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: 854
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: 11
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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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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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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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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:53 pm 
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Dixon,
I hadn't read this "fic" because it was unfinished, but now I'm glad that I did. OF COURSE I got sucked in, it's a good story. ALSO, I am of the camp that nothing EVER should have happened to Tara in the first place(!!!), so anytime someone devises a way to get her back I'm all in.
Keep up the good work, and I'll keep reading it.

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:05 pm 
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I somehow missed this when I was on the board in the early 2000s. I am so glad it has found its way back to the front page. I think a lot of us fans have been drawn back with all the new Buffy tributes and podcasts and things- and with it, all the emotions and hurt comes back even after all these years. Your story is needed- it is so raw and honest but so delicate. I can't wait to see it continue.


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 9:43 pm 
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Hey Kittens...

Sorry for the pause in updates - I've been busy with work so I haven't been able to hit the keyboard too often lately but things should calm soon, hopefully. Thanks for the positive feedback & for staying tuned in - it is much appreciated. :bigkiss


Next Chapter:

The watcher swallowed before nodding and following the slayer out the front door while the redhead frowned.

As soon as the front door was closed, Xander demanded, "Make with the loopy."

Anya's forehead wrinkled briefly before she shook off the odd demand of her ex-fiancé as she sat down at the table, a resigned look on her face.

Tara rubbed her forehead before moving to stand behind Willow and Dawn and they both craned their necks up to look at her. She placed one hand on Willow's neck and she massaged the tense muscles she found there. She used the fingers of her left hand to play with the soft strands of Dawn's hair. She sighed, "Long story less long… I think that Glory's been in Sunnydale since last year. I think she's been lurking around, manipulating us and circumstances to try and get to Willow."

"Why Willow," the Xander asked, looking at the redhead who seemed utterly shocked and completely shaken and the revelation.

"Willow was able to hurt her," Anya answered simply, "that took a lot of power; which is exactly what Glory would need to get to another dimension."

"Power from dark magic you mean," Dawn clarified and Willow immediately looked contrite.

"Yes," Tara answered simply.

"A wicked brain eating hell-god that won't die and an evil puppet master," Xander shuddered, "how much more diabolical can she be?"

Willow's forehead wrinkled as she considered everything that had happened over the past year and a half. Suddenly, her face went ashen before turning cold and she slowly stood and turned to face Tara. "She had you killed," Willow surmised, her voice eerily flat.

"Glory knew the only way to get you to unleash the kind of dark she needed was though anguish and pain. She also knew the only way to get you to do that was to have Tara killed. So she did," Anya added.

Tara felt the energy begin to tickle her skin and she quickly looked at the other Scoobies, "I need to talk to Willow alone. Right now." The urgency in her voice forced Anya, Xander and Dawn to move quickly. The memory of Willow's dark magic rage was fresh in their minds and while they wanted to get away they were also reluctant to leave Tara alone so they lingered near the door. The blonde witch reassured them with a quick nod, "It'll be fine, we just need a few minutes. Hurry."

The door closed and Tara turned her attention back to the woman before her. Willow's lips had thinned to the point of disappearing and her eyes were like twin chips of granite. Tara could see the darkness trying to claw its way in through Willow's rage and she read the emotion written on her lover. I. Owe. You. Pain.

Tara's eyes narrowed, annoyed at darkness's never-ending attempt to latch onto her girlfriend and pull her into the void. "Not this time," she told the dark, "Willow belongs to me. She's mine and only mine." And, to prove it, she stepped forward, put a determined hand behind Willow's neck and pulled her into a long, deep kiss.

It took a whisper of a moment for the love and emotion of Tara's kiss to penetrate the darkness trying to wrap itself around Willow and choke her into submission. She felt Tara's love touch the depth of her soul and the darkness evaporated like the water's mist under the bright morning sun.

"Tara," Willow pulled back gasping for breath after the long, intense kiss. "What… what are you doing?"

The half-smile that Willow so adored slid into place and blue eyes twinkled before Tara leaned back in. "I'm reclaiming what's mine," she whispered sensually against soft lips before initiating another incendiary kiss. To Hell with the darkness … Nothing but me is going to put fire in Willow's veins.

And that's how Xander, Anya and Dawn found them when they returned to the Magic Box several long moments later.

"That better not be how you stopped Willow from destroying the Earth," Anya glared at her ex fiancé.

Xander just sighed.

*****

Xander frowned, "Are you guys sure about this whole Glory-Giles connection. It still seems kinda far out there… even for Sunnydale."

Anya sighed and seriously considered getting a dry erase board or maybe a projector. "Buffy stopped Glory from returning to her Hell dimension by kicking her ass and closing the portal. Glory turned back into Ben and then Giles tried to kill her by killing him; that didn't work and Glory snuck into Giles instead. We thought Giles was getting ready to leave but he was really making sure we had everything we needed to resurrect Buffy. Like he actually decided to leave the same day of the ritual," Anya scoffed, "as if our luck was ever that good."

"Why would Glory want Buffy resurrected?" Dawn asked. "You'd think she'd want the slayer, who kicked her skanky Hellgod ass, to stay dead."

The vengeance demon shook her head, "Up until the resurrection, Willow was only wading in the shallow end of the dark magic pool and Glory needed her deeper. The magics she used to bring Buffy back had her doing laps in the deep end but it still wasn't enough."

"So, we bring Buffy back and think everything is all good while Glory was using Giles to prime Willow for epic dark magic," Xander added.

"Pretty much," Anya nodded. "And, the plan seemed to be working until Willow decided to get clean."

"And that's when Glory went after Tara," Dawn surmised.

"But Warren shot Tara," Xander added, still trying to make the leap from disbelief to convinced.

Anya shook her head negatively, "The police never found a bullet."

"So Glory really did kill Tara?" Dawn asked, her voice bitter. "Somebody better kill that Hell-Bitch for real this time."

"We can't kill her. Bad things happen when humans kill gods… even the ones that really deserve it," Anya reminded the teen.

"Ask me how much I don't care," Dawn glared. "After what she did to Tara… to all of us…"

"We'll find a way to stop her," Xander declared, "hopefully in a way that's really unpleasant for her."

"I so vote yes," Dawn returned darkly.

Xander frowned at the teen's anger but turned his attention back to vengeance demon, "So all the stuff that happened… Giles taunting Willow, the Wiccan coven in England he got power to fight her with…" Xander trailed off.

"No coven anywhere could bestow that kind of power on a complete novice," Anya shook her head at the audacity of the lie, "that power was all dark, all Glory and all used as fuel to the fire she was trying to get Willow to start."

"And she's still in Giles," Dawn asked, worried for the watcher, "like she was with Ben?"

"We don't know," the vengeance demon shrugged, "or we did know and then forgot like we did last time with Ben. It's why Tara wants to do a spell with Giles."

"But you don't think she should," said Xander.

"Do you not remember Glory and Tara's first date, Xander? Two words," the blonde held up her hand and held up a pair of fingers and ticked them off as she spoke, "Brain. Sucked."

Whatever the construction worker was going to say next was forestalled when the door to the magic shop opened and a grim looking slayer entered.

Dawn paled, "What’s wrong?"

"Where's Willow and Tara?" Buffy demanded as she looked around for the women. The Scoobies shared nervous glances and the slayer's frown deepened. "What?" she demanded.

"Willow almost went full out Punisher when she found out what Glory did to Tara," Xander explained.

The slayer paled so the younger Summers quickly added, "But Tara took care of it and Willow didn't… go Punisher."

Buffy looked relieved, worried and confused at the same time. Willow thought Warren killed Tara and she skinned him alive and almost destroyed the Earth. Now, she finds out Glory did it and she just… what… Got mad for a few minutes but then let it go?

"They went back to the house," Xander offered, "I think Tara wanted to put a little distance between Willow and-"

"One of her crime scenes," Anya interjected, still upset at the state of her business.

Buffy shot an annoyed look at the demon before moving her attention back to Xander and her sister. She raised an eyebrow, "Tara handled Willow? Angry, black magic, Willow?" She looked around the battered store but didn’t see any signs of new damage. "How?"

Xander blushed while Dawn smiled widely. "She gave Willow something else to think about."

"Her and me both," Anya mumbled remembering the incendiary kiss they had walked in on.

"Meaning?"

"Tara laid one on her," Dawn answered, still grinning.

"One what?" Buffy asked dimly. "A spell?"

"Jeez Buffy," Dawn rolled her eyes, "Tara kissed Willow senseless. Or, magic…less."

"Oh." The slayer's mind drifted to her battle with Willow and the many different ways she tried to defeat her friend. I wonder if… No! Let's not even go there. Buffy gave herself a mental shake.

"I like that plan," Xander agreed as he fanned himself with his hand, "Magic less - Tara more."

Anya arched an eyebrow at former fiancé.

"For Willow," he finished, "more Tara… for Willow."

Dawn ignored the pair and approached her sister. "Everything okay," she asked hesitantly.

The slayer frowned, "Giles's place was full of dark magic stuff. There were some Voodoo looking things that had pictures of Willow in them and one of Tara that…" Buffy shook her head at the memory. "There's no doubt that Glory invaded Giles and that she spent the last year and a half making sure that Willow got hooked on dark magic. Willow got clean, so Glory killed Tara."

"You're sure," Xander asked, "like totally, 100%, raise your hands because you're so sure?"

"Amy was there too," Buffy said plainly.

"Amy," all three Scoobies parroted.

"Glory recruited her."

"She told you that," Xander asked.

Buffy glanced down at her fists and flexed them involuntarily. "She told me a lot of things; mostly what we already knew."

"She happen to tell you how we can stop Glory," Anya asked, "because that would be really helpful."

* * * * *


"That would be really helpful," the teen explained, "are you sure I can keep them that long?"

"You can totally keep them as long as you need to," Dawn answered as she unlocked the door and motioned her friend into the house, "I hardly ever wear them but if there was a clog emergency I could always borrow Willow's. Come on in."

Curious eyes scanned the surroundings, "Are you sure it's okay that I came over? My mom freaks when I bring friends home without, like, 6 months advance notice."

"I don't think anybody's home. And it's totally okay you're here because I won't be passing this French exam without you. It's bad enough I had to take it over the summer; I really don't want to have to take it a third time. C'mon, I'm starved. Let's raid the kitchen."

The raven-haired teen nodded. "You're sure your parents won't care that I came over? I don't want to get you in trouble or anything."

"Don't even worry," Dawn shook her head dismissively, "Willow and Tara are cool. And I cleared it with them a couple of days ago anyway."

Jaye nodded, "Cool."

"You want some banana bread? Tara made it this morning, it's fresh and a guaranteed party for your taste buds."

"Sure," the teen followed her friend into the kitchen, "so who are Willow and Tara?"

Dawn took a couple of plates down from the cupboard, "They're kinda like my parents."

"Kinda? You adopted or something?"

Or something… I'm a former key that was made from my Vampire slayer sister for the intention of opening a portal for a Hellgod who wanted to bring about the apocalypse. My sister, the vampire slayer, sacrificed herself to close the portal so now I'm being raised by a pair of lesbian witches with a vampire as an uncle, with Xander and his ex-demon fiancée as my extended family.

"No," Dawn answered finally as she shook off the thought and served the snack. "Willow and Tara kind of adopted me I guess. I lost my parents and then my sister so they kind of took over. Anya and Xander sort of help out too … they're my family. And Spike."

"Oh my gosh, this is SO freaking delicious." Jaye studied her plate for a long moment, "I'm sorry about your parents and your sister."

Dawn shrugged, "Thanks. It kinda worked out okay though. I mean, I miss my mom and sister, you know? But Willow and Tara … they look out for me. And Tara makes banana bread so..."

"Did you know them before you lost your family? Or did they just take you in after…?"

"No, I've known them since I was a kid. Willow and my sister went to school together."

"So, who's Tara then? Her sister or something?"

"So not sisters," Dawn laughed, "they're a couple."

"A couple of what," the other teen asked around a mouth full of banana bread.

Dawn rolled her eyes, "A couple of lesbians; they're girlfriends."

"Oh," Jaye said slowly as the concept dawned on her. She took another bite of her snack, "Are they a lot older than you?"

"Not a whole lot. It's kinda like… well they can kinda be like kids sometimes ya know? I mean they like cartoons and still have homework and stuff. But they always take care of stuff too. Important, boring, grown up stuff like taking care of the house and bills and laundry. And Tara, she's like the best cook ever… even if it is mostly all healthy stuff."

"I can't believe it's time to start school again," Jaye grimaced, "they say homework in high school is the worst thing ever. You have to spend all day at school and then come home and still do more school stuff? It's not even fair."

Dawn nodded, "I had summer school so I didn't even get a break."

Jaye's grimace slid into a sly smile, "They ever let you skip school?"

Dawn snorted loudly, "Not hardly. Willow loves school like we love… not-school."

The teen's eyes widened," That's a lot."

Whatever Dawn was going to say next was forestalled when the back door opened and Willow entered followed by Xander and Anya. The redhead was gesturing animatedly while she spoke, "Which one do you think? The Chevy or the Honda?"

"Huh?" the construction worker began to ask, distracted by the comic book in his hands, until he saw the profoundly annoyed look on his friend's, "-onda," he finished weakly.

"Which one was the Honda again?" Anya asked, looking over the notes she had taken in order to evaluate the best deal. "Was it the gray one?"

"It was the second one we looked at; it was a pretty blue color. I really liked it," Willow added. "It’s the perfect size, it's not too foo foo and has a nice rack on top.”

“Hey, Tara could be a Honda,” Xander added.

Both women turned to look at him with matching, supremely irritated glares. Their hands even moved to their hips at the same time as their eyes narrowed in unison.

"I guess that thought wasn't as inside my head as it was supposed to be," Xander offered weakly.

"Hi guys," Dawn said loudly, to get their attention. Fortunately for Xander too since Anya and Willow were both poised to reply to the construction worker. "Impressionable teenager here with a friend visiting."

"Dawn, and Dawn's friend, who I am very happy and grateful to see," Xander offered as he moved to the table and sat down with the girls, "oh, nummy treat," he said as he reached for the banana bread."

"Yeah, so you can hide behind us," Dawn offered to her former crush, "because you were so dead. This is Jaye. Jaye, Xander." She pointed to the pair of women still glaring the lone male, "that's Anya, Xander's fiancée. And that's Willow. Please excuse the scowls."

"Hey, what's going-" Tara entered the kitchen from the living room and her sentence stalled as she looked around the room. Anya and Willow were glaring at Xander who was trying to take cover behind Dawn and another teenager, while trying to look innocent, as well as contrite, and eat banana bread at the same time. Dawn looked vaguely embarrassed while the visiting teen looked unsure. "-on?"

"That's Tara," Dawn offered.

Tara gave the teen a small wave, "Hi."

"This is Jaye, she's going to help me study for my French test. Unless she decides to flee."

The blonde Wiccan glanced around the room again trying to get a read on the situation. She determined that nothing out of the ordinary was going on and she moved to the refrigerator giving Willow's hip a soft pat as she moved past the witch. "Easy, Love," she said quietly, so that only the redhead could hear. "Jaye," Tara directed her attention to the visitor, "thanks for coming over and helping our Dawnie. As beautiful as it is… we're just not large on the French around here."

"Unless it's toast or fries," offered Dawn.

"Or doors," Xander added, nodding towards the living room where his craftsmanship was visible.

"And that's the only French you're getting any time soon Xander Harris," declared Anya, her scowl still firmly in place, "don't even think about a French-"

"Bulldog," Tara interrupted as she set glasses on the table and shot a look of warning to the former demon. "They're thinking about getting a dog," the blonde Wiccan offered to the visiting teen as she poured glasses of milk for the girls.

"Actually, 'French' fries were invented in Belgium and 'French' toast can be traced back to the roman empire," Willow added. "And 'French' doors originated as windows. Oh, and 'French' bulldogs-"

"Honey," Tara interrupted. Willow looked at her curiously and the blonde dipped her head towards the living room, "Fascinating as all that is; we should let the girls study."

"Oh, oh! I know," Anya raised her hand in the air and bounced excitedly as if waiting to be called on by the teacher, "we can go into the living room and 'French' braid each other's hair and drink coffee from a 'French' press."

Willow and Tara shook their heads while Xander groaned.

"What," the former demon demanded, "I thought we were doing a thing?"

Dawn turned to her friend, "Meet my family."

* * * * *


"I don't want you to do this."

Tara glanced up at her lover as she pulled on a pair of jeans, "I know you don't."

"Please don't do this," she tried again.

The blonde looked up to see her lover standing near the desk wringing her hands together and she sighed. Tara buttoned her jeans and moved across the room. She took the thin hands into her own and tugged the other girl until they were sitting on the bed.

"Baby, please don't do this," Willow begged as soon as they sat down.

Tara reached up and pushed a few strands of stray hair behind the redhead's ear before sliding her hand down and cupping the back of her neck. "I have to do this, Will."

"You don't," the former witch returned as she blinked away tears, "you don't have too. We can find another way."

Tara pulled her hands away and folded them in her lap. "I want to do it," she said quietly as her eyes fell to the floor.

Willow rocked back completely shocked. "You want- Why would- Tara… what?"

"I want to do it," she repeated.

The redhead popped up off the bed and immediately began to pace. "Why in the world would you want to be anywhere near Glory? Forget a second about the brain sucking, because that wasn't even the worst thing she did to you. Tara, she had you killed. Killed! In this room," Willow gestured wildly to the area on the floor where she watched her lover's body fall. She took several large, deep breaths and forced back the bile that rose in her throat at the memory. The redhead turned to face her lover, who had yet to raise her gaze, "Glory made me bury you. She made me mourn for you and she used that grief to make me attack my friends, my family really. I killed someone… I tried to kill everyone."

Willow took a deep, ragged breath and shrugged helplessly, "But, you know, I think the worst thing she made me do..." she closed her eyes and several large tears slipped down her cheeks, "there was a moment… it was just a brief moment… where I… I-I was so angry and so sad that… that… I stopped missing you and I was just… angry at you. It was only a fraction of a second where… I was just mad at you. I was mad at you for leaving and for taking everything good in my life with you… You left me and all I had was this pain that-that-that could never be fixed and would never go away. And then I hated myself for feeling like that and then I wanted the pain to never go away because it meant you never really going away…"

"You should be angry with me, Willow… hate me… because everything that happened was my fault."

Tara's voice drifted over from the bed and Willow's frown deepened and she turned to her lover who still hadn't looked at her. "I could never hate you," she said as she moved back to her lover and kneeled in front of the blonde witch, "not ever." She reached out and covered the folded hands with her own and tilted her head to try and catch the blue eyes with her own, "Never.

The blonde shook her head, seemingly to disagree.

Willow frowned and squeezed the hands beneath her own. "How could anything that happened possibly be your fault," the redhead asked, trying a different approach.

Tara wriggled her hands out of her lover's grasp, stood and took several steps away from her. She folded her arms across her abdomen and seemed to shrink within herself. "It's all my fault," she said almost to herself, her voice heavy.

The former witch pushed herself up from her knees and sat on the bed. Sensing that Tara needed space to get through the conversation they were about to have she fought off the urge to go to her lover.

"What do you think is your fault? Why?"

Tara looked towards the heavens from a brief moment, possibly after a quick prayer for strength, before turning to face Willow. The pain in the blue eyes was nearly enough to send the redhead across the room but Tara's soft voice kept her in place. "All of it. Everything that happened."

Willow frowned, "I'm going to need a little more here, Baby. What's everything?"

"You were just starting into magic when we met; you were doing simple spells, harmless spells," blue eyes glanced quickly at the Doll's Eye Crystal that sat on the dresser before moving back. "I helped you progress too quickly… encouraged you to. Tara shook her head, "I knew I wanted to be close to you and I let those feelings guide my actions. I should have taught you the history, the fundamentals of magic. I should have taught you the rules, the risks… but those things weren't seductive and electric like doing magic was." Tara sighed and shook her head, "Things could have been so different… if I was stronger and did the things the way I should have and not the way I wanted to. But… I was selfish and because I was I helped set you on a path to destruction."

That declaration was enough to bring Willow to her feet and she closed the distance between them in three large strides but stopped short of touching the blonde when she saw Tara flinch. The redhead took a deep breath, and then another to keep her voice even. "Tara, it was not your job, or anybody else's, to teach me about magic. I was independent and free thinking enough to decide to start using it," the former witch kept her hands clenched at her sides to keep from reaching out to the blonde," just like I was when I started abusing it."

"But I-"

"No," Willow interrupted, adamant. "Not you… Me. I. Me Mine. I decided to start using and then abusing magic. I did know, do know, the history and fundamentals of magic." She pointed at her head, "Not sure if you noticed but I'm kind of the brainy type." Not getting even a hint of smile from her girlfriend she continued, "Tara… Sweetie, every bad decision I made, every mistake… they were mine and mine alone. I made them… me… and no part of me making bad decisions was your fault or your responsibility."

Tara wiped angrily at the tears spilling down her cheeks, "I left you, Willow."

The redhead's frown deepened, "Tara, you had every right-"

"You were under attack," the blonde interrupted, her voice hoarse with pain, "and I abandoned you."

"You didn't-"

"That's exactly what I did," the Wiccan returned angrily. Her voice was laced with a degree a venom the hacker had never heard from her lover before and she almost took a step backwards. "Glory attacked me; turned me into a babbling incoherent mess who didn't know up from down and you stuck by me without a second's hesitation. Glory was attacking you," Tara shook her head sadly, "and I left you to face it alone. You could have been killed… or worse." Feeling ashamed, she turned away from the empathetic green eyes, "You were drowning and all I did was toss you an anchor."

Willow bit off her instinct to immediately challenge the blonde's words and a heavy silence lingered between them for a long moment.

"You might be willing to give me a pass, Baby, but I'm not that innocent in all of this," Willow said finally, "because the truth is that I may have been under attack from Glory… but you were under attack from me." The blonde, Willow saw, spun around to refute the words but the redhead held up a silencing hand. "She violated your mind; so did I. I also lied to you, manipulated you and violated your trust. Glory may have broken your hand but I broke your heart. We both hurt you, Tara, but Glory wasn't the one who was supposed to love and protect you, I was, so that makes me more guilty than she could ever be." Willow looked deeply into troubled blue eyes and she shrugged, "I'm glad you left me." The redhead slowly, cautiously closed the space between them, "You're the most important thing in the world to me, Baby, and I'm forever grateful that you left and saved yourself… but I'll never forgive myself for being the one you needed saving from."

"I was never afraid of you, Willow, I was afraid for you," the blonde returned softly. "All the more reason I never should have left."

"You should have been afraid of me because I was out of control," Willow returned evenly. "I manipulated your mind, Tara, your memories, twice, and couldn't see anything wrong with it. That's how out of control I was. I easily could have taken piece by piece of you until there was nothing left," her voice cracked and she had to take several gulps of air to keep from losing control of her emotions. "I was a danger to you whether you were afraid or not … and that's no exaggeration."

"I should have stayed."

"If you would have stayed I wouldn't have had a reason to stop," Willow returned plainly. "If you would have stayed and I…" Willow closed her eyes as images flooded her mind, "… did something to you… hurt you… I never would have stopped losing myself in dark magic and that's no exaggeration either. Leaving saved you and that saved me... gave me something to work for… to live for. I promise you, Baby… you did the right thing, the only thing you could to save us both."

"It doesn't feel like the right thing," Tara said softly as several large tears slipped down her cheeks.

"That's because the right thing to do is often the hard thing to do," said Willow as she reached out wiped away the tears, "and because you're the most selfless soul I've ever met who would do anything to keep anyone or anything from suffering… except for yourself that is."

Tara reached up and held the warm hand to her cheek, "I love you."

"I love you, too," Willow brushed away several more tears, "more than anything. I just got you back and I can't lose you again; which is why I don't want you to do the spell with Giles."

"I know," the blonde nodded, "but I have to because I'm not leaving you to face Glory alone… again. This time," blue eyes narrowed, "I'm coming for her."

TBC...

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 4:04 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:45 pm
Posts: 919
Topics: 14
Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Everybody knows Tara's a total softie.
Everybody knows that.

So why do i get the chills when Tara said "I'm coming for her."

On some instinctive level, everyone knows you don't have much to fear from people like Tara.

Unless you threaten someone they love.
Then you're toast.

No boasting. No threat displays. Just gone.

Looking forward to seeing it. :grin

R :flower

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:59 pm 
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Kinda on the short, plotless side but it's building up to something I promise...

Next Part

"You hurt Dawn… Buffy died because of you. All of the people you robbed of their sanity… what you put them through… their families. And Giles…" Tara shook her head. "I don't care that you came after me… twice. But what you did to Willow…" The blonde took a deep, centering breath. "You're done harming innocent people… defenseless people."

"You planning on stopping me, Glinda?" Glory scoffed at the Wiccan, "I had my fingers in your brain, sweet thing, so I know you have a little juice," she smiled insincerely, "but not as much as your girlfriend and nowhere near what it takes to stop a god. To stop me."

"I'm not going to let you hurt anyone else."

The god tilted her head and appraised the young woman standing passively before her. A brief moment passed before she smiled, "We'll see about that." The hellgod brought her hand up and sent a large ball of energy toward the witch. It moved with wicked speed as it burned red and left a trail of white hot fire in its wake.

"No," Tara said calmly as she rose her hand and dispersed the ball of energy with lazy ease.

"Dug a little deeper did we?" Glory's eyes narrowed. "I'm am over dealing with mortals. It is so beneath me," she spat as she raised both hands and sent a large, angry stream of energy towards the young woman.

Tara sighed and raised her hand, once again dispersing the energy with little effort before it could make impact. "I'm fairly certain I said no."

"Woo, vicarious-action Tara," Xander pumped his fist, smirked and turned to the slayer, "She knows I've wanted to say that since we saw you neuter the Watchers Council."

"Yeah?" The slayer continued to glare at the god, "well let's hope she throws an axe at her next." Come on, Tara. Come on, Tara.

The god roared in frustration and annoyance, "You think your little protection spell can hold me off forever? I'm a god, you know!"

"Which is why you should know better," the blonde snapped. "Omnipotence should make you benevolent and empathetic… not a complete bitch."

"Woah," Xander's eyebrows shot up, "spicy-talk Tara."

"Pissed off Tara is more like it." The slayer frowned, "I don't like this. She was supposed to distract Glory, slow her down… but she's antagonizing her, pissing her off on purpose."

"But the look on Glory's face though…" the construction worker grinned excitedly as he imitated the wiccan's dismissive hand gesture, "when Tara just waves her hand and pfft… a whole bunch of nothing." The slayer shot him a sobering look and erased his glee, "But not the plan so bad Tara with the going rogue."

"Is this some kind of grudge?" the god asked. "Is this because of the whole 'sticking my fingers in your brain' thing?"

"You mean the violation of mind, theft of my sanity and excruciating discord you left behind?"

"Yeah," the god answered casually, "that."

Buffy winced. She remembered a stricken Willow tending to the blonde after the hellgod's attack had left the wiccan completely incoherent with nearly no concept of what was going on around her. The slayer died not long after Tara's mind was restored but in all of the time she had been back she had never asked the witch what she felt or remembered from that time. I am so damn tired of Tara taking it on the chin. Losing her mom, the giant suck that is her family, Glory, Willow's addiction, dying, Glory again.

"We're going to do a spell," Tara explained calmly, "one that's going to separate you and Giles."

"Finally," Glory looked relieved, "you can't believe how much tweed is in his wardrobe."

"We're also going to separate you from your godly powers," the witch pointed to the slayer who was holding an odd shaped totem, "indefinitely."

"Um," Xander looked nervous, "why is Tara telling Glory our only and secret plan?"

"I don't like this," the slayer returned grimly.

The god afforded the witch a wry look.

"I'm going to give you a choice," Tara explained, "cooperate… or else."

"Or else what?" Glory asked haughtily.

Tara smiled and Buffy felt dread smother her like a wet blanket.

"I am so glad you asked that," the wiccan replied.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl and Buffy watched with horror as Tara blinked and her azure eyes were replaced with an eerie white glaze with narrow slits for pupils. Snake eyes, thought the slayer, the creepiest snake eyes I ever seen.

"This should be interesting," Glory offered in a bored tone.

"Oh it will be," Tara returned calmly.

Buffy and Xander watched as the air around Tara became electrified and it cracked with unleashed energy. The witch lifted her hands, palms up, as if she were offering prayers and a black fire appeared in her hands.

"i debere tibi dolor."

"No," the slayer screamed.

But it was too late.

The dark fire engulfed the surprised god and she immediately began to scream. The flames seemed to wrap themselves around the god where they burned with agonizing slowness while the redhead struggled mightily but futility. Her tortured screams reached deep into the night and the slayer knew it'd be a long, long time before they stopped echoing in her ears.

The blonde wiccan watched with a smile as the ashes of the former god fluttered lightly around her charred remains like black snowflakes.

"Tara… what did you do," the slayer asked, distraught.

The white snake eyes turned her way and the blonde's smile chilled the slayer's soul.

"The world a favor."

* * * * *

Buffy jerked awake.

The slayer looked around wildly, quickly taking in her surroundings, trying to get her bearings. She relaxed slightly when she found herself in her own dining room, apparently having dozed off at the table while researching. The dream lingered closely to reality and she shuddered.

Even after all she had seen and done she wasn't the type who was prone to nightmares but after the events of last night, her conversation with Willow and the upcoming battle with the hellgod the slayer knew she was probably in for a few more in the days and weeks ahead.

Buffy ran her hands through her hair and exhaled loudly. Last night had been intense. After Tara's declaration of Glory foreclosing on Giles the slayer had yanked him away from the Scoobies and stashed him in Spike's crypt with Clem being tasked with sentinel duties. After much debate, mostly from Willow, and much insistence, mostly from Tara, the decision to proceed with the spell was made.

It was decided that since the construction worker and the teen had no role in the spell that they didn't need to be there, especially if the former hellgod made an appearance and maintained any machinations about the girl still being a key. Willow's presence was another matter. The hacker had been 100% insistent of her presence during the spell while Tara was 100% resistant. Ultimately, it was reiterating the dangers of being that close to magic, and to Glory, along with Tara's calm authority and Buffy agreeing to have Anya pop to and from every 15 minutes with updates that eventually led to Willow reluctantly agreeing to stay behind.

So, Xander, Dawn and a very unhappy Willow were stashed safely away in Tara's dorm room while the blonde, the slayer and the vengeance demon all gathered at Spike's to perform the spell. Anya helped Tara set up and prepare for the spell while Buffy peppered the watcher with questions trying to ferret out any hint of Glory. They also engaged in, at Tara's insistence, a long and aggressive sparring session. The slayer had recognized that the blonde witch wanted him as tired as possible, so if the hellgod was present and decided to take over, there wouldn't be a lot of fuel left in the tank. Anya was a bit disappointed, however, that her suggestion of starving and lightly torturing him for a few days was quickly vetoed.

The spell had started out slow and calm. Giles and Tara were sitting, face-to-face, inside an intricately designed circle and the watcher was reading something that the blonde had written while she recited the words from memory. Buffy didn't recognize the language although she assumed it was Latin or some other random language that only 10 people on the whole planet could speak.

The slayer wasn't sure when the spell took a turn in a different direction but she blinked and suddenly found herself watching as Giles floated up from his seated position and hovered limply in the air like life-size British marionette; the paper he had been reading from fluttered slowly to the ground. Her eyes darted sideways to take in Anya's reaction and she frowned when she saw the vengeance demon sitting on the arm of the recliner casually munching on bag of microwave popcorn.

"Anya," she hissed, "really?"

The demon gave a casual shrug as if to say been there and seen it all before but, under the weight of the slayer's stare, she huffed and tossed away her snack.

A bitter cold gust of air pulled the slayer's attention back to the spell and she swallowed nervously as a dark wind, much like that of a cyclone, began to circle the watcher and the witch. The density of the cyclone made it difficult to make out the pair clearly, almost like trying to see through a thick morning fog, and Buffy squinted.

Tara calmly continued speaking or chanting or casting or whatever the hell she was doing while Giles floated above her like a Macy's day balloon. At least he did until his entire body began glowing an angry red. His had snapped in her direction and he offered a smile that immediately pebbled her flesh as an icy fingertip of dread danced slowly down her spine. It may have been Giles's body but the voice and the smile were all Glory. "Hello, Slayer."

Buffy didn't have the chance to even consider responding before a sharp word from Tara pulled the god's attention back inside the circle. The wind increased in its force and the slayer had to shield her eyes from the debris being whipped around the crypt.

Buffy looked on with no small amount of trepidation as the god continued smiling wickedly at the blonde as they spoke. She couldn't hear what they were saying and Tara's face betrayed nothing. At least it didn't until the god's hand whipped out and pointed at the blonde. The witch immediately winced and reached up to rub her forehead. After a brief second, Tara returned her attention to the god and they spoke some more. A few more words were exchanged before Glory pointed at the witch a second time and once again the witch winced and reached for her head; her pain obvious.

Come on, Tara. Come on, Tara, Buffy chanted mentally as she continued to bat away debris that was being whipped around the crypt. She cast a quick look for Anya and found the vengeance demon taking shelter behind one of the crypt's pillars even as she tried to steal glimpses of what was going on in the circle.

The slayer swallowed her dread when the god's smile became vicious and she saw blood begin to trickle from Tara's ear and then her nose. A strong gust of wind pushed one of the crypt's recliner's into Buffy nearly knocking her from her feet. The slayer grabbed the chair and hurled it at the god and she cursed loudly when it bounced harmlessly away.

"Tara!" The blonde's eyes found hers and Buffy screamed again, "End it. End the damn spell."

The witch looked back to the god and they exchanged a few more words before Tara had to lean forward and brace herself on her hands to keep from collapsing. Glory smiled mightily as she looked down on the ailing woman with condescension.

Buffy looked around helplessly trying to find something, anything, she could use to stop the spell. Blue eyes found hers once more before sliding shut. Tara, she saw, muttered a few words before collapsing to the ground.

"Tara!"

A split second later, Glory's eyes widened in surprise, and then annoyance, before her eyes rolled back into her head and she dropped to the floor in a boneless heap leaving nothing but the watcher behind. The tornado engulfing the two immediately dissipated and the slayer was across the room and at her friends' side in an instant with Anya close behind.

The soft noises that he was making told the slayer that Giles appeared to be unconscious but uninjured. Tara was also unconscious but blood continued to trickle from her nose and ear.

"Is she…" Anya asked hesitantly.

"She's not dead," Buffy returned quickly as she gave the blonde a healthy shake. "Tara. Tara." Please wake up. God, Tara, please wake up.

Another shake brought a pained groan from the blonde and confused eyes fluttered open, "Willow?"

"Thank God," the slayer exhaled as she helped the witch sit up.

"Don't do that," demanded Anya. "I thought Glory killed you… again."

"Ugh," Tara reached up and wiped the blood tickling her lip, "Can't say she wasn't trying. A solid 8 from the kill-y judges."

"Are you all right?" the slayer asked seriously as she helped the blonde to her feet.

"Fine," she replied as she swayed unsteadily, "-ish."

The slayer slipped an arm around the witch's waist, "Let's get you out of here. Anya, get Giles settled and then pop back to the dorm and let them know that everything's okay and to meet us at home."

"Maybe leave out the bleeding, kill-y parts," Tara suggested as she sagged against the slayer, "please."

"Don't tell Willow that Glory almost killed you… again," the vengeance demon nodded, "got it."

"We'll fill everyone in on everything back at the house," the slayer decreed. Hopefully, by time we get there Tara won't look half dead.

Tara did rebound quickly but not so quickly that Willow didn't recognize the distress of her lover and she spent the rest of the evening hovering over her and fretting. Despite the danger of the spell, and Tara's near miss, it did provide concrete evidence of the Wiccan's theory; Glory had invaded Giles. Buffy sighed, what it didn't do however, was tell them what to do about it. According to Tara, the hellgod's arrogant demeanor remained and she scoffed when the witch suggested they would find a way to free Giles from her influence and stop her from taking the reigns as god of the underworld.

Buffy pushed the thoughts of the previous evening from her mind and tried to shake off her dream. Too damn much Glory. The slayer flipped closed the book she'd been looking through, prior to falling asleep, and she pushed herself to her feet, let her eyes slide closed and she listened closely. No one in the living room or kitchen. She moved to the bottom of the stairs and tilted her head. She could make out the sound of a pencil scratching on paper. Dawn let out a small curse and then the sound of an eraser on paper could be heard. Language, young lady. What am I going to do with that girl?

Buffy was about to continue her auditory surveillance when she heard the back door open and then close softly so she made her way to the kitchen where she found the lead character of her dream washing vegetables in the sink.

"Hey Buffy," Tara smiled at the slayer.

"Hey. How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine," the wiccan turned the water off and studied the slayer, "what's wrong?"

Buffy couldn't help but smile. Tara read people like she read Cosmo… only without having to stop and occasionally ask Willow what certain, usually bigger, words meant.

"Buffy?"

The slayer looked at the witch who was looking at her. She must have gotten lost in her musings a beat too long. She slid onto one of the stools and looked into concerned, not snake-like, blue eyes. Tara wouldn't… She's not the type to…

"Buffy," the blonde promoted again. "What's wrong?"

"I talked to Willow," the slayer answered with a sigh.

"She's worried I'm going to go after Glory," Tara surmised simply.

Annoyingly intuitive, the slayer thought glumly. "Maybe because you told her you were going to," Buffy offered not unkindly.

"And I am."

"Tara-"

"I know what I'm doing, Buffy."

Buffy sighed. Tara was the most reasonable person she had ever met … until it came to Willow. "She's a god, Tara, one we barely survived against each time we fought with her. Hell, you didn't survive the last time not to mention how close she came again last night."

"You're going to try and take on Glory?" an incredulous voice came from the doorway.

"Dawnie-"

"Did you come back with super powers you didn't tell us about," the teen demanded to know, "or just a death wish?"

"I wasn't planning on-"

"Staying alive," the teen finished, "because if you try and take on Glory you won't be."

"Dawn," the slayer stood and took a step towards her sister, "I don't think Tara-"

"Will last two minutes," the irate teenager interrupted again, "she won't." She turned back to the witch, her face reddened with anger and tears slipped down her cheeks, "Why come back just to leave us again? That's worse than if you'd never came back at all!"

"Dawn-" the slayer tried again, reaching for the teen who yanked her arm away as her sister neared her.

"How can you do this!?! You're going to make us say goodbye to you again… bury you again," the teen accused. "Is that your plan to stop Glory from using Willow… by destroying her yourself!?!"

Buffy's eyes widened and her mouth fell open at the outburst and the shocking accusations her sister was hurling at the blonde.

Tears poured down Dawn's cheeks and her fists clenched tightly at her sides as she stared at the wiccan. "I can't believe you'd-"

"Sit… down…"

The words were spoken with quiet authority and held an intimidating degree of finality to them. It was almost as if the words were scalding hot and the blonde had to speak them slowly, evenly to keep from getting burned by them.

The slayer's eyes cut to the blonde and she was taken aback when she saw Tara leaning forward, her weight balanced on one hand as she leaned on the counter, her laser blue stare leveled at the teen. The usually warm eyes were like cold steel and the slayer selfishly found that she was glad they weren't directed towards her. Maybe Glory should be worried, she thought.

Tara's penetrating gaze cowered the defiant one of the teen and Dawn moved slowly, obediently towards the chair at the counter; the bulk of the witch's stare weighing on her the entire way.

Buffy hadn't realized she was moving until she felt her leg make contact with the table and she slid quietly into a seat at the table. Tara says sit and we all sit… apparently.

Moving slowly, cautiously, the chastened teen settled into the seat all the while keeping her eyes trained at the counter and Tara's hand splayed there. An infinitely long moment passed before the blonde moved away, her hand sliding across the counter and out of Dawn's view.

Not daring to look up, might those ice blue eyes turn her way again, the teen heard the water turn on and then off, one of the burner's on the stove clicked to life and the sound of the tea kettle settling there echoed loudly in the Dawn's ears.

Do I stay? Should I leave? Could I sneak out? Wait… am I in trouble too?

"Buffy."

The sound of her name in the heavy silence startled the slayer and she jerked her eyes to the blonde.

"Join us at the counter."

Yep, I'm in trouble too. The words were devoid of emotion and Buffy wasn't sure if she should be nervous or relieved. Tara's back was to her and the slayer shot an accusatory look at her sister as she moved to sit next to her.

Dawn, she saw, kept her head down while the slayer stole evaluative glances of the Wiccan. Tara's movements seemed slower, more precise, almost as if her concentration was elsewhere. Buffy watched as the witch set three mugs on the counter and went about fixing three cups of tea. The drinks were wordlessly placed in front of each Summers sister and the slayer immediately reached out to feel the warmth of the hot brew under her fingers. There was something about Tara being upset that caused a deep chill in the slayer and she squeezed her mug as tight as she dared, trying to absorb it's warmth.

Buffy stole a glance at her sister and frowned when she saw a tear fall from behind the veil of mousey brown hair and splash on the counter with another quickly joining. The slayer was about to reach for her sister when she saw Tara move first. The blonde reached out and captured the teen's chin between her fingers and titled her head up. Tara's eyes, she saw, had softened… some. The blue orbs were understanding but unyielding. Several tears were brushed away with a delicate thumb.

"I'm not going anywhere. No one is taking me away from Willow… or you."

Dawn's lip quivered, "But Glory-"

"No one," Tara reiterated.

She wanted to believe it. She really did. But how could she.

The blonde released the teen, picked up her drink, leaned her hip against the counter and regarded the sisters evenly. "So neither one of you trust me anymore, is that it?"

"That's not true."

"We trust you."

"Are you sure about that," the witch challenged, "because that's not what it feels like."

"Of course we trust you, Tara. Completely," Buffy returned immediately, "we just don't want you doing anything… rash."

A blonde eyebrow rose, "Because that's me."

"Because it's Willow," Dawn said softly.

That brought Tara up short and she took a steadying breath and she considered her next words carefully.

"What's Willow?"

The three women turned to find the former witch standing in the doorway with a basket full of fruits and vegetables freshly picked from the garden in her hands.

"You're why Tara would decide to go Kamikaze on Glory," Dawn charged, her fear fueling her boldness.

Tara's blue eyes cut to the teen and with a sharp look she was immediately subdued. Willow frowned at the outburst and winced internally at the look she saw her girlfriend give the teen. She knew that look, she'd felt the sting of it herself on infrequent occasions and she wondered what the teen had done to earn the blonde's rare displeasure.

"No one is going Kamikaze," Buffy declared before turning to the blonde witch. "Tara, you can't go after Glory."

"I can," she insisted, her eyes meeting the concerned gaze of her girlfriend, "but first… I have to go home."

TBC...

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:03 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

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I haven't read the latest but I loved how you handled the angst ( i am such an angst whore) in Willow and Tara's discussion- Tara is always so ready to take the blame for anything- I guess a life time of being told you are wrong will do that, but I love how your Willow not only talks her through but takes responsibility for her action maturely and without drowning in her own guilt. well done
Azirahael: No boasting. No threat displays. Just gone. YES! I love this and so agree.


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:51 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Ever so slightly worrying turn.

And is Buffy having regular dreams, or Slayer ones?

I look forward to more :bounce

R :flower

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:26 pm 
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Ooooooo! Tara's going home undoubtedly to arm herself with something she left behind. I can't wait to see where you take this, is it a full out Family 2.0 or does she go back and there's no confrontation? Willow won't let her go alone so you know the gang is headed for a road trip.

:flower :flower

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:14 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

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ack- I fell behind and so am now rereading this from the start to get caught back up- its even better the second time around!


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:27 pm 
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I love this story and am thrilled you've picked it back up!

I can't wait to see what happens next.


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:30 pm 
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Stolen praise from another "follower": """ ack- I fell behind and so am now rereading this from the start to get caught back up- its even better the second time around!"" :banana
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly! Keep up the good writing, and I'll keep reading!! :bigwave

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:42 pm 
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Hello Kittens...
Thanks for continuing to tune in and for the positive and encouraging feedback - it has helped to shape this story and change the evolution of this fic countless times. This chapter included. :heart

Warning: There is some angst in this chapter.


NEXT CHAPTER:

"No offense, Buff," Xander grunted as he lifted the heavy suitcase, "but I don't remember this plan working out all that well the first time. You sure you want go for a sequel?"

"God no," the slayer answered as she easily hefted the final two bags into the back of the rented vehicle, "but Tara's insisting and there's no way Willow's letting her go alone. And," she sighed, "since they're Glory's number one and… other number one target… I'm Kevin Kostnering the road tripping Wiccans."

"Yeah," he lowered voice, "what's up with Tara wanting to go… back there. And how in the hello is she going to explain the whole Lazarus situation?"

The slayer frowned. "She's been all 'right to remain silent' with the reason for the trip," she sighed "it's making me kinda nervous." Buffy sighed yet again, "Not really sure what we're going to tell her family about her… recovery."

"Well, I'm sure she has a good reason," Xander offered as he closed the trunk, "I'm mean… it's Tara. If she was anymore level-headed she'd be Frankenstein."

"That's what worries me, Xander," offered the slayer, "Tara is Frankenstein and she never-" Buffy shook her head, "she doesn't make threats, not about anything, not ever."

"You think she can take on Glory? Like really do some damage."

"I didn't at first," she admitted, "but then I thought about it… Tara never says anything she doesn't mean. She doesn't exaggerate or brag or… anything. If she says she can do it," the slayer looked toward the porch where the blonde was talking with Dawn, "I think I believe her."

"I know Tara's all Abe Lincoln with the honesty and all but she went up against Glory before and that didn't exactly go her way, either time."

The slayer winced at the memory of Tara losing her sanity and then her life at the hands of the hellgod. "Something's different this time."

"Well isn't that good news then," Xander asked, confused. "Hello Ass-Kickin-Wiccan and goodbye eternally PMS-ing Hellgod."

"I trust Tara to know what she can and can't do," Buffy ran her hands over her face, "but I don't trust that she'll be upfront about the pain or consequences she'll have to suffer through to get it done."

Xander glanced at the blonde witch and nodded solemnly, "She does have a history of taking one… or a couple actually… for the team."

"Yeah," Buffy nodded, "and that was before Glory started hurting people that she cared about. This time though… Tara is pissed," the slayer's mind flashed back the dream she'd had of the wiccan battling and essentially destroying the Hellgod, "I don't think Glory will ever see her coming."

* * * * *

"Please make it stop."

"I've been to Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika, Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica, Richfield, Springfield, Bakersfield…"

"This has to be considered child abuse. Cruel and unusual child abuse." Dawn moaned and covered her ears as the other three occupants of the vehicle sang merrily along with the unique song.

"…Shreveport, Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac Davenport, Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina, Pasadena, Catalina, see what I mean."

"You guys are the worst," Dawn pouted.

Azure eyes met hers in the review mirror and Tara gave her a lopsided smile before reaching for the radio.

"I've been everyw- hey!" Willow and Buffy yelled together.

"What happened to the road trip tunes?" the redhead asked curiously.

"Best road trip tune ever," the slayer added.

"I think Dawnie needs a break," the blonde offered, once again catching the teens eyes in the mirror and she received a grateful smile in return.

"Best ever," the teen challenged her sister, "um… not."

The slayer looked appalled at sister's lack of musical appreciation, "Where did I go wrong?"

"I'm thinking the minute you put that song on the playlist," the younger sister challenged.

The elder sister shook her head in dismay, "No appreciation for the classics."

The teen rolled her eyes, wrapped her arms around Tara's headrest and leaned forward to glance at the map in the blonde's hands. She watched as the blonde's finger slid up along a highlighted line to a circled area and she tapped it. Buffy had told her that the witch hadn't really said much about why she felt the need to go to her childhood home and the teen debated on whether or not she should pursue the subject.

Tara's finger continued to tap the map and Dawn's eyes tracked to the older woman's face and she saw her staring absently out the window.

"Tara?"

The sound of her name snapped her out of her reverie and she turned to look at the teen whose face was very near to her own. "Yeah, Dawnie?"

"What made you pick Sunnydale," she asked, "when you decided to leave home?"

The blonde offered the teen a small smile as she pointed to the back seat, "Seatbelt, please."

"I mean, you could have gone anywhere," the teen forced herself not to roll her eyes even as she moved obediently to follow the witch's instruction, "so… why Sunnydale?"

"Because the universe thought I deserved the best girlfriend ever," Willow offered as she offered her girlfriend a sweet smile.

"Awww," Buffy and Dawn crooned in unison.

Tara offered the redhead a look of complete adoration and she reached across the seat and laced their fingers together even as she blushed.

"Willow, you little Romeo," the slayer smirked.

"Not Romeo," the redhead shook her head and stole another look at her girlfriend, "just honest."

"Awww," Buffy and Dawn crooned in unison again.

"I want a boyfriend like Willow," the slayer complained.

"Um, hello," the redhead glared at the redhead through the rearview mirror, "girl here."

Tara nodded with unneeded affirmation.

"Tara'd make a really good boyfriend too," Dawn added. "She leaves Willow these cute little notes all over the place, it's super sweet," the teen swooned, "and she'd be perfect for you Buffy 'cause she can get vamp dust and demon goo out of anything and… best cook ever so you'd always have snacks waiting for you for your after patrol pig out sessions."

"Yeah," Buffy agreed, "I need a Tara."

The blonde's eyes widened to saucers. She opened her mouth but no sound was forthcoming.

"You're not getting mine," Willow practically yelled as she glowered at the slayer through the mirror and gripped the blonde's hand tighter.

This time Tara shook her head vigorously with unneeded repudiation.

Dawn smirked, "Jeez Willow. Death stare much."

"What are we talking about?"

The sudden appearance of the vengeance demon in the back seat startled every occupant of the car and they all screamed. Willow momentarily lost her handle on the vehicle and it swerved dangerously before she brought it back under control. Thankfully the sun was starting to set and there wasn't a lot of traffic on the road.

"What the hell are you doing," Willow yelled at the newest arrival. "You almost got us all killed," she accused.

"What? I was supposed to knock first," Anya challenged. She pointed at the slayer, "Buffy told me to check in." The vengeance demon wiggled to try and make more space for herself between the two sisters. "Besides, it's not fair that I get left out of the girl's road trip just because I'm the only one with powers." She crossed her arms and pouted as she continued to try and make room for herself. "Not fair. And discrimination."

"We're not trying to leave you out, Anya," Tara unbuckled her seatbelt and turned around to talk to the newest arrival, "we're glad you're able to join us."

"Hello," Willow waved an aggravated hand in the air, "her 'joining' us almost killed us."

"Yeah," Dawn agreed, thankful she had followed Tara's earlier instruction of putting her seatbelt on.

"Is everything okay back in Sunnydale," Buffy jumped in. "Giles slash Glory still on lockdown?"

"Everything's fine," the demon said dismissively as she pushed on a large duffel pressed into her side. "What is all this stuff," she sighed before brightening, "there's way more room in the front. Move over Tara, I'm coming up."

"Up," the blonde parroted as she moved to make room between herself and Willow for the demon.

"Nu unh," the redhead tightened her hold on her lover's hand and she tugged her girlfriend closer.

Tara's eyes widened and she swallowed a yelp as she was slid across the front seat, courtesy of her petite girlfriend.

"Ah, that is so much better," Anya said as she suddenly appeared in the seat next to the blonde. "Nothing beats a window seat. So," she wiggled contentedly with her newfound space, "what did I miss?"

"Thanks to you, we missed that tractor trailer by inches," Willow mumbled, still miffed at the demon's startling appearance.

Tara, now pressed against her lover, reached down and rubbed her thigh soothingly. "It's starting to get dark; maybe we should find a hotel?"

"I vote for finding some food," said Dawn, her stomach growling on cue.

"I vote for Dawn's vote," the slayer added, "road tripping makes me hungry."

"Oh look," Anya pointed, "there's a drive-in-theatre 7 miles ahead. We should do that."

"What's a drive-in," Dawn asked.

"No drive-in," Willow ground out. "This is not a vacation; we're not the Griswolds."

"It's an outdoor movie on a giant screen that you watch in your car," Buffy explained, "kinda retro."

The teen considered it, "Might be cool."

"Why not go to a drive-in," complained Anya, "it's better than flipping through the stations in a crummy hotel somewhere or watching Glory live rent free in Giles' body."

Willow took a breath and was prepared to refute the request again when she felt Tara squeeze her thigh. She easily recognized the blonde's silent plea and she sighed before nodding.

"Maybe we can at least see what’s playing," Tara offered.

"I hope they have food," the slayer offered and the teen nodded in agreement.

"Yah," Anya clapped excitedly, "let the road trip commence."

Willow sighed and turned to look at her lover giving her an I hope you know what you're doing look before turning her attention back to the road. Tara just smiled and continued to run her hand up and down the redhead's thigh soothingly.

"So," Anya reached for the radio, "how about some road trip music."

* * * * *

The static coming out of the speaker was enough to rattle the slayer's fillings and she glared at the small box hanging on the driver's door.

"Booo!" Anya yelled at the screen and threw a handful of popcorn at it, "That's not what ogres look like. This story is completely inaccurate."

"It's a cartoon, Anya," the slayer said slowly.

"Oh, so that means that they get to take whatever liberties they want? Ogre's are people too you know. Booo!"

"I can't believe you made us get tickets to see Shrek," complained Dawn as she took in the sea of minivans and station wagons surrounding them.

"Anya, stop yelling at the screen," the slayer took several deep breaths to try and keep the annoyance out of her voice and addressed the teen, "it was the only movie not rated R."

The younger sister rolled her eyes as she munched on a box of Snow Caps. "Yeah, because I never see or hear anything violent."

"You see it enough," the slayer agreed as she turned around to look at sister, "which is why you don’t need to embrace it as entertainment."

"Boo," Anya yelled again.

"Yeah, so entertaining," Dawn mumbled.

"Dammit, Anya, you’re going to get us thrown out. Stop yelling." The slayer glanced to the other corner of the back seat. Tara, she knew, would just smile indulgently at the grumpy teen and the disruptive demon but surely Willow would have her back.

Or maybe not.

The two witches were cuddled together with a relaxed ease of two people who were completely comfortable with each other. Willow was nearest the window, one arm was bent and she used it like a kickstand to rest her chin on. The other arm was draped around the gentle blonde snuggled into her chest and her fingers traced lazy patters along the witch's bicep where her sweater had slipped down her arm. Tara's head was tucked into the crook of the redhead's neck and her left hand had wormed it's way under the fabric of Willow's shirt and was resting on her collarbone. Tara's blue eyes were closed while Willow's green eyes were leveled at the screen; she had resignation written all over her features and the slayer sighed again knowing she'd get no help there. Tara asked the redhead for indulgence and Willow, helpless to deny the blonde anything, complied.

No fair, I'm stuck with Grumpy McTeenager and the Demon Factchecker Police while Willow has Zen Master Tara vibing all over her. Buffy shook her head, okay that sounded totally dirty. Either way… not fair.

The slayer sighed heavily before turning to her sister, "I'm going to call home, check in with Xander. Don’t go anywhere."

"Lies," Anya yelled, "that's what this movie is, nothing but lies and slander."

"Like I would risk missing any of this," the teen said dryly as she popped more Snow Caps into her mouth.

"Just stay put," the slayer said with forced patience, "I'll be back."

"Fine."

Buffy slipped from the car and navigated through the maze of vehicles and headed towards the concession stand. Resigned green eyes tracked the slayer's progress until she disappeared around the building. Her gaze tracked back to the movie and she sighed as Anya hurled another round of accusations at the screen. I'll bet there are at least a dozen hell dimensions that have this same scenario, the hacker thought miserably. Another sigh was threatening to erupt when she felt the hand on her chest trail slowly down between the valley of her breasts and settle on her stomach.

"Thank you for doing this," Tara's warm breath washed over her neck as her hand moved in soothing circles on the redhead's flat abdomen. "It's a good distraction, I think."

"One ogre is all I need and these DreamWork people are cursed. Cursed!"

"Maybe not so much distracted from the vengeance," Tara added dryly.

Willow forced herself not to roll her eyes and she sighed instead. Again.

Tara placed a tender kiss to column of her girlfriend's throat, "Take a walk with me," she asked against the soft skin she found there.

"Love to," Willow dropped her lips to her lover's forehead and smiled. "We'll be back," the redhead told the vengeance demon. The witches untangled themselves and climbed out of the vehicle, "Dawn, you're in charge," the hacker offered seriously as another slew of literal curses filled the air.

The teen smirked, "Get thrown out of the drive-in with Anya, got it."

Willow looked to the front seat and saw the demon glaring at the screen and taking notes. She shook her head in defeat before turning back to the teen, "Just do the best you can."

The youngest Summers sister gave them a mock salute and went back munching on her cold popcorn.

The former witch laced her fingers with her lover's and a slight tug had them strolling along with no particular destination in mind. They moved away from the giant screen and the mass of vehicles and worked their way along the edge of the parking lot near the tree line.

Tara held Willow's hand between both of hers and she absently ran one of up them and down the hacker's arm. "Remember when we first kinda started dating… the walks we used to take in the park?"

The redhead smiled as she thought back to their early days together. Back then, everything in her life had taken a backseat to her burgeoning romance with the blonde; Scoobies and slaying, her friends and family, and as hard as it was to believe, more than one class was skipped so that she could remain in the Wiccan's presence instead. Even the long awaited return of Oz, her first love, went unrequited against that of Tara, her eternal love.

Willow couldn't stop the frown from overtaking her features. When had they stopped finding the time to do things together? Little things. Things that involved nothing but them spending time alone together. What happened to those walks in the park, to laying on the roof looking at the stars, the trips to the beach, to cuddling on the couch watching television… When did I stop making her a priority? The memory of Lethe's Bramble glowing in her hand flashed through her mind and she felt ill.

A tug on her arm interrupted her reverie and she turned to look at her girlfriend.

"Where'd you go?" the blonde asked.

The redhead spotted several weathered looking picnic tables at the edge of the clearing and she guided their course towards them. "Let's sit down for a while." She felt the weight of Tara's deep blue eyes and she knew the blonde still wanted an answer; wouldn't settle for not getting an answer actually. "On second thought," she added, "let’s lay down for a while."

"What?"

Willow pointed towards the brilliant night sky, uninhibited by buildings, street lights or smog, "Been a while since we stargazed."

Tara smiled and followed Willow's lead and climbed onto the table. She stretched out next to the lithe redhead and wiggled until their bodies were touching from shoulder to ankle.

How can I close this gap between us? Willow mused. Wait! Gap? Do we have a gap? Well, we're halfway to her childhood home and she hasn't even given me the tiniest hint as to why we're going there. She felt herself tremble. Yeah… Gap.

"Beautiful night," Tara offered a softly.

Willow's eyes cut over to look at her girlfriend but the blonde's gaze was turned to the stars. Is she really making casual conversation or is she doing her ESP thing where she knows exactly what I'm thinking about but it is too polite? clever? empathetic? to go for the direct approach and enters through a seemingly random comment instead?

"Yeah," the single word was spoken as neutrally as she could manage.

"Lot of stars out tonight," the Wiccan offered as she toyed idly with one of the belt loops on the redhead's jeans.

"Um, yeah… it'd be really dark without them I guess."

A thick silence lingered between them as they looked at the stars. The sky was a deep, encompassing black but the stars were brilliant. Stay in the light or the darkness will swallow you. When she first started dabbling in the dark arts the blonde had offered her the words of caution and wisdom that her mother had first preached to her. Thankfully Tara was smart enough, mindful enough… respectful enough to listen. Willow sighed, I used to be that way. The warning echoed through the redhead's mind again and she felt betrayed… she felt betrayed for Tara and by herself.

The gentle blonde chose that moment to press herself closer yet and the heat from her body chased away a chill that Willow hadn’t even realized she'd had. "You know," Tara said, her voice thoughtful, "I think that if all the stars went out but one … it'd still be enough to keep the darkness away."

Willow felt the sting of unshed tears burn her eyes and she pulled the blonde closer, "I love you," she choked out the words.

The Wiccan folded into the embrace before pushing herself up onto one elbow. She looked down into stormy green eyes, "It takes complete darkness to drown out the light… but even the smallest hint of light can pierce the darkest of the dark. You," she slid her hand along her girlfriend's cheek and wiped away several large teardrops, "are neither of those things, Willow. Yes, you reached for the dark and it reached back… but you, my darling, you're like this sky… full of the most incredible light… more than enough to chase any darkness away."

"I don’t feel full of light," Willow reached up and tucked several stray golden locks behind the blonde's ear, "but if you say that I'm like the sky … I believe you."

"You are like the sky," Tara repeated, her voice certain, a lopsided smile in place, "Big pineapple and all."

The redhead smiled and pulled the blonde into a tight hug and pressed her lips against her lover's forehead, "You always know." And Tara did always know, the hacker mused. She always knew what everyone around her was thinking and feeling and she never stopped taking care of them… of everyone. Willow took a breath of resolve. It's time someone took care of you my sweet love.

The two women remained entwined, looking up at the night sky and for a long time no words were spoken. The noises of the evening dueled with the sounds of the movie and they blurred together in the background as the couple simply enjoyed each other's presence.

Clouds began to creep into the sky and chill snuck into the night air. Willow felt Tara shiver and she dropped a kiss on the blonde head resting under her chin. "We should head back. You're cold and the movie'll be over soon. Hopefully Anya didn't get them thrown out."

Stiff, from the hard table, Tara stretched and pulled her sweater tighter around herself, "I wonder if there's a drive-in in Sunnydale."

Fresh memories of Anya yelling at the screen while Buffy yelled at her with Snowcaps flying through the air as Dawn tossed them in the air and tried to catch them in her mouth flashed through her mind, "You want to do this again?" Willow asked, incredulous.

The blonde giggled, "I was thinking we'd do the less car pool version."

The recent snuggling they had engaged in in the backseat danced through her mind. If Dawnie hadn't been with us… Realization set in and Willow smiled widely, "A date?"

"Yeah," a coy smile overtook the Wiccan's features as she nodded, "only there'd be less people and more cuddling."

It's a start, Willow thought even as she nodded, and more cuddling? Oh, frilly heck yeah! "When this is all over and Glory's gone-" All good thoughts of date nights and future cuddles fled her mind when the reality of their situation slipped back to the forefront and the redhead frowned. "Tara?"

The blonde recognized the transformation immediately and she took a deep, even breath. She knew what was coming next, had been expecting it. "You want to know why we're going to Oregon."

"I do," Willow returned simply, honestly, "but, what I really want to know is why I have to ask. I mean," she shrugged a little helplessly, "I know this can't be easy for you… going home again. I know, well kinda know, what your life was like there." The redhead took a breath to steady her emotions, "If I had to do something this hard… something I thought would tear me up inside… I'd want you with me."

"You are with me."

The redhead sighed, "that's not what I meant."

"I know," Tara returned, guilt coloring her tone.

"I just thought," the hacker shrugged helplessly, "that you'd want to tell me."

"It's not that I didn't… don't want to tell you because of anything between us," the blonde returned immediately, nothing but conviction in her voice. "That place… going home… it is hard for me because it's the worst part of me." Tara ran a frustrated hand through her hair and struggled to put her emotions into words. "It's a part of me, of my life, that I don’t want to even acknowledge existed. I don't want to have m-memories or feelings or d-dreams of that place and I certainly don’t want to inflict a-any of that on you."

"Wait," Willow said quickly as she closed the gap between them and took the blonde's face in her hands. She knew Tara stuttered when she was anxious or overwhelmed and it pulled at her heart every damn time. The blonde's past remained an unresolved issue and Willow needed to slow things down and nip this in the bud. "Your thoughts and feelings and dreams, no matter how bad, are not an affliction to me," resolute green eyes bore into apprehensive blue, "there's nothing more I want in life than to be able to take those things from you. I would gladly take them and bear that burden for you, Baby. I'd do it a thousand time over." Willow felt hot tears splash against her fingers but she continued, "I can't take them from you… but if you talk to me…. If you let me in… maybe I can at least share it with you."

The devoted green eyes were her undoing. Tara collapsed against her smaller lover and began to sob. She felt Willow guide them to the ground and she quickly straddled the slender redhead and huddled in her arms as she cried. She cried for the innocent little girl who was so full of light and goodness that she couldn't learn to distrust her family even though they brought such misery and pain. She ached for the child that learned too quickly the harsh realities of life. She felt the stab of emptiness in her heart for the girl who lost her mother, her only source of comfort in a cruel and merciless world. The sadness felt like it was going to overwhelm her and Tara felt herself tumbling towards the abyss.

But then there were arms.

Willow pulled the blonde tight against her and forced all the love and strength she could into the embrace. Tara shuddered as sobs racked her body and the hacker felt tears sting her own eyes. Xander may have stopped Evil Willow a few people too soon. The former witch took a deep breath and tried to purge herself of the thoughts. Tara was sensitive and she didn't need any additional negativity. Just be here for her.

It was several long moments later when Tara's sobs slowed to the occasional sniffle. She remained huddled in the redhead's embrace and Willow's hands made a wide circuit of soft, soothing circles on her back as she dropped an occasional kiss on the soft curtain of blonde hair beneath her lips.

"I don't ever remember my dad not being angry at me. Even when I was little."

The sudden declaration startled Willow and she managed to force herself not to jump. Tara's voice was weary and the redhead rubbed her back in support

"I tried for a long time to try and figure out what I did to make him so mad so that maybe I could say I was sorry or fix what I did and then… maybe he could love me…" her voice caught and sobs threatened to erupt again and the blonde had to take several deep breaths to keep them at bay, "but… he never stopped being angry at me so after a while I stopped trying to figure out why and tried to be invisible instead."

Willow's heart broke. The raw pain in her gentle lover's voice cut her deeper than she thought possible and she struggled to breathe through the pain.

"My mom used to help… but then she got sick. I took care of her for a while but eventually she got too sick and she had to go to a hospice. But, Goddess, it was so far away."

Fresh tears pelted the hacker's chest and she held her lover tighter yet even as her own eyes burned.

"Dad and Donny never went to visit and I didn't want to be anywhere else. I knew she didn't have a lot of time left and I wanted to spend every minute with her… it was my last chance to make memories with her… to remember her."

Several sobs broke through and Willow felt helpless so she hugged and rocked Tara and tried to put every ounce of love and devotion she could manage into the embrace.

A few brief moments passed before she managed to get a foothold on the powerful emotions and Tara continued. "I went to see her every morning and got h-hit for doing it every n-night."

"Oh, Tara," the admission was more than the hacker could take and she couldn’t help but cry for the child that wanted nothing from her father but love and got nothing but the whip instead.

"I tried to hide it from her… but she knew," the blonde reached up and used her sleeve to wipe away another round of tears. "One night, it was really bad and m-my cheek got cut… I tried to cover it up… but the next morning Mama saw it and," she swallowed hard, "she told me I wasn't allowed to visit her anymore."

I'm gonna be sick, Willow thought as she was overwhelmed by sadness. She took several deep breaths and gave herself a solid mental shake. Find a way to deal Rosenberg. You told her that you'd share her pain if she shared with you and she is… she is and she needs you so find a way.

"What happened?" the redhead asked, somehow managing to keep her voice from cracking.

"I didn't see her again until her funeral," Tara answered flatly.

Willow cradled her girlfriend to her chest, "I'm so sorry, Baby."

She felt Tara nod against her chest, "Me too."

The hacker pulled back from the embrace and used two fingers under the blonde's chin to tilt her head up. "She loved you, Tara, and she wanted you to be safe above everything else."

"I let her die alone."

"I know a second didn't pass where you weren't thinking about her… loving her," Willow said softly as she pressed her forehead to her lover's. "I know how deeply… how strongly you love, Tara Maclay, and I know your mom felt you loving her… no matter how far apart you were. So no… she wasn't alone… she had you. She'll always have you." Willow pulled back and placed a tender kiss on the blonde's forehead, "Just like you'll always have me."

Tara's blue eyes were reddened from the prolonged crying but the love and tenderness she felt for the woman in her arms shone through. Wanting a familiar comfort, she pushed forward until her lips met those of her lover and she let herself get lost in the warmth the kiss. One kiss broke off into several, gentle, soothing ones and Tara let herself collapse against Willow, pulling from her strength and support.

"We have more to talk about," the blonde said finally. The sounds of car doors and the voices of mingling movie goers told them that the show was finally over.

"We do," Willow returned as she guided her girlfriend to her feet with a pair of sturdy hands on her hips before climbing to her feet, "later." She laced her fingers through those of the blonde's and tugged her close. She slipped her free hand behind her neck and pulled her in for a soft kiss. "We can talk more tomorrow. Right now though, I think we could both use a hot shower and a good night's sleep."

Tara felt the bone deep weariness settle in and she nodded, "Yeah."

"Come on."

After a quick stop to freshen up in a restroom that had seen better days the two women made their way back to the vehicle to a frantic looking Buffy and an exasperated looking Dawn.

"There," the teen pointed to the approaching witches, "I told you they were fine."

"You guys scared the hell out of me," Buffy chastised the women. She quickly took in Willow's red, puffy eyes while Tara was back to hiding behind her hair, something the slayer hadn't seen her do in a long time. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," the hacker answered quickly, "we were just talking. It got kind of intense."

The slayer's eyes quickly evaluated the pair before her. To say that a lot had gone on in their lives over the last couple of months was the understatement of… ever… certainly, relationships faltered under less strenuous circumstances and Buffy worried for her friends. "But you guys are okay?"

"Yeah," the hacker answered as she guided the blonde to the backseat and opened the door for her, "you mind driving, Buffy, we're kinda beat."

"I get to drive?" the slayer asked, bouncing with excitement as the former witch handed her the keys.

"Dear Lord," Dawn muttered as she climbed into the front seat even as she shot concerned glances towards the women in the backseat. "I hope this thing has airbags."

Buffy's excitement came to a halt and she glared at her sister, "You did not just 'Dear Lord' me."

The teen shrugged, "It was either that or a crash test dummy reference."

"Willow," the slayer thrust her hand into the back seat, "my road trip CD."

Dawn's eyes widened, and she looked pleadingly at her sister, "You wouldn't."

"Would and," she slid the CD into slot and pressed play, "am."

Buffy smiled widely and maneuvered the car back to the highway as her sister continued to glare at her as Johnny Cash's gravelly, baritone voice filled the car.

TBC...

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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:45 am 
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9. Gay Now
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Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:45 pm
Posts: 919
Topics: 14
Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Best roadtrip. Ever.

*Snort* i am so stealing the roadtrip music idea.

Willow, Buffy, Dawn and Anya all going back to Tara's home town?

Somebody is getting a beating. And it's one they righteously earned.

Bring it! :bounce

R :flower

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Wish
PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:37 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer

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Hmm, I think I like where this is going. Good development of this version of their backstory. (Although I can't see Buffy being into classic country, even the Man In Black. Xander somewhat, and Tara yes given that she probably heard a lot of it growing up - in my omnibus story I have her propose to Willow using an old Roy Clark song and she even quotes Confederate Railroad during an argument:-).)

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