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

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/13/2020)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:43 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Dibs! :whip
Quote:
Blue eyes flashed, daring Jesse to take her on, promising a fierce fight if he kept her away.

Quote:
“Get out of my way,” Tara warned. Her voice low and steady as it pushed past clenched teeth.

I love it when Tara goes into "protective fight mode" for Willow.

Quote:
“Willow tried to do magic here, it drew their attention. Mine too,” Kathryn added nodding at the sight before her, a soft smile crossing her lips, “now I understand why the pull was so strong.” Tara met her mother’s gaze, the question in her eyes gone before it fully formed, the answer given in her mother’s expression of unguarded affection.

“Huh?” Jesse asked, his full brain unable to conceive another twist.

Kathryn answered and smiled at her daughter’s resulting blush, “They’re in love.” Her smile widened when Tara hugged Willow tighter in her arms and placed light kisses across her love’s temple. Tingles danced under Tara’s skin as she held her girl, enhanced as her body drew in the tree’s gift .

Mouth working like a goldfish, Jesse gave up on words and just shook his head. Willow had definitely grown up.

No wonder that Jesse is pretty overwhelmed by the whole situation. I was wondering if Jesse had some secret crush on Willow before he died, but he takes it pretty in stride here that Willow has a girlfriend so probably not.

Quote:
“I’m Jesse, by the way,” he offered with a quick wave, “I knew Willow in high school.”

“Oh wow! She, um, she told me about you,” Tara smiled softly, flushing lightly at her outburst. Jesse’s face lit up and the sight encouraged Tara to continue, “It’s so nice to meet you. She misses you.”

“Yeah? I miss her too,” Jesse nodded, glancing fondly at his old friend in the arms of this woman who loved her enough to cross worlds.

I'm happy to hear that Willow has told Tara about her long lost friend Jesse. In canon it seemed as if he was forgotten.

Quote:
The tree was pouring life energy into Tara now, and she sighed in its warmth as it made its way into her hands. It felt like magic, it felt like magic with Willow, kinetic and joyous. She took in her love’s fine features, now slack, and she felt connected, to the worlds, to Willow. But as wonderful as it felt, Tara knew they would need to move soon enough, they couldn’t stay there. Even though her mom was here, even though they were all together, it wasn’t life. And eventually, even with the tree, they would die of malnutrition. She and Willow weren’t done with their world yet.

The wind continued to rush around them, the only noise as the trio fell into thoughtful silence. Then, the sound barely audible, Tara gasped. In her arms, Willow’s eyelashes began to flutter.

Yay that Willow is waking up! I guess Tara passed some of the energy she got from the tree to Willow (like an adapter)?


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/13/2020)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 9:51 pm 
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Wills_redemption:
Quote:
I love it when Tara goes into "protective fight mode" for Willow.

Fierce Tara is HOT (all Tara's are hot, but especially fierce Tara).


Quote:
No wonder that Jesse is pretty overwhelmed by the whole situation. I was wondering if Jesse had some secret crush on Willow before he died, but he takes it pretty in stride here that Willow has a girlfriend so probably not.


It's a lot for Jessie to take in, I think maybe being dead has given in some perspective on the unusual happening though. I also have in my headcannon that Jessie had a crush on Willow- I think maybe it came from a fic and it stuck. I mean, everyone should have a crush on Willow though... and yeah, it was kinda tragic that Jessie was barely ever brought up again.

There will be a little more on the energy flow in a few chapters. Thanks for your comments!! I appreciate that you always leave some, it is really nice to have some dialogue around my stories.



Ch 13

Anya and Dawn sat on the roof, hunched tightly in their coats as the temperature continued to drop in the progressing night. Each held the hand of one of the unconscious women now fully wrapped in the blanket that had been laid out earlier that night. Dawn and Anya had tried several variations of connection to be able to open another door, or reopen the same door. They worked alone, Dawn reaching out on Anya’s prompt. They tried working together throughout the spell, including the presence of Tara and Willow together and individually. Anya let out a puff of air, her body slumping forward in defeat, “Dammit.”

“Still nothing?”

“Not a damn thing.” Anya placed Willow’s hand and stood, slipping her other out of Dawn’s light grasp. She stretched with her entire body, easing muscles that tightened from sitting on the hard rooftop floor.

Dawn kept her grip secure in Tara’s palm, “Why do you think it’s not working?”

“Probably because I’m not a witch,” Anya said matter-of-factly, arms raised to the sky as she bent from side to side.

“But you do spells all the time, well maybe not all the time, but you do them,” Dawn countered.

“Spells, yes,” Anya nodded, all stretched out, “simple spells anyway,” she clarified, “witchcraft, not so much.”

“But, aren’t they like the same thing?” Dawn glanced at Tara as if she could gain some clue to what defined ‘witch’. Anya sat again, scooching her rear onto a corner flap of the blanket for warmth.

“It’s like paint-by-numbers,” Anya began and it was so far out of left field Dawn felt like she’d stepped into a different conversation.

“You lost me.”

Anya paused for effect, eyeing Dawn like a interrupted teacher, “That’s because I haven’t finished yet.” After another pointed pause, Dawn waved for her to continue and Anya pushed on. “It’s like paint-by-numbers. I can follow instructions, put together ingredients, I guess I have enough natural talent to pull it off without painting outside the lines.”

Dawn frowned, wondering if Anya was mixing metaphors, but decided not to ask as Anya plowed on, “But if you put an empty canvas in front of me you’d be lucky to get a recognizable tulip."

“So,” Dawn began after a suitable pause. She relaxed her tucked legs slightly and straightened her hunched frame, “like, painters have to study and practice. Or some, I guess, are naturally gifted and so,” Dawn slowed, the analogy losing steam, “painters, are, like witches?”

“Exactly,” Anya beamed with a sharp nod, “and some painters are more talented, or more trained than others. Tara and Willow are like professional artists, as opposed to night school students taking a community art class.”

“I’m still confused. Why can’t you just do a spell now? I’ll wait here if you need to get ingredients.”

Anya sighed, glancing to the rooftop door as if it would hurry the others’ return. She hated feeling helpless, but this was out of her league. A wistful memory of a long broken amulet swept through her mind, she could have gotten someone to wish Willow and Tara back, somehow, there’d be loop holes to get past, but.... She sighed again, “Journeying, and especially astral projecting, what they are doing,” she flipped her hand at the witches, “is different. More complex. I could be guided somewhere or be an anchor, but Tara is able to connect in ways that I am not,” Anya shrugged, “apparently. There might be herbs that can help, but without the training, this is beyond me.”

Dawn felt the urge to argue, to push for one more try, but she knew Anya’s words were correct, and if it hadn’t happened yet, it wouldn’t. She squeezed Tara’s hand again and looked briefly, fondly, at Willow’s softly resting face before looking back at Anya, “Thanks for trying.”

“Not trying would have been dumb,” Anya deflected, but there was a telling slight strain in her tone. Anya was scared too.

“So what do we do now?” Dawn asked, the vast night sky suddenly seeming endless as they sat there on the roof, wrapped in darkness, human and small.

Anya pulled her coat tighter around her shoulders before meeting Dawn’s eyes gravely, “We wait.”

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Last edited by shirrey on Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/20/2020)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 10:52 pm 
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Ch 14

“Cemetery number three. Check,” Xander grumbled, wearily letting his axe sway next to his feet, as the group left Evergreen Memorial. The fatigue and frustration were clear as they continued their slog across streets, taking alleys to cut time when they could.

Xander sidestepped a lit ash, flicked unceremoniously by Spike before he took another drag. “We can count, you twit,” Spike countered, his words tangled in an exhale of smoke.

“Well maybe you should have thought of that when you killed our informant”, Xander snapped back, waving away the smoke dramatically. The group had reached the last turn before ending up on Maple Avenue, the main thoroughfare to their next destination. Buffy stopped abruptly, Xander’s retort not making sense no matter how many times she replayed it.

“What?” She picked up the pace again, "And stop it, both of you, it’s done. We know Ethan’s in a cemetery, we’ll go find him.”

Spike continued to puff, holding his tongue for a full a block. Xander just peeved him off. “What, you wanted him to run off and seize some other children?” he finally let out, “thought you were the good guys.”

Buffy shook her and glanced at Giles who slowed his gait, putting more distance between them and the bickering duo up front. Matching his pace, Buffy looked at Giles questioningly.
“He took me by surprise,” Giles hung his head slightly, lips pursed.

“Giles, it wasn’t your fault, the lamps had been sparking, one was bound to blow. The vamp took advantage of the distraction,” Buffy laid her hand on Giles’ left forearm and squeezed it gently, “We’ll find Ethan, and we’ll get Willow back. I am not taking any other option.” Giles nodded once and watched Buffy lengthen her strides, purpose and determination carrying her forward. He pulled off his glasses and shook his slightly, overcome by affection. He would never be able to adequately describe how proud he was of her.

They reached the outer entrance to Restfield Cemetery and Buffy took the lead as they crossed onto the grassy floor, all eyes scanning through trees and headstones for any sign. A light touch her arm stopped Buffy and Spike stepped beside her, close. “Hold up,” he said, hushed, nodding his head slightly to the left. Buffy followed his gaze, squinting his eyes into the darkness. “See that?”

“See what?” Xander whispered behind them, Giles peering silently in the same direction.

“I see it,” Buffy confirmed, her heightened senses picking up whatever Spike had noted. “There’s a glow. Let’s go.”

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/20/2020)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:34 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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I missed some updates with life and such!


I LOVE the painting/witchcraft analogy! It's an art and a science and that's why Willow and Tara work so well together doing it!

I love how the gang are all working their areas, bringing us to the inevitable conclusion...feels like a real episode of TV, complete with commercial break-length chapters! I was so excited to come here today and have a few to catch up on.

Eagerly awaiting more :D

Oh and DIBS :banana

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Check out my finished fics

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/20/2020)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:33 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Like Laragh I love the anology of witches being like natural artists.
Bummer that the vampire managed to break loose before revealing Ethan's exact hiding place, but Spike killing him at least prevented him from warning Ethan.

Although I long for Buffy kicking Ethan's arse I kind of hope that the next chapter will bring us back to our favourite couple and Willow (finally) waking up.


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/20/2020)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:07 pm 
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Laragh: Life happens, especially with the holidays!!
Quote:
I LOVE the painting/witchcraft analogy! It's an art and a science and that's why Willow and Tara work so well together doing it!

I didn't even think of it as art and science coming together, but you are totally right! and thank you, I am glad the analogy worked.

Quote:
I love how the gang are all working their areas, bringing us to the inevitable conclusion...feels like a real episode of TV, complete with commercial break-length chapters! I was so excited to come here today and have a few to catch up on.

Thank you! It's fun image how this all comes together, trying to fit the pieces. And congrats on the dibs!!


Wills_redemption:
Quote:
Like Laragh I love the anology of witches being like natural artists.
Thank you :)


Quote:
Although I long for Buffy kicking Ethan's arse I kind of hope that the next chapter will bring us back to our favourite couple and Willow (finally) waking up.
Here you go.





Ch 15




The first thing Willow felt was warmth, seeping in her skin like sunlight after the clouds had burned away. There was something surrounding her, pulling her back into consciousness. Her eyes fluttered open slowly and fell into a watery blue gaze. Tara. Willow bolted up, throwing her arms around Tara’s neck and relishing when Tara’s hold tightened around the middle of her back. Willow tucked her face into Tara’s familiar cheek, her breath heavy and even, the terrifying events catching up to her and letting go in the safety of Tara’s embrace.

“Tara,” Willow’s voice shook, almost pleading, “I was so scared, baby. It was so scary.” Tara turned her head and softly kissed Willow’s temple, her cheekbones, cooing reassurances as she went, easing herself when she felt Willow’s tense form begin to relax. They held each other for another moment and, as one, loosened the grasp and pulled apart slightly, arms still draped around the other. “I’m so glad to see you. I thought-“ the words caught in Willow’s throat as she registered that they were propped against a tree. There were no trees on the rooftop. Tara dipped her head, searching Willow’s confused face, two lines worrying her brow.

“Will?”

Willow’s eyes darted back and forth before returning to Tara.

“We’re not on the roof.”

“No,” Tara confirmed, steadying Willow’s gaze with her own, “but we’re going to get back.” Willow nodded, her mind working slowly as she sought to reorient to her surroundings, to accept that she hadn’t returned to her world.

“But… wait, did the veil open?”

“No, not yet,” Tara sucked on the left side of her bottom lip, drawing it between her teeth. She hated having to tell Willow that they were still stuck, with no real plans of how to get out. Tara smoothed her hand across Willow’s cheek, resting when fingers met the back of jaw.

“How..?”

“Dawn.” Tara half-smiled, “she opened a door. Maybe made it, I’m not sure.”

“You came after me?” Willow leant her head against Tara’s, feeling the soft answering nod against her skin, “thank you for coming after me. But, baby, it’s not safe.” Willow closed her eyes when she felt Tara shake her head slightly.

“I had to. Always,” Tara whispered. They stayed pressed against each other for a moment before Willow lifted her head and sat back, taking Tara’s hands in hers as she did.

“Who’s anchoring you?” Willow asked, worry clear on her face even as she felt so warmed by Tara’s presence. Her worry compounded when Tara dipped her head and picked nervously at the threads of her skirt.

“I um, sorta didn’t wait for Anya, and went on my own, pretty stupid I know.” Tara looked back up with a half-smile that held no repentance. Coming here may have been foolish, but Tara had no regrets.

“No, it was so brave,” Willow felt awed by the love of this woman before her, “but-“

“Definitely brave,” Kathryn interjected, the crinkling of leaves under feet indicating her approach, “and it turns out, necessary. She saved your life.”

Willow whipped around at the voice, having assumed she and Tara were back on the roof, she hadn’t even considered that they weren’t alone. Then, she remembered that Jesse, too, had been there. She found him with a quick search, sitting to the side, just past Kathryn. He looked up when Willow’s friendly eyes landed on him. They smiled softly at one another until Willow’s attention was pulled away by a gentle squeeze on her hand.

“W-willow,” Tara called, then nodded in indication when Willow turned back to her, “this is my mom, Kathryn.” Tara’s smile was wide and bashful, a faint blush spread across her chest and neck and Willow would have melted at the sweetness if she hadn’t been overtaken by sudden nerves.

“Hi,” Willow blushed as well, “I mean, hello. It’s so nice to meet you. I mean, incredible, like wow. And your daughter is, too, incredible.” Willow relaxed her impending babble when she felt Tara lift their clasped hands to her lips, kissing it gently. Willow felt delightfully self-conscious, thrilled yet panicked to be meeting her love’s mother. Oh, Willow creased her forehead as an image formed and she addressed Kathryn again, “Were you here, before? Before I… did I pass out?”

“Yes, and yes, you were unconscious, “Kathryn replied then gestured back to Jesse, the young man standing to his feet, “your friend here was keeping you safe.”

“Jesse, hey,” Willow stood as well, urging Tara to follow with a tug on their hands. Tara slid to her feet, using the tree to stabilize her, but she stayed, leaning against the massive trunk, her arm outstretched to keep connected to Willow. Willow glanced back curiously but on Tara’s nod, continued, “Jesse – this is Tara, my, um, my girlfriend.”

“Yeah, I kinda picked that up, Will,” Jesse winked, stepping closer to the couple and gesturing between himself and Tara, “We met, and may I say.” he leaned in, mock whispering, “wow and wowza, Will. Did Xander's head explode when he found out?”

Both women blushed and shared a look, giggling as they recalled Xander’s initial response to them as a couple.

With a puffed chest,and feeling very charming, Jesse turned to see Kathryn leveling him with her eyes, her head tilted and just the hint of a smirk across her lips.

“And you seem like a very respectable couple,” Jesse deflated, quickly taking a step back.

“Uh huh,” Willow teased, unable to stop a wide smile, her girlfriend *was* ‘wowza’. She moved forward, reaching her hand out, intending to playfully swat Jesse for his bad cover. She lost her smile when he stepped back again, out of her reach. “Oh, right, the no-touchy thing.” She leaned back into Tara, who slipped her arm around Willow’s middle, and pulled her back close.

“Girls,” Kathryn began seriously, “as much as I wish there was time for us all to catch up, we have to find a way to get you out, I don’t know what happened with the veil, but I fear if we wait much longer,” Kathryn paused, “ I don’t know what will happen when it’s dawn, and the veil naturally closes.”

Willow felt Tara push more firmly against the solid oak, her arm tightening around Willow’s abdomen. She looked out past the copse of trees, and into the steady wind orbiting them, remembering the low howl of the gale as the dead had groped her, “Those people, they took my energy, that’s what you meant about Tara saving my life, isn’t it?” Kathryn nodded and Willow strained back to look at Tara, “How?”

“This tree,” Tara laid her hand on the bark, its rough texture keeping her grounded, “it’s a Tree of Life, I-I channeled energy back into you.”

“Oh, yay,” Willow shifted in Tara’s embrace, now resting perpendicular to her form, “but also, huh?” A million questions flickered across her features, she addressed the first to Kathryn, sheepishly questioning the older witch, “why didn’t you use the tree for me before Tara got here? I mean I would have been much more useful, you know, conscious.”

“Tara is an earth witch, her source is nature,” Kathryn waited for an indication of understanding from Willow, she wanted to explain this well, “this tree, like other Trees of Life tap into nature’s energy, it's always there but one must make a direct spiritual connection to nature to be able access it, it's about the relationship to your source.”

Willow frowned, a cold chill filling her body, “And my source, is, unnatural?” She looked pleadingly into Tara’s eyes, “Baby?” She was turned by Tara’s strong hands and gathered into a protective embrace, Willow could hear threatening tears in the thickness of Tara’s voice.

“I’m sorry, I sh-should’ve been a b-better teacher.”

“No, oh no.'' Kathryn sighed. She hadn’t wanted to cause this but now knew it was inevitable. “Sit.” she gently instructed, continuing when all three women were firmly on the ground, the couple still pressed into the great tree. Jesse slunk off to the far side of the copse, sitting between two smaller trees and watching the debris whisk by. “Willow, unless your source is demon or another malevolent entity, you are doing just fine. There are many kinds of magic, what is most important is your intent.” Kathryn looked to her daughter, finding the confused and shocked expression she had anticipated.

With another deep breath, Kathryn prepared herself for the difficult topics she needed to address, “Tara, darling,” Remorseful blue-grey was met by uncertain deep blue as they connected, “There is so much I need to tell you, and I wish we had more time so I could explain, but Tara you have to know, there is no demon in you.”

Tara leaned forward slightly and placed her chin on Willow’s shoulder. Her eyes pressed closed briefly as she recalled one of the most beautiful, and painful, days of her past. “We know.” Tara closed her eyes again when Willow turned and pressed their profiles together, Willow’s left arm bending at the elbow, her hand cupping Tara’s other cheek. This was why Tara risked everything to cross over. Anything and everything for Willow.

“Thank the goddess,” Kathryn relieved. Tara grinned softly at her mother until she felt Willow tense under her, her crinkled brow evident against Tara’s skin.

“Wait, you knew?” Willow asked. The softness of her voice underlied the incredulous shock of betrayal. “And you never said anything to Tara?” Willow faced Tara’s mother, protectiveness overriding any nerves she once had. In her side vision, Willow noted Jesse watching intently.

Tara dropped her head into Willow’s neck, barely whispering, “Baby.”

Kathryn met Willow’s challenging gaze with patient and respectful kindness. Anyone who loved her daughter, who protected the sweet, shy child who had been through far too much, would have her respect. And eternal gratitude. “I didn’t know until I crossed over- until I ended up here instead of a hell dimension.”

Tara’s face shot up from where it rested, tears forming and overspilling in seconds, “Mama.”

Kathryn continued, her tale not quite finished, “Earth magic, natural magic is our tradition, but it’s also the most grounded magic, and yes, the safest, the least tempting.” Kathryn bit the side of her lip, sucking the flesh nervously. Willow thought about the likeness of this mother to her daughter, how often she had seen Tara make the exact same gesture, “I was afraid if I didn’t warn you away from other magics...” Kathryn’s voice trailed off into nothingness.

“That I would experiment, and the d-demon would surface,” Tara finished, understanding clearly. She tuned in to her mother’s reactions, blinking twice when Kathryn nodded her head remorsefully.

“I’m so sorry.”

“You wanted to keep me safe,” Tara acknowledged, “but I hate that I doubted Willow,” Tara looked at her love, needing Willow to know how much she regretted her doubt.

“Hey,” Willow said, smiling brightly, “nothing wrong with stressing safe magic use, after tonight I definitely have a heightened respect.”

“You’re not mad?” Tara checked, eyebrows raised. Willow dipped her gaze, meeting Tara’s and shining as she repeated Tara’s words.

“You wanted to keep me safe.” Tara brushed her lips over Willow’s, communicating eloquently through an unwavering kiss. They held together, foreheads flushed for just a moment before Tara looked toward her mother again.

The two Maclay women stared, conveying everything between them, healing without words; and when Kathryn smiled, she radiated contentment. Tara nodded in understanding, feeling a salve on her soul. Her mother was okay, they were all okay. It was time to find a way home.

“I’m sorry for-” Willow began, chagrined by her accusation of the older Maclay, and stopped, Kathryn was smiling at her simply and shook her head, the unfinished apology already accepted. Tara’s warm breath caressed her ear.

“I love you.”

“So,” Willow shimmied against Tara, lightening the mood again, “you and me, staying next to the tree. Okay?”

Hearing the conversation shift, Jesse crossed back over, the movement alerting Willow and she watched the wind swirl behind him, moving in unnatural patterns.

“So what’s the plan?” Jesse asked, sinking into the thick leaves beside Kathryn.

“Wait, Ka- erm, Tara’s mom,” Willow began, unsure how to address the woman. She one day wanted her to be ‘mom’, or at least ‘mom-in-law’.

“Kathryn, is fine.” Tara’s mother offered and Willow blushed shyly.

“Can you do magic here?”

“It’s different here, but yes. I can’t open the veil though, that is beyond my power.”

“But we have a big giant wooden power rod right here,” Willow gestured up the tree and Tara watched her curiously, if anyone could figure a way out, it was Willow.

“One that connects life and death right?” Jesse spoke up, shrugging humbly at three bemused women, “I mean death is a part of life so I figured, it’s gotta be both. Why else would it be here?”

Willow smiled proudly at her friend, “Exactly what I was thinking.”

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/29/2020)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2020 1:19 pm 
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DIBS. I am so glad that Willow got to meet Tara's mom and visa versa. Their idea about the tree makes sense...Looking forward to more, thanks for writing.

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/29/2020)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 31, 2020 3:34 am 
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So glad to see Willow and Tara reunited :heart

And Willow's reaction to meeting Kathryn was so heartwarmingly Willow! I'm glad she remembers enough that she's not too distressed about finding herself in this situation. I'm so looking forward to seeing how they get out of this and go forward with a more nuanced understanding of magic going forward!

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Check out my finished fics

The Love… SeriesTwo For Joy/21+InevitableFC2: AOTHFC3: TBUFC4: ANB

A Twisted DateDachsund Through The Snow


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/29/2020)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:04 am 
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Quote:
“You came after me?” Willow leant her head against Tara’s, feeling the soft answering nod against her skin, “thank you for coming after me. But, baby, it’s not safe.” Willow closed her eyes when she felt Tara shake her head slightly.

“I had to. Always,” Tara whispered.

Awww! :bigkiss :flower

Quote:
“Tara is an earth witch, her source is nature,” Kathryn waited for an indication of understanding from Willow, she wanted to explain this well, “this tree, like other Trees of Life tap into nature’s energy, it's always there but one must make a direct spiritual connection to nature to be able access it, it's about the relationship to your source.”

Willow frowned, a cold chill filling her body, “And my source, is, unnatural?” She looked pleadingly into Tara’s eyes, “Baby?” She was turned by Tara’s strong hands and gathered into a protective embrace, Willow could hear threatening tears in the thickness of Tara’s voice.

“I’m sorry, I sh-should’ve been a b-better teacher.”

“No, oh no.'' Kathryn sighed. She hadn’t wanted to cause this but now knew it was inevitable. “Sit.” she gently instructed, continuing when all three women were firmly on the ground, the couple still pressed into the great tree. Jesse slunk off to the far side of the copse, sitting between two smaller trees and watching the debris whisk by. “Willow, unless your source is demon or another malevolent entity, you are doing just fine. There are many kinds of magic, what is most important is your intent.” Kathryn looked to her daughter, finding the confused and shocked expression she had anticipated.

Quote:
Kathryn continued, her tale not quite finished, “Earth magic, natural magic is our tradition, but it’s also the most grounded magic, and yes, the safest, the least tempting.” Kathryn bit the side of her lip, sucking the flesh nervously. Willow thought about the likeness of this mother to her daughter, how often she had seen Tara make the exact same gesture, “I was afraid if I didn’t warn you away from other magics...” Kathryn’s voice trailed off into nothingness.

“That I would experiment, and the d-demon would surface,” Tara finished, understanding clearly. She tuned in to her mother’s reactions, blinking twice when Kathryn nodded her head remorsefully.

“I’m so sorry.”

“You wanted to keep me safe,” Tara acknowledged, “but I hate that I doubted Willow,” Tara looked at her love, needing Willow to know how much she regretted her doubt.

“Hey,” Willow said, smiling brightly, “nothing wrong with stressing safe magic use, after tonight I definitely have a heightened respect.”

“You’re not mad?” Tara checked, eyebrows raised. Willow dipped her gaze, meeting Tara’s and shining as she repeated Tara’s words.

“You wanted to keep me safe.” Tara brushed her lips over Willow’s, communicating eloquently through an unwavering kiss.

I'm glad that they learned that there is no "black and white" - "earth magic good, all other magic bad" - principle.

Quote:
“Wait, Ka- erm, Tara’s mom,” Willow began, unsure how to address the woman.

I have to admit this made the phrase "Stifler's mom" from the American Pie-series pop into my head... :blush

Quote:
“Can you do magic here?”

“It’s different here, but yes. I can’t open the veil though, that is beyond my power.”

“But we have a big giant wooden power rod right here,” Willow gestured up the tree and Tara watched her curiously, if anyone could figure a way out, it was Willow.

“One that connects life and death right?” Jesse spoke up, shrugging humbly at three bemused women, “I mean death is a part of life so I figured, it’s gotta be both. Why else would it be here?”

Willow smiled proudly at her friend, “Exactly what I was thinking.”

Clever minds think alike! Now I'm curious how exactly Kathryn will use the power of the tree to open the veil.


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (12/29/2020)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:25 pm 
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taranwillow4ever, Laragh, and wills_redemption: thanks so much for your feedback! They are getting close to getting out... and with a different understanding of magic for each of them

Notes: No Willow and Tara in these chapters, the focus will be back on them in the next chapter. Still working without a beta, hope it makes sense.

Ch 16

Above the rooftop of Dormer Hall, the sky darkened and lightened as clouds passed over the moon. Anya laid on her back, head propped on her hands, arms in a V shape to the side of her. She turned her head to the right, checking that Dawn was still sleeping, the girl having fallen asleep in between the two witches. As the cool air blew across the rooftop, Anya thought of how glad she was that she had put on a pair of Buffy’s work out pants, even though it ruined the sexy effect of the slip dress she’d worn, Cleopatra in her full gory, golden snake wrapped around her arm and everything until she’d shucked it off at the Magic Box. The night had been fun, especially hanging on Xander’s built arm, his torso covered in sleeveless mock armor. Stupid witches, she thought. She’d been having a pleasurable time and now she felt worried and that made her stomach feel off and acidy and it was decidedly, unpleasant. She longed for pleasant things again, for Xander to walk through the rooftop door, announcing victory, Willow and Tara walking up with a grand story to tell. Everyone retreating home, tired from the night and wanting to be with their loves. She sighed, glancing to the door once again before shifting her gaze back to the night sky.



Ch17

A murmuring rose as they neared the source of the glow, blue and seeming brighter with every nearing step. Buffy and Spike, with Xander and Giles just behind them, zigzagged through a maze of grave markers and crypts, keeping quiet as they could. They lined up against the mossy wall of a mausoleum, and Buffy poked her head around, sighing when she felt Xander push in to see.

“He’s got vamp lackeys,” Xander whispered, a little too loud, behind Buffy’s ear.

“Only four,” Giles added, his voice more sedate, “shouldn’t be a problem.”

Spike lit another cigarette, and dropping any pretense of stealth, stalked toward the small ritual occurring between two large crypts, “Sounds like a party.”

“Guess we’re not being sneaky anymore.” Buffy shrugged and stepped out to follow Spike.

Four vampires stood in a cross formation, flanking the sorcerer on all sides. They faced outward, serving as guards rather than part of the ritual itself. Buffy approached casually, knowing her compatriots could handle the undead problem, and called out to the back of Ethan Rayne. “You know, the cemetery in Sunnydale, not the most inconspicuous choices for doing,” she waved a hand in his direction, “whatever you are doing.”

With an ease born of arrogance, Ethan stepped in a circle around the blue glow until he was on the other side, facing the Slayer, a lazy grin already in place, “And yet, I’ve been here for hours.” The source of the light was a deep black tourmaline, set atop a fallen tree trunk. It bounced off Ethan’s pale skin, the blue unnatural, light shadowing behind the curls of his chest hair framed by an open V in his metallic burgundy shirt.

Buffy stepped to the side to avoid Spike running a vampire into the ground. “Yeah, well it's Halloween and oh my god, what are you wearing?”

Nonplussed, Ethan glanced at his shirt, “Dapper, isn’t it?” He continued his grin even as Xander was being pushed directly toward where he stood. Buffy moved to intercept seeing the vamp take Xander by the throat but all parties, save Ethan, froze when Xander slammed into an unseen wall. The pause allowed Giles to grab the vampire by his lapels, giving Xander berth to stake him.

“Shields up: red alert!” Xander declared, pointing at the invisible barrier before dropping to the ground to duck an incoming fist.

Ethan casually observed as the last vamps went down and the four interlopers regrouped. He tipped his head at Giles, mischief dancing in his steady stare, “Ripper, what a delight.” He did not wait for a reply, refocusing on keeping the blue light steady, muttering lowly, thanking his god for assistance in this task.

Giles stepped up to the shield, his tense body instinctively stopping at its boundary,“How did you manage to get out of government custody?”

“You mean those Initiative tossers?” Ethan grinned and continued waving his hand over the tourmaline, “I gave them some sensitive information and they saw fit to let me go.”

Buffy threw up her arms in frustration, Giles had removed his glasses and was now tersely pinching the bridge of his nose. Neither of them were truly surprised, the government was never a trustworthy ally, but they could manage destructive humans in a way that the Slayer would not.

“Pillocks,” Spike offered, Ethan might be making trouble, but they had a common enemy in the Initiative.

“Well, something tells me that this little stunt might give those government guys some new interest in the likes of you,” Xander put in, wanting to turn the tables back in their favor, “and we’ve still got connections. Buffy has Riley’s number on speed dial.”

“I so do NOT ha-“ Buffy started, instinctually indignant. After Riley had left suddenly and ungraciously, she’d removed all reminders of him from her life. But right now, she was failing at bluffing. “It doesn’t matter,” she said, her voice clipped, “I know how to get a hold of them if I need to. Besides, for you Ethan, I might just save myself the phone charges and kill you myself. Take down the veil.”

Giles coughed slightly beside her, stage whispering his correction, “Open, open the veil.”

“Open the veil, Ethan,” Buffy repeated without missing a beat.

“Oh, but it’s so fun. A little Halloween treat for all the kiddies, real ghosts for their spooky campfire stories,” Ethan replied, his continually moving hands picking up a dramatic flair and causing a brief flare in the glow.

Buffy stepped closer, “Our friend is on the other side.”

“Well now, that was foolish,” Ethan shook his head but made no sign of stopping.

“Open it,” Buffy repeated. Patience had long since run thin and Buffy lashed out, throwing her fist at the barrier with full Slayer strength. The barrier rippled once and then resettled, becoming translucent again.

Giles shifted the weight of his sword, bringing it into clear view, “Open it. And I might let you live.”

“Such threats, old friend,” Ethan cooed, lips cocked in a flirtatious grin. “But I made a promise to some new recruits. How would it look if their first night as worshippers of Chaos was unceremoniously cut short?” Ethan bluffed, a talent that came easily to him, he cared little for keeping promises but he preferred to keep his new found followers. Vampires were powerful allies and even better distractions. That was why he’d brought them into the fold after all, to force the do-gooders attention elsewhere. Until he skipped town and left them behind.

“Ask me how much I don’t care” Buffy glared, body still, arms crossed, waiting for any opening, “You have to come out of there sometime.”

“Yes, I suppose that is true,” Ethan nodded, “but I still have a bit of time and anything could happen. Perhaps some of my new friends will pay a visit. In chaos I trust.” He lifted his face to the sky, appealing to an unseen deity. Chaos had kept him alive thus far. Chaos and a keen mind, anyway.

Behind Buffy and Giles, Spike had been pacing. He stopped with a jerk, tearing his coat from his arms and slipping into his demon visage, and ran toward the shield. “You wanna see Chaos?” He yelled with a growl, and was easily deflected, landing on his ass in the dirt.

Ethan returned his gaze, one eyebrow lifted in amusement, “Yes, chaotic indeed.” Spike jumped to his feet, snarling, before resuming his human face, donning his coat again and angrily lighting a cigarette.

Buffy didn’t move, didn’t take her focus off Ethan as she addressed her Watcher, “Giles, can you get the force shield thingy down?”

“I would need some time to research,” he replied, wishing for a moment he wielded the kind of power he had once done. One look at Ethan Rayne dashed that wish away.

“Go,” Buffy said tersely, “you and Xander go get the books you need. Spike and I will stay.”

“Of course.”

“Giles,” Buffy finally turned toward him, their eyes met and Giles could see the hint of fear behind the steely façade, “Hurry.”

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/9/2021)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:31 am 
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Dibs! :whip

Argh, that slime bag Ethan really needs every square inch of his arse kicked! :fit I'm wondering what exactly he has to gain from trapping some ghosts in the world of the living - or did he close the veil with the intention to trap Willow on the other side and get her killed there? If so, the big question is why?

I would like it as poetic justice if somehow Willow and Tara could "swap places" with Ethan and he would end up trapped on the other side with plenty mightily pissed off dead souls hunting him down to suck his energy...


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/9/2021)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:28 pm 
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Wills_redemption: Ethan is slime (and also so fun), his motivation is chaos and having some vamp back up while he is in town. Thanks!



CH 18

The wind stopped as Kathryn lowered her arms, dispelling the magical energy, needing her strength for the upcoming task. Voices could now be heard, low and agitated, filtering across the mossy plain from the direction of the veil. Other than a few tenacious stragglers, the dead had moved on, most further into the Otherworld, the rest to the threshold to wait impatiently, either for return of, or for a final chance to visit, loved ones and companions.

The anxious tones reached Willow and Tara and they clung to each other a little tighter against the strong tree. Time was uncertain in the gray of the liminal, but surely hours had passed since the veil had closed, and dawn would be approaching. The murmurings of the dead underpinned their fear that time was running short.

Kathryn nodded to Jesse, and the young man took her place at the mouth of the copse, standing point and alert to any threats, before joining Willow and Tara. Kathryn’s warm, steady, smile gave strength to both Willow and Tara. They weren’t helpless in this situation, they were witches, and together they began their workings.

Willow laid out her thoughts, gesturing with her free hand, the other firmly interlocked with Tara’s. “Kathryn, you are our magical source, Tara will use the life force from the tree and send it back to you.”

“Combining our essences,” Tara picked up effortlessly, “to try and disrupt whatever is causing the veil to be closed.”

“Assuming the magic is happening on our side,” Willow hedged.

“I think it has to be,” Tara confirmed, glancing between her mother and Willow, and despite her lingering nerves, felt a rush of warmth, centering in her chest. Joining magics was an intimate and sacred act, and soon, she would be casting with the two people that meant the world to her.

Willow gave Tara’s hand a squeeze, the type that one gives to let the other know they are seen. She’d noted the flush that fell across Tara’s cheeks and the soft grin that pulled at her lips. Tara shone, and when Willow moved her gaze to Kathryn, she felt humbled by the moment. Mother and daughter looked at each other with such cherishing and Willow realized how, though it would be sad to leave her, she was blessed to have met Kathryn.

“I believe Tara is correct,” Kathryn continued the conversation, breaking her gaze away from Tara to address both younger women, “here, we cannot use magic to open the veil, and we would feel it if there was an outside force casting in the Otherworld.”

“Besides,” Tara added, leaning into Willow’s form, “I felt something shift, on the roof, it was on our plane Will.”

“Ok, let’s do this,” Willow bobbed her head once, determined. Briefly, she turned her head and smiled at Jesse, letting him know it was time.

Tara tugged lightly at Willow’s hand, “If you f-feel any of your energy draining, we stop.”

“If I start to get drained, you can just fill me right back up,” Willow said sweetly, curious when Tara bit her lip demurely and ducked her head. Playful hooded eyes peered up and Tara mouthed, simply, ‘Later.’

Heat flushed Willow’s face and she cleared her throat, very aware that her coy girlfriend’s mother was just feet away. She recovered with a promising smile, “It’s risky for you too.”

“We’ll be okay. We can do this,” Tara said steadily, confidence lending volume to her voice.

“And,” Kathryn interjected once her daughter's attention once again included her, “goddess willing we will have a little help,” she said pointedly.

Tara frowned, momentarily confused as to who they could call upon, if she had known, she’d have reached out before, on the roof. Visions skipped through her mind of early Sunday mornings spent learning the goddesses with her mother. “Brema,” she whispered, her voice in awe as she remembered.

“With you and I representing both sides of the veil, it might work,” Kathryn nodded, “You ready?”

The three witches turned and leaned their backs flush against the giant oak. Tara and Willow remained holding hands while Willow grasped onto the bark next to but not touching Kathryn’s hand, not wanting to risk direct contact. Tara was the conduit. She reached out for her mother with her left hand, smiling a bright watery smile and when their palms finally grasped. Tara squeezed both of her hands, sending love to the two people she loved the most and guided them upward raised above their bent elbows. Then she lifted her face to the sky, and began.

“Brema, goddess of the liminal, hear our plea, we ask to let the veil return to its natural state, open for free passage on this Samhain night.”

The three witches breathed steadily as they waited for the shift within them. When a goddess answered an appeal, a witch felt it. A moment passed and nothing happened.

“Brema, we implore you,” Tara tried again, a hint of desperation entering her voice, “open the veil so that we may return to the living plane.”

Another moment passed and Willow’s arm drooped, the heaviness of disappointment dragging it down, pulling Tara’s right arm slightly lower with the weight. “Is it too late?” Willow asked, “I don’t know what time it is, except grey o’clock which seems like the only hour in this place.”

Kathryn shook her head, “I don’t think so, I think we would know.” The words were confident but the truth was, Kathryn didn’t know. When the veil closed naturally, all of the dead knew, it changed the flow of energy; but this was unnatural and in the time Kathryn had been in the Otherworld, unprecedented.

Tara was thinking, she chewed on the side of her full bottom lip and absently scanned the ground, her eyes darting back and forth in thought. Willow shifted to the side, the tug causing Tara to look up.

“There are still people by the veil, that’s somewhat promising,” Willow said hopefully, her head turned outward toward where the veil’s entrance would be although she couldn’t see them. She found blue eyes waiting for her when she turned back, meeting them with her own green gaze. Willow smiled, bravely communicating that they would be alright despite the circumstances. “Damn, and me without my watch.” Willow sighed playfully, trying to add some levity.

Tara leaned in and kissed Willow softly. If this didn’t work, she would hold Willow against the tree and they would wait for the others to find a way, they would keep appealing to the goddess. Her mind churned again, either the goddess was denying their plea or something was off about their approach.

“Will?” Tara pulled in a quick audible breath, an idea forming but one she wasn’t sure she liked.

Willow tilted her head, raising her free hand to brush a lock of blonde hair back and tuck it behind Tara’s ear. Tara met the gesture, capturing Willow’s fingers and keeping them pressed against her cheek. The touch grounded Tara, swept away the cobwebs of self-doubt and encouraged her to trust her instincts. It felt right, and if Willow was affected, at all, they would stop and try something else.

“Will, I think you and mom should join hands.”

“I’ll give it a try,” Willow said bravely, though there was a shake in her voice.

“Completing the flow between us would help,” Kathryn added somewhat cautiously, she didn’t want anyone in danger but they were running out of options.

Tara nodded to her mother, adding “And I just…well, I was thinking, I am harnessing living energy and mom is um, Otherworld energy, and you,” Tara looked at Willow.

“Can’t do anything?” Willow’s filled in, shoulders sagging dejectedly. Tara shook her head fervently, ducking her head to catch Willow’s downturned gaze.

“Are in-between,” Tara corrected.

“Like a liminal,” Willow smiled, understanding where Tara was leading her.

“And we are calling upon Brema…” Tara led further, giggling when Willow swept her into a tight embrace, rocking their bodies together.

“God, you’re brilliant!”

“And you’re essential,” Tara beamed, knowing Willow would recognize the words. They brushed lips once and with a nod rolled their bodies against the tree, flushing their backs again. Tara took her mother’s right hand, and on the other side of the massive trunk, Willow took Kathryn’s left.

Tara called out again and this time, the goddess answered.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/16/2021)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 3:06 pm 
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DIBS!

The imagery in this chapter was beautiful. I love how you're really pulling all of the characters together and not rushing it. It's nice to see Tara get to spend every precious second with her mother, and Willow of course too. They'll all have a connection like no other for life!

So glad you still have this going :kgeek :applause :wtkiss

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/16/2021)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 3:59 am 
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Quote:
Willow gave Tara’s hand a squeeze, the type that one gives to let the other know they are seen.

What beautiful imagery!

Quote:
Tara nodded to her mother, adding “And I just…well, I was thinking, I am harnessing living energy and mom is um, Otherworld energy, and you,” Tara looked at Willow.

“Can’t do anything?” Willow’s filled in, shoulders sagging dejectedly. Tara shook her head fervently, ducking her head to catch Willow’s downturned gaze.

“Are in-between,” Tara corrected.

So Willow is the human / magical equivalent of the story title?

Quote:
“God, you’re brilliant!”

“And you’re essential,” Tara beamed, knowing Willow would recognize the words. They brushed lips once and with a nod rolled their bodies against the tree, flushing their backs again. Tara took her mother’s right hand, and on the other side of the massive trunk, Willow took Kathryn’s left.

Tara called out again and this time, the goddess answered.

Yay! :applause Now I just hope the veil opens immediately so they can cross over without any more problems (after an emotional goodbye from Kathryn and Jesse, of course).


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/16/2021)
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 2:06 am 
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I'm bad at posting good feedback but just wanna put in my two cents that this is really good and I'm looking forward to more!

Really enjoying the inclusion of Jesse, too. Very good pick for an "inbetweener" that Willow would trust implicitly.

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/16/2021)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2021 10:03 pm 
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Laragh: Thank you! I don't think Willow and Tara will ever forget this experience, as scary as it is, it is also wonderful for them to see Kathryn.

Wills_redemption: Yep, Willow is the name sake. I didn't plan that though, just kind of happened lol. Thanks!!

Rutkowski: Thanks so much!




Ch 19



Two table lamps kept the Magic Box dimly lit, the low light meant to be inconspicuous enough to deter unwanted attention to the fact the space was occupied. Giles sat next to one, a haphazard pile of books on the side of the table before him. He read furiously, flipping between pages before discarding useless information onto a second, growing, pile.

By the second lamp, placed on the display counter, Xander held another book and read distractedly. He was nervous and impatient and every move of his body and breath expressed it. Letting the book he was holding dangle from his grasp, he turned to Giles, “Anything?”

Exhaling audibly, Giles pursed his lips but kept his focus on the words before him, “No Xander, nothing in the last few minutes since you asked.”

“I’m sorry,” Xander said, thunking his book on the glass countertop, “But, Will is on the line. And it’s after four o’clock.”

Giles looked at Xander, noting the lines of worry growing coarser across his brow “I will let you know if I find anything,” he offered in a gracious tone. It was his job to keep a clear head, to focus on what needed to be done, but underneath it all, Giles felt as terrified as Xander looked.

“Look Giles, I’m worried about the girls. They’re up on the roof and one of our witches is down for the count, the other in mental limbo land. I’m not doing much here and I’d feel better if I was with them. They are outside,” Xander stressed, crossing to stand before Giles, who replaced his glasses and gave full attention to Xander.

“Didn’t Tara put up a protection spell?”

“I think so, but she’s also super focused on finding Willow, what if she slips? Is she powerful enough to hold up two spells at once?” Xander put forth, the worry having come to mind once he was in the Magic Box and not focused on running and fighting.

“If she is as ‘freaked’ as you and Buffy said, it would be difficult.” Giles leaned back frowning, swishing his glasses off again.

“And hey, maybe Tara’s made a breakthrough,” Xander was already putting on his jacket and tucking stakes into its deep pockets.

“Go. Call if anything changes.” Giles called to Xander’s retreating form.

“Will do.”

Giles tried to rub the tension from his forehead, and as he heard Xander’s car screech into motion, he went to a shelf tucked under the counter, retrieving a bottle of aged Scotch and bringing it back to fill his cup.



…………………..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................


A thick black boot twisted, toe first, into the ground, snuffing out a small ember, “I’m almost out of damned cigarettes.”

“Go get some, I’ll be here,” Buffy replied from her stance, arms crossed against her stomach, her head tilted slightly to one said, her knife sharp gaze unwavering and pointed at Ethan Rayne, who despite his bravado, was starting to sweat under the intense watch.

“Nah,” Spike kicked a nearby rock, skittering it into a headstone, “let’s just hope the next bloodsuckers that stop by have a nicotine habit. No staking them before I get the pack.”

“Mm,” was all the reply the Slayer offered, not willing to be distracted by small talk. Spike could ramble on all he wanted.

Few vampires had shown, much less than Ethan had hoped for, still, each time he watched with hawklike precision, looking for a moment when he could escape, but the Slayer barely flinched, even when she tossed a stake sideways into an attacker, she had kept Ethan in view. Spike had taken care of the rest.

Ethan was biding his time, the ace up his sleeve being that in a few hours, it would be dawn. Spike would have to find shelter, as would any other vampire, and Ethan hoped many would be returning to their homes in the nearby crypts. Even if Rupert and Xander returned by then, the Slayer was sure to be engaged, most vampires foolishly did not ignore a chance to take on the Slayer. Their pride drove them. And Ethan believed that Buffy would not be willing to risk her human friends in order to keep tabs on his whereabouts. And if one of the men took up the watch, well they were a lot easier to get past. It wasn’t foolproof, Ethan was big enough to admit, to himself at least, that he’d gotten himself into a bit of a mess. But, he thought wryly, that is half the fun of life. He hadn’t intended for anyone to get caught in the Otherworld, but that was Chaos at work, he hadn’t put her there and at this point it was his hide on the line, and his hide was, as always in Ethan’s mind, the most valuable. And so he stayed in his protected space, waiting for the hand of Chaos, or at least more of its newfound followers. The ones who were left.

.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

In unison, the three witches surrounding the great oak lifted their clasped hands, arms fully extended creating a circular zig-zag. The energy coursed through Tara first, then tumbled like river water to either side, rushing into Willow and Kathryn’s body before meeting again, becoming one force.

Tara chanted, head held high, “Let the spell be broken and the veil re-opened.” She repeated it three times and on the fourth the voices of the women besides her joined, amplifying the call. They shook like thunder, the sound booming in the misty air. And then, at once, the energy flew outward and they stared, silent, irises gray as fog.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Last edited by shirrey on Mon Jan 25, 2021 8:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/23/2021)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:07 am 
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Dibs! :whip

Quote:
“Look Giles, I’m worried about the girls. They’re up on the roof and one of our witches is down for the count, the other in mental limbo land.

I didn't think that Tara's and Willow's situation is different, as far as I understand both their souls / spirits are on the other side without a connection to their bodies, or am I wrong?

I'm kind of hoping that there won't be some surprise attack against our four girls on the roof where Xander has to come to the rescue but that he will arrive just in time to witness Tara and Willow "waking up".

Quote:
“Go get some, I’ll be here,” Buffy replied from her stance, arms crossed against her stomach, her head tilted slightly to one said, her knife sharp gaze unwavering and pointed at Ethan Rayne, who despite his bravado, was starting to sweat under the intense watch.

Quote:
It wasn’t foolproof, Ethan was big enough to admit, to himself at least, that he’d gotten himself into a bit of a mess. But, he thought wryly, that is half the fun of life. He hadn’t intended for anyone to get caught in the Otherworld, but that was Chaos at work, he hadn’t put her there and at this point it was his hide on the line, and his hide was, as always in Ethan’s mind, the most valuable.

Serves Ethan right that he is at least a bit scared of Buffy's wrath. I really hope Buffy will get the chance to pummel the slime bag before he probably once again manages to escape. Then again his remaining "newfound followers" might realize that helping him actually brought them no advantage and reduce him to "meal status" in their minds...


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/23/2021)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 1:46 pm 
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Ooh things are heating up! Can't wait to see how it all plays out.

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/23/2021)
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Wills_redemption:

Quote:
I didn't think that Tara's and Willow's situation is different, as far as I understand both their souls / spirits are on the other side without a connection to their bodies, or am I wrong?
No, you are totally right on that. It's just that Xander doesn't know that Tara has gone over as well, last he saw her she was trying to mentally/ spiritually find Willow while still being in the living world.

Ethan will get his :) Thanks for your comments, as always!!


Laragh: we are heading toward the end! Thanks so much for commenting!


Notes: No girls in this one, but they will be next. I am betaless, hopefully I have caught all the flubs. I hope you enjoy!




Ch 20

Pounding feet ascended the stairs and Anya shot into a standing position. She held a cross in one hand, arm pushed out to its length, and a stake in the other, white knuckles wrapping around the wood. She’d dug the weapons out of Dawn’s backpack earlier, feeling edgier by the minute as she sat, the only one conscious on the rooftop.

“I’m armed!” she threatened in a panicky voice as the heavy door pushed open, startling Dawn awake.

Xander entered the space tensely gripping his axe to his side, keeping it lowered but ready, having, like his girlfriend, worried himself in worst case scenarios. Seeing Anya, weapons at hand, yelling at him in the night had startled him. But then, he realized, more than a little proud, that he hadn’t needed to worry so much, these women would defend themselves.

“Woah,” Xander eased, stepping back and raising his free hand in a sign of ‘I mean no harm’.

“Whas goin on?” Dawn mumbled, wiping her eyes sleepily. Anya relaxed at the sound and moved toward her boyfriend, infinitely relieved to be in his presence again.

“Nothing, Dawn, it’s just Xander,” Anya smiled. After a brief kiss Xander draped his free arm around Anya’s shoulders, squeezing her to him and walking them both toward Dawn, Willow, and Tara.

“It’s just Xander,” he repeated, “wanted to check on my girls. Is Tara sleeping?” he asked, his voice slowing even as the words came. Tara would never sleep while Willow was still across, which meant they’d both come back and were for some reason sleeping on the roof, or something else happened.

“Oh god, I can’t believe I fell asleep,” Dawn sat up further, still between the two prone witches, and blearily turned to Anya, “Why didn't you wake me up?”

“Well I wanted to, it was no fun being the only one awake but we couldn’t have all of us sleeping and I thought maybe you’d drained yourself with all that Key activity, and I wasn’t sure what to do,” Anya ended with a slight pout and an obvious edge of frustration, which Dawn noticed and offered a small understanding smile which dropped quickly as her body stiffened, the reality of their situation waking her fully into alarm.

“What time is it?” she asked, instinctively placing each hand in closer proximity to Tara and Willow, lending her presence in protection and care.

“It’s late Dawn, or maybe really early,“ Xander answered, moving his gaze from Tara to place his axe carefully on the ground. Standing, he swallowed down the vague sense of panic that threatened to invade him, “What’s with the Key activity? And why is Tara out? What’s going on?”

“She went after Willow” Anya answered, tossing her arms into the air in a gesture that demonstrated how she felt about that move.

“What now?”

“She went through the veil,” Anya said edgily, “Dawn here opened a door, unfortunately it seems to only open in one way like those annoying doors that only let you pull and not push.” Xander blinked at his girlfriend, slotting the facts into his tired mind.

Dawn rose and carefully stepped off the blanket and toward Xander and Anya. “She had to go after Willow,” she defended in a quiet but firm rush, “There may not have been another chance.” The trio stood, Xander in confusion and worry, Anya snuggled next to him, bouncing lightly to stay warm, and Dawn facing them, arms crossed, hip popped to the side looking very much like her sister.

Xander nodded as he ran a hand across his face then dropped it again with a settled sigh, “Ok, first, are you two all right, no oogly booglies?”

“No ooglies,” Dawn confirmed, relaxing her stance as she looked to Anya, “right?”

“No ooglies, but I did not like sitting up here, the only one conscious, I am neither witch nor Slayer people,” Anya huffed, moving further into Xander’s side.
“You could have woke me up,” Dawn rolled her eyes then let it go, knowing if Anya had really been worried she would have woken her and that, for Anya, this was her way of saying she felt helpless. Dawn understood.

“Ok, let’s sit and you fill me in, yeah?” Xander suggested, pulling his Anya fully into his arms as they took their places on the rooftop.

“What time is it?” Dawn asked again, glancing again at Willow and Tara, “Xander, did you find out anything?”

“Come join us here on the nice cold ground,” Xander patted the surface, his face becoming grim, “I’ll fill you in too.”

..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................



The stand-off in the cemetery ended with a stumble, a quick frightened step back that Ethan tried, but failed, to curb as he reacted to the crystal. It’s blue color deepened, the light dimming and for a moment, the stone looked dormant, its hue a dull black. Slowly, silver strands weaved out from its center like a jagged web, swiftly breaking through the dark hue. Ions charged, thickening the air around the three observers, pushing at their skin, thrumming against nerves with excited energy.

Spike stood, having plopped himself on the mist grass after he had bored of pacing. Buffy lowered her arms from their tucked position, watching every nuance of Ethan’s face, trying to gauge from his reaction what was happening with the crystal. As magical as she was as the Slayer, magic in itself had never made a lot of sense to Buffy, and she certainly didn’t know its nuances. She wished Willow was there to explain it all in her eager, babbling way. She wished Giles would hurry and join them, explain it in a stuffier way. But right now it was just her and Spike, so she shifted her weight to the balls of her feet, ready to act whatever happened.

The last thing Buffy saw was Ethan’s terror stricken face look toward her, before, with a burst of light and a great crack in the air, the energy shattered. The force knocked her off her feet and propelled her backward into an aged headstone, jarring her shoulder with the impact. Ignoring the pain, she scrambled to get her footing. Buffy sprinted toward where the crystal lay, dull and broken on the makeshift altar. She searched her surroundings frantically, seeing neither men.

“Spike!”

“Right here, luv,” he said dully, stepping out from behind a nearby crypt. He pressed his fingers at a deep gash across his brow, a trickle of blood threatening to fall into his eye. “Was right tossed up onto the damned thing,” Spike indicated the small stone building with a tip of his head, wincing a bit at the pain it caused, “what the hell happened?”

“Where is Ethan?” Buffy asked, ignoring both their wounds and the questions for the moment, there would be time for pain later, and she intended on finding answers. Following her lead, Spike dropped his hand, alerting his muscles as he spun around, looking for the rogue sorcerer.

“Shit,” he spat, shaking his head, “He couldn’t have gone far.”

“Go. Find him,” Buffy demanded, pausing for the barest moment before adding, “do whatever you need to do to keep him from getting away. I need to get to Giles and Willow.” On his nod, she ran. Spike still had his chip and Buffy knew he wouldn’t be able to physically hurt Ethan, but if somehow he found a way, Buffy wasn’t so sure she would care. Especially if anything happened to Willow.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/28/2021)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 12:27 am 
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Dibs! :whip
Quote:
It's just that Xander doesn't know that Tara has gone over as well, last he saw her she was trying to mentally/ spiritually find Willow while still being in the living world.

Quote:
Standing, he swallowed down the vague sense of panic that threatened to invade him, “What’s with the Key activity? And why is Tara out? What’s going on?”

“She went after Willow” Anya answered, tossing her arms into the air in a gesture that demonstrated how she felt about that move.

“What now?”

“She went through the veil,” Anya said edgily, “Dawn here opened a door, unfortunately it seems to only open in one way like those annoying doors that only let you pull and not push.” Xander blinked at his girlfriend, slotting the facts into his tired mind.

Dawn rose and carefully stepped off the blanket and toward Xander and Anya. “She had to go after Willow,” she defended in a quiet but firm rush, “There may not have been another chance.” The trio stood, Xander in confusion and worry, Anya snuggled next to him, bouncing lightly to stay warm, and Dawn facing them, arms crossed, hip popped to the side looking very much like her sister.

I had totally forgotten that Xander, Buffy and Giles couldn't know that Tara had gone to the "other side" as well. :blush
Cute mental image, Dawn in "slayer pose".

Quote:
“Ok, first, are you two all right, no oogly booglies?”

“No ooglies,” Dawn confirmed, relaxing her stance as she looked to Anya, “right?”

“No ooglies, but I did not like sitting up here, the only one conscious, I am neither witch nor Slayer people,” Anya huffed, moving further into Xander’s side.

:laugh Funny interaction - although I have to admit I don't really know what "oogly booglies" is supposed to mean...

Quote:
As magical as she was as the Slayer, magic in itself had never made a lot of sense to Buffy, and she certainly didn’t know its nuances. She wished Willow was there to explain it all in her eager, babbling way. She wished Giles would hurry and join them, explain it in a stuffier way.

Funny (and fitting) comparison of those two "magic experts".

Quote:
The last thing Buffy saw was Ethan’s terror stricken face look toward her, before, with a burst of light and a great crack in the air, the energy shattered.

Serves Ethan right to be terrified!

Quote:
“Where is Ethan?” Buffy asked, ignoring both their wounds and the questions for the moment, there would be time for pain later, and she intended on finding answers. Following her lead, Spike dropped his hand, alerting his muscles as he spun around, looking for the rogue sorcerer.

“Shit,” he spat, shaking his head, “He couldn’t have gone far.”

“Go. Find him,” Buffy demanded, pausing for the barest moment before adding, “do whatever you need to do to keep him from getting away. I need to get to Giles and Willow.” On his nod, she ran.

I can hardly imagine that Ethan could have gotten up and run away so quickly...maybe he was somehow "transfered" to the other side when the chrystal exploded? Since Giles and Willow (her body) are in different places I'm wondering where to Buffy is running first...


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (1/28/2021)
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 9:30 pm 
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Wills_redemption:
Quote:
I had totally forgotten that Xander, Buffy and Giles couldn't know that Tara had gone to the "other side" as well. :blush
totally understandable with how spaced the updates have been (stupid life getting in the way :P)

Quote:
Funny interaction - although I have to admit I don't really know what "oogly booglies" is supposed to mean...
thanks! Oogly Booglies is from the show- I think iut's Dawn that uses it to describe any vampires or demons- I think she mentioned it in only one ep but it has always stuck in my head

Thanks so much!

Notes: I am doing this beta-less, hopefully I have caught all the mistakes. Feedback is awesome! It helps keep the writing urge lit. All other previous disclaimers and so forth...



Ch 21



The flow of magic stilled, leaving energy in stasis before it descended through lower limbs and dissipated into the leaf-heavy ground below. Around the tree, the three women slumped forward, exhausted from the exertion of holding the spell. Willow and Kathryn’s hands slipped apart, arms loose by their sides. Tara squeezed her mother’s hand warmly before she too let go, still keeping hold of Willow’s as the lovers turned toward each other.

“How you doing, sweetie?” she cooed, cupping her free hand around Willow’s hip.

Willow’s smile was weary but she leaned into the touch, “I’m good baby. I think I had just the right combo of Tara-tree energy to keep me from being sapped.”

A giddy, goofy grin bloomed on Tara’s lips, followed by a rupture of giggles that fed themselves and multiplied.

“What?” Willow asked, beginning to laugh as well, caught up in the contagious sound.

Tara worked her lips, trying to contain herself, glancing at the great tree they stood against, “you said sapped.” She giggled harder and Willow cracked up, tears of mirth falling down her cheeks. Willow wrapped around Tara, both bodies sagging against each other, the giggles fading and bursting again.

“I’m so tired,” Willow drawled, leaning her head on Tara’s shoulder and softening even further as Tara began to rub her back slowly.

“Me too,” Tara replied, just as sluggishly, pulling Willow a little tighter and then loosening their hold, “the air feels different.” Tara raised her head to find her mother watching them with an amused smile and fond eyes.

“We did it,” Kathryn affirmed, nodding, “and it's time for you two sleepy heads to get home and into bed.”

“She’s right,” Willow agreed, “we shouldn’t take any chances, we don’t know how long we have.”

After taking a long breath, Tara stepped out of Willow’s arms, preparing to leave the safety of the tree. “Ready?”

On Willow’s affirming nod, she stepped away from the tree. Willow moved with her, and with a brush on Tara’s arm, passed her, giving Tara space with her mother and going to Jesse’s side.

“Will you walk me out?” Tara asked, her voice soft and her heart weighted knowing they would be parted.

“Of course,” Kathryn answered reverently, and they began their journey to the veil.


…………………………………….................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

A spattering of dead walked toward Restfield Cemetery, their translucent forms filtering the glow of the moon. Buffy slowed her quick pace, wondering if they were being drawn to the sight of Ethan’s spell, and what that meant now that the crystal, the magical conduit, now lay in pieces, tucked into her coat pocket. She’d scooped it up as she was leaving, wanting to bring it to Giles and keep it in safe hands, broken as it was.

Then the dead started disappearing, stopping her in her tracks, one by one they walked into what seemed like nothing and were gone. Buffy honed in her senses as she approached, feeling more than seeing a thinning of the air where they passed.

Buffy’s heart jumped with exhilaration, and she ran, hoping Willow had found her way back.

…………………………………………………..............................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Ethan stifled a groan as he pushed to his feet. He hurt. The muscles in his back twinged and he’d torn a hole in his pants, blood dripping from a shallow scrape. The force of the crystal’s blow had sent him flying backward with a powerful force, catching the full brunt in his proximity to the source. It was only the soft ground, kept moist under the shade of trees, that had prevented further injury. Still, he wanted to cry out, to whine, to drink a fifth of whiskey, but with life preserving adrenaline he moved into the trees, running as fast as he could.

Spike climbed back up on top of the crypt he’d been so cruelly thrown on top of moments ago, and scanned the area, searching for an anomaly of movement amongst the tombstones and foliage. It came in a flash of burgundy, the color of Ethan’s shirt standing out in glimpses amongst the green and brown of the thick trees. Spike pushed off the structure, his heavy boots pounding after the sorcerer.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (2/5/2021)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:37 pm 
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I'm simultaneously so excited to see where all the action goes but also sad that means it's ending! This has been such a lovely fic du jour and I love that we've got to spend months following these guys!

Oh and DIBS :D

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (2/5/2021)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 5:56 am 
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Quote:
“We did it,” Kathryn affirmed, nodding, “and it's time for you two sleepy heads to get home and into bed.”

“She’s right,” Willow agreed, “we shouldn’t take any chances, we don’t know how long we have.”

After taking a long breath, Tara stepped out of Willow’s arms, preparing to leave the safety of the tree. “Ready?”

On Willow’s affirming nod, she stepped away from the tree. Willow moved with her, and with a brush on Tara’s arm, passed her, giving Tara space with her mother and going to Jesse’s side.

“Will you walk me out?” Tara asked, her voice soft and her heart weighted knowing they would be parted.

“Of course,” Kathryn answered reverently, and they began their journey to the veil.

Now I just hope they will be able to cross back through the veil without further complications. Saying goodbye to Jesse and Tara's mom will be certainly hard (especially considering that after the experience of this year they might not want to risk yearly "visits" on Halloween).

Quote:
Ethan stifled a groan as he pushed to his feet. He hurt. The muscles in his back twinged and he’d torn a hole in his pants, blood dripping from a shallow scrape. The force of the crystal’s blow had sent him flying backward with a powerful force, catching the full brunt in his proximity to the source. It was only the soft ground, kept moist under the shade of trees, that had prevented further injury. Still, he wanted to cry out, to whine, to drink a fifth of whiskey, but with life preserving adrenaline he moved into the trees, running as fast as he could.

So Ethan simply had the luck to land softer than Buffy and Spike that gave him a headstart. Now I'm really curious what fate you have in mind for him...


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (2/5/2021)
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2021 9:42 pm 
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Laragh: Thank you! (and I thought I was gonna write this in a weekend lol) I am glad you are enjoying it!

Wills_redemption: Thanks! I think if Ethan is out of the way, they might feel a little safer about crossing again, or maybe just having Kathryn and Jesse visit. and no mugwort.


Notes: still not beta'd, feedback is awesome! Hope you enjoy!



Ch 22:



Willow and Jesse walked together several feet in front of the Maclays. Ahead, they could hear shouts and murmurings traveling through the thinning mist, the sounds of the returning dead being welcomed home, and it sent a wash of fear down Willow’s back. Memories of the dead who had put their hands on her, taken from her, made her falter and slowed her gait, eliciting fears that those dead might try again, try to block their passage, subdue her and Tara until the veil closed and they could take their energy. Willow glanced behind her, catching Tara’s eye, and as Willow received Tara’s sweet, devoted half-grin , she felt her fears drip away. With Tara by her side, they would be fine, and Kathryn and Jesse would help keep them safe.

“She’s something Will,” Jesse noted, following her gaze, smiling as he took in his friend’s demeanor, watching her face become soft and open.

“She’s everything,” Willow replied, shaking her head in awe of her fortune as she faced the path ahead and increased her pace again, Jesse keeping in step. “You’re being very mature about this,” she observed, eyebrows raised in question. She was both pleased and a little surprised.

“Hey, I am not the dumb walking hormone you once knew. I am a much wiser hormone these days,” he joked, delighting when Willow laughed, “seriously Will, you’re in love and she seems really great. And, yeah, super hot, my eyes do still work.”

“Hey, I would question your taste if you didn’t think so,” Willow returned.

Through the dense air, Willow could see small groups and pairs of the dead sharing stories, some telling them with excited voices and wide gestures, others listening in fascination, all content to be together again. “What do you call yourselves?” Willow asked suddenly.

“What do you mean?” Jesse asked, clearly thrown by the question.

“You. The dead,” Willow explained the frowned, “is that okay to say? I mean, do you call yourself the Otherworldlies or something?”

Laughter poured out of Jesse, stopping him in tracks, and shaking his torso. “Oh man, I missed you Wills,” he shook his head, embracing fondly his friend’s tangents and quirks, “and we are dead, but usually, we just, you know, call each other by our names.”

“I’m being life-ist, aren’t I?” Willow pouted.

“No, like I said, we’re dead, but I think I am going to with Otherworldly from now on.”

“I was really scared, before, with the hands-on energy suck-fest, but I guess you have Otherworldly baddies just like we have, erm, Living worldly baddies,” Willow spoke as the thoughts churned, trying to place her fear of those few dead into a more accurate space.

“Well, yeah, most people here are cool, some of us are awesome,” Jesse preened.

“Definitely,” Willow agreed, “so things are okay here?”

“Yeah,” he shrugged, “It’s pretty chill most of the time, the veil openings are the big events. And I hear that there are some other planes we can visit, other otherworlds,” Jesse wagged his eyebrows dramatically, teasing his friend, “Maybe I can ask Kathryn to take me.”

“Jesse,” Willow yelped, lowering her voice to a hissed whisper, as she remembered Mrs. Maclay was close enough to hear the outburst, “she’s like my mother-in-law!”

“Well, no one’s getting any older here,” Jesse grinned at his own joke, “maybe she has friends she can introduce me to then,” and kept grinning at Willow’s mock-frown.

“That’s better.”

“So tell me all about life.” Jesse prompted. There wasn’t much road left ahead of them, and he wanted to know as much as he could before he said goodbye. He’d been in the Liminal, like he’d been every year since his passing, debating in his mind whether or not he should cross. It wasn’t easy to know if the living would be ready for a visit from the beyond, and he honestly didn’t know how the whole thing worked. But now that he’d seen his friend, his now witchy friend, he thought, next time, maybe he’d feel ready for a visit to the living world. Maybe he’d even get to see Xander.

“Do you remember Buffy?” Willow asked. Jesse had been taken so soon after her arrival, and she’d been saddened by that fact that he never really got to know her.

“The vampire fighter?” Jesse remembered her, in his vampire form she’d been the thing to fear, in his human form, she’d been a new, pretty face.

“Slayer, actually. She’s my best friend,” Willow began, chatting away as they approached the veil.

……………………………………………................................................................................................................................................................................................................


Tara walked briskly toward their destination, attention torn between soaking in every moment with her mother and keeping a keen and watchful eye for any signs of Willow’s energy depleting. Willow was walking with her childhood friend, hands flying about in her adorably animated way when she spoke. Willow’s red hair, curled loosely from the moisture in the air, was a beacon through gossamer mist. Tara felt steadied, buoyed, as she drank in the sight.

“She’s lovely,” Kathryn observed softly, following every nuance of Tara’s expressive face.

Tara’s smile broke forth like dawn, and she blushed a little as she returned her gaze to her mother, “She is. I am so glad you got to meet.”

“Well anyone who makes my daughter smile like that,” Kathryn teased lightly, leaning in for emphasis, “has to be worth knowing.”

Tara nodded, once again glancing at Willow’s form walking ahead of them just as Willow turned her head, meeting gazes and holding for just a moment. The half-smile that curved Tara’s lips was instinctual, an inevitable reaction to her love and the contended relief that Willow was there with her and well.

The night had been strange and complex, terrifying in many ways yet also had been the greatest of gifts. From the day Tara had met Willow, knowing at first glance that Willow was special, there had been a keen sadness to the fact that Tara’s mother wasn’t there to see the joy Willow brought her. And that Willow would never know the woman who had raised her, been her confidant and comfort. The mother that had been her light in a dark house, in a dark town filled with judgement. A light that had dimmed so low after Kathryn’s death that Tara believed she would always be in the shadows. Willow had changed her by igniting a spirit that had been dampened and defeated, and had inflamed a heart that had felt withered and bruised. They were the only two people who inhabited that sacred space, deep in her soul, reserved for those who are precious and it had seemed a tragedy that she couldn’t share them with one another. And now that they had met, Tara felt an old wound start to heal.

“Will you come visit? Next year?” Tara asked quietly, almost childlike, slowing as they neared the time to say goodbye.

“Just call for me and I will be there,” Kathryn promised softly.

Nodding once, Tara wrapped her arms around her torso. She spoke quietly, "I wanted to, before, it was just hard."

"I know, sweetheart, and if it's still too hard I'll understand." Kathryn's words, like so many of her words, said before, embraced Tara like a warm summer night.

"I'll see you next year," Tara promised her mother as they joined where Willow and Jesse had stopped, waiting for them.

The mist that had been heavy and oppressive when they’d arrived in the Liminal, had now thinned and the group moved the last few feet to the veil, the damp moss making space under their feet as they reached the threshold.

As Tara crossed to give thanks to Jesse, Kathryn stepped close to Willow, speaking confidentially.

“You hold my daughter’s heart. Take care of it, she is precious,” she pressed, kindly but with an edge of motherly warning which Willow met with assured honesty.

“I promise you, and I promise her. I love her so very much.”

“I can see it,” Kathryn smiled, creating a small dimple on one cheek, her grey-blue eyes sparkling with warmth, “it has been so lovely to meet you. I wish the circumstances had been better,” Kathryn joked lightly and Willow smiled in kind.

“Totally worth it.”

“Ready?” Tara asked for the second time that night and as Willow went to say her final goodbye to Jesse, Tara threw herself into her mother’s arms, a choked sob rising from her chest, “I miss you so much.”

“I miss you too, my little star.”

The childhood endearment drew a soft chuckle that became a sob as Tara cried, tightening her arms around her mother. They held each other only for a brief, bittersweet moment, before Kathryn eased back, sweeping tears from Tara’s cheek before drawing her hand away, not wanting to risk too much connection.

“I love you. And I will see you soon again.” Kathryn promised, closing her fist to try and keep the bit of energy she’d drawn from her daughter as long as she could.

Willow released Jesse from their quick embrace, and took Tara’s hand. The two women, exhausted, with tear-stained cheeks, waved one last goodbye, turned, and slipped back through the veil.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (2/10/2021)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2021 3:33 pm 
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DIBS

Oh, so bittersweet <3

Quote:
“I miss you too, my little star.”


LOVE this nickname. I knew we were building to this and yet...

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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (2/10/2021)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2021 12:47 am 
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Quote:
“What do you call yourselves?” Willow asked suddenly.

“What do you mean?” Jesse asked, clearly thrown by the question.

“You. The dead,” Willow explained the frowned, “is that okay to say? I mean, do you call yourself the Otherworldlies or something?”

Laughter poured out of Jesse, stopping him in tracks, and shaking his torso. “Oh man, I missed you Wills,” he shook his head, embracing fondly his friend’s tangents and quirks, “and we are dead, but usually, we just, you know, call each other by our names.”

“I’m being life-ist, aren’t I?” Willow pouted.

“No, like I said, we’re dead, but I think I am going to with Otherworldly from now on.”

Awww, that is so Willow, adorable!

Quote:
The night had been strange and complex, terrifying in many ways yet also had been the greatest of gifts. From the day Tara had met Willow, knowing at first glance that Willow was special, there had been a keen sadness to the fact that Tara’s mother wasn’t there to see the joy Willow brought her. And that Willow would never know the woman who had raised her, been her confidant and comfort. The mother that had been her light in a dark house, in a dark town filled with judgement. A light that had dimmed so low after Kathryn’s death that Tara believed she would always be in the shadows. Willow had changed her by igniting a spirit that had been dampened and defeated, and had inflamed a heart that had felt withered and bruised. They were the only two people who inhabited that sacred space, deep in her soul, reserved for those who are precious and it had seemed a tragedy that she couldn’t share them with one another. And now that they had met, Tara felt an old wound start to heal.

Beautifully written. :flower The "light and shadow"-comparison reminds me of Tara's great song "I'm under your spell" in OMWF.

Quote:
“Will you come visit? Next year?” Tara asked quietly, almost childlike, slowing as they neared the time to say goodbye.

“Just call for me and I will be there,” Kathryn promised softly.

Nodding once, Tara wrapped her arms around her torso. She spoke quietly, "I wanted to, before, it was just hard."

"I know, sweetheart, and if it's still too hard I'll understand." Kathryn's words, like so many of her words, said before, embraced Tara like a warm summer night.

"I'll see you next year," Tara promised her mother as they joined where Willow and Jesse had stopped, waiting for them.

I'm glad that Tara can look forward to seeing her mothers spirit without any fear from now on.

Quote:
“Ready?” Tara asked for the second time that night and as Willow went to say her final goodbye to Jesse, Tara threw herself into her mother’s arms, a choked sob rising from her chest, “I miss you so much.”

“I miss you too, my little star.”

The childhood endearment drew a soft chuckle that became a sob as Tara cried, tightening her arms around her mother. They held each other only for a brief, bittersweet moment, before Kathryn eased back, sweeping tears from Tara’s cheek before drawing her hand away, not wanting to risk too much connection.

“I love you. And I will see you soon again.” Kathryn promised, closing her fist to try and keep the bit of energy she’d drawn from her daughter as long as she could.

A bittersweet goodbye. The "I will see you soon again" could feel ominous considering Tara's fate in canon but I just want to believe that in your storyverse Tara won't die and Willow won't become addicted to magic either.


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (2/10/2021)
PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:35 am 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 228
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Location: Pacific Northwest
Laragh: Thanks, it is definitely bittersweet

Wills_redemption:
Quote:
Beautifully written. :flower The "light and shadow"-comparison reminds me of Tara's great song "I'm under your spell" in OMWF.
Thank you! And Tara's OMWF song definitely was an influence- "I lived my life in shadow" is such a telling line

Quote:
A bittersweet goodbye. The "I will see you soon again" could feel ominous considering Tara's fate in canon but I just want to believe that in your storyverse Tara won't die and Willow won't become addicted to magic either.
Oh wow I hadn't even thought about that! I probably won't write that far, but yes, in this reality, Willow and Tara get to grow old together, there may be bumps in the road, but they always make it through.



NOTES: What to say? It's been a hard week in the fandom (and obviously harder for all those who have spoken out)- I fully believe that the wonderful characters we have been given were created by a team. For this little story I am writing: I honor Amber for her beautiful, nuanced work as Tara Maclay.
additionally, the use of chapter markers is super loose. This has not been beta'd, hopefully I caught the mistakes. I hope you enjoy



Ch 23:



Ethan cleared the small grove, stumbling, his leg burning where it had been cut. The crystal’s blast had sent him flying backward toward a canopy of trees, allowing Ethan to crawl his body out of momentary sight and try to escape unseen. Ethan was good at being a sneak, had slipped out of so many situations that calling him a snake would not be unwarranted. Undesired maybe, but if the skill kept him alive, he didn’t mind the term much.

But he had been seen and now he ran, panicked, aware that Spike was on his tail, the vampire’s supernatural speed narrowing the gap between them quickly. As Ethan reached the top of a small hill, he found a group of his new followers gathered around a gravemarker, talking until the end of the night, safely close to home while the dawn approached. With a quickly muttered prayer to Janus that Chaos would see him through Ethan approached the group.

“My brethren,” Ethan tried to purr, his smooth tones broken by heavy, exerted, breaths. Nonetheless he opened his arms in show of compatriotism as the group turned at his call.
Spike reached the crest of the hill, grumbling “bloody hells”, already annoyed by the chase. When he spotted Ethan below, he stopped, letting his body relax and watched with a wide grin as a fellow vamp bit into Ethan’s neck, draining him.

Spike was almost disappointed when the body was left to litter the ground, unturned. Killing Ethan again, this time as an undead creature, would have been incredibly satisfying. With a shrug, Spike veered off onto a downward path, catching sight of a small, crumpled box that he recognized instantly. With a slight skip, he jogged to where a pack of Chesterfields lay abandoned in the grass. Spike swooped up the pack and, finding three cigarettes left inside, shook out a smoke.

“Looks like my night is looking up,” he held his Zippo to the cigarette, inhaling air that was unnecessary but useful for times like these, “at least what’s left of it.”
The faintest thread of light blue rimmed the horizon, and Spike puffed, heading toward the crypt he called home.

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

The little red sports car jerked as Giles drove in stops and starts down Main Street.

“You aren’t going to actually hurt them,” Buffy griped, having been jostled again as Giles hit the brakes to avoid the small trickle of remaining dead who stepped into the street ahead of them, hurrying toward the cemetery and their way home.

“Well, forgive me for having been conditioned to not run my car into moving targets. They are still people,” Giles sniped back, accelerating again when the road opened up.

Buffy had pounded on the Magic Box door just moments before and had practically dumped the broken crystal bits into his arms. He’d immediately placed them on a side table, and while Buffy explained what happened, grabbed his coat and keys to drive them to the University dorms. He hadn’t expected being delayed by dodging ghosts and found himself anxious to be in two places at once.

“I will drop you at the dormitory and then go see if I can track down Ethan,” he knew Willow would be in good hands, and someone had to go after Ethan. After all, Spike could do no more than scowl and snark with the chip in his head.

“No, Giles, if-“ Buffy trailed off and looked out the window toward the east where the very first sliver of day was dawning, before clearing her throat and continuing in a tone hardened by necessity, “if, if Will didn’t make it back, we need you there. We’ll need to do more research, something. And Tara has to be exhausted.” Buffy hadn’t focused on Tara’s response to this, but she recalled the stricken look on Tara’s face when she’d found her on the roof, desperately trying to bring Willow back. Buffy tried to be optimistic, maybe Tara had succeeded and she and Willow were curled up together, asleep in their warm bed. Maybe breaking the crystal had allowed Willow to find her way back. Maybe. And although Buffy hoped for the best, she had to be prepared for, not the worst, that was unthinkable, but that there still might be work to do.

“Buffy, the veil has opened, Tara will be able to bring her back over,” Giles reminded, “and Ethan cannot be allowed to get away again. Damn useless Initiative government pawns should have never let him go in the first place.” Ethan had always provoked strong emotions from Giles. They had been friends, close, or so Giles had thought, once upon a time, and there was a tarnished fondness for Ethan that elicited a hurt rage within Giles, because Ethan had hurt him, and Ethan had hurt those he loved.

“True, yes, all good points, but Giles, we don’t know what we’ll be dealing with,” Buffy argued back, straining her eyes for any sign of anything as Dormer Hall came into view. “Just come up, see if Will is ok, and we’ll go from there.”

The strain in Buffy’s voice, the slight shattering in her tone, shifted Giles’ focus. Ethan was a problem that needed to be dealt with, but his found family, his almost children, needed him more than his desire for punishing Ethan. That would come in time, he would make sure of it. But now, he was here.

“Yes, of course, I’m sorry.”

“Nothing to be sorry for, Giles. He will pay. But first we take care of ours,” Buffy nearly leapt out of the car, slamming the door behind her and running to the dorm entrance. Giles followed, several strides behind.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: The In- Between (2/20/2021)
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:31 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 446
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
It's been a hard week in the fandom (and obviously harder for all those who have spoken out)- I fully believe that the wonderful characters we have been given were created by a team.

I feel a bit stupid because I don't know of the trouble you're suggesting here... :blush

Quote:
“My brethren,” Ethan tried to purr, his smooth tones broken by heavy, exerted, breaths. Nonetheless he opened his arms in show of compatriotism as the group turned at his call.
Spike reached the crest of the hill, grumbling “bloody hells”, already annoyed by the chase. When he spotted Ethan below, he stopped, letting his body relax and watched with a wide grin as a fellow vamp bit into Ethan’s neck, draining him.

Pretty "embarassing" end for Ethan as mere "vampire fodder". This scene reminded me of the movie "Lion King" when Scar gets killed by hyenas in the end.
I trust Ethan is not the kind of wizard Kathryn would lead to some other plane.

Quote:
The faintest thread of light blue rimmed the horizon, and Spike puffed, heading toward the crypt he called home.

So the info that Ethan is dead won't reach Buffy and the others until next night? That is a bit inconvenient, maybe they should think about getting cellphones for themselves and Spike as their ally.
Now I'm looking forward to the happy "Scoobie reunion" in the next chapter.


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