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

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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2002 8:13 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:04 am
Posts: 448
Location: Washington, DC
Title: The Truth of Deception - Part 1: A Connection Made
Author: blameburner
Feedback: Sure… Always a plus
Summary: AU, baby! It's a what if... what if one little thing (okay, maybe not so little) was different - what would that mean for Willow and Tara, and the rest of the Scoobies?
Spoiler Warning: S4. Everything up to "Hush" is canon. After that, this story veers off. There will be some similarities to S4, but definite differences. Basically, if it happened after "Hush" on the show, assume it didn't happen unless I mention it specifically. Also, there may be occasional references to dialogue from later episodes, but used in a different context.
Disclaimer: Not my characters, but oh how I wish they were! Joss, blah blah, ME, blah blah.
Rating: Generally R, but some NC-17 (maybe). Just be prepared.
Pairings: W/T, of course.
Angst: Yep. Sorry, but there will be angst.
Extra Special Disclaimer: Remember, no matter how bad it gets, my stories always have a happy ending. Have faith.


Part 1

It was... miraculous.

She knew it seemed quite ridiculous to equate the moment with a religious experience, but it was true nonetheless.

Miraculous. Divine. Sacred.

And she didn't even know her name.

It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. Not this group of wanna-be's, with their bake sales and stereotypes... not this college... not Sunnydale... not the mysterious deaths or the puncture wounds or all the lies the people in this place told themselves about what really went on here. Not her... responsibilities.

No, none of it mattered in this blessed moment. Nothing, except her.

What's her name?

That, too, didn't matter. Not really. She would know it in time. There was no doubt in her mind about that.

She stared openly, captivated by the fiery hair that framed such an ethereal face. Until that moment, she would have never believed it possible that something so beautiful could exist in the world. Not after all she had seen. All she had done.

Yet here was this woman, a revelation to her heart, a contradiction to all that she believed. This stunning woman with eyes as bright as Venus against a midnight sky, as green as the most coveted emeralds, was here, in this place and time, daring her heart to dream. It had been so long since she had dreamed. She had forgotten how.

Part of her wanted to dismiss this feeling as meaningless, an irrelevant flight of fancy that was completely illogical. Logic, however, had gone right out the same door this woman had walked through. All that was left was this... this...

"Redemption," she whispered, so low and quiet that the women sitting around her didn't even blink.

It seemed a strange word to define the experience, but yes, redemption made perfect sense. Her entire life had been leading to this moment, and she hadn't even known it. All the pain, all the grief, all the self-inflicted wounds and scars of battle somehow just floated away. She could feel the guilt and the anger and the sorrow sifting away from her soul, like sand slipping through her fingers. All it had taken was her.

And I don't even know her name.

She thought of Helen of Troy, of how all the soldiers had gone to war for the glory and honor of that one woman. She had always thought that story silly, a ridiculous example of men being, well, men. Always lead around by lust and sex. Yes, she had always thought that story very silly. Until now.

Now she understood. It wasn't about lust or sex, it was about beauty. Helen of Troy had represented something, something those men were willing to die to protect. She had represented hope. Hope and beauty and truth and courage and justice and all that is right or could ever be right in the world.

Whether Helen of Troy deserved such an honor, she didn't know. Yet she understood it. In an instant of crystal clarity, she knew that she, too, would go to battle to defend such things, all of which were embodied in this redheaded beauty sitting before her. She would be willing to trade her life for this woman's, not because she wanted to die, but because the world would be so diminished without her in it.

Yet it wasn't just this woman's physical beauty. It was the beauty of the soul that lie underneath, the soul that shone more radiantly than a thousand suns. She had sensed it the moment she had walked into the room. Her mother had taught her how, how to see inside to the goodness of the heart. It didn't always work - many times a life was so conflicted, so full of turmoil and chaos that the heart was cloudy, making it impossible to tell whether a person was truly good or bad. Yet this woman... her heart was pure.

"...But there's also other stuff we might show an interest in... as a Wicca group... there's the wacky notion of spells."

Those words snapped her back to reality, back to the reason she had come here in the first place. It couldn't be... her? She had spoken the words? She had suggested spells? And yet... it made sense.

Then her thoughts were lost as blue eyes met green. It was only for an instant, but she felt it deep inside. Her blood pounded inside her brain, her mouth went dry, her heart felt like it would explode right out of her chest. A connection had been made.

Suddenly the only thing she could think about was standing up for her, supporting what she'd said to these obnoxious girls. Damn the consequences.

"I-I think that..." she started to say. Damn. Why am I stuttering?

She heard the conversation go on without her, something about energy and sucking. What a load of pretentious crap. Okay, let's try this again.

"W-Well, m-maybe we c-could..." Son of a bitch! What is wrong with me?

"Yeah? Tara? Guys, quiet. Do you have a suggestion?"

Oh, I've got a suggestion, alright, you little... Tara MaClay looked around for a moment, wanting to teach all these stupid, superior girls a lesson about real superiority. She knew she could best any one of them... intellectually, physically... magically. But she couldn't, wouldn't, do that. Well, except maybe intellectually - yes, she could run circles around them in that respect, and she wouldn't feel the least bit guilty about it. Though it would be somewhat unfair, really. I'd challenge them to a battle of wits, but they'd be unarmed.

Instead, she just smiled the smile of the embarrassed, shaking her head and letting her head fall slightly. Just before her golden hair curtained her eyes, she caught a flash of green and held it with her eyes. Her heart warmed, and another connection was made.

And I don't even know her name.

*****************************************

Another meeting, another thirty minutes of my life I can never get back.

Willow Rosenberg sat in her chair, listening to these alleged Wiccans droning on and on about bake sales and getting "the message" out to the sisters.

What message? The message of chocolate chip cookies? The message of double-fudge brownies? No, no, wait, I know! It's the message of Betty Crocker!

She shook her head slightly, amused with her mental ramblings and at the same time annoyed with herself for even coming to this stupid meeting.

Stupid Wanna-Blessed-Be's.

She didn't really even know why she had kept coming this long. She supposed it was out of some vain attempt to find someone else who was, well, magically inclined. Someone she could do spells and practice the craft with. She thought briefly that it might also be out of a need to belong, but as quickly as that thought entered her mind, it was gone. She pushed it out of her head, and went back to grumbling about the "sisters."

Woman power shrine, my ass. Okay, Rosenberg. Now or never.

"Well, this is, uh, good," she said in as supportive a tone of voice as she possibly could. She was ever the diplomat. "I mean, this is all, fun, you know. But there's also other stuff we might show an interest in, as a Wicca group."

Good job, Rosenberg. Not too pushy, nice and suggestive. And now for the reaction... wait for it...

"Like what?" little Miss Dance Recital said. It was obvious she was terribly confused by the notion that there might be life outside of bake sales.

"Well, there's the wacky notion of spells," Willow said happily, hoping against hope that someone in the room might actually have a clue what she was talking about. "You know, conjuring, transmutation-"

"Oh, yeah," Miss Woman Power Shrine interrupted, "then we could all get on our broomsticks and fly around on our broomsticks."

God, rude much? And come on, if you're gonna be insulting, at least be witty about it. Stupid little...

Her internal venting session came to an abrupt end when her gaze fell upon a blonde woman sitting cross-legged on the floor across from her, and green eyes met blue. For an instant, her breath caught in her throat and a strange fluttering sensation filled her chest. And she had no idea why.

Willow looked away quickly, unable to comprehend why she had reacted in such a way to those piercing, blue eyes. It was almost as if...

"I-I think that..."

A voice cut through the din of negativity, pulling Willow's head around. Once more she found herself focused on the blonde, who was looking around nervously, and who was promptly being ignored by the rest of the group.

"W-Well, m-maybe we c-could..." the blonde tried again.

"Yeah? Tara? Guys, quiet. Do you have a suggestion?"

Tara. Willow rolled the blonde's name around in her head.

Willow waited for Tara to respond, sensing... something. She couldn't put her finger on it. Tara was obviously nervous, but... it was as if there was something else, something the blonde - Tara - was holding back. It was... it was...

She watched as Tara shook her head and gave a little lopsided grin. Willow thought it was the cutest grin she had ever seen in her entire life. That thought had barely registered when once again, as Tara hung down her head slightly and just before blonde locks hid away that grin, green eyes met blue.

In that briefest of moments, Willow again felt her breath catch in her chest. But at the same time, she felt something else, too. She felt peace. Like a soft blanket in winter it descended over her, warming her to her very soul.

Willow found herself frowning as she lost sight of those blue depths. She frowned for the fact that Tara could be cast aside, dismissed by a bunch of pompous wanna-be's. Anger welled up inside of her for the group's callous treatment of Tara - and it shocked Willow.

What in the frilly heck is going on with me? I don't even know this girl! So why do I have this overwhelming urge to protect her? For all I know, she could be an axe murderer!

Yet instinctively, Willow knew better. Tara was a gentle soul - Willow was sure of that. But there was something else, something... something... and then it hit her.

Strength.

She didn't know how she knew, but Willow believed it more than she had ever believed anything. Tara had strength. A fighting spirit.

So why didn't she fight just now?

As the meeting broke up, Willow wandered out of the room, completely lost in her thoughts.

She's complex, that one. I wonder if I'll see her again?

That thought occupied Willow's mind as she went to meet Buffy.

That thought called to her. It pulled at her. And in a way, it scared her.

Tara watched the redhead leave, torn between catching her in the hallway and staying behind to find out her name. Of course, she could just ask the redhead what her name is. That would be the simple thing, the sane thing.

Yeah, but that would also require courage, which I apparently am severely lacking at the moment. What in the hell? I haven't stuttered like that in years. God, I haven't been that me in years.

So no, Tara decided she would stay behind and find out the redhead's name. Better to make a fool of herself in front of these wanna-be's than in front of... her.

"Excuse me," Tara asked Miss Woman Power Shrine, her voice steady and sure.

Miss Woman Power Shrine seemed startled by Tara's new-found confidence. "Um, yes? Tara? What do you want?"

Tara ignored the girl's attempt at reasserting her superiority. "I was wondering... the girl that suggested that we take an interest in spells. Do you know her name?"

"Oh, her," Miss Woman Power Shrine said with a roll of her eyes. "Rosenberg. Willow Rosenberg."

Tara wanted to put this girl in her place, but she kept herself in check, opting to take the high road - a lesson her mother had taught her long ago.

"Great, thanks," Tara said with a smile that didn't reach her eyes, and then she turned to leave.

"You know," Miss Woman Power Shrine called out over Tara's shoulder, "you really shouldn't associate with people like that." Tara stopped dead in her tracks, but didn't turn around. She waited. She could imagine the smug smile playing across Miss Woman Power Shrine's lips.

"People like that," she underlined, "give us Wiccans a bad name."

Tara turned slowly, meaningfully. One side of her mouth turned up in a grin. She knew she shouldn't do what she was about to do, because she was never one to use her power to show off, but...

"I hate to break this to you," Tara said with a smile, "but I'm nothing like you. I'm like her. And for that, I'll forever be grateful."

With that, Tara raised her palm and said a quick incantation. A tiny light rose up from her palm, rising slowly above her hand. It hovered for a moment, and then zipped towards Miss Woman Power Shrine, buzzing around her head. She watched in amazement, her jaw hanging slack, as the tiny light circled her head several times, and then disappeared with a "poof."

Miss Woman Power Shrine stared at Tara, still gaping at her. Tara's grin turned into a dazzling smile.

"Now if you'll excuse me," Tara said sweetly, "I need to go pick up my broom stick from my mechanic. I had it in for a tune-up." And with that, she simply turned and walked away.

*************************


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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2002 8:14 pm 
Yay! another one! ::mouth watering::

~Meg



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2002 8:19 pm 
Wow, lovely! :clap



I like the way you portray Tara as being a fighter and having strength, something we only discovered later in the show. :grin

LMAO at "Miss Woman Power Shrine"'s reaction. She saw a witch and... probably ran the other way! :rollin



Love "Into the Woods", this new fic is no exception!

Season 7: "Is this supposed to be some sort of sick joke?"
"Please continue with the story of failure"



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2002 8:20 pm 
*Jumps up and down* Yay another BB story :D Great start I like assertive Tara and the last line was brilliant. Looking forward to seeing how this goes, even with the angst :)

-----------------------
You know, it's a real deal relationship and that's why people can relate to it
Amber Benson



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2002 8:23 pm 
Brilliant! Frecking Brilliant! Tara sure put her in HER place! And loved the last line! :lol

It's better to be pissed off than to be pissed on. - My mantra on a bad day.


And never let it be said that I left a Tara craving unsatisfied. - Willow in Wilderness



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2002 8:53 pm 
Love ur new fic BB!! This Tara is great!! I Loved how she told that girl off! Lookin 4ward to more!! :)



~Ashley~

Willow: We can come by between classes. Usually I use that time to copy over my class notes with a system of different colored pens. But it's been pointed out to me that that's, you know... insane.
Tara: I said quirky.



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2002 9:26 pm 
Quote:
"Now if you'll excuse me," Tara said sweetly, "I need to go pick up my broom stick from my mechanic. I had it in for a tune-up." And with that, she simply turned and walked away.




That is HILARIOUS...very interesting story so far...I can't wait to see where this goes...can't wait for me!!

~Branny

A dream is a wish the heart makes.

Willow: "You had two eggs, sunny-side-up. I remember because they were wiggling at me like little boobs."

Tara: "Sassy Eggs."



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 5:35 am 
What if...I have several ideas about what the what if is, but I'm sure I'll be wrong. What a great idea, and how nice to see something starting in "Hush." I'm really looking forward to reading this one....thanks!



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 7:41 am 
"Now if you'll excuse me," Tara said sweetly, "I need to go pick up my broom stick from my mechanic. I had it in for a tune-up." And with that, she simply turned and walked away.



When I read that I cracked up. :lol It was a lovely story so far and can't wait for update. :pray



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

Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstacy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bare. If we can live without passion maybe we'd know some peace. But we'd be hollow, empty rooms, shuttered, and dank, With out passion we'd truly be dead. Angel in "Passion"



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 11:35 am 
daring her heart to dream Wonderful line capturing the stirring of hope.



I really loved how both of them were inwardly mocking the wannablessedbes. They thoroughly deserve it! So glad Tara was confident enough to put yer woman in her place!





Adding up the total of a love that's true, multiply life by the power of two
Indigo Girls

Edited by: mollyig  at: 9/15/02 3:59:35 am


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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 2:14 pm 
This is great. I like the POV in the meeting. I saw so much expression on the show and often wondered what they were thinking. I like your version.



I'll add my :clap for the humor as well. The last line was brilliant.



Can't wait for more.



--celia

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



"That was just rude. Now I forget what I was saying."



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 2:23 pm 
Nice start, really nice. I also love into the woods btw.



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 7:10 pm 
This is a great start. :clap I am looking forward to seeing where you go with this.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.

Tara: Willow, I got so lost.
Willow: I found you. I will always find you.


Willow: Hi, um Tara. I was wondering maybe you want to go out some time for coffee? food? Kisses and gay love?



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 Post subject: Part 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:03 pm 
Well, this part has the major revelation - the "what if" that's different. Don't hurt me. Like I always say in my stories, have faith. Things are not always what they seem. The again, sometimes things are pretty much what they seem. It just depends on your perspective.



Bottom line - stick with me on this one. I won't ever stray too far from the characters we know and love. And love conquers all.



Oh, yeah. This update ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. Fair warning.



Thanks to all of you who have read this so far.



-BB



Title: The Truth of Deception - Part 2: A Connection Revealed

Author: blameburner

Feedback: Sure… Always a plus

Summary: AU, baby! It's a what if... what if one little thing (okay, maybe not so little) was different - what would that mean for Willow and Tara, and the rest of the Scoobies?

Spoiler Warning: S4. Everything up to "Hush" is canon. After that, this story veers off. There will be some similarities to S4, but definite differences. Basically, if it happened after "Hush" on the show, assume it didn't happen unless I mention it specifically. Also, there may be occasional references to dialogue from later episodes, but used in a different context.

Disclaimer: Not my characters, but oh how I wish they were! Joss, blah blah, ME, blah blah.

Rating: Generally R, but some NC-17 (maybe). Just be prepared.

Pairings: W/T, of course.

Angst: Scale of 1 to 10, I'm gonna say 5 - but only cuz there's a cliffhanger.

Extra Special Disclaimer: Remember, no matter how bad it gets, my stories always have a happy ending. Have faith.





Part 2



The silence had come.



It had descended upon them in the night. Without warning. Without reason. Or at least, without a reason anyone could come up with at the moment.



Tara walked through the main campus building, searching for information. Searching for answers.



She had awoken this morning with no voice, like everyone else she had run into so far. Was everyone affected? Was everyone as trapped by the silence as she was?



Crash.



Tara's head snapped around, and she breathed a sigh of relief.



It was just a bottle.



The young man who had dropped it looked around apologetically. Everyone was on edge. The silence was... overwhelming.



There had to be something she could do... something...



Tara hurried out of the building, barely even disturbing the quiet.



****************************



The Scoobies sat in the stadium seating of the classroom, dry erase boards on their laps. Giles hit play on the tape recorder.



Ah, yes. Because classical music makes any presentation about organ-stealing monsters so much more pleasant, Willow thought.



Willow shared a knowing look with Buffy. Sometimes Giles was just too much. She turned her attention back to Giles' "Who are the Gentlemen" presentation.



What do they want?



Willow's hand shot up like lightning. She couldn't help it. She was a big fan of class participation.



Ooo, ooo, ooo, pick me, pick me! her mind was screaming. Then she pointed to her chest. Hearts! They want hearts!



She caught Xander motioning to his chest out of the corner of her eye. "Boobies?" he mouthed. Willow rolled her eyes.



Not boobies, you big doofus. See? Look, she thought, pointing to the screen.



Hearts



Anya sat munching her popcorn, wishing this presentation would hurry up and get over with. There were orgasms to be had. Just as she was about to tap Xander on the shoulder and demonstrate with suggestive hand motions exactly what she would rather be doing, Giles put up a another transparency. A very bloody, cartoonishly graphic transparency of one of the Gentlemen cutting out a victim's heart.



Ooo, Anya thought. This is better than the graphic violence they show in movies! She smiled and settled back more comfortably in her seat.



After another five minutes, the presentation ended. Buffy would patrol, and the rest of the Scoobies... well, they would go back and... wait.



Hide is more like it, Willow thought grumpily. Buffy patrols, and we do nothing. Well, I guess another exciting night of hiding and studying, studying and hiding.



*******************************



Tara jotted down Willow's room number and took off towards Stevenson. She had a spell she thought might work, but she needed Willow.



Willow, she thought as she hurried across campus. I barely even know her, and yet...



Tara felt like she had known her forever. She already knew so much. She knew Willow was kind, loving, and good. She knew that just from those few, precious minutes at the Wicca meeting.



Tara also knew that Willow was... strong. Powerful. She had strength of will, strength of character. Tara could sense it. She could also sense... magic.



Tara suddenly found herself on the ground.



Great, Tara. Walk much? Focus, Tara. Pay attention.



She was working up a good internal tirade against herself when she sensed it. Something dark. Something... evil.



Slowly she turned her head, not knowing what she would find, and yet knowing at the same time.



Then she was running.



Willow.



They were coming, following her or heading towards Stevenson, she didn't know which. But it didn't matter. Willow was in Stevenson. Willow could help with the spell. Willow might be in danger.



I have to get to Willow.



**************************



Knocking. No, banging. Definitely banging. Pounding, really.



Willow's thoughts roused her from sleep. Groggily she raised her head off the desk.



Pounding. On my door. Not Buffy. Buffy has a key. Who's pounding? No one comes to visit me. Pounding, pounding. Wait... not on my door. Someone else's door? The Gentlemen? Or something else? Someone else? Someone in trouble?



An intense sense of foreboding rushed over Willow. There was danger out there, in the hallway. She knew that. And yet... the pounding was panicked... desperate... insistent. Someone needed help. She had to help. That's what she did. That's who she was.



******************************



Tara pounded and pounded on the door.



Come on, Willow! Open up! They're coming!



Her knuckles were already bruising, but she didn't care. She had to get to Willow. Willow was in danger. They were coming.



Please, Willow! Please... oh, thank Go-



Relief gave way to despair as the door opened - opened to reveal one of them, standing there, holding a heart. Willow's heart.



Tara couldn't think, couldn't breathe.



Willow.



Tara's heart was breaking. If she'd only been faster, been stronger, been smarter... but she wasn't, and now Willow was gone.



Her grief descended on her even as her survival instinct kicked in. She turned and ran, knowing that this wasn't the time to stay and fight. As much as she wanted to take them all out with her bare hands, she knew better. She would get them, though. She would get reinforcements, come back, and kill them all.



Willow's death will be avenged.



****************************



Willow flung open the door and stepped out into the hallway. She looked to her right, and then...



Ow! Pain! she thought, as she crashed to the floor. What the hell? Oh, crap!



The Gentlemen. They were here.



Get up, Rosenberg! Get up and run!



Willow staggered to her feet, screaming at herself in her own mind, grabbing at the woman who had crashed into her and pulling her up, too. The pain in her ankle was excruciating, and she had to fight the nausea welling up in her stomach.



She half-hopped, half-ran for the exit at the end of the hallway. Strong hands gripped her waist and propelled her through the double doors - and they didn't let go until they made their way into the laundry room.



Tara locked the door, all the while knowing it wouldn't hold them for long.



Dammit, Tara! Think! Gotta do something... something...



Tara felt an urgent tap on the shoulder and then they were running again, over to the soda machine. They pushed with all their might, but it was no use. The soda machine wouldn't budge more than a couple of inches.



Shit! It's not gonna work, Willow thought, as the pain in her ankle intensified from the exertion. She fell back against the row of washing machines, holding her ankle, wanting to scream in frustration. Gotta do something... something...



It hit her then. Magic. Magic could save them.



Well, it's way past bigger than a pencil, but...



Tara finally abandoned the soda machine, knowing her physical strength wasn't going to cut it. She went to Willow, kneeling before her. Willow was up to something.



Willow calmed her mind as best as she could, and focused all her energy on the soda machine. Sweat beaded on her brow from the strain, as the machine started to twist and wobble. Then it stopped. Willow just didn't have the strength. Not alone.



In that instant, Tara knew what she had to do. She knew it as if someone had whispered the answer in her ear. She had never been very good at moving objects with her mind, but...



Willow felt them before they even touched her. She felt the energy, the power... the magic. Then she felt them, cool and long and... perfect. Tara's fingers slid gently underneath hers, slipping in between her digits, locking their hands together palm to palm. Her breath caught, just like at the meeting.



Willow raised her eyes slowly, uncomprehendingly. A torrent of emotions, thoughts, feelings, and sensations ripped through her body. She had never felt anything like it. It was exquisite. Then green eyes met blue.



Tara met Willow's gaze and nodded almost imperceptibly, willing the redhead to understand. To feel their power. To feel them.



And then everything racing inside of Willow was reduced to one, pure feeling. Peace. Her mind was still, her heart calmed. She felt peaceful. And of that peace, she felt strength. Power. Magic.



With a single consciousness Willow and Tara whipped their heads toward the soda machine, sending it flying across the room. The machine now braced the door, and they were safe. They both stared at the door for a moment, unable to believe what they had just been able to do.



Willow looked down at their joined hands, still feeling the magic coursing between them. She felt something else, too. Something... something...



Tara glanced down, then back up and into Willow's eyes. Even though she had somehow known they could do what they did, she couldn't believe it. It took more than just power to do what they had done. It took... something. Something.



***************************



It wasn't the pounding on the door that snapped Willow back to reality - it was the absence of it. She had no idea how long they had been sitting there, hands intertwined, staring into each others eyes. It had seemed like forever, and yet not long enough.



Willow shook the thought from her head. There were big, scary monsters outside the door and the things she had just spent the last little while thinking about were not things she wanted to be thinking about. At all.



Almost reluctantly, Willow withdrew her hand from Tara's. She moved to stand, and seeing her intent, Tara rose and helped her up. Willow was glad for the support, as Tara's hands slipped to her waist, bracing her. It felt comfortable. It felt safe.



Carefully Willow hobbled to the door, Tara helping her the whole time. Willow put her ear to the door and listened for the Gentlemen. She heard nothing. Total silence. She let out a frustrated breath. She had no way of knowing whether The Gentlemen were really gone or just pretending, no way of knowing whether they were truly safe, no way of knowing when they would ever get their voices back or, indeed, if they ever would. All she really wanted to do at the moment was scream at the top of her lungs. She was sick to death of the silence. So, even knowing it was pointless, she shouted.



"Sonofabitch!" she yelled, startling herself.



Tara looked at Willow in shock. Had she just...



"Holy Hell, Batman!" Tara shouted, testing her lungs. Then she smiled. Willow beamed back at her.



Willow started to say something, but a pounding at the door surprised them both.



"Is anyone in there?!?" a male voice shouted.



"Yeah, we're in here!" Willow shouted back through the door.



"Are you alright?" the voice shouted back.



"We're fine," Willow called out, "but you're gonna have to break the door down. You don't happen to have any football players out there, do you?"



"Actually... stand back!"



Willow reached out and grasped Tara's shoulders, and the two girls made their way across the laundry room.



Bang! Bang! Bang!



Three very large, very muscular football players - with an axe - barreled their way into the room. Actually, it was more like grunted, strained, and squeezed their way - they only managed to slide the soda machine and the door open about a foot-and-a-half. They popped their heads in, looking very much like the Three Stooges.



"You ladies okay?" one of the guys asked.



Tara and Willow looked at each other rather bemusedly. "Our heroes," Willow whispered in Tara's ear. The feel of Willow's breath nearly made Tara's knees gave out.



Cool it, MaClay, she thought.



The two girls hobbled over to the door and squeezed their way out. On the ground in front of the door lie a quite nasty sight. Four headless bodies - two Gentlemen and two other things - lie there, with a whole lot of green ooze.



"Did you guys do this?" Tara asked.



"Huh? Us? No way!" one of the other guys said, scrunching up his face at the disgusting pile of bodies.



"Nah, we found 'em like that," another football player said.



"Hey, you're Willow, right?" the third guy asked.



"Um, yeah?" Willow answered hesitantly. She looked at Tara, confused. She was more confused when she saw a flash of - something - cross Tara's face. It was almost like...



You're losing it, Rosenberg, she thought, changing the subject in her own mind.



"You live on my floor," the third guy said. "Want me to help you back up there?"



"Uh..." Willow hedged, looking questioningly at Tara. She didn't want the blonde to leave just yet. She had so many questions that needed answers. And there was nothing she hated more than unanswered questions. And she really, really didn't want the blonde to leave just yet.



"Y-You should g-go w-with h-h-him," Tara stuttered. Okay, this stuttering thing is getting ridiculous. Oh, how I wish we didn't have voices again! Well, maybe not, she thought. "I-I should g-get b-back."



Before Willow could say anything, Tara turned and started down the hall. When she reached the door, she paused, glancing back at Willow. She flashed a lopsided grin at the redhead, and then looked down shyly before turning and walking out the door.



Willow's heart fluttered. It was the sweetest smile she had ever seen.



************************



"Ah, I've been expecting you," Maggie Walsh said. Her feet were propped up on her desk, next to a stack of reports. It had been one hell of a day, and she still didn't know exactly what had happened. Or how they had gotten their voices back.



"I know."



"Why didn't you report in earlier?" Walsh asked, a little perturbed at having been left out of the loop.



"I'm sorry. It was impossible for me to meet up with you without drawing attention, seeing as how my usual route into the Initiative was inaccessible without a voice."



That was true enough, Walsh realized. Whereas Riley and the others had alternate routes of entry, this agent - this very special agent - only had one. Completely secret except to the agent and Walsh, and it only had voice entry. Still, Walsh said nothing, expecting more of an explanation.



"Further, it seemed prudent for me to spend my time investigating the occurrence, rather than waste my time trying to find a way down here."



"Careful," Walsh warned. "I allow you a lot of leeway because of our history. But don't push me."



"You're right. I apologize."



Walsh nodded. "So? What did you find out about the occurrence?"



"You'll have my full report tomorrow. Unfortunately, I really don't have a clear picture of what happened, or what caused it."



"That makes two of us. Fine, just write up whatever you know. It appears the danger has passed," Walsh said. She cocked her head slightly and peered at the agent. "And what about your assignment?"



"I infiltrated the group. There was nothing really, just a bunch of girls pretending to be Wiccans."



Walsh waited. She knew the agent well enough to know she was holding something back. "There was nothing really, and yet there was something, wasn't there, Agent MaClay?"



Tara MaClay answered her mentor honestly. "Yes, there was."



*****************************



TBC with Part 3: The Fate of the World



"I feel like someone ran me down with a car, and then got out to give me a really great pair of shoes." - sassyeggsglobal



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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:16 pm 
:jaw :jaw :jaw

WHAT? Holy doogie poo!!! Tara working for Maggie Walsh! Now THAT is something i didn't ever see coming!



And history? What history? That's evil just leaving us hanging like that!!!

It's better to be pissed off than to be pissed on. - My mantra on a bad day.


And never let it be said that I left a Tara craving unsatisfied. - Willow in Wilderness



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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:30 pm 
please tell me your just yanking my chains!! Tara and Maggie working together?? What did Tara mean by mentor?? Love the update though can't wait for the next one.

--------------------------
Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstacy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bare. If we can live without passion maybe we'd know some peace. But we'd be hollow, empty rooms, shuttered, and dank, With out passion we'd truly be dead. ANGEL in "Passion"



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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:36 pm 
Yay. I'm really enjoying Into the Woods so was pleased to see you started another one. And Tara is part of the Initiative? WHo would have thought. Love S4 fics. Interested in where you take us.

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


Buffy: I'd like to find Willow and Xander
Joyce: Will you be slaying?
Buffy: Only if they give me lip



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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:47 pm 
Oooo Now thats an exciting twist! Tara working 4 Maggie Walsh! This is gonna be very interesting!! :)



Can't wait 4 more!! :)

~Ashley~

Willow: We can come by between classes. Usually I use that time to copy over my class notes with a system of different colored pens. But it's been pointed out to me that that's, you know... insane.
Tara: I said quirky.



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 Post subject: faith
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:48 pm 
Okay, nobody panic! :)



Remember what I say in the Spoiler Warning - everything up to "Hush" is canon, everything after is different. The Maggie Walsh we all know and hate may not be the same Maggie Walsh of this story. Or maybe she's exactly the same. You'll have to wait and see.



The other thing to keep in mind is that I will never fundamentally alter the personality of characters we know and love. Events may be different, and some aspects of a character may seem odd, but the core of these characters remains.



For any of you who are, um, disturbed by Tara's relationship with Maggie... re-read Parts 1 and 2. Analyze Tara's reactions. Her thoughts. There are clues to what's going on. More importantly, there are clues to who Tara really is.



Like I say, have faith. Please? Pretty please?



-BB

"I feel like someone ran me down with a car, and then got out to give me a really great pair of shoes." - sassyeggsglobal



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 Post subject: Re: faith
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 8:51 pm 
I still think your yanking my chains.............

--------------------------
Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstacy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bare. If we can live without passion maybe we'd know some peace. But we'd be hollow, empty rooms, shuttered, and dank, With out passion we'd truly be dead. ANGEL in "Passion"



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 Post subject: Re: faith
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 9:15 pm 
Hey BB I really like itso Tara's in the initiative and has something to do with magic there. Very intruiging :D Looking forward to finding out exactly what it is going on as I love reading your work.

-----------------------
You know, it's a real deal relationship and that's why people can relate to it
Amber Benson



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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 9:45 pm 
Interesting twist on season 4. I'm looking forward to seeing where you take this...



--
"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. "   "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."



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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2002 10:41 pm 
:jaw :eek :jaw :eek



OMG - never ever saw that one coming...very interesting BB...can't wait to see where this goes from here...Awesome update as always.

~Branny

A dream is a wish the heart makes.

Willow: "You had two eggs, sunny-side-up. I remember because they were wiggling at me like little boobs."

Tara: "Sassy Eggs."



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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2002 3:01 am 
oh wow that was a surprise! This is really gonna be different now.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Tara and Willow

Accept NO subsitutes



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 Post subject: Re: faith
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2002 4:15 am 
I was wondering when the AU would start. Lovely twist. Really looking forward to getting more information on what Tara's assignment is.

Adding up the total of a love that's true, multiply life by the power of two
Indigo Girls



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 Post subject: Re: faith
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2002 4:48 am 
Okay, so see? I had no idea. I would had never have guessed that the big change was that Tara was part of the Initiative. So that's cool; no panic here. Looking forward to seeing what's going to happen next!



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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2002 1:13 pm 
Now, that is some twist!

Have to read it all again to try and pick up the clues...

Would the fact that she seem to only stutter around Willow and hasn't done for years be one? :hmm



Can't wait to see where this is going! :bounce

Season 7: "Is this supposed to be some sort of sick joke?"
"Please continue with the story of failure"



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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2002 2:35 pm 
Great idea! (Damn those football players though, there's

always one around when you've hurt your ankle and need

help getting back to your room).



Looking forward to reading lots more.

Thanks

Karen

Edited by: stereo33 at: 9/15/02 2:42:30 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2002 4:16 pm 
:jaw :jaw :jaw What the f%*@ Ok here I was starting to read one of my favorite author's new fiction. I see the warning of angstville...so I prepare myself somewhat. Then BAM, the bomb is dropped, Tara working for Walsh. HOLY TESTICLE TUESDAY, where did that come from. BB, you know I love you, but hun drop me a little clue first....my heart can't take it.



:bounce :bounce :bounce







________________:thud WOLFLORD :thud _______________

Sometimes I think of them doing spells and I do a spell myself. Xander in Restless

Edited by: Wolflord  at: 9/15/02 4:17:24 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Part 2
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2002 5:05 pm 
First off, I loved your interpretation of Hush. Very insightful and funny and true to the show, and the characters as they were then. Tara is a gift; she's so very lovely. Especially her smile. :)



And the twist is great. This will make for interesting reading as you've pulled us into the conflicting emotions and reactions early on. Great stuff.



Thanks for this. :)


----------
"Squish. Squish. Squish."



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