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

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:09 pm 
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8. Vixen
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Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 9:46 am
Posts: 850
Topics: 3
Location: Southern Arizona
Hi Dixon,

I'll be honest I hadn't read this because it was unfinished and it was a very long time since any updates had been posted. I also understand how time and a story can get away from you and before you know it its been 3 years since your last post.

I have now read it from the beginning and I look forward to more posts since you have more story. Try bribes of chocolate, that seems to work for my muse sometimes!

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Heather aka vampyregurl73
"Dry Heat""Penny Arcade" "Fireworks" "Promise" "I Did What Last Night?"


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:57 am 
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1. Blessed Wannabe
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Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:18 pm
Posts: 5
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Location: NE, USA
So, I wasn't planning on moving this fic to current Pens works, mostly out of shame for the decade + lapse in updates :ashamed , but the rules are the rules and here we are. No undercover updates like I was planning :sh but it's okay because vampyregurl73 was right.. chocolate bribes seem to be helping the muse (especially because they're coating the espresso beans I'm addicted to). :bounce :bounce

Regardless of where it's posted, thanks for the understanding and positive feedback, Kittens.


Next Chapter:

Tara looked up, her eyes wide, "Glory."

"No," Buffy said adamantly, "she's gone. That evil Hell-Bitch is dead."

"Dear lord," came Giles's worried voice, seemingly out of nowhere causing all three girls to jump.

Buffy spun around and glared at the watcher, "Not the best time to practice your tip toeing, Giles."

"You almost gave me a heart attack," accused the teen.

"Yes, yes," he nodded, "we can have a round of agitation at the timing of the watcher later. For now, I say we return to the matter at hand."

"Giles's is right," said the slayer, her voice grave, "how could it be Glory?"

Dawn paled, "I thought she only had one chance."

"She did," the slayer hissed and started pacing, "she did and she's dead."

Tara looked back down at the Runes, "It's different. It's not Glory exactly … it's more like … it's almost Glory."

"What does that mean?" Buffy demanded as she stepped in front of Dawn protectively.

The blonde witch looked towards the bed where Willow was twitching at the noise. "Let's step outside."

Buffy looked like she wanted to argue but seeing as there was no apparent immediate danger she finally nodded and allowed herself to be ushered into the hall. The slayer wrapped an arm around her sister and vowed, "If it is Glory, she won't get near you. I swear it."

"I want you to promise no more swan dives," demanded the teen.

"Yes, let's definitely promise that," Giles added as he made room in the hallway for the girls.

"Wait," Tara interjected as she pulled the bedroom door shut behind her. "I don't really know that Glory is back."

"Is she coming back?" asked the teen.

"Is she going to try and open the portal again?" asked the slayer.

"I haven't sensed her physical presence," Tara said honestly.

Dawn's forehead wrinkled in confusion, "Huh?

"You can do that?" Buffy asked, shocked.

"I thought you said-" Giles began to ask.

"I said it's almost Glory," clarified the witch, "like, whatever is going on has something to do with her, but it's not her exactly. Kind of."

"Not really very helpful, Tara," complained the slayer.

Tara sighed and rubbed her forehead. "Can't you guys feel it? There's an energy… A very powerful energy and it's… it's…" she struggled to find the words. Unable to find a way to explain what she was feeling she sighed, "I think we should have a Scooby meeting."

"Oh yeah," the slayer agreed.

"Want me to get them?" Dawn asked.

"Um," Tara looked back at the bedroom where her girlfriend was asleep, "I need to talk to Willow first. It might help me to figure some stuff out."

The slayer nodded and looked to her sister, "Dawn, can you go pour me a bowl of your oatmeal?"

The teen rolled her eyes, "Geez, Buffy. Subtle much?"

"Fine," the slayer sighed, "Dawn, I have to talk to Giles and Tara. Could you-"

"Go away?" the teen interrupted, "yeah, yeah. I know."

"I was going to say, 'Could you give us a few minutes alone'," the slayer returned dryly.

"Whatever, I'm sure I'll figure it out when I'm tied up at the top of a tower built by mental patients," the teenager huffed as she moved down the hallway.

"You know-" the slayer began.

"Hey," Willow's sleepy voice came from behind them, stalling the slayer's response, "what's going on?"

The watcher and the pair of blondes turned to greet the redhead. Tara smiled and moved next to her and used the back of her hand to feel her girlfriend's forehead, "How are you feeling?"

The hacker leaned into the touch, "Mm, good."

"You up for a Scooby meeting, Will?" the slayer asked.

"As long as it's not any further than the living room," she shrugged, "I guess so."

"Great, come on Giles. Let us know when you're ready, okay?" the slayer called over her shoulder as she made her way toward the stairs with her watcher in tow.

Willow closed her eyes and leaned in to let her head rest against her blonde lover's, "Any chance it's a happy Scooby meeting? With drinks and snacks?"

A blonde eyebrow rose, "Scooby snacks?"

The redhead smiled as she realized what she had said and she shrugged, "They couldn't be any worse than Dawn's Popcorn and Marshmallow omelets."

Tara shuddered at the memory and dropped a kiss on her girlfriend's forehead. She reached down and snagged the hand that Willow was resting on her hip and she gave it a little tug towards the bedroom. "If you're up to it, we need to talk."

For a brief second the hacker considered lying and saying that she was too tired. She knew what the upcoming conversation was going to entail and she really didn't want to go there. Her actions, she knew, were utterly reprehensible and beyond forgiveness. She had just gotten Tara back and while the gentle blonde was beyond forgiving she didn’t really know if the witch could accept a cold-blooded murderer as a partner.

The redhead eventually nodded and muttered a subdued, "Okay."

Willow allowed herself to be guided into the bedroom and onto the bed. Tara closed the door and took a seat next to the former witch. She folded one leg underneath her and reached for her girlfriend's hand. "Look at me, Will."

Eyes locked firmly on the floor, she mumbled, "I can't."

Tara used her thumb to make soothing circles on the back of the thin hand she was holding and asked softly, "Why not?"

"I can't see you look at me like that again," she whispered.

"Like what?" Tara asked softly.

Tears spilled down her cheeks, "Like you did that night in the tunnels… after I-I did that stupid forget spell."

"Oh, Willow," the blonde said sadly and reached for the redhead. She no sooner laid a hand on a thin shoulder when the former witch turned and threw herself into Tara's lap and the whole story came out between choking sobs. The redhead related everything that happened from the moment she held Tara in her arms as her life slipped away. Willow relayed diving headlong into the darkest of magics, the rampage and murder, attacking her friends, the end of the world… Not much was left out of the confession and by time she was finished she clung desperately to the blonde Wiccan.

Tara listened calmly. It was a story she already knew, most of it anyway, but she had to hear it from Willow. She had to understand her feelings, her thoughts and her motivations. She ran her fingers through the golden red strands strewn across her lap. She let her hand slide down to the tight muscles of the hacker's neck and massaged the area.

The redhead's breathing eventually evened out and she swallowed hard and she sat up but kept her eyes cast down. "Now do you hate me?" she choked out as she put some distance between them.

"I love you," Tara slid across the bed, closing the gap and cupped her lover's face, forcing their eyes to connect. "I've always loved you, Willow. I always have and I always will. I don't know how not to."

The redhead squeezed her eyes shut unable to believe the words were the truth.

Tara felt the hot tears splash on her hands and she leaned in and captured her lover's lips with her own. She flicked her tongue over the red lips and they immediately parted and granted her entrance. The kiss wasn't incendiary by any means but it was long and deep and Tara hoped it was enough to assure Willow that there was no rift between them. When the kiss finally ended the Wiccan leaned in and rested their foreheads together.

"We'll figure this out," Tara swore, "we'll figure it out, together, and then we'll find a way past it."

"Promise?"

"I promise."

* * * * *

"Jeez," the teen sighed as she flopped down onto the couch, "they've been up there forever."

"They have a lot to talk about," offered the slayer as flipped through the day's mail.

"Yeah," Anya agreed as she walked into the living room and handed her former fiancé a drink, "death, destruction, chaos, pandemonium…"

"And then there were the unusual things that happened too," Xander added.

"But isn't it weird?" Dawn asked, "knowing the person you're with killed somebody?"

Buffy and Xander immediately tried to look inconspicuous while Anya seemed to take an interest in the teen's thinking.

"I mean," the teen continued, "do you mention it at dinner, like, 'hey, please pass the carrots and oh, by the way, remember that guy you killed?' It's just weird. Really, how do you talk about that?"

"You don't," answered Buffy, "and neither do we because it's between Willow and Tara," she warned.

The girl rolled her eyes, "No duh, Buffy. It's not like I was gonna put it on the Christmas card or anything."

"No duh?" the slayer parroted. "The girl helps stop one apocalypse and then she goes and gets all lippy."

"You know Christmas isn't really-"

"Anya," Xander interrupted, "Honey? Please, no evil Christmas stories."

"They're not stories, Xander. They're facts. Historical facts,"

"I know," he conceded, "you're very smart and very full of facts but some things are better as… unknown facts. Okay?"

"You could tell us the facts about the Easter Bunny," Dawn added wickedly.

Anya turned and shot daggers at the smug teen, "Was that necessary, really?"

"She was kidding," Xander offered as he moved to give the vengeance demon a hug. "But she won't anymore. Right?"

Dawn gave a slightly apologetic smile, "Right."

Buffy sat shaking her head, "Lippy, mouthy even."

"I'm telling Tara," said the vengeance demon as she pulled out of the hug, remembering that Xander was no longer her fiancé.

"Telling me what?" the woman in question asked as she appeared in the doorway.

"Gaahh," the blonde slayer yelped and jumped out of her chair, startled by the unexpected voice behind her. She spun around and glared at the witch, "Will you please stop doing that? A slayer dying from being scared to death would be so…so…"

"Lame," supplied Dawn.

Buffy shot her sibling a look before moving to sit back down.

"That," accused Anya, and she pointed at the teen, "did you hear that? That girl has gone wild … and not like ones in Willow's videos, either. A bad wild."

"I'm so not wild," the teen argued, "I'm the opposite of-"

"What do you mean Willow's videos," the slayer and the blonde Wiccan asked at the same time.

"I have videos?" the redhead asked as she entered the living room, pausing when she noticed everyone staring at her, "what?"

"You have Girls Gone Wild videos?" Buffy mumbled, trying to hide her mouth behind her hand to keep the teen from hearing the conversation.

Teenage eyes rolled dramatically, "I've seen the commercials Buffy."

"We are so getting rid of cable," the slayer glared at the television.

"What are you guys talking about?" Willow asked.

"They're talking about your Girls Gone Wild videos," the teen explained simply.

"Dawn," chastised the slayer.

"My what!?"

The teen sighed and crossed her arms, "Fine, I'll just sit over here and wait until it's time for my tea party with the Care Bears. Maybe Rainbow Bright got her big wheel out the shop and she can come too."

The slayer was about to respond to her sister's snide comment when Willow interrupted, "Will someone please tell me what's going on?"

"Girl videos?" Tara asked doubtfully.

"No, of course no," Willow was astounded, "where would you get an idea like that?"

The group's attention all moved to the demon who merely shrugged, "Xander has the whole set. He said he was holding them for Willow and I couldn't touch them. Tell them Xander. Xander?"

The group looked around but only saw the vacant seat where the construction worker had been sitting. Anya's eyes narrowed and she stomped off after him, "Xander Harris you are in SO much trouble! If you get to have bouncing eye candy videos then so do I."

A knock at the door interrupted the sound of items crashing in the kitchen and Buffy went to answer it while Willow and Tara moved to sit on the couch.

"Girlie videos," mumbled Willow as she let her eyes travel over her lover's curvaceous figure, "as if."

Tara turned towards the youngest member of the Scoobies and raised an eyebrow at the teen, "Rainbow Bright?"

Dawn bit her lip, "Her mud pies are world famous."

"Everything okay?" The Wiccan asked as she searched the brown eyes.

She nodded, "Yeah, just a little wigged out about Glory I guess."

Willow perked up at the name, "Glory?"

Tara reached out and rubbed her lover's knee, "Not exactly."

"Hello everyone," Giles greeted as he entered the living room holding several large pizza boxes.

"Food!" Dawn shouted and jumped up from the couch and began clearing off the coffee table.

The watcher handed the pizza boxes to the teen as Anya entered the room followed by and a contrite looking Xander.

"Watcher-Man," Xander greeted, "you hunter-gatherer of food."

"Thanks Giles," said Buffy, "I haven't really been up on the grocery shopping, you know, with the end of the world and all."

"Yes, well, I thought that may have been the case."

Eventually everyone was seated and food and drinks had been dispensed when the Buffy called the meeting to order. "Okay, so Tara thinks something might be up. She's getting some kind of bad energy vibes."

"Tara?" Willow asked.

"It always starts with vibes," said Anya as she shook her head knowingly.

The blonde took a breath, "I've been feeling a strong energy. I couldn't tell what it was and I thought that it might just have been residual from … everything that happened."

Anya looked briefly confused before perking up, "Oh, you mean when Willow went all dark and veiney and Giles tried to-"

"Yes," Tara interrupted, reaching over and running her hand up and down the redhead's jean-clad leg while the hacker glared at the vengeance demon.

"But you no longer think that's the case?" asked the watcher. "The witches I consulted with said that the two powers should have neutralized one another."

"They should have," Tara answered, "and I don't really have a reason to think otherwise."

"What was that spell thing you did upstairs that told you about Glory?" asked the slayer.

At the mention of the Hell God the room burst into noise with everyone clamoring and asking questions. It wasn't until a shrill whistle cut through the air that the room silenced and everyone turned their attention back to the slayer. Buffy pulled her fingers away from her mouth, "That's better."

"Perhaps we might let Tara explain and then break into an unbridled panic," offered Giles, feeling more than a little nervous. The Scoobies seemed to agree with the watcher who then nodded at the blonde, "please Tara, continue."

"Glory's not back," she said immediately and the room released a collective sigh of relief, "at least I don't think she is."

"She's not coming back either though, right Tara?" the teen asked around a mouth full of pizza.

The blonde gave the girl a small smile, "I can't know that for sure but I haven't picked up on her energy."

"But, if she's not here and she's not coming back…" Willow started, "I don't understand."

"Tell them about the Flintstone Yahtzee," added Buffy.

Five sets of eyebrows crawled up curious foreheads.

"Flintstone Yahtzee?" asked Xander. He shrugged, "Why not? We've done everything else."

Tara smiled patiently, "They're called Witches Runes and it's not widely practiced."

"I'm afraid that I'm not familiar with that technique," Giles added. "I have heard of Viking Runes, however."

"Similar," answered Anya who leaned forward and looked at the witch appraisingly, "I've only met a few witches who've been able to use Runes … and they had a lot of power. How much power do you really have, Tara."

The witch felt her cheeks redden and she mumbled quickly, "Not very much, my mom taught me how to read Runes, that's all."

"Mmm," Anya nodded, taking in the information but it was obvious that she had more to say and more questions to ask regarding the issue.

"These Runes," the watcher asked, "they somehow indicated Glory?"

"Not right away," Tara answered, "no. But, eventually I did get a sign to indicate her and possibly another God."

"What was the sign," Buffy mumbled, "a picture of a bad perm?"

Opting not to address the comment, Tara continued, "The Gods weren't the center so it could be whatever is out there is more about them than the Gods themselves."

"There's lots of different Gods out there," the vengeance demon said, "what makes you think it's Glory?"

Tara paused long enough for everyone in the room to realize that she didn't want to answer the question. She eventually sighed and looked to the teen on her left, "Because I wasn't able to read the Runes until Dawn cast her shadow over them."

The teen swallowed hard and looked towards her sister while unconsciously sliding closer to her surrogate mother figure and grabbing her arm.

"That could do it," agreed Anya, as she took a sip of her drink.

"But what does that mean?" Xander asked, throwing a worried look towards the teenager.

"I don't know," the witch answered honestly, as she reached up and gave the hands squeezing her bicep a gentle squeeze.

"Did the Runes provide any other information?" Giles asked.

"Um, there was energy; strong and powerful energy," answered the witch. "There was fighting, some kind of battle and something about doubles and the number two kept coming up with Glory."

"Glory coming back is a big ole number two alright," Xander mumbled.

The image the comment inspired caused most of the other Scoobies to grimace and Anya to give him an annoyed look, "Disgusting."

"Yes, well," Giles spoke before an argument could ensue, "Tara, does the fact that it was Dawn's shadow that allowed you to recognize Glory in any way indicate that she may be in danger?"

Tara gave the girl a smile, "I really don't think so. Maybe it was just be because of the connection that was there at one time? Besides, the only energy I see from Dawn is the normal, healthy, teenage, non-key variety."

"And you think the doubles you saw with Glory could indicate another God?" Giles asked.

"It's only a guess since the energies were similar," Tara offered.

"Okay," Buffy began, "So what do we have?"

"Nothing," Anya answered simply.

"We have what Tara said," Willow shot back immediately. "If she says there's something then there is… Something."

The former demon rolled her eyes, "Relax butch, I did say there wasn't anything I just meant we don’t have anything to go on."

"I could be wrong about the whole thing," Tara offered, "I hope I am."

Willow looked into Tara's eyes and saw the worry there. "You're not wrong," she affirmed. She turned her attention back to the group. "Tara's not wrong. She never is about stuff like this."

"I trust Tara as much as anyone," the watcher spoke, "but I'm afraid that Anya is correct."

"Well, are we going do something about it?" Xander asked. "I mean if there is some mega evil energy out there with war on its mind then some of the town baddies have to know something, right?"

The slayer stood, "Xander's right. If Tara's Wiccan radar is picking up some Hell-God energy then somebody has to know something."

Xander reached for the weapons chest beside his chair, "I'm in."

"Anya, maybe you and Giles could head over to the magic box and see if you can find anything on any other Hell-Gods associated with Glory," the slayer suggested.

The watcher nodded, "It's as good as place as any I suppose."

"Okay, so, me and Xander will hit the town and play 'let's beat answers outta demons.' Anya and Giles are on Hell-God research. Willow," the slayer pointed at the tired looking woman, "you get some more rest. Tara, you keep playing Yahtzee and any other witchy board games to see if you can come up with anything."

"What about me," Dawn asked, "What can I do?"

"You," the slayer answered, "can go and do your homework."

* * * * *

"Some day, huh?"

Tara looked up at the question and smiled as she watched her girlfriend sit down on the bed. "Oh yes."

Willow watched as the blonde collected the stones, the Runes, and placed them carefully back in their leather pouch. "No more luck?"

"No," she said as she set the pouch on the dresser and joined her lover on the bed, "I think I'm a little too preoccupied."

"Oh, "Willow looked down at her hands in her lap.

Tara slid her hand over Willow's and interlocked their fingers together, "I think something's going on with Giles."

The red head snapped up at the answer; she was expecting to hear that Tara was still consumed with their conversation from earlier. She was sure the blonde would be overwhelmed with the magic, the revenge, the murder, the everything… and that it was too much to forgive and move on from. But instead, here she was already worried about someone else's wellbeing.

Willow used her fingertips to pick at imaginary lint on Tara's pant leg, "He, um, he seemed okay to me."

Tara used her free hand to reach over and tuck some loose strands of hair behind Willow's ear, "It could be because he's worried about everything that happened but I don't know… his aura seems … off."

Guilty, Willow lowered her eyes again, "It's probably from the magic he had to use when he… I…"

Tara shook her head, disagreeing, "I don't think so."

Willow didn't seem convinced, "Maybe we can ask him when we go the Magic Box later."

The blonde seemed to be lost in thought for a moment before eventually nodding, "It might be nothing. It might even be me."

Willow turned and looked at her lover, "What do you mean it might be you?"

"I did just come back from … being away. Who knows what that means?"

Forest green eyes looked deeply into ocean blue, "It means that the universe corrected the biggest mistake it ever made. You were never supposed to die."

Tara reached up and rubbed her lover's cheek, "We're all supposed to die, Willow. And we're all going to."

Willow shook her head fiercely, "No, not like that you weren't. Not like that and not now." She felt her eyes begin to sting as they filled with tears, "You're not sorry we brought you back are you?"

"No. Absolutely no," she answered quickly. The blonde Wiccan leaned in pressed her lips against her girlfriend's, "You're here so here is where I want to be, nowhere else."

"Not even Heaven?"

Tara leaned in and kissed her again, "It couldn't be Heaven without you in it."

Willow felt the tears slip down her cheeks and she couldn't hold back the sob. She threw herself across Tara's lap and held on as is if her life depended on it. She couldn't explain it, but in that moment, she felt as if she had lost her all over again. The emotions charged to the surface like a volcanic eruption and she let the tears fall. The image of Tara dying in her arms washed across her memory and she clung tighter yet to the blonde.

The redhead didn't know how long she laid crying with Tara rubbing her back and shoulders and whispering words of comfort. Eventually though, when the crying had subsided, the blonde suggested that they lay down on the bed. Willow could only nod and Tara had barely let go of her when the former witch was already climbing back over her body and clinging to it like a life line.

Willow sprawled over her girlfriend, intertwining their legs and placing her head on Tara's chest above her heart. The rhythmic beating of the blonde's heart went a long way in calming the frantic hacker and eventually Willow felt her own pulse begin to slow and even out. The soothing circles her lover was rubbing along her back began to pull the exhausted woman towards sleep.

It was several hours later when a knocking at the bedroom door brought the sleeping redhead into consciousness and she moaned in discontent. She felt Tara kiss her forehead and she was tempted to try and recapture the bliss of sleep when she heard Dawn's voice penetrating the haze.

"Willow? Tara?" the teen called out, "we have to be at the Magic Box pretty soon."

"We'll be down in a couple of minutes, Dawnie," Tara called out.

The teenager gave some answer that Willow couldn't make out before the sound of her footsteps disappeared down the hallway.

Willow lifted her head slightly off Tara's chest and she looked up. She was met with loving blue eyes, touched with concern.

"How are you feeling, Sweetie?" the blonde asked softly.

"I'm okay. Sorry I broke down on you … literally."

Tara reached down and tried to smooth away the lines on the hacker's forehead, "You've been through a lot. It's going to take some time and you have absolutely nothing to be sorry for, okay? Not in here. Not with me."

"Okay."

The blonde smiled and Willow felt her heart skip a beat, "You up for the Magic Shop? If you're not I don't think anyone would mind if you skipped tonight."

"They need your help and I need you … so I guess we're going."

Tara leaned in and gave Willow a soft kiss, "I love you."

"I love you too," the redhead answered softly, "forever."

* * * * *

"I don't think we're going to find anything," Anya said, obviously tired.

Giles looked around the table and at the books and texts they had been scrutinizing over. There weren't many that survived the most recent battle but they had to start somewhere. "Perhaps you're right seeing as we didn't have much luck the first time we tried researching Glory."

"Do you really think she's back?" Xander asked, having returned with Buffy several hours earlier. "I mean, Buffy did kill her."

"Tara only said it might be Glory," the vengeance demon added, "maybe some of her little gargoyle followers came back to start the Glory cult of eczema or something."

The construction worker shrugged, "If they did, none of the baddies in Sunnydale know about it." He thought back to earlier in the evening when he and the slayer had crashed every known demon hideout. The slayer had staked and vanquished several baddies to make sure they knew how serious she was about finding out if anything was afoot. Even the reliable Clem had come up empty.

Buffy chose that moment to exit the training room. "Any luck on any thing any where? Any anything?"

"More like no nothing nowhere," sighed Xander as he stood up from the table. "Look, it's not that I don't trust Tara but maybe she's wrong on this one. I mean, she did just come back from the dead."

"Yeah, and we all know how crazy that can make somebody, right Buffy?" Anya asked.

The slayer gave the demon an annoyed look, "Tara wouldn't have said it if she didn't believe it."

"We don't even know if she came back right," Anya added, playing devil's advocate. "For all we know as soon as the sun goes down she'll turn into a DeKnight demon or something."

"She's fine," Xander replied, "But, An, honey, please don't talk like that when they get here."

"Xander, I'm just trying to point out that-"

"She didn't come back wrong okay," Buffy interrupted. "She's fine; Tara is fine. She's fine and I don't want to hear anything else about it."

"Okay, so maybe she didn't come back wrong," conceded the vengeance demon, "but maybe something came back with her like it did with you, Buffy."

"Enough," the slayer ran her hands over her face in frustration, "we look for what Tara told us to look for, that’s it."

"Maybe it's Willow," Anya continued, unfazed by the slayer's demand. "You can't go that deep into the dark without ending up tainted. I don't know. What do you think Giles?"

The watcher sighed, "I think that Buffy is right."

"We've been looking for hours for something to look for," argued Anya, "and we've got less than nothing to show for it."

"Maybe," Xander suggested, "we need to narrow it down a little. Cast a smaller net."

"Like what?" his former fiancé challenged.

He shrugged, "Maybe by looking for more about the stuff we do know about her."

"We know she's dead," Buffy supplied happily.

"Okay, there, good," the young man encouraged, "why don't we start there; we know about that."

"About being dead?" Anya asked skeptically.

"Yes, well," the watcher glanced uncomfortably at the slayer, "we do seem to know a thing or two about that, now don't we?"

"Yeah well, I didn't know there was going to be a quiz, I didn't take any notes," added Buffy glumly. "Where are we going with this again?"

Anya sighed, "It doesn't matter anyway. Just like life, death for you," she pointed at the slayer, "would be different than death for Glory. Huge difference between mortals and Gods. It's like first class and coach, no comparison."

"So, we research dead Gods," supplied Xander, "see what happens after they go farm shopping."

"Well," Giles began, "I suppose it couldn't hurt."

"It won't take long either," added Anya.

"And you know this how?" her finance asked.

The vengeance demon rolled her eyes, "It's not like it's a regular occurrence you know; no matter what history or Hollywood says the death of a God is super rare." She looked thoughtful, "I was surprised that Buffy managed to kill Glory. I'm not even sure how she did but I was sure we all had express tickets to Hell after."

Xander shook his head, never failing to be amazed by the amount of information his ex-fiancée had. I'm glad she left that little gem to herself. "Okay, so like how rare are we talking about here? Lottery rare, diamond rare, chance I'd end up being friends with the vampire slayer and engaged to a vengeance demon rare… what degree are talking about here?"

"Formerly engaged," she reminded him, crossing her arms and glaring at him.

Buffy shook her head sadly at her friend, "You must be getting pretty limber there, Xander, the way you keep getting your foot up into your mouth."

The construction worker used his palm to smack himself upside the head but was saved from any further incrimination when the door to the shop opened and Dawn came bounding in with Willow and Tara trailing behind her.

"Hey, wanna hear a joke Tara told me," the teen asked as she neared the group gathered at the table. Taking their silence as a yes the girl continued, "Ready? Okay, where do fortune tellers dance?"

The slayer glanced at the blonde Wiccan and she had to smile. Tara was sweet, no doubt about that, but her humor was somewhat … unique. "I give," she answered immediately.

The demon considered the question for a moment and then answered, "Well, in Brazil they dance in the nude. Usually under the Crescent moon or sometimes while they're-"

"Anya," Buffy and Xander shouted, interrupting the colorful answer.

"What?" she questioned, seemingly oblivious, "she asked."

All eyes turned to the teen who was blushing, "At the crystal ball."

Xander gave a forced chuckle and smiled at the teenager while his former fiancée seemed confused for a moment.

"The crystal ball?" she asked, still not getting it, "But they don't usually like balls. Penises either come to think of it. Am I right? Willow? Tara?"

Xander dropped his face into his hands and began muttering to himself while Giles mumbled a, "Dear Lord," and looked towards the heavens.

Dawn's eyes widened while the slayer's narrowed at the former demon.

Willow's mouth fell open in shock and she looked over to see that Tara's blush was bright red and spreading down her neck.

Looking around, the former demon couldn't understand what she had said, "Oh, is this one of those awkward, taboo things?"

"Oh yeah," answered Xander.

"Well, I still don't get it," she returned.

Dawn perked up, "I have another joke."

"No," declared the slayer, "no more jokes. Jokes are bad. Figuring out what's going on is good. So, everybody… figure something? Dawn, you should go in the back and study something."

"I already did," challenged the teen, "and now I wanna figure."

The slayer glared at her sister, "If you want to figure you can go and get yourself some skates missy because you're not going anywhere near another Glory situation."

"I can do stuff, Buffy. Stop treating me like a child!"

"Maybe it would help if Willow and Tara knew what we were talking about," Giles suggested, trying to channel the argument into a pertinent discussion.

"I'm guessing it's not the ice capades?" Willow offered, trying to decipher the conversation.

"Fine," the slayer grumbled as she dropped down in a chair and picked up some reading material. "What were we talking about?"

"Dead Gods," answered Xander.

"What about them?" asked Willow as she and Tara walked hand-in-hand to the table and sat down.

"Anything," Buffy replied sourly.

"I think what Buffy is trying to say," Giles supplied, "is that we need to determine if a God dying is perpetual."

Dawn took a seat next the blonde witch and leaned in and whispered, "What's that mean?"

"Permanent," the blonde whispered back.

The teen nodded in understanding, "Oh, you mean will she stay dead?"

"Probably not," Anya answered cynically from her spot near the cash register, "nobody else does."

"Hey!" Willow and Dawn shouted, glaring at the vengeance demon.

She just shrugged, "It's true. Besides, I didn't say I wasn't happy about it. Touchy subject," she muttered to herself.

Buffy groaned, "Why is stopping the apocalypse always easier than researching the apocalypse?"

"Perhaps we should return to researching dead Gods and see if any leads develop from there?" suggested the watcher.

"You can't just research dead Gods," said Anya as she moved to the bookshelf to find a particular text, "the circumstances of the death matters more."

"How's that now?" the construction worker asked, "How many ways are there to kill a god?"

The former demon moved back over to the table and tossed down a book, "It's not about how they died as much as it's about who made them dead. Besides Buffy, I can only think of one other time when a god was killed by someone that wasn't another god."

"Only gods can kill gods?" Willow asked shakily, before clearing her throat.

"Usually," the shop owner replied as she flipped through the pages, "but even that's rare."

"How did Buffy then?" the teenager asked. "She's not a god and she killed Glory."

"Well," Anya continued, "there have been some champions and sometimes prophets who've been granted the power to kill a god. There've been a few baddies, most of which are extinct, and even the occasional God who permits themselves to be killed for a variety of reasons. But, anyway, a god being killed by a mortal is mega-rare… like happened only one time before rare and it didn't end well."

Xander raised his hand, "What does this mean, exactly?"

The vengeance demon shrugged, "It means one of three things; one, Buffy was granted the power to kill gods by the powers that be. Two, Buffy's not human-"

"I am," the slayer shot back, clearly offended.

"She is," Willow and Tara added.

Dawn glared at the vengeance demon, "She so is."

"Or three," she continued undaunted, "Glory's not really dead."

"But she is dead," Xander added reasonably, "we all saw her and she was large with the being dead. And Buffy's human, she got shot and almost died. That's human, right?"

"Well, Anya shrugged and looked at the slayer, "did you happen to have a conversation with any bright lights or robed ladies … they're usually ladies."

"Don't you think I would have mentioned something like that?" Buffy returned sourly, desperately wanting to kill something to ease her anxiety.

"You're absolutely certain that a human cannot kill a god?" asked Giles as he wiped his forehead nervously.

"They can, like I said, it happened once before," she replied as she found the page she was looking for, “but there were major consequences.” She turned the book around and slid it towards her former fiancé, "that's what happened the last time a mortal killed a god."

Xander looked down and then back up to his former fiancé, "You're joking, right?"

She crossed her arms, "Does it look like I'm joking?"

"What is it, Xander?" Dawn asked.

He held up the book.

"The Bible?" the watcher asked nervously and doubtfully.

"Noah's Ark," the construction worker clarified as he reviewed the text.

Six sets of eyes moved to the demon.

"What?" she asked, annoyed. "Just because they left that part of the story out doesn't mean it's not true."

"What's not true?" Buffy asked cautiously.

The vengeance demon sighed deeply, "Way back when, every time a God would appear people would stop worshipping or fighting wars, which is what gods are actually interested in, and they'd start building monuments or rings of stones in the middle of nowhere and all kinds of things that didn't really interest the gods. They didn't want monuments; the good ones wanted love and praise and peace, harmony and Woodstock while the baddies wanted death and war and violence," she shrugged, "pretty much like today. Anyway, to get the people to stop making crop circles and building Stonehenges the gods started showing up disguised as mortals. One day, there was a thing and some people ended up using a God as a human sacrifice … at his own temple. How ironic is that? Well, as he was dying he ordered the flooding of the earth as punishment. The facts got kind of distorted but either way the headline would've read the same, Pissed god nearly obliterates world; two of every animal spared, mostly. End of story."

"Dear lord, why didn't you mention this to us before?" asked the watcher.

"Because it didn't matter. It still doesn't. Buffy killed a God and the world didn't end okay? At first I thought we were all doomed but then when Buffy died and nothing happened." She shrugged, "I just assumed that her death was seen as an exchange. Or maybe since Buffy's not totally mortal, being the slayer and all, maybe the rule didn't apply to her."

Giles swallowed, "But it would for me."

Anya's forehead wrinkled in confusion, "Yeah, so?"

The watcher took a breath to steady himself and then declared, "I killed Glory."

The room exploded into a fury of questions and noise.

"Buffy killed Glory," Xander asserted over the chaos.

"Yeah," she agreed.

"No," Giles refuted, "I'm afraid you didn't. I killed Glory. Or, more exactly … Ben."

"You killed a God? Are you insane?" yelled Anya.

"So, Buffy was going to kill her. Giles is a watcher, that has to make him something special too right?" Xander asked, not really understanding how big the problem was.

"Wrong," the vengeance demon seethed, "Buffy is the slayer. Pre-ordained, destiny, super powers, fate and all that cosmic universe crap. He, is none of those things. You," she walked up and poked him in the chest, "are a watcher. You're supposed to watch and … be with the watching. Watching, not killing gods and dooming us all."

"It was your shadow that was cast over the Runes?" Tara half stated, half asked as she looked at the watcher. "You were standing behind Dawn."

The question temporarily lulled the room into silence and Buffy thought back to a brain sucked Tara pointing to Giles and calling him a killer and the slayer joined Anya in wondering how perceptive Tara really was… even brain sucked she was still able to see things that none of them could. In fact, it wasn't until Willow removed Tara's consciousness from Glory that they were able to hurt the hellgod at all. Had it not been for that moment… they probably wouldn't have been able to make a dent much less stop the god. But they had stopped her… and it all came down to Willow and Tara.

"So how bad is this?" Willow asked finally, shaking the slayer from her musings.

"Hello? Weren't you listening," challenged Anya, "it's time to build an ark, that's how bad."

"So it is Glory," Dawn said, her voice a whisper in realization of her biggest fear coming true.

Tara slid closer to the teen and wrapped an arm around her shoulder, "It's going to be alright. We'll figure something out."

Dawn pulled away and stood, her small frame trembling, "No we won't. Last time we went against Glory she almost won. She beat Spike to a pulp, turned your brain to applesauce and Buffy died. Now," she shouted, tears spilling down her cheeks, "we don't have anything to fight her with, no weapons, no Spike and no idea what she wants. We could all be dead before we even figure it out."

The slayer moved towards her sister, "Dawn, it'll be okay. I'll-"

"Just save it Buffy. You probably don't even care. Maybe you'll get your wish and you can sacrifice yourself again. You can die and go back to heaven and not have to worry about how bad things are for everybody without you."

The slayer's eyes filled with tears, "You know that's not true."

"What about it isn't true, Buffy?" the teen challenged. "You hate that we brought you back. Every day you hate it more and more and you wish that you were back in heaven."

"Dawn-"

"Tara doesn't hate us for bringing her back. She's happy to be back with us. Why aren't we enough for you?" she asked through her tears. "Why aren't I enough?"

Tears fell unchecked down the slayer's cheeks, "You are enough, Dawn. You're more than enough … you're everything."

Dawn sniffled hard and straightened her back and looked hard at her sister, "If I'm everything then how come I feel like nothing?"

The other occupants looked anxiously around all wishing very much to be somewhere else at that moment.

Buffy closed the distance between her and her sister in two long strides and grabbed her by the shoulders. She looked intently into the teens eyes, "You are not nothing do you hear me? You're not."

The teen refused to look up, her eyes pinned on the floor.

The slayer sighed heavily; she released her sister and turned away. She ran her hands over her face in frustration before turning back to the youngest Summers, "I don't know how to do this, Dawn. I'm sorry I'm messing everything up but I'm doing the best I can. I know it's hard to understand but it's hard being the slayer … and it's even harder to try and be Mom. It's hard for me to be mom to you when I still need her for myself."

The teen looked up and saw tears making their way down the blonde's cheeks. She moved to her sister and took her hands, "I miss her too but I don't want you to be her Buffy … I want you to be you. I want you to be my sister."

"You mean be your sister, and not Mom, so I can't tell you what to do you?" the slayer offered with a small smile.

"No, I mean I want you to be my sister because I miss her. I miss her … and love her." The teen reached out and snagged her sister's hand, "besides, like you'd ever stop telling me what to do anyway."

"It not telling you what to do, it's protecting you," Buffy grabbed the teen and pulled her into a tight hug, "I love you, Dawn."

"Not to take away from the Lifetime afternoon movie or anything, "said Anya as she moved past them, completely ignoring their shared moment, "but we have an apocalypse looming. A real one this time."

The room once again exploded into a fury of activity before Buffy shouted, "Enough." She turned to the uncomfortable looking watcher, "Giles? You killed Ben… you killed a human being?"

"And Glory along with him," he answered miserably, "or so I thought."

"Why would… How could…" the slayer asked, struggling to comprehend the watcher's admission.

Giles sighed, "Eventually, Glory would have recovered… and when she did she would have returned to Sunnydale to make you pay for not killing her. She would have unleashed unthinkable torment upon you and the world, and everyone you hold dear would have suffered right alongside you," he cast a quick glance at Dawn and the rest of the Scooby gang, "I couldn't allow that." 'Not again,' he thought.

"Still kinda did," mumbled Anya.

"Giles-" Buffy started, still staring at the watcher.

"I'm afraid we don't have time for judgments of moralities," he interrupted, having trouble maintaining his slayer's gaze. "Glory's return seems imminent and we have to focus our attentions there."

"So, we're going with the Glory not being dead theory," the vengeance demon nodded in approval, "sounds right." The group all exchanged uneasy glances at the tension between the slayer and the watcher. Well, everyone except Anya who plowed ahead unfazed. "Since we don't have to worry about the world ending for killing a god … all we need to do now is find out where she is, what she wants, what her plan is and how to stop her."

"And here I thought this was going to be hard," Xander mumbled.

"Yes, well, it's a good thing it was so easy to determine Glory's diabolical plot the first time around," Giles offered.

"Tara," Buffy cast another long glance at the watcher before turning to the witch, "you're the only one who seems to be able to pick up on anything about Glory. Is there something, anything else you can do to try and find out more?"

"More Flintstone Yahtzee?" Xander offered.

Willow looked nervously at Tara before turning back to the group, "Actually… we do have another problem."

"What?" Buffy demanded. Hearing Glory's name was enough to set her on complete edge and hearing that another problem was looming was almost more than she could take.

The redhead cast another glance at her lover before addressing the group, "I may have… kinda… ikilledagod."

"Only one?" Anya asked wryly, remembering the evil and dark power Willow was able to channel during her anguish over Tara's death, "I would've thought more."

Willow frowned at the vengeance demon. "Bigger picture, Anya."

"How bad is this?" Buffy asked cautiously.

"And we’re back to being doomed," Anya sighed.

"How?" Giles added.

"Who?" Tara asked, quietly.

Willow couldn't bring herself to look at her girlfriend so she looked around the table but the weight of her friends' eyes still made her guilt feel ten times heavier. They risked everything to save me and I put them in mortal danger. Again.

"After you were... a-after Warren… after you were gone… I told you I called on Osiris to bring you back," Willow explained quietly, unable to pull her eyes up from the table. "and that he wouldn't."

Tara nodded, "Yes."

"I begged him but he wouldn't," Willow continued miserably. "I got angry and I… I-I-I killed him."

Anya and Giles both gasped while Tara rocked back in her chair, utterly shocked.

"What?" Xander and Buffy demanded.

Dawn's eyes were trained on Tara the look on the blonde's face made her feel sick. "Tara?"

"I'm sorry," Willow whispered, still unable to meet Tara's eyes. "I didn't mean to."

"Somebody needs to tell me something," demanded the slayer, her anxiety building because she, like her sister, was watching the blonde Wiccan. The look on the witch's face was making her nervous. Very, very nervous.

"Osiris is dead," Tara repeated, trying to absorb what she'd heard.

"Oh, this has to be bad," Xander declared. He nodded towards the watcher, "Giles can't even get out a 'Dear Lord'."

Buffy frowned, she had never known Giles to go mute. She turned to the vengeance demon, "Anya. Give me something, please."

"Osiris is- was the god of the underworld."

"Not really seeing how this is a problem," offered Xander, "if he's dead wouldn't he just go back to the underworld… since that's where the dead go?"

"Not dead gods," Anya answered, almost annoyed at her ex-fiancé's lack of common godly knowledge. "Dead gods cease to exist. Gone. Forever. Forever gone."

"Not wanting to get another round of thin lips and narrow eyes," the construction worker said, holding his hands up, "but I'm still not seeing the problem here."

"Osiris wasn't just the God of the Underworld," Tara explained, "he was also the judge of the dead. Without him-"

"That's what Glory's after," Giles realized, aloud, "she can't get back to her own hell dimension so she wants to take over the underworld."

"I'm guessing this a bad thing," Xander offered. "A very, very bad thing," he continued at Tara's dismayed expression.

Buffy cast a quick glance towards her sister as the teen nervously asked, "Does she need a key for that?"

Anya rolled her eyes. "I highly doubt that you're actually still a key to anything," the demon offered to Dawn. "But even if you were, a 'key' won't open a passage to the underworld. Glory would need someone or something strong enough to force open a dimensional portal."

"You mean Willow?" Xander asked, casting a sideways glance at his friend who seemed to have gone mute.

Anya shook her head negatively, "I doubt Willow still has that kind of juice… but I bet Tara does."

Willow's head whipped up at that, "No! Absolutely, never in life, not ever, no!"

"We can't let Glory take over the Underworld," Tara said adamantly. "Osiris was a fair and merciful judge… Glory would damn every soul there and every one that came after. Those souls would be tortured forever."

"Her own personal Hell dimension?" Anya seemed impressed by the possibilities. "No other Gods to kick her out this time. Smart."

"Wait a minute, wait a minute" the slayer interrupted. "How could Glory know that Willow was going to kill this Iris guy?" The slayer asked. "It was an accident, after Tara's accident and happened over a year after Giles… after we beat her."

"Because it wasn't an accident," Tara offered softly.

"But it was," Willow offered immediately, adamantly. "Baby, I swear it was. I didn't mean to kill him."

Tara looked into stricken green eyes, brimming with tears and she reached out to cup Willow's cheek. "It was an accident for you," Tara clarified as she felt hot tears splash against her hand, "but I think it's exactly what Glory wanted."

"But-"

"There-"

"How-"

Xander, Giles and Anya started to ask questions when the slayer threw her hand up to silence them. "What are you thinking, Tara?" she asked, moving to sit next to the Wiccan.

"I have an idea but…" the blonde looked hesitantly at the watcher, "I-I think I should do a spell first… with Giles."

"You know I trust you, Tara, but I really need to know what's going on first. Why a spell with Giles?" Buffy asked.

"Ohhh," Anya said slowly, starting to follow the Wiccan's line of thinking.

"What, oh?" demanded Buffy?

"Tara?" Willow asked, holding onto the blonde's hand for dear life.

"Oh!!!" Anya shouted, causing the Scoobies to jump. She'd figured it out too, apparently.

"Dammit, I better be the next one to say, 'oh'," Buffy glared at Tara and Anya. "Someone start talking… now."

"Don't do the spell, Tara," Anya cautioned as she glanced at the watcher.

Willow cast a worried look at the demon before turning back to Tara. The blonde, Willow saw, was fearful of something but she had a determined look on her face.

"That's it," Buffy moved to Tara and grabbed her arm and forced her to her feet and began pulling her towards the back of the room, "We need to talk, now." She pointed to the demon, "you too. Let's go."

Willow popped up from her seat, ready to go round-for-round with her friend over her lover, "Buffy, your-"

"Look," Buffy glared at her friends, "Tara knows something that she can't tell the group. I need to know what it is and why… especially if Glory's involved. I know you all want to know what's going on but we don't have time for 20 questions. We just have to trust Tara, no questions asked."

Xander and Giles looked unhappy but each man nodded. Dawn looked anxiously at Tara but dipped her head and sat down.

Willow looked as if she still wanted to argue but Tara nodded before reaching out to squeeze her shoulder. "We'll be right back."

The redhead sighed before sitting down and watching as the three blondes moved to the back of the room where they huddled and discussed the situation. She frowned deeply, not only could she no longer be the one to do spells with Tara she was also too unpredictable and possibly too tainted with darkness to even be allowed to know what was going on.

Swallowing another sigh, Willow turned her attention to Giles and studied him closely looking for a reason that Anya would warn Tara off from doing a spell with him. "Giles," she questioned.

"I honestly don't know," he answered, obviously thinking the same thing.

"I don't like being left out of the loop," complained Xander as he looked at the blonde trio in the back of the room whispering. "We're a team. Team members are in the loop. When they come back over I say we demand to be loopy."

"Buffy doesn't look happy," Dawn cautioned. She pulled her attention away from the women in the back of the store, "Here they come."

"Tara?" Willow asked as soon as the blonde approached.

"After everybody's filled in I want Xander and Anya to take Dawn home." Buffy's eyes cut to the redhead before moving back to the blonde witch, "Willow's your call, Tara."

The redhead frowned and looked to her lover who still looked troubled.

"Giles," Buffy looked grimly at the watcher and moved towards the front door, "we need to talk."

TBC...

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:10 pm 
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8. Vixen
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Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 9:46 am
Posts: 850
Topics: 3
Location: Southern Arizona
Dibs!

Excellent update that helped to move things right along! I'm really curious to see where you take this version of events you're still setting up.

Glad the chocolate espresso beans are helping, good choice!

Looking forward to more.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:44 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
So that's a but of a sudden level-up of the plot :P
If 'sudden' can be applied to a story this old :)

Looking forward to seeing where this is going :)

And kudos for picking this up after a long time.
More kudos if you actually finish it! :bounce

R :flower

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