing with someone you already knew, trusted and liked must be so much easier than the alternative.

“Do you have a roommate?”

She shook her head. “It’s just me.”

“That must be nicer. I mean, I love Buffy - ” Willow hesitated.

She didn’t think she’d reacted at all to that admission Willow had made, but maybe she had. “I mean, she’s my best friend. You know, but – even she’s not that easy to live with. Much, much better than my old roommate but that was some kind of nightmare bizarro-life I was living and – It must just be nice. Having your own space all the time? Not just when she’s out saving the world? I mean, at night.”

“I guess,” she said, only a little confused. Actually, she’d kind of been thinking that sharing, with a good friend, might be the better alternative.

Perhaps the grass really was always greener?

“You think maybe I should shut up? Maybe?” Willow asked.

“I-I’d never say that.”

“You don’t have to,” Willow told her, accompanied by a smile. “Tara, if we’re going to be friends, you need to know that when I get nervous I have this – Well, I have a tendency to babble.”

“I think it’s cute,” she said quickly, then blushed. That wasn’t the sort of thing that she’d meant –

Willow smile suggested that maybe she didn’t mind at all. That she’d taken it – Well, however it had been meant. I’m not even entirely sure why I said it. Maybe it was something to do with the intimacy – and yes, I have to think of it as intimacy – we shared when we were about to die.

“S-Sorry.” She apologised all the same. Because, if Willow had a tendency to babble, her counterpart to that was to stumble on a word, lapse into slightly awkward silence and then to apologise for it.

And the other girl’s response? Taking her hand again. They’d done that and –

Yeah.

She looked at their linked hands, wondering what it was for now? Not for security. Not to drag each other along when they were being chased. Not for comfort when death had been a scalpel’s width away.

“I was just seeing if – you know, it happened again,” Willow said.

Ah.

“I don’t feel anything happening,” she said. “Do you?”

“No. Not happening – I feel – it feels, I can almost feel you. But nothing’s actually happening.”

Willow nodded and didn’t let go. Which was… It felt right. Mostly because they were in a place that certainly wasn’t their own. Or at least, it wasn’t what they’d known up to that point.

Yes, they’d apparently both passed out and then come to in the quad but… Not the quad.

The hard ground beneath them had been a vast, flat slab of stone, rather than concrete paving tiles they’d passed out on. Layered with mosses and accumulated leaves so thickly that in places you couldn’t even tell it was stone at all. And then beside that… The fountain trickled into a clear, crystal clear pool that by every right should’ve been green and furred like the stonework.

Instead of metal fixtures that the water gushed from when the pressure was turned up, the water ran almost from the stone itself. Like a spring, bubbling up. And the stone… carved to resemble the shape of a woman – obviously beautiful – riding a horse.

And she was naked. The water cascaded from her upraised hand, flowing down the cape that was all she was wearing.

She was fairly certain she’d have noticed it if she’d ever passed it before and not just because the woman was naked and beautiful.

More because the sculpture was so perfect. So intricate and detailed that she might even have been a real woman, on a real horse, turned to stone.

Tendrils of real vines wove their way around her body, largely keeping her decent. The vines were a feature all around them.

They were everywhere.

Unlike UC Sunnydale where she’d never seen one.

It was like someone had planted a vineyard here in the heart of the campus and then let it grow, unchecked for years and years and the vines had grown and climbed and -

Like that – but not that at all.

Because though the campus buildings ‘existed’ and were situated in the same, relative places they’d expected, they were all… different.

Wood was predominant, or rather trees were. Trees were a built-in part of the structure of many of the smaller buildings around them. The Library frontage remained familiar but in vine laced marble. And a vast tree grew up through the centre of it extending high into the sky and forming a canopy over most of the area. Like an Amazon rainforest documentary tree scaled up a dozen times.

Vast and impossible in this landscape and this climate.

Except… the climate wasn’t right either.

It was autumn, but the land and the trees were green. It didn’t look like the grass had ever known the harsh kiss of California sun. It was the sort of lush green you saw in rain drenched northern Europe, not reclaimed desert fed by expensive irrigation – but under sunny skies – back in Sunnydale.

Obvious conclusion – and they’re reached it quickly - this wasn’t Sunnydale.

It wasn’t Kansas either.

But undeniably it was the campus. Sort of. A version of it that you could only imagine could exist by razing what was there, starting again and building it from natural things and then, finally allowing nature to overtake it.

Without being abandoned though. Nature didn’t have a firm grip here. More like it was… a partner. Its interests a part of this whole place?

“Why?” Willow wondered. “Why recreate this? Wherever we are? It’s not like it was ever going to fool us. I might’ve been slow, but we were always bound to notice.”

“I don’t know.”

She didn’t have to wonder where all the people were, all the students and staff. Or even the creatures that had been chasing and threatening to end their lives. Those people – those things – were someplace that was… else.

Once they stood up, Willow had been leading them towards the library and she’d happily gone along. Watching the girl who’d led her here by the hand, she could almost feel what the library meant to her. Willow was a seeker of knowledge and therefore held books and learning in reverence. They were safe.

She understood that, she’d always loved books herself. They’d been an escape from the real world whenever she’d needed one. A way to see other places and other things that sometimes couldn’t possibly exist.

Willow Rosenberg took that adoration to another level though.

“Look at this,” Willow said, running her fingers over what they’d thought were doors.

“It’s amazing,” she agreed.

The doors were actually more… baffles. They wouldn’t open or close, but instead the three sets of part opened ‘baffles’ would protect the interior without restricting access to them. No rain would penetrate. The wind might blow, but the baffles would channel it and keep the interior from being disturbed too much.

And once they were inside…

“Wow.”

“You said it,” Willow agreed.

There was no ‘roof’. The tree canopy was the only roof, high above, but it was so expansive and absolute that you couldn’t imagine a drop of water penetrating. Indeed there was no evidence one drop ever had.

Books lined shelves, the interior of the library was filled with them. Every book was leather bound.

But everything was perfect. Mould or damp or something should’ve affected all of these texts in this climate and with this (lack of) protection. Not so. Not so at all.

Willow pulled one from the shelf, opened it up and… it looked like she might cry.

“Wh-what is it?”

“It’s beautiful,” Willow said, offering it to her. She didn’t take it, instead she went to Willow’s side and looked at it.

The writing was far beyond mere calligraphy. The illustrations were in muted colours that – nonetheless – leapt off the page at you.

“I can’t read it, but it’s still beautiful.”

She turned the page back. “What do you mean?”

“It’s beautiful, even that strange writing.”

“No – it’s English.”

Willow looked at her. “Tara… that’s not English. Look at it.”

She did and… then she could see what Willow meant. The script was strange and yet… She ran her finger along a line. “They came across the sea from the north. They came from the sky…”

“You can read this? How?” Willow asked.

“I don’t know…”

“Are they all the same?” Willow moved off, checking other shelves but treating them with all the reverence a book lover would the most beautiful books in the world.

“I…” She realised that she actually had to concentrate to see what Willow did. Focus in order not to be able to read it. Otherwise it just sort of… made sense to her.

And that was… a little unusual when she hadn’t even been much good at French.

It was difficult to worry though. She felt like maybe she should be worrying about it but the absence of that worry didn’t… worry her.

She felt almost… Not almost. She felt comfortable here.

And Willow didn’t appear to be worried either. They were in another place. Like the campus but certainly not the campus. They should’ve been panicked, wondering how they’d get home but instead…

“I’m not worried,” she said.

“I know,” Willow agreed. “I know exactly what you mean. It’s more… I’m curious, Tara.”

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

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 3 - 01/30/15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:11 am 
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Dibs-y Goodness!

Yay for great update-y goodness... Seems to me that they ended up in somekind of fairy version of the world...

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 3 - 01/30/15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:13 am 
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Katharyn, So the girls are in a place where, basically, their known world and a forest has been merged into one. Sounds lovely. I would expect someone as down to earth as Tara to feel right at home in such a place. :wink

The questions are plentiful but it's early in the game and most will be huge plot points that will only be answered through the course of the story so.. what can I ask that might be answerable in feedback? I'll give one a try: Is the statue of our old friend Diana? That would be cool. Uh Oh.. Now I just gave myself a whole 'nother set of questions linked to that one. LOL


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 3 - 01/30/15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:45 pm 
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Oh my...

A year together * hopefully mostly alone *, with beautiful nature, naked statues, waterfalls, books and yummy Tara.

Sounds like bliss!

That is gonna be some serious getting to know you time.

I am very intrigued.

Kajun, I was thinking Artemis too.

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 3 - 01/30/15
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:33 pm 
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oooo The place sounds pretty. It's interesting that, even though the buildings are made of different materials, they're basically laid out in the same places..

It's also interesting that Tara can read the language. Some kind of genetic memory?

Can't wait for the next chapter.


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 3 - 01/30/15
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:17 am 
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Thank you all for the feedback :)

Zampsa - Not a bad guess. Not a perfect one, but certainly not bad.

Kajun - Also not a bad guess. Not a perfect one, but certainly not bad. :D You can always ask your questions, I just might not answer them! However, probably I will because... well, I can't help myself LOL.

Now see you and Grimm are both having way more connecting thought than I did here... Maybe it should've been Diana (or could be!) but I hadn't made that connection. Who knows what I will change as I post though!!

Grimm - Yup. A year together. With no drama and no crisis. No scoobyness. They won't totally alone though...

Cept when they want to be.

And yeah, as opposed to doing it in the laundry room the night of Hush, they'll take their time. With that and all sorts of things. More than you'd think. Even though - back home - all of it is in a single night :)

Mysticrain - Yeah, it is interesting that the buildings are sort of laid out the same - at least by purpose... There might be a reason for that :)

Tara's reading... well, I've already strongly hinted. I wouldn't have 'said' genetic memory, but it could very well add up to the same thing. Course, she doesn't know that...

Thanks all!

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 3 - 01/30/15
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:08 am 
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Woah! Rad update, dude! Holy mother of oceans and surfboards, you're amazing. (I'm going through a surfer phase, it's best not to question.) Can't wait for the next update, man!

-Surfer Sal

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 3 - 01/30/15
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:30 am 
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Surfer phase, Salix? LOL. I once wrote Tara hanging out with surfers... pure coincidence.

Thanks very much

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 4 - 02/02/15
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 10:39 am 
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Title: Tara and Willow – The Blessed Unrest – Chapter Four
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but nothing much apart from the episode ‘Hush’ in S4. And let’s face it, if you’ve not seen that then… what are you doing here?
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Story notes: Tara’s background is different to that presented in Family and instead based on a throwaway remark made in interviews around the time Family first aired. (Though I now realise not the precisely terminology used there)
Summary: After admitting she’s curious (no, she didn’t mean in that way, yet) Willow realises something about Tara.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
The title ‘The Blessed Unrest’ came from and belongs to Sara Bareilles from the album of the same name.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: I’m a sucker for it. I suppose we all must be if we’re here, but the early stages of their relationship, around season four, are just an endless goldmine of material and happy writing. This is another place, but it’s the same time. But it’s (almost) the same girls. So it’s the same goldmine and the same happy writing, more than 13 years after I first was writing ‘The Beginnings Cycle’ (not very good, don’t read it) But really, in this story, their falling for each other and exploring that (as much as the world they’re in) takes up a high proportion of the story. It is, kind of, the plot. Don’t look for much more than the answer to ‘one day they meet and the next day they’re married – explain.’
Now, to get the most from this part you need to have a mind that can be considered ‘dirty’ and pick up on innuendo. Even when it’s inadvertent. Don’t worry if you’re all goody two-shoes, Tara’s reactions will point it out for you.
Thanks to: My girl. No. Not the Mucally Culkin movie. Fortunately there’s now an entire, adult, generation who has no idea that exists and the world is a better place for it.



Tara was certainly someone special. She’d made that decision as they were exploring.

It’d hadn’t been a difficult conclusion to draw. Not really.

Maybe it should’ve been obvious when she saw that smile for the first time, but that would’ve been pretty thin evidence. Barely even anecdotal. Lots of girls had pretty smiles and it really didn’t mean there was much behind it. Sometimes there might even be a vicious monster.

Cordelia – Exhibit A.

But Cordelia never had a tenth as much going on behind her eyes as Tara had in that one, single moment back in Wicca Group. When their eyes just accidentally met. Not on her best day.

In Tara’s case… If I’d blinked, I wouldn’t missed it. Because… it’s always there. I just had to look at her.

Tara… When they were being chased down by horrifying monsters – and their minions - it’d been difficult to stop and realise what she’d actually done. A girl she barely knew had crossed campus alone to try and see if they could do a spell, maybe help everyone and then had saved her life when she got there.

That was pretty special. She got it now, but not at the time. She figured there was a good excuse, with the imminent evisceration and all.

It wasn’t even just that though - as if it hadn’t been enough.

No, there was something else going on. Something that cut through the fact that they had no idea where they were – even though it did appear to be safer than Sunnydale had been about to be. Safer, actually, than Sunnydale on its best day.

Something… special.

Something… Touching her hand, brushing her arm. Putting a hand on her shoulder when she was sitting on a bench, reading the books that they’d found here… Just touching Tara was – there was always a tiny thrill. A rush of that thing she defined as her magic.

In fact it seemed like it was Tara’s magic too.

What had been a deluge when they’d been huddled together - convinced they were about to die – and seemed like had caused whatever this was, well it was no more than a trickle now.

A tickle even.

But always there.

It didn’t have to be as overwhelming as it had been then to be special. But it was still there and she found herself seeking it out, just to make sure. It could be… a touch. A ‘caress’ seemed like a word that was loaded with too many connotations, but didn’t have to be. Something that light though caused an awareness that…

Making physical contact with Tara was just something she was drawn to by that curiosity she’d already admitted to and – unless she missed her guess – the other girl didn’t seem to mind at all.

It must be the same for her, the way she slides into the contact with me. Comfortable in doing the same thing when she’s the one walking around.

And yeah, she’d made that physical contact more than she might’ve done otherwise – even as a tactile person – because she was curious.

Also, it felt… good.

“What about this one?” She touched the back of the other woman’s hand and showed her the book she’d found. Tara opened it and looked up at her after scanning it for a few moments.

“It’s – um, I think it’s a children’s story.”

“But it’s three times the size of most of the other books.” And it wasn’t big print or loaded with pictures either. This place was weird like that. Nothing that resembled science in this ‘library’ but kids’ books were huge and full of text, adult histories more pictorial and full of flourishes. “And… kind of hard work.”

And yet Tara deciphered it with no more than a few seconds study? See? Special.

“Children do have a lot of imagination,” Tara pointed out. “Maybe you don’t have to show them, maybe you tell them and let them fill the rest in.”

“I bet you didn’t just read Doctor Seuss as a kid, did you?”

“How much?”

She rummaged and – since she’d not had chance to pick up her purse before running for her life – came up with precisely three dollars and seventy-five cents.

It might easily be all the money in the world. This world, at least.

“A dollar. So did you?”

She laughed, suckered into it by Tara’s smile. The obvious pleasure in her eyes. “No, no I didn’t.”

“I guess you owe me a dollar then? Got it on you?”

“I’m good for it.”

“I know you are. But there’ll be consequences if you don’t pay up.”

“I promise.”

They really should’ve been worried about how to get home. Or where they were. Or what had happened to bring them here but somehow… Not.

Nor did it feel like she was under the influence of anything but good company. After all, they were in a library. It was the place to do research if you needed to, including in how to get home. So, they were trying. And she believed with every sense and instinct she had that Tara had no more idea where they were – or why she could read these books – than she did.

There was nothing to fight for, right now. Not yet, anyway.

Honestly, right now, Sunnydale – their Sunnydale – wasn’t the most appealing place. At the best of times it was full of monsters that needed fighting and slaying. Sure, school and college had their perks, but the background monsterdom never went away.

Here though…

They hadn’t seen anything more sentient than a tree. Nothing to hurt or threaten them. Nothing but…

It was just so… natural. Even in a library. These books, they shouldn’t survive the climate, but they were here and there was no sign of a Giles stand-in to keep them all wrangled. No one at all, in fact.

Just them.

She was a town girl, she’d never lived out in the sticks. Never been away from people. But being isolated – with Tara at least – somehow didn’t feel like a bad thing.

She plucked at a half opened bloom, one of several growing up around one of the pillars and tucked the flower behind Tara’s ear. And yes, she needed to brush Tara’s hair back to make it work. So? Didn’t mean she was seeking that contact again –

The flower moved. Well, not so much moved as – it opened. Fully. Just a moment after she slipped it into place there. Once it was in contact with Tara’s skin.

Did the flower feel it too?

But even that wasn’t the most wondrous thing that happened right then though.

Because Tara smiled again.

“Come on,” the other woman said, touching the flower but leaving it where it was, as if she had no sense of what had just happened with it. Coincidence? Could be… Right? There had to be a moment’s boundary between a flower being closed and being open. Maybe that had just been it.

Yeah. Right.

“Where are we going?” she asked, keeping it to herself.

“We – c-can’t stay here. I mean we could but – we ought to find out what happened and where we are? Do you think?”

See, they were even on the same wavelength. She’d just been thinking about that, but – her conclusion had been to keep things very much as they were.

With flowers and smiles and books and libraries and… Tara.

“Where better to do that than a library?” she asked. “We’re surrounded by knowledge!” She span around, arms outstretched and listened to her voice echo around the great, open space.

Tara caught at her hand, touching her fingertip as she spun and it brought her back.

“You wouldn’t do that in our library, would you?”

“No,” she admitted. “But… Tara?”

“Yes?”

“I – I just realised, I don’t even know your second name?”

“Oh! M-Maclay. It’s Tara Maclay – my name, I mean. It is.”

“Nice to meet you, Tara Maclay.”

“Nice to meet you, Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson – 214.”

She found herself smiling too, and that was the thing. That was exactly the thing. “Well, I can’t imagine anyone else I’d rather be stuck with in beautiful, bizarre, nature, library world, Tara Maclay.”

“Oh.”

“You’re supposed to say ‘likewise.’”

“Oh! Well, likewise, I’m sure.”

She took Tara’s hand again, figuring that taking the initiative in that way would let her walk out of here without a pile of books she couldn’t read in her arms.

But in the end Tara was the one who had to take her out of there.

Books. You know? They have a power over me.

But so does this girl.


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


The question of whether they were actually ‘stuck’ became something they could no longer avoid once Willow had mentioned it.

Not that she shouldn’t have done. It was probably important and sensible and –

It certainly was a question.

One that was tempered by continued wonder and wonders to be wondered at though.

For example, at no time before taking several long swallows did either of them consider whether the fountain water – and there were many fountains that actually seemed like natural springs – might be tainted. It looked clean and indeed it was, untainted. Obviously so. Because… the taste.

It was so clearly pure beyond any filtration process ever bottled back home.

But it was also – and briefly worryingly – filling in a way water really shouldn’t be. At least for her. She’d had a sandwich several hours ago but had rather hoped Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson – 214 – might offer up another (or better yet go with her for one) while they were researching what to do about that other problem, from that other place.

Maybe we could eat while we work a little magic.

She had to admit that now it seemed almost… datey.

It’d seemed like a plan at the time, anyway.

Here… Magic hadn’t occurred to her because the air seemed to be full of it and drinking the water meant that she simply wasn’t hungry anymore. Indeed, it felt like she’d had a substantial meal without being overfull.

“So you don’t f-feel it?” she asked, not wanting to be the only one. Because… that would be weird.

“It’s great but – I still only feel like I’ve had some water,” Willow said. “It’s okay though? Very clean? What was I supposed to say?”

Tara frowned, filled her hands again and offered them to Willow. “You weren’t supposed to say anything, I mean you can say what you want but – would you try again.”

“I’m okay, really.”

“For me?”

Right away she realised that was an odd thing to say. But Willow’s look didn’t suggest she take it the same way it’d sounded. Instead all the argument stopped and Willow lowered her lips to her cupped hands and tried it. She felt the brush of skin and hair and lips against her fingers. Even the tip of her new friend’s tongue as she went after the last of it, lapping.

Um.

Right.

Lapping.

Because… Yes, she’d asked. She had asked Willow to drink from her hands but… Um. That had been… a little more enthusiastic than she’d considered it’d get. And quite… intimate in a way she’d never really considered

“I…” Willow started, lifting her wet lips.

“What?”

“That’s amazing – when – when you held it, it was… Tara, it was different.”

Willow dipped her own hand in the water, brought out a little. Tasted it and dropped the rest. “Nothing but water. Pure and fresh and nice but – now you give me some?”

“I – don’t know what - ”

“Please?”

Of course, when this young woman asked something in her just said ‘do what she wants you to.’ So she dipped just the one hand in the pool and offered what little water she could keep in one to Willow’s lips.

And – gently holding her wrist - Willow drank it down like she was a starving woman who’d been out in the desert, only stopping when Tara thought she might be faced with her licking at her hand because that would be very weird.

Right?

Right?

“What?” she asked again.

“When you offer it to me, I get what you’re saying but when I dip my own hand in, it’s completely different.”

Willow’s eyes were wide as she puzzled over the differences between them. But then shook her head, simply… accepting it. Like so much else here. Like being here in the first place. “Thank you for dinner, Tara.”

“It wasn’t much effort,” she said, smiling back. “I just picked up some water in my hand and… voila.”

“Well, Miss Maclay,” Willow said, “All I can say is that you have a very tasty and filling hand.”

In hindsight she was pretty sure that she blinked right there.

But ‘blinked’ didn’t do justice to it.

Blinked.

Maybe blinked.

Or BLINKED

Because… okaaaay. Willow Rosenberg plainly had no idea what she was saying because someone who did just wouldn’t. Not unless… No. Willow certainly wasn’t flirting with her.

Unless she was? No. She seemed too innocent for that? Innocent? Wrong word. More… clueless. But in a good way. Well, maybe not a good way. Clueless could never really be ‘good’.

Naïve perhaps?

Yes. Willow was naïve about that sort of thing.

And she hadn’t been flirting with Willow either.

Had she?

Better question: Do I even know how to flirt?

She thought perhaps that she did. TV and movies pointed the way even if not – very often – with someone she’d actually want to flirt with but…

No.

Copying TV and movies was something she wouldn’t be good at. And besides, flirting was just about bottom of her list of things to worry about right now.

Especially as Willow continued with her naïveté. It was a naiveté that necessarily said ‘straight girl.’ No matter what else she might’ve thought or mused or dreamed about.

“It tastes good. It feels good. But do you suppose it does more than fill me up?”

“My hand?” she squeaked.

“What? No, the water, silly. I mean… is it nutritious? If we were stuck – if we were here for a while? Could we just drink the water?”

“Well… I feel full. I feel like I’ve had a good meal. Don’t you?”

Willow considered. “Well, when you gave it to me to drink, yes. Before that it was just like water. Good, clean water, but water all the same. So… why you? What makes it more than just wet? Edible even?”

Right then, she knew she blinked. It wasn’t deliberate, but she was hyper-conscious of it.

And what Willow was saying in her naiveté.

Once again, Willow missed it though. Which was enough to make her feel guilty for what were basically dirty, dirty thoughts at an inappropriate time. But, it was Willow. She had no idea what she was saying.

No idea about connotations at all.

Coughing, she tried to answer the questions as they’d been meant rather than as they’d come… out. “I d-don’t know. You – you seem to be taking all this very well. You’re not just a wiccan are you?”

Of course, she’d already known that much. But, perhaps it was time to get to the bottom of it? It might help.

And it’d certainly distract from…

She licked my hand…

And then she talked about -


“I’ve got a little witch-foo about me,” Willow admitted. “And this certainly isn’t my first rodeo.”

“Huh?”

“Sorry. I heard that somewhere, sounded cool but – not so much when I say it. But I meant – Me and my friends, we’ve done and dealt with some very strange things before. Monsters. Vampires. Things like that. But… I’ve never been here before.

“Honestly, I don’t know what they’d make of it. By now I expect Buffy would be demanding I find her a way back to her latest boy-toy. Though they’re usually kind of men-toys and – Sorry.”

“You can stop apologising,” she said. The irony wasn’t lost on her though. “I mean, if you want to.”

“Sorry,” Willow teased. “I just – all of this… and there’s no monsters jumping out at us. No… nobody here but us chickens.”

“Chicken? I thought we were being brave. Maybe even… stoic?” Stoic felt like a good word. But it doesn’t feel as good as her touch.

“Just saying,” Willow reassured her. “Did you hear the one about everything tasting like chicken? You know, everything you can eat that isn’t like something else?”

“I think I saw it on Discovery,” Tara said, wondering where this one was going.

“You don’t.”

“I don’t what?”

“Taste like chicken, after all if it was just water when I drank it and then it was more of a fulfilling meal when you gave it to me, so I’ve kind of eaten… you, sort of.”

This time she managed not to squeak. But she did cough. Choke, more like. In fact she needed a handful of water to get over it.

“You didn’t taste like chicken,” Willow said, patting her on the back. Oblivious.

“G-Good,” she managed to say. “I g-guess?”

“Are you okay?”

“Umm… Just something – I swallowed the wrong way. We should, probably think about looking for shelter?”

“Why?” Willow asked, spinning around and looking up at the sky. “It’s already night and warm and… I feel like I could lay down right here on these leaves. If I wanted to – but I don’t really feel sleepy at all!”

“Don’t you want to check our dorms?” she asked. “I guess I mean, the library is here, sort of. And all sorts of other features of campus that – kind of – look the same. And maybe, maybe our rooms are too? They might even be somewhere we can figure out what’s happening.”

Because she knew that she ought to be much more concerned than she actually felt.

Somehow though… this place just felt right in much the same way as Willow Rosenberg’s hand felt right when it was in hers.

Or Willow as a whole.

Even when her absolute innocence of all things Sapphic was making her say… things that some people might just say were… wrong.

And she didn’t want this place to not be right or to be unsafe, because she wanted to trust that same feeling that Willow was right and safe too. She realised now that she wanted that really badly.

Badly enough she had to wonder…

Oh, who am I kidding? I was wondering before this…

“That is an idea,” Willow said and actually started to skip her way towards Stevenson. Or what had been Stevenson, in another place.

She stood there and watched. “Are you… okay?”

“Happy,” Willow said. “I’m happy. Do you know how long it’s been since…? Never mind. I’m fine, Tara. Really. In fact – I’m so fine, won’t you skip with me?”

“Skip?”

“Skip.”

“I don’t really – I haven’t - ”

“I’ll let you off for that dollar if you do.”

But when Willow pulled on her hand, somehow… she felt like she ought to. And it wasn’t anything to do with the money.

So they skipped their way there.

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

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

Chance in *Chance*
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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 4 - 02/02/15
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:01 pm 
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Location: Kaskinen, Finland. Citizen of Kitopia
Dibs-y goodness!

Yay for great update-y goodness... So they have some mystery water to sustain them... Can't wait for the "dorm room" exploration...

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