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

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (7/25/2020)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:04 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
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Wills_redemption:
Quote:
Sad to think that unbeknownst to Willow and Buffy they were both so close to each other in this moment, both lost and alone and too weak to resist some kind of numbing "drug" although deep down they know it's bad for them.


I think this is one of the more tragic aspects of S6 for sure

Quote:
It feels like cheating on Tara that Willow shares her magical bond with another magic user, worse still with a "dark" wizard.


I feel like Willow is cheating on herself too, poor Wills :(

Quote:
I can understand that Amy resents Willow for not restoring her to her human form sooner. From canon I didn't have the impression that after Willow met Tara they ever tried or at least searched for ways to "derat" Amy. From Amy's point of view Willow let her down.

I'm wondering what fate you have planned for Amy. I hope she will be saved from Rack's clutches too and won't become a "bad guy" as in canon. I'm also curious how you're going to get rid of Rack in the end (trusting that Willow won't turn into "Dark Willow" and kill him in your story).


Yeah, this was an area I wish the show had looked at a little more, just because it leaves such loose ends and I feel like Amy would be angry and resentful, especially seeing how powerful willow has gotten, but also, Willow did have a lot going on....

I have vague-ish plans for Amy.....

thanks for your feedback!





WILDERNESS

Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG (for now)
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams.
Feedback: I would love it!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: mid




Ch 20: Strong Like an Amazon



The scent of honeysuckle imbued the morning air, its warmth and citrus carried by the light breeze, caressing Tara’s senses. She hugged her wool sweater tight around her small, ten-year old frame, inhaling deeply. Content, simple, and complete. Wide blue eyes drifted open revealing the world. And at the center of that world was her mother, humming softly as she gathered lemon balm, sage, and juniper. Today was Saturday, hunting day for Daddy and Donny, and the day Tara spent the morning listening to her mother, her voice soft and reverent, as she spoke about the plants’ magical and medicinal uses. Tara smiled, enraptured.

Shadow crept across the screen, distorting that smile, its presence visceral and bleak. Dread clawed in Tara’s chest, her young features melting into a horror made from guilt. She watched as her mother’s form, her bright tulip colors, was swallowed and rendered gray. A dark silhouette against a monochrome world. Tara squeezed her eyes shut, denying the vision before her.
“You have a gift, Tarebear.” It was her mother’s voice again, its soft tenor unmistakable; Tara opened her eyes to a smiling face. “I am going to show you how to use it,” her mother continued as she stroked her daughter’s cheek.

“I have a gift Tarebear” the voice shifted to a more recent familiarity. Tara stared where green eyes, wide with curious impatience, had replaced her mother’s blue. “We both do. We shouldn’t turn our back on it.”

“Why do you think this is happening?!” her father roared and Tara was suddenly in her mother’s kitchen, slightly slumped over the counter as her knuckles whitened with the fierce grip she held on its edge.“You can’t even control it, can you? Do you even want to? Do you like being an evil thing?”

Tara felt Donny’s presence as he was now sat on the counter next to where she stood. He leaned his body toward her, his sneering face inches from her own. “Whatcha gonna do about it, sis?”

Alone again, Tara sat on the edge of her old bed in her childhood home. It felt wrong, she was grown now, and had left that place behind. Something was scratching in her right palm. She unclenched her grip and turned her hand over, opening it to reveal a sprig of Lethe’s bramble. She looked up and into darkened green eyes and Willow whispered, “Forget.”

The shrill of the phone pulled her awake but not aware. Tara instinctively curled her body into a fetal pose as she tried to make sense of the insistent noise, trying to separate the sound from the ghosts of her dream. The doctor had called, because Tara hadn’t been there, hadn’t been allowed to be there. What if she drained her mother again?

Two rings, then three, and things finally clicked, this was the here and now, and someone else was calling. But this dream had been so vivid, so accurate. It clutched.

Tara stumbled out of bed and across the looped carpet, picking up the receiver just before her answering machine would have clicked on. Her sleep addled voice croaked and split, “Hello?”

“Tara?”

“Dawnie? Wha’s- What time is it?” Rubbing her free hand across her face, Tara turned and checked her clock.

“12:23, and I’m ok and I’m sorry I woke you, especially after–“ worry and fear laced Dawn’s words as she stumbled on, “I mean, I tried to call Xander but no one picked up.”

“No, its ok. You can always call me,” Tara said, her mind working arduously to clear the rest of the remaining fog, “Wha’s goin’ on? Is someone- is everyone ok?”

There was a slight pause before Dawn answered, “There not here.”

“Who? No one’s there? Are you alone?”

“Yeah, a- and I’m trying not to be a wuss about it, but it’s late and-“ Dawn’s voice tapered away.

“You’re scared.” Tara pulled the phone into her as she sat cross-legged on the floor.

“I guess.”

“Do you want me to come over?” Tara offered softly, sincerely.

The drizzle that had been falling for the last hour quickened to a downpour pulling Dawn’s attention to the living room window. The drapes were closed, but the slight wavy part where the two pieces met let a glimpse of the outside world in. Dawn had been fixated on this sliver of the night until she had finally called Tara, too scared not to.

“No, Tara, it's way too late,” the tone was uncertain, “Just if you could stay on the phone with me for a while?”

“Dawnie, are you sure? It’s n-not a problem to come over, just until someone comes home.” Tara stood up, already gathering a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt.

“But….. what about Willow?”

“If…” Tara stilled momentarily before drawing in a steadying breath, “I mean, it’s not about Willow, it’s about you.”

“What was that?” Dawn gasped, startling Tara. She heard Dawn shifting on the other end of the line.

Tara stood paralyzed, her heart thrumming. Her vision began to swim.

Keep it together, Maclay.

Taking a deep breath she pushed away memories of footsteps; of loud abrupt sounds echoing from her childhood living room. “Dawn? Dawnie? What do you hear?”

“I don’t know,” Dawn rushed out, “I- it’s probably nothing. Just like wind through the trees or something. It's kinda stormy out so I’m sure it's just, like storm sounds, right?”

Tara waited and listened, realizing the sounds of rain pouring down. The natural sound reacclimated her to the present and she felt a sigh of recognition leave her. “Okay, Dawnie, I’m coming over.”

Also releasing a small sigh of relief, Dawn attempted a last, obligatory, rebuttal, “But, the storm, and you’ll get soggy shoes.”

A small chuckle tickled Dawn’s ears, “Have you seen my boots? Besides,” Tara pulled on and laced said boots, her tone falling into a familiar mock-solemnity, “Witches like storms, it’s like Mother Nature is throwing a rager.”

The words sounded so unnatural, yet so endearing, being spoken by the shy woman who so carefully chose her words.

A fond smile was clear in Dawn’s voice, “A rager?”

They both chuckled and Tara could almost see the playful roll of Dawn’s eyes.

“Will you call a cab?” Dawn asked, serious again.

In her room, Tara nodded, “Yes, I will call a cab. I’ll be there soon, everything will be fine, Dawn, okay?”

“Thanks Tara.”

“See you soon.” Tara triggered the hook-switch and dialed for a cab.

Thirty minutes later Tara arrived. She was drenched during the short walk from the curb to the Summers’ door. Afraid to further startle the young woman waiting for her, she rapped softly. Tara saw the drapes shift and wide blue eyes peer out to check who was at the door. The sides of Tara’s lips pulled up into a small smile, the Slayer’s sister, she thought with amused pride.

The door opened, and Dawn pulled Tara in by her sleeve. Without letting go, Dawn shut and locked the door behind her and threw her arms around Tara. Tara returned the embrace fully.

“Ugh!” Dawn protested teasingly, “You’re soaked!”

“Hazard of travelling when raining,” Tara half smiled and bobbed her head wisely, “Besides, you’re the one who hugged the soaked woman.”

“Duh,” Dawn smiled and took Tara by the hand, “C’mon, I’ll make you some tea. And, um, lay down a towel for you.”

“Ha ha,” Tara retorted as she tugged Dawn back slightly. Tara released the other girl’s hand and slipped off her raincoat, hanging it on the hooks just inside the front door. Dropping her hands to her sides, she followed Dawn into the kitchen.

Plates were stacked in the sink, a sugar container left in the middle of the counter, white granules surrounding it. A slight coffee stain sat on the floor. A wave of guilt rushed Tara as she took in the disarray. Her brow creased in self-judgment and she drew in a deep breath, trying to shake the feeling, It’s not that bad, a few missed things. Guilt was smothered by a prevalent sense of dread. A stern male voice rang in her ears This is your ONLY contribution! You think you’re above it? Do you? Seconds stretched into a void of time and Tara swayed. She grasped the door jam, digging her nails into the wood, imploring for some physical pain to pull her out of the fog.

It was a resonant CLANG that brought her back, as Dawn put another plate on the dirty stack, its weight causing the balance to over shift.

“…. Or herbal?” Tara caught.

“Um, h-herbal, please. You too, you should have herbal.”

“Yeah, I know. Besides, I like the berry flavor.” Dawn faced the counter, pulling tea bags out a drawer and ripping open the pouches. The kettle sounded and Dawn carefully poured the water over the herbs. “Um, Tara?” She hedged, her head lowered bashfully as she held out a steaming drink, housed in a mug inscribed with the Magic Box logo. “Thank you, for coming over, I know you had a hard day.”

Tara reached out and gently grasped the mug, holding it stationary between their hands before drawing it close. She felt the heat warm her abdomen.

“I am always here for you Dawn, you’re family, remember?”

“Yeah, especially when my real family is nowhere to be seen,” Dawn flashed a sincere smile at the older woman as she moved past her and into the living room. Real family Tara echoed internally, the trivial phrase suffocating her. Stop it! Tara steeled herself, eyes closed, mouth pursed, a short blunt exhale through her nose. She was always sensitive, she liked that about herself, but she wasn’t this raw, this insecure. Not anymore. Except, for the last few weeks, this was exactly how she had been feeling. The world felt barren, a sea that had withered away, leaving dry cracked earth in its wake, the sky open and hostile; and Tara walked without armor.

No
, Tara resolved, not here. Not with Dawn. And despite the ferocious wind, Tara knew here she was sheltered. Blowing on her tea, Tara returned to the living room and sat beside Dawn. She took a sip before setting the mug on the coffee table.

“Wanna watch TV?” Dawn pulled her sock covered feet onto the couch and tucked them under her thighs.

Tara turned her head and looked at Dawn. A silent moment passed and Tara smiled shyly, gratitude lifting the corners of her lips.


“Sure.” Tara bent over and unlaced her boots, mirroring Dawn’s pose as soon as they were off.

Tara giggled as she watched Dawn fish for the remote; she laughed aloud when Dawn’s arm disappeared into the recesses of the couch, then at the triumphant expression that declared “Eureka!” on Dawn’s face as she yanked her arm free and held the remote above her head.

“Goof,” Tara giggled again, shaking her head in merriment.

The women sat snuggled together, watching late night cartoons and drinking the tea away. Tara knew in time that Dawn would ask questions: about where Buffy and Willow could be, about what had happened at the ice cream parlor just hours ago.

A slight weight lay against her left shoulder as Dawn rested her head and Tara leaned her own head in kind. She hooked her hand around Dawn’s and squeezed once, her eyes never leaving the television screen, where the images blurred in formless animation, an afterthought in her vision.

Thoughts battled in her mind, concern tumbling over anger, fear grappling with hope. Dawn had mentioned ditches, still close enough to her childhood to use the phrase earnestly. “What if they’re in a ditch somewhere?” And Tara had of course reassured her that no one was in a ditch. Buffy could more than take care of herself, and Willow, as powerful as she had become, would be able to handle almost anything that came her way. With magic. That magic which had taken Willow away, that Willow had chosen over her. That now Tara was grateful for because it meant that Willow could protect herself. It would have been ironic, but the magic wasn’t why Tara left. It was Willow’s choices, her continued overuse and misuse of her power. Tara hadn’t ever considered asking Willow to stop using magic altogether, but when Willow had offered during that terrible fight, Tara had grasped onto something she could quantify. One week, Tara had conceded. A week where she could see if, without the magic, she and Willow could make it work. It was a desperate move at the time, knowing in her gut that it wouldn’t be enough. They, she, needed time and space to unpack what had happened between them. She’d told Willow “We’ll see”. Go a week and we’ll see. Not a very strong guarantee Tara knew but, as much as her heart was screaming in protest, she couldn’t pretend. Then Willow had tried to take that choice away too, take away Tara’s free will to choose with all the information intact.
And that was what it all came down to. Choices. No matter how alluring the pull of magic, the safety of power, there was always a choice. Until there wasn’t. And that was what scared Tara most of all.

It had to be Willow’s choice and Tara knew that, if she had stayed, she risked being torn into nothingness in the process. She couldn’t, wouldn’t do that herself. Not anymore. Leaving didn’t stop the worry, didn’t cancel the love. Both were there, tangled in the chaos of emotions that had stolen her sleep and disrupted her days. That had become a tumbleweed keening in the desert of her soul, raw and thirsty in Willow’s absence.

Where was Willow? Neither Buffy nor Willow would have left Dawn alone purposefully. It had to be a misunderstanding. Miscommunication. Was anyone even communicating? Buffy had become so withdrawn. Willow? Tara truly didn’t know. And then Tara started to think about ditches.

Tara felt Dawn return her gesture with a quick, weary squeeze. “They’ll be ok,” Dawn whispered, slow and somnolent. Be strong Tara. Be an Amazon. A sad smile tugged at her lips, she felt like no Amazon.

Tara lifted her head and placed a grateful peck on the girl’s forehead. Dawn shifted slightly, rubbing her cheek once on Tara’s shoulders and with a sigh drifted off. Tara heard the shift in Dawn’s breath and she let her eyes close. The thoughts remained, until they too exhausted themselves, and Tara joined Dawn in sleep.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (8/10/2020)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:08 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 391
Dibs! :whip

Poor Tara! It's so sad that she is almost drowning in bad dreams and flashbacks to her father's hurtful words! :cry

I love that she rushed to comfort Dawn in the middle of the night.

Quote:
The world felt barren, a sea that had withered away, leaving dry cracked earth in its wake, the sky open and hostile; and Tara walked without armor.

Quote:
Leaving didn’t stop the worry, didn’t cancel the love. Both were there, tangled in the chaos of emotions that had stolen her sleep and disrupted her days. That had become a tumbleweed keening in the desert of her soul, raw and thirsty in Willow’s absence.

Powerful imagery!

Quote:
Where was Willow? Neither Buffy nor Willow would have left Dawn alone purposefully. It had to be a misunderstanding. Miscommunication. Was anyone even communicating?

Not really, sadly - and Tara herself is no exception.

Is it too much to hope for that you might deviate from canon when Willow stumbles home the next morning, that Tara doesn't flee hurt the house and disappointed over Willow's magic trip with Amy like I (dimly) recall she did in canon but instead sees or feels that Willow is figuratively drowning and needs her help?


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (8/10/2020)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:16 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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Posts: 75
ANOTHER great update (not that I'm surprised!)
I have to begin, though, with an ENORMOUS apology. I have not been keeping up with responses and adulation for ALL the authors who continue to provide me with excellent Willow/Tara reading material and stories to become engrossed in. It is a SORELY needed escape, especially now, and I CANNOT thank you enough.
Shirrey, the Willow/Tara you bring us in this story are wonderful.
THANK YOU,...and keep up the GREAT work.
Stay Safe & Well,
Blessings

_________________
[font=][font=]Strength in our arms, Truth on our tongues, Clarity in our hearts[/font][/font]


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (8/10/2020)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:13 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 181
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Will's_redemption: Dibs! :whip


Quote:
I love that she rushed to comfort Dawn in the middle of the night.
I love their friendship/ sistership

Quote:
Quote:
The world felt barren, a sea that had withered away, leaving dry cracked earth in its wake, the sky open and hostile; and Tara walked without armor.

Quote:
Leaving didn’t stop the worry, didn’t cancel the love. Both were there, tangled in the chaos of emotions that had stolen her sleep and disrupted her days. That had become a tumbleweed keening in the desert of her soul, raw and thirsty in Willow’s absence.

Powerful imagery!
Thank you!!

Quote:
Quote:
Where was Willow? Neither Buffy nor Willow would have left Dawn alone purposefully. It had to be a misunderstanding. Miscommunication. Was anyone even communicating?

Not really, sadly - and Tara herself is no exception.


Yeah, Tara is definitely in that camp

Quote:
Is it too much to hope for that you might deviate from canon when Willow stumbles home the next morning, that Tara doesn't flee hurt the house and disappointed over Willow's magic trip with Amy like I (dimly) recall she did in canon but instead sees or feels that Willow is figuratively drowning and needs her help?


Um, er, various sounds of hesitation. I don't want to crush anyone's hopes but.... I will say it's a little different... I will also say this is the beginning of a turning point, kind of.....



MotherD
Quote:
ANOTHER great update (not that I'm surprised!)
I have to begin, though, with an ENORMOUS apology. I have not been keeping up with responses and adulation for ALL the authors who continue to provide me with excellent Willow/Tara reading material and stories to become engrossed in. It is a SORELY needed escape, especially now, and I CANNOT thank you enough.
Shirrey, the Willow/Tara you bring us in this story are wonderful.
THANK YOU,...and keep up the GREAT work.


Thank you so much!! I wish I was faster at updating! and no worries nor apologies needed- life is WEIRD right now, like on a collective global scale so I get it- but I do appreciate the feedback you did leave!! and I am really glad it is serving as a respite





WILDERNESS

Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG (for now)
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams.
Feedback: I would love it!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: mid


Note: This one is pretty short- I usually try and have several chapters almost ready to go before I update, but I will updat esooner than I been doing. Thanks as always to Zooeys_Bridge (who I am waiting very patiently for an update to Lotus from, Very, very patiently :g:)




CH 21: A Little Stumble Home



Willow woke, drool crusted down the side of her mouth and chin. Placing her palms flat against the stained rug, she pushed her torso up, arching her back slightly as she blinked to adjust her vision. A wide yawn spread as she pushed herself back, sitting on her heels and rubbing a weary hand across her mouth, then pushed the rest of the way up to her feet. Her eyes scanned the fetid room and she found Amy, half on the floor, half on a blue chair that once could’ve been described as plush, her head pillowed by arms crossed over the tattered seat. Just above Amy and to the left was Rack, his eyes shut as he sat upright on an equally worn green-gray couch, eerily motionless. Willow felt a momentary chill run through her veins, before she giggled at her reaction.

The after-effects of Rack’s magic made her head deliciously fuzzy and she struggled to be subtle as she moved toward Amy. Willow shook Amy’s shoulder and the sleeping woman jerked upward with a loud gasp. Willow attempted to shush her through an amused smile, gaining a sheepish look from Amy. One hand cupped her mouth, muffling snorts of laughter, Willow’s other pointed to Rack and then to the door. Amy stared through glassy eyes, stuck on the still man until a tug on her sleeve propelled her to move. The waiting room was still littered with desperation as they shuffled through and out into the near cusp of night and day.

Amy half stumbled into Willow and rested her weight fully, leaning on Willow’s side. They staggered and giggled together, making their way through the streets and toward the cemetery.

“It gave me the serious wiggins,” Amy said, the statement coming out of nowhere, “I mean who sleeps like that? Was he even sleeping? Maybe it was like meditation or something.”

“He’s gotta sleep sometime, “Willow shrugged as she ungracefully side-stepped a grave marker, “Ooh or maybe not! Maybe he magics away his need to sleep? Like, just gets all meditate-y for a bit and blammo! Sleep-be-gone!”

“I dunno Will, I am pretty fond of it- nothing like a good nap-“ Amy tilted her head slightly, listening. Was that a whoosh? She shrugged and scrunched her nose as she continued, “and suddenly I’m picturing snuggling down on a bed of wood shavings.”

Willow laughed loudly, uncaring of her surroundings even as the heady effects of Rack’s magic was waning. “Well not sleeping might help me actually get my papers written. I’ve got three due in a few days.”

“You? Miss – every-teacher’s-wet-dream? Behind on school?” Amy felt the twinge of jealousy return but she pushed it away, not ready to leave the bliss that had enveloped her this night.

“Ok, ew,” Willow said as they stepped onto the residential streets, nearing Revello Drive.

The long brown coat of a vampire caught the updraft with a whoosh as he descended from atop a mausoleum. His superior eyesight caught a glimpse of the two women walking dozens of feet away. The blood in his veins hummed as the predator stalked with the shadows, a smug curve to his lips as he listened to the women chat amiably, cluelessly.

Closer. Closer.

He ran his tongue over his right fang and prepared to attack. A light caught his attention and he realized they were coming from the redhead’s chatty fingers. Sparks. Red and yellow sparks, small but furious, erupting as the woman moved. With wide eyes, the vampire slowly moved backward then ran fast and far. Witches. He’d been undead long enough to know to stay away from them. He reached the other end of the cemetery and took an unnecessary breath, closing his eyes in relief. When he opened them again it was to the sight of a stake speeding toward him. The last thing he saw was the Slayer, hip cocked and twenty feet in front of him. “Fuc-!” Clouds of dust can’t talk anymore.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (8/25/2020)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 4:04 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 391
Dibs! :whip
It's sad that Willow has already come so far that she doesn't feel shame or regret after waking up in this disgusting place. At least she still showed care for Amy, waking her up and leaving with her.

Quote:
A light caught his attention and he realized they were coming from the redhead’s chatty fingers. Sparks. Red and yellow sparks, small but furious, erupting as the woman moved. With wide eyes, the vampire slowly moved backward then ran fast and far. Witches. He’d been undead long enough to know to stay away from them.

Very worrying that Willow is "leaking" magic without even noticing it. It's good that the sight drove the vampire away though because I'm not sure if Willow and / or Amy would have been in the state to defend themselves with magic if the vampire had attacked them.

From your reply to my last comment I gather that I won't like the encounter between Tara and Willow when the latter comes home. I guess that I'll just have to trust that all will turn out well in the end.


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (8/25/2020)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:35 am 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 181
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Wills redemption: I promise that things will turn out well in the end, its the KB for one thing, but more so , I have no interest in writing them if they aren't going to be together and well and super in love. Thanks for the FB.


WILDERNESS

Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG (for now)
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams.
Feedback: I would love it!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: mid

Notes: Set in S4, after NMR has happened. It was originally posted as a one-off called Blush, it has been seriously reworked (and renamed) and has not been beta'd, hoping there aren't any really glaring mistakes that I missed.





Little Cages
set in S4, after NMR


The house stood in front them, large and pleasant. Suburban. From the outside it was a thing of wood, nails, and glass, but on the inside, reminiscences of past emotions and events filled in the foundation. Houses are collectors of memories.

Willow slipped her hand from Tara’s, retrieving her keys from her pants pocket and opening the front door. The interior was silent but for the steady tick of a grandfather clock and an infrequent click-whoosh when the air conditioner readjusted to the temperature. The walls were functional, all wood and plaster and slightly off-white, decorated with folk art pieces collected from her parents’ international travels. There was no one home, Willow had known that; her parents were three weeks into a twelve week ‘working vacation’, a term Willow found both perplexing and manipulative before deciding it wasn’t worth getting upset over. She shrugged to herself, If it makes them feel better….

Willow turned to see Tara, having entered behind her, taking everything in, her wide blue eyes scanning the room carefully, her lips tipping up into a small wondrous smile. Willow followed Tara’s gaze with a curious frown to see what was making Tara smile, what she was missing. Nothing. Everything was as it usually was: tidy, modern, museum-like. Tara slipped forward, moving further into the large room, looked closely at every inch of space, studied it, wanting to catch every detail. Somehow, Willow spotted the frame photo, placed at a meticulous angle on the mantle, before Tara did. It was the only picture of them as a family in the main room, taken when Willow was ten, and in her mind, impossibly awkward.

Tara stumbled slightly as she surged forward, pulled by Willow’s sudden grasp, her wondering eyes never faltering while Willow led her up the stairs, hurrying them past the two photographs hung in the upstairs hallway, wishing she had thought about those before asking Tara to come with her that day.

They had been officially together for a month and a half, although they had both agreed that there had always been something between them. During long talks, interrupted by stolen kisses, they had admitted their immediate attraction to one another, although that it was a romantic attraction was much clearer to Tara early on. Willow had frowned then, blaming herself for being so clueless that things took as long they did until the frown was kissed away, Tara softly reassuring that they were going just the pace they were meant to be.

After the night of the “Extra-Flamey Candle”, as they’d named it, any uncertainty of their feelings for one another had been extinguished, carried away in wisps of smoke. They had declared their love in the darkness, freeing the energy to settle into the walls, part of the structure now.

When Willow had asked Tara to come with her to her childhood home, she had just wanted to be with her. She hadn’t thought about what being here would unveil, but now, dread swept through her as she approached the last barrier to her destination.

She had changed since she lived in that room. Tara knew the new, better, witchier, version of Willow. Stepping into the time capsule on the other side of the door seemed like walking into a graveyard where ghosts still haunted her. If she opened that door, would these ghosts announce themselves? Reveal bits of Willow she had buried in holes that wouldn’t stay covered. She wanted to share herself with Tara, just maybe not now, not so soon after they had found each other. Not when Willow was so smitten with this beautiful girl. But they were here now and she couldn’t ask Tara not to come in, not without hurting her.

“Ready?,” Willow placed her free hand on the knob, swallowing hard/ Tara stepped beside her, nodding eagerly and bouncing forward on her toes, lifting herself up a bit. And when she smiled she beamed with such delight that Willow couldn’t help being swept up, wanting so much to let herself trust and hope, to close the lid over her worries. She opened the door, her hand ushering Tara inside. The benign embarrassment of tacky posters and childish sheets still lingering, Willow blushed and shrugged, “It’s just my old bedroom.”

“I know,” Tara examined the room, taking in every piece like it was a precious artifact, stored and protected at a national museum, “but it’s like a piece of you from before, I get a glimpse of what littler Willow was like.” Her beaming smile was paired with a look of pure adoration shining from cornflower blue eyes.

For a perfect moment, forest green eyes accepted and returned the adoring stare, until Willow spied her open closet door, a familiar gingham monstrosity peaking through. Moving hastily, and Willow hoped sneakily, she swung the closet door shut, wondering why she hadn’t burned those old relics years ago.

“Believe me that stone is definitely best left unturned,” Willow said with an exaggerated puff of air and goofy grin which, Tara noted, wasn’t reflected in her eyes. Tara watched carefully, reading Willow’s body language, as Willow moved about her room, getting the box pellet food as she talked to her rat.

“Poor Amy , you’ve got to be hungry,” Willow soothed, taking the empty food tray from Amy’s cage, “If we were any later you’d probably start gnawing off her own paws.”

“W-well that’s your fault, you know?” Tara flirted, knowing that she could often bring Willow out of ‘overthinking brain’ when she did. Not that she didn’t mean it. Willow often made her feel flirtatious, even though Tara would swear she didn’t know how to flirt. But, here, watching Willow’s slender body move, the low waist of her jeans hugging a subtly curved hip, the perfect ass in full view as Willow bent, Tara was feeling very very flirtatious. She couldn’t help but blush when Willow glanced back at her, eyebrows raised. Tara ducked her head shyly before lifting her gaze under hooded eyes, smiling coyly “I’m-um- not the one who made us late.”

“Sorry ‘bout that,” Willow blushed, turning back to her chore, and then, she felt the slow graze of Tara’s hands around her, the press of Tara’s body against her. Tara’s low giggle sent ripples down her back and Willow stopped all motion.

“I, um, really didn’t mind,” Tara spoke softly, her low voice both tentative and husky. The warmth spread across Willow’s collarbone as Tara leaned into her. Willow stiffened slightly, pushing her body forward.

“Good,” she replied, the sound underlined by the tiny sounds of scratching as Amy paced the floor of her cage, “I mean, I wouldn’t want you to really be upset,” Willow continued, focused intently on pouring food into the bowl, “‘Cause, why would you be upset? You aren’t the hungry one. I mean, the one I let go hungry. Not that… I, mean you could be hungry, we haven’t eaten since lunch, but that’s not, I mean, you don’t… um, well-“ A soft hand on her hip stooped the babbling.

“Willow, are you ok?”

Willow stood quickly, “Yeah, just um, worried about Amy.” Tara stepped back, giving Willow her space, relaxing when Willow placed a quick peck on her cheek. Willow resumed caring for Amy, moving items around the cage so she could tidy it, but she kept a side eye on Tara who was now looking more closely at the room.

Tara felt Willow’s watchful glances as she peered at the large poster hung over Willow’s desk. It showed the Periodic Table, and Tara wondered if the color coding was the influence for Willow’s habit of using different colored pens. It was organized, she conceded.

There was a framed picture of a middle aged man, sitting in honor on Willow’s bookcase. Tara quirked a half smile as she moved toward it, curious. Quickly, Willow was next to her, hands wringing and a look on her face that said she was ready to explain. Wide eyes met wondering brows.

“Who’s this hunk?” Tara joked, trying to ease the obvious nerves rolling off Willow. It seemed to at least throw Willow off because all fidgeting stopped and Willow’s mouth dropped open.

“Hunk?” Willow asked disbelievingly.

“Well, he h-has to be right? I mean, why else would he be framed?” Tara turned red even as she smirked.

“That’s Neil deGrasse Tyson,” Willow said sheepishly, almost mumbled, in her embarrassment

“The, um, the physicist?” Tara asked watching Willow press her arms down rigidly, her hands squeezed before her. Willow was closing in on herself.

“Um yeah.”

“Sweetie?” Tara brushed her fingers down Willow’s arm softly, “Are- are you uncomfortable with me in your room?”

“What? No,” Willow protested, breaking easily under Tara’s concerned look. She sighed and crossed to her bed, picking at a loose thread on her coverlet, thick pastel stripes shifting slightly with the movement. “Well, being here kinda makes me feel like I’m still in high school, or worse junior highschool- more like junior hellschool,” Willow grumbled, feeling Tara slip behind her and wrapped her around the middle, “I wasn’t exactly Miss Popularity. I wasn’t even in the same county or state- or possibly even continent- as the popular kids.”

Tara rested her chin on Willow’s shoulder, a sweet smile crossing her lips when Willow laid their temples together “I think I was on another planet,” Tara shared, “but I never wanted to be like them.” Willow tilted her head back and Tara giggled when her hair tickled Willow’s face.

“No me neither really,” Willow agreed with an unsettled sigh, “besides it’s in the past right? I have a brand spankin new livin the college life- life and….,” Willow placed a feather light kiss on Tara’s cheek, “a gorgeous girl to spend it with.”

Tara couldn’t speak past the flush that heated her cheeks or the warm breath that caught and remained in her chest. A ridiculous smile wanted to stretch across Tara’s face and live there forever. She closed her eyes and nuzzled against Willow’s lips, “So your parents are out of town?”

“Generally always,” Willow returned with a knowing smile, “I need to change Amy’s water.” She kissed Tara chastely on the mouth and moved back to the cage, unhooking the water dispenser that hung from its side. “I’m not even sure how great they are at feeding her when they are here.”

Tara followed and crouched beside Willow reaching out her index finger to smooth over Amy’s back, “Why didn’t you just bring Amy to the dorms? That way you wouldn’t have to worry.”

“Because I’m not a sneaky rule breaker like you,” Willow teased, bumping their shoulders together.

“I only break the dumb rules,” Tara said with a sheepish smile.

“Well now that we have Miss Kitty,” a blush swept up Willow’s collarbone to the backs of her ears. It’s that word ‘we’. It made Willow giddy and shy at the same time. It made lumps form in her throat, “I am not sure if it’s a good idea to bring her there, I don’t want to give poor Amy a heart attack.”

The blush seemed to leap from Willow to Tara, two flushed faces gazing just inches apart. “Miss Kitty is a huntress,” The low sensual tone in Tara’s voice said ten thousand lovely things.
Amy scratched in her cage and Tara blushed again, feeling too bold and oddly public. She reached her finger through the now closed cage and tickled at Amy’s fur again, “She’s cute.”

“I hope you don’t still think so if I ever figure out how to turn her back.”

“Depends on if she still has these whiskers or not.”

“Tara!” Sometimes Tara was wonderfully strange.

Squirming, Tara shook her head trying to erase the words, “I’m not really into whiskers!”

“I wasn’t really worried.” Willow giggled.

“Good.” Tara stood, desperate to change the subject and wanting to relish in the place where her love spent many years growing up, “I-is it okay if I look around?”

“I mean, there’s not much to see besides my geek infested roots,” Willow said with a shrug and a strained chuckle.

Tara stepped forward and stood before Willow, she ran her fingers through red hair and Willow leaned into the caress, “I love all your roots.”

A small giggle erupted from Willow, and she nuzzled into the smooth pale skin of Tara’s neck “I thought you were going to say infested roots turned you on.” Tara pulled back in mock horror, “Ew.” There was a moment when neither spoke, a moment where each wondered if they had said something wrong. Then eyes met and both women burst into laughter, squeezing together as one.

“Let’s go back to the dorms, baby,” Willow said, giving her best puppy eyes, “I’ll buy you a mocha on the way home.”

“Sure love,” Tara replied then bent down beside the cage again, sticking her fingers through the gaps and wiggling them at the rat, “Bye Amy, I’m sure I’ll see you again, maybe next time,” her voice dropped to a stage whisper, “Willow will even let me explore.”

“Maybe,” Willow retorted, stretching her hand out and helping Tara stand, “Come on now, those mochas aren’t going to drink themselves.”

“Well, they might,” Tara giggled, shutting the door behind her, “It is the Hellmouth.”

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (9/9/2020)
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:13 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 391
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
From the outside it was a thing of wood, nails, and glass, but on the inside, reminiscences of past emotions and events filled in the foundation. Houses are collectors of memories.

Quote:
Stepping into the time capsule on the other side of the door seemed like walking into a graveyard where ghosts still haunted her.

Great imagery again!

Quote:
She had changed since she lived in that room. Tara knew the new, better, witchier, version of Willow.

Quote:
She wanted to share herself with Tara, just maybe not now, not so soon after they had found each other. Not when Willow was so smitten with this beautiful girl.

I think deep down Willow never lost the fear that Tara might love her less if she knew how she was in highschool. And subconsciously she felt that she might somehow revert into her highschool self when she stopped using magic and it would lead to her losing Tara. This is so sad, considering that her clinging to the magic and continuing to (over)use it drove Tara away.

Quote:
“Bye Amy, I’m sure I’ll see you again, maybe next time,” her voice dropped to a stage whisper, “Willow will even let me explore.”

“Maybe,” Willow retorted, stretching her hand out and helping Tara stand, “Come on now, those mochas aren’t going to drink themselves.”

“Well, they might,” Tara giggled, shutting the door behind her, “It is the Hellmouth.”

:laugh I love Tara's qirky sense of humour!
I guess the next time Tara will see Amy (whisker-free this time) will be right in the next chapter and that it won't be as pleasant for Tara as this first encounter was...


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (9/9/2020)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:58 am 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Location: Wales
I've been obsessed with this story for a while, please keep going!

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- I am a poster girl with no poster, I am 32 flavours and then some -


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (9/9/2020)
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
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Wills redemption:

Quote:
I think deep down Willow never lost the fear that Tara might love her less if she knew how she was in highschool. And subconsciously she felt that she might somehow revert into her highschool self when she stopped using magic and it would lead to her losing Tara. This is so sad, considering that her clinging to the magic and continuing to (over)use it drove Tara away.


100% agree. They both have so many things to work through personally.

Quote:
:laugh I love Tara's qirky sense of humour!


Same. And I so relate to being the girl that tells jokes nobody else thinks are funny lol. Thanks for your feedback.


leftindust

Quote:
I've been obsessed with this story for a while, please keep going!


Thank you so much! I am working on keeping it going :)




Wilderness

Rating: PG for now
Distribution: please let me know.
Feedback: YES PLEASE!!
Angst Level: High
Disclaimer: I own nothing but my dreams



Ch 23: Choices



A swift jab in the thigh startled Tara awake. She blinked her eyes open, her heart thudding from the sudden change in consciousness. A glow of the TV hued the furniture into staticy blue-gray shapes. Sleep- bleary eyes struggled to interpret the shapes for a moment until furniture pieces shifted then sharpened in Tara’s view, orienting her to the Summers’ living room. Her thigh throbbed and she absently rubbed where, it seemed, Dawn had kicked her in her sleep. With a quick glance- laced with a mock glare- Tara confirmed that the girl was sleeping. Dawn had pushed her limbs across the length of the couch, her right arm extended into the air off the front side of the couch and onto the coffee table. Tara had been pushed into the far side of the couch by the lengthy body stretched around and across her. Gently, Tara shifted out from under Dawn’s right leg, eliciting an annoyed grunt from the sleeping girl. Joints popped in a string of sounds as Tara stood up and stretched her back.

The blue-gray lit Tara’s way through the dark room and into the kitchen. She poured herself a glass of water and glanced at the microwave clock. 5:42 A.M. The world was in the last throes of slumber, silent for a little longer before the day awoke. In this stillness, the kitchen held her in a place in-between, the scent of fresh pancakes an afterthought in the air. It was so familiar, had been so full of life and love. Now it was the blue-gray stillness of irresolution.

Tara looked again to the clock. 5:43 A.M. She hadn’t heard anyone come home. Rolling her sore neck, tweaked by the awkward sleeping position, Tara thought about what to do next. She knew she should check the bedrooms, but the thought left her with worry and apprehension and a body that refused to move. What if Willow was in there? What if Tara woke her up? What if Willow wasn’t there? Where is she? Tara sent a silent plea for Buffy to return home now. For them to be safe. For her to be able to avoid seeing Willow. She waited. One second. Two. Thirty. Almost two minutes went by before Tara released the breath she was unaware she was holding. No wish upon a star tonight.

Tara’s hands slipped slightly as she reached back and propelled herself off the cold lip of the sink and into motion. Her lips pursed with determination; at odds with the worried frown she wore and the bats beating mighty wings in the cave of her stomach. She climbed the stairs, pausing to glance at the door that used to open to her room. Turning left, Tara reached Buffy’s door and lightly knocked. When there was no answer, she edged the door open just enough to see the vacant bed. She shut the door, passed Dawn’s room, sense memory guiding her through the dark hall and back to the first door. Taking a breath for bravery, Tara raised a shaking fist and knocked quietly. She received no response. There was relief but mostly, it scared the hell out of her.

Tara placed her hand around the doorknob, knowing she would have to see if Willow was there. She felt like an intruder as she finally pushed the door open, and her eyes were immediately drawn to the double bed, empty and unruffled. One look at that bed and its red duvet, the bats flew into a frenzy, trying to force their way up and out of Tara’s chest. In and out of her throat. Unease swam in her mind and the bats suddenly dropped, crumbling into a leaden heap that staggered her as she opened the door wider.

It was strange, she knew this room. Familiar scents and sights greeted her. Skittered snapshots of familiar times combed through her mind. When they had lived here and it had been home. But now, being here felt… wrong. Forbidden. Still, Tara moved forward, compelled into the crossroads of past and present. Slowly, wide blue eyes scanned the space, searching for ties to her time there and noting the vacancies left by her departure.

Her gaze stopped on two large tomes resting on the dresser. They were magic books. Old books from the loft in the Magic Box, filled with dangerous knowledge and forbidden power. Choices. Anguish bristled up Tara’s spine and resolve took over her features. This wasn’t her room anymore, but she still had things here, things she wanted. With a glance over her shoulder, she searched the hall quickly, reassuring herself unnecessarily that she was alone, and moved to the closet. She opened the slatted door and pushed aside a few pairs of shoes and a fallen knitted scarf that Willow had given her last Solstice. She hung the scarf on a hanger and reached into the small space. With a tug, she pulled out a medium sized cardboard box labeled: Tara- Photos and Books.

“Purple,” Tara murmured. Willow had labeled it in purple. Photos and books hold magic and beauty, hence, purple.

She shut the closet and carried the box to the door, a mass of emotions rolling through her frame. Relief at finding the box she hadn’t really even thought about but now knew she needed. Grief as she was removing another piece of herself from Willow’s life. Lingering anger and profound hurt that Willow seemed unaffected. She had left and it seemed that Willow was unaffected.

Tara stood in the threshold of that room, body facing the hallway, head turned to look back once more. She shifted the box’s weight to her hip as she pulled the door shut behind her.
Moving carefully, Tara took the box downstairs and set it next to the front door, far enough to not be in anyone’s way, close enough to grab when she left. Tea was needed. It was the salve to a heavy heart passing time in the early morning hours. She was at the sink in the kitchen, kettle in hand, when she heard the key turn in the front door. Her heart fluttered as she stilled. Silently, she reset the kettle and tilted her head, straining to hear any clue for who had come home. Two voices sounded, one unfamiliar, the other too familiar- both too loud and excitable for the hour.

“Why don’t you just- you know….” The unfamiliar voice said.

“Trust me, the thought has crossed my mind.” And there it was, the unmistakable lilt of Willow’s warm voice. Tara wanted to flee. She wanted to run out the back door- leaving no trace. And she wanted to run through the living room and into Willow’s arms. Instead, she waited.

Willow shrugged off her jacket as she continued, “I mean the amount of oomph I’ve put into academia, I should be earning mileage. Or brain-use credit that I can redeem for some get-out-of-research-kickback.”

“Yes, that kickback is called a glamour,” Amy smirked, following Willow down the two stairs into the main room.

“I don’t know. Maybe I can just translocate Dr. Swanson to Mazatlan, somewhere sunny,” Willow pushed open the swinging kitchen door, “the woman could def --” and her brain shut down.
There Tara stood, body pushed back against the sink, arms crossed and squeezed together under her breasts. Willow watched Tara’s face twitch with emotion. Tara’s eyes darted back and forth across the floor tiles, finally stilling at a central pinpoint. Her features tightened, and Willow recognized the static anger, the sight both rare and unforgettable.

A rush of shame tried to push through Willow, and Willow pushed back, hardening herself. She looked squarely at Tara and greeted her with a flat, “Hey.”

Blue eyes jerked up and Tara looked uneasily at Willow, “Hey. I, um, Dawn called me late last night, no one was here, she asked me to come.”

“Oh.”

“I was just going to stay until someone got home, so…”

Tara shot a quick glance at Amy, who stood by the kitchen door, watching the events unfold before her. The glance shook Willow out of the tense moment as she realized how the situation looked. Here she was waltzing in at almost morning with another woman. As much as Willow didn’t want to experience Tara’s disappointment, she wasn’t going to hurt her unnecessarily.

“Oh, this is Amy! Amy, Tara. Tara, Amy,” Willow waved an introductory hand between the two women.

This stranger unnerved Tara. First the magic and now this. Tara’s heart broke twice over as she felt the weight of being replaced. Of being forgotten. Willow watched the beautiful features crumble before Tara ducked her head, hiding her shame.

“Amy!!” Willow reiterated, her tone compelling Tara to put the pieces together. She received nothing but a confused glance. “Amy! The rat? Sorry,” Willow looked back at her friend with an expression that said ‘oops.’

“S’ok.” Amy shrugged, “I was a rat.”

Willow turned back to find Tara’s look of hurt had shifted to disbelief.

“H-how?” Tara stuttered, shaking her head.

Willow paused, conflicted, her eyes nervously darting around the room, as Tara’s had done just minutes before. The silence told Tara everything.

Amy watched her friend fidget. “Transmutation,” she chimed, breaking the impasse and continuing forward, “This spell Will found in some old magic tome. Super intense. I mean the power it took-“

“Amy,” Willow hedged, hoping her friend would clue in. Tara pressed her lips tight in anger.

“No, it’s true! I mean, the amount that she has grown in the three years I was in a cage, you should have seen what she was working at the Bronze.”

The room grew claustrophobic and Willow could feel her cheeks pale. She chanced a glance at Tara and witnessed the open soul of blue eyes harden and retreat. Willow felt the skin around her ribs tightening, threatening to crush her. “Amy!” This time the tone was clear, angry, and desperate.

And Amy went on, “I mean, conjuring, transmutation, mind control.”

The tense stillness of the room shattered.

Willow startled and glared dangerously at Amy, “WHAT? NO!”

At the same moment, Tara tore out of the room, seething like an impatient volcano.

Tara stalked through the living room still hearing Willow’s voice from the kitchen. “What the hell, Amy?!” Willow yelled, careless of the fact Dawn was sleeping in the next room. But Tara couldn’t think that far. She moved quickly to the foyer, snagged her jacket and thrust the front door open.

With her key in the lock, Buffy reacted to the violent swing of the door, shifting her weight to her back foot and drawing out her stake. The face that appeared wasn’t expected, and the only response she had as she eased her stance was, “Oh.” Tara didn’t even pause, sidestepping Buffy and continuing on, her path a thin red line. Buffy watched as Tara stormed into the dawn, the early sun’s glow giving deference to her pain.

Buffy stepped into her house, closing the door quietly behind her. She could hear Willow yelling in the kitchen. Was she yelling at Dawn? An angry flash of protectiveness flared and died. Tara had been here, Dawn might have yelled first. Dawn always protected Tara first. Cautiously, Buffy approached as the voices lowered. She listened.

“Did you want me to lie to her?”

“It wasn’t your place, Amy. And not lie?! You were the one with the mind-control!”

Not Dawn, Buffy thought, the small relief easing her muscles.

A timid voice reached her from the living room couch, confirming Dawn’s location, “Buffy?”

“Dawn. Are you ok?”

Nodding silently, Dawn stood and opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. She glanced to the kitchen door once then moved to the stairs, climbing the way to her room. Buffy watched her go for a few moments longing to follow her, to crawl up in bed and shut it all away. But something had happened, and it was affecting Dawn, and it was Willow affecting them all, again. Buffy breathed out the tension that threatened her weary body and entered the kitchen. She eyed the two women curiously, “What’s with the pre-dawn showdown?”

“Oh, it’s nothing. Just lots of un-expectations,” Willow demurred, moving to a cabinet and pulling out a bag of coffee.

Buffy popped a hip in irritation, “Lots of loud un-expectations.”

The smell of ground coffee filled the air as Willow opened the bag with fidgety fingers, “Oh, sorry about that, were you sleeping?”

“No, but Dawn was.”

Willow winced, she glanced in the direction of the upstairs bedrooms, “Oh, oops.”

Buffy realized that Willow hadn’t known that Dawn had fallen asleep in the living room, she tried to soothe her annoyance and focused on the other un-expectation of the morning, “So…. Tara was here?”

“Yeah, I guess she stayed with Dawn.” Willow tried to and failed to sound aloof. She kept her rigid back turned to Buffy as she poured water in the coffee maker.

Resentment rushed through Buffy’s veins and her tone came out harsher than intended, “You guess? Where were you?”

Amy thumbed toward the door, she’d had enough tension for the night, “Willow, I’m going to go. See you later?”

Nodding a flat acknowledgment to Amy, Willow continued with her task, concentrating on each step with forced focus, “I was out. I didn’t know you’d be out all night.”

“I have duties, remember?” Buffy flared, moving just steps behind Willow, “what I was put on this earth for? Again.”

Willow stopped what she was doing but did not turn around. Her blood ached like bile, hot and acidy. Poisoning her. The words slipped through her tight mouth like the low hiss of a viper. “And here I am left looking after your sister. Again.”

Silence.

Buffy stood, wearing a shocked expression, vulnerable in a way she hadn’t been since she was resurrected. Willow dropped her head, the acrid sting receding, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean that. And I’m sorry I wasn’t here.”

“No, You’re right. Dawn’s not your responsibility,” the walls around Buffy re-emerged, icier, but cracked.

Willow’s shoulders slumped as she reflected on what she said. The words had escaped her on a wave of vitriol that felt unnatural and foreign in her system. And now guilt had soured her stomach and she felt hot tears of frustration pool behind her eyes. She had to make this right. She was so tired of being sorry. “I’m sorry, Buffy I’m just, I’m tired and cranky. Maybe we can make up a Dawn watching schedule tonight?”

When Buffy didn’t respond, Willow fought the urge to flee, escape like Tara had just minutes ago. But what she had said had bordered on cruel, and she couldn’t leave it there. She took a step toward Buffy, voice soft and apologetic, “Buffy, I love Dawn, and I am honored that you trust me enough to give me responsibility for her. I don’t know why I said that, I’m really sorry.”

After a few more moments, Buffy gave a barely perceptible nod, “I guess we should coordinate our schedules better.”

“Definitely, we’ll do that,” Willow felt the last dregs of the dark magics she’d consumed leave her. In its absence, she felt an abyss – its edges coated with lye- expand with her. Exhaustion rocked her body. “Do you want coffee? Cause I think I’m just going to shower and hit the hay.”

Buffy shook her head no. Willow squeezed her arm as she passed by and sluggishly walked out of the kitchen and up the stairs. Minutes later and equally depleted, Buffy followed Willow’s path. The shower was on full blast, but Buffy could still hear the frenzied sobs through the roar. She paused near the bathroom door and squeezed her eyes tightly shut, for just a moment. Then she stepped into her own bedroom, shutting the door behind her.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (9/20/2020)
PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:09 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 391
Dibs! :whip
I'm sad that in this new chapter there is once again no divergance from canon - at least not in a positive way. Tara flees the house totally crushed and probably even more frightened of what Willow has become and will certainly avoid Willow and the Summer's home like the plague from now on. Dawn probably is even more angry with Willow because she drove Tara away again. Buffy is still alternating between emotional numbness and being lost in her own suffering and simply not capable to help the others. And Willow is stumbling into her downfall lost and alone, without anyone to save her because her soulmate, her best friend, her "little sister" and her "new" friend can't really see the danger she's in because they are each blinded by their own emotional turmoil. What a mess! :cry

Quote:
Lingering anger and profound hurt that Willow seemed unaffected. She had left and it seemed that Willow was unaffected.

I'm wondering how Tara came to this assumption. In truth she has no idea how Willow feels or what she does to cope. All what she knows is that Willow apparantly reads "dark" magic books now and stayed away from home all night (at least the latter is highly unusual for Willow and an indication that she is not "unaffected").

Quote:
“I was out. I didn’t know you’d be out all night.”

“I have duties, remember?” Buffy flared, moving just steps behind Willow, “what I was put on this earth for? Again.”

Yeah, but you didn't do your duty all night, most of the time you had sex with Spike. I'm wondering if Buffy is not only lying to Willow here, but to herself too. Somehow trying to believe herself that she spent the whole night slaying instead of screwing a vampire?

Quote:
Willow stopped what she was doing but did not turn around. Her blood ached like bile, hot and acidy. Poisoning her. The words slipped through her tight mouth like the low hiss of a viper. “And here I am left looking after your sister. Again.”

Silence.

Buffy stood, wearing a shocked expression, vulnerable in a way she hadn’t been since she was resurrected. Willow dropped her head, the acrid sting receding, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean that. And I’m sorry I wasn’t here.”

“No, You’re right. Dawn’s not your responsibility,” the walls around Buffy re-emerged, icier, but cracked.

Willow’s shoulders slumped as she reflected on what she said. The words had escaped her on a wave of vitriol that felt unnatural and foreign in her system. And now guilt had soured her stomach and she felt hot tears of frustration pool behind her eyes. She had to make this right. She was so tired of being sorry. “I’m sorry, Buffy I’m just, I’m tired and cranky. Maybe we can make up a Dawn watching schedule tonight?”

When Buffy didn’t respond, Willow fought the urge to flee, escape like Tara had just minutes ago. But what she had said had bordered on cruel, and she couldn’t leave it there. She took a step toward Buffy, voice soft and apologetic, “Buffy, I love Dawn, and I am honored that you trust me enough to give me responsibility for her. I don’t know why I said that, I’m really sorry.”

So sad that Willow lashed out at Buffy like this. :cry I fervently hope that Dawn really was upstairs in her bedroom during this conversation and didn't hear this remark. The only thing that gives me a little hope is that Willow not only felt sorry for what she said, but really made an effort to apologize and "take it back". But the damage was already done.

Quote:
The shower was on full blast, but Buffy could still hear the frenzied sobs through the roar. She paused near the bathroom door and squeezed her eyes tightly shut, for just a moment. Then she stepped into her own bedroom, shutting the door behind her.

:cry So sad that although Buffy knows how much Willow is suffering, she isn't capable to console her. She probably wouldn't even need words, just holding Willow and letting her cry would help (maybe not in the shower, because that would be awkward, but after Willow has dragged herself to her bedroom).

I'm really wondering if and how you will keep Willow from hitting rock bottom by causing the car accident in her dark magic high and injuring Dawn. Maybe when Willow wants to leave the house to visit Rack the next time she will stumble over Tara's photo box and that might spark some positive change? Because when you wrote about Tara's flight from the house you didn't mention her taking the box with her, so do I assume correctly that it's still at the front door where she put it?


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (9/20/2020)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:05 pm 
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Posts: 182
Location: Wales
I love this story, Willow is so... Awful lol, like in an understandable darkness taking over way, but she's genuinely unpleasant to read and it's rare for fan fics to "go there", it makes this story fascinating. Tara's pain is so well done, as is Buffys detachment.

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