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

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:34 pm 
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Posts: 79
Topics: 1
Location: Canada
shirrey wrote:
Hi- I haven't finished all of the updates but I wanted to say how much I am enjoying this story. I LOVE stories that examine Tara's past and its effects on her and you are doing this really well- I was a little hesitant to start reading it with an outside character seeming so prominent but I am really enjoying Erynn and can't wait to find out how she is tied to Tara's story (assuming here) . I like that you showed some of Tara's not-so-light side, nobody is one dimensional and her reactions to her hurt and anger are understandable and human. Anyway, this is well paced and well written and full of deliciousness. Can't wait to continue!


I'm so happy you're enjoying my little self-indulgent dip into Tara's psyche. And, again, I can't be more pleased that Erynn is resonating with so many of you! :bounce

shirrey wrote:
oh, and, Tabernak! I have a good friend from Toronto but she spent many years in Quebec- I completely picked up 'Tabernak' from her, but never actually knew where it came from :) I was tickled to read it here


:laugh I've been spreading Quebecois swear words for years. There's a pizza delivery guy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who often uses either 'Tabarnak' or 'Calice'. I'm quite proud of this... heh.

Don't tell my mother.

warrior_barbie wrote:
I'm so happy that Erynn and Willow finally got to clear the air! Seeing them so distressed by all the unspoken emotions was a pain, and now it's a relief to know that Willow didn't back out of the situation on the spot. She definitely deserved to have an honest, open discussion about her concerns. Yay! :)


I'll say what I said to DW here, it was about time. :laugh

warrior_barbie wrote:
Reading the scene with Harmony was kind of like a guilty pleasure to me... It gave me the chills and I loved the softness of it. Thanks!


Thank you very much, I've agonized about that scene. To know it was well received really alleviates my anxieties concerning the darker sides of this story. :love

Hold onto your hats, here comes an update!

_________________
~M
CopperAndGold


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 Post subject: When Erynn found herself - Post 9 (Update)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:49 pm 
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When Erynn found herself – Post 9 (Update)

Author name – CopperAndGold
Rating – NC-17 (Strong)

Disclaimer - This is an adult fic. There will be some angst, smut, bad language, difficult subject matters (They will be noted prior to posting) The characters' developments were taken from season 5 - A bit after the episode: Family. Anything that is canon and prior to this episode is fair game. Oh, there's also a small reference to a funny exchange in season 6 between Anya and Tara that I just couldn't stop from using. Even with all this, there's comedy too! Everything after Family becomes A/U.

Feedback – Please, I love your words.
Summary – Willow and Tara make a new friend. She's... interesting.

Notes – Whoo, it’s been crazy! Thank you for hanging in there with me… Here’s the next installment. Nothing worthy of a warning this time ‘round.




The loud snip of the scissors close to her ear made every nerve ending in her body jump. She twitched as another sounded, “A job? You took a job? Ouch, you idiot!” Catherine recoiled as her ear was grazed by the sharp metal implement.

Candice nervously glanced toward Doc, seated in his chair, and back, “I’m sorry, ma’am. No blood, I didn’t cut you.” She cleared her throat anxiously, “Almost done.”

Doc found this quite amusing, “Judging by how much you’re wriggling, you’re lucky the poor girl hasn’t cut your ear off yet.” He glanced at the hairdresser and said in a stage whisper, “I wouldn’t call her ma’am, if I were you.”

Since the witch was still struggling with movement but, her speech had returned seemingly with a vengeance – Doc had had to choose between having peace in his home by pampering his old paramour. Or, let her berate him and yell at him hours on end, for leaving her to her own devices until she was fully functional. Humans. He groused mentally.

What he didn’t understand was, how did pampering a woman cause her to get so grumpy?

Catherine sneered and rolled her eyes, “Didn’t figure you for the kind of guy to work for ‘The Man’.”

Doc bristled. He took his glasses off, “Candice, dear. Are you done?” His tone left no doubt it wasn’t a question.

The hairdresser nervously started putting her gear away, “Y-yes. I’ll just be a second.” Her legs were already in motion towards the door when she dumped her items in her bag. A few clips and a comb missed their target, landing on the floor in a soft clatter.

Candice was gone in mere seconds.

“What?” The witch spat, “Hit a nerve?” She clumsily brushed her damp hair away from her brow.

Doc stood up and started pacing, “Your predilection towards living in the past is what got you stuck in that trophy I freed you from, in the first place.” He pointed a finger at Catherine, “And, you’re going to sit there and spout some 60’s hippie nonsense at me!?

“Why?” Catherine held him in her steely glare, “Why this job? Who are you working for?”

He let out a deep breath, shook his head in resignation and sat back down, “Like it or not, in today’s society, money and politics go hand in hand.” Doc lifted a palm up to cut the witch off before she said anything, “Most cultural changes we see in the world are ruled if not directly controlled by those with money. Companies, corporations… The capitalist system of supply and demand. Let the markets figure out what society should look like. And, now they’ve figured out how to control the demand itself… well, there’s no limit to what they can sell you. How they can influence you.”

Doc bent forward when the witch tried to reach for her glass. He picked it up and pushed the straw towards her mouth for her to take a sip, “These are the forces of today’s world. But, ideas and concepts last forever. Old ideas, they tend to come back around through time. Depending on the tools available at that time, these ideas might come to pass.”

Catherine coughed around her last sip, “You’re coming around to having a point, aren’t you?”

Doc pursed his lips in annoyance, “It used to be acceptable for an empire to entertain their civilians with gladiator fights. Often brutal and to the death. They were quite popular. Humans have always expressed interest in other’s misfortunes and pain.” He sat back in his chair and steepled his fingers, “Today, you turn on a television, or go to the cinema. You can immerse yourself in a world where anything is permissible. People enjoy watching others’ pain more than ever but, for societal reasons… well, they don’t talk much about that. Morality, you see, has been defined in a way that doesn’t allow for such enjoyment. But its definition is in constant flux.”

The witch seemed perturbed, “What are you saying?”

He stood up and walked towards his bookshelf, “What I’m saying is, just as Martin Luther King had a dream…” Pulling an old book from the shelf, he walked over to Catherine and handed it to her, “So did Donatien Alphonse François.” Pointing at the book, he added, “Also known as Le Marquis de Sade.”

***

The sun was only a sliver of bright orange along the horizon when they started to make their way towards campus. Once Willow and Erynn had entered the coffee shop, things had gone much better. There was no mention of Willow’s outburst and, conversation had been easy between the four of them.

The redhead had been more than a little eager to share some of Buffy’s most embarrassing and/or heroic moments. Each countered by one with herself as the main character, much to Tara’s delight.

Although she couldn’t fathom being able to compete with these exciting tales of apocalypses and doppelgangers, Erynn was quite pleased her little anecdotes from her travels seemed to entertain her friends.

Really, the one about the moose and the canoe was always a party favorite.

“So I pull out the camera. We’re both super excited but we steady the canoe in the shallow waters.” Erynn points ahead as if recalling that day, “The moose and her baby are right there, I take a picture… and, bam!”

Willow squeaked and jumped. Tara and Buffy stayed back so they could hide their laughter.

Erynn continued her tale, “The mother moose gets startled. She starts running after us! Water splashing all around her!” She waved her hands frantically, “We panic and start paddling like crazy… but, we’re so freaked, we’re paddling on the same side!”

The redhead shook her head wildly, eyes wide in fright, “Oh no, not good.”

The more Willow was immersed in the story, the more Erynn became animated, “There’s the moose barreling at us, and we’re going in circles! I start screaming, she starts screaming – the moose gets more pissed…” She cupped the sides of her mouth with her hands, “Switch sides! Switch sides! I yelled at her.”

Erynn shook her head dramatically, “We barely made it out of there. The picture didn’t even come out.”

“Aw, that’s too bad… cute little baby moose.” Willow cooed, “Would’ve been a sweet picture.”

Erynn giggled, “I was more than happy just to get out of there alive. Have you ever seen a moose?” She waved her hand in a dismissive gesture, “Not a baby. A full grown, adult moose.”

The redhead scrunched up her nose, “No mooses in California,” Her brow furrowed, she pouted, “Mooses? Meese? What’s the plural of moose?”

Tara’s jaw dropped, “Moose, Will.” She shook her head, “It’s just moose. That internet is rotting your brain.” She grinned teasingly.

Willow rolled her eyes and pointed at Tara with her thumb over her shoulder, “Ms. walking dictionary over here.”

Buffy, from her vantage point behind the group, cleared her throat but kept quiet. Who needs to know the plural of moose, anyway? She thought self-consciously as she watched her feet hit the pavement one at a time.

Erynn snorted through her giggles, “I didn’t know either. Anyway, they’re big and super strong. Imagine a horse on steroids.”

Tara shot Buffy a gleeful look that was quickly returned. Both snickered in anticipation.

“No, nope.” Willow quickly answered, waving her hands frantically ahead of herself, “Not going to imagine that. Ever.” She shook her head as if to shake the images away.

The Canadian’s eyebrows shot up her forehead, surprised at the level of anxiety she could feel from the redhead. “Whoa, ok. Sorry!” She shook her head, “No horses.”

Tara ducked her head and smiled, finding the exchange sweet. She was more than a little relieved the air seemed to have been cleared between her lover and their new friend.

“Oh, maudit!” Suddenly, Erynn was agitated, holding onto her head, “I forgot my hat!” She turned towards the group and pointed in the direction of the coffee shop, “Don’t worry, I’ll catch up.”

“Um,” Tara started saying something but it was futile, the Canadian’s feet took her briskly away in a strong, fast sprint. “Well, she’s gone.”

“Look-it her go,” Willow mumbled, “She must really like that hat.”

“Guys,” Buffy said impatiently as she started walking hurriedly after Erynn, “Come on, it’s too dark to leave her alone.”

The Slayer’s words alerted the witches to this fact and all three started after Erynn. They didn’t encounter her the whole way to the Pump, which made Buffy slightly nervous until she entered the building and a loud ‘Pssst!’ was hissed into her ear.

“Yeey!” She jumped and whirled around. When Buffy saw it was Erynn, pressed flat against the wall, she asked in a low voice “What are you doing?”

The Canadian fidgeted nervously with her fedora, “Where are Tara and Willow?” Wild, grey eyes darted around anxiously.

As if on cue, the witches entered, “Oh good,” Willow said mid-pant, “You found it.”

Tara breathlessly took in Erynn’s body language, “What’s wrong?” She looked at Buffy who just shook her head in ignorance.

“There’s a guy,” Erynn peered out the corner of the window, “There he is.” She pointed outside, but when Willow went to look she stopped her, “Don’t let him see us looking!”

Buffy was instantly on alert, “Ok, what’s going on Erynn?” She waved towards a table, “Let’s sit so you can bring us aboard the freak train.”

Once sat at a table, the Canadian leaned over and explained in a hushed voice, “I was running back here and almost ran into that guy.” She pulled her hat onto her head, “I didn’t recognize him at first but, he felt like someone who’d been caught doing something.” Erynn shook her head and shrugged, “It made me curious. But, then I saw him again through the window and finally recognized him.”

She pointedly looked at Buffy, “He was at the gallery earlier.” Erynn ticked off her fingers, “And, I remember seeing him across the street when Willow and I came in.” Her eyebrows hitched up her forehead, “Now, he’s out there again when I bumped into him farther up the street just a few minutes ago.”

Tara shifted in her chair and reached for Willow’s hand, “W-we’re being followed?”

The Canadian nodded anxiously, “Badly, but yeah. I think so.”

“But,” Willow looked Erynn’s way, “If he was at the gallery, he must’ve been following one of you two.” She said, pointing at Buffy as well, “Tara and I weren’t there.”

Buffy took control of the pseudo-meeting, “First thing’s first. We need to get out of here without him knowing that we know.” She tapped her fingers on the table in thought, “Preferably without him following us. Help me out here ladies, I just wanna go out there and punch him.”

“I sense a Scooby meeting coming on.” The redheaded witch mumbled.

Tara had an idea, “We could call Xander.” She looked at Willow, “He could pick us up in the alley and we c-could have the meeting at his place.”

The Slayer nodded her approval, “I like it.” She stood up and started walking towards the counter, “I hope he picks up.”

Erynn suddenly asked the witches, looking at them expectantly, “Do you guys know how to tag someone?”

“Huh?” Willow asked dumbly.

“I was thinking,” The Canadian explained, “We should find out where he goes when we leave…” She pointed at the wall with her thumb and shrugged, “Might give us an idea why he’s following us.”

“Ok,” Willow was getting it, “Yeah, that makes sense.”

Buffy sat back down, “He’s on his way,” She chuckled, “Anya’s pissed. I think we’re cutting into her orgasm time.”

Erynn giggled despite herself, “So, we’re talking about a way we could trace this guy’s steps once we leave here.” When the Slayer nodded, she continued, “You could tag him. He just has to have something that belongs to either Willow or Tara on him.”

Willow pointed at Erynn, “And, then we do a locator spell.”

“Ok, I’m all with the tagging,” Buffy said, as always, ready for action, “What can I use?” She asked, looking at Willow and Tara expectantly.

Willow fidgeted in her seat and winced slightly, “I’m not sure you should do it, Buffy.” When she received a questioning glare she quickly added, “Wouldn’t it be more suspicious if The Slayer went out there?” Not to mention you’re not Ms. stealthy…

Buffy let out a disappointed grunt, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

A few minutes passed as they tried to figure things out. Tara stood up amid the discussion and walked towards the counter waving to get the barista’s attention, “Could I get a large vanilla latte, Reese’s p-peanut butter cups and a five dollar gift card, please?”

Xander and Anya shuffled into the coffee shop, quickly finding their friends’ table.

Anya stayed back with her arms crossed, a sour expression on her face. Her boyfriend greeted everyone, “Hey guys, your ride has arrived.” He smiled genuinely.

Tara, who had stealthily scooted near Anya, overheard her grumble under her breath, “My ‘ride’ arrived alright. But, I sure as hell didn’t.” The witch bit the inside of her lip and offered her friend the chocolate with a gentle elbow nudge.

The ex-vengeance demon quickly tore into the candy. She mumbled around a bite, “It’s not fair.” Her eyes pained and dejected, “Thank you for the chocolate.” Anya’s mouth formed a cute pout before taking another bite.

Tara smiled indulgently, “Here,” She handed her the cup of coffee, “Enjoy.” With a wink and gentle squeeze to Anya’s shoulder she made her way back to her seat, next to her girlfriend.

Their exchange went unnoticed by everyone but Erynn who was trying her best not to grin like an idiot. There might have been swooning.

“So, you guys wanna tag him with a tracer.” Xander nodded and pointed at Willow, “Like Spike had in his back that one time?”

Willow bobbed her head, “Kinda, but more with the magic, less with the shooting.”

“Um,” Tara slid the gift card over to her girlfriend, “This is for you, Will.” She said tentatively and - as it often happened during her experiences in groups – her words coincided with a sudden, unexpectedly silent moment. Smooth, Maclay… that wasn’t awkward at all. Her mind berated her.

The whole group turned toward her, different perplexed expressions across their faces. Willow’s eyes darted around her friends, then back to her girlfriend, “Oh, well… thanks, baby.” She lowered her voice to a puzzled whisper, “Weird timing, Tare-bear.”

Tara couldn’t blush any harder, “I-it’s for-for,” She took a deep breath, rolled her eyes and waved an exasperated hand at the card, “Just sign it. Then it’ll be yours and-and someone can drop it for him to p-pick up.”

A chorus of ‘Oh!’s of realization rang through the group, heads nodding appreciatively.

Willow grinned proudly and pecked her girlfriend on the lips, “You’re so smart,” Another peck, “and sneaky,” she pecked her again, “and so shmexy.” She drawled and gave one last dramatic smooch.

Oh, boy. Erynn squeezed her legs together and lowered her eyes below the brim of her hat. Not good. Tara had never seemed more attractive to her. And now, her own feelings were being compounded by those she could feel coming from the witches. She didn’t want to dare wonder what she’d be like if it weren’t for wearing her pendant.

The term ‘hot and bothered’ didn’t do the state she was in justice as it was. Why does making the decision of being chaste not automatically make you asexual? So friggin’ unfair.

“I have to agree with the Willster, Tara.” Xander said admiringly, but quickly added, “Although, not that last part since I want to keep my manly bits.” He pointed at her and glared jokingly, “And, no kisses for you.”

A grumbled, “Damn right.” From Anya barely made it over the din of the coffee shop.

Tara chuckled and lowered her head to hide her embarrassment.

Once a pen had been procured and Willow had signed the card, it was a matter of deciding who should do the dropping. There were differing opinions on this and Buffy was getting more impatient with her friends by the second.

“But, Will’s name is on the card…” Xander was explaining for the nth time, “If I drop it, won’t it make him wonder? I don’t look like a Willow. I really don’t look like a Rosenberg, either.”

The redhead was offended, “What does that mean!?” Even Tara shot him an incredulous, dirty look.

“Enough,” The Slayer snapped, “I’m about to go shove it down his throat.” She took a deep breath, “Will, I know he’s seen you and everything. But, he was at the gallery when you weren’t… so, he’s probably not focused on you.”

And, like that, the decision was made. Willow would do the drop.

The redhead’s escalating anxiety was plain to see, “Ok, I can do this,” Willow said to herself, nodding decisively, “I can feign innocence like nobody’s business.”

At that, Erynn couldn’t help but look quizzically at Tara for a second because… well, why would Willow feigning innocence garner that reaction from the blonde witch? Don’t go there, Lavoie. Don’t even think about going there.

She cleared her throat, “Y-you need to be doing something normal.” Erynn reached into her jacket pocket and procured her cellphone, “Here, you can take my phone. Call your room or something and just… talk. Make sure to get his attention… hmm,” Looking around for the next step to come to her, she noticed a crumpled napkin on the table parallel to theirs, “Oh! You can take that or something and walk up to the garbage can outside to throw it away. Then oops, you drop the card… Stay out there for a couple minutes, you know like you’re having a private conversation. Then hang up and come back in.”

Willow nodded through the instructions and reached for the phone, “Ok, that’s good. A plot, I definitely need a plot. They teach us plots in drama.”

Tara leaned over, squeezed her girlfriend’s shoulder in support and gave her a kiss on the cheek, “You can do this, easy.” She turned in her seat with a secret grin twisting her lips, “You’ve been practicing with props and everything.” The blonde winked mischievously.

Green eyes grew wide as Willow’s cheeks tinged red and her mouth fell open in shocked surprise. She quickly snapped it shut again. “Uh, y-yeah…”

No-one noticed the loud scrape of a metal legged chair being hastily pushed back against the floor, or Erynn’s quick and stealthy departure from the table.

***

Xander and Anya were sitting at a table next to the window so they could keep an eye on the scene outside, while Buffy was tucked away in a corner where she could watch over her friend without being seen through the window.

“Not too long Ahn,” Xander whispered, “It looks suspicious.”

The shop keeper huffed, “I don’t know what’s taking her so long,” She took the last gulp of her latte, “She could’ve dropped that card a million times by now.”

Tara was at the same table the group had been before Willow’s exit, fidgeting in her seat nervously. She really wanted to be by that window but, they’d decided it would be best if their stalker didn’t see them together. Give him less dots to connect… or so had been the reasoning. Right now though, it just felt like unnecessarily added stress.

Where was Erynn, anyway? She looked around the café to no avail. It had been a while since Tara had seen her. She debated going to look for the Canadian in the bathroom… but, who in the world likes being checked in on while in the bathroom?

She frowned in worry, it had been a while though.

“People,” Xander hissed down at the table dramatically, “We have a drop. She dropped it, Will’s coming back.”

Tara stood from her seat, eyes glued to the front door. When it opened and Willow walked through, she let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding, “Willow,”

The redhead hastily joined her girlfriend, a giddy smile on her face, “Oh my God, baby. That was so exciting!” Her weight bounced from one foot to the other, hands agitatedly flopping as she talked, “At first I was all ‘Eee!’ you know?” Eyes wide, her face a picture of fright, “But, then I thought ‘Be James Bond’ a-and I felt all cool and sneaky and stuff.” Willow beamed, her cheeks tinged red with excitement.

Tara chuckled lovingly and embraced her love in a warm hug, “You’re my sexy spy.” She whispered and kissed Willow’s cheek. “Maybe we should get you a tux.”

“He’s thinking about it,” Anya spoke up, “Come on, pick it up. There’s money in that card.” She cajoled and tried to reason with him even though he couldn’t hear her, “Ooh! There he goes. The lure of free goods is strong. It’s in his pocket!”

“Erynn,” Buffy said when she noticed the brunette walk out of the bathroom, “We’re about to go. He picked it up.”

Erynn nodded her head thankfully, “Oh, good… Good.” The group started forming and at Buffy’s nod, they all made their way out through the back door of the coffee shop, towards the alley.

***

As Spike entered the lower part of his crypt from the underground, he threw the stake aside and stared at his hand for a moment. The shallow cuts were already starting to heal.

A sound got his attention from above; a female voice. Lucile he surmised but, when the next bellowing sound came it sent a shiver up the vampire’s spine.

Fright and anticipation. Quite a bit of anger as well, Spike wanted to rip Jurrot’s head off. And, apparently, the demon in question was upstairs in his crypt. He tried to calm himself before ascending the stairs.

“Try this one,” Lucile’s voice cheerfully offered, “They call them ‘Atomic’.”

Spike was half-way up the stairs when Jurrot replied around a mouthful, “No use,” There was a spitting sound, “I will win wager.”

The vampire coughed, announcing his arrival, “What’s this, then?” He took in the sight of Lucile and Jurrot sitting around a dozen buckets of hot wings, “Picnic?” Pointedly looking at Lucile, he raised a questioning eyebrow. His jaw clenching against the overwhelming desire to unleash holy terror.

Lucile betrayed no guilt, “Jurrot here came by a couple hours ago. I told him I was house sitting for a bit.” She shot the demon a glance and frowned at him, “You missed the trash can again.” She chided, “How you chew around the bones I have no idea.”

“Your payment.” Jurrot rumbled an explanation for his presence as he bent over to pick up his chicken bones awkwardly between thick fingers, “For job done.”

“Right,” Spike tentatively replied, taking a few steps into the room, “Everything turned out well, then?”

The demon handed over a thick envelope, “Acceptable.” Turning back to Lucile he added, “Owe me ten moneys.” Jurrot pointed at the hot wings and let out what can only be described as a wet chuckle.

Lucile took an offended posture, “And here I thought I was good company.” She pointedly looked at Spike, willing him to read between her lines, “Jurrot and I have been getting to know each other, I thought we’d bonded.” Waving an impatient hand at the demon, she reached into the folds of her layers of clothing, shaking her head dramatically, “Here I find he was after my money all along.”

“Allow me, luv.” Spike caught on quickly enough. He picked out a ten from the stack of bills in his envelope and handed it over to Jurrot, trying his best to suppress the hatred he felt burning in his chest, “This should cover it, then.”

The demon seemed pleased as he took the offered payment, “Will be in contact,” He let out a grunt, “More jobs soon.”

The vampire was about to let Jurrot know he wasn’t interested but, he was quickly cut off by Lucile, “Yes, you were telling me of your trouble with the Slayer.” She stood from the couch, her tail curling upwards in what looked like a grey question mark, “Let Spike know when he could be of service again. He might be able to help.” Lucile looked at her friend with a pointedly raised eyebrow.

Spike’s lips pursed, grinding his molars together made his jaw visibly clench in waves. “I’ll do what I can.”

The demon nodded once in acceptance and curled his body forward as he made his way through the door and out of the crypt.

The vampire’s mouth fell open, his fists clenched as words rose up his throat only to be stopped again. This time by Lucile’s raised hand and sympathetic eyes, “Keep it in a little longer darling, he’s still within earshot.”

Spike went and slumped into his sofa, shaking his head angrily.

She stood by the open door and peered out and upwards as if looking at the sky, “Are you coming back in now?”

Furry paws landed, tentatively at first, on the top of the door. Sadie made her way to the center of it before jumping down into the grass. She caressed Lucile’s legs as she passed, rubbing her whole body against them, her tail twitching in delight before making her way towards the sofa with her cargo firmly tucked between her teeth.

Lucile grinned and closed the door as Sadie crawled unto Spike’s left thigh and dropped what was for her, a prized gift. A juicy mouse, not an hour dead. The feline looked up, eyes wide and expectant and the Vampire surprised himself by believing he saw affection directed at him. “Right, then,” He shook his head and let out a half-hearted chuckle as he started petting her head eliciting a loud purr, “I’m stuck with you, aren’t I?”

“Spike,” Lucile’s voice was soft and tentative, “I’m sorry he was here.”

Spike growled from deep in his chest, “I want him dead, Lucile. In pieces, rotting under the noon-sun.” He pushed the mouse around his lap absentmindedly with a shaking finger, “Harm is gone.”

She sat on the coffee table, facing her friend, “You did what you know I couldn’t.” Lucile met his gaze, “Was mercy in your heart?”

The vampire grudgingly nodded his affirmative answer. “Then, what you did I would’ve done if I were able to.” She let out a deep breath, “Jurrot was angry that he kept having to evade the Slayer, since she knows about him now.”

She stood back up and started pacing, “Somehow they know she knows… I’m guessing she hasn’t been very subtle in her search for answers.”

Spike’s lips curled slightly at the corners, “She’s not the subtle type.” Rubbing a hand over his face in exasperation he continued, “They know more than that. Harm knew a lot about Buffy and her friends.” Scratching his head he grumbled, “I don’t blame her for coughing up the goods.”

Lucile nodded meaningfully, “They do. Jurrot was saying how he wanted to kill the Slayer now. His boss, Damien, doesn’t agree though.”

The vampire bristled, “No, he wouldn’t. I know what sadists are like, decades with Angelus enlightens a bloke.” He stood up to reach for his coat and pulled out his cigarettes and lighter, “I’ve also had some experience taking care of someone who’d been affected by… that sort of thing.” He sneered.

“He’ll make it a game.” Lucile deduced succinctly, “Having a card up your sleeve is a bonus.”

Spike looked at her closely, “You want me to help the Slayer.” It wasn’t a question.

Her brow creased in thought, “What I want is for my town to remain stable.” Lucile leaned against a wall and explained, “This is a town where extremes are powerful. Black and white clashes in the streets daily, this is my preferred environment. My kind is one of balance, we find peace in the grey. The Slayer is one of those extremes and we both know there are plenty of the other kind here, as well. All told, there is a balance here.”

“So, what?” Spike asked impatiently, “This Damien wanker wants to destabilize Sunnydale?”

Lucile sighed resolutely, “He seeks to corrupt. Render grey what is white, black what is grey.” She straightened up, deciding to leave, “Judging by the scale of his endeavors, his ambitions aren’t for Sunnydale, alone.”

“Wait,” The vampire stopped her before she reached the door, “Are you calling in my debt to you? Is that what this is, luv?” His tone was earnest.

She turned to face him head on, her expression betraying no emotions, “I was hoping I didn’t have to. But, if I must, then yes.” Lucile turned and made her way out into the night.

***

Erynn watched as the bag turned in a circle on the glass plate inside the microwave, distracted more by her thoughts than by the popping sound of the kernels blossoming rapidly under the intense heat.

There was a meeting taking place in Xander’s livingroom. Something the group affectionately called a Scooby Meeting. Not having been exposed to the cartoon show they’d named their meetings after, Erynn only made a mental note to check it out later.

Willow and Tara were in the dining room hunched over a map of Sunnydale sitting on the table. A bright dot sparkled in place, for the moment motionless over the spot where the Espresso Pump was situated.

The Canadian had retreated to the kitchen when the conversation had turned heated. The group was trying to decide if them being followed had anything to do with some new big guy in town. Why am I here? Erynn wondered despondently. What can I possibly do to help? I should be at home… cleansing. She shifted uncomfortably as her body kept nagging at her with its base needs. It’s obviously been too long.

The loud chime of the microwave alerted her to the fact their snacks were ready. Erynn took the bag out gingerly and dumped its contents into a big plastic bowl Anya had put on the counter. With it in hand, she made her way back to the front room.

“All I’m saying is,” Xander was um… saying, “First we find out there’s a big bad out there hiring demons,” He ticked off his fingers, “And, now this guy is following Buffy around.” He shrugged as if that meant it was all obvious, “If I were a big bad, I’d make sure to know where the Slayer was.”

“Erynn was with me,” Buffy hesitantly said, “I might not be the one he was following.” That fact, true as it was, didn’t make it any more plausible in her mind. But, she had to put all the facts out there.

The Canadian nervously reasoned, “I-I think between little moi and The Slayer, Buffy would be the more logical choice… no?” She coughed uncomfortably, “Why would someone be following me?”

Xander nodded emphatically, “I agree with the little lady from the North.” At Erynn’s surprised look he quickly added with a dismissive hand wave, “Heh, you’ll get used to me.” He cleared his throat, “I think if we find the yogurt demon, we could see if he’ll tell us who his boss is.”

Buffy chuckled grimly, “Yeah, like an eight foot tall demon is just going to tell us anything.” She waved an agitated hand, “Besides, I haven’t seen anything like that around. All I know about him is that he’s huge and likes chicken wings.”

“He’s moving!” Willow’s excited voice broke through the conversation from the dining room, “He’s moving!”

Everyone but Anya went to join the witches at the table. The ex-vengeance demon was thoroughly distracted by the old tome she held. A mumbled ‘Gurtrall’ was repeated over and over under her breath as she flipped through the pages.

“He’s not moving very fast,” Xander pointed out as if imparting some wisdom from on-high. “He might be hurt!”

Tara grinned and Willow sighed exasperatedly at her friend, “He’s on foot and this map is scaled at a ratio of 1 to 50,000.” She waved a hand at the map, “One inch on the map is four feet on the street, give or take.” The redhead raised an eyebrow, “It’s not gonna whoosh around, Xand. This is the best map we could get at the gas station.”

Erynn poked Buffy on the shoulder to get her attention, “What’s a yogurt demon?”

The Slayer chuckled, “Gurtrall demon. Xander probably just remembers yogurt from trying to figure out what it was called.” At the Canadian’s perplexed look she tacked on, “Don’t worry about it, it’s a long story. Big, nasty demon of the type: Gurtrall.”

“Gotcha,” Erynn nodded, “Don’t think I want to see that anytime soon, anyway.”

Buffy shook her head and crossed her arms, “You, maybe not. But, I have a bad feeling about this… And, you’ll soon find out my ‘bad feelings’ usually come with an apocalypse, an earthquake that brings about an apocalypse, or your run-of-the-mill evil creatures that go bump in the night a bit louder than your average demony thing.” She squared her shoulders resolutely, “I just want to find it, and make sure whatever it’s planning doesn’t happen then kill it.”

The Canadian was taken aback by the sheer force of will and bravery emanating from the Slayer. The feeling was exhilarating, “Wow.” She murmured, awestruck.

“Huh?” Buffy looked at her, puzzled. “Wow, what?”

Erynn cleared her throat, embarrassed, “Nothing, forget about it. So,” She shifted her weight onto her other leg, trying to ignore the blush she knew she was sporting, “You’re going out there later? Try to find where this guy is going?”

Buffy nodded, “That’s the plan.”

“And,” The Canadian ventured, “Do they usually go with you?” Indicating the group.

The Slayer shrugged, “Not as much as before. Xander sometimes, Willow too… it’s rare Tara comes out unless she thinks she’ll be needed. Anya does whatever she wants.”

Erynn felt somewhat relieved, “So, no unneeded danger then.”

Buffy glanced at her from the corner of her eye and back, “Uh… yeah.”

“He stopped,” Tara said, leaning over the map, “At the cemetery… Huh.” She breathed in surprise.

“What?” Buffy stood next to the blonde witch, “What is it?”

“Well,” The witch pointed at the glowing dot, “He just… stopped. About, what?” She looked at Willow questioningly, “Sixteen feet?” When her girlfriend nodded that she agreed, Tara continued, “About sixteen feet into the cemetery.”

The Slayer shrugged, “I’m comfortable in the cemetery,” She looked at Xander, “I should get at least one weapon from the dorms.”

“What if he moves between now and when you get there?” He asked in return.

When the answer didn’t seem readily available, Erynn just couldn’t keep her mouth shut, “Don’t you guys have cellphones?” She asked incredulously.

“They break too easy.” Buffy said dismissively.

“I keep losing them.” Grumbled Willow.

“I hate being on call.” Tara huffed.

“I’d never get a moment to myself with Ahn.” Xander chuckled.

A disgruntled grunt came from the front room, “I heard that, Harris!” Anya shouted, “See if I wear that Black Widow outfit again.”

He paled, “We should have cellphones.”

Tara did a double-take, blinked furiously and made a quick mental note to ask her friend about said outfit at a later time. Might fit Will… Mmm…

Erynn cleared her throat, frustrated in more ways than one, “Take my phone, Buffy.” She quickly handed it over, “When you get there, call here and get an update.” Can I go now!?

The Slayer was taken aback by the usually sedate Canadian’s clipped tone, “Uh, ok. Thanks Erynn.”

“Yeah, no problem.” She waved it off and nodded quickly, “You’re going to the dorms first?”

Buffy looked at Xander who nodded in turn, “I’ll bring you both if you want.”

“Bon,” Erynn fidgeted, “Good, ok. Thank you Xander.”

“Erynn?” Tara asked as she stood from her chair and motioned them aside with her head, “We still on for tomorrow, at three?”

The brunette felt like a sentient puddle of goo looking into Tara’s eyes, “Uh huh,” Erynn nodded, blinked and shook her head quickly, “Sorry. Yeah, yes. Tomorrow, I’ll be there.”

The blonde smiled, “Ok, I’ll see you then.” She said before heading back to the dining room.

“Uh huh,” She dumbly said again, ants tap-dancing up and down her spine. A cloud of butterflies making her stomach flutter, “Xander,” Erynn squeaked, “Buffy, are you guys ready?”

“Yup,” Xander said as he grabbed his jacket from the back of a chair, “I’ll be back soon, Ahn!”

***

“I don’t understand,” Doc said patiently as he rubbed the soft, soapy sponge down Catherine’s back, “Every time she was brought up in conversation in the past, you had nothing positive to say about her.”

The witch sighed contentedly as the warm water soothed her nerves, “She’s my daughter. What do you need to understand?”

He filled a cup and tipped it over the soapy slant of Catherine’s back, “She was a liability.”

She shrugged, not discounting his perspective, “Such are the realities of motherhood.” Catherine said dispassionately.

Doc’s hand stilled as a thought struck him, “You aren’t thinking about going after the Slayer, are you?”

Catherine twisted her neck around so as to look into his eyes, “Now, what made you jump to that conclusion?”

“You’re a vengeful, deceiving, mean and calculating woman whose egotistical plans were thwarted by a little blonde teenager. The result of which trapped you inside a plastic trophy for five years.” He said without pause and shrugged before running the sponge down her arm, “Call it a hunch.”

When the witch didn’t respond, Doc ventured, “There might be a much bigger cat than you after that mouse, my dear.” He pursed his lips in thought, “Or, should I say rat?”

“Nonetheless,” Catherine huffed, “I still want Amy de-ratted.”

Doc sighed, “And, again I ask… why?”

Truth be told, the witch didn’t even know, herself. There was just this nagging feeling it was her responsibility, especially in light of recent events. If Doc was correct in his claim that his employer might bring about a revolution of sorts, she didn’t want her daughter to be as vulnerable as, well, a rat.

She let out a disgruntled sigh and slumped back into the tub making water slosh around its sides, “I guess I care a little.”

***

_________________
~M
CopperAndGold


Last edited by CopperAndGold on Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:51 am 
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3. Flaming O

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Oh hey, DIBS! :whip Strange after over a week... but not to take any risk, I will comment in the next post. :grin


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:00 pm 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 81
So...at first I want to thank you for setting my mind at ease that I won't have to fear that Willow, Tara, Erynn or one of our other beloved characters will end up in one of the torture chambers and have to be rescued at the last second! I also hold my thumbs that they won't have to suffer the emotional burden that someone got tortured to death because they weren't able to stop the creep Damien and his cohorts in time... Little side note: I wouldn't mind Damien getting lots of his own medicine if Idon't have to read it happening! There is of course the problem that Damien is human and therefore ethically Buffy and the Scoobies shouldn't and Spike with his chip couldn't kill him. Maybe Doc or Catherine could do the honors here.

I'm glad that the air between Willow and Erynn got cleared. Although I think Willow's fears and uncertainties are understandable here considering that every person she (kind of) loved before Tara was in some way "taken" from "old reliable"-her by "the new girl" - Xander by Buffy (and later again by Faith), Buffy by Faith and Oz by Veruca. And now there is Erynn with whom Tara by some magical accident shares a bond of memories and emotions from which she excludes Willow. Don't get me wrong, Tara's decision to protect Erynns privacy with her silence is honorable, but I still get that Willow is unhappy about Tara not sharing the dreams / visions that obviously burden her so much with her.

But I'm glad that Willow's fears that Erynn could try to "steal" Tara from her have been alleviated and I loved her adorable childlike reactions to the "horse on steroid"-comment and the "drop the giftcard"-manoeuvre.

Now I'll keep my fingers crossed that you have some requited romantic love for Erynn on the horizon... Buffy is single again and in Tara's opinion protested any gay inclination too much, if I recall correctly :flirt

As much as I'm curious to find out the intentions of the mysterious guy who followed Buffy (or Erynn after all?), I wouldn't mind to have some hot Willow-Tara-Lovin' in the next chapter. :wtkiss

I have one question which has nothing to do with the last two chapters I read this week but about which I've been wondering for a while now: am I right in my assumption that in your version of season 5 of the Buffyverse there is no Dawn and has been no sign of the hellgod Glory (whose name Doc mentioned once) in Sunnydale so far?

Let me conclude with the random thought that I'm wondering if Spike's new feline roommate Sadie is just an ordinary cat or if there's more to her than the eye can see - keeping in mind that at least one of Tara's witchy ancestors could turn into a cat. Maybe Sadie is Tara's great-aunt (Margret mentioned Kate coming to the USA with 2 daughters, after all...). Of course in this case the question would be why on earth she attached herself to Spike instead of coming to Tara herself... I guess I just have to wait and see, right?

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to the next update!


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:53 pm 
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Will's redemption wrote:
So...at first I want to thank you for setting my mind at ease that I won't have to fear that Willow, Tara, Erynn or one of our other beloved characters will end up in one of the torture chambers and have to be rescued at the last second! I also hold my thumbs that they won't have to suffer the emotional burden that someone got tortured to death because they weren't able to stop the creep Damien and his cohorts in time...


This is not to say they won't encounter hardships, I don't want to mislead you. But, gore for the sake of it and so on isn't on the menu.

Will's redemption wrote:
Little side note: I wouldn't mind Damien getting lots of his own medicine if Idon't have to read it happening! There is of course the problem that Damien is human and therefore ethically Buffy and the Scoobies shouldn't and Spike with his chip couldn't kill him. Maybe Doc or Catherine could do the honors here.


Heh! Pretty much exactly the reaction I wanted to illicit. :grin

Will's redemption wrote:
... I think Willow's fears and uncertainties are understandable here considering that every person she (kind of) loved before Tara was in some way "taken" from "old reliable"-her by "the new girl" - Xander by Buffy (and later again by Faith), Buffy by Faith and Oz by Veruca. And now there is Erynn with whom Tara by some magical accident shares a bond of memories and emotions from which she excludes Willow. Don't get me wrong, Tara's decision to protect Erynns privacy with her silence is honorable, but I still get that Willow is unhappy about Tara not sharing the dreams / visions that obviously burden her so much with her.


I agree completely - Will has a history of feeling like people in her life keep finding someone "better" then her.

Will's redemption wrote:
But I'm glad that Willow's fears that Erynn could try to "steal" Tara from her have been alleviated and I loved her adorable childlike reactions to the "horse on steroid"-comment and the "drop the giftcard"-manoeuvre.


:grin It was fun to write!

Will's redemption wrote:
Now I'll keep my fingers crossed that you have some requited romantic love for Erynn on the horizon... Buffy is single again and in Tara's opinion protested any gay inclination too much, if I recall correctly :flirt


You don't miss a thing, do you? hehehehe We'll see... there might be a sequel. Erynn's love life might change before then, maybe not... not sure yet.

Will's redemption wrote:
As much as I'm curious to find out the intentions of the mysterious guy who followed Buffy (or Erynn after all?), I wouldn't mind to have some hot Willow-Tara-Lovin' in the next chapter. :wtkiss


You and me, both. lol Of course, it needs to make sense with how the characters are feeling at any particular time...

Will's redemption wrote:
I have one question which has nothing to do with the last two chapters I read this week but about which I've been wondering for a while now: am I right in my assumption that in your version of season 5 of the Buffyverse there is no Dawn and has been no sign of the hellgod Glory (whose name Doc mentioned once) in Sunnydale so far?


Glory exists as Glorificus as a Hellgod Doc is aware of and worships. It's unlikely I'll bring her into the story in any other way... Dawn doesn't exist. Mostly because I didn't want too many characters to juggle at once. There's also the fact I find Dawn would be inconsequential here without Glory around.

Will's redemption wrote:
Let me conclude with the random thought that I'm wondering if Spike's new feline roommate Sadie is just an ordinary cat or if there's more to her than the eye can see - keeping in mind that at least one of Tara's witchy ancestors could turn into a cat. Maybe Sadie is Tara's great-aunt (Margret mentioned Kate coming to the USA with 2 daughters, after all...). Of course in this case the question would be why on earth she attached herself to Spike instead of coming to Tara herself... I guess I just have to wait and see, right?


There's always more to cats than meets the eye. :wink


Thank you for your thoughtful reply! I've been on hiatus lately but the next update should be in soon. :love

_________________
~M
CopperAndGold


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:41 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:29 am
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Location: Bs. As. - Argentina
CopperAndGold wrote:
Will's redemption wrote:
So...at first I want to thank you for setting my mind at ease that I won't have to fear that Willow, Tara, Erynn or one of our other beloved characters will end up in one of the torture chambers and have to be rescued at the last second! I also hold my thumbs that they won't have to suffer the emotional burden that someone got tortured to death because they weren't able to stop the creep Damien and his cohorts in time...


This is not to say they won't encounter hardships, I don't want to mislead you. But, gore for the sake of it and so on isn't on the menu.

Will's redemption wrote:
Little side note: I wouldn't mind Damien getting lots of his own medicine if Idon't have to read it happening! There is of course the problem that Damien is human and therefore ethically Buffy and the Scoobies shouldn't and Spike with his chip couldn't kill him. Maybe Doc or Catherine could do the honors here.


Heh! Pretty much exactly the reaction I wanted to illicit. :grin

Will's redemption wrote:
... I think Willow's fears and uncertainties are understandable here considering that every person she (kind of) loved before Tara was in some way "taken" from "old reliable"-her by "the new girl" - Xander by Buffy (and later again by Faith), Buffy by Faith and Oz by Veruca. And now there is Erynn with whom Tara by some magical accident shares a bond of memories and emotions from which she excludes Willow. Don't get me wrong, Tara's decision to protect Erynns privacy with her silence is honorable, but I still get that Willow is unhappy about Tara not sharing the dreams / visions that obviously burden her so much with her.


I agree completely - Will has a history of feeling like people in her life keep finding someone "better" then her.

Will's redemption wrote:
But I'm glad that Willow's fears that Erynn could try to "steal" Tara from her have been alleviated and I loved her adorable childlike reactions to the "horse on steroid"-comment and the "drop the giftcard"-manoeuvre.


:grin It was fun to write!

Will's redemption wrote:
Now I'll keep my fingers crossed that you have some requited romantic love for Erynn on the horizon... Buffy is single again and in Tara's opinion protested any gay inclination too much, if I recall correctly :flirt


You don't miss a thing, do you? hehehehe We'll see... there might be a sequel. Erynn's love life might change before then, maybe not... not sure yet.

Will's redemption wrote:
As much as I'm curious to find out the intentions of the mysterious guy who followed Buffy (or Erynn after all?), I wouldn't mind to have some hot Willow-Tara-Lovin' in the next chapter. :wtkiss


You and me, both. lol Of course, it needs to make sense with how the characters are feeling at any particular time...

Will's redemption wrote:
I have one question which has nothing to do with the last two chapters I read this week but about which I've been wondering for a while now: am I right in my assumption that in your version of season 5 of the Buffyverse there is no Dawn and has been no sign of the hellgod Glory (whose name Doc mentioned once) in Sunnydale so far?


Glory exists as Glorificus as a Hellgod Doc is aware of and worships. It's unlikely I'll bring her into the story in any other way... Dawn doesn't exist. Mostly because I didn't want too many characters to juggle at once. There's also the fact I find Dawn would be inconsequential here without Glory around.

Will's redemption wrote:
Let me conclude with the random thought that I'm wondering if Spike's new feline roommate Sadie is just an ordinary cat or if there's more to her than the eye can see - keeping in mind that at least one of Tara's witchy ancestors could turn into a cat. Maybe Sadie is Tara's great-aunt (Margret mentioned Kate coming to the USA with 2 daughters, after all...). Of course in this case the question would be why on earth she attached herself to Spike instead of coming to Tara herself... I guess I just have to wait and see, right?


There's always more to cats than meets the eye. :wink


Thank you for your thoughtful reply! I've been on hiatus lately but the next update should be in soon. :love
Keep it going... I'm loving it =)

Enviado desde mi LG-H440AR mediante Tapatalk


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 Post subject: When Erynn found herself - Post 10 (Update)
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:15 am 
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When Erynn found herself – Post 10 (Update)

Author name – CopperAndGold
Rating – NC-17 (Strong)

Disclaimer - This is an adult fic. There will be some angst, smut, bad language, difficult subject matters (They will be noted prior to posting) The characters' developments were taken from season 5 - A bit after the episode: Family. Anything that is canon and prior to this episode is fair game. Oh, there's also a small reference to a funny exchange in season 6 between Anya and Tara that I just couldn't stop from using. Even with all this, there's comedy too! Everything after Family becomes A/U.

Feedback – Please, I love your words.
Summary – Willow and Tara make a new friend. She's... interesting.

Notes – Things to look out for: A flashback involving violence, a loved one gets hurt. On the plus side, there’s Willow and Tara lovin’. :love



The breaks squeaked loudly as Xander brought the car to a stop at a red light. “I’m just sayin’, she was kinda jumpy.” The carpenter turned his head towards his friend when he heard the sound of yet another camera shutter. “She didn’t show you how to use the camera on that thing for you to take pictures of…” Xander glanced at the road again, noticing the light turning, he pressed the accelerator and kept his eyes on the road, “… what are you taking pictures of, anyway?”

Buffy turned the phone this way and that, pointing the lens at the scenery outside her window, “I’m just testing the zoom.” They were making their way to the cemetery, having picked up a short sword and some trusty stakes from The Slayer’s dorm room after dropping Erynn off. “Of course she’s jumpy, Xand. Think about it… She just learned a few days ago that vamps and demons exist. Found out by getting attacked by a vamp. Then, she gets followed by some creep.” Pointing the lens at a bus stop bench when the car slowed at a stop sign, she took another picture, “She’s not like us. This isn’t every-day type stuff for her... It’s more like: ‘Why did I take the red pill?’ You know?”

“I guess you’re right. We do bring the crazy into people’s lives, huh?” He did a double-take, “Wait, did you just reference ‘The Matrix’?” Xander grinned like a giddy school boy, “You’re so coming with me to Comic-Con next year!”

“Whoa there, Super-Nerd.” Buffy chuckled as she went through her pictures, “That was a good movie but it doesn’t mean…” Her voice trailed off for a second before she exclaimed, “Stop the car!”

Xander winced, “Buff, I wasn’t gonna nag you about it…” He said, having misinterpreted his friend’s outburst, “I just thought…”

He was cut short when Buffy shouted, “Xander, STOP the damn car!!” She was frantically looking between the phone and outside the back window, “Where was this?”

“Ok, ok,” Xander pulled over as quickly and safely as he could, “What’s going on?”

She punched the roof light to life and leaned into her friend so he could see the screen on the phone, “Look, behind the bench and the bushes.” Buffy pressed a button a few times making the picture zoom in, “See that? It’s huge!”

“Yipes,” He flinched, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have ourselves a yogurt demon.” Swiveling his head around, he looked out the back window trying to discern where the picture was taken, “So, turn around?” Xander asked, not sure whether they would follow the demon or continue on with the initial plan.

Buffy thought for only a second, “Yeah, turn around. Try to find this bench while I call the Witch Fu's.” Her fingers already busy punching in the numbers to Xander’s apartment.

The carpenter turned off the roof light before turning the car around, “What do we do if we see it?”

The Slayer huffed, “Still working on that. Hey, Tara it’s me.” She switched the phone to speaker so Xander could listen as well, “What’s our stalker up to?”

“He’s still in the cemetery,” The sound became muffled as Tara apparently covered the mouthpiece, “Thanks, sweetie.” She took a sip of what Buffy could only guess was tea and spoke up again, “He hasn’t moved much since you left.”

Buffy nodded as she kept an eye out for the elusive demon, “We have a change of plans. We had to turn around,”

“H-hold on,” Tara said before shuffling around, “Ok, you’re on speaker. Willow’s with me.”

“We spotted the Gurtrall,” The Slayer said, “I accidentally took a picture of it, we’re trying to find it again now.”

Xander pointed ahead and to the left, “Trees don’t bend like that,” The trees in the distance swayed drastically before gradually coming to a stop again. “Bet you there’s something big pushing on them. Something annoying with all the fruits on the bottom…”

“Xander, I’m going to hurt you.” Buffy growled. “Guys, I think we’re closing in on it. I’ll be on foot once we’re close enough.” She noticed a dark shape cross between some shrubbery ahead and pointed at it to guide Xander, “I’ll have the phone with me.”

“Buffy,” Willow’s tone was worried, “What are you going to do? This thing… Anya made it sound pretty scary.”

“Big and scary is what I do, Will.” She tied her hair back, “Not going to confront it anyway, we need to know who it works for.”

“So,” Tara said tentatively, “You’re going to follow it?” They heard a thump and Anya’s anxious voice get louder as she rushed in from the front room, “The Gurtrall? Xander isn’t going!”

“Don’t worry, Anya. Once I’m on foot he’s going back home.” She kept her eyes on the large shape she could barely make out in the dark.

“What?” Xander sputtered, “No way, I should wait for you!”

“Three blocks, then let me out.” Buffy reached for the short sword in the back seat, “You’re going home because you’d just be sitting there. We wouldn’t be able to contact you or you, us.” She rested her hand on the door handle, ready to jump out, “No time for a debate, you’re going home.”

“I for one,” Anya said, “Agree with Buffy. She is being a very sensible leader.”

“Be careful, Buff.” Willow said, “We’ll be by the phone.”

***

The cemetery was relatively quiet, although Spike could tell there was activity around. Where is she?

He’d been prowling the grounds, waiting for the Slayer to make an appearance, having resigned himself to share with her what he knew about Damien Brice and his right hand. But, it was well into her patrolling time and still, no sign of Buffy.

When the only activity he’d noticed was that of vampires and low-level demons, Spike started to wonder what better things The Slayer had to do than to clean up.

He decided to make his way to the entrance gate and wait for her there.

On the way, though, he saw a figure walking away from a prone body on the ground. His curiosity piqued, Spike got closer to the supposed victim. “Had a rough go of it eh, mate?” He pushed aside a limp arm with the toe of his boot. The scent he picked up in the air around the body was easily recognizable, its source having left his crypt not that long ago.

The human male at his feet had been savaged. His coat torn and bloodied, his chest naked and littered with vamp bites. These wounds hadn’t been this poor fella’s undoing, though. Spike was pretty sure the man had lost his head even before having been bit once. Jurrot…

Bending over the body, the vampire rustled through the man’s coat thinking there might be money in the pockets. He knew his kind, especially the young ones, were more likely to be in it for the blood than anything of monetary value. He pulled out some gum, keys and a plastic card.

No money.

Was worth a look... He nudged the body with his boot again, “Wanker.” Spike groused. Reaching into his coat, he pulled out his trusty cigarettes and lighter. In a cloud of smoke, he inspected the items more closely. When He flipped the Espresso Pump gift card, his cigarette paused mid-way to his mouth. Bloody hell… Spike thought as he read Willow’s name on the card.

The vampire agitatedly looked around him, not sure what to make of his discovery. Where IS she!?

***

She languidly ran the lavender soap over her skin, breathing in the warm and humid air of the shower. Her heartbeat steady and strong, Erynn kept her focus on the moment and what she wanted it to bring. A heavy and warm pulsing radiated outward from her lower belly with each pass of the fragrant soap.

Her perspective on sexuality had unfortunately been skewed at a young age. With Loreli’s help, she’d learned about love and lust. The interplay between them and, the deep connection that forms when both exist within a relationship. In theory, she understood what her great aunt had taught her. Putting it into practice wasn’t something Erynn was ready to do with anyone, though. Complications weren’t sexy and, being who she was brought with it plenty of those in the bedroom.

Her aunt had balked at the girl’s decision to stop having sex. Loreli wholeheartedly believed in the importance of a person’s sexuality and their ability to share something meaningful with someone else. But, once Erynn had explained that she hadn’t had a single positive sexual experience despite having been sexually active since the age of thirteen - that, sex had always left her feeling empty and ashamed, or angry - her aunt understood. So, she’d decided to focus on learning to love herself first and foremost, which was - both of them could agree – the most important thing.

Self-love was safer and less daunting, anyway.

Twisting the knobs, she turned the water off and patted herself dry with a fluffy towel. Wrapping herself in an equally fluffy robe, Erynn made her way back to her room.

The scent of jasmine with a hint of vanilla welcomed her. She’d draped red material over the lamps, plunging the room into a sensuous, red glow. The sounds of waves and building drums whispered from the stereo and soothed the empty spaces. Her bed had been prepared with her silkiest sheets.

In front of her mirror she let the robe fall around her ankles. Erynn took in the physicality of her body, running her fingers along the curves and dips. Her dragon tattoo peeked at her from over her shoulder, its red and orange body slithered down to her ribs to curl around her left hip.

Rubbing her skin with warmed body lotion, she lingered and dallied. Molding the fierce sexual tension that had been built up in her lower belly, into a languid and sensual energy flowing throughout her whole body.

And, when she felt it was time, she laid down and loved herself as best she could.

***

Doc huffed as his concentration kept being pulled from his task. Stevie Nicks’ voice belt out ‘Gold dust woman’ as Catherine, somewhat clumsily, danced and twirled singing along. “Well, did she make you cry, Make you break down, shatter your illusions of love? And is it over now? Do you know how? Pick up the pieces and go home…

Finally, the liquid contained in the bowl before him cleared as an image coalesced in its reflection. “Would you turn that off? I’m getting something.”

The music died a few moments later, “UC Sunnydale,” Doc pointed at the large bowl, “It should get more precise in a moment.”

The witch cackled derisively, “At least she made it to college.”

The image rippled and gradually became unfocused, another slowly taking its place over top, “Ah, here we go. This looks like a room.” He squinted at the image searching for clues, “One bed, feminine clothing and decorations…” Doc tried to look at a picture sitting on a desk but couldn’t make out what was in the frame. “There’s the cage.” He nodded at the bowl.

Catherine peered in, her lips twisting in disgust, “What possessed her to turn herself into a rodent?”

Doc shrugged, not caring in the least. Looking back into the bowl, the image had become crystal clear as the spell finished taking hold. His eyebrow quirked in suspicion, “Hm,” He intoned as he turned and reached for his ledger, “There are magical items in the room.” He said out loud, “I remember my divination for magic users showing a user or two at the campus.”

He ran his finger down the columns of neatly written information, names of places and/or people in one column and a number in the next. Doc’s finger stopped when it reached the entry he was looking for, “UC Sunnydale, Stevenson Hall. Room 220… two users. Judging by the room, probably witches.”

The woman looked over his shoulder and pointed at the numbers in the next column, “What are those?”

Doc pushed his glasses up his nose, “A scale. 1 to 10, 10 being the most realized power in relation to all those discovered.” He pointed at room 220, “Two witches, a 6 and a 7.”

Catherine was curious, “So, who’s the 10?” Her eyes tried to scan the open pages of Doc’s ledger for clues, “Where are you on the scale?”

Doc huffed, “You’re missing the point.” He promptly closed the book. “Your rat is in a room with two powerful witches.” Pulling his glasses off, he continued, “You don’t want your daughter to know you’re implicated, for which I’m very grateful. I’m not father material. But, it means we’ll need to do this remotely.”

The witch sat down in a chair and huffed, “And?”

He put his glasses back on to look once again into the bowl, “We’ll need hair from the rat.” Doc took a deep breath, “There doesn’t seem to be anyone home right now…”

“Well,” Catherine said smugly from her seat, “I can’t go, I look drunk just trying to take a few steps.”

His tail twitched against his robe, an annoyed rumble emanating from his chest, “Remind me why I’m doing this for you.”

The witch grinned saucily and leaned into him, “Because, I confuse the shit out of you?” Running a smooth finger down his cheek she continued in a seductive tone, “You could never resist a good mind-fuck.”

***

“Where is he going?” Willow was perched over the table along with her girlfriend, following the now moving stalker along his path across the map, “It’s almost like he’s lost or-or looking for something.”

Tara shrugged, “Wherever he’s going, he’s moving fast. Should we call Buffy?” She shook her head, dismissing her thought quickly, “No, never mind. She’s being all stealthy.”

“Yeah, could be dangerous.” The glowing dot rounded a street corner and seemed to be moving in the direction of the magic shop, “Huh…”

Xander looked at the map, “Huh, what huh?” He squinted, “Isn’t that where the Magic Box is?”

“Yeah, it is.” Willow said, “He must have been following us for a while if he knows about the Box.” She shared a worried look with Tara and reached for her hand, squeezing it gently. But, the indicator just kept going, not stopping at the shop at all. “Or not?”

“I knew it!” Anya’s triumphant cheer broke through as she quickly padded into the dining room, a book opened in her hands, “Gurtralls have a couple of weaknesses in battle.” She pointed at the page where a representation of the demon was drawn.

Tara stood and looked at the book, “Good, I’m sure Buffy could use all the help she can get.”

Anya nodded in agreement, “They get stunned for a few seconds when you hit the base of their spine with enough force.” Willow was frantically jotting this down while still keeping an eye on the map, “And, you can incapacitate them for a good while if you get close enough to cut above either one of his heels.” She giggled, “Should be called an Achilles demon. Of course, their tendons are like steel wire…”

“Hey!” Xander gleefully exclaimed, pointing in the air dramatically, “I have a tool for that!”

Her peripheral vision started shimmering as the voices in the room slowly became distant. Tara recognized what was about to happen. She quickly excused herself for the safety of the bathroom before she was assaulted with another flashback.

Her heart started racing, her palms sweaty as she saw herself-not herself standing above a man. Her dark, wild and wavy hair above a dirt streaked face. Harsh, hateful grey eyes glared as if seeing straight through him. Tara could feel something in her hand, wooden and thick. She felt twitchy and agitated but, powerful and… invincible. Angry. Hopeless and frighteningly angry.

Her leg pulled back and hit the man hard in his stomach. At the moment of impact - like the snap of a rubber band being let go from a great distance – Tara became Erynn.

“Don’t puke on my boots.” She said curtly when he coughed and sputtered as she circled him. The alley was grimy and stank, there were shouts from the front of the building she knew was a strip club. The music so loud its bass notes made the air pulsate and drowned out any sound trying to make its way out of the alley. Erynn wiped her nose again and sniffed loudly, “Got anything to say?” Her body twitched annoyingly and she tried to steady her jumping nerves by grinding her molars together.

“Yeah,” He groaned angrily, alcohol dulling his senses to the point of antagonizing his attacker, “You’re nothing… Just a fucking junkie.” He spat, “You can’t be older than sixteen, go home to mommy little girl.” He tried to get up but a steel-toed boot to the ribs kept him down with a loud grunt. “Fucking bitch!”

“Come here a lot?” Erynn asked him, ignoring his outburst and fiddling with the stick in her hand, “I bet you do. Your type always like these places.” She reached into his pants pocket, swatting his arm away when he tried to stop her from pulling out his wallet, “You don’t even have the smarts to be scared... Philippe.” Saying his name slowly as she read it off the driver’s license swimming before her eyes.

When he kept quiet, nursing his ribs, she continued, “This must be your wife,” Erynn pulled out a picture, showed it to him and threw it and the wallet over her shoulder, “I’m sure you’re a great husband, aren’t you Philippe?”

She straddled him, gripping the stick in her hand and hissed through clenched teeth, “You don’t remember me, do you? Oh look, now you’re starting to get scared…” Erynn ground herself into him roughly, “Tell me, why would a junkie like me know you, huh?” She slapped him hard across the face and grabbed his cheeks, squeezing when he was about to cry out, “I remember what you like, you know. It’s been a while. I was young and pretty high… but I do. You were special like that.” The girl said sweetly and patted his head.

Philippe seemed to regain some sort of strength as he bucked his hips and swung at Erynn’s face, connecting a fist against her cheek. She fell off of him and he hastily tried to regain his feet but, the alcohol and his injuries made him stumble.

A loud crack sounded as Erynn’s stick collided with the side of his head. He fell face first onto the pavement, his head bouncing against it with a sickening thud, “That hurt, asshole.” She worked her jaw open and closed a few times, easing the ache.

His pants were pulled down to his knees without too much trouble, Philippe could only grunt and groan, his head bleeding profusely. “You never did use lube,” His underwear were soon torn down the middle, “So I won’t, either.”

A loud snap brought Tara back to herself. She was shaking like a leaf, her hand gripping the towel rack so hard she’d split the hard plastic. “God… Erynn wh-”

“Tara?” Anya’s voice startled the witch as it sounded through the door, “Are you almost done in there?”

The door opened and as soon as the ex-vengeance demon saw the look in her friend’s eyes, she gently shoved her back into the room, following her in before closing the door behind them, “What happened? What is it?”

Tara was trembling with anger and fear. The lingering emotions from the memory mixed with her own confusing her. The witch shook her head, “J-just a flashback.” She gingerly sat on the lid of the toilet, “I’ll be o-ok.”

Anya didn’t buy her friend’s nonchalance one bit, “Flashback? You’re shaking and pale, Tara.” She crossed her arms over her chest, a look of deep concern etched on her face, “What’s going on? You’re scaring me.”

The witch looked up into her friends disturbed eyes and took a deep breath, “The cleansing s-spell for Erynn’s pendant. I got some of the liquid on me and, now… I have flashbacks of her l-life.” When her friend’s eyes shot wide, a determined look crossing her face she quickly added, “I tried to find a way to stop them. I haven’t found anything yet.”

“Well,” Anya said, perturbed, “Judging by how you look, that wasn’t a fun memory.” She shook her head angrily, “There’s got to be a way to stop them.”

“Anya,” Tara looked at her beseechingly, “Please don’t say anything to Will. She knows I get flashbacks already, this would just worry her more.”

It took a moment for a reaction to register over Anya’s face but, when it did it was one of understanding and incredulity, “Of all the things I thought you were, stupid wasn’t one of them.”

The witch blinked furiously, feeling the air being knocked out of her lungs by mere words, she breathed, “W-what?” Completely taken by surprise.

With her arms still firmly crossed over her chest, the ex-vengeance demon asked pointedly, “How many of these flashbacks have you kept from Willow?”

Tara shook her head, “Anya, she doesn’t need-“

But, she was quickly cut off by her friend, “Does she know what you go through?” Anya pushed on in an angry tone, “What you see and feel? Or, do you just have her pick up the pieces whenever this happens, without even knowing why?” She waved an exasperated hand, “You think she doesn’t worry already? Tara, you know her… she’s probably feeling like she’s walking on eggshells, constantly wondering when the other shoe’s going to drop!”

“Shh!” The witch hissed between her teeth, “Please, keep your voice down.” She brought up a shaky hand and rubbed her forehead agitatedly, “I can’t just tell her about Erynn’s p-personal stuff, Anya.”

Her friend took a deep, composing breath, “Tara, you’re my best friend.” Anya’s eyes softened slightly, “You’re the nicest, most genuine person I’ve ever met.” She shook her head as her features hardened again, “But, this Mother Theresa crap has got to stop. Quit ‘Team Martyr’, they always end up alone, dead or both.”

Tara stood up offended, denying the thought vehemently, “I’m not being a martyr!” She raised her hands quickly and let them fall again, looking frustrated and confused, “I’m j-just trying to do the right thing.”

Anya’s arms fell to her sides resolutely, “For who?” She asked pointedly.

The witch recoiled, about to say something when Xander’s voice broke through the door, “Uh, ladies?” He cleared his throat and said as pleasantly as he could, “Not sure what’s going on in there but, a line’s forming out here.”

Both women glared at each other, “Give us a minute Xander, we’re exchanging information on different feminine hygiene products.” Anya said with false cheer. Tara couldn’t help the twinge at the corner of her mouth or the softening of her gaze as she chuckled internally.

There was the briefest of pauses before the man replied anxiously, “I’ll hold it!” His quickly retreating steps were easily discernable in the quiet of the bathroom.

“Look,” The shop keeper said to her friend softly, “I’m not trying to be mean. I just want you to realize that keeping this to yourself doesn’t only hurt you, as you so obviously believe.” When Tara’s eyes lowered in thought, she continued, “You want to do the right thing for everyone, right? Shouldn’t that include you and Willow?”

Tara let out a deep breath and nodded, “I’ll think about it.”

Anya nodded as well, pleased to have gotten through to her friend, “Good. Now get out, I really need to pee.”

***

No one said anything about the smell. Buffy mentally groused as she kept pace with the Gurtrall. She’d realized early on in her stalking of the creature that she could allow a bigger distance between them. Its scent was pungent enough to leave a trail for miles but, she still made sure to keep it within eyesight.

So far it had made its way through the shadows of trees and buildings, only stopping once to snatch something from a branch and shove it into its maw with a sickening crunch. She didn’t want to think too hard about what the poor victim had been.

Buffy had been following for a while now, noticing how farther out towards the edge of town they got. This is going to be a long walk home… Why can’t I just be killing things? Nooo, I have to follow an eight foot stink bomb half-way-

Her thoughts came to an abrupt stop, as well as both hers and the Gurtrall’s footsteps. The sound of horns and strings rose up in a booming melody. Then, the clear voice of a French woman started to sing and Buffy frantically reached for her coat pocket, quickly discerning it was the phone ringing.

The ground shook slightly, a deep guttural grunt alerted the Slayer that she’d been heard. “Shit,” The phone was in her hand, the short sword clasped in the other. Looking up, Buffy could clearly see the Gurtrall barreling towards her. “Shit!” She said again, the phone still singing out Edith Piaf’s ‘Je ne regrette rien’ loudly.

She took off at a sprint, her instincts telling her to hide but the phone kept singing incessantly, making any attempt at subtlety completely moot. Looking down as she ran, Buffy tried to hit the red button on the traitorous contraption. The fact she was running quite fast made the task difficult, though.

Dividing her attention between running and pressing the button was just enough of a distraction for her foot to get caught on something. She toppled over with a loud “Oof!” The phone slipped from her hand and landed in the grass, still singing.

Heavy footfalls hastened and the cracking sounds of rending tree limbs got louder. The ground shook harder the closer the demon got. Buffy scrambled desperately, wanting to be standing if she were to have to face off with the Gurtrall.

She regained her feet and only had time to take two quick steps back before the small tree to her left bent in half, snapping at its base. Glowing red, almond-shaped eyes peered down at her diminutive form clasping nothing but a short sword. Reason number two I don’t have a cellphone…

“Slayer,” Jurrot bellowed, “Good music taste.” He squinted, “How does Slayer taste?” He bent over at the waist, seemingly undaunted by the Slayer’s presence.

The phone went silent as the first blow struck. Buffy twisted onto herself, spinning a high kick into Jurrot’s face. The demon stumbled back slightly, “It’s my after-taste you have to worry about.” She rushed him, seeing his unsteadiness as an advantage. “I hear it kills!”

The Gurtrall lowered himself onto one knee, effectively stabilizing himself. As Buffy swung her sword down, he swiped at her with a thick arm sending her small frame soaring through the air, colliding with the back of a wooden bench before landing on the cool ground. The Slayer winced and grunted, clutching her side. Didn’t need that rib, really… She looked up in time to roll away from Jurrot’s stomping foot. It came down on the back of the bench, crushing it in half in a shower of splinters.

Jurrot paused briefly when his foot collided, giving Buffy enough time to swing her short sword in a stabbing arc, aiming at the demon’s other foot. The blade skewered it through, ending up good and buried in the packed soil beneath. The Slayer rolled away again at the deafening gargled cry the demon let loose and regained her feet. “Just tell me who your boss is,”

When the demon leaned over to grasp the sword, Buffy kicked and punched at its huge body, “And maybe I’ll-” Her arm was caught in the Gurtrall’s death grip and was squeezed hard enough for the Slayer to let out a shriek of pain as she felt her bones trying to resist a break.

Jurrot pulled the sword out of his foot with the other hand in a sickening slurp, “You know soon,” He swung the blade down in an arc aimed at Buffy’s arm, intending to cut it clean off. The Slayer reacted on instinct. She threw herself to the ground, between the demon’s legs, and pulled as hard as she could on the arm grasping her own.

The Gurtrall lost his balance and fell forward, the sword’s downward momentum toppling him over. The petite blonde now standing behind him tried to look smug holding onto her arm and obviously favoring her right side. She licked her lips and tasted blood. Ok, Buffy – fight or flight?

Muted horns and strings blossomed on the air again, ‘Non, rien de rien,’ The female voice sang out proudly and Buffy took quick steps backwards toward the sound, ‘Non, je ne regrette rien…’

Jurrot stood back up, furious, he screamed – a rumbling roar that made Buffy’s hair stand on end. Taking long strides in three jumps, the demon cut the Slayer off at the pass as she swiveled around to face him.

A dim, red LED light blinked through the grass, music still emanating from the phone laying on the ground behind the demon. Buffy glanced at it and the short distraction was all it took. The Gurtrall’s giant fist connected with the top of her head in a ferocious downward swing.

She heard a sickeningly loud pop and crunch, the melody from the phone echoed and dissolved on the air in ripples of muted sounds. The world began to swim around her, her vision tunneling as her fingers went numb. Buffy knew she was in trouble when her legs gave out and she fell to her knees, stunned. Is… is this it?

Through blurry eyes she was surprised to see the Gurtrall calmly walk towards the phone. He bent down to pick it up and, with a fleeting glance towards her, disappeared into the distance in large, ground-shaking hops.

Buffy’s eyes rolled atop, consciousness finally slipping away as she collapsed onto the grass.

***

His boots stomped the pavement, loudly echoing around him as Spike ran down the street. He wasn’t trying to be quiet, he’d had a bad feeling finding Willow’s card on that headless body. Jurrot’s stench permeating the scene had only made the vampire worry that Buffy might have had a run-in with the demon as he’d been snacking.

He easily followed the scent as he ran further out. There! Spike thought and quickened his pace, picking up a subtle hint of the Slayer’s signature mixed in with the Gurtrall’s. Should be close…

The trail led him off the road, onto the grass and into a small park. His steps slowed to a brisk walk. To his right was a bench… or what was left of it. Copper tinged the roof of his mouth, tasting blood on the air as he approached the pile of wood.

Spike saw her once he passed the ruined bench. A lump of a girl, blonde hair reflecting moonlight. “Slayer,” He rushed to Buffy’s side and crouched down, “Buffy?” The vampire calmed a bit once he noticed her chest moving up and down with each living breath, although she was unconscious.

She’s vulnerable… Spike clenched his jaw, the thought sending a pang of lustful hunger through him. Bleeding, vulnerable Slayer… He licked his lips and stood up quickly, taking a few steps back. Shaking his head, conflicting emotions and urges battling in his mind. If you hurt her… He shook his head again quickly from side to side, anger taking the fore, “Raaahh!!”

Spike’s roar pierced the quiet of the park as he spun back towards Buffy’s prone body, taking decisive steps forward.

His mind was made up.

***

The red glow from the lamps shimmered as the wind blew into the room from the window Erynn had left ajar. Her breaths came in deep gulps, her skin aglow with a thin sheen of sweat. A slick hand laying across her trembling stomach, the other covering her mouth.

A silent sob racked her body, her eyes screwing shut against the feelings of guilt and longing worming their way out. Like silent creepers tap dancing up her spine, obliterating the rapturous euphoria she’d felt a scant moments earlier. Damn you…

Erynn had been riding on a wave of sensual arousal, at peace and feeling whole. Her body and mind working as one, not one thought existed but for her attention on each breath as it brought a rush of warmth pooling between her hips, building with every heartbeat.

But, as she’d broken through and over, her mind had betrayed her. Eyes of a cerulean blue, lush and full lips, a crooked, mischievous grin, dimpled cheeks, a skip, a giggle, warmth… such warmth. Love. Tara.

Damn you! Erynn wiped at her eyes in frustration, sat up resolutely and walked towards the stereo. She turned it off, pulled the red material from her lamps and turned the phone back on.

This was not how she needed to be feeling right now. This longing for something, someone she couldn’t have, had soured the sweetness of her release. She was supposed to be laying on her back, completely physically spent with a stupid grin on her face. Relaxed and mentally invigorated.

Erynn wrapped her robe around herself and sighed out loud when the phone rang. She picked it up, “Allo.” Came her terse greeting.

“There you are!” Loreli exclaimed, sounding relieved, “I’ve been trying to reach you. I even tried calling your mobile phone.”

The girl sat at her desk and ran fingers through her hair, “I lent my cellphone to a friend, and I’d turned this phone off.” She sighed, “I was… busy, and didn’t want to be disturbed.”

“Ah,” The old woman said knowingly, “I see.” She cleared her throat and added cautiously, “You don’t sound very relaxed.”

Erynn closed her eyes as her face hardened, “Why did you call lo-lo? It’s really late.” She asked, leaning her head onto her hand.

“Why did I call!?” It was her aunt’s turn to sound irritated, “Do you forget we have an agreement?” The brunette was cut off before she could even open her mouth to speak, “You’re supposed to keep in touch, Erynn. To tell me how you’re doing, what’s going on. Last I heard from you, your pendant was still overloaded!”

When only silence resulted, she added, “I’m only worried, Papillon. This isn’t like you.”

“The pendant is fine.” The girl took a deep breath and let it out, calming down slightly, “Tara and Willow fixed it. It’s been complicated, lo-lo. I’m sorry I haven’t called. I just didn’t know what to say.” She finished dejectedly.

Her aunt sighed, “I understand but, when things get complicated… you need to contact me. You sound rattled.”

“I am,” Erynn said shakily, “I have been, but it’s also been amazing. So, it’s complicated.”

“Well,” Loreli said with an air of resignation, “let’s start with the spell. How did that go?”

“I don’t know,” The girl said but quickly amended, “I mean, the pendant is fine now. But, something happened. It scared Tara so much she practically ran out of here.”

Her aunt fell silent for a moment until she asked tentatively, “Did she say what happened?”

“No,” Erynn’s brow furrowed. Loreli sounded as if she knew something, “She’s coming over tomorrow afternoon to talk about it.”

“Oh,” The old woman mumbled, “Since Sunday. That’s… a long time.” She cleared her throat, her tone nonchalant as she asked, “How is Tara?”

The girl couldn’t help but smile, “She was doing well earlier. We were hanging out with Willow and Buffy. I learned a few things about this town you’d find interesting.” Her hand flapped in front of her face, quickly remembering, “Oh, we were being followed!”

“Erynn,” Her aunt said slowly, “You know I pick up on things. But, there’s so much to pick up in what you just said… I don’t know where to start. I do know one thing, though…”

Erynn braced herself, “Hm? What’s that?”

Loreli sighed loudly before saying in a soothing tone, “You’re in love, Papillion. Aren’t you?”

The girl groused loudly and rolled her eyes, “You know I am. You’ve known even before I did.” She exhaled sharply before continuing, “It’s the unrequited kind, though.”

“Yes,” She heard her aunt agree, “It is. Not an easy thing to live with, emotionally. Especially since this is your first time.”

Erynn knew where her aunt was going with this line of thought. They’d gone through similar talks often enough, “Lo, I’m not angry, resentful or jealous. I don’t feel like I deserve to have her, or like I want to influence anything she decides to do. Willow and I are friends and, she even knows about my feelings for Tara.” She paused in thought before adding, “She makes me feel like I can be better. Like, I’m a better me when she’s around. Sometimes even just by thinking about her. And, I really want her to be happy.”

“Erynn,” The witch grew serious, “Do you trust her?”

The girl was taken aback by the question, “Well, yeah… I do.”

“Ok,” Her aunt answered, easily pushing the matter aside, “So, tell me about Sunnydale.”

For the next half hour or so, Erynn told her great aunt all about The Slayer who happens to be named Buffy. The Hellmouth, and the group of friends who affectionately called themselves The Scooby gang. As well as the eerie experience of having been followed and, the resulting meeting at Xander’s.

The conversation soothed Erynn’s anxieties, lulling her back into a sense of calm. Her earlier muddled feelings receded until finally, they vanished altogether.

***

The quiet of the darkened room was broken by a soft ‘click’ before the door swung ajar slightly. Once it was closed again, Doc let go of the spell with a loud exhale of breath. Cloaking oneself was an easy thing to do but, it wore down the caster the longer the spell was held.

Blinking against the dark, he pulled his glasses higher up his nose and patted the wall for a switch. Finding one and flicking it upward made him wince and blink his eyes again until his vision grew accustomed to the light now flooding the previously dark space.

He liked this room, Doc decided. His lips quirked slightly at the sensuous, calm energies surrounding him. Taking slow steps farther in, he ran a finger along the desk languorously. His eyes scanned the space with an air of nonchalance, feeling himself being pulled this way and that. The magnetics of magics directing his every nerve endings towards items littering the room.

A picture frame caught his eye, resting on a bedside table next to an alarm clock. It’s glowing red numbers reading one-fifteen AM. In the frame was a photograph of two young women. A dark-blonde and a redhead who seemed oddly familiar. He cocked his head slightly, trying to pull at a memory that would assuage his curiosity. When none came, he let the thought go with a shrug of his shoulders.

It was a sweet picture, the women were obviously close and happy. It had been taken outdoors on a sunny day. Both were disheveled; green bits of grass and leaves sticking out from their mussed up hair. Huge, toothy smiles graced their faces as if they’d been caught mid laughter, tussling around in the grass at a picnic.

A bound book rested on the opposite table, a magical pull emanating from it. Doc pursed his lips, intrigued. He rounded the bed and noticed the cage when Amy skittered around her living space agitatedly. The sight brought his mind back to the reason for him being there in the first place and, with a resigned sigh, he pulled out the Ziploc bag he’d brought with him and approached the cage.

He’d expected it, of course. Most small animals ran from him on instinct. Amy grew more and more frantic the closer Doc got to the cage. Loud, frightened squeaks pushed out of tiny lungs made his skin rise in goosebumps. He grinned devilishly, if he could have his way…

“Sleep.” He said soothingly and waved a hand over the cage. The rat’s body grew limp and her movements stopped but for the rise and fall of her short breaths.

He made quick work of opening the cage, reaching in and – none too gently – yanked a bit of Amy’s fur from her body before dropping it into his bag. He stood back up once he closed the cage door again.

The book: A thick, leather-bound tome was to his right. The flaked, gold lettering against the dark brown of the aged leather read ‘Lilian Davis’ in small letters in the upper right corner. Other than the name, the cover was bare but for the indent of a crest Doc didn’t recognize.

Were he a younger fellow, less wise about how things usually worked out, he wouldn’t have thought twice before taking the book for himself. But, time and mistakes had taught him to be judicious with his choices. He learned a while back that it wasn’t because you could do something, that you should actually do it.

With pause, his mind quickly gave him reasons not to take the enticing book. Ideas of what he would do, were he the one coming home to his possession missing. A simple enough tracking spell would bring the two witches to his door.

Wasn’t worth the fuss, really.

A tendril of familiarity was discernible to him, flowing from the book in a wisp of ephemeral energy. He followed along the stream, across the room to where a big chest sat against the wall. Upon closer inspection, Doc noticed the same crest from the book cover gracing the front of the chest in dark, carved lines. Old power… Family. Generational witch.

Oh, he wanted to open it. His fingers twitched with the sheer thought of the possible contents waiting for him inside. Subconsciously reaching for the wooden chest, he recoiled when his fingers made contact with its surface. Magically sealed… Protection spell.

A scurry, a rattle and squeak alerted him to the fact that the rat was now awake. Doc looked around the room one last time, his eyes falling on another picture, this time on the dresser. The redhead from the previous picture was flanked by a boy and a small blonde he recognized instantly. The Slayer…

He read the name ‘Willow Rosenberg’ off a notebook. Filing away the name he turned his head and there, sat on the dresser, were two hair brushes. Different colored strands stuck in their bristles. Doc grinned.

The lights went out, the door closed and locked itself. There was no sign of his visit but for a tiny bald spot on Amy’s back and a few strands of hair no one would notice missing.

***

“This isn’t the first time, Will.” Xander stopped at a red light while trying to reassure his worried friend sitting in the back, cuddled up to her equally worried but supportive girlfriend, “We’ve gone a night without knowing where she was, before.” The car lurched forward again as the light turned green, “Heck, we’ve even gone months.”

Willow’s head lifted from Tara’s shoulder, “It’s not the same. We had a plan, she changed the plan mid-way and now she’s out there following this big, scary demon alone… I’m worried Xand, we should’ve at least gotten a call.” A kiss was pressed against the side of her head making her eyes droop with its comforting touch. Tara squeezed her girlfriend’s hand reassuringly, “I’m sure it’ll be ok, sweetie. Buffy can handle herself.”

It had been frustrating for them, waiting around at Xander’s. The locator spell had been cast a total of four times. Each time lasting an hour. Each hour had drained the witches a bit more. When the last casting came to an end the indicator was stopped in a park, on the East end of town.

Since Buffy was still gone and hadn’t contacted them, they had no real way of following up on their stalker. So, they’d decided to stop tracking him and rest.

Times like these made being a Scooby difficult. They all had their lives aside from the slaying. Work and school couldn’t take a back seat. When Buffy went out there, in dangerous situations and, all they could do was live their lives and wait… Well, Willow didn’t think any amount of practice could make it easier. Good luck sleeping tonight… Classes are going to be fun.

Tara had been overwhelmed when they’d left the carpenter’s apartment. Her worry for Buffy, the flashback she’d experienced and the talk she’d had with Anya, all swirling around in her mind. But, when she’d noticed how tense and troubled her girlfriend was, it was as if all those things were pushed back into small rooms in the back of her mind. Their priorities had been quickly reconsidered. Right now, all she wanted was for Willow to feel better. “I’m sure we’ll hear from her tomorrow.”

Xander pulled the car into the college parking lot, “If I hear from her, you’ll hear from me. No matter what time.” Shifting the car into park, he twisted in his seat to face the witches, “It’ll be like a game. You call me if you hear anything, I call you if I do. We’ll call it the telephone game.”

The witches sat up to unfasten their seat-belts. Willow shook her head exasperatedly, “That game already exists. The message always gets mixed up.”

He let out a deep sigh, “You know what I mean. Now, let me go home so I can go to bed. Facing beer-bellied men with power tools in the morning is something I can only pull off well-rested.”

After bidding their friend good night, the witches walked hand-in-hand towards their dorm building. It was eerily quiet at this time of night, the usual hustle of college life hushed into silent darkness. The soft glow of the path lights illuminated their way. “I know it’s late,” Tara said as they neared the building, “But, I doubt we’ll be able to sleep right away.” You’re too tense to sleep… “I was thinking we could do something to relax a bit.”

The redhead’s eyes were riveted to the ground, a furrow deeply etched in her brow, “Relaxing would be good. I could do with some relaxing.” She squeezed Tara’s hand gently, “Do you want to watch a movie or something?”

“I don’t think I could concentrate on a movie.” The blonde pulled the dorm entrance door open for them, “Maybe some music and snuggles? I wouldn’t mind a nice shower.”

Taking the stairs to the second floor, they made sure to keep their voices down in consideration for the other students sleeping, “A shower sounds really good, baby.” Willow pulled her girlfriend’s hand to her mouth and kissed it softly, “And you know snuggles with you are always welcome.”

The rest of the way to their room was made in silence. Willow opened the door and flicked the lights on, “I’m willing to bet there isn’t anyone else in the showers at two in the morning.” She said cheekily over her shoulder and waggled her eyebrows, “Wanna be rebels and take one together?”

Tara chuckled, “This is quickly turning into a habit.” Once the door was closed, she made short work of taking her shirt and bra off. She flung both into the dirty clothes hamper and started massaging her breasts un-selfconsciously while exhaling a deep, relieved sigh. “I guess as far as habits go...” She groaned pleasurably as the dull ache slowly left her breasts, “It’s not a bad one.” Looking down, she started toeing her shoes off.

The redhead was mesmerized. Her girlfriend often ended the day this way. Being constrained in a bra for hours left her sore most times. Willow was enjoying the display quite a bit, even though… “Hey, that’s my job.” She pouted, “You’re doing all the boob rubbing yourself.”

The blonde grinned and looked up through her lashes. She said innocently, “But, I thought you liked watching me.” At her girlfriend’s widening eyes and blush, she giggled, “We’re about to take a shower together. You’ll get all the boob rubs you want.” Her skirt fell around her ankles, “With soap, even.”

Willow suddenly registered the fact she was still fully clothed. Tearing her eyes away from her alluring girlfriend, she started taking her clothes off. “Soapy Tara-boobs!” Her hair stuck up at odd angles as her shirt was quickly yanked off, “Let’s get to showering already.”

Robes were donned, towels and toiletries firmly clasped in their hands they made their way out the door. Neither were surprised to find Willow had been right in her assumption that the shower block would be empty. The water was set to a warmth that was just short of scalding, steam rose from their cubicle. “Can you hand me a hair tie?” The blonde had her hair clasped behind her head, “I don’t want to get my hair wet.”

Willow pulled a tie from the toiletry bag and handed it over. She slipped from her robe and brought the soap and loofahs to the shower. Tara’s eyes followed her movements as she tightened the elastic around her hair. Her robe was soon taken off as well and she joined her girlfriend under the hot spray.

The blonde closed her eyes, soaking in the warmth from the water. She craned her neck back and to the side, attempting to keep her hair dry. “Mmm, this is nice.”

She has no idea… Standing with a soapy loofah in hand, Willow was entranced. Her jaw slackened, a flush ran the length of her body. Tara was so stunning. She watched as the water cascading down her skin in thick drops coalesced into tiny rivers. Rushing into rapids in the dips of her girlfriend’s curves. Waterfalls rained from her breasts. She was sure if drops could speak, these would be singing. A harmony that could fill the building with heart melting, sweeping melodies.

Tara was Beauty. An equation Willow never felt the need to prove. She just knew they equaled each other - Tara and Beauty were synonyms – She knew it like she knew if she didn’t breathe right now, she might pass out.

The blonde stepped away from the water and opened her eyes to find her girlfriend looking back with an emotion laden gaze that made her smile timidly. “What?”

“You have no clue.” She shook her head in disbelief and shrugged, “You’re clueless, really.” Willow’s hand started lazily soaping her love’s shoulders.

Tara’s eyebrows rose up, “Gee, thanks honey.” Her lips quirked into a small grin.

But, her girlfriend was far from apologetic, “It’s not your fault; you can’t help it.” She ran the soapy loofah down a long arm, “It’s like not liking the sound of your own voice when you hear it back.”

Now she was confused. Normally, her girlfriend’s non-sequiturs were easy enough for her to follow. But, her brain was tired and she blamed the cylinder that just wouldn’t fire, “What’s wrong with my voice?” She asked, frowning vulnerably.

Willow’s smile lit up the cubicle, “Nothing’s wrong with your voice, silly.” The loofah made its way across the blonde’s chest, above her breasts, “In fact, what I was getting at is that there’s not an inch of wrongness on you.” Soapy bubbles ran down between twin swells of immeasurable softness, “You’re absolutely, totally and completely beautiful.” She looked up into cerulean blue and said with a tinge of awe in her voice, “But, you have no idea.”

Tara steadied herself by laying her hands on her girlfriend’s shoulders, her deep green, devoted gaze rooting her to the spot, “Careful, Ms. Rosenberg.” Her fingers ran up Willow’s neck to bury themselves in thick, wet hair, “If you keep looking at me like that, I might get an idea.”

Small freckled hands busied themselves lathering up the blonde’s breasts, “Right, we wouldn’t want your ego to get all excited.” Her naked hand rubbed a soapy globe lazily, “I like that you fit through doors.”

Tara lifted her girlfriend’s chin with a finger, making their eyes meet, “It’s not my ego we have to worry about.” She leaned forward, pressing her mouth against Willow’s. The hand against her breast squeezed. The blonde smiled, “Mmm, I feel pretty… Oh, so pretty…” She sang against a now grinning mouth.

The redhead giggled, “How very witty of you,” She wiggled a finger in a soapy belly button eliciting the most adorable squeal, “Turn around, I’ll wash your back.”

The loofah glided along Tara’s shoulder blades, down the center of her back, “At this rate, you’ll never get clean.” A shiver ran over her skin as the soapy bubbles dripped down the small of her back.

“Mmm,” Willow was taking her sweet time, enjoying every caress, “I have a time saving procedure in mind.” Her girlfriend’s buttocks was next to be lavished with attention.

When her cheeks were squeezed, Tara swallowed hard. But, when her girlfriend then brought her hands to her hips and pressed her body against her own, she couldn’t hold the pleasured sigh back, “Will,”

The redhead leaned her chin on her girlfriend’s shoulder and rubbed her body against soaped skin, “See, this way I get all soapy and I can do this,” Rubbing the soapy loofah against her hands before letting it fall to the tiled floor, Willow ran her palms along the inside of Tara’s hips. Over her lower stomach, one moving up to cup a breast, while the other went down between her legs. The redhead pressed herself against the blonde’s ass as she gently started washing her lover’s sex. “Mmm,”

The blonde’s head fell back onto a slender shoulder, “Willow,” She reached back, grasping small hips in her hands. She turned her mouth towards her girlfriend’s neck, kissed and nipped at it, “Mmph,”

“I love when you say my name like that,” Bringing her fingers to the center of the captured breast, Willow pinched the hardened nipple gently, rolled it between her fingers. Tara groaned softly as her hips started a smooth rocking motion, “I love that I can make you feel this way… That I get to see you like this.” Her throat tightened against an unexpected swell of emotion, the tension of the day rising to the surface, “I feel so lucky, Tara.” Her voice quivered.

Time to let it go for tonight, sweetie. The blonde turned around in the circle of her girlfriend’s arms, bringing hers around a small waist. “You know what’s funny?” She kissed Willow’s freckled nose, “People play luck based games, believing if they follow a silly tradition they’ll win. Then, no matter how many times they lose… if they win once – by luck – they say it’s thanks to the tradition.” She kissed her lips, “But, when it comes to something that has nothing to do with luck… they attribute their good fortunes to it anyway.” She brought them under the spray to rinse them off.

Willow’s brow furrowed, confused, “You lost me.”

Tara picked up her loofah and squeezed some soap into it before motioning, with the twirl of a finger, for her girlfriend to turn around, “It was recently brought to my attention that you loving me has nothing to do with me being lucky.” The redhead’s back was soon being washed lovingly, “I didn’t really get it until now.”

The redhead chuckled disbelievingly, “Didn’t know Anya was so wise. Guess she learned something other than how to rain vengeance all these years.” A hand on her hip pulled her back into the water.

The blonde cocked her head, “Anya is wise in her own way. But, it wasn’t her.” She transferred some soap from the loofah to her hands and gently washed her girlfriend’s sex.

“Mmm,” The conversation was soon pushed to the back of Willow’s mind, “Baby?” Her body felt like it was sparkling, tiny pricks of electricity running over her skin.

Tara was attentively rinsing between her lover’s legs, “Hmm?” Once done, she leaned her chin on Willow’s shoulder and squeezed her hips lovingly.

The redhead leaned a cheek against her girlfriend’s, “Are we clean enough?”

The blonde grinned wickedly and bit a freckled shoulder, “I get the feeling this is as clean as we’ll be tonight.”

Willow turned in her girlfriend’s arms and kissed her deeply, pressed into her mouth with a moan before pulling away. “Let’s get out of here.” Taking Tara’s bottom lip between her teeth, she pulled at it gently and flicked her tongue against it, “Now.”

The shower was shut off, loofahs and soap gathered. They toweled off and wrapped themselves in their robes in a silence thick with anticipation.

Making it to their room without tearing each others robes off had been an exercise in restraint. But, nonetheless, with a soft ‘click’ the door was pressed closed by the slender body of a very randy redhead.

Tara let the towels drop on the papasan chair to dry, and put their toiletries away. All the while feeling Willow’s eyes following her every move. When she finally turned to face her lover, she was met with a look that immediately reminded her of a night at the Bronze, not so long ago. It had pinned her into place through a mirror’s reflection. Much like the effect it was having on her this very instant.

Willow pushed off from the door, her steps a measured prowl towards her girlfriend, “Do you think Kitten wants to play?” Stopping a step away from the distance needed for a kiss, she lifted a lazy finger and ran it down one of the folds of Tara’s robe that ran across the blonde’s chest, lightly grazing skin along the way. “Mistress wants to play.” Looking up, her lips quirked seductively at the glazed, dark-blue eyes staring back.

Yes. Yes! Tara blinked, her mouth fell open. I should say that out loud. She licked her dry lips, “Y-yes.” The word barely made it out intact.

Her Mistress looked displeased though, “You forgot something, Kitten.” She wagged a disappointed finger and tsked, “I’ll have to think about discipline, I guess.”

Oh, God. Discipline!? What does she mean… The blonde posture stiffened visibly, color draining from her face. The myriad of ways one could be disciplined flashing through her mind, “S-sorry M-mistress.”

“Kit-” Shit, I struck a nerve. Willow’s tone was quickly soothing when she noticed the lowered eyes and pronounced stutter, “Shh, baby… you know I would never hurt you, right?” She lifted Tara’s chin with a gentle finger, “Tara, look at me.”

Worried blue met deep, reassuring green, “I would never do anything against your will.” She shook her head and said emphatically, “I will never hurt you, baby.” She wrapped her arms around Tara’s waist, “This Kitten thing, it’s always about you… your pleasure and-and my pleasure in giving it.”

Tara nodded, all of sudden feeling foolish, “I’m sorry,” She brought them together in a tight hug. “I don’t know what happened, I didn’t mean to ruin the mood.”

Willow pulled back slightly, “You didn’t ruin anything.” She pressed a kiss against the blonde’s forehead, “Let’s leave the Kitten and Mistress thing aside until we can talk about what we want and don’t want. Ok?”

The blonde agreed thankfully, “Yeah, I think that’s a good idea.” She kissed her girlfriend softly, “So… the mood isn’t ruined?” Her eyebrow quirked up mischievously.

Willow shook her head and took slow steps backwards, towards the bed, “Take that robe off and I’ll show you just how un-ruined the mood is.” She sat on the bed, propped some pillows against the headboard for her to rest against. The robe fell open over her chest as she laid down, widened at her thighs but, revealed very little.

Tara loosened her robe and let it fall to the floor. She felt her girlfriend’s eyes on her, like tiny flickers of flames licking at her skin making it raise into goosebumps wherever they landed.

“You’re so beautiful,” The redhead said, pulling at the tie around her waist. Her right hand came to rest against her chest and pushed down, against the robe. Opening it down the center, “So sensual.” She reached under and cupped her breast, her right hand poised on her lower stomach, “Sexy.”

The blonde was loving seeing the effect she was having, part of her wanted to prolong the feeling. But, another part of her just wanted to jump Willow right then and there. She opted for walking to the bed and sitting on the edge of the mattress.

Looking into her girlfriend’s lidded eyes, she reached for her robe and opened it fully. Exposing the small hand now squeezing an aroused breast. Tara gulped, her gaze fell down Willow’s stomach and rested on the hand sitting there. Nimble fingers lightly rubbing circles over heated, milky white skin. She laid down on her side, facing her girlfriend, and ran her fingers up and down her lover’s arm in rapt silence.

“The first time I touched myself thinking about you was a Monday morning.” The redhead’s voice was a soft, husky breath on the air. “We’d hung out the night before. You were putting on music and something went wrong with the stereo… you had to reach behind it.” She pinched her nipple, making a gasp rush through lungs, her legs fell apart slightly. “I was on the bed, sitting there watching you get up on a chair. You were wearing jeans, they were tight around your ass bent over the dresser like you were.”

Tara watched as her lover’s fingers moved from her stomach, to twirl in soft cropped copper curls. She could feel her arousal slip from between her own legs. She shifted slightly, rubbed her thighs together and raised her bent leg up to rest against Willow’s. The contact sent shivers along her skin.

The redhead pulled at her nipple before switching breasts, “The chair wobbled and I got scared. I ran over to you and held you up by your hips.” Her legs fell farther apart, fingers teasing now very wet lips, “It was the first time I’d touched a part of your body that wasn’t your hands, or your arms. Mmmm,” Willow’s hips rocked forward and back slightly, her breath shallow and panting. “Your shirt rode up a bit and all I could think about was kissing and licking the skin there. I was so turned on.”

Tara bit her lip, her fingers twitching against the urge to touch. Her own need was throbbing maddeningly between her legs. Subconsciously, she pressed forward, her leg falling over Willow’s. Her hips had a life of their own, grinding herself into her girlfriend’s thigh, she groaned, “God, Will.”

Running slick fingers alongside her clit, the redhead moaned softly, “I could barely look you in the eye the rest of the night. I was sure you’d see it on my face, how much I wanted you.”

Through no thought or consideration, the blonde’s lips fell around Willow’s taut nipple. She rocked into her girlfriend, the friction and glide against her clit making her hips jump. “Mmpph,” Biting down, she licked at the captured sensitive nub.

“Ohh,” Letting go of her breast, Willow’s fingers tangled into her lover’s hair, “That night I dreamt about you.” She dipped her fingers down into a pool of her own arousal, bringing it up to rub soft circles around and around her clit. Her hips dug into the bed, “I dreamt I was touching you, everywhere. I-I undressed you, licked and kissed your skin, your breasts, stomach,” Her breast vibrated against the rumble of her girlfriend’s groan as she rocked her hips slightly faster, “I dreamt I went down on you, I got so lost in you. Your taste, your silkiness, your-your wet heat. Ohh, fuck, baby…” Tara’s fingers were teasingly parting her lips, a single digit barely dipping in before pulling back again. “That morning I woke up on fire. I was so wet, my pajama bottoms were soaked. My whole body was throbbing,”

Willow’s hand reached down, her fingers running wetly along those teasing her. Tara moaned, her legs clenching tightly around the redhead’s, every muscle in her legs tensed up. Her dripping sex pressed and quivered against her girlfriend, “I was so glad I was alone that morning,” She grasped Tara’s wet fingers and deliberately pressed them against her entrance, “It was the first time I came saying your name. It felt so, so right.”

A wet pop sounded as Tara let go of the nipple in her mouth. She looked up intently, holding Willow’s gaze with her own lustful one. Her fingers started moving against the wet opening, swirling circles around it. Making her lover’s hips roll against her fingers, “Will,”

The redhead’s hand cupped her girlfriend’s cheek, holding eye contact as she felt herself being penetrated slowly and deeply. Her mouth fell open and then she bit her lip, panting as the fingers retreated and pushed in again. She rolled her hips again, her right hand raised to cup and stroke Tara’s breast. “Ohh,”

Tara felt her girlfriend shift and roll towards her, throwing her leg over the blonde’s hip. With a loud moan, Willow rocked harder against the blonde’s fingers, her other leg trapped and soaked as they both moved against each other. “God, I love you Willow.” She snaked her left arm under her girlfriend’s head, ran her fingers into her hair and pulled her face in for a desperate kiss. Their tongues caressed and wrestled, Tara felt Willow open herself up. The knee that had been clasped around her hip lifted in the air, giving more room for the blonde to maneuver. Her fingers curled, pressed against spongy walls as she started thrusting them faster, harder.

“Auggghh, Tara…” The redhead moaned against Tara’s mouth, her hand squeezed convulsively around a full breast. She felt her girlfriend roll onto her back, her fingers retreated and Willow found herself straddling Tara’s hips.

“Come up here,” She said, tilting her head up and back. Tara pulled on small hips, guiding her lover’s body higher up her own, “I want you up here. Hold onto the headboard.” Her hands stroked her girlfriend’s sides and hips as she moved her way to the headboard, framing Tara’s head with shaking and wet thighs. “God Will,” She ran her hands down Willow’s back, coming to rest against her ass. Squeezing the supple flesh, the blonde pulled her lover’s sex towards her mouth. “Mmmph,” She nuzzled through wet curls, pressed her tongue between dripping folds and licked the length of her sex.

Willow gripped the headboard, her ass clenched as she pressed into her lover’s mouth. She felt a hand slip between her legs, fingers quickly plunging back into her as she rocked her hips, head thrown back as a deep, guttural groan left her chest. “Baaaby,”

Another lick the length of Willow’s sex and the blonde caught her throbbing clit with her lips. Her fingers curled and pressed, her lover’s hips rolling against her as she started sucking lightly, licking circles around the tight, throbbing bundle in her mouth. “Mmrrrph,” She was looking up at her girlfriend’s beautiful body arched back, her nipples hard points swaying and bouncing in the air above her when her left hand finished its journey.

Tara’s eyes crossed and rolled over, a deep moan ripped from her as she started rubbing her clit. Her hips rocked against her own fingers, “MmOhh,” Pressing harder into her girlfriend, she started a circular motion against her walls, alternatively fluttering her fingers making her lover drip down her chin and neck, before rubbing in tight and precise circles again.

“Jesus, Tara!” Willow’s head flopped forward, nearly missing hitting it against the wall. “You’re gonna make me… drown you,” Her hips jerked against the movement of the fingers inside her, “Ohh, Fuhh…”

Tara pushed lower with her left hand, pressed her middle fingers inside herself and ground her clit against her slick palm. “NnmmFuck… Ohh, God I really don’t care if you do,” She sucked her lover’s clit back into her mouth, swiveling her head as she licked rough swirls against it, over and over again. Her own hips thrashed against her hand, she was so close.

Every exhale from Willow was accentuated with a short, high-pitched moan, “You sure… baby?” She pressed her forehead against the cool wall, “You sure… you want me to come like this?” Her thighs shook, her knuckles were white gripping the headboard, “I can hold it… a little… if you want to move.”

The blonde’s eyes snapped open, glaring up at her lover. She thrust her fingers hard into her, “Don’t you dare.” Her sex clamped around the fingers between her own legs, she curled them within herself. Grinding her palm into her clit, “I’m about to come,” She groaned against Willow’s sex, “Come with me.” She latched back onto her lover’s clit, felt muscles twitch around her fingers. She pressed, and rubbed losing track of which hand was doing what, “Fuhh, Will come with me,”

The redhead nodded and panted loudly, “Ok, Ohhh God, Ok baby…” Her small hips thrust against the mouth and fingers pleasuring her, “Like that… just like that, Ohh Tara, I’m there… I’m right there,”

“Mmm-mmph!” Coordination wasn’t her strong suit but, somehow Tara managed to bring herself to an earth-shattering climax, her fingers tightly gripped within herself. Her sex pulsing loudly against her hand. She heard the loud, keening cry from above, felt the waves of rippling muscles around her other fingers. Tara almost came again, “Ta-rahh-ahh-ahh!” Willow jumped and jerked above her as she released her climax in short, powerful bursts. She felt Tara pull out of her, rubbing her fingers the length of her sensitive sex making her orgasm linger, her climax still dripping down her lover’s fingers, chin and neck. Her skin tingled and sparked in waves from head to toe. Each and every thing touching her skin making a direct connection to her sex.

Tara was indeed soaked. But, she actually kind of loved it. She felt Willow’s thighs tremble either side of her head, she kissed her lover’s spent sex and gripped her hips, guiding her down onto the bed next to her. “Amazing,” The blonde planted small kisses all over her girlfriend’s beautiful face, “You’re amazing.” Wrapping her arms tight around her lover’s shivering body, she rolled her partly onto herself. “I love you. Are you cold, sweetie?”

Willow shook her head against Tara’s breast and sniffled, “No,” She answered in a vulnerable tone, a shiver ran down her body again, her voice tremulous when she said, “I don’t know why this happens. Why I shiver and cry when... you know.” She sniffed again.

Tara reached over and pulled her nightstand drawer open. She produced a tissue and handed it over to her love, “Is it a good shiver and cry, though?” Her fingers ran soothing trails down Willow’s arm.

The redhead wiped her eyes and her nose, bunched up the tissue and threw it over her shoulder making her lover snicker, “It’s embarrassing.” Her fingers drew patterns along Tara’s stomach.

The blonde gently tucked an unruly strand of red hair behind a delicate ear, “Why embarrassing?”

Willow’s self-deprecating, mirthless chuckle preceded her answer, “Because crying isn’t sexy.”

“Huh,” Tara kissed a crown of red hair, “Could have fooled me.” At her girlfriend’s unbelieving grumble, she shifted slightly, “Stay right there. I’m gonna get us ready for sleep.” She kissed her lover’s creased forehead and gingerly got out of bed.

The redhead could feel herself slowly relaxing into a blissful lull, the frantic energy all but spent from her body. She let out a deep, satiated breath.

Her girlfriend returned from the mini-fridge with a bottle of cold water, uncapped it and took a few gulps before handing the bottle over with a kiss. She then left again, this time for the closet, “You know, the first time we made love?” Pulling out a couple blankets and closing the door again, she continued, “I cried a little.”

Willow rolled over to one side of the bed as her girlfriend flicked a blanket open and draped it across the prominent wet spots, “You did not.” She grumbled and rolled back over. Her head landed on a wet pillow, she grimaced slightly, lifted her head and flipped it over before lying back down.

Tara grinned at her lover’s childish reply, “Did too. It was… overwhelming.” She shrugged, “It just happened. It was a good kind of overwhelming, though.” The second blanket came down and contoured Willow’s body. The blonde clicked the lamp on before going to the wall and turning the main lights off.

She took a towel from the chair and quickly wiped down her chest, neck and face before making her way back to the bed.

Willow felt her lover slip under the blanket and cuddle up close to her, “I guess that’s it… I get overwhelmed.” She ran fingers down Tara’s arm and yawned, “Is it silly to be embarrassed?” Her eyes drooped, exhaustion catching up to her.

The blonde reached for, and turned off the lamp, “Not silly. Just, unnecessary.” She kissed a smooth shoulder and nuzzled into Willow’s neck, “I love you.” A smile gracing her lips, Tara closed her eyes and sighed happily.

“I love you, baby.” Came the soft reply, “Night.”

“Mmm,” With that mumbled, they both drifted off into a deep sleep.

***

_________________
~M
CopperAndGold


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:10 am 
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3. Flaming O

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 81
DIBS! :whip

Very nice way of our girls to put their fear for Buffy's wellbeing aside... :wtkiss :drool
:fit GRRR that Jurrot beat Buffy into a bloody pulp! This scumbag really needs to get its arse kicked into hell! I'm not worried that Spike will hurt her, but I really hope that he will spill the beans about the baddies as soon as Buffy regains consciousness and that Buffy will believe he's telling the truth.

Tara having to relive Erynn's memory of raping the rapist in "self-justice" was quite a shock! I'm wondering: wouldn't a raping empath suffer the pain, despair, shame of his victim so the act of self-justice would actually let Erynn only relive the horrors she herself suffered? If so, this seems kind of like shooting into her own knee, doesn't it?

Yay for Anya proving surprising empathic skills and making clear to Tara that her silence about the disturbing content of her "visions" doesn't only hurt herself, but also Willow! I really hope Tara will take this to her her heart and tell Willow at least roughly about the disturbing memories she is forced to endure.

I'm worried for what purpose Doc took hairs of Tara and Willow (the parts of Amy's fur are probably needed for the "deratting"?)...

My favourite moment of this chapter was this:

Quote:
Both women glared at each other, “Give us a minute Xander, we’re exchanging information on different feminine hygiene products.” Anya said with false cheer. Tara couldn’t help the twinge at the corner of her mouth or the softening of her gaze as she chuckled internally.

There was the briefest of pauses before the man replied anxiously, “I’ll hold it!” His quickly retreating steps were easily discernable in the quiet of the bathroom.


:laugh I could really picture that scene quite vividly in my mind's eye!

Now I'll be waiting as patiently as I can for the next update...


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:38 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

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Registering to leave feedback, and WOW! I've only just read the first chapter, and *loved* it!! Your writing is so smooth and natural! I truly loved it, looking forward to read the rest, too bad I have to sleep now, but, congrats on writing so well!

Hugs!


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:36 pm 
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AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I found my old account!! I didn't have to make another :/ but go on haha I'll be making more comments as I read.

Hugs!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 8:47 am 
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2. Floating Rose
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Just finishing chapter 2, and....it seems I've known this story since forever! You write so smoothly and somewhat in a familiar way, it's like you could translate the mood, the ambient of the show in a MUCH more mature/developed/focused way, wich is sooooo good!
Loved the bonding time with Buffy, and how you alternate things, I can't really explain, but it's truly human and delicate! I love it! I read you're into psychology, majoring here!! :bigwave in love with all the interactions, hope we see more Xander and maybe Giles?I like him, and I think him and Erynn would go along just fine, his paternal figure, etc

Have you ever read Neverland? By EasierSaid? Very good too. Your writing reminds me of hers.

THE SEX PARTS ARE SO BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN I WANT TO SCREAM. You make me miss having a partner :ashamed but really. I loved It. Congratulations. You make me feel the same kind of excitement I felt when I was watching the show for the first time. Thank you. Also I deeply admire who can write angst in the way, let's see If you're up to it :grin on my way to chapter three!

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 Post subject: When Erynn found herself NC-17 - Feedback Replies
PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 4:35 pm 
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Will's redemption wrote:

:fit GRRR that Jurrot beat Buffy into a bloody pulp! This scumbag really needs to get its arse kicked into hell!


Don't worry, he'll get his. He's not making any friends, and is racking up enemies. *Rubs hands together and cackles maniacally* Oh, he'll get his. :devil

Will's redemption wrote:
Tara having to relive Erynn's memory of raping the rapist in "self-justice" was quite a shock! I'm wondering: wouldn't a raping empath suffer the pain, despair, shame of his victim so the act of self-justice would actually let Erynn only relive the horrors she herself suffered? If so, this seems kind of like shooting into her own knee, doesn't it?


If only Erynn wasn't also a shifter... it makes things confusing, but it'll be explained later on. Hang in there! :grin

Will's redemption wrote:
Yay for Anya proving surprising empathic skills and making clear to Tara that her silence about the disturbing content of her "visions" doesn't only hurt herself, but also Willow! I really hope Tara will take this to her her heart and tell Willow at least roughly about the disturbing memories she is forced to endure.


I've always felt Anya saw through people's B.S. faster than most. How I've perceived Anya during the show is as a person who works hard at understanding human emotions and actually gets it right, most times. Her delivery isn't always welcome... but, she's quite in tune with the people around her.

Will's redemption wrote:
I'm worried for what purpose Doc took hairs of Tara and Willow (the parts of Amy's fur are probably needed for the "deratting"?)...


Amy's fur was indeed intended for the de-ratting spell. The hair from the brushes, well... :eyebrow

Will's redemption wrote:
My favourite moment of this chapter was this:

Quote:
Both women glared at each other, “Give us a minute Xander, we’re exchanging information on different feminine hygiene products.” Anya said with false cheer. Tara couldn’t help the twinge at the corner of her mouth or the softening of her gaze as she chuckled internally.

There was the briefest of pauses before the man replied anxiously, “I’ll hold it!” His quickly retreating steps were easily discernable in the quiet of the bathroom.


:laugh I could really picture that scene quite vividly in my mind's eye!


Writing that part made me chuckle like crazy hehehe

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Just finishing chapter 2, and....it seems I've known this story since forever! You write so smoothly and somewhat in a familiar way, it's like you could translate the mood, the ambient of the show in a MUCH more mature/developed/focused way, wich is sooooo good!


Thank you!! :grin Keeping the feel of the show was important to me. Reading a Sunnydale fic and it not feeling like you're in Sunnydale makes it that much harder to immerse yourself. If it's AU, it works beautifully... but, if you're on the Hellmouth and Buffy's the Slayer, I feel it needs to fit the point of reference readers have from the show.

Anyway, blah blah blah... :geek

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Loved the bonding time with Buffy, and how you alternate things, I can't really explain, but it's truly human and delicate! I love it! I read you're into psychology, majoring here!! :bigwave in love with all the interactions, hope we see more Xander and maybe Giles?I like him, and I think him and Erynn would go along just fine, his paternal figure, etc


:bigwave Yay for psychology! Understanding human behavior has always been my first passion. I can't claim to be a professional by any means but, I'm definitely one to eat psych books and papers with gusto. :geek

Giles is in England... he might be back soon, who knows? One thing's for certain, writing him is not something I feel comfortable doing. The whole stiff upper lip, British-ness isn't a voice that's easy for me to emulate. If anyone reads this who has a grasp on Giles' voice... if you're willing to lend a hand, send me a message!! Please? :flirt

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Have you ever read Neverland? By EasierSaid? Very good too. Your writing reminds me of hers.


Have I read Neverland? Only like, four times... I love that fic. And, for you to compare what I wrote to EasierSaid's amazing fic... well, I'm speechless. Thank you. :blush

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
THE SEX PARTS ARE SO BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN I WANT TO SCREAM. You make me miss having a partner :ashamed but really. I loved It. Congratulations. You make me feel the same kind of excitement I felt when I was watching the show for the first time. Thank you. Also I deeply admire who can write angst in the way, let's see If you're up to it :grin on my way to chapter three!


:grin Yay, I'm glad my smut does the job! hehehe Not that you missing having a partner is of the good, mind you. I love that you feel like when you watched the show for the first time. That actually made my heart warm up a bit. :love

Chap. 3? Oh, yeah. Angst ahead... let me know if I passed the test. :laugh

Thank you for reading, I'm hard at work on the next update! Stay tuned. :love

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:07 pm 
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Hi. So, it's taken me a while to get up to date... sorry about that :ashamed The thing is - hopefully this comes across as a compliment? - the way you write Willow and Tara (and the other Scoobies of course (Buffy :cry ) but naturally I'm focused on them) is so vivid and real, that any threat in the plot (the usual machinations of the evil types) is viscerally awful. In the sense that your writing is so convincing, I mean - it's difficult to put the bad guys into a 'bad guys being bad, the story will turn out okay in the end' bubble. The scene with Harmony was... that was rough to read, almost too much for me to handle (I'm kind of fragile), and recently Doc being in Willow and Tara's room really felt like an invasion - which it was of course, but normally something like that would be an antagonist to go up against, here everything's so purely real that it's difficult not to feel scared and vulnerable.

Honestly if you weren't writing such a fantastic relationship between Willow and Tara - not just the mind-blowing sexiness but everything about how they interact, all their moods and words and everything, the whole range between saying exactly the right thing and saying the wrong thing and muddling along and figuring out how to do better, and just being so committed to each other - well, it's worth the gut-twisting when the bads show up. So I'm alternately sniffling and happy-crying because they're so beautiful, interspersed with hiding under a mental blanket repeating 'it'll be okay, it'll be okay'. Not many stories - not many anything - can really get to me like that. I hate to resort to a cliche, but 'emotional roller-coaster' really is the term I'm looking for.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:54 am 
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2. Floating Rose
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Finished 3 and 4 *-* your angst is curious, I understand the feelings and feel a kind of.... empathy (:V) by reading, but I didn't go down along with it, no depression or anything, it was rather interesting, actually. I remembered the prop dream from Neverland too aaaaahhhhhh hahaha loved it!

One of the things that I love about this place on the interwebs is that we don't follow just the story, but also how you develop it and for me the comments are as part of it as the updates, so I like to read it all (imagine my efforts in reading Neverland XD).

I thought about writing one comment per update that I read, but I ended up reading the last two so swiftly that now I'm making this post as one. I can't avoid peaking at the last comments and I still have five chapters to read but I already now that Harmony is going to show up and things are not as nice as in the beggining I'm so curious AAAAA (end of babble)

Damien seems to be as interesting a character as the Maior, and I'm not sure if I read it right or If I dreamt it (oh yeah, congrats on reawakening BtVS dreams in me!) but I'm gonna see Faith here too? I love her! Feel like she was so underappreciated at the show... Do her justice! \o/

English is not your first language whaaaat? You're amazing!! Dibs to you, miss Quebecquoise(did I write that right? I'm having internet issues and English is not my first language either, Brazilian here o/)! I'm trying to learn French nowadays, what a coincidence! Maybe later on I'll ask you some tips, If you don't mind :flirt

Lucile is so interesting and lovely and misterious and Tara knows!! Also heart eyes for Spike being cute and agreeing to look out for Tara. But why would Lucile ask that? Is Tara in danger??? Ohhh that ~spikes~ my curiosity :)) I'm terrible with puns, sorry in advance XD but I truly AM in for damsel in distress Tara and Knight Willow to the rescue(thus loved the Glory Arc). May I ask your age?

I still have MUCH to read, I realize now that your chapters are HUGE :buried but I look forward to it because I'm really appreciating your writing :heart :clap Sorry I'm so behind but I'm following!

Edit to add that I KNEW IT! When Doc asked for a Cheerleading trophy that it was Amy's mom aaaa will she appear or nah?

Ok, now gone to read #5 :D

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:44 pm 
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2. Floating Rose
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Done with five!!! Delicious! Kinda angsty with the Tara-Erynn uncomfortableness, but super interesting nonetheless ❤ what's up with that trunk, huh? And Erynn the piano player? Lovely! I thought you'd go all cliché if it was Tara who came into the room, but you surprised me with a understanding teacher!!

Oh, the Ms Maclay dream was rather...amusing :blush

Nice that you pictured one of the annoying parts of Buffy, when she keeps poking Spike for answers, and I love how he responds to that.

Onto #6 ^^

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 Post subject: When Erynn found herself NC-17 - Feedback Replies
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:49 pm 
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Artemis wrote:
Hi. So, it's taken me a while to get up to date... sorry about that :ashamed The thing is - hopefully this comes across as a compliment? - the way you write Willow and Tara (and the other Scoobies of course (Buffy :cry ) but naturally I'm focused on them) is so vivid and real, that any threat in the plot (the usual machinations of the evil types) is viscerally awful. In the sense that your writing is so convincing, I mean - it's difficult to put the bad guys into a 'bad guys being bad, the story will turn out okay in the end' bubble.


You brain-ninja'd my Canadian ass. :laugh Part of me feels kinda awful. I don't want to scare anyone for real, you know? My bad guys are indeed quite bad... there's no real mythos to cover up their evilness. It's pretty glaring and in your face. They're a real threat and, I think, the fact our heroes still don't really know about it makes it all the more frightening. But, this is all about to change.

But, the other part of me can't help but feel proud that I was able to write something that is good enough to make people invest in the story. So, yeah... brain ninja Chris, that's your name now. :blush

Artemis wrote:
The scene with Harmony was... that was rough to read, almost too much for me to handle (I'm kind of fragile), and recently Doc being in Willow and Tara's room really felt like an invasion - which it was of course, but normally something like that would be an antagonist to go up against, here everything's so purely real that it's difficult not to feel scared and vulnerable.


Again... is it good, is it bad... argh! For the sake of finishing the story, I'll go with good. :laugh

Artemis wrote:
Honestly if you weren't writing such a fantastic relationship between Willow and Tara - not just the mind-blowing sexiness but everything about how they interact, all their moods and words and everything, the whole range between saying exactly the right thing and saying the wrong thing and muddling along and figuring out how to do better, and just being so committed to each other - well, it's worth the gut-twisting when the bads show up. So I'm alternately sniffling and happy-crying because they're so beautiful, interspersed with hiding under a mental blanket repeating 'it'll be okay, it'll be okay'. Not many stories - not many anything - can really get to me like that. I hate to resort to a cliche, but 'emotional roller-coaster' really is the term I'm looking for.


I love our witches and I love their relationship. The ups and downs, the small moments in any relationship are those that leave a mark. I wanted to capture those moments, put them on display and show that, yes, this is something special. And, yes - it's worth everything and anything to save and protect.

Imagine me sitting next to you on the emotional roller-coaster, holding your hand and saying "It's really going to be ok." Believe me, 'cause you know.... I am writing it. :laugh :love

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Finished 3 and 4 *-* your angst is curious, I understand the feelings and feel a kind of.... empathy (:V) by reading, but I didn't go down along with it, no depression or anything, it was rather interesting, actually.


This makes me curious - I'm not sure what you mean. If you're willing to elaborate, I'd appreciate it!

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
I thought about writing one comment per update that I read, but I ended up reading the last two so swiftly that now I'm making this post as one.


I can't tell how much I appreciate the time you put into your feedback! Thank you sooo much! :love

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Damien seems to be as interesting a character as the Maior, and I'm not sure if I read it right or If I dreamt it (oh yeah, congrats on reawakening BtVS dreams in me!) but I'm gonna see Faith here too? I love her! Feel like she was so underappreciated at the show... Do her justice! \o/


I really, really want to write Faith. I really do. Whether or not she makes it in this story (I'm thinking there might be a sequel) that's still up in the air, though.

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
English is not your first language whaaaat? You're amazing!! Dibs to you, miss Quebecquoise(did I write that right? I'm having internet issues and English is not my first language either, Brazilian here o/)! I'm trying to learn French nowadays, what a coincidence! Maybe later on I'll ask you some tips, If you don't mind :flirt


Yup, I'm Quebequoise. hehehe Tips? Sure, just contact me and we'll chat. :)

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Lucile is so interesting and lovely and misterious and Tara knows!! Also heart eyes for Spike being cute and agreeing to look out for Tara. But why would Lucile ask that? Is Tara in danger??? Ohhh that ~spikes~ my curiosity :)) I'm terrible with puns, sorry in advance XD but I truly AM in for damsel in distress Tara and Knight Willow to the rescue(thus loved the Glory Arc).


Ahh, there might be a slight surprise in store for you then. :wink

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
May I ask your age?


I'm 39 years of age, grey and geeky. :laugh

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
And Erynn the piano player? Lovely! I thought you'd go all cliché if it was Tara who came into the room, but you surprised me with a understanding teacher!!


Pfft, that only happens in movies. :laugh

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Oh, the Ms Maclay dream was rather...amusing :blush


Will's always been an attentive... student. :wink

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Nice that you pictured one of the annoying parts of Buffy, when she keeps poking Spike for answers, and I love how he responds to that.


I wanted to point out how antagonizing Buffy can really be when it comes to Spike. It always kinda irritated me.

Yay!! Thanks for the amazing feedback :grin :love

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:38 pm 
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Since I realized that me expressing my opinion on one's writing made someone's day, I'm all feedback gal, yeps, that's me :flower
I guess I would cherish having that kind of attention to something I made with so much care and effort, so, I think you're only getting what you deserve, and it's my pleasure ^^

CopperAndGold wrote:
This makes me curious - I'm not sure what you mean. If you're willing to elaborate, I'd appreciate it!

Sure, I'll try :) I guess I was expecting to undo myself in tears or feel my throat close or get sad and go to sleep, but I could understand what happened, feel a kind of compassion for them, but it didn't affect me that negatively as I thought, and I don't really know the why. Emotional stability maybe (?) /shrug

CopperAndGold wrote:
I can't tell how much I appreciate the time you put into your feedback! Thank you sooo much!

Glad you appreciate it ^^ :*

CopperAndGold wrote:
I really, really want to write Faith. I really do. Whether or not she makes it in this story (I'm thinking there might be a sequel) that's still up in the air, though.

OOOOOHHHHH SEQUELS <3 but is this one almost done? You're already thinking way ahead?

CopperAndGold wrote:
Ahh, there might be a slight surprise in store for you then.

Ahhhhhhh you're making me curiousssssss :whip

CopperAndGold wrote:
I wanted to point out how antagonizing Buffy can really be when it comes to Spike. It always kinda irritated me.

YES, exactly what I thought!! It pissed me off sometimes too!!

About chapter 6: whathe prop?!? What an update, my dude. (that sounded really weird in my head haha what should I call you?)
I could totally imagine Erynn's sunflower drawing, sweet! And your describing of the magic and the spell?? Their energy together?? terrific!! Could totally see Willow sing-dancing ''I'm too sexy'' too :laugh

The sex scene got me all tingly all over, the way you write makes me able to read it fast and it just flows really well! (didn't say what :drool )

TOTALLY OFFENDED that your Tara doesn't like Xena!!! :miff but it kinda makes sense with her character, and it fits with Willow, the Warrior Princess' and the Doctor's vibe.

I keep unintentionally reading bits of the chapters' ends halp :thud now I'm sure about Amy's mom showing up, but haven't read that yet. Still curious about what you hinted of knight and damsel ugh... guess I'll just have to read :laugh Hugs!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:20 am 
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My guess is that this time Willow will be the damsel in distress and Tara will be forced to release her bound powers so she and the others can free Willow out of Jurrot's and Damien's clutches... If I'm right I'm just hoping you don't make it a rescue "in the last second" with Willow already chained naked to a crate ready to be tortured in front of the cameras - that would be above the angst level I can stand!


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:17 am 
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Will's redemption wrote:
My guess is that this time Willow will be the damsel in distress and Tara will be forced to release her bound powers so she and the others can free Willow out of Jurrot's and Damien's clutches... If I'm right I'm just hoping you don't make it a rescue "in the last second" with Willow already chained naked to a crate ready to be tortured in front of the cameras - that would be above the angst level I can stand!

That let me laughing like an idiot :devil but who knows what might happen? I think that this scenario is....possible? I don't know, let the surprises keep coming haha

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:25 am 
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2. Floating Rose
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Finished Chapter Seven, and boy, do I like your writing!! Smooth but also strong and true to most human (and demon XD) nature, awesome!

Catherine gives me the chills, and Doc unsettles me in a way I cannot describe. AND HE WAS AT THEIR ROOM, fuck! His character always gave me the chills in the show, and you seem to have translated that to here, kudos! And now I'm actually more wary of him than of Damien, although he sure is a psycho to be considered.

I wanna read your food fight challenge fic!! Gonna comment on it after I do :)

Ouch for the (Erynn-related, fo-sho) nightmare Tara had, my stomach turned with all she felt. Aren't they going to do anything about it??

Had me giggling with the 'kid crossing the street alone for the first time' metaphor for Willow's notes XD

Later on I'll read 8, I'm almost up to date with ya, yay! :banana keep going with this awesome story, it's a safe place for me in this good but complicated moment in my life, thanks :)

Hugs!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:38 pm 
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PalomaMartinBR wrote:
About chapter 6: whathe prop?!? What an update, my dude. (that sounded really weird in my head haha what should I call you?)


Heh, call me CnG, M or anything that you want really. If it helps at all, I'm female. :laugh

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
I could totally imagine Erynn's sunflower drawing, sweet! And your describing of the magic and the spell?? Their energy together?? terrific!! Could totally see Willow sing-dancing ''I'm too sexy'' too :laugh


:grin I'm so happy!! When I write, it's from a visual place. I see those scenes and try to put them into words... I'm glad it works out!

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
The sex scene got me all tingly all over, the way you write makes me able to read it fast and it just flows really well! (didn't say what :drool )


Uh, yeah... again with the writing from a visual place. I need to take breaks often, writing a scene like that. lol

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
TOTALLY OFFENDED that your Tara doesn't like Xena!!! :miff


I knew this would offend some. hahaha The reasons why Tara doesn't like Xena are the same reasons why I couldn't make it through season 1 of that show. :laugh I might try again though, see if it grows on me - season 1 of any show *even Buffy* is sometimes hard to watch. If my opinion changes... well, Tara's might as well. :wink

Will's redemption wrote:
My guess is that this time Willow will be the damsel in distress and Tara will be forced to release her bound powers so she and the others can free Willow out of Jurrot's and Damien's clutches... If I'm right I'm just hoping you don't make it a rescue "in the last second" with Willow already chained naked to a crate ready to be tortured in front of the cameras - that would be above the angst level I can stand!


This made me chuckle. I can assure you, this is NOT the plot. While writing, I noticed how easily this could be the plot... this made me cranky, I don't like easy. So... this isn't it, folks. :laugh

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Finished Chapter Seven, and boy, do I like your writing!! Smooth but also strong and true to most human (and demon XD) nature, awesome!
...
Catherine gives me the chills, and Doc unsettles me in a way I cannot describe. AND HE WAS AT THEIR ROOM, fuck! His character always gave me the chills in the show, and you seem to have translated that to here, kudos! And now I'm actually more wary of him than of Damien, although he sure is a psycho to be considered.


Thank you!! I really want it to be believable... :love

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
I wanna read your food fight challenge fic!! Gonna comment on it after I do :)


Please do! I'd love to hear what you think of it.

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
Later on I'll read 8, I'm almost up to date with ya, yay! :banana keep going with this awesome story, it's a safe place for me in this good but complicated moment in my life, thanks :)


The next update will be posted tonight! Thank you so much for reading! :love

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 Post subject: When Erynn found herself - Post 11 (Update)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:42 am 
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When Erynn found herself – Post 11 (Update)

Author name – CopperAndGold
Rating – NC-17 (Strong)

Disclaimer - This is an adult fic. There will be some angst, smut, bad language, difficult subject matters (They will be noted prior to posting) The characters' developments were taken from season 5 - A bit after the episode: Family. Anything that is canon and prior to this episode is fair game. Oh, there's also a small reference to a funny exchange in season 6 between Anya and Tara that I just couldn't stop from using. Even with all this, there's comedy too! Everything after Family becomes A/U.

Feedback – Please, I love your words.
Summary – Willow and Tara make a new friend. She's... interesting.

Notes – Things get creepy, Tara comes clean. Lots of references to Erynn’s sordid past. Rape, drugs and violence are all referenced. There are no depictions of these acts. Only dialogue about them.




Impossible life… She hadn’t even fixed her hair, the phone call had woken her on the first ring. Joyce hadn’t slept soundly since finding out about her daughter’s calling. No… She thought, even before she knew the why of it, Buffy’s behavior and lifestyle had caused her mother to lose sleep. Worrying about her daughter the delinquent only became worrying about her being The Slayer. Joyce never thought she’d one day wish for her delinquent back. Impossible life.

Now Buffy was injured. In the hospital. Her fingers tapped the steering wheel impatiently, the red of the streetlight glaring and mocking her. It was four in the morning and the streets were deserted but, she was waiting.

For nothing.

Buffy.

Joyce hit the gas without another thought, screeching through the red light towards the hospital. The call had been infuriatingly sparse in terms of information. Her daughter had been ‘dropped off’ at the hospital. The staff hadn’t found any identifying items on her other than a hastily scrawled name and address on her left hand. The nurse who had called Joyce had found her number after a bit of research.

Even then… all she’d been able to tell Joyce was that Buffy was in the hospital, awaiting surgery.

But, being The Slayer – this mythical creature that was her daughter – had its advantages. Joyce tried to calm herself with the thought as she turned into the parking lot of the foreboding structure. Slayer healing was nothing to sneeze at. Right?

As the lift gate started pulling up, the machine to her left spit out a ticket. She agitatedly yanked it out, glaring at the gate and its impossibly extra slow rise. What would she do if Buffy were to die?

Turning the ignition key back, safely tucked between two other parked cars, the dam burst. Joyce leaned her head against the steering wheel, a deep cry ripped from her chest. She couldn’t lose Buffy. She couldn’t… Her daughter was her world. Her pride and love of the young woman grew every day, with every new discovery. Through thick and thin, they were a team. Mother and daughter against the world. Buffy gave her strength to do the impossible.

Leaving Hank hadn’t been easy for either of them. Buffy had once been close with her father and, so had she. But, he’d disappointed them both over the years. First, with his unfaithfulness. Then, with his abdication of his fatherly responsibilities. The divorce had been amicable enough, civil and without too much friction. But, the distance between him and them that had resulted and kept growing, hurt Buffy so terribly. Her strong, intelligent daughter hid it so very well. But, Joyce knew his absence would be felt as soon as Buffy would wake from surgery.

I hope your secretary bites your dick off! She wiped angrily at her eyes, pulled a tissue from her glove box and blew her nose. She squared her shoulders, resolved. We don’t need you, Hank...

Grabbing her purse from the passenger seat, she pushed her door open forcefully, anger still coursing through her veins. Joyce barely registered the ‘thunk’ of her car door hitting that of her neighbor’s.

The loud double-beeping of her alarm rang through the lot as she sped toward the entrance of the building. I don’t need you.

Once Joyce disappeared through the big glass doors, Spike flicked his now spent cigarette ahead of him. With a satisfied nod that the Slayer’s mother had arrived, he walked around the corner where he’d been waiting and started away from the hospital.

A glance at the sky was all it took for him to realize he had little time before he’d have to hide from the sun. He had no choice but to make it back to his crypt. Hang in there Slayer.

***

“She was following you?” Damien asked, flipping the phone over in his palm, “It was supposed to be the other way around. The Slayer was being tracked twenty-four-seven….” He raised his head and held Jurrot in his questioning gaze, “Right?”

The demon let out a disgruntled grumble, awkwardly trying to bind his skewered foot. “Tracker lost her.” When the bandage unraveled for the third time, Jurrot threw it with all his might. “Graahwwrr!”

Of course, the bandage being gauze and it not being bundled, it just flittered around on the air in perfect incongruity with the rage that had propelled it. “Made snack of him.” He finished lamely.

The founder grinned as he continued his perusal of the phone he held, “We’ll need a replacement.” He pressed the phone to life, quickly noticing something. He frowned in thought, “Huh, this isn’t hers… doubt she knows French.”

Jurrot shifted onto his good foot, avoiding his boss’ eyes. “I go?”

Damien shrugged, “Sure. But, one more question before you go.” Placing the phone back onto his desk, he stood up, “Is she alive?” He asked, walking around the desk to stand in front of his employee. Even with his head tipped back to look the demon in the eye, his posture and facial expression betrayed no doubt about his status.

A deep, frustrated rumble emanated from the demon’s chest, “Yes.” He almost sounded as if he was whining. Almost, “Hurt bad, alive.” Jurrot slumped, “I left.”

His boss smiled, “Good. I know how much you wanted to kill her.” He nodded, quite satisfied, “I would tell you why I want her to stay alive… for now.” Damien looked up as he sat on the edge of his desk. Unreproachful honesty laced his tone, “But, you and I both know you can’t understand.” He shrugged, “Your nature doesn’t allow you to.”

The founder pressed a button on his desk phone and spoke up when Lynd answered, “We have a stakeout at the bar,” Pulling his drawer open, he produced a piece of paper which he read out, “June, works eleven to four. Demon. Have her brought to Jurrot’s apartment.”

“June, right. Anything else, sir?” Lynd asked politely although, distractedly. They had a lot on their plate.

“That’ll be all for now,” Damien pressed the call to a close, “You need to let off some steam.” He grinned up at Jurrot, “Go home and have fun.”

***

For the second time that morning, the alarm woke her up. Without opening an eye, Tara’s lazy hand reached out and pawed at her lover’s bedside table. Book, pen, another pen… Should be around here some- “Ha,” She croaked sleepily, her fingers finally finding the annoying beeping box. She ran them along the top of the device, feeling the bumps of buttons under the pads of her fingers. An image of the alarm sat in her mind’s eye guiding her movements. Time set button, hours… minutes, just above that… Snooze and…

The sound stopped, she grinned proudly. Her eyes were still closed and it felt like a small victory. Getting up wasn’t going to be easy today. The bed was cold, she was alone. No cuddles to wake up to; Willow had gone to her first class already. If I keep my eyes closed, the day hasn’t started yet.

Wednesdays were her least favorite days. It was the only day of the week when their first class didn’t coincide enough to warrant getting up together. The first few Wednesdays, Tara had been adamant about getting her cuddles in. When her lover’s alarm would sound at six thirty, she’d blink her blue eyes open and snuggle into Willow’s warmth. Then, a short fifteen minutes later, her girlfriend was a whirlwind of floppy limbs and a streak of red hair as she flittered around the room, getting ready for her day.

The blonde would be left alone, wide awake even though her first class wasn’t until eleven. Her Wednesday ending at three made for very long days then and, being up before it had been necessary, she often found herself being tired and run down. When Willow had insisted she stay asleep one of these Wednesday mornings, she couldn’t deny how much better the day had gone. So, with a resigned huff she rolled unto her back and blinked her eyes open for the first time that day. Sans Willow.

Tara didn’t remember what she’d dreamt that night. But she could feel a sense of foreboding that she couldn’t quite shake. Considering the kind of dreams she’d had recently though, the blonde would take this feeling over remembering, any day.

Today was the day she was going to talk with Erynn about her flashbacks and dreams. She’d given herself some time to figure out how to best broach the subject with her friend but, Tara only came to the conclusion that there wasn’t a good way to do it. Just… a lot of different bad ways, with varying degrees of badness.

That was only the end part of her day, though. She had two classes to attend, the first being about professional standards and practices. Not the easiest class to wake up to.

“Goddess,” She grumbled and turned over. There was a note on her bedside table. Tara smiled, at least Wednesdays came with little love notes from her girlfriend.

The blonde’s brow crinkled, she pouted as she read the short note: ‘Check the answering machine. There’s a message for you. Love you, xxx’

Her arms flopped to the mattress, her sleepy mind disappointed. This wasn’t the usual romantic recollection of a sweet dream her lover had had that night. Or, thoughts of what the day would bring and how much coming home would be the highlight. The usual notes were attentive and warm, this was… informative but, lacking in anything Willow-y. She’s probably worried sick… I hope we hear from Buffy today.

The blonde made a quick mental note about the message waiting for her. A running list quickly started forming in her mind of things she needed to get done. Checking the machine made it to number two. First thing’s first… Her nose crinkled into a slight grimace.

A shower was in order.

That thought had her up and under the warm spray within ten minutes. A blush graced Tara’s cheeks, darkening the already pink flush the warmth of the water had elicited. Memories of the night prior whispered through her mind, seducing her into remembering details. The way Willow had smiled, bit her lip or arched her back. The sounds she had made, the feel of her skin…

Tara shook her head, realizing she’d been standing in a daze holding onto a soapy loofah. Time was a commodity she couldn’t afford to waste, unfortunately. Drying her hair was in itself a long process.

With a towel firmly wrapped around her darkened golden locks and her warmed body snug in her bathrobe, she padded back to the room freshly showered.

Quickly grabbing her comb, she flicked her towel off and onto the cozy chair. The witch was carefully untangling her hair when she pressed the button on the answering machine. Tara grinned in delight, immediately recognizing her lover’s voice.

“Uh, ok so this is when I talk. La la la, nothing to see here, just having a private conversation... you creepy… stalker… guy.” Tara couldn’t help but chuckle at her girlfriend’s nervous chatter, quickly deducing this had been when Willow was dropping the gift card outside the Espresso Pump. “Oh God! Where’s the card?” Faint and frantic patting sounds littered the background, “Oh… ok, whew. Ok, ok relax. You’re a Scooby, you can be all sneaky and-and cool. Like James Bond, but Jewish and-and with red hair. Oh, God.” Her voice whined. The blonde giggled, totally smitten.

She sat on the edge of the bed with a silly grin one her face, still combing through her hair. “You know I’m gonna get you back for that, missy.” Tara cocked her head, bemused by the change in her girlfriend’s tone, apparently now addressing her directly, “That whole ‘practicing with props’ comment was so not fair! You know that kind of talk jams my brain. You just have to pull that sexy grin and my operating system freezes up! Then-then you go and say something like that... Naughty pop-ups start springing up all over my screen.” The blonde giggled, already quite aware of the effect she had on her girlfriend when she used secretive spicy talk.

“Ok, so the whole computer analogy aside, you know what I mean.” Willow grumbled and Tara just knew she was pouting. She wished she could kiss those pouty lips, “Not that those images aren’t nice, mind you.” After a moment of silence, there was a deep longing sigh before the message continued.

“I don’t know what I’d do without you, baby. Sometimes it kinda scares me, you know? Like, how someone so essential in my life would be missing if only tiny moments hadn’t happened. It just all seems so… fragile, and-and it scares me, sometimes. My brain starts wanting to figure out all the possible little moments that might come, that are that important. Wants to be able to control whatever happens next so I can make sure…”

The comb fell to the bed, Tara swallowed the lump that had formed in the back of her throat, “Tara, I didn’t know how terrifying loving someone as much as I love you, could be. I never knew how… I’m standing out here with this creep and, can I just tell you – not a good ambassador for the facial hair movement – and-and that’s kinda scary in itself. But, it doesn’t compare. I know that sounds bad. But, it really isn’t! It’s the kind of scary that makes you feel alive, you know? Like, like what it would feel like to jump out of a plane. With… a parachute. Or, standing at the top of the highest mountain and looking down… that sense of awe and vertigo. When you look at me…” Tara felt her throat tightened in sympathy with that of her lover, so obviously choked up.

Tears sprung to her eyes, “I would jump a thousand times over. A million times, scared as I am, I’ve never been more alive. Never been happier. Tiny moments made my life whole by bringing you into it. You’re a miracle, baby. My miracle. I love you.”

Willow… The blonde took in a short hitching breath, blinking furiously. The warmth radiating from her heart making her shake her head in disbelief. How far her life had come, “Oh, heh. Was about to head back in before dropping the card. Oops,” Tara chuckled through a few tears, finding her lover so completely endearing, “Ok, I think he saw me… going back in now. Can’t wait to see you! I love you.”

“I love you.” Tara whispered, the joyful smile making her teary eyes sparkle. With a giddy giggle, she fell back onto the bed with a slight bounce.

Wednesdays weren’t so bad, after all.

***

Crumpling the paper wrapping in her fist, she chewed down her last bite. Twisting in her seat, Erynn threw what was left of her lunch into the garbage can not too far from the bench.

The Canadian was enjoying her time by the small pond, watching ducks glide and dip under the surface. Soft quacks echoed over the water, birds chirped from the trees. She took a deep, contended breath. In two hours, she needed to be back at the dorms. Knowing she was meeting with Tara today had made her anxious. So, here she sat, trying to regain a sense of calm.

The brunette knew she wasn’t going to like what the witch had to say. She set about preparing mentally for whatever might happen. Steeling herself in her resolve to control what she could, the only thing she could. Her reactions.

She closed her eyes against the sun’s rays as it made its way across the sky, now shining through the canopy of leaves the tree above her held. The air smelled crisp, dry with a tinge of salt. Erynn tried to lock the scent into her memory, it reminding her instantly of California. She could imagine her mind’s treasure chest of scents. Different places she’d been, all represented in little glass bottles with cork stops. California now placed lovingly in the chest next to the others. She smiled, enjoying the image.

A familiar tune floated to her ears. Amid the quacks of ducks, Edith Piaf’s voice rose to proudly proclaim her lack of regrets. Erynn instinctively reached for her jacket pocket, thinking her phone was ringing. Her pocket was empty, the song grew louder as she remembered she’d lent her phone to Buffy.

Her stomach started to twist, she felt herself shifting in a familiar way that shot ice shards down her spine. Erynn stiffened in her seat, her hand grasping her pendant. Frozen in place with fear. Non… non, non, non…

“Well, don’t you look… different.” His voice as darkly soothing as ever, although older now and slightly deeper, “I found your phone.” Damien sat nonchalantly on the bench, crossed his legs and handed Erynn her phone.

The girl shakily turned her head, looked at the phone in his outstretched hand. Followed his arm up to his shoulder. Steeling herself, her eyes finally made it to his face. Proof that what her mind had screamed at her was true, staring back at her through darkened lenses of sunglasses. His lips twisted in a devilish grin, “Hey there. Long time no see, pumpkin.”

When Erynn didn’t move, stricken dumb and paralyzed, he sighed and let the phone drop to the bench. “Never thought I’d see you again, either.” Damien looked out over the water, seemingly lost in recollections of times past, “If I’d have known finding out you shifted was going to make you so… violent,” He shook his head and chuckled, “I’d have told you myself.”

A duck lifted off from the pond in forceful flaps of wings, Erynn’s anger woke her up from her trance. She shrugged it on like a comforting jacket. “Where did you get my phone?”

Damien smiled proudly, “Pumpkin! Your English got so much better.” He tapped her on the knee and chuckled when she flinched.

“Yeah,” Erynn shifted in her seat, “I bet your French still sucks, though. Where’d you get my phone, Damien?” Please let Buffy be ok, please, please… She put all her energy into focusing on who she was, filtering between urges that were hers and those her shifting induced. Her fear for Buffy and her friends overriding the feelings coming from her tormentor, the pendant doing its job of dampening emotions that weren’t hers.

He swiveled his handsome, dark-haired head toward her. Leaned an elbow on the back of the bench and rested his head in the palm of his hand, looking at Erynn as if a smitten high-school boy, “I guess, since she had your phone, you know Buffy.” When she nodded slightly, he added, “Did you know she’s special? A Slayer.”

“Ouais,” Erynn nodded, “Where is she?” Fear, anger and shock battled for supremacy. The girl thought of her aunt and the lessons she’d learned. Hoping against hope she could make it through. Don’t show you care, it’ll make her a target… if she’s not already…

Damien sighed, “Poor thing’s in the hospital.” He took off his sunglasses and scratched his head, “We have conflicting interests.”

After a silent beat, he continued, “Her whole group might get in the way.” His golden-brown eyes bore into her, as if trying to read her mind, “Those two witches, especially.”

Erynn’s heart dropped into her stomach, she felt her palms get sweaty and a twitch in the corner of her mouth. Don’t react, don’t… oh, God. Tara… Willow…

Damien’s brow furrowed, “Which one is it? The blonde or the redhead?” His jaws clenched, “You know you’re mine, pumpkin. Pop gave you to me.”

Rip his eyes out… rip his fucking eyes out! “That was a long time ago,” She ground out, her hands clenching into fists, “Pop’s dead.” That’s not me… it isn’t.

He chuckled, “Yeah, you sure made a mess of him.” Damien grinned, “After you left, I heard about Philippe, too. Poor guy didn’t even recognize you, he hadn’t paid for you in over a year.” He shrugged, “You got too old.”

“What,” Erynn took a deep breath, “What do you want?” She asked shakily.

The founder took a moment, looking over the pond in thought, “I haven’t seen you in over four years. It’s obvious you’re trying to be… different. I could let you go,” He put his glasses back on and sighed, “But I’m not good at letting go… you were my first after all.”

Lo-lo… The girl felt the world crumbling around her, hope dwindling with his every word.

Damien continued when Erynn stayed silent, “Do you believe in fate, pumpkin?” He smiled, “You inspired the whole reason I’m here, and here you are.”

She blinked back tears, her tone hollow when she asked, “Will you leave them alone?”

He smirked and bopped her nose condescendingly with a finger, “I guess that depends on you.”

***

Willow opened the door to her dorm room, holding the books she’d borrowed from the Magic Box under her arm. After a little bit of shuffling around, the door was closed and the books dropped onto the bed with a huff. She smiled when she noticed the bed had been changed, relieved she didn’t have to do it. Thanks baby.

Knowing Tara was going to Erynn’s after classes, she’d decided to do some more research into trying to rid her girlfriend of her flashbacks. She was glad to find a few tomes at the shop that might hold some answers, although a bit surprised at how much help Anya had been. She’d even let her leave the shop with the precious books.

After taking off her shoes, grabbing a drink from the fridge and propping some pillows against the headboard, Willow settled on the bed for a long research session. Her trusty notepad and array of colored pens by her side.

She was onto a promising lead when the door opening surprised her. “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be at Erynn’s?”

Tara sighed and closed the door. She dropped her bag onto the desk chair, frowning as she answered, “She wasn’t there.”

“Oh,” Willow pushed some of the books aside to make room for her girlfriend to sit with her, “Maybe something came up.”

The blonde sat on the edge of the bed and leaned over to untie the laces on her boots, “Maybe,” Pulling one off, she wiggled her toes and reached for the other, “Have you heard from Buffy?”

Pushing a lock of hair behind her ear, the redhead replied dejectedly, “No, not yet.” She patted the bed next to her, “I need cuddles.” Willow pouted.

Seeing the worry in her girlfriend’s eyes made Tara’s heart ache. She scooted next to Willow and leaned back, her arms wide open. They were soon filled with a very thankful redhead. She ran her fingers through her girl’s hair, humming soothing nothings for a few moments.

Her eyes fell to the books and notes, “What’s all this?”

“Research,” Willow mumbled, burrowing deeper into Tara’s chest. Her hand rose up and cupped the breast she was resting against, “I was looking up stuff on how to stop your flashbacks.”

The blonde grinned at the breast grab, knowing her girlfriend found them comforting. The first time this had happened, Tara had been surprised and not a little confused. Her love had been worried sick about Faith being around, they’d been hiding out. Cuddles were needed and after a few minutes Willow had, oh so timidly, asked for a breast to comfort her. The babbled explanation was something she’d always wished she’d have recorded.

A happy Willow being Tara’s number one priority, she’d acquiesced. True to her word, it’d only been about comfort for the redhead. She’d fallen asleep with a nipple in her mouth. The blonde didn’t mind much other than the fact she’d needed a good half hour to ‘wind down’. Small price to pay for a peaceful Willow, really.

“Did you find anything?” Her fingers sifted through red silk, finding the edge of an ear. She followed it along to a soft lobe.

The redhead purred and smoothed her cheek over her Tara-pillow, “Not quite,” When she noticed the nipple against her cheek was hardening, she rubbed her nose over it making Tara giggle, “I’m onto something though.” She gave another nose rub.

Tara pushed her lover’s hair out of her face, “Are you digging for truffles, love?” She giggled some more, it kinda tickled.

Willow said, mock-offended, “Are you calling me a pig?” She was about to nip the nipple through Tara’s shirt when the phone rang.

Both witches jumped out of bed, running toward the phone. Willow got there first, “Hello!?” She asked anxiously, hoping it was Buffy.

“Willow, honey,” Joyce’s voice sounded tired and strained, “It’s Joyce.”

“Joyce, hi. What is it?” The witches looked at each other expectantly. “I mean, hi. How-how are you…” She winced at her awkwardness.

“It’s Buffy,” Willow cleared the desk chair so she could sit down, “She’s in the hospital… she had surgery this morning.”

Tara noticed how stricken her girlfriend looked, she knew it wasn’t good. Kneeling in front of the chair, she took Willow’s free hand into hers. Please, Goddess…

The redhead closed her eyes, steeling herself, “Joyce? Is-is she ok?”

Buffy’s mother tried to reassure her daughter’s best friend, “She should be fine. It’ll just take a while.” She cleared her throat, trying to keep her emotions in check, “Her neck was broken.”

“Oh God,” The redhead’s eyes filled with tears, “She’s gonna be ok though? I mean, she’s gonna heal, right?”

Joyce was quiet for a moment before saying, “She should… they say she might not regain full mobility, but you know she’s a special girl.”

Willow wiped her eyes, her hand firmly held and squeezed in support, “Can we go see her?”

“Yes,” Joyce sniffled, “She’s awake now. She asked for you… if you could get in touch with Xander and Anya, I’d appreciate it. I don’t know if we should call Giles…”

Willow nodded, “He should know, I’ll call them right now and then we’ll go to the hospital.” She stood up and Tara followed suit, walking toward the bed to put her boots back on. “We won’t be long.”

***

She looked in the full length mirror, barely recognizing herself. The pendant still firmly clasped around her neck, Erynn stepped out of the changing booth. “So?” How many stupid clothes do I have to try on?

Lynd cocked their head, an eyebrow arched high in contemplation, “Turn around.”

“He sure does things differently nowadays,” The Canadian turned around to show off the open back design of the dress, “Didn’t used to be so high class.” Erynn heard an appreciative purr behind her making her grimace.

“Mmm,” Lynd ran a finger along the edge of the tattoo adorning the girl’s back, “This one’s a keeper.”

Don’t touch me! Erynn shivered and cleared her throat, “Are we done? I’ve been trying on clothes for two fucking hours.”

The secretary grinned, “Mr. Brice wanted to make sure you look the part.” Lynd walked over to the chair holding the different clothes that were ‘keepers’. “He can’t be seen with a hat and suspenders wearing, dyke-ish tomboy. No offence.” The clothes were quickly gathered.

“Believe me,” The girl snorted, “None taken. I just thought I’d be fitted for something else than dinner and party wear.” She chuckled darkly, “I’ll take clothes any day, even if you dressed me in a muumuu.”

Lynd approached her, an amused grin on their face, “You’re cute. I see why he likes you.” They cocked their head, “He romanticized the heck out of you, you know. Once he lost you, it was like you became this…” Shrugging, the sentence was dropped as they walked towards the register. “Take that dress off, we’ll take it. We need to get you to the salon next.”

“Oh,” Erynn made her way back into the changing room, “Goody.”

***

The taxi pulled up to the hospital, carrying two very nervous and worried witches. Hand in hand, they made their way up the path towards the entrance doors in silence. Both lost in their own thoughts, until a tentative voice startled them, “Tara!”

They stopped, Tara looked around trying to find who’d called her name. Willow pulled on her girlfriend’s hand, having spotted the source, “That lady over there.” She pointed.

“Oh,” The started walking towards Lucile, who was sat on the ground. Next to a bench. “Lucile, what are you doing here?” Tara asked when they were close enough, “This is Willow, my girlfriend.”

“Nice to meet you, I won’t keep you darlings,” She shifted slightly and cleared her throat, “I was waiting for you, so I could tell you to trust Spike.”

“Spike?” Willow so didn’t have the patience for this right now, “My best friend’s up there with a broken neck, we don’t have time for Spike.”

“Will,” Tara looked intently at Lucile for a moment, “Why don’t you go up and I’ll meet you there?” She turned to her girlfriend, “I know Lucile… I’d l-like to hear w-what she has to say.”

“You know what?” Willow scowled and dropped Tara’s hand, “Fine. You know where I’ll be.” She jogged towards the entrance without looking back.

The blonde sighed and turned back, “I’m sorry, it’s a really stressful situation.” She took a seat on the bench, “I’d appreciate it if you made this quick, though.”

“Of course, dear.” Lucile shifted so she’d be facing the witch, “You see, Spike brought Buffy here last night. She’d been attacked by Jurrot. He’s the Gurtrall you’ve been looking for.” Tara nodded for her to continue, “He wants you to know he’ll be waiting at the Magic Box tonight, until the sun comes up. Spike wants to help.”

The blonde rubbed her forehead, perplexed, “Why does he want to help us?” She frowned and looked at Lucile, “He hates us.”

The old woman sighed, “Before the chip, he did hate you.” She shrugged, “Now, he just hates what you stand for. But,” She held Tara’s gaze, “He hates what this new guy in town stands for, more.”

Tara pursed her lips impatiently, “You seem to know a lot, too. Why don’t you come?” That way we can all decide who we trust…

Lucile looked saddened, “I can’t… I can’t meddle too much. I need to stay neutral, darling.”

The witch shook her head, exasperated, “Ok, fine. Whatever… I’ll let them know.” She made to stand up, “I’m s-sorry, but I have to go.”

“Tara,” Lucile said imploringly, “We all have our roles to play.”

She started walking away and said over her shoulder, “Yeah, I know. Mine’s in that hospital standing by my girlfriend and my family.”

***

“Erynn’s gonna be pissed,” She heard Buffy say as she entered the room, “He took her phone.”

Willow was sat next to the Slayer’s bed, holding her hand while Buffy seemed to be trying to keep a brave face, “Hey, Tara! Look, I’m a robot.” She pointed at her halo brace with a shaky hand.

Tara swallowed the lump in her throat, “Buffy,” The redhead looked at her girlfriend with a pained expression. The blonde quickly joined her, resting a hand on her shoulder, “Very robo-ch-chique.” She looked across the bed to Joyce and nodded, “Ms. Summers.”

The woman looked absolutely drained, “Tara, you know you can call me Joyce, honey.” She stood up, “I’m going to get myself another coffee. I’ll be right back.”

Once her mother was out of earshot, Buffy spoke up, “She really needs to get some rest; she’s making me all twitchy.” She lifted her hand which shook the higher it got, “Well, twitchier. So weird not being able to move my head.” Her eyes darted from left to right, as if trying to turn her head.

Willow wiped her eyes, “How long do you have to wear that thing?”

The Slayer groaned, “They say two months, at least. But, hey,” She grinned, “They didn’t account for the whole Slayer healing thing.”

Tara nodded and tried a smile, not really knowing what to say.

“Well,” Willow sniffled, “Giles cut his trip short; he’s on his way back. Xander and Anya should be here soon.”

Buffy looked at her best friend from the corner of her eye, “Will, no crying allowed. A crying Willow makes a crying Buffy and no one wants that.”

“Yeah,” Tara said without thinking, “You’ll r-rust.”

Buffy snorted out a laugh, “Heh, Beep-Boop! Tara, oil me up.” She said in a robot voice, her arm jutting up and down. “I’m squeaky.”

It was the blonde’s turn to giggle, her eyebrows shooting up her forehead. Willow looked from one to the other, “This is getting weird.”

“Hey, guys.” Xander said from the doorway, “Buffy, hey! Nice head gear.” He said with a passable Xander-smile.

“We’re very happy you’re not dead.” Anya said, peering closer. She looked shocked, “Is that really screwed into your skull!?”

Willow’s jaws clenched, her body tensed up. Tara squeezed the shoulder under her hand comfortingly, shooting a sideways glance at the ex-vengeance demon. Dammit, Anya!

Buffy spoke up, trying to relieve the tension, “So, I got my ass kicked. Still have no information and I lost Erynn’s phone.” She sighed, “There’s a sports metaphor here, something about baseball and zeros.”

“Um,” Tara started uncomfortably, not knowing how what she had to say would be received, “Ap-apparently Spike knows something. He’ll be at the box tonight, until s-sun-up.” She cleared her throat, “He s-says he wants to help.”

“What?” Xander exclaimed, “You’ve got to be kidding me, Spike!?” He waved a hand angrily, “How much money does he want for his ‘help’?”

The blonde took a step away instinctively, crossing her arms over her chest, “Th-there wasn’t mention of money.”

“Xander,” Willow warned, noticing her girlfriend’s reaction, “Calm down and lower your voice.”

He took a breath and shook his head, “Sorry Will, but I don’t trust Spike. Ever.” He shrugged dramatically, “Call me crazy, it’s just a thing I do.”

“He,” Tara cleared her throat, “He apparently brought B-buffy here, last night.”

“Right,” Xander scoffed, “And who told you that? He’s just trying to look good.”

“Xand?” Everyone turned to Buffy who’d been silent throughout, “Mom said they told her a blonde guy dropped me off.”

“What would be the point of not hearing him out, anyway?” Anya asked, “I mean, we know nothing. What do we have to lose?”

“Xander, Anya,” Joyce said as she walked into the now packed room. Looking over at her daughter, she noticed how tired she looked, “I think Buffy needs her rest.”

“Guys,” Buffy said, taking her mother’s hand, “Hear him out. Anya’s right, we’ve got nothing to lose.”

***

Since no one had had a chance to eat and, the sun was still up, the group decided to have dinner together. Italian was the choice that stuck since everyone would enjoy it. So, here they sat at Giorgio’s waiting for their orders with somber looks on their faces. Their demeanor in complete contrast with the romantic setting and lighting of the restaurant.

Willow’s head was on Tara’s shoulder, she was fiddling with her fork, “Two months with that thing on her head. She’s going to go nuts.”

“Yeah,” Xander said after taking a sip of his water, “And, now the Hellmouth is down a Slayer for a while, with a new big bad in town.”

“Giles should be here tomorrow night.” Tara said, rubbing circles on her girlfriend’s lower back, “I’m sure he’ll be able to help.”

The redhead nodded, “We’ll just all have to do our best and support Buffy how we can.”

The waiter came to the table with Xander and Anya’s meals, “Pasta Primavera for the lady,” He placed Anya’s plate down, “And, Chicken Parmesan.” Once both plates were down, he looked towards the witches, “Your orders are coming right up.”

Looking up and to his left, Xander said his thanks to the waiter but something caught his eye. The waiter was gone but the carpenter was still looking towards the restaurant’s entrance.

Anya noticed and looked over as well, “Oh, now there’s a power couple.” She looked at Xander and nudged him with an elbow, “You see how their outfits complement each other?”

Willow and Tara both turned in their seats, curious to see what their friends were on about.

From their vantage point, they could make out two attractive people. The man, older than the woman, dressed in a fine, midnight blue suit and crisp baby blue shirt. He had wavy but short, dark brown hair and a striking jawline. His smile was charming and, on his arm, a beautiful woman with dark, bouncy curls grazing her cheeks. She wore a dress made of a cream, pleated skirt with a dark blue, sleeveless top. The neckline was low enough to reveal a tantalizing cleavage. High-heeled, cream colored shoes with bare and toned legs finished her ensemble.

“Ladies,” The waiter took the group by surprise, “Turkey Bolognese, and Artichoke Parmesan.”

“Thank you,” Willow said with a smile. She looked in Xander’s direction and chuckled, “Wipe the drool off your chin, Xand.”

He started and looked away from the new arrivals, “Heh,” Pointing at Tara he said, “Looks like I’m not the only one drooling.”

The redhead looked next to her and sure enough, Tara was transfixed, “Um, baby?” Her girlfriend’s behavior was definitely not in character.

“That’s,” The blonde seemed surprised and perturbed, “That’s Erynn.” Why is he familiar?

“Wow,” Anya said, impressed, “Who’s the hunk she’s with?”

Willow’s eyebrows were high on her forehead, “That’s Erynn?” Dayum…

“I guess she’s on a date,” Xander piped up, “He seems kind of old for her, though.”

Anya waved it off, “Once you’re twenty, age doesn’t matter anymore.” She nodded appreciatively, “She chose well, he seems like someone with money and is very good looking. Although, I thought she was gay.”

Tara turned towards the table again, facing her plate. Trying has hard as she could to remember who the man was. She poked at her Artichoke Parm with her fork, her brows knitting together in thought.

“Well,” The redhead cleared her throat, “Let’s stop looking at them like they’re monkeys at the zoo or something.” She shot Tara a glance and noticed how she was absentmindedly moving her food around her plate. What’s going on?

They went about eating their meal, trying to not pay any mind to the couple sitting on the other side of the restaurant having a quiet conversation.

Although the Scoobies were making small talk, Tara was quiet throughout. I’ve seen him somewhere…

Once done and the meals payed for, they headed back out to meet Spike at The Magic Box.

Willow leaned into her girlfriend in the backseat of Xander’s car and whispered for only her to hear, “Are you ok, baby? You’ve been pretty quiet…”

“That guy with Erynn,” Tara whispered back, “He gave me the creeps.” She frowned in thought, “I feel like I’ve s-seen him before.”

“Well,” The redhead replied, “If you can’t remember, we can always ask next time we see her.”

The blonde nodded, “Yeah, I guess.” But, she still looked perturbed.

The Magic Box door was opened and the group filed in, settling at the research table. Not more than twenty minutes later, the bell above the door rang again. This time announcing Spike’s arrival.

“So, how’s the Slayer?” The vampire asked without pause, standing against the counter and facing the group.

“Great,” Xander ground out, “Broken neck, busted rib. You know,” His face contorted in anger, “Just peachy.”

Spike scowled, about the say something when Willow cut him off, “You said you had information to give us; that you wanted to help.”

“I do, bastards have it coming to them.” He spat, “Twisted fucks, the lot of them.”

Anya crossed her arms over her chest, “Well? What is it?”

Spike huffed, “The demon that attacked Buffy is a Gurtrall demon. His name is Jurrot.” He looked around the room, so far no one seemed surprised, “He works for this guy who’s launching a place called The Center. It’s a place where people and demons can torture others and get souvenirs for the right price.” He pulled his cigarettes out, “They hit Harmony’s nest… killed all her minions. Tortured her for information on the Slayer and you lot. The Center opens on Friday, boss is a sadist named Damien Brice.”

The shop keeper exclaimed incredulously, “You can’t smoke in here, Spike!”

“D-damien,” Tara muttered. She looked at Willow completely shaken, “That’s him, that’s-that’s who Erynn was with.” She whispered at her.

The redhead’s face grew serious, “Excuse us for a minute,” Taking her girlfriend’s hand, they made their way to the training room. “Ok, you’re saying Erynn was having a nice Italian dinner with a Sadist? The new big bad?”

Tara nodded frantically, scared for their friend, “I’ve seen him, in-in the flashbacks.” Her lips pressed together, trying to keep from crying, “Will, he’s a really b-bad man.”

Willow took a breath, trying to analyze the situation with what she knew, “Was he being mean to Erynn? Was she…” She rung her fingers together, “I mean, they looked kinda cozy at dinner.” She winced.

The blonde looked incredulous, “You think Erynn is… with him!?”

“No,” She shook her head, “No… but, in the flashbacks,” Willow asked tentatively, “Did she take part in the… bad stuff?”

“Will,” Tara was at the end of her rope, “I love you to death but, you’re really pissing me off.”

“Ok, whoa!” Willow raised her hands, irritated, “You haven’t told me anything, Tara.” She pointed towards the group on the other side of the wall, “If we go out there saying Erynn was having dinner with this Damien guy, what do you think they’ll say? They’ll want to know how we know it’s him, for one.” She pointed out, “And then, they’ll want to know if she’s with or against him. How are we going to prove she’s not with him? They were having a fancy dinner date together.”

The blonde was visibly shaking, tears pooling in her eyes, “He took advantage of her. Over, and over again.” She crossed her arms over her chest, “He took advantage of the fact she didn’t know she shifted. She only shifts b-because she got raped, and hit over the head with a damn rock! That triggered her shifting, but she didn’t know. She was something like thirteen, an Empath and she changed while being assaulted. Felt differently about it… Felt how he felt, and changed into s-something he wanted. Then he left and she shifted back. Remembering how she’d s-stopped fighting. Not knowing why.”

Tara couldn’t keep the tears back anymore, she was incensed, “She was so messed up... and Damien took advantage of it, he knew and didn’t tell her she was a shifter. Made her run away from home, gave her drugs and surrounded her with b-bad people. They did things to her… made her do th-things. She was really young, Will.” Tara’s shoulders shook with the force of her anger and tears.

“Baby,” Willow took her into her arms, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have pushed.” She squeezed her girlfriend to her, “I’m so sorry.”

“No, you’re right, though.” Tara wiped her eyes and sniffled, “I can’t prove that she’s not with him, or that she isn’t a s-stupid spy. I can only say what I believe is true.”

The redhead brushed a few new tears off her girlfriend’s cheeks, “And you believe she’s in danger.”

The blonde witch nodded, “Y-yes.” She said, her voice small.

Willow took on her resolve face, “Then, that should be good enough.”

***

Erynn stood in the middle of an office covered in white. The only colors those adorning paintings on the walls. Paintings of her, “Pop painted those, remember?”

The girl only stayed silent, “Pumpkin, he was my mentor and I respected him,” Damien sat on the edge of his desk and clasped his hands together, “But the man was a brute. No vision, no meaning behind his actions.” He shook his head, “He wasn’t like you and I. We’re artists in life.”

You are so fucking cracked. “So,” Erynn cleared her throat and tore her eyes away from the paintings, “What am I doing here?”

He smiled in a way that made the girl’s skin crawl, “You will be my Pet.” The founder stood up again and moved a few steps away, “But, I’m not going to force you into anything like before. I want you to… offer yourself to me this time.” Turning back towards her he concluded, “My job will be to keep you safe and cared for, and yours will be to bring me pleasure.” Shrugging, he smiled again, “Once you’ve accepted this new life, you’ll offer yourself to me as my Pet. Tell me that’s not a perfect arrangement!”

The brunette crossed her arms over her chest, “What’s my incentive? Why would I do this?”

Damien sighed and shook his head, “Pumpkin… There’s Buffy, Willow, Tara… Xander, Giles.” He looked at her with a pained expression, “There was that message Loreli left on your phone, too.” Shrugging, he added, “Wouldn’t take much to find her.”

***

_________________
~M
CopperAndGold


Last edited by CopperAndGold on Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:59 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:14 pm
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Hello CnG! I've only read the first chapter, but I had to tell you before reading on... well. freaking. done. :applause Your writing is incredible. I knew from your rating that I probably shouldn't have started reading this at work (it's dead here today), but I couldn't stop. As soon as I saw your note about Tara... we all know she was a devastatingly under developed character, but I've never been able to say why as perfectly as you did.

I'm trying to find the words to describe how much I appreciate your writing. Work brain + freezing office turning my hands into ice = slow thought process and typing. I can't wait to keep reading.

I'm guessing by your location and Erynn being Québécoise that you might be as well? I love the bits of French sprinkled in your writing. My wife and I met a woman from Montreal through a mutual friend about a year ago. I've been trying to learn french, but (tabarnak!) It's difficult... I've been listening to Charlotte Cardin and Les sœurs Boulay as inspiration and pronunciation help lol.

Please please please×10 keep writing. S'il vous plaît?

Liv


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:29 pm 
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OH MY FUCKING GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD :sheep :thud
I CANNOT BELIEVE IN THIS UPDATE.
I. Just. AH. AAAAAAAAAAAAA. OMG. I cried. what the hell!!!1!!1!!!1
I have to...I don't know..write something coherent? but I....can't? I'm just hopelessly wordless because OMG. I'll come back later, when I can form words. But I loved this one. Keep going. Please. You're awesome. Love your writing. And your story. And Erynn. AND TARA.

I came here to say that I had finally catched up, and find myself graced with this INCREDIBLE update. I'm speechless. What IS this. Repeat. I'll come back later. I have some updates to comment, plus this one. Know that you rock. Hugs.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:36 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
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Arrrgh! I thought before this update I couldn't possibly hate Damien more than I already did, but you proved me wrong! So this sick creep and his equally fucked up "mentor" ruined Erynn's young life, and now Damien has her in his clutches again and wants to force her to shift into his little masochistic "pet" by threatening our beloved scoobies' wellbeing! :fit :gnome
Don't fall for this crap Erynn, even if you did what he wanted, he wouldn't hesitate to order Tara or the others killed when they try to stop him!

Now I really hope that Damien doesn't simply get killed but that he ends up as a pet of some nasty demon into some hell dimension or something!

I'm really wondering what kind of mind-control powers Damien has to hold his employees (although at least some of them positively know that any mistake could lead to not simply getting fired, but tortured to death) and to keep Jurrot and his other demon minions subordinate and prevent them from just trying to kill the sick little human pervert to become boss themselves....

Good that the scoobies finally know about Damien and his plans with the "Center" and that Tara told Willow about the rough content of her flashbacks (although it wasn't a conscious decision really, but "broke out" of her in dispair). Yay for Willow telling Tara that her believing Erynn is a victim is enough for her! I trust she will convince the others of that too with her famous resolve face in place.

Erynn shifting at the shop into the compliant girl Lynd wanted (is herself) who enjoys playing dressup felt really creepy... Very well written (although I have to admit at first I almost overread the "their" and "they" indicating that Erynn all of a sudden copies Lynn's behaviour).

Poor Buffy! I really pray her slayer healing will shorten the time she will have to wear this brace from 2 months to 2 weeks or something. But I guess she can't possibly be fighting soon enough to stop Damien from opening the center on Friday, so now this responsibility will rest mainly on the shoulders of our beloved witches - with help from Spike, Giles and the others, won't it?

By the way, I loved the scene in the beginning with Joyce. It's really rare that we get a glimpse into her mind in fanfic-stories. I'm fervently hoping that in your AU Joyce doesn't have brain cancer and won't die!

Please update again as soon as possible - I'm really addicted to this story!


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 Post subject: When Erynn found herself NC-17 - Feedback Replies
PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:17 am 
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3. Flaming O
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Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 6:07 pm
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oliviam32 wrote:
Hello CnG! I've only read the first chapter, but I had to tell you before reading on... well. freaking. done. :applause Your writing is incredible. I knew from your rating that I probably shouldn't have started reading this at work (it's dead here today), but I couldn't stop. As soon as I saw your note about Tara... we all know she was a devastatingly under developed character, but I've never been able to say why as perfectly as you did.


Thank you! I'm so glad you're liking it. :grin Keep in mind, it gets dark and rough. But, hang in there.

I hope my version of Tara appeals to you, as well. Since she was under developed - we all have our own ideas of who she might be. I hope I won't disappoint. :love

oliviam32 wrote:
I'm trying to find the words to describe how much I appreciate your writing. Work brain + freezing office turning my hands into ice = slow thought process and typing. I can't wait to keep reading.


Yay! well, keep the feedback coming... I kind of live on the stuff. hehehe

oliviam32 wrote:
I'm guessing by your location and Erynn being Québécoise that you might be as well? I love the bits of French sprinkled in your writing. My wife and I met a woman from Montreal through a mutual friend about a year ago. I've been trying to learn french, but (tabarnak!) It's difficult... I've been listening to Charlotte Cardin and Les sœurs Boulay as inspiration and pronunciation help lol.


I am Quebecoise, indeed. Sorry about the missing accents, my keyboard is English. I know, contradiction... but, I lived eleven years in English speaking parts of the world. I'm more comfortable with an English keyboard now.

Anyway... hehehe You're going for the Quebecois French, I see. Quite different than French from France! Of course, this makes me all giddy - that someone would want to learn the Quebecois way. *sigh*

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
OH MY FUCKING GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD :sheep :thud
I CANNOT BELIEVE IN THIS UPDATE.
I. Just. AH. AAAAAAAAAAAAA. OMG. I cried. what the hell!!!1!!1!!!1
I have to...I don't know..write something coherent? but I....can't? I'm just hopelessly wordless because OMG. I'll come back later, when I can form words. But I loved this one. Keep going. Please. You're awesome. Love your writing. And your story. And Erynn. AND TARA.


Coherent or not, your post made me wiggle in my chair with glee. hehehe

Although I feel somewhat bad for making you cry, my writer's brain is very happy about it. Of course I'll keep going, I couldn't possibly leave it here...

PalomaMartinBR wrote:
I'm speechless. What IS this. Repeat. I'll come back later. I have some updates to comment, plus this one. Know that you rock. Hugs.


:grin Looking forward to reading your more coherent thoughts hahahaha

Will's redemption wrote:
Arrrgh! I thought before this update I couldn't possibly hate Damien more than I already did, but you proved me wrong! So this sick creep and his equally fucked up "mentor" ruined Erynn's young life, and now Damien has her in his clutches again and wants to force her to shift into his little masochistic "pet" by threatening our beloved scoobies' wellbeing! :fit :gnome


Damien is twisted... a twisted, twisted man. Erynn has grown, and learned a lot... don't count her out just yet.

Will's redemption wrote:
I'm really wondering what kind of mind-control powers Damien has to hold his employees (although at least some of them positively know that any mistake could lead to not simply getting fired, but tortured to death) and to keep Jurrot and his other demon minions subordinate and prevent them from just trying to kill the sick little human pervert to become boss themselves....


I've been meaning to go into this - the hold Damien has on his closest staff. Those who actually know and have seen him... which are few. I've been trying to find a way to make it fit without it just reading like an exposition.

Will's redemption wrote:
Erynn shifting at the shop into the compliant girl Lynd wanted (is herself) who enjoys playing dressup felt really creepy... Very well written (although I have to admit at first I almost overread the "their" and "they" indicating that Erynn all of a sudden copies Lynn's behaviour).


Lynd is difficult to write, since they assume both genders. I'm trying to get better at it! Erynn is not only compliant because of the shifting - she's also kind of stuck at the moment, trying to figure things out.

Will's redemption wrote:
Poor Buffy! I really pray her slayer healing will shorten the time she will have to wear this brace from 2 months to 2 weeks or something. But I guess she can't possibly be fighting soon enough to stop Damien from opening the center on Friday, so now this responsibility will rest mainly on the shoulders of our beloved witches - with help from Spike, Giles and the others, won't it?


I guess we'll have to wait and see? :wink

Will's redemption wrote:
By the way, I loved the scene in the beginning with Joyce. It's really rare that we get a glimpse into her mind in fanfic-stories. I'm fervently hoping that in your AU Joyce doesn't have brain cancer and won't die!


Joyce won't die. Well, eventually we all do... but, you know what I mean.

Will's redemption wrote:
Please update again as soon as possible - I'm really addicted to this story!


Next update is being written as we speak! :love :kgeek

_________________
~M
CopperAndGold


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:11 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

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You left me hanging there:(

Enviado desde mi LG-H440AR mediante Tapatalk


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic :: 2017 :: When Erynn found herself NC-17
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:01 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
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I just finished rereading this in order to catch up, and damn if it isn't even better the second time around. I adore Tara and Anya's friendship, that they feel comfortable enough to share naughty talk and have Anya call Tara out. I get what Tara is doing, but Anya is right on this one.

You said earlier: "this isn't a fantastical lovey-dovey, 'our love is so grand it'll save the world' type of fic. It's human, raw and as real as I can make it. "
If you were running for elected office, this would have sealed my vote. And you do it well, I like that the girls get grumpy with each other- its real, its what lets us really get to know each other, where our personal narrative comes from.
I was also really struck by your handling of trauma, the way you describe Erynn's experience, to me, sounds like a mystical form of dissociation (maybe even DID) and I love that I can root what is going on mystically in actual human reactions (does that make sense?) and Tara- your description of panic attacks is right on and, yes, thank you for addressing that no one is addressing that Tara's past was hugely traumatic and finding out the truth does not magic all the abuse away.

and hell, thanks for making this funny too and hot, so very very, holy crap, do not read this in public, hot. Cannot wait to see where else you take us!


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 Post subject: When Erynn found herself NC-17 - Feedback Replies
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:41 pm 
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I'm back!

I'm sorry for having been away... my father died not long after my last post. I've been spending lots of time with my family and, of course, preoccupied.

Onto feedback replies!

Will_Maclay wrote:
You left me hanging there:(


Terribly sorry... seriously, I'm not happy that I had to leave it on that note for so long.

shirrey wrote:
I just finished rereading this in order to catch up, and damn if it isn't even better the second time around. I adore Tara and Anya's friendship, that they feel comfortable enough to share naughty talk and have Anya call Tara out. I get what Tara is doing, but Anya is right on this one.


Wow, I'm flattered to all heck that this story is re-readable! Tara and Anya's friendship has been part of my head-canon for so long, it just needed to get out. :laugh

shirrey wrote:
You said earlier: "this isn't a fantastical lovey-dovey, 'our love is so grand it'll save the world' type of fic. It's human, raw and as real as I can make it. "
If you were running for elected office, this would have sealed my vote. And you do it well, I like that the girls get grumpy with each other- its real, its what lets us really get to know each other, where our personal narrative comes from.


Real is relatable. I find I lose interest in stories where I can't see a real person act or say what I'm reading. To feel for a character is to understand their flaws, and love them anyway. At least that's how I see it... let me know what you think. :)

shirrey wrote:
I was also really struck by your handling of trauma, the way you describe Erynn's experience, to me, sounds like a mystical form of dissociation (maybe even DID) and I love that I can root what is going on mystically in actual human reactions (does that make sense?) and Tara- your description of panic attacks is right on and, yes, thank you for addressing that no one is addressing that Tara's past was hugely traumatic and finding out the truth does not magic all the abuse away.


Very astute! DID is indeed a condition which inspired aspects of Erynn. Again, I feel that reality is relatable and so... being able to understand what she goes through is a vital part of the character's creation. I didn't want her to be an 'easy way out' character - someone who exists in the story so that whatever can't be explained or rationalized away be attributed to this mysterious stranger.

As for Tara's abuse. This is in part why I felt her character was let down in the show. In the end, we all loved her - who couldn't? But, it was based on hints here and there. PTSD and panic attacks... these are real consequences to the type of trauma she's been through. It's only fair to her that it be addressed, I think.

shirrey wrote:
and hell, thanks for making this funny too and hot, so very very, holy crap, do not read this in public, hot. Cannot wait to see where else you take us!


Ah, the levity and the smut - if I'm gonna go adult fic, dark and real... we need some of those moments too. A breather, of sorts... no? :wink

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~M
CopperAndGold


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 Post subject: When Erynn found herself - Post 12 (Update)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:46 pm 
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When Erynn found herself – Post 12 (Update)

Author name – CopperAndGold
Rating – NC-17 (Strong)

Disclaimer - This is an adult fic. There will be some angst, smut, bad language, difficult subject matters (They will be noted prior to posting) The characters' developments were taken from season 5 - A bit after the episode: Family. Anything that is canon and prior to this episode is fair game. Oh, there's also a small reference to a funny exchange in season 6 between Anya and Tara that I just couldn't stop from using. Even with all this, there's comedy too! Everything after Family becomes A/U.

Feedback – Please! I love getting feedback!
Summary – Willow and Tara make a new friend. She's... interesting.

Notes – There are none other than rising tensions between the Scoobies. The beginning of this update is Erynn centric in that it focuses on her back story in order to support her actions in the present. I’ve encased this part in a ‘spoiler’ tag for those of you who would rather skip it... I would suggest reading though.

Tara is having a hard time. So keep that in mind… it can get a bit angsty.




Spoiler:
4th September, 1995 - Saguenay, Quebec

“Tabarnak, I said I changed my mind!” The girl pounded against the door, her angry screams seemingly falling on deaf ears, “You can’t keep me in here you old fucking bitch!”

Loreli tsked disapprovingly to herself, sitting in her chair against the wall facing the door. Her fingers twisted around the wool as she created the next knot along her knitting needle, “It’s me or the police, Erynn.” She said loud enough to be heard, yet again. “You called me.”

The old woman jumped in her seat as something crashed against the wall followed by a loud, furious yell. There goes the clock radio. She thought, sighing and shaking her head. Not for the first time, Loreli was grateful for living in a house surrounded by nothing but trees and grass for miles around. She’d have hated to have to explain the sounds emanating from her usually peaceful abode.

Two days. The girl had been there only two days and the witch was surprised by the amount of anguish radiating from that room.

She’d known of Erynn through her sister, Marie. The girl’s grandmother who had just passed away a week or so before. The only thing she knew then, was that the young girl’s parents had died when she was nine. She then moved in with Marie’s son and his wife, who apparently only took on the responsibility for the money they received to support the child.

Marie had felt bad for Erynn and had developed a close bond with the girl until her early adolescence when she ran away from home for unknown reasons.

The affectionate recollections of the young girl her sister had shared with Loreli were difficult to relate with the young woman in that room, now. When she’d met Erynn at Marie’s funeral, the girl had been hiding behind a tree. No one had noticed her it seemed, but for the old witch.

The tumultuous, fractured and shifting aura had drawn the witch to her. Loreli had tentatively asked her name. They’d talked about Marie… all the while, Erynn had been agitated. Twitchy and nervous. The desperate emotions coming from the girl told the witch she was probably suffering withdrawals from drugs.

They’d gone out for coffee with lots of sugar and Loreli told the girl about an ancestor of theirs. A shifter. When she’d had to explain what a shifter was, it was obvious her suspicions were correct. Not only did the girl not know about shifters but, she herself didn’t know she was one.

Erynn had not reacted well to the information. The witch had felt the complex mix of emotions from the girl as she’d suddenly stood up from her seat. Loreli had hastily handed Erynn a napkin with her contact information written on it, knowing she couldn’t stop the distraught girl from leaving. Telling her that, when she was ready for help, she should call.

She’d had no idea what that call would bring.

“Let me out,” The young woman’s scratchy throat croaked out, “I don’t want to be alone in here.” Loreli lowered her needles, “Give me something!” Erynn sobbed, “Anything!”

The chair scratched along the hardwood floor as the witch moved it next to the door. She winced, feeling the girl’s self-loathing as Erynn was curled up against the surface separating them - hearing a small sigh of relief from the other side, “Why don’t you like being alone, Erynn?”

There was thumping against the door but, the girl stayed silent, “How can you know yourself if you can’t be alone?”

The rhythmic thumping never stopped, “I know myself enough.” Erynn said, although her voice was hollow. “I’m bad.”

This was more than Erynn had talked in two days. The witch was cautiously optimistic, “The girl who didn’t know she shifted, didn’t know any better.” She cleared her throat, “Who will you be now that you know? Now that you understand?”

The thumping stopped. Loreli held her breath, hope rose within her. Suddenly, there was a burst of movement behind the door, “LET ME OUT!” Erynn screamed at the top of her lungs, “I’ll fucking KILL YOU TOO!”

The old witch moved her chair back, picked up her needles again and sighed in worry. This was going to take a while. Gods above, help me. What has this child done?

12th October, 1995 - Saguenay, Quebec

“How do you like it?” Loreli asked the young woman sitting across from her at the dinner table, “I haven’t made poutine in a long time.” She chuckled.

Erynn wiped her chin, “S’good, thanks.” Digging in for another forkful, she added tentatively, “I know it’s disclosure night.” The girl eyed her great aunt over her plate, “Not sure I can go through with it.”

The witch sipped her tea, “All you’ve talked about were things you’ve done.” Reaching for a biscuit, she broke it in half, “What’s been done to you seems to be the difficult part. Feeling like a victim just doesn’t sit right with you, at your core.” She took a bite of the biscuit and mulled over her thoughts for a moment before speaking up again, “Do you know when you started shifting?”

The girl suddenly stopped eating, her face took on a startled look of realization. She laid her fork down and stood up slowly. “I’ll be in my room.” As Erynn was walking away, Loreli heard her retreating voice, “I do now.”

25th December, 1995 – Saguenay, Quebec

Erynn put down her sketch pad with a huff, “What is it, lo-lo?” She asked impatiently as she rounded the corner to the living room and stopped dead in her tracks. “What…”

Two men were at the door, hauling an upright piano through the threshold, “I remember Marie telling me you play.” Loreli said with a beaming smile, “Merry Christmas, Papillion.”

3rd January, 1996 – Saguenay, Quebec

Loreli looked up from her book when the music stopped. She slipped her reading glasses off and paid attention to Erynn who was sitting at the piano, now staring blankly at the keys.

“His name was Pop.” The girl cleared her throat, “At least that’s what we called him.” She made her index and middle fingers walk across the keys as if needing background noise, “I slipped out one night, not long after… I started shifting. He was hanging out with a group of people and kept looking at me.”

The notes became entwined, forming a light twinkle of a melody, “It felt like he understood me, he felt like he was interested in me, that he cared. He took me into the group that night and we went to this weird club… dark, kind of scary. I figured I was already twisted so, being in a twisted place didn’t seem that unfamiliar. Kind of felt like I’d found my people, as fucked up as that sounds. Of course I hadn’t…”

The melody morphed slightly, the notes darker but still soothing, “Pop never touched me you know. He was always nice with me. I told him about what had happened to me and how I’d felt. He told me that liking what had happened wasn’t a big deal, that it was just who I am… to embrace it. The only times I felt bad about any of what I did was when I was alone. The drugs helped but, I made sure not to be alone as much as possible... that’s when I moved into Damien’s house.”

Erynn stomped the keys in a clashing of notes and pushed away from the piano, “Pop knew I shifted. I felt like shit when I was alone because when I was, I was just me!” She stabbed a finger at her head, stood up and paced the living room barely giving acknowledgement to the woman sitting on the couch, “When you told me about the shifting at the funeral, I went back. Confronted Pop and he laughed, saying it was about time I figured it out.” Her hands shook by her side, balled into tight fists, “He fucking laughed.

Erynn crossed her arms over her chest, her eyes brimming with angry tears, “What he had was a business he said, and I was a product. When he gave me to Damien - his protégé - it just made me his product to use and sell. Damien was…” She shook her head angrily, “I saw the opened ledger on Pop’s desk, realized it all in that one moment… I-I stabbed him in the neck with his scissors, took the book and his coke stash and left.”

Erynn’s brow furrowed angrily as if mystified, “It’s all a blur… I know I did it, I can still see the blood.” Her eyes screwed shut against the images flashing through her mind for a moment.

“When I called you, I’d just raped a man. I was high as a damn kite!” Tears ran down her face as she barked out a maniacal laugh, conflicting emotions making her shiver, “I’d found him in the ledger the day before. He was the first ‘client’ who paid for me. He wasn’t the worst of them, just the first. My intention was to go through the whole damn book… and leave Damien for last.” She shook her head dejectedly, “But, after him… I knew I couldn’t do it.”

Erynn wiped her eyes and her nose on her sleeve, “I called you because I didn’t understand anything anymore. It was either that, or… just end it.”

Loreli put a cap on her own reactions and emotions. Later she would let herself feel the gut punch of shock and pain. She handed the young woman a box of tissues, “Do you understand now?”

The girl blew her nose, “I think so.” Erynn sat on the couch at the opposite end to her Aunt, hugging a pillow to her chest.

The old woman had to take a moment to swallow back tears, her heart swelling with pride for the young woman she’d grown to love so dearly. “Close your eyes, Erynn.”

The girl dutifully closed her eyes, sniffling through her mixed feelings. How can she be proud of me?

Loreli walked away from the couch to sit across the room, making sure the distance between them would allow Erynn to only feel and be herself. “Take a deep breath and when you let it out, try to focus on the power you have now, knowing who you are in this moment. No matter what your story is. You own that power, that potential. The power to be whoever you want to be, to make decisions accordingly. Not them, not anyone else… never again. You won’t let them.”

Her aunt’s voice vanished and Erynn was left in the dark. She let out her breath and tried to do as Loreli had said. She thought of how aware she was now, of the space between herself and those around her. That fact alone gave her a sense of control, of certainty that buoyed her spirits. Realization that, whatever happened next, she could trust that she could get through it because now she could understand herself and her emotions.

Erynn’s breath hitched, a tear slipped through her closed lids as her mouth lifted into a hopeful smile. It’s all up to me…

Loreli was wiping her eyes when the girl opened hers, “I think it’s time we do some shadow work,” She stood up and walked towards her room. The witch came back with something clasped in her hand, “This is my pendant. My mother gave it to me when I was growing up, it’ll help buffer what you feel from others.” She handed it to her niece.

“Lo-lo,” Erynn took it reverently, glancing back and forth between it and her aunt, “I can’t take this…”

“Shush,” Loreli tapped the girl’s shoulder lovingly, “You can and you most certainly will. We have work to do young lady, and this will help you get back out there.” She walked towards the book shelf, pulling one out and looking through the others, “Unfortunately, Quebec having been so Catholic in the past… well, there aren’t that many books around on witches or empaths.” Finding what she was looking for, her fingers grasped another binding, “So, anything on shifters is even rarer. But, I do have a few books...”

Exuberance, pride, hope and love radiated off the old witch sweeping Erynn right along with her, a giddy bubble dancing in her gut.

She was actually looking forward to the work ahead.

18th September, 1996 – Saguenay, Quebec

“Is this because of that hippie dippy art school?” Loreli was shaking her head disapprovingly, applying some healing salve to Erynn’s freshly tattooed back, “It’s so… big.” She winced at the red blotches and blood along the thick lines.

The girl giggled, “Don’t go blaming art school. I wanted to cover up the scars. And, I liked what I read about dragon tattoos.” She wiggled under the tickling touch, “All about strength, wisdom, power, good luck and stuff.”

The witch dipped her fingers back into the tub of salve, “It’s not even finished. You’ll have to go back?”

Erynn huffed, “Yeah, he got tired and had to stop. Said three hours was apparently his limit.” She chuckled and said smugly, “He was pretty impressed by my pain threshold.”

Loreli’s brow furrowed but she kept her negative thoughts to herself, “Well, don’t think this means you can skimp on your chores, young lady.” The adhesive tape was ripped into manageable lengths to secure the gauze pads to the girl’s back.

Erynn smiled, “I wouldn’t dream of it, auntie.” Looking over her shoulder at her aunt, she grinned mischievously, “Besides, it’s my turn to cook dinner.” She said teasingly, waggling her eyebrows.

The witch closed her eyes and shivered dramatically, “Mon Dieu,” At the girl’s laughter she opened them again and gestured, “You can put your shirt back on. I have something to tell you.”

“Sounds serious,” Sitting at the dining room table, the girl waited for her aunt to continue.

Loreli reached for a manila folder and brought it to the table before taking a seat, “What do you remember about your parents?”

Erynn grabbed an apple from the basket on the table and shrugged, “Not much,” She took a bite, chewed a few times, “I mean, they were nice and seemed to like spending time with me when they could. We had a big house… I don’t remember them being around much. There were people with me though. I guess nannies and cleaners... I liked my piano teacher. The gardener always played chase with me with the hose in summer. I think they were pretty well off. My parents, not the ‘help’.” She air-quoted the last word and grimaced.

The witch opened the folder, “Yes, they were. Not long after you came here, I contacted John and Lora.” She raised her hand to forestall whatever the girl might say, “You ran away when you were barely fourteen, Erynn. They needed to know you were ok.”

When she saw Erynn was keeping quiet, she continued, “We came to an… understanding. You would stay with me, your guardianship was transferred along with the paperwork concerning your parents’ estate and the financial help John was receiving up until then.” She raised a teasing eyebrow, “You can thank him for that lovely piece of art on your back... and the piano…”

Loreli waved a hand dismissively, “Anyway, you’re turning eighteen soon enough. Your parents left you with a lot of wealth, you’ll be able to do anything you want.” She huffed and mumbled, “We’ll need to get in touch with accountants and financial managers to learn how to… handle it all.”

Erynn chuckled in disbelief, “So, you’re saying I’m rich?”

Her aunt placed her hands flat against the paperwork before her and looked at her intently, “What I’m saying is, you’ll be financially free. You’ll have choices and opportunities most poor souls on this earth will never get.”

The look in her aunt’s eyes made Erynn anxious. She stood up and started pacing, “What am I supposed to do with money?” She waved her arms in the air, trying to come up with something, getting increasingly agitated, “I mean, I don’t even know what I want!” Looking at her aunt she asked imploringly, “Should I give it away? You should have it!”

It just all seemed like a huge heap of responsibility all of a sudden and the girl felt like she was caught with a hot potato in her hands. “I mean… I’m barely stable in here,” The girl tapped the side of her head, “It’ll be like giving a monkey a loaded gun!”

Loreli tsked loudly, “Stop being so dramatic. And, I don’t want it. I’m too old to spend it all.” She chuckled, “I suggest you calm down a bit and just accept the fact that you hold all the cards. Scary as that may be, it’s all up to you.” She cocked her head in thought, “Although, I suggest traveling… you’re so restless.”

20th July, 1997 – Falcon Lake, Manitoba

“The hotel smells like old socks and they won’t let me call long distance,” Erynn scratched at the sticker on the phone booth she was using, “I don’t have a choice though, the garage is closed. I guess I should’ve bought a better car.” Her eyes scanned the dimly lit area around her, standing outside a corner store.

Loreli said mid bite of her dinner, “Well, as long as you’re safe Papillion. How’s the scenery out there?”

“It’s really pretty,” Footsteps brought her attention to a man walking towards her, “People are really nice too… they can tell I’m not from here but, they seem to like that,” When the man walked past her, Erynn caught a glimpse of his ill intent, “It’s…” She swiveled her head, following him with her eyes as he made his way toward the store, she frowned at his agitated demeanor, “Auntie, I have to go… I’ll call you back, ok?”

“Erynn!? Erynn!” She heard her aunt exclaim from the phone as she hung it up. Erynn unclipped her suspenders and tucked them messily into her jeans pocket. Unbuttoning a few top buttons on her shirt and hiking her breasts into what she felt was a decent amount of cleavage, she quickly followed the guy into the store while running her fingers through her hair. Nervous, that’s both of us… um, desperate… definitely him…

He walked into the store and she sped up, knocking into his shoulder as she passed him, “Oh, mon Dieu!” She turned around, a hand on her chest and one covering her mouth, “I am so sorry,” She said sweetly in her thick accent, her eyes glancing at the butt of what she was sure was a gun as she patted at his chest. He regained his composure and she stepped back, taking on the ditzy giggle of a smitten kitten, she rolled her eyes and added, “I’m such a klutz.” Definitely up to no good… but not angry or violent really. Desperate and twitchy. Ok, what now genius?

His eyes darted around, the cashier seemingly oblivious behind the counter, “S’ok.” He cleared his throat and walked between the isles toward the back. His eyes kept darting between the products and Erynn, obviously nervous and now confused.

She made up her mind and took a deep breath, glancing at the counter to make sure the cashier was still busy. Erynn went to stand across from the desperate young man. The isle was the only thing separating them. With her eyes on the products in front of her, she spoke up softly, “So… this got complicated, huh?” His head shot up, dark eyes wild and scared, “You’re feeling it pretty bad right now, the clawing at your insides… you’d do anything to make your brain stop thinking about that next hit.”

Her shifting was noticeable to her, she hoped she could use it to attain her goal of averting what she was sure was going to be a bad situation. The way she shifted made her feel compassion for the man. She accepted the shift, “I promise, you have time. It just feels like you don’t. So, just listen for a minute…”

Erynn looked up, her grey eyes spoke of understanding and his dark ones relaxed slightly, the edge around them softened, “You wanted this to be simple, I’m sure. Show the gun, scare the cashier and get the money. No harm done. I don’t even know if that thing’s loaded.” She looked intently at him, noticing the twitch of surprise. Probably isn’t… “But, I just threw a wrench in those plans, didn’t I? Sorry…” She shrugged and grinned sadly, “Couldn’t help it.” She winked teasingly.

He actually smiled a little, “You can still do what you wanted… go up there and show the gun. I’d still be here though, I know what you look like… I don’t want that. You don’t want that... You’d have to hurt me so I don’t talk, because I will.” His brow furrowed, his mouth opened but he didn’t say anything and lowered his gaze. “And, I can’t let you hurt her.” Erynn pointed toward the counter.

“So, why don’t you leave with me? We’ll get a bite to eat and see what we can do about what you’re dealing with.” He actually chuckled disbelievingly and Erynn thought it was quite a pleasant sound, she smiled, “Seriously, there’s a steak house a few blocks away. When’s the last time you had a steak?”

He cleared his throat, “I’m still… do you h-have anything?” He whispered tentatively, “I could really use it.” His feet shuffled the ground agitatedly.

So hopeless… Erynn’s heart hurt as she walked around to stand next to him. She pulled his large hand into hers, surprised by its softness, “What I have is time and steak.” Squeezing his hand gently, she added, “Once we’re both full, we can go our separate ways and you can do whatever you want.”

She pulled him along, he seemed in a daze as they walked out - turning his head once to look at the cashier who just watched with a perplexed look on her face.

Her grey hair fell into her eyes and she swiped it away absentmindedly with an arthritis riddled hand as the chime over the door announced their departure. Internally grumbling at the fact they hadn’t bought anything.

10th October, 1997 – Edmonton, Alberta

Erynn’s grey fedora peeked in and out of the sea of cowboy hats, the loud speakers announcing events as she slowly but surely made her way towards the bleachers, holding onto her pretzel.

Luckily, she was early for this particular event so she had choice of seating. A few minutes went by as she nibbled on her doughy treat and the bleachers gathered more spectators. She chuckled at how much she stood out from the crowd.

“You know, laughing at nothing might make people talk.” Erynn looked up, a piece of pretzel sticking out of her mouth awkwardly. The young woman giggled at the sight, “Can I sit here?” She pointed at the empty spot next to Erynn who nodded dumbly, chewing her pretzel as quickly as possible – wide-eyed in surprise.

She wore chaps. Deep browns of different leather textures swirling a pattern across her thighs. The contrast between them and her dark boot-cut jeans struck an imposing silhouette. A no-nonsense, black button-up shirt opened at the throat revealing a red bandana tied there. As she sat, Erynn picked up her hair color to be dark red, almost a rusty burgundy, tied in a low and wavy pony-tail under a tan cowboy hat.

Finally swallowing her hastily chewed bite, Erynn cleared her throat, “Sorry about the…” She lifted the half-eaten pretzel apologetically, “I’m Erynn.”

Her companion turned her dark-chocolate, brown eyes around from the crowd, “Jessie,” She smirked and bobbed her head cockily, “So, not only do you stick out like a sore thumb because of what you wear, but you have that French accent going for you, too.”

Erynn shrugged and grinned, “My own version of ‘One of these things is not like the others.’” Pinching a piece of pretzel off, she looked towards the arena where the show was supposed to begin soon. “We get Sesame Street in Quebec, too.”

Jessie giggled in delight at the French-Canadian’s accent, “Oh my God, say ‘Sesame Street’ again!” She turned in her seat and patted Erynn’s upper arm expectantly.

The brunette sighed internally and grumbled, “You know I’m not part of the entertainment tonight, right?” To show she didn’t mean for it to sound as harsh as it actually had, she flung a piece of her treat at Jessie and stuck out her tongue teasingly.

The announcer called out the first riders but there was little chance of Erynn hearing any of it. Jessie’s dimpled cheeks were now covered in a blush that correlated with what Erynn could feel from the young woman. Oh? Really…

Jessie looked away, towards the arena, and said nonchalantly even with a deep flush gracing her cheeks, “That remains to be seen.” She shot Erynn a glance from the corner of her eye, a wicked grin pulling at her lips.

Ok, she’s hot… “So,” She cleared her throat and waved towards the arena, “What’s about to happen? I’ve never been to a rodeo before.”

“Well,” Jessie leaned in and pointed towards the gate, “In that box there, there’s a big horse. Soon, there’s going to be a rider.” She pointed at the panel above the arena, “See, it says ‘Bareback Bronc.’ up there? That’s the event.”

“B-bareback… Bronc?” Erynn’s eyebrows were almost hidden beneath the brim of her hat, they were so hiked up her forehead. She wasn’t sure, but she really doubted her understanding of ‘bareback’ had anything to do with a rodeo. Well, creative license applied…

“Yeah,” Jessie explained, “Bareback means without a saddle and, bronc is the type of horse. Bucking Broncos in this case.” She smiled and pointed down at the arena, all of a sudden excited, “Oh, there he goes!”

A young man atop a huge horse shot out of the gate. The crowd flooded with excitement as the beast kicked, and bucked – trying to dislodge its rider. He held on with one hand, which blew Erynn’s mind away - his body moving sharply to compensate from the mighty jolts. “He’s holding on to a leather strap, it’s really tight around the horse.” Jessie was saying, leaning into her so her voice would carry over the crowd, “He’s got eight seconds to hold on.”

Erynn could feel the woman’s breath on her neck making her body flush with liquid warmth. She turned her head slightly but kept her eyes on the show below, “Why is the horse kicking like that?”

Jessie lifted one of her feet, showing off the spurs on the heel of her boot, “He’s wearing these.” She pointed at the rider’s leg movements, “He’s making it buck, see? These horses are chosen for their bad tempers.”

“Oh,” Erynn swallowed hard, her cheeks flushed, “I see.” The horse bucked and turned in a way that flung the young man left to right so quickly, he couldn’t compensate and fell off his steed. The horse kicked wildly a few more times as the rider ran towards the gate, his run completed.

“That wasn’t bad.” Jessie concluded, “He’s done better, though… dad’s gonna chew his ear off.” She chuckled.

Erynn pointed, surprised, “That was your brother?”

Jessie stood up and pulled her hat more firmly onto her head, “Yup. I should make my way down there.”

The brunette smiled, “Going to show your support?”

The redhead cocked an offended eyebrow, “Are you kidding?” She scoffed, “That twerp is so going down.”

Erynn then realized Jessie was going to ride. She didn’t really have time to process or even say anything as the young woman started shuffling sideways, facing her, trying to make her way towards the central isle in the tight space between packed bleacher seats. Jessie bent over before leaving and spoke into Erynn’s ear, “Once I’m done you can meet me down there. If you want… I could suck on that sore thumb for you.”

The French-Canadian’s mouth dropped and her face flushed dark red. Her whole body responding to the sultrily spoken words.

When Jessie took to the arena atop the huge creature, there was no way for Erynn to keep her mind out of the gutter. The redhead’s movements were sharp, commanding and powerful. The horse kicked and turned – Jessie arched and loosened her hips…

Erynn gulped, took a breath and made her way down towards the arena to wait for Jessie. Her pretzel left behind, half-eaten.

***

The trailer gave a mighty shake, the clashing of dishes and heavy booted footsteps sounded across the quiet field. Muffled voices permeating the metal siding, mingling with the sounds of wildlife spotting the grounds surrounding them.

Erynn hopped frantically in place, pulling at her jeans. She had to get out of there. One of the legs had been turned inside-out in the wild disrobing that had happened a mere twenty minutes ago. “Sorry, I’m…” Losing her balance once more, she toppled onto the bench in the kitchenette. “Calice de Tabarnak!” The brunette growled angrily.

“Frenchie?” Jessie stood unsteadily in her unbuttoned jeans and boots, the light gleaming off her spurs. She clutched her coat against her nude chest, panting and wild-eyed, “What the fuck happened? You said…”

Erynn cut her off, “No, no… sorry.” Finally having pulled the jeans up to her hips, she shakily did them up before getting back up from the bench, “I did, you’re right.” She said absentmindedly and looked around the now messy space agitatedly, “Where’s my hat?”

The redhead watched, confused and feeling guilty, “I’m sorry, I thought…” She quickly backed up against the restroom door with a thud as Erynn rushed passed her to grab her shirt from the top of a lamp, “You asked me to… you seemed into it.” A pang of remorse struck across her features watching the French-Canadian hastily pull her shirt on. The thick, red welts along her ribs and stomach making Jessie turn away ashamedly, pulling her coat around herself and zipping it up. “I shouldn’t have…” She mumbled despondently to herself.

“Please,” Her voice was pained and desperate, “Please, just stop talking.” The brunette’s shaky fingers pushed buttons through the holes in her shirt, not caring about them matching up. “Where’s that fucking hat?” Erynn mumbled to herself, her untied shoes hurriedly pacing the trailer floor.

Jessie crossed her arms over her chest, now angry at being ignored, “No… no you stop! This,” She stabbed a finger towards the floor, “This is bullshit!” When Erynn only kept looking for her hat, this time under the table, the redhead stomped a booted foot making dishware rattle in the cupboards, “Would you just stop!?” Her raised voice trembled, “I hid it, alright!?”

The brunette looked up, annoyed and confused, “You hid it.” She repeated slowly and stood up, “Give me my hat, Jessie.” Please, just let me go, please…

Jessie took a step back but, towards the front door – blocking the way out. “That’s right, and no. I won’t give it until you fucking talk to me.” When Erynn clenched her jaw and squinted angrily, the redhead quickly said imploringly, “You can’t leave me feeling like this, Frenchie. I feel like shit.”

Erynn barked out a laugh unexpectedly making Jessie flinch, “I know you do!” She shook her head dejectedly and walked away to sit on the bench guiltily, having felt the tinge of fear from the redhead, “You really shouldn’t, but you do.” With her elbows against the dinette table, she rubbed her face with her hands, trying to center herself. Erynn asked softly, “What can I possibly say to make you feel better?”

Jessie tentatively sat across from the brunette, her hands clasped in her lap. She looked so meek it made Erynn’s heart ache, “I don’t know… I just… I really didn’t mean to hurt you. I’d never done that kind of thing before…”

The empath held gazes with Jessie for a moment, sincere regret and pain reflected in dark brown irises, “You didn’t hurt me. Honest, you did nothing wrong.” But, the redhead didn’t seem convinced, “I…” She took a deep breath and let it out, “I acted like that because… I guess, that’s what I’m used to… I don’t really know anything else. You read me right, I promise.”

Jessie looked out the window, “Oh,” She cleared her throat, “Then… if you’re used to that, why… what happened?” Her gaze fell to the table, “If I didn’t hurt you…”

Erynn shook her head and sighed again, “You made me realize I don’t want it like that, anymore. Probably never did.” She shrugged sadly, “I just don’t know how to make it something… else, you know? My body was on auto-pilot until my brain kicked in.” Running fingers through her hair, she explained dejectedly, “And then, I panicked... I’m really sorry. Please, don’t feel bad... it’s my fault.” Grinning sadly, she added in a mumble, “I’m kinda fucked up.”

Moments passed in silence, both reeling from the outcome of their random encounter until Erynn could feel the curiosity and compassion emanating from her companion take the fore. She cleared her throat, “Could I have my hat, please?”

Jessie gave a sad smile before standing up and opening an overhead cupboard, pulling the hat from it, “Here.” It landed on the table as she sat back down and started playing with her coat sleeve.

Erynn fingered the brim of her hat, frowning and curious, “Why did you hide it?”

The redhead shrugged a shoulder, “I was hoping you’d forget about it…” Her eyes darted up to look at the brunette before looking down again, embarrassed, “I wanted something to remember you by. Might not seem like it but, nothing very exciting ever happens around these parts.”

Erynn shook her head, confused and touched at the same time. Jessie wanted her to stay… She could feel it. I can’t do this… She took a deep, resigned breath and looked into Jessie’s eyes, “Goodbye, Jessie.” With a bitter-sweet smile across her lips, she stood and walked towards the door.

“Erynn,” Jessie reached for the fedora on the table, “You forgot your hat.” She called softly.

The French-Canadian looked back in from outside the now open door, “Isn’t that what you were hoping for?” She kept taking steps backwards and smiled, “You ride a mean horse, Tumbleweed.”

Turning around, Erynn started her way back to where she’d parked and stuck her hands in her pockets, hearing the door to the trailer close behind her.

26th October, 2000 (Present) – Sunnydale, California (Damien Brice’s office)

Loreli… David… Jessie… Tara. I know who I am. I know who I am. Erynn glanced back at the paintings, a sense of power and calm washing over her. Now composed, it only took a short inward glimpse for her to pick out Damien’s emotions. Excitement, pride, anxiety, hope, lo… whoa. She jolted and blinked. That can’t be right, I just have nothing else to compare it to... but he does want to own me. What else is new… She thought mirthlessly.

The empath kicked off her high-heels and went to sit in Damien’s chair, noticing him flinch at her audacity, “Let me get this straight,” Crossing her legs, she started rubbing her sore feet, “You want me to willingly go back to being that,” Erynn absentmindedly pointed at the paintings behind herself with her thumb, “And, you plan on making me do that by threatening people I barely know and, an old woman I took advantage of so I could have a place to stay and be pampered, for free.” She chuckled derisively, “Your chances were better with the dinner and fancy clothes. That rigatoni was delicious.”

“I can keep you here, you know.” Damien growled, obviously surprised by her insouciance, “You wouldn’t make it out the door.”

She shrugged it off, “I’m sure you could. I wouldn’t be staying willingly, though, would I?” An air of nonchalance, almost boredom graced her features as she leaned her head against the back of the chair, looking at the ceiling, “You could force me into being your Pet.” She said dispassionately, “We both know that.”

He leaned onto the desk, arms at shoulder width. His eyes bore into hers once she looked at him, “We both know you’d like it, too.” Damien leered menacingly, “That hasn’t changed, I’m sure of it.”

Erynn laughed genuinely, “Of course I would! If you get off, I get off – that’s how I work, you know that.” She shrugged and cocked her head, a mischievous gleam in her eyes, “But, I can fake it… You know how well I take a punishment. Not even a wince, remember? How do you bleed a plank of wood, Damien? Ever fucked a starfish? I can be silent, blank, empty… barely there. Two dimensional.” She scoffed and looked at him as if he was pathetic, “You’d be better off sticking your dick in the past, and fuck those paintings you love so much.”

When the smugness left his face, replaced by confusion and anger, the brunette huffed impatiently and continued, “You know, I had my own thing going here, before you showed up.” Erynn waved her arms around questioningly, “What the hell are you doing here anyway?” She asked with an air of familiarity and comfort Damien had never allowed. Either this works or I’m dead… Pride, go for the pride.

The founder scowled, his mouth fell open to speak but the buzz of his desk phone interrupted him. He picked it up with a frustrated jerk of his hand, “What is it?”

The Canadian swiveled the chair back and forth, hearing Lynd’s muffled voice through the wall, sounding agitated. Keep it together, keep it together… he’s thrown. He was as surprised as you were… trying to seem in control.

Damien let out an exasperated sigh, “Dammit, I’m in the middle of something Lynd.” His eyes caught Erynn’s, a thought seeming to hit him, “Have Jurrot meet me at the stock doors, then. I’ll be right there.” He hung the phone up, “You want to know what I’m doing here?” He smirked at her knowingly, “Well, by all means...Pumpkin.” The founder waved a hand towards the door to his office, “We just got our first shipment in.”

***

The witches walked back into the shop to raised voices and a loud scuffle. Taking a step backwards, Willow pulled on Tara’s hand to stop her forward momentum. Keeping them in the doorway to the training room, out of whatever was happening.

Xander had Spike by his coat, backed up against the counter. He was seething, “How the hell do you know all this, Spike?” He jostled him, making the glass panel in the counter shudder, his deep brown eyes ablaze with hatred, “Were you following Buffy again? How’d you find her, huh!?”

“Xander!” Willow shouted, distraught by the violent confrontation, “Stop it!” They were soon joined by a shaken Anya who was hugging herself, at a lost for what to do. “He just lost it. Spike said something stupid about carrying Buffy to the hospital and Xander…”

The vampire’s eyes could cut steel, his jaws working against the rage building up within him, “Hands off, monkey-boy.” He snarled menacingly. I could snap your neck like a toothpick... An image of Xander’s shocked face with his throat ripped out, flashed through his angered mind. Oh, if he didn’t have that bloody chip.

With a quick squeeze to Tara’s hand, Willow hurried over to her best friend’s side, “Xander, this isn’t helping.” She said soothingly and placed a hand on his upper arm, noticing how it was shaking under her touch, “We really need to calm down and figure this out.” When all she got was a glance out of the corner of his eye, she tentatively added, “That creep’s got Erynn.”

That got his attention, “Huh?” His grip loosened and Spike pushed the carpenter’s hands off him to walk a few paces away. Xander turned towards the redhead, stunned, “How? What… why?”

Spike scoffed derisively, “First prize for eloquence goes to the glorified brick layer.” He said mockingly, hiking his coat back onto his shoulders.

Willow shot him a cold glare as Xander shouted, “Shut up, Spike!”

Anya relaxed a little and looked at Tara, “That guy at the restaurant?” She asked softly enough not to be overheard by the others. The blonde witch’s features twisted with worry, nodding affirmatively but keeping her eyes on the scene in the shop. “You’ve seen him, haven’t you? The memories…” The shop keeper only needed the sidewise glance she received to know she was right. In an unusual show of compassion, her arm made its way around the blonde witch’s shoulders and gave her a supportive squeeze.

“Everyone just, sit down.” Willow said commandingly, exasperated, “We have a lot to figure out if this place opens on Friday… and, well Buffy isn’t here, so...” Her voice wavered as her words trailed off.

The group made its way around the research table, all sitting obediently being confronted with Willow’s resolve-face. Even Spike, although he’d opted to sit on the stairs to the loft, flicking his lighter open and shut rhythmically.

“Ok,” Said the redhead with a frustrated huff, squaring her shoulders. “Spike?” Looking at him expectantly, she added, “Can you start over?” She quirked an eyebrow, “Nicely.”

The vampire rolled his eyes, “Found this on a body at the cemetery,” He reached into his pocket and pulled out the Espresso Pump gift card. Flicking his wrist, the card flew onto the table, “Your name’s on there, followed the scent and found Buffy.” He explained, shrugging.

Tara reached for the card, “The s-stalker?” She ran a finger along Willow’s signature, “What did he l-look like?” Her voice quivered as she raised questioning eyes towards their unlikely ally.

Spike quirked an amused eyebrow and held her in his cold blue gaze, his lips pursing into a devilish grin knowing the answer would get a reaction out of the soft witch, “Not much left to identify him by when I got there.” When the witch shuddered, he carried on, “That Gurtrall, Jurrot got him.” His hands came together with a savage slap, “Chomped his head right off, he did. All that gore… blood suckers couldn’t resist that.” The vampire’s eyes lit up with mischievous glee as Tara paled. “Didn’t see a head anywhere. His body looked like Swiss cheese... all these bite marks-”

Willow snaked an arm around her girlfriend’s waist and squeezed reassuringly, “Spike,” she growled warningly, “Enough with the imagery.”

Anya raised her hand tentatively for attention, “How do you know its name?” When the group turned to her, she shrugged with a perplexed look on her face, “All we knew was that it’s a Gurtrall. Buffy couldn’t even get its name from Willy the snitch.”

Balls! The vampire cleared his throat, trying to mask his discomfort, “Big bad here, yeah?” He sniffed derisively, “What, you think we demons don’t talk?”

Although his evasive answer hadn’t seemed to garner perfect trust from the Scoobies, they at least seemed placated for now. The redhead squinted and pursed her lips at Spike, letting him know she didn’t fully believe what he was saying, “Why are you helping us?”

Xander scoffed loudly but opted to stay silent. The vampire glanced at the man before saying, “This Damien guy, he’s bad news for everyone.” He slicked his hair back nonchalantly and shrugged, “Demons, humans… Makes no difference to him.” Looking at Willow, he added, “What they did to Harmony would’ve made Angelus explode in his poofty knickers.”

Tara was up in a shot, making a b-line for the bathroom with her arms wrapped tightly around her chest. Everyone looked on as the door shut behind her softly. “Spike,” Willow asked, shaken and worried for both her lover and Erynn, “This guy, Damien. He has a friend of ours.” She said pleadingly.

The vampire’s gaze lingered on the bathroom door, part of him guilt ridden seeing the blonde witch’s reaction. Remembering his promise to Lucile, his eyes rolled in annoyance as he sighed loudly. He turned back towards the redhead and said, in a tone as apologetic as he could manage, “I don’t know what to tell you, Red.” Spike scratched the back of his neck, “If he has this friend of yours…” He shrugged and shook his head, “Might be best to think they’re already dead... I wouldn’t want to think about the alternatives.”

A loud smack resounded and made the group flinch as Xander’s palm slapped the wooden surface of the research table in a harsh burst of anger. He stood up quickly and pointed at the vampire. Shaking with the need to do something coursing through his veins, “No one’s dead! We don’t know that.” He held Spike’s gaze with his own determined one for a moment. “She could be held for ransom or something.” He looked at the group agitatedly.

Anya cleared her throat to voice her objection, “Wouldn’t they make sure we knew about it? So we could give them what they want?” She looked around the group, noticing the somewhat lost looks, “We didn’t find out through them. No one’s contacted us except Spike.”

“Wait,” Something registered across Xander’s face as he looked towards his girlfriend, “How do we know, then?”

Two voices said as one, “We just do.” The carpenter looked from Anya to Willow, wondering what was going on. Both women seemed surprised at the other’s reaction. Spike’s eyebrow quirked, intrigued.

“Ok,” His arms opened wide, palms facing outward in show of bafflement. Feeling the all too familiar sense that he was once again out of the loop, “What is going on? How the hell do we know this twisted creep has Erynn?”

“You s-saw him earlier.” Tara said quietly from the bathroom doorway. Her eyes were pained and blood-shot, obviously hanging onto her composure by a thread, “At the restaurant. She was with him.” Willow was quickly by her side, hugging her waist and leading her back towards the bench at the table. Once sat, they kept as close as possible for comfort, clasping hands tightly. The blonde’s hands were ice cold.

“I won’t let him hurt you.” Tara heard her girlfriend say to her softly but determinedly, “He won’t lay a finger on you, baby. I promise.” But, Tara wasn’t thinking of herself. Her own safety had rarely been the cause of her fears. No, it had dawned on her then. That Willow could be hurt. She felt herself shaking, images from Erynn’s memories flashed through her mind’s eye. Her beautiful Willow… “Where’s this place, Spike?” Tara’s sharp tone of voice completely incongruous with her physical responses, “Do you know?”

“Hold on one damn minute!” Xander interrupted impatiently, wondering once again why he was the only one with questions, and why they were seemingly being ignored, “That was him at the restaurant on a date with Erynn!?” He waved his hands in the air, hurt and frustrated, “How do we know that was him? And, why were they on a date?”

“Anya will tell you. And, it wasn’t a date.” The blonde witch said tersely before turning back to the vampire, “Where is this place?” Tara’s determined and angry, deep-blue eyes bore into Spike. The group was somewhat taken aback by the usually quiet witch. A pin dropping would’ve startled them, they were so rooted in place by her unexpectedly assertive demeanor.

The vampire’s eyebrows shot high up his forehead in appreciative surprise. Bloody hell, look at Glinda. Who the fuck is this Erynn chippie? “I don’t know exactly. Edge of town,” He shrugged, “Didn’t get the particulars.” Are they shagging? Red wouldn’t let that happen, would she? Unless… Spike shook his head to loosen his lascivious thoughts. This wasn’t the place or time to indulge, after all. He concealed a wicked grin by lowering his head. Later, maybe…

“Xander,” Willow looked toward the carpenter who had been quietly talking with Anya, “Do you still have that map we were using at your place? For the locator spell?” It was obvious she had something in mind.

He sighed deeply, focusing on the matter at hand instead of his hurt feelings, “Yeah, I put it in the car.” Xander stood up and ran his fingers through his hair, “I’ll go get it.”

Willow let out a deep breath, “Ok, this place opens on Friday, right?” Standing up, she started to pace. Her mind whirling, “You said it’s a torturepalooza,” She pointed at Spike, “That means there’s going to be captives there… to, you know...” She shuddered, “Torture.”

“A rescue mission?” Spike scoffed, “Not bloody likely. Look, with the Slayer out of commission… I’ll help you kill that bastard, Damien.” He pointed at them all to emphasize his chosen role in the conflict, “But, don’t count on me to risk my hide for a few innocents.” He air-quoted the last word and sneered.

“Kill?” Tara’s voice was ice cold, “We’re not killing anyone.” She felt Willow squeeze her hand, their grasp shaking from all the tension in the air.

The vampire rolled his eyes, he really shouldn’t be surprised with this lot, “And, what would you do with the likes of him, then?” Spike stood from the stairs, annoyed to the point of having to move, “He wouldn’t think twice before skinning you alive, slowly and painfully for months.” He pointedly looked at Tara, his expression that of feigned pity, “Think of the poor, innocent children, Glinda.” Spike mocked derisively.

Although Tara bristled, it was Willow who stood up angrily, “Fuck off, Spike!” She growled menacingly, “We’ll take care of him another way.” I hope Tara has ideas… ‘cause flaying sounds good to me right about now. If that freak so much as looks at her… The redhead’s jaw clenched, her lips in a tight line.

When full, soft lips were pressed to the back of her hand, still clasped with that of her lover, Willow realized with some amount of guilt that she’d been squeezing Tara’s hand rather tightly. Loosening her grip, her eyes found those blue pools she loved so much and calmed a bit. I’m not gonna lose it, baby. Not with you here. She knew, though. Deep down… if Damien were to hurt Tara… Her eyes quickly darted back from where she’d found herself looking. The upstairs balcony where the dark books lay. Not gonna think about that. It won’t happen.

Spike scoffed, about to say something when Xander came back with the map. He dropped it on the table dispassionately, “Here, Will.”

“Thanks,” She pressed a reassuring kiss to the top of her girlfriend’s head before letting go of her hand and sitting back down at the table. “We need to know where this place is,” Willow unfolded the map completely and smoothed it over the wooden surface, “Anya, do you have pens and a ruler? Two colors if you have them.”

Once the tools needed were acquired, she set out to mark certain points on the map, “Xander, where did you spot the Gurtrall first?” The carpenter approached the table, leaned over the map and after a short moment pointed at a spot about five blocks east from the cemetery. “Right around here.” His tone of voice hopeful and relieved. If Willow was onto something, things could work out.

The redhead marked the spot with a big red dot, “Buffy was following that thing to find out where it was going. Hopefully where it works.” Willow marked the Espresso Pump location with a similar dot, this time blue, “And, we were tracking that stalker guy with the card.” She marked the cemetery entrance with another blue dot. “This is where Spike got the card…” She circled the dot in red.

“Oh,” Tara breathed in realization, “I get it.” Nodding her head, she grinned at her lover proudly. So smart. Sexy Brains…

“Huh?” Xander said dumbly, looking at the group quizzically. Anya tapped his shoulder and huffed, “It’s obvious she’s going to determine the approximate location of where the Gurtrall was going.” She briskly made her way towards the office without another word.

“Spike,” Willow continued on, “Where did you find Buffy?”

The vampire joined the group at the table and pointed at a park farther east, out towards the edge of town, “This park, here.”

After dotting the park with the blue pen, Willow sat up sharply. “Huh.”

Tara pointed at the park, “Isn’t that where the card w-was when we last cast?” We knew where Buffy was… and we went home… She thought sadly.

The redhead sighed, “Yeah, it is.” She shook her head through the guilt and ploughed on, “So, if I draw a line from the cemetery marker, where the demon ate the stalker… to where Xander first spotted it.” The two dots were connected, “And then, to where Spike found Buffy…” The line shot up, north-eastward.

There was a slight kink in the line, where the Gurtrall’s path had diverted to keep to the shadows. But, the overall outcome was convincing once Willow continued the line straight, out of town. “I’d bet my bottom dollar this Center place is within a two mile radius of right here.” What I’d give for a compass… She thought wistfully. Wanting more than anything to draw a big, perfect circle around the area she’d discovered. With an exact two-mile radius on a scale of 1 to 50,000…

“Got it!” Anya’s exasperated voice shouted from the office shortly before she walked out holding another map. She dropped it on the table, “This is the latest commercial zoning map of Sunnydale we have.”

The redhead beamed, “Perfect!” She opened the zoning map and marked each building within a two mile radius of the spot gracing the other map. “Now, we just need to find out which of these it could be.” Willow’s shoulders slumped slightly, “I want my laptop.” She pouted.

The shop keeper looked at the clock, it was one thirty in the morning, “Are we doing anything tonight?” When all she got were blank looks, she huffed impatiently, “I need my beauty sleep. If we’re not going out there tonight, Xander and I should go home.”

Willow and Tara looked at each other questioningly. Spike was already up and on his way out, “Yeah, I really need the internet to know more, anyway.” The blonde witch’s eyes lowered, she was tired and needed some quiet although, she knew sleep wasn’t going to happen easily, if at all.

Willow gently tucked her girlfriend’s hair behind an ear, frowning worriedly, “I think we can all use some rest. We’ll meet up again tomorrow with Giles and figure out a plan of action.”

***

His tail was yanked painfully as he tried to pull on his pants, “Would you quit that, Catherine!” Doc growled and shuffled away from the angered witch as if dealing with an annoying pet, “I can’t do it right now and that’s that.”

“Then, when!?” Catherine stormed off into the kitchen, now fully mobile and in control of her faculties, “You have the rat hair, so just do it!” The fridge was yanked savagely open and she peered in. She whined loudly at its contents before closing it shut again. “That boss of yours has you on a mighty short leash, you know.”

Pulling on his tie uncomfortably, Doc walked into the living room and picked up a rather large briefcase. “There’s been a new development that has forced us to…” Pulling his glasses up his nose, he shrugged at the witch, “Put some plans into motion early.”

Catherine cocked a hip, trying to force nonchalance into her voice, “Us?” She cleared her throat, “So, you’re fine with what he’s doing?” Her nails were in need of a polish, the witch thought as she looked down at her fingers in feign disinterest.

The demon paused and held her under his scrutinizing gaze. He asked her pointedly, “Do you forget who I worship?” Doc squinted, “Her unfortunate plight? Stuck on this plane in a human’s body?” His voice dripped with contempt.

Taking a few steps forward, his words were impassioned with blind righteousness, “I’ve tried to prove myself worthy by finding her a way home. I’ve failed so far, but…” He smiled gleefully with recently renewed hope, “I can make this world a place where she can revel and rule. With me at her side, of course.” He chuckled and shrugged again before heading for the door. “You can always tag along if you wish, Catherine.” Looking through the doorway as it swung close, he said genuinely, “I do enjoy your company.”

***

The walk was slow but purposeful, the tiled floor cool under her bare feet. Erynn noticed the cameras dotted along the ceilings, tracking their every step along the seemingly innocuous hallways. Damien was on a rant, waving at the posted guards the empath could pick out as vampires. She tried not to let it affect her as their eyes raked over her hungrily even though they didn’t move a muscle. “You know, until I met Pop I was sure I was crazy, or evil.” He chuckled as they rounded a corner towards some elevators, “That’s what the doctors told my folks, you know. Something was wrong with me.”

Oh, and you’re going to tell me there isn’t… Erynn thought sarcastically. Damien just went on, “But, I’m just a hedonist, Pumpkin. Like many others, I live life to enjoy it fully. Every pleasure I can experience, I do. We only have one life to live, after all. Don’t we?”

They descended far enough for the brunette to believe there was an underground, or basement level to the building, “They say I have no empathy.” He shrugged acceptingly, “I know they’re right about that. But, you…” His golden-brown eyes shown with possessiveness, “You, Pumpkin. You do, don’t you? So very much.”

The doors to the lift opened to a dimly lit, grey-walled space lined with flickering lights. Erynn felt her skin start to crawl as she tentatively followed down a corridor towards a huge, sliding door. With a clang and shouts from outside, it rolled open to reveal the back of a truck. Its doors wide, the scared yells and cries from within the crated trailer made tears sting the back of the girl’s eyes in realization. She swallowed them down, “There’s people in there.” She said in as hollow a voice as she could, “Lots.”

“Yes, there should be twenty-five.” The loud zap of a cattle-prod sounded followed by a high-pitched cry and shouted orders to disembark from the trailer, “We get them from out of town so we don’t arouse too much suspicion.”

They stepped out, single-file and shackled and Erynn felt wave after wave of fear, terror, desperation and hopelessness as the captives were being guided toward a containment cell. She felt herself shaking violently, caught in a whirlwind of heightened emotions when the doors behind her opened with a loud bang as it hit the cement wall.

Jurrot walked in and made his way diligently next to his boss. But, when Erynn saw the huge demon her own fear spiked through the roof. Overwhelmed in an instant, her body was suddenly covered in sweat. She wanted to kneel, but resisted. She wanted to cut at her own skin and watch the blood flow. Feel the sting of the blade. She wanted… She… Flashes of horrid memories, screams and guttural groans all invaded her mind. For a moment, she was lost to them.

Damien looked at her reaction with an air of satisfaction, pleased that his plan had worked. She would realize that she was still his, soon enough. He turned towards Jurrot and struck a conversation.

Erynn didn’t hear a word of it, though. Overload… it’s an overload! She realized suddenly and yanked the pendant clean off her neck, the clasp breaking under the pressure. She quickly turned her back to the cage filled with terrified prisoners and put some distance between it and herself. This brought her by Damien’s side, though.

She sighed in relief but then found herself giggling happily, wanting to kneel at his side. Lean her head against his thigh… Get a grip! Not your urges, not your feelings… center yourself! Find yourself in it all!

But, once she sobered she knew. Without the pendant, her will was the only thing separating her from what she’d fought so hard to escape. Her knees shook under the internal struggle raging within. Don’t lose yourself, Papillion. She could hear her aunt implore. I’m trying, lo-lo. I’m trying…

***

There was movement through the thick steam, hints of a shape behind a glass sliding door. The sound of water splattering against tile echoed on the walls. Condensation ran down the pane and Tara found herself pulled towards it. Red hair, darkened with water, atop a lithe feminine body she instantly recognized as Willow. The realization caused a swift thud in her lower belly, her hand instinctively reaching toward the glass. Longing pulled at her fingertips, she was so close.

The water was turned off, the door slid open and Willow stepped out to reach for a towel. Try as she might, Tara couldn’t approach. She’d been propelled back, into the doorway to what she presumed was a bathroom. The room felt somewhat familiar…

With the towel wrapped around herself, the redhead leaned over the counter to wipe a thick stripe through the condensation sticking to the mirror. What she found there that made her girlfriend look so sad, Tara couldn’t say… but her gut twisted at the sight. “Will, sweetie?”

Somehow she knew Willow couldn’t hear her, but she had to try. This wasn’t right, Willow shouldn’t be here. She watched powerless as an obviously distraught Willow prepared her skin with sweet smelling lotion. Combed her hair listlessly with hollow and practiced movements. What’s wrong, baby… what’s going on?

Time seemed liquid, patches of moments flittered around her in which she couldn’t interact. Willow drying her hair, applying a light amount of makeup and slipping on a thin, white gown. Her lover’s curves and nipples, hardened by the cool air, visible through the fabric. The image was one of beautiful innocence and struck a nerve or fierce possessiveness in the blonde witch. “Willow, look at me!” But, again her plea went unanswered.

The door to the room opened and Willow reached for the dresser. Her lovely features once set in resolve turned to apathy, her fingers tightening a collar around her neck. No, no… this isn’t… “Will, stop!” She knew who was behind that door, waiting in the hall to act as some sort of twisted escort.

The group her beautiful Willow would be led to.

Tara screamed but couldn’t move and inch. “Willow!!” Damien’s deep gaze flickered towards her once before his mouth twisted in a satisfied grin. He took Willow’s hand and led her out of the room. “No!!”

“Tara!” Willow stumbled back as the hand she’d laid on her girlfriend’s shoulder was pulled away suddenly at the blonde’s loud cry. Tara had fallen asleep at the desk, peering over research materials. They’d decided that sleep wasn’t going to happen tonight, being there was only one day before the Center’s opening. Giles was due in the after-noon and, they’d wanted to be prepared.

Tara’s head flew up from the desk, violently waking from her nightmare. “W-will?” Looking around wild-eyed, she noticed she was now in their dorm room. Research… right…

The redhead kneeled in front of the chair and tucked her girlfriend’s hair behind an ear, “Are you alright, baby?”

Tara stretched out her neck, “Yeah, I’m f-fine.” She pushed at the pile of papers in front of her, “Guess I fell asleep reading and had a nightmare.”

“I know,” Willow said worriedly, “I heard you scream. I tried to wake you up.” Dipping her head and looking upward, she tried to catch Tara’s downturned eyes with her own, “Are you sure you’re ok?”

She took a deep breath, ran her fingers through her hair and rubbed at her tired eyes, “Yeah, I’m fine. We should keep going with this.” Tara said stoically, waving at the research and squaring her shoulders.

There was a moment when Willow didn’t move. She just kept looking at her girlfriend as if incredulous and saddened. Nodding once knowingly, her lips in a tight line, the redhead stood up and went to sit on the edge of the bed. “So, you’re still not gonna talk to me?”

Tara knew she should talk with her lover, but she couldn’t muster the energy. Her nerves were frayed, her friends were in danger, one of which was already ensnared. Buffy was in the hospital. She could barely hold it together. Tara was so frightened for Willow, “About what?” She made to reach for an old print-out of an old building’s blueprint. She couldn’t think about Erynn. Every time her mind turned to the French-Canadian, she thought she’d be sick.

“No.”

The unexpected word, said in the redhead’s most determined and angry voice jarred Tara to attention. “What?”

Willow shook her head, “No. I won’t let you change the subject, push me away and just la-dee-da your way out of it.” She stood up, annoyed and hurt, “Talk to me, please. I need to know how you’re doing, baby… it’s killing me.”

Tara’s face twisted with anger and fear, she pushed the papers away violently. “I’m fucking useless, that’s what!” She leaned over, dropping her weary head onto her hands. “You were being h-hurt, and I couldn’t do a damn thing.”

Standing up and wrapping her arms around herself, she started pacing the room, “All those flashbacks? I could feel them, Will.” Tara shook her head, her stomach threatening mutiny, “I know how bad Damien is, how fucked up… I know what his h-hands feel like, how he smells…”

When Willow stood and started to approach, Tara held out her hands asking for space, “We’ll get through this, we will. Your nightmare… it didn’t happen, baby.” She tried to soothe.

There was a look in her lover’s eyes Willow had never, ever seen before. Hatred, “Maybe Spike had a point.” Tara’s voice was cold and Willow hated the sound.

Uh… did she just… “What?” The redhead twisted her fingers together anxiously, “What point, I didn’t see a point. M-maybe a blunt tip… or, or… an obtuse bleach-blonde…”

The blonde rubbed her forehead, her head was pounding, “I don’t know, part of me just…” She sighed, shaking internally – her whole belief system was being reconsidered, it seemed. “I don’t know what I’m saying.”

“You’re tired,” Willow was quick to excuse, “You haven’t slept, and hey! Me either… so, so… we could just take a nap or something and you’re going to be back to your old self in no time.” There was just something about Tara talking about killing a human being… it just didn’t feel right, at all.

Tara nodded, she was obviously exhausted and its effects were starting to affect her lover, “Yeah, sleep would be good.”

The redhead busied herself with clearing the bed of her laptop and papers, “We’ve got a lot to go on now, anyway.” She haphazardly piled the lot onto the floor, “A few hours of sleep will do us wonders, you’ll see.”

Neither were convinced but, they clung onto each other tightly and wondered silently if sleep would be restful, or if it would simply aggravate things with more nightmares. They would soon find out though, their bodies choosing for them as exhaustion took over.

Before sleep claimed her, Willow had one thought: You’ve got to figure out what to do with the creep. The thought of her Tara crossing a line unnerved her more than anything in the world. It would devastate the blonde in the long run, Willow knew and it shook her to the core. I can’t let that happen.

***

_________________
~M
CopperAndGold


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