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

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 Post subject: Re: W/T update!
PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2003 3:21 am 
Okay, I finally caught up, it took me all night and it is 6:20 in the morning here. If that's not commitment to a fic I don't know what is. Anywhoo, I really love what you've done with this fic, the twist to it is something I never would have thought of. Very original. Please continue it!

:peace Pax! -Bev



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 Post subject: Part 28 (complete)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 1:17 am 
I'm really hoping I'm not re-posting what I thought I just posted. Grr. If I am, so sorry. But this will be a two-part post as it's pretty long.



So, so, SSSOOOOOO sorry this took so long. Beyond RL, I really got stuck on this part for quite a long time. And a word of warning, it’s totally un-beta’d (Tulipp, my dear, I need to get in touch with you again as my computer crash left me without your email address).



This is the complete Part 28, including the previously posted 28a. Basically, this was all supposed to be one part originally, but I posted the first half many, many, many months ago… so now here’s all of it, the way I had originally envisioned it.



As always, thanks for reading (if anyone’s still out there, that is).



-BB





Title: The Truth of Deception - Part 28: Safe

Author: blameburner

Feedback: Sure… Always a plus

Summary: AU, baby! So you all know by now... Tara is part of the Initiative, she's had to lie to everyone... now the truth is out there, and Willow and Tara are together. But Maggie Walsh is still plotting something, and has more than one trick up her sleeve.

Spoiler Warning: S4. Everything up to "Hush" is canon. After that, all bets are off.

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

Rating: NC-17

Pairings: W/T, of course.

Angst: Very low. Maybe 3.





Part 28



Riley Finn had always thought things through. He'd always had a plan, even when he hadn't really needed one. Plans made sure things didn't get missed. Plans made sure the most desirable outcome was achieved. Plans made sure that Riley was always in control.



When Riley was a boy, he'd often spent hours in his room just... planning. He'd decide what to wear to school the night before rather than be late in the morning because he spent twenty minutes standing in front of the closet in his Underoos; he'd decide what order to do his chores in before he started rather than have to backtrack back and forth across the farm wasting time; he'd draw up blueprints for the perfect treehouse rather than just slapping some boards together...



It was more than just effective time management - it was a way of life, a way of making sure things got done, and got done right the first time. It was a way to eliminate the indecision that plagued everyone he knew. If you have a plan, then you're prepared. If you're prepared, you can handle whatever comes your way.



Yes, Riley Finn believed in planning, believed in being prepared. But for the first time in his life, Riley didn't have a plan. Hell, he wasn't even close to having a plan. And that was really pissing him off.



He felt Buffy stir next to him, and he loosened his arms around her slightly until she relaxed her head onto his shoulder. Once she had settled back down, he tightened his arms again, relieved by the fact that if nothing else, he could provide comfort to the woman he loved. He wasn't completely useless after all.



He looked up from his spot on the floor and peered through the darkened basement, his trained eyes able to see adequately even in the near pitch-blackness. From the angle he was at, all he could see of Anya and Xander were two arms hanging off the side of the sofa-bed - one female and one male. Of course, even if he couldn't see them, he'd know they were there, what with Xander groaning and moaning every few minutes and Anya's surprisingly loud snoring. Riley was reminded of the noise the hogs made on his parents’ farm when he slopped them, and he found it oddly comforting, even if it was keeping him awake.



Actually, if he was honest about it, his insomnia had nothing to do with Anya's snoring, Xander's moaning, or Buffy's fidgeting. No, he couldn't sleep because he had absolutely no idea what to do. He was a man without a purpose, without a plan. He was a man without a home.



He wasn't on the run, exactly, as even though he was UA, he didn't figure Maggie Walsh was about to make a big deal about his unauthorized absence from The Initiative after what he had seen. Even though the military would view him as a deserter and probably wouldn't believe him if he told them that Walsh had tried to kill Buffy, it would still bring attention Walsh's way - attention that would surely be unwanted, what with Adam on the loose and whatever else Walsh was planning.



So Riley was safe, for the time being, but he was still a man without a home. Yes, Xander had provided Riley with a place to sleep without objection - actually, Xander had seemed almost giddy about the prospect of having some quality male bonding time - though Anya had taken a little convincing. Once she had been assured that Xander would still give her plenty of orgasms, she had quieted down. But a roof over his head did not a home make, in Riley's opinion.



For the first time ever, Riley was forced to be reactionary instead of proactive. He had no Initiative, no military, no leadership above him or men serving under him. He was out of the loop, cut off from what he knew and the order that knowledge provided. He was in foreign territory - Buffy's territory. He knew that he could contribute in some way, but right now he didn't know what that way was.



He had thought he knew. Tara. Before Walsh tried to kill Buffy, before they had gone to see Tara to let her know what had happened, Riley had had it all figured out. He would help Tara search for information from within The Initiative. He would help Tara find out what Walsh was planning, what she wanted with Willow. He would help Tara bear the weight of her deception, with Walsh, with Willow, with Buffy. He would help Tara protect the woman she loved. He would help Tara take down Maggie Walsh.



But now... now he didn't know what he would do. Tara's reaction when they had gone to see her in her room had been totally unexpected. In that moment, Riley had felt like he had been sucker-punched in the gut. He had believed in Tara, in what she had told him about Walsh and all the lies. He had believed that Tara loved Willow. But now? Now he didn't know what to believe. And without knowing what to believe, he couldn't come up with a plan.



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



The room was quiet and soft, the only sounds the low crackling of the slow-burning fire and the contented breathing of the two women who lay naked and tangled together on a bed of pillows on the floor. Willow lay half-sprawled across Tara's body, her head tucked under Tara's chin, her hand splayed across Tara's abdomen where it was linked with the blonde's. Tara ran lazy circles with her free hand across Willow's back. There was no rush, no hurry. There was just the two of them, together. Finally.



"Baby?" Willow asked lazily, freeing her hand from Tara's, but only so she could start tracing Tara's fingers with her own.



Tara smiled. She loved hearing Willow call her 'baby'. It made her feel all warm and fuzzy inside. She almost laughed at that thought. Warm and fuzzy. It sounds so silly, so childlike... but it's so true. Like a great big blanket over my heart.



"Yes, baby?" Tara responded, smiling softly.



Willow grinned. "I've made a decision."



"Oh?" Tara played along, noting the lilt of amusement in Willow's voice, and the way Willow was playing with her fingers. "What kind of decision?"



"A very, very important decision," Willow said, her grin widening.



"Oh, really? Do tell," Tara said. She knew her lover was being mischievous, and it made Tara almost giddy, to be here, in this place, sated and relaxed and so completely in love. Tara had to work very hard to keep from giggling.



Willow lifted her head and tried her best to look very serious, though she knew she was failing miserably. She looked at Tara, who quirked an eyebrow and waited. "I've decided that we're never putting on clothes or leaving this spot ever again," Willow said with a definitive nod. "We're going to lay here like this forever and ever. Okay?"



"Sounds like a good plan to me. Of course..." Tara trailed off, looking thoughtful.



"What, baby?" Willow asked, sitting up slightly and furrowing her brow, as she wondered if Tara had actually found a hole in her plan.



"Well, we have to eat sometime," Tara said with a sigh.



Willow blinked slowly, and then leered at Tara. "We don't have to get up for that. I've got plenty to eat right here."



"Willow!" Tara squealed, playfully swatting at Willow's hand.



"What?" Willow asked with complete innocence. "I do," she added, settling back down onto Tara's chest.



Tara snorted with laughter.



"Oh, that was graceful," Willow said with a giggle.



"Oh, yeah?" Tara said challengingly. Before Willow knew what was happening, Tara flipped her on her back and started snorting wildly like a hog in heat, running her nose and mouth all over Willow's chest. Willow laughed uncontrollably, pushing at Tara's shoulders, at least until Tara sucked a firm nipple into her mouth.



"Ta-ra," Willow moaned, now pulling at Tara's shoulders instead of trying to push them away.



Tara released Willow's nipple and leaned back, grinning cheekily down at her love.



"See? I told you there was plenty to eat," Willow said smugly.



Tara laughed, knowing she had just proven Willow's point for her. "Okay, okay. So the food thing isn't a problem. But we'll have to shower eventually, or we'll get all stinky."



"I'll lick you clean," Willow said with a naughty gleam in her eyes.



Tara laughed again, having figured out that no matter what she said, Willow was going to come up with a dirty answer for everything. It was almost as if Willow was challenging Tara to find a flaw with her all-naked-all-the-time plan. Of course, Tara loved a challenge.



"Hmm... okay. Well, we're still going to have to go to the bathroom eventually," Tara said.



"Nah," Willow said simply.



"Nah?" Tara questioned. O-kaaaaaaay...



"Nah," Willow said again. "I'll call one of those medical supply places and have them deliver some bed pans."



"Okay, one? Ew," Tara said, grimacing even as she giggled. Willow giggled too. "And two? You'll have to get up to answer the door and sign for the delivery."



Willow pondered that for a moment, then shrugged. "I'll just have them send ship it to Buffy. Then she can bring it over."



"Willow, I am not going to lie here naked in front of Buffy," Tara said soberly.



Willow sat up quickly, knocking Tara onto her back and practically pouncing on her. "Okay, one? Nuh-uh, no way, no how are you going to ever be naked in front of Buffy," Willow growled, pressing Tara back into the pillows. "One look at you and she'd find her inner lesbian beating her upside the head with the collected works of Sappho, and I do not want to have to get medieval on my best friend's ass," Willow rambled somewhat seriously.



Tara blushed at Willow's compliment, and felt a flush of heat low in her belly at the jealous fire in Willow's eyes. I know I shouldn't want her to be jealous, but Goddess... that jealousy is for me. All for me. And she's just so damn sexy about it.



"So I'll make her wear a blindfold when she comes in," Willow continued. "She's got Slayer skills, she can manage."



"And two?" Tara asked, running her hand up and down Willow's spine, urging her lover to relax. Willow's eyes fluttered closed as shivers raced through her body at Tara's caress. When she opened her eyes again, the green that had darkened with jealousy now sparkled with desire. Tara sucked in a breath. That's all for me, too.



"Two," Willow said huskily, "is that it's nekkid - not naked."



"Nekkid," Tara repeated, rolling the word around in her mind as she tasted the subtle difference in pronunciation on her tongue.



"Mmm-hmm," Willow murmured, grinning slyly.



"And the difference would be?" Tara asked, moving her hand up to trace Willow's collarbone.



"Naked is a sixty-seven year old man with back hair taking a shower," Willow said, grimacing. Tara let out a bark of laughter. Sometimes her girlfriend was just too much. "Nekkid is you and me without clothes doing naughty things to each other with our tongues, you sexy, sexy woman."



Tara's eyes dilated a bit and she rolled Willow onto her back. "Naughty things... like this?" she asked, leaning down to run the tip of her tongue around Willow's ear, down her neck, between her breasts and back up to circle a delectable nipple before sucking it completely into her mouth. Willow gasped, tugging at the back of Tara's head. She groaned as Tara released her flesh with an audible pop, leaning back to smile down at Willow.



When she had regained some brain function, Willow said, "Well, technically that was doing naughty things with your tongue and lips but yeah, that's the general idea."



Tara leaned down and kissed Willow lightly. Tara released Willow's lips and moved onto her back, but Willow followed and took a deep, plundering kiss. After a long moment, Willow leaned back.



"Okay, so... uh... what was I saying?" she asked, more than a little dazed. "Oh, yeah... so we're agreed on being nekkid, and on staying here on the floor, right?"



"There's still one problem, sweetie," Tara said almost apologetically.



"Huh?" Willow said, quite confused. "No, I've thought this all through, and there are no possible problems I can't solve-"



"Your mother," Tara interrupted.



"My what?!?" Willow choked.



Tara laughed. The expression on Willow's face was priceless. "Your mother. She'll come home eventually. And do you really want to be lying here, nekkid, wrapped in my arms when she does?"



"That's the only place I ever want to be," Willow said sincerely.



Tara blushed. "Sweet talker."



"It's true. I love you, Tara," Willow said. "I don't ever want to be apart from you again."



A slight shadow crossed Tara's face, but she kept looking up at Willow.



"What's wrong, baby?" Willow asked with concern.



"I don't want to be apart from you either, Willow," Tara said, pulling Willow close. "But we're going to have to be."



"What? Why? No, Tara-" Willow sputtered.



"Nothing's changed-" Tara started to say, but she was cut off by Willow.



"Everything has changed! I love you, you love me, we love each other, we've talked, we've made love..." Willow said, her voice strained with emotion. "I know the truth now, baby... I know why you lied, I know why-"



"No, you don't," Tara interrupted.



Willow stopped talking, looking at Tara with confusion. A flash of hurt crossed her face.



"No, oh no, sweetie, that's not what I meant," Tara said hurriedly, placing a firm yet gentle kiss on Willow's lips. "I told you the truth before, I was trying to protect you. I just haven't had the chance to tell you what I was trying to protect you from."



"Oh, I... I kinda forgot," Willow said, relieved. "I guess all I cared about was knowing you loved me. That's all that really matters."



"And knowing you love me is what matters to me," Tara said.



Willow smiled softly and placed a tender kiss to Tara's temple. Tara closed her eyes and let herself into the simple touch that spoke volumes. Willow pressed her forehead to Tara's and the two women rested that way together, gathering strength, gathering courage... gathering love for what was ahead.



"So... I guess you should tell me the rest?" Willow finally said, laying back down next to Tara and resting her head on her lover's shoulder. Tara wrapped her arms around Willow and took a deep breath. Then she told her everything. From the beginning.



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







"Maybe I'll change my look, or cut class. You don't know! And I'm eating this banana, lunch-time be damned!" - Willow, Dopplegangland



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 Post subject: Part 28 (complete) con't - aka the new stuff
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 1:19 am 


Riley looked down at the woman in his arms and gently traced her face with the back of his hand. Buffy looked so peaceful in the night, so relaxed. He knew she had seen so much - much more than any twenty year old should have had to have seen in that time, or in an entire lifetime. It sounded so cliche, but she had fought the forces of darkness for so long, saved the world so many times, it had worn her down. Now she was always guarded, always wary, even when she was happy and there was no sign of danger. It was only in the night when she was asleep that Buffy let her guard down enough for Riley to see the girl inside, the girl she hadn't been allowed to be for very long.



Part of that wariness Buffy always maintained, Riley was sure, was for her friends, for the seemingly rag-tag band of warriors who had fought by Buffy's side from the beginning for no reasons other than it was the right thing to do and Buffy needed them. She never said it, but Riley knew that Buffy worried about them all, about the toll fighting the good fight had taken and would take until the end. Buffy was protective of them all - Willow, Xander, and Giles - because they had always been there for her and she knew they always would be. Because they had loved her as much as she had loved them. Because they had been hurt more than once and still came back for more.



And that was part of what hurt so much about Tara's deception. Deceptions, plural, he amended. Apart from his own sense of betrayal, Riley knew that this all hurt Buffy terribly, because it hurt Willow terribly. Buffy would take Willow's pain as her own, and would feel that it was yet another thing she had failed to protect Willow from. At least when Riley believed that Tara had done all this to protect Willow, there was hope - hope that eventually Willow would understand and forgive Tara, and therefore Buffy would eventually understand and forgive herself. But now...



And to make matters worse, Riley didn't know if he should tell Buffy about his conversation with Tara. What would be the point? he wondered. Would Buffy just feel even more betrayed? Would she hate Tara even more for hurting Willow? For hurting Riley? What good could come of me telling her the truth?



Riley stared up at the flaking and water-stained ceiling and let out a long breath. He just didn't understand. Tara had seemed so sincere about wanting to protect Willow, about fearing that Walsh was a danger to Willow, and about how much all the lies had been tearing her apart. Riley had been convinced that Tara loved Willow very deeply. Yet Riley had also been quite convinced that Tara had meant what she said in her dorm room, and more than that, that she had meant to hurt Willow.



And Riley just couldn't reconcile the two Taras he had seen that day. It made absolutely no sense. How could he have been so wrong about Tara? How could he have been so fooled by her?



That last thought echoed inside Riley's head, and his forehead crinkled as a new possibility occurred to him. He had assumed that the Tara in the dorm this afternoon had been the real Tara, and that she had been lying to him when they had been walking across the campus this morning. But what if it was the other way around? What if Tara had been telling Riley the truth this morning, but had been lying this afternoon when she had told them that she believed Walsh?



He thought back to that morning, to how much love had been in Tara's voice when she had talked about Willow; how much fear had been in Tara's eyes when she had told him that Willow was in danger; how much contempt had radiated off of Tara when she had told him her suspicions about Walsh. He thought back, too, to how devastated Tara had been when he had come back to her dorm room later; how she had collapsed in his arms under the weight of her grief over losing Willow; how he had just sat there holding her and rocking her as she had clung to him; how when she had finally stopped crying and looked up at him, he had wanted to weep himself for the emptiness in her eyes. She couldn't have been faking that. It just wasn't possible.



Riley also considered Walsh and what she had done. It was still a little hard for him to accept, that the woman who had been such a mentor to him would try and kill the woman he loved. And for what? Because Buffy was a threat? Because Buffy was getting too close to something? Because Buffy had gotten between Walsh and... something? Him, perhaps? He still didn't know the why of it all, but he knew it had happened. He had been there. He had seen it. It was the truth, no matter what the reasons. And it meant that Walsh was more dangerous than he had ever allowed himself to believe. Tara had been right.



So why had she changed her story that afternoon? Why had Tara suddenly believed, or claimed to believe, in Maggie Walsh? What had happened? At the time, he had been so disgusted by how Tara was acting and what she was saying that he hadn't stopped to consider how strange it all was. How... wrong... it felt, those words, that hate, coming from Tara in her dorm room - especially that so much of it had been directed at Willow. Now the wrongness of it all stomped its feet and screamed Riley's name inside his head, and he couldn't believe he hadn't paid attention to it sooner.



Riley would have slapped himself upside the head if it wouldn't have woken Buffy. Of course Tara had been lying this afternoon. Something had happened. Walsh had tried to kill Buffy. Riley had left The Initiative. Tara had said that Walsh had told her that Buffy faked the attempt on her life, so obviously Tara and Walsh had met at some point that afternoon. And at that point, Tara must have realized that she was the only one left who could still find out what Walsh wanted with Willow. By telling Tara that Buffy had set the whole thing up and that Riley had left, Walsh had effectively laid down the gauntlet before Tara, and Tara would have had no choice but to take a side.



Riley was sure now that Tara would have chosen Willow, would always choose Willow, and choosing Willow would have meant making Walsh think that Tara had chosen Walsh. That all made sense to Riley. What didn't make sense is why, when they had all been alone in Tara's dorm room, she didn't just tell them that. Why all the lies? Why all the anger? Why cause Willow, and him and Buffy, more pain?



Suddenly Riley had a very nasty feeling in the pit of his stomach. The only reason for Tara to not have told them the truth would be if Tara had thought she couldn't. And that didn't make any sense unless... Tara would have no reason to not trust him or Buffy, not after what had happened. And she would certainly not have any reason to distrust Willow. Besides, he hadn't felt any distrust or suspicion coming from Tara that afternoon.



And then Riley knew. Tara's performance in her dorm room had been just that - a performance. But it hadn't been for him, Willow, and Buffy, or at least, not just for them. It had also been for Maggie Walsh. Somehow, someway, Tara was afraid that Walsh would find out if Tara had told them the truth - that Walsh would know Tara had betrayed her. Riley didn't know why Tara would think that, or how such a thing would even be possible, but he knew with complete and utter certainty that it was true. And that changed everything.



If Tara didn't feel safe within her own dorm room, then nowhere was safe. The walls had ears, or so it seemed. And Riley had no idea how far that might reach. Oh, Tara... Riley thought sadly. You must feel so alone. I'm so sorry. I'll find a way to help you, I promise.



And with that, Riley knew what he had to do. He had to talk to Tara, had to find out what had happened, what was going on, what she suspected. He had to make Tara understand that she wasn't alone, that she had backup, that she had help. And he knew that he couldn't tell Buffy about his suspicions, not just yet - not until he had talked to Tara.



But talking to Tara would be tricky. He had to find a safe place, free from whatever it was Tara was afraid of. And without knowing what that was, he had no idea how to protect them from it. But still... it was something. A beginning. A purpose. A plan. And Riley Finn liked having a plan.



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



It had taken nearly an hour, the telling of it all. Tara had laid there, holding Willow, staring up at the ceiling as she told the redhead everything. She had told Willow how she had gotten involved with the Initiative, how Maggie Walsh had been - if she was completely honest about it - something of a surrogate mother to her. She had again gone over her assignment to infiltrate the Wicca group, even though Willow pretty much knew about that already, and she had explained why she had gone along with the deception initially even though she felt it was wrong. She had also told Willow again how she had felt such a strong connection with her from the very beginning, and how that connection had made her want to tell Willow the truth even as her sense of duty made her want to follow her orders and lie... how her sense of loyalty to Maggie Walsh had overruled what Tara already had started to know in her heart - that she never, ever wanted to lie to Willow.



Willow could practically see Tara's thought process as she explained how she had started to suspect that there was something more, something dangerous, in Walsh's interest in Willow. Tara explained how she had begun lying to Walsh practically from the beginning, editing her reports, covering her feelings... all because she knew that if Walsh realized that Tara was falling in love with Willow, she would have pulled Tara off the mission and assigned someone else to get close to Willow, someone... not Tara. And while jealousy had been something of a factor, while Tara couldn't imagine not being able to spend time with Willow or being near her... there was so much more to it than that.



Tara had been afraid. She had felt the fear deep within her gut, even though she didn't completely understand it at the time. She just knew that something - beyond the lies - was wrong. Gradually Tara began to understand that Walsh wanted something from Willow, and that that something was a threat to the redhead. So Tara had kept lying to Willow, and to Walsh, trying to figure out just what it was she was so afraid of. But finally, the night they had gone to the Bronze and Tara had learned that Riley was an agent, she hadn't been able to take the lies anymore. Finally, she had realized that she had to confront Walsh and tell the truth. Finally, she had realized what the truth was – and the truth was that she loved Willow.



Of course, the best laid plans had a way of exploding in your face – something Tara knew all too well. She had left the Bronze that night with a new sense of purpose, a new vision. Finally she had been able to see past all the lies and her eyes were full of hope – hope that once the truth was laid bare there would still be a chance for her and Willow. So she had gone to see Maggie Walsh, had planned to walk away from The Initiative and her mission, but then…



It had been such a little thing, really. The look in Walsh’s eyes, the hesitation in her voice, the way she reacted to Tara’s news that she knew Riley was an agent… it might have seemed inconsequential to most, but to Tara… she knew. She knew it in her gut, in her mind, in her blood, that there was something very, very wrong. That Willow was in danger. So once again Tara had found herself with a decision to make, a split-second choice that would send her tumbling back down the spiral-staircase of lies she had been climbing for so long.



Then there had been the death of Dr. Engleman, Adam’s escape, Riley’s learning Tara was an agent, Walsh’s attempt on Buffy’s life, Riley’s quitting The Initiative, the cameras… add all of it together and it had led to Tara’s angry confrontation with Willow, Buffy, and Riley in her dorm room.



Willow had laid silently on Tara's chest, taking it all in. She understood it all now. She knew exactly why Tara had done what she had. Willow couldn’t blame her. It angered her, the choices Tara had been forced to make, the way Walsh had backed the blonde into a corner she had no way of escaping from. Everything Tara had done she had done out of love, and for that Willow loved Tara all the more, even as her heart broke for the sacrifices Tara had willingly made. As for Walsh…



"That woman needs to be beaten to death with a shovel," Willow growled when Tara finally finished the story. "She needs to be strung up by her thumbs and hung over a pit of angry frogs... angry, hopping, scaly, snarling frogs with giant, razor-sharp teeth and big, floppy legs and-"



"Willow," Tara interrupted sweetly, torn between laughter at her love's imagery and understanding of her love's need for anger. "She'll be dealt with, just as soon as we figure out what exactly it is she's up to."



"But why?" Willow practically shouted, flopping over onto her back and crossing her arms over her chest. Tara winced slightly at Willow's tone and at the sudden absence of Willow’s body, even though she knew Willow’s anger and frustration weren’t about Tara. "Why can't we just take care of her now?"



"Wil, honey, I need to know," Tara said determinedly, leaning over and placing her hand over Willow’s. "I need to know what she wants with you, what this is all about. There's just too many strange things... the creation of Adam, the murder of Dr. Engleman, Walsh's unwavering interest in you... in your power. And we still don't know why she tried to kill Buffy."



"Cuz she's an evil bitch, that's why," Willow grumbled angrily, even as she felt her anger starting to lessen as her logical mind focused on Tara's explanation and her soul focused on Tara’s touch.



Tara smiled gently at Willow's protective streak, and the bad language it triggered. "The point is that there's so much going on, and we really don't have a clue what it's all about, or if any of it is even connected," she said seriously. "Besides, I'm not really sure where we're going to find snarling frogs with razor-sharp teeth," Tara added, trying to lighten her lover's mood a little while still respecting Willow's right to be upset.



A tiny smile graced Willow's lips, as her anger continued to melt away. She turned Tara’s hand over and softly began stroking the palm with her thumb. "But you think it is connected, don't you?" Willow asked logically, though it was more of a statement than a question.



Tara nodded. "I think so, at least some of it. It's all just too much of a coincidence for it not to be. She... she wants something from you. Your power. But I have no idea why."



Willow turned toward Tara so they were now lying side by side, all the while still stroking Tara’s palm. "You think she wants to use me for something? Use my magic? I'm not that powerful, not really. I mean you're..."



"Just as powerful, and have been practicing for a lot longer?" Tara asked. Willow nodded, her eyes full of concern. Tara sighed. "I know. I've got 500 years of magic in my family history, and that scares me, too, because there's got to be a reason that she either wants you specifically, or doesn't want me."



"So maybe you're the one that's in danger," Willow suggested. It was an idea she didn’t like in the slightest.



"No, I don't think so. Walsh is focused on you. She wants you, Willow. And I need to know what she wants you for, because even if we dealt with her now... she may not be the only threat,” Tara said, the picture becoming clear as she talked it out, and all the more disturbing. “Whatever is going on may be bigger than just her, and if it is then it might just go on without her."



"So uncovering her plans is really our best shot at stopping whatever it is," Willow said.



"Yes,” Tara agreed. She slipped her hand out of Willow’s and raised it to the redhead’s cheek. “And more importantly, keeping you safe." Willow nodded, albeit reluctantly. She couldn’t deny that Tara was making perfect sense, but she certainly didn’t have to like it. A small pout formed at the corners of Willow’s lips.



Tara tilted her head, studying Willow, grinning slightly at the look on Willow’s face. "So you really want to beat her to death with a shovel?"



"Yes," Willow answered without hesitation, even throwing in a sharp nod as punctuation.



"Willow..."



"Okay, fine.” Willow said with a roll of her eyes, although seeming to give in. She looked down for a moment, scrunching up her nose and pursing her lips like she was trying to figure out a really hard calculus equation. Then she looked up at Tara with puppy dog eyes and asked, “How about nearly to death?"



"Wil..." Tara warned again, even though she wanted to laugh at Willow’s petulance.



"She just... all that she's put you through... us through…” Willow argued, though her argument lacked any real resolve. She was just frustrated, plain and simple. “And let’s not forget she tried to kill Buffy."



"I know. It's still hard for me to accept all this. That she's capable of this,” Tara said with a sigh, rolling over onto her back. Willow followed, climbing up onto Tara’s chest so she could see the blonde’s face.



“I mean, you have to understand that when she found me, I was so lost. I had nothing to hold on to, nothing to believe in. My mother was gone, my brother hated me, my father told me..." Tara trailed off, closing her eyes against the memory.



Willow watched Tara, her brow furrowing in concern. She began tracing her fingers over Tara’s collarbone, comforting her love as the blonde tried to work through whatever it was she was trying to work through. Finally, after several moments of silence, Willow finally asked, "Told you what?"



But even as the words passed Willow’s lips, her mind flashed back to their conversation that morning when Tara had first admitted to being in The Initiative. "Tara?” she asked slowly. “Yesterday morning… this morning… no, yester- you know what I mean… you said something about... being a demon?"



Tara opened her eyes, blinking slowly, looking into Willow’s eyes. Willow could see the pain, sharp and alive and raging inside of Tara, so intense it made Willow want to look away. But she didn’t. She could see how hard this was going to be for Tara to admit, and she knew Tara needed her strength. So Willow just kissed Tara on the forehead, on her lips, and waited.



"My father... he... he needed to feel like he was in control, all the time,” Tara began, unable to tear her eyes away from the green orbs watching her with such devotion and empathy and love. If she could just keep staring into those eyes, she knew she could get through this. “With my mother, with me. I think it went further back than that, actually, back to my grandfather and his grandfather. See, all the women in my family practice magic. We always have, it's in our blood. But the men... no matter how they've tried, they've never seemed to have been able to tap into that legacy, not in any meaningful way. And since they couldn't practice it themselves, they came up with a way to control those who did."



After a long pause, Willow said "I don't understand. What does that have to do with demons?"



Tara swallowed hard. She knew she needed to tell Willow the rest, but it still felt so raw, even after all this time. "The men knew that by practicing magic, the women would be stronger than them. More powerful. That one day the women might realize that they didn't really need the men at all, and might leave. So they came up with a way to make the women fear the magic."



"I still don't... oh my Goddess,” Willow said, understanding hitting her all at once. “They told you the magic came from being a demon?"



Tara nodded sadly. Shamefully. She could feel the tears pooling behind her eyes, but she pushed them down. "I grew up thinking that anytime I did something bad, it was my demon side trying to assert itself. I didn't find out until I was seventeen that it wasn't true."



Tara closed her eyes for a moment, regaining her composure. She felt Willow place a light kiss on her shoulder, giving her comfort and encouraging her to continue. Then she felt Willow shift off of her and back onto the floor. She shivered from the loss of contact, but only for a moment as Willow’s arms pulled Tara into their loving embrace. Tara went willingly, draping herself across Willow’s body the way Willow had been on her own only moments earlier. Tara sighed, lying her cheek over Willow’s heart and gratefully accepting the safe harbor the redhead was providing.



“After Maggie brought me into the Initiative, I told her… about the demon. I was so scared she would reject me, turn me away, punish me like I had been punished all my life. But she didn’t. She freed me, Willow,” Tara explained, willing the redhead to understand. “She freed me from the fear, from the lies. A few lab tests and suddenly… no more demon. Of course, I didn’t fully believe her until… out of nowhere, Maggie brought me the final proof. A confession, written by my dad. It explained everything. And it set me free.”



“How’d she get it?” Willow asked into the night, unable to see her love’s eyes but knowing those blue diamonds were lost in the gentle fire that still burned in the fireplace.



“I don’t know,” Tara said quietly, tracing inconsequential patterns over Willow’s shoulder. “Honestly? I was afraid to ask, because I knew damn well that my father would never confess that truth easily. He had to have been… I don’t know.”



“You think she hurt him, don’t you?” Willow asked hesitantly.



Tara didn’t answer for a long little while. She didn’t want to. Once again she felt ashamed. “Probably. Not her, per se, but somebody on her orders.”



“Didn’t that… I mean, didn’t you… didn’t…” Willow stumbled.



“Didn’t that what? You can say it, Willow,” Tara said harshly, though her tone was completely directed at herself. “You want to know how I could care about someone who could act so… cruel. You want to know how I could believe in Maggie Walsh when I knew she had hurt my father? Tortured him?”



Willow stayed silent, feeling guilty for having asked the question but still needing to hear the answer. Tara sighed, the anger born of her own guilt leaving her body as suddenly as it had come. It was replaced by the profound sadness she felt any time she thought of her father. “I was seventeen and in a lot of pain. I was finding freedom for the first time in my life. I chose to blame everything on my father, and I just… I convinced myself that he deserved whatever Maggie had done to him.”



“That’s understandable,” Willow said, and she meant it. She couldn’t judge Tara for how she had felt – and she didn’t want to judge her, either. She just wanted to take the pain away.



“Maybe, but that doesn’t make it right,” Tara said, knowing that if she was ever going to forgive her father, she first had to forgive herself – for ignoring what had happened to him, for ignoring Maggie’s actions. “I know that now. I ignored certain things I saw in Maggie for a long time because I owed her so much. Then I met you, and I couldn’t ignore those things any longer.”



“So… do you know, um… I mean… where’s your dad now?” Willow asked, rubbing Tara’s back and squeezing her just a little bit tighter.



“I really don’t know. I wish I did,” Tara said, and she meant it. “There are a lot of things I need to say to him.”



“And your brother?”



Tara thought for a moment. She hadn’t thought about Donnie in a very long time. “I haven’t seen him since the morning I left.”



“Do you want to?” Willow asked.



Tara sat up slightly so she could look at Willow. “I don’t know. With my dad it was like… I was angry with him for a long time, once I knew the truth and allowed myself to be angry,” she said. She sounded slightly detached, like a psychologist who had observed from afar and made some detailed notes. “But I think deep down I’ve always felt like he was sorry for it, somehow – that the whole time he had known it was wrong, and so even when he was hurting me he was hurting himself even worse. Punishing himself. I think a lot of how he acted was because of how he was raised, and then after my mom died… he was just so sad he didn’t know any other way to be.”



Willow couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “That’s no excuse for how he treated you,” she said angrily. She refused to let Tara make excuses for the man, not after how he had treated the woman she loved.



“No, but maybe it’s an explanation,” Tara said. She knew Willow was right, and understood Willow’s anger. She’ll always defend me, even when I won’t defend myself. But Tara also knew that she had to move past the blame when it came to her father if she was ever to have a second chance with him. “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life being angry with him, Wil. I need to see if I was right… if he can be the father – the man – I always hoped he could be.”



Willow stayed quiet, absorbing Tara’s words. Once again, she knew the blonde was right. But she still didn’t have to like it. “And Donnie?”



“Donnie… “ Tara said, a dark shadow crossing her face. Willow felt a chill run down her spine at Tara’s reaction. “Donnie was… different. There’s always been something just not right about him. Even before Mom died, Donnie was… he was so hard, even as a kid. It was like he delighted in being mean.”



Tara shuddered, but continued. “But with Mom around, Donnie kept it in check most of the time. She never knew, not really. I think she just always hoped Donnie would grow out of his anger and hatred. But once she was gone… Donnie loved to hate, and there was nothing he hated more than me.”



“Are you sure he wasn’t a demon?” Willow asked, only half joking.



“Pretty sure,” Tara said with a tiny smirk. But the smirk faded quickly. “But that doesn’t mean he’s not evil.”



Willow was surprised by the conviction in Tara’s voice. She hasn’t even called Walsh evil, and look what that bitch has done. Willow suppressed another chill as it tried to take hold. “I’m so sorry, baby.”



“I know,” Tara said, smiling lightly although it didn’t reach her eyes. “But with any luck I’ll never see Donnie again. I would like to see if I can find my dad, though. But…”



“But what?” Willow asked, searching deep into Tara’s eyes and caressing her cheek.



“I think…” Tara hesitated. “I don’t know if I can do it alone.”



Willow smiled a smile that was a mixture of relief and fierce devotion. “And what, exactly, would give you the idea that I would ever let you do that alone? If you think I’m letting you go look for dear old dad without me glued to your side, you’ve got another thing coming, missy.” Anything. As long as I live, I’ll do anything for you.



“Oh yeah?” Tara said with a little smile.



“Abso-fricken-lutely,” Willow said with a firm nod and an even firmer of her lips.



Tara burst out laughing. “Goddess I love you, Willow.”



Willow grinned broadly as she pulled Tara down into a slow, tender kiss. After a long moment, Willow lay back, smacking her lips in approval. Tara smiled.



“So,” Willow said, “what’s our next move?”



“Well,” Tara said with a leer, grazing her eyes down Willow’s body, “I think it’s time to revisit the you-and-me-nekkid discussion.”



“Tara!” Willow said, blushing as she swatted Tara’s hand away from her breast.



“What?” Tara said in mock innocence. “You weren’t so bashful a little while ago. I believe the whole us-lying-here-nekkid-forever plan was your idea.”



“True,” Willow agreed. “And I still think it’s a sound plan,” she said with a grin. Then she grew somewhat serious. “But that’s not what I was talking about. I meant…”



“I know what you meant,” Tara said softly, brushing Willow’s hair behind her ear.



“We need to talk to Buffy,” Willow said.



“We can’t. I have to do this alone,” Tara said firmly. She made a move to sit up, but Willow held her firmly in place.



“But why?” Willow asked, her voice cracking in concern. “You said Riley already knows, so why can’t Buffy know? She can help-“



“I told Riley because I really didn’t have a choice, and because… I needed to trust someone. It was killing me to not be able to tell you,” Tara said, her voice catching slightly. “But the more people that know, the more dangerous it is – especially now that we know Walsh is watching. Besides, I’m the only one on the inside now. I’m the only one with a chance to find out what’s going on.”



“But there has to be a way,” Willow said, not willing to believe that Tara had to take this all on alone.



“I don’t see it, Willow,” Tara said sadly. Willow looked away, tears pricking the corners of her eyes. Tara reached down and brought Willow’s head back to face her. “Walsh is watching, and the more people that know that, the more likely it is that one of us will slip up. Besides, even if I wanted to involve Buffy and Riley, I couldn’t now. I don’t think Riley believes anything I told him this morning now, not after what happened in my dorm room this afternoon. And as for Buffy… well, she’s more likely to rip my head off than listen to anything I have to say.”



“But won’t Riley just tell Buffy what you told him this morning? He doesn’t know about the cameras-“



“True, but I don’t think he will,” Tara interrupted. “I think Riley’s probably having a hard enough time dealing with the fact that he thinks I lied to him this morning, let alone having to explain it all to Buffy.”



“So what about us?” Willow asked, feeling the urge to cry once again as fear took hold. “Are we supposed to pretend to still be angry with each other? Avoid each other? Tara, I don’t know if I can do that. Not now.” I just found you. We just found each other.



“I know, sweetie,” Tara said, soothing away Willow’s tears with her thumb. “But we have to act like nothing’s changed.”



“But we can’t just not see each other,” Willow argued, resolve replacing her fear. “You won’t let Buffy or Riley help, fine… but I refuse to let you do this completely alone.”



“Willow, there’s nothing-“



“I can do?” Willow finished for Tara, her resolve doubling. “Maybe not from inside The Initiative. But baby, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a Grade-A, First Class hacker. There might be files I can access from the outside, which means less of the dangerous you-sneaking-around-The-Initiative-at-night-looking-for-information, which I am definitely not with the happiness about you doing, by the way… and you’re going to need someone to talk to, plan with, bounce things off of, watch you back, hold you at night, kiss you and love you and if you think I’m just going to leave you out there by yourself with no one to turn to-“



“Okay, okay,” Tara said, cutting off Willow-babble mid flow with a finger over Willow’s lips. “You win.”



“It’s not about winning, Tara,” Willow said, moving Tara’s finger and cupping her love’s cheek. She needed to make Tara understand. “It’s about you being the strongest woman I have ever known, facing something that’s challenging every ounce of that strength. I know you need to do this, baby. But I need to help you do this. Let me be your anchor. Let me give you strength. Let me love you.”



“Always,” Tara said, sealing her vow with a kiss. She felt Willow open beneath her and he lost herself inside the redhead’s mouth, meeting Willow’s devotion with her own. She was deeply moved by Willow’s words, and once again she was reminded of just how much this woman loved her – and of just how much she loved this woman.



“We can’t meet here again, though,” Tara said once the kiss finally ended. “Walsh might not be watching your parents’ house now, but I don’t know how long that will last. Better to find someplace else – someplace that has no connection whatsoever to either one of us.”



Willow thought for a moment, and then said, “What about the clocktower? Where the Gentlemen were hiding? It’s totally abandoned, on the edge of campus… Walsh would have no reason to look there.”



“I think it’s perfect,” Tara said, grinning at how her love’s mind worked. “We’ll have to plan to meet at a certain time – there’s no way for me to get word to you later.”



“We can meet at 9:30 tomorrow night. I can go to the library earlier and then sneak out from there,” Willow said almost excitedly. Truth be told, beyond the mind-numbing fear of Tara getting caught by Walsh, there was a certain thrill at the thought of all this spying and sneaking around. Secret rendezvous, clandestine kisses, frenzied… Geez Rosenberg, could you be any more of a perve?



“I’ll act like I’m going for a run,” Tara said, breaking Willow out of her thoughts.



“You think this’ll work?” Willow asked.



“I think it just might,” Tara said. Then something occurred to her. “Of course, I’m going to have to explain where I’ve been tonight. Especially since you’ve been gone all night, too.”



“Uh-oh,” Willow said. She hadn’t thought of that.



“No problem,” Tara said, grinning. She started tracing the swell of Willow’s breast. “I’ll just tell Walsh I went out to the Bronze, got drunk, picked up a gorgeous girl and spent the night with her.”



“Oh really?” Willow asked, quirking an eyebrow. “Cuz you do that often, do ya?”



“Sure,” Tara said, amusement glinting her eyes. “Every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.”



“Uh-huh, I see,” Willow said, playing along and pulling Tara closer. “Any particular type of girl you go looking for?”



“Hmm,” Tara said, pretending to think as her fingers dipped lower on Willow’s breast. “Let’s see… what’s my type? Well, I do have a thing for green eyes…”



“Yeah?” Willow said, rubbing her hand lower onto Tara’s back. “What else?”



“Mmm… freckles,” Tara said, placing a light kiss where a tiny patch of freckles sat particularly close to Willow’s nipple.



“And?” Willow asked, her voice squeaking a bit. She shifted her legs so she could slip a thigh between Tara’s.



“Well I like my women to have strong thighs…” Tara said, giving a little squeeze with her own, “a taut, muscular stomach… a long, kissable neck… pert breasts that fit just right in my hands…” Tara leaned down and kissed Willow’s neck as she rolled Willow’s nipple in the soft padding between her thumb and forefinger.



“What about hair?” Willow asked breathlessly, searching out Tara’s mouth with her own.



Just as their lips were about to meet, Tara said “Jet black.”



“What!?!” Willow squealed, pulling back in shock. Then Tara started laughing.



“Ohhhhhh,” Willow groaned, slapping Tara’s shoulder. “You are so bad. Evil, evil woman,” she said, grinning. Tara’s smile faded and she brushed the hair out of Willow’s eyes.



“Red, my love,” she said, pulling Willow’s head towards her own. “Forever and always, red.”



Then they kissed.



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



TBC with Part 29: Goddesses and Monsters



"Maybe I'll change my look, or cut class. You don't know! And I'm eating this banana, lunch-time be damned!" - Willow, Dopplegangland



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 Post subject: Re: Part 28 (complete) con't - aka the new stuff
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 3:13 am 


Hey BB!

I love the update, and I admit it's been too long!

I can't tell you enough how much I love the way Tara and Willow interact together, how much deep and profound their love appears to readers... I can't wait to see what will happen next!!



Oh and I wasnt reading TOD when you actually posted THAT particular chapter...the one about the rain, and Will and Tara , and the Tree and showing one another how much they care... it really moved me, you know, the way Tara tried proving Willow how much she loved her, "can you feel" was just so thick with emotions...it's like WOW! I doubt anyone in this whole universe could say something like that...



I'm looking forward to the next chapter!!



~Arwen

Hear That Baby? You're My Always... Willow



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 Post subject: Re: Part 28 (complete) con't - aka the new stuff
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 11:33 am 
Welcome back, BB. Here's hoping RL eases up for a while. This chapter was well worth the wait, btw!



We'll start with Riley, corn-fed Iowa farmboy who is troubled by the actions of his new friend. So, in his slow methodical way, he pieces together the facts and discovers the truth - that Tara loves Willow and will protect her from all threats. He needs to confirm this, but more, he wants to help the sad, lonely girl. I love what you have done with Riley.



Tara tells Willow everything, leaving nothing out. And, being Willow, beating to death with shovels comes into the equation. With everything they have been through, the true danger must now be faced. No easy task. Of course, Tara needs more Willow-convincing before she understands that she is no longer alone in this battle.



The "jet-black" jibe was perfectly timed. Willow never saw it coming. Love the humor between these two.



I'm torn, now - Do I say "update right away, please!" or do I wait and receive another gem like this update? Such hard choices...



Thanks, BB.


More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. Woody Allen (1935 - )



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 Post subject: Re: Part 28 (complete) con't - aka the new stuff
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 1:20 pm 
Welcome back BB :D Wow what an update, I am so glad to see this story back. I have to admit that in this story I am a Riley Fan...there I said it. I like that she is there for Tara and that he is working everything out and now has a plan to find out more.



I like even more that Tara told Willow everything, of course this probably puts Willow in more danger, but then we don't know what the danger is beyond Maggie herself. And whoever she is getting to spy on people. (Yes I reread thsi whole story last week). I am glad that Tara is letting Willow help her and that they ahve arranged to meet again.



Great to see you back :)



So, the day started and I knew my name and had my pants on. So far, so good. Yay.
Amber Benson



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 Post subject: Re: Part 28 (complete) con't - aka the new stuff
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 2:53 pm 
I'm hopping on the Welcome Back BB Bandwagon! :bigwave



Anyway, I read your "lest anyone think i died..." post and was glad to hear you were still alive and kicking. I thoroughly enjoyed your "It's not TOD...but it's fic post". Having a gf in the computer industry and knowing how important gadgets and electronics are to her, I can relate to the Laptop Lament.



I became captivated with your story a while ago. I loved the twist you gave to Tara being in the Initiatve and everything else that followed. I'm just happy to see you back again and to be able to read updates on one of my most fave fics.



So, with that said, bring on some more! :) Please. :wink



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 Post subject: Re: Part 28 (complete) con't - aka the new stuff
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 7:21 pm 
Hey BB,



Fantastic update!! And definitely worth the wait. I have to admit I am enjoying your Riley much more than the shows. Yours has a brain and truly cares for Buffy and her friends - it's definitely a nice change.



I understand Tara's reluctance to tell anyone else about Walsh, but I certainly see both Buffy and Riley finding out. And I think Riley will have a lot to do with that realization.



Glad this is back!

-shuyaku



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 Post subject: Re: Part 28 (complete) con't - aka the new stuff
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 10:07 pm 
BB,



A nice, long update. I have definitely missed you.



I am glad W/T are working things out. Willow is amazing to stand by Tara after all of this. Atleast Tara is not alone anymore.



I ready for the Evil Witch Walsh to be taken care of.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.


Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

Willow: I found you. I will always find you.




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 Post subject: Re: Part 28 (complete) con't - aka the new stuff
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2003 11:26 pm 
*Sigh!* Forever and always red! :bow



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 Post subject: Re: Part 28 (complete) con't - aka the new stuff
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 9:18 am 
loved the update, well worth the wait :)



i liked the description of Riley working out what was going on with Tara



Willow's way for dealing with Prof. Walsh by hanging her upside down over a pit of snarling frogs was funny

I'm not stealing, I'm just taking things without paying for them. In what twisted dictionary is that stealing?
Oh, relax, Casper, I'm not here to interrupt your blissing. Too much makes you go blind, though, you know



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 3:48 am 
Hello,

I'm new to this site and i just wanted to say that the author of this story is a GENIUS...the way you put everything together is just soooo perfect!!!I love the way you make Willow seem so Willow...please continue your masterpiece with the update as soon as possible...like tomorrow???please???:rofl



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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 10:19 am 
Hello Kittens-



As wonderful as Tara and Riley's realizations are they both fill me with a sense of worry, for Tara especially. Already strong, she is now stronger and more determined to face Walsh to protect Willow. She goes back into danger to protect Willow. But we know there is something even more sinister for a witch waiting in the Initiative's plans. What will that spur Tara to do as she dances on the high wire without a net?



Thank you for the update,



Jixer







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 Post subject: Re: The Truth of Deception
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 3:38 am 
Welcome back BB. When you post updates, you post LONG updates don't you ? :)



I like Riley in this fic, probably said so once before, he seems to think things through more on his own which is a good thing. His conclusion may be correct but his reasoning is soley based on his conversation with Tara that morning. It's going to be a tad more difficult to convince Buffy or the other scoobs to believe Tara is good just because Riley thinks she is.



They need much more info on Adam, that should be obvious be now. Adam was/is a project to create not only a perfect soldier but appearantly another child for Maggie. I get the distinct impression Maggie Walsh doesn't like people leaving her, esp. not the ones she considers close to her. I think it wouldn't be wise to corner miss Walsh for any time, deal with her swiftly or avoid her... cornered animals are dangerous after all.



I liked Willow and Tara's playfull bantering near the fireplace. For some reason I still find it hard to get 'over' Tara's deception, seems Willow finds that easier than me :-). I'm all for Willow staying close to Tara when she goes to visit her "father" or (God forbid) her brother. Also good to see at least someone can get it through Tara's head she doesn't HAVE to safe the world all by herself.



Oh yes, I agree with all of Willow's idea as to what to do with miss Walsh. Beating to death with a shovel sounds too fast though, got to be carefull not to kill her to quick. The frog-pit sounds like a fine idea, might be a tad difficult to get the required frogs, heh :) .



Grimmy

--
"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine



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 Post subject: ITS BACK!!!!!
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2003 8:53 pm 
:banana :banana :banana :banana :banana

:applause :applause :applause :applause :applause

:rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl :rofl



I'm SOOOOOOOO glad this story is back, this has always been one of my fav's!!! Please don't be a stranger to updates!!!!!!!!! :letter







:glasses ~Stephie~ :glasses





:balloons :balloons

:balloons :balloons



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 Post subject: Re: ITS BACK!!!!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 10:46 am 
It's been a while but I fell behind in my reading and I am catching up slowly.



Loved the update and that they aren't going to be without each other while they pretend they are still fighting. And give Riley some credit , he figured it out. I imagine he and buffy will turn out to be of help even if Tara's unwilling.

- - - - - - - - - - -
"The suspense is terrible. I hope it'll last."


-Willie Wonka



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 Post subject: Re: ITS BACK!!!!!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 1:30 pm 
Hey BB! So glad to have you back. I fell in love w/ this story months ago, and I'm glad to have the abstinence over with! You do a really nice job interspersing exposition w/ emotionally powerful moments. Riley makes for a very compelling narrator, too--I like him a lot in this role.



Welcome back, and thanks for sticking w/ this story in the midst of some truly hellish twists and turns in this little slice o' heaven we call Real Life.



Mary



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 Post subject: temp jobs, trains, and u-hauls
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2003 8:07 pm 
Hey all. Thanks for all the lovely feedback. I am working on the next chapter - I'd say I'm about 1/2 done, without any major writer's block like I had for, oh, the last six months, so... there should be an update relatively soon.



I finally started working a couple weeks ago here in lovely DC, and even though it's only a temp job, it pays pretty decently and the work will last into October, so YAY for me finally getting a paycheck! :applause Plus I get to go to a conference in Arizona for free, so double yay!!! :applause :applause Plus it's highly amusing to tell people where I work - let's just say there really IS an organization for everything in Washington. Hehe. It's a good group, though, doing some very important work in the area of STD/HIV prevention, so that makes me happy.



Anyway, now that I'm finally earning a paycheck, I get to go retrieve my belongings from NJ, where they've been sitting in what amounts to a very expensive storage unit (i.e. the apartment I haven't lived in but have been paying rent on for 3 months), so I can move them to a less expensive storage unit here in DC. And yes, I get to drive a u-haul. Heh. :glasses



I'm also moving off my friend's couch and into some temporary housing near the Capitol... housing that everyone around here affectionately refers to as "The Convent." Why, you ask? Because it's a home for young christian women. No, I'm not kidding. Actually, it's not as bad as it sounds - my best friend stayed there when she first moved to DC, which was even funnier since she's Jewish (there were many a joke about the jew staying at the nunnery, let me tell you - she thought it was the funniest thing in the world). But the place is mostly 20-something professionals who are, like me, trying to get settled here and need a place to crash and a way to save some money while looking for a permanent job or apartment. Plus, hello! ALL FEMALE. Need I say more? :devilish



The other benefit of the Convent is that 1) no cable, and 2) cheap DSL, so... I'll have plenty of time to get back to my writing. So hopefully I'll have the next chapter in a week or so, depending on how long it takes me to get settled.



So that's that. Thanks for hanging in there with me.. I promise it'll be worth it in the end.



-BB



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 Post subject: Get Thee to a NUNNERY!
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2003 9:02 pm 
I've always wanted to say that and mean it! Ha! :lol



Hey, BB, sorry I was remiss in posting feedback...but... as you may have seen by my thread... I was attacked by rednecks... yet I survived to tell another tale! heh...



Anyhoo... it was fantastic, babe! Keep the awesome text a-coming...



I still love the way your mind works!



Cheers

DW



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 Post subject: Re: Get Thee to a NUNNERY!
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2003 8:43 am 
Okay... here I am, finally all caught up.. and what should i say..

I't a really frickin awesome story ....



And may I say: Tara working out ... that's a really great image *ggg*



Uhm.. I think I maybe figuered out, who the other agent is, that Walsh called...And may I say I really don't like it. no no no..



Insanity

"Nobody messes with my girl!"Tara, Bargaining



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 Post subject: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 12:15 pm 
HEY BB!!



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 Post subject: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 12:16 pm 
HEY BB!!



Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear, BB! Happy Birthday to you!!



Any many moooooooore!



HUGS!!

DW:bigwave



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 Post subject: Re: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 1:02 pm 
Hi BB,



Was looking at your thread saw DW's happy B-day and being the swift one that I am figured, hey it must be your b-day. So with out further adieu...



:balloons Happy Birthday!! :balloons



:pinky :pinky Figured since it's your b-day you might be seeing these later anyway, so thought I'd save you some time.

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

"How did you first know that you were gay...what did you feel? Apparently, another girl." ~ Suzanne Westenhoefer



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 Post subject: Re: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 4:19 pm 
Hi there :)



Looks like I'm joining this thread just in time :banana

(ok, now this is surprising, my timing usually is awful. I wonder if I should buy a lottery ticket :hmm )



HAPPY BIRTHDAY BB :applause



I hope everything is turning out alright for you :)



I love this fic, although, as I have only delurked quite recently I never left feedback :blush

I was really happy to see that you were going to continue to write it :)

You're a great writer :applause



I'll be waiting for the next update ;)




"If it makes you happy, it can´t be that bad" - Sheryl Crow



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 Post subject: whew!!!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2003 1:31 am 
hi there!



oh man! it's like 1:30 in the morning and I have practice tomorrow but i'm still up reading your fic... cuz it's just that damn good. i just wanna say how much i've loved this fic.



even through all the angst, i think that you've stayed true to their thoughts and feelings. sometimes, it was really overwhelming, but hey... when you've got a love like theirs (especially in an impossible situation like this) you end up in the deepest pits of hell and the highest peaks of heaven.



i just wanted to say awesome job and hopefully RL will get off your back and let you finish this... after all the last update was big ol' whoppin month ago... not that i'm keeping track, mind you...



thanks for sharing,

spud



p.s. that's really cool about "the Convent"... y'know what they say about repressed sexual urges...(what's that?) just, uh, that they tend to come out... :wink



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 Post subject: the proverbial non-update update
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 1:25 pm 
I figure there must be something proverbial about it, somehow...



Anyway, still plugging along. RL has been keeping me busy (when isn't it, right?), but in a definitely good way. The Nunnery is lovely, lots of cool people (I've fallen in with a hilariously rowdy group of girls - we're the resident trouble makers, and it's so much fun), a bar close by, Friday night going out with the girls, Saturday hung over with the girls... you get the idea. Oh yeah, and I've got a girlfriend. Hehe. I love the Convent.



So... I'll do some more writing just as soon as I have a night where I'm not having so much damn fun! I'm sure there's bound to be a night like that soon. :)



-BB



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 Post subject: Re: the proverbial non-update update
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 9:44 pm 
eh, lucky you! We should all find ourselves a convent! Enjoy it!

- - - - - - - - - - -
"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose."


-Me & Bobby
McGee



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 Post subject: update on the way...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2003 9:49 am 
Yes, yes, I know... bad BB. But here's the short version (some good, some bad, all busy)...



-I've been in Job Hell the last month or so, including working an 80 hour week in 5 days at our conference in AZ. But the conference is now over, thank God...

-I've got a girl, and she's wonderful. But she's having a lot of family problems at the moment, so she's going though a rough time - keeps us both pretty busy.

-Best friend coming into town tonight - hooray! Haven't seen him in 6 months.

-Oh yeah, and I had a root canal yesterday. I am currently at home on drugs. Fun, eh?



But my girl, being the creative goddess that she is, has inspired me to return to my laptop and TOD, and to make the time to write. So that's where I am - mid way through Part 29 and advancing quickly. So bear with me - I'm trying.



-BB



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 Post subject: Re: update on the way...
PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2003 11:03 am 
Hey BB good news that the update is on it's way. (Thanks to BB's girl as well). Root canals are nasty things but be thankful that you got drugs because I didn't.



Anyway I'm eagerly awaiting part 29 and it's a wonderful excuse to go back and read the whole story again.



So, the day started and I knew my name and had my pants on. So far, so good. Yay.
Amber Benson



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 Post subject: alive and kicking
PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2003 2:59 pm 
Just a quick drop-in to let anyone who's interested know that I am still alive and kicking, despite all evidence to the contrary.



I've been completely consumed by work as of late, having negotiated and signed a 3 month contract with the company I had been temping for and therefore having a lot to do in a very short amount of time. I've also been trying to juggle a relationship (going on 4 months now - yay!) and some personal & health issues, and writing has taken a definite backseat to the rest of my life.



I won't promise an update anytime soon, because I feel like everytime I do I have to break that promise. But I have every intention of finishing this story, so I hope at least a few of you will forgive how drawn out this has been and bear with me.



-BB





"Maybe I'll change my look, or cut class. You don't know! And I'm eating this banana, lunch-time be damned!" - Willow, Dopplegangland



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