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

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
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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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A Twisted DateDachsund Through The Snow


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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!

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

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.

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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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