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

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 Post subject: Yay!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2004 11:02 am 
Its so cool to see more of this fic up! I know I sound greedy already, but more please...?

 Post subject: Re: Yay!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2004 9:20 am 
No wonder these updates take time, it took me a while to read it :)

I noticed Tara doesn't talk/write herself 'down' or as 'dumb' so much as she writes Willow as being so brilliant. Quite a change for Tara, not to blame herself for everything and such. Good thing too.

Had to smile when reading Tara being worried about ' stimulate her mental faculties', she should be too worried about that. Tara stimulates lots of thoughts in Willow no doubt : -->>: .

About the group falling apart, thats a fairly normal process. The clinging to the old scooby group is the odd part. People change, get different friends and yes sometimes loose old friends. Nothing to worry to much about, friendship can't be one side so if for example Buffy rather spends time with Riley... so be it. Gives Willow more time with Tara :-). A friendship based purely on fighting demons (i.e. nessecity) doesn't seem all THAT great to me either.

Anyway I was wondering about that, never got the feeling there was a real *problem* in season 4 with their friends. It just was a group friends growing/moving in different directions. Granted Spike 'helped' a bit with the splitting.. all the rest felt a bit forced to me. I liked season4 up to and include NMR :) .

Oh the 'pffft' reminded me off both Willlows' response in Doppelgangerland, to Anya's claim she would rule the world or something similair.

About their rings, as I understand it both now have a connection-spell on their ring linking to the other. Willow's ring also has a protection spell on it, which is the reason Tara gave Willow the ring in the first place. Willow still needs to place a protection-spell on Tara's ring right ?? I ask because it took Tara a lot of effort to do that, so Willow's going to be very impressed knowing Tara went to such lengths to protect her. (I have to wonder if Tara's ring will have more protection given that Tara thinks Willow has more power compared to herself)

Good thing Tara's ring seemed to help her calm down a bit. She does tend to assume the worst of anything that could possibly be bad. If the ring helps reign that in, good.

Did smile about this: " She sort of tilts her head forward, narrows her eyes and scrunches her brow, it's actually kinda cute". Willow does that, looking cute when she wants to look fierce :) . I could easily imagine Willow doing something minor to those idiots outside. Can't imagine the sneering and such, just can't see reason why people would sneer about such things, probably me. It's not as if either Willow or Tara are activly pursuing the other woman in that hallway now is it ? They're minding their own business, ah well...

The what-if setup was interesting. Willow is indeed the only scooby who could have achieved way more in her life by leaving Sunnydale. Currently only Tara is holding her in Sunnydale really, it's not like Buffy or the other scoobs are being soooo good friends (note that I didn't write "need her" because I deem that a bad reason to stay).

Then again, anyone who has read other feedback from me on other stories knows I'm all for Willow leaving Sunnydale :) .

Indeed Willow's parent would have tried to get her to a good University. I wonder how she is going to talk them out of it.


"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

Edited by: Grimlock72 at: 2/28/04 9:23 am

 Post subject: Re: Yay!
PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2004 9:58 am 
I love this fic! I loved that you added that separation. It really added to the urgency. Poor Tara, I know how she feels waiting for those phone calls and trying to distract yourself and not being able to. And poor Willow is all over the place. She might want to move colleges but she's the one pushing to have a gf, hence and attachment to Sunnydale. Maybe that's the point, she feels that her friends aren't enough reason to keep her there and she wants to stay there. And the poem, great touch.

- - - - - - - - - - -
"Hard work often pays off after time but laziness always pays off now!"

 Post subject: Re: Yay!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 29, 2004 11:06 pm 
Tempest Duer, Imjustme, RaiStarr, Sheba, thanks for the compliments, I appreciate it, helps make the effort worthwhile.

Rose24, glad that the length didn’t equal mundane or dull. Yeah, they’re moving along relationship wise, but not overly quick. On the other hand we all know NMR is coming, though at this rate that’ll be a billion pages from now. J

Xita, I think I’ve stretched things a bit here, but hopefully it all seemed logical. Willow did tell Oz she hadn’t been anywhere which could mean she’s never left Sunnydale, but Palo Alto isn’t that far and shouldn’t compare to all the places Oz went. Also, I’ve brought up the distance from her friends earlier than Yoko Factor, which may be out of step with the show too. Still, Willow isn’t stupid and she should have noticed there were problems consciously, though Spike is later able to play on those. Glad you liked the poem, I tend to like the simpler more direct style or older stuff myself.

Grimlock, yeah I got caught up in this one and it just went on and on. I am actually surprised at how fast some of you read through it. But then I am mildly dyslexic and am a slow reader. Tara is starting to feel better about herself thanks to Willow, and I think while she’d be happy to stimulate Willow physically, she’d realize that more than that is necessary for a long relationship, anyway that’s sort of how I’d explain her doubts in season 5. Groups falling apart is a normal process, especially after High School, but that doesn’t make it easier to go through or something to regret or strive against. Maybe it is futile, but if friendship is truly important, than I would expect it to be worth struggling to maintain, but you are right, if all Willow and the Scoobies have in common is fighting demons, than that doesn’t seem like a true friendship at all. It does seem to me at times that everyone takes Willow for granted. They want her to help them either emotionally or with the “witch stuff” but often don’t want to be there for her. I am a little surprised Tara never got a bit steamed about that, though I suppose that happens more in season sux than earlier (save Oz’s departure, or course.) The rings, well Willow did put a protection charm on Tara’s before the locator spell, but, Tara did take more time and invested all her love and need for Willow in the one she gave her. That probably makes it more powerful. I also have always thought Tara could be more powerful if her will wasn’t subverted by her own fears and self doubts. In this case she would have overcome those to keep her love safe. Minding your own business is never an escape from ridicule by bigots unfortunately. I think we’ll see more of these girls, they might even end up with names.

Should Willow leave Sunnydale? That’s an interesting question or topic and partially depends on when. I think her choices for staying were valid and though she could learn and develop her intellect more elsewhere, she does play an important role in the group and she seems to be able to master any science in Sunnydale outside of school so why bother to go anywhere else? After all that Willow has done in Sunnydale, I think that if she did leave other places would seem a bit dull and she’d get bored. I might have to think about this some more.

Well, as said this next gap will be a bit longer I’m afraid. Too much work on my plate right now, but hopefully it won’t be too long. Thanks to all who’ve read this, hope it continues to be worth the time spent reading it.


 Post subject: Re: Yay!
PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 1:59 pm 
Read this one over the last few days and its great!

Not often we get to see Tara's POV on things. You also show Willow elements we don't get to see on the show - like her wondering how her life might have been different if she'd gone to a classier university.

Anyways... Good stuff - keep going! :applause

 Post subject: Re: Yay!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2004 12:26 am 
Betty2000, I sort of wondered how Willow's parent felt about her sticking around Sunnydale when she had such awesome opportunities elsewhere. And she must have wondered herself a bit with the way the group sort of split during the season, too. Glad you liked the story so far.

Well, the bad news. I haven't even started the next part yet. Well, I did a little something, but nothing substantive really. I am way bogged down with a roleplaying project for Time and Eden and pretty much every waking moment is going to that. Just thought I would let anyone interested know that eventually I'll get back to it, but not right now. Sorry, real life can sure ruin things.


 Post subject: Re: Yay!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2004 8:12 pm 
Too bad you can't get an update sooner, but I know it will be great when you finally get back to this wonderful story. I am looking forward to Tara's POV on NMR. I know it will be very emotional.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.

Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

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

 Post subject: Re: The Journal of...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2004 12:09 pm 
:gnome I started this wonderful story last night and read until 1:30 AM because at the start you said you posted completed fics! I was very frustrated when I got to my favorite chapter and the most emotionally charged one and the journals stopped.::cry I guess it was my fault for skipping all the comments, which I usually do , and reading just the story! I was really now I can only :pray that there will be an update. In the future, I will look at the last entry first! Well, I did totally :love what I read at any rate! Please complete this ASAP!

 Post subject: Re: The Journal of...
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2004 10:52 pm 
Rose24, thanks for the vote of confidence, I think NMR will be cool too, though I am actually thinking that WTWTA will be pretty interesting too. If I can remember what the hell I was going to do by then. Uggh, I am so swamped now. I think I am starting to miss W/T. Sigh. :)

Incitatua 8, well, I guess I owe you a slight apology. I do prefer complete stories and try to post such as well, though sometimes length precludes that. With this one I initially intended to do just Hush and leave it at that. That was complete, but then partially due to responses and such I decided to keep on going. Since this could go on forever, though I currently intend to stop after Restless, waiting till it is complete would be next to impossible. Feedback really does help keep my interest up (I'm a feedback whore, I admit it! :) ) and it would just take too long to finish before posting. Instead I try to make each episode a full and complete story in itself, within the broader season arc at least. So, sorry for the aggravation. I wish the next installment wasn't taking so long. I take it the last chapter was your favorite? Well at least things are improving, that's always good. I hope that you'll get around to the rest when it's done.

Well, still not getting anything done on this. But, I think there is light coming, thank god. Take care kittens,


 Post subject: Tara's Journals
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2004 8:55 pm 
I was extremely happy to get a reply from I know this story is still alive! Since you said you thrived on feedback, I'm sending you some because I definitely want you to write more. There are too many great aspects in your fic for me to even try to comment on them all!!!! I just feel as though I have gained such an insight and empathy for Tara. You have captured her insecurities and feelings so excellently! I love the way you have her talk to her mother and how she reveals all the facets that are Willow. I don't think I have ever read a fic that so clearly and insightfully explores Willow's personality and character as throughly as you have! Kudos too, for showing all the turmoil, stress, doubts, and insecurities involved in falling in love! When I read it, my heart was aching right along with Tara's...I found myself on more than one occasion chastizsng Willow for not calling. So you are wrong, the last chapter was not my favorite...I loved everyone! I have reread a chapter a night to savor each one again slowly. I think NMR will be my favorite...that's why you must continue! I will keep checking back and hoping that you will find inspiration! Take Care and thanks for all the wonderful feelings and pleasure your Journals have given me ...but I DO want more! :)

 Post subject: Re: Tara's Journals
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2004 8:48 am 
I second that

 Post subject: Re: Tara's Journals
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 1:57 pm 
Well it's been a while and felt at least a progress update would help. At the risk of jinxing it, I thought I would let everyone know that I am still working on this, it is not dead, and that I am about 90% through Where the Wild Things Are. I will still have to edit after it is completed, and I let at least one day go by before I do that. Still, I think it will be up by Friday this week. Hopefully, all spirits willing and the river don't rise! :) Hope everyone is still interested and ready to continue.


 Post subject: Re: Tara's Journals
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:13 pm 
:bounce there's gonna be an update there's gonna be an update :pinky :eatme

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 9:20 pm 
Yay!!!!! :pinky I'll be waiting(impatiently :wink )

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.

Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

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

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 6:01 am 
All riiiight! Yes I am still so totally interested, this is still one of my favourite fics of the moment! Thanks for not leaving us hangin' here Garner!


"Never underestimate the power of 'I'd like that'." - Lesson from Uncle John Mayer

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 1:25 pm 
Oh yes I'm still very intested. Those updates do tend to grow longer exponentially don't they ? :lol .

Thats okay, I like long chapters. I esp. like the Tara perspective style in this story. So yeah, I'll wait for it... not to worry :wave

"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

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 1:51 pm 
Yay! Update soon! Re-yay!

Where The Wild Things Are, uh?

Will we know at last where the hell Tara ran after the, uhm, 'horses incident'? :)


"I love slow, slow but deep, feigned affections wash over me" Dead Can Dance

Einstein was right.

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 A
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:03 pm 
OK, here, in the ever expanding chapter tradition (though only by about 6 pages this time) is the update. Sorry for the delay, hopefully it was worth the wait. Note the Rating change, just in case! There are 6 parts, A-F in this chapter!

Title: From the journal of Tara MaClay Pt. 12 (A-F)

Rating: R (maybe bumping NC – 17)

Summary: The events during Where the Wild Things Are in Season 4.

Note: Written April 2004. The entries are no longer consecutive days, some gaps may appear. Where the Wild Things Are has some really good Willow and Tara moments. When I first watched it, unspoiled and not a kitten, the scene on the stairs led me to some second thoughts about whether they would actually have Willow become a lesbian. In truth I didn’t believe they had the nuts to do it, though that was obviously where they had been going. Fortunately I was wrong, but I did expect them to take the easy way out and have the incident from Goodbye Iowa mean Tara was a demon and have to leave. Anyway for W/T Where the Wild Things Are is underrated and has some of my favorite W/T scenes, which I’ve doubtless butchered.

                        WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Monday Evening: Well here I thought I was all caught up with class and everything and that sure isn’t the case. I forgot about a quiz and a six week’s test got moved up. And then I also have a rough draft due Friday. I guess this is going to be a lot busier week than I had anticipated. I suppose it’s all for the best though, she has a bunch of projects and tests this week, too. You would think all the professors would try and schedule their exams a little more spread out rather than all at the same time! I mean, we’ll hardly have any time to get together, or really go out and do anything. Now that we’re official girlfriends it would be so nice to do the official fancy date thing. Oh well.

        At least we did meet this morning between classes. It was sort of like that first time I went to see her, after the Gentlemen had trapped us in the basement, only I wasn’t so nervous and scared. But when I saw her standing there in the lounge, waiting for ME, I smiled and she smiled and my heart started beating even more rapidly. It felt like I might faint or my chest would explode. I really wanted nothing more than to run over to her, take her in my arms and kiss her and hold her, stroke her hair, feel her pressed against me. How can anything so beautiful exist in this world? How can I be so lucky that such beauty is there for me?

        She had on this sort of floral brown skirt and a lighter, cheerier T-shirt with an adorable little puppy on it and a light blue sweater with some flowers on the right side. Her eyes sparkled when they saw me and her grin widened to match my own. I swear I felt pulled to her, like my feet had no choice but to move closer to her. Love has a gravity all its own that draws us together.

        I know we had spent the night together and everything, but after having been separated last week I hate being apart. I just can’t get enough of her. It’s probably stupid, but it’s true. Being in love leads to discovering the kernel of truth in all the clichés you ever hear.

        Instead of kissing and all that, she just put her hand on my arm, the contact sending tingles as her soft fingers sort of brushed along my skin and lingered ever so casually. The room spun so much I almost had to hold onto her just to stay on my feet. Hah, my Willow really does sweep me off my feet! Or near enough anyway. What was that about clichés?

        How will I ever find the words to let her know how much she means to me? Or the strength to say them, to give breath to the reality of my love for her and thereby make it more real and solid, something proclaimed for any with ears to hear? Could I ever do that or would the world split in two first; swallow me whole so as to hide my hideousness from the purity of her?

        I’m still so petrified. Mother, how can I take that last final risk? Chance ruining all that we have, perhaps drive her away with unwanted intensity? I need her so much, want her to need me and am terrified that the emotions that flow deep within me, stronger than any quantum laws, would scare her or are not answered. Why would she ever need me as I need her?

        She has everything, true friends that care about her, a boyfriend whom she loved and who loved her while still being a cool musician and shared himself with her physically as well as emotionally, more power than any I’ve seen, an intellect whose sharpness puts the finest Japanese blade to shame, and has the beauty of epic poems or ballads.

        Ah, Willow, your hand is around my heart and it controls my life. I ache so much when you aren’t here, the pain is pervasive and all consuming. You invade my dreams, my waking thoughts, all that I desire, and with each passing day it’s like you’re more and more a part of me. Without you I’m a sodden lump that the heavens have dumped rain and desolation upon. When you’re here it’s like the life energy of the sun has graced me with a private audience, showered me with a light that makes me want to unfurl and stretch towards it no matter how likely it is I might get burned.

        No, I can’t jeopardize things now, not with her still reflecting on the time at Stanford. Her parents really are insidious. They might be able to do what no vampire or demon has so far: take my Willow away.

        She talked a bit more about the trip and the other graduate students she met. How good the computer equipment was, the software being designed, that sort of thing. Did I hear a wistful tone in her voice or was that just the last echoes of a vague regret? Or it could’ve been as simple as being distracted by all the work she has to do. She certainly wasn’t as productive as I was over the break! I’ll bet this is the only time I’ll ever be ahead of her in something school related.

        And of course the bad news is that she’s spending tonight with Buffy, doing the best friend thing and telling her all about her vacation. Damn it, I want to feel her next to me, smell her wonderful scent, taste her lips.

        And as if that wasn’t bad enough, I got caught in a sudden downpour on the way to my afternoon Art History class and was almost totally soaked before I even got into the building. My stuff didn’t get too wet, but I must have looked like a bedraggled refugee. Throughout the whole class I just shivered and wished she was there to rub my arms and keep me warm. She’s so good at that, so soft too, with wonderfully smooth silky limbs that wrap around me like the most comfortable blanket ever.

        All right, enough Willow-thoughts, I can be productive gal and get some work done so that when she does come over I’m not guilt-ridden girl. I can put her out of my mind for a short time, really, I can.

Tuesday Afternoon: Gah, what a morning. I should just tumble back into bed, it’s so cold in the room, even with my blanket wrapped around me, but I just don’t want to lie there anymore. My back hurts and my neck is sore and my sides ache from coughing. For once I thank the Goddess that she wasn’t with me last night.

I dreamed of her of course. We sat together on a fancy dinner table holding hands and looking at all the immense heaps of food that sat on fine white china, all several times bigger than we were. Giant crystal glasses of water and red wine acted like filters to send colored pools of light here and there, while the humungous saucers and cups of coffee steamed away carrying the pungent scent of mochas with it.

        We made a game of moving in and out amongst the dishes and silverware. The sun was high above us in a brilliant blue sky with the occasional cloud oddly resembling little ships moving about on their own accord, it shone brightly and heated everything to an almost uncomfortable level.

        A huge jello mold all orange and wiggly attracted our attention and little bits of fruit the size of our heads swam within it, little black seedy eyes and happy laughing mouths adorned each, but when they became aware of us they burst from the side of the gelatinous wall and their mouths became nasty and scornful.

        We ran amongst the plates, dodged between salt and pepper shakers that towered over us, but the saucers and cups twisted and turned, barring our route, forcing us this way and that. We continued to run, but suddenly the forks and knives leapt up in front of us and I stumbled and let go of her and then a wall of tines and steel blades was between us.

        The fruit cackled and hissed at me, but continued after Willow while the silverware waltzed me away, dancing me further and further from her. The melon bits, apple chunks, peach segments and cherry pieces swarmed around her and she looked at them and lifted her hands to cover her head and they swept her up and carried her over the edge and out of site though I frantically called her name.

        Which is when I woke up coughing and all soaked. I felt hot and my stomach lurched and I recalled the drenching from yesterday and that’s when I realized I had to get to the bathroom, fast. I made it, but barely. I hate throwing up, the smell, the cold floor pressing into my hands, the stomach convulsions.

        And to make matters worse those girls were there again, Mandy, I think I heard one of them called. She smirked at me and said something like ‘Well I’d say someone had morning sickness but we know that can’t be the case.’ And one of the others added, ‘Probably just ate some bad tuna,’ and they all laughed as they left. I was too sick to even care…much.

        Now I have the chills and a fever, and my stomach is still doing aerobatics and I don’t have any medicine or any of the right herbs to take, all used up in the last spell probably. I’m just going to lie back down I guess and try and sleep. Thank the Goddess I wasn’t supposed to see her today. I must look terrible, all pasty, wet, and clammy and I’d hate to make her sick, too. Maybe a little water would be a good idea first?

Wednesday Evening: She’s a goddess, have I said that before? Well she is. My own red haired, emerald eyed, innocent faced goddess. She came by yesterday evening and I could tell by the frantic rapping at the door that thundered through my consciousness and brought me staggering out of bed that it was her and that she was agitated for some reason.

        I thought at first something had happened, maybe to Buffy or Riley, maybe even to her and my semi-delirious mind pictured her standing there torn and bleeding. I opened the door in a near panic and fortunately she seemed unblemished and all right, though I couldn’t say why she seemed to swell and dwindle. I guess the sudden dread and quick rise from bed was too much for my poor stomach and she barely had time to say hi and register that something was wrong before I bolted down the hallway to my new favorite stall.

        She came after me calling my name, I think, and Mandy and the others were in the hallway and I believe said something because I vaguely recall a very angry Willow-voice shouting back at them, short and sharp, the anger resonating off the walls making my head throb even more and the contents of my stomach leap up and almost out there in the hallway.

        I made it to the toilet again and was sick for the second time that day. Afterwards I just sort of lay with my face pressed on my hands, the cool tile floor beneath me and I thought, ‘Oh Goddess, just take my stomach and leave the rest of me here. I can’t possibly need it that much.’

        And then she was there, wet towels in her hand which she pressed against my forehead. She gave me a little cup of water to get that taste out of my mouth and probably said something kind, something soothing and nice but I was just too exhausted to hear her.

        She helped me back to my room and tucked me in bed again, rubbed my neck and forehead, which felt so nice with her cool fingers. I seemed a little better then and thanked her and told her she shouldn’t get too close or she’d get whatever bug I had. She said not to worry, she was bug-resistant and kissed my forehead with too cool lips.

        I sighed and mumbled something and she told me to go to sleep. She had dinner with her parents in a bit, but if I wanted she’d stay. I said she should go, do the family thing and that I needed the rest, but if she could bring some aspirin back after? She of course agreed and after making sure I had some water and was settled, quietly slipped out.

        I slept a bit more and dreamed of swimming within in a sea of crimson locks, all silky and sweet smelling. I stretched out luxuriously within them and sank deeper and deeper but got no sense of drowning, just being safe and home.

        I woke to the sound of her voice a while later. She had a lemony flavored tea in a mug and some nighttime cold medicine for me to take along with the aspirin. There was actually a whole battery of little boxes on my desk, Mylanta for upset stomach, Sucrets for sore throat, Tylenol Sinus for a runny nose, cough syrup and cough drops, even some Pepto-Bismal. And bless her she’d restocked my herbs, too.

        I was soaked through again but didn’t feel as hot or dizzy and my stomach after drinking the tea, with liberal dollops of honey I realized, seemed to have landed at the airport and taxied to a halt, at least for now.

        She asked how I felt and I responded that I felt drained but better, still tired even after all the sleep I’d gotten. She observed that I looked all drowned and marched me off to the showers to rinse and change.

        The warm water felt great and I soaked longer than normal and then dried off. She wasn’t in evidence while I did, so I returned to the room to find the bed changed and her tidying up my pillows that I must have tossed about the room.

        I thanked her, said I didn’t know what I’d do without her and asked about her dinner with the parents. She shushed me, said she’d talk about it later, but now was the time for sickos to get back into bed and rest, to which I replied that she’d have to take her shoes off first. I thought it was pretty good for an addled brain if not up to her friend Xander’s usual level.

        She smiled and said I must be feeling better if I wanted to mess around in bed which made me blush and wish I was feeling that good, but my limbs hung heavy and my joints were starting to twinge painfully again. I let out a breath and she steered me onto the bed and under the covers with her concerned look on her face.

        She had me roll over and rubbed my back a bit and asked if I wanted her to stay or not, though it was pretty clear she intended to stay all night. I turned on my side and told her I appreciated what she’d done, was really glad for the medicine, the tea and everything, but she shouldn’t stay all night. She had her own work to do this week, projects that needed to get done and couldn’t afford to catch whatever I had. I was just going to sleep, I was so drowsy again already, and that I’d call her tomorrow or if I thought I needed anything.

        She was reluctant to leave, I could tell. Her desire to comfort and help evident in her gaze, but I hated the idea of her going through the same. I’ve always sort of retreated into myself when sick, sleep a lot and just wait till it burns itself out. I told her as much and she finally looked convinced. She said she’d check in the next morning just to be sure.

        She kissed me on the forehead and cheek one last time and then turned off the lights and left with a ‘hope you feel better tomorrow.’

        When I awoke the next morning, without recalling any dreams for a change, I did indeed feel better. My throat hadn’t been all that sore or my nose runny and the fever either hadn’t returned or had burned out a second time during the night. I still felt a little queasy and sort of tired, despite all the sleep, but definitely better.

        She was there again, sitting in one of the chairs by the desk, working in notebook and chewing a bagel. She must have sensed my movement because she stopped, put down her pen and came over asking cheerfully how I was doing.

        I replied that thanks to nurse Rosenberg I was much better, thank you. She came over and sat by me and felt my forehead and I had to ask if there was a bowl of chicken soup in my future?

        She turned red, laughed and said not all stereotypes were bad ones in her mock hurt voice. I gave her a quick peck on the cheek and said I thought some soup for lunch would be just fine and thanked her again for looking after me. She said it was nothing, no big deal, she was just glad I was better.

        We talked for a little bit about nothing in particular before I headed out to the bathroom with more cold medicine while she headed for class.

        We met up for lunch around noon and sure enough she had chicken soup for me that she heated in one of the cafeteria microwaves. As we ate I asked how her dinner with the parents went?

        She got a pensive sort of look and replied that it was about what she expected. They extolled the virtues of Stanford, what a great place it was, how they really liked the facilities, the faculty and all the opportunities available there, but she didn’t think it was the right place for her.

        I asked why, not really wanting to encourage her to go or anything like that, but I had to know what she was thinking, what reasons she had for staying. I certainly hoped it wasn’t just for me. I mean, it would be nice and flattering and romantic and all that, but I’d hate to be the lodestone drawing her down, keeping her from really living up to her potential. I couldn’t be worth that.

        She took a little time to consider and then said that she just didn’t think it was the right place for her, not now at least. Yeah, maybe graduate school there might be attractive, it was hard to say and she had time to think about that, but right now she just couldn’t see herself anywhere else. The Hellmouth was too much for just Buffy, even with Riley’s help. She acknowledged that Giles was here, but she still felt she was an important part of the group and she didn’t want to be the one to abandon the rest, no matter how distant they’d sort of become right now. She hated that, but she didn’t want to be the first to give up and move on just because things were a little strained. They had been through too much together.

        She fell quiet then for a few more seconds as people moved past us and she softly continued that she also didn’t know if she wanted to leave me either. She cared about me quite a bit and she was going through so many changes, learning new things about herself, about witchcraft. Things were happening fast enough without adding the pressure of a new college, adjusting and fitting in.

        She looked at me with those big doe eyes of hers, all vulnerable and questioning if I understood what she meant, looking for some reassurance that she was making the right choice. How could I not give her what she needed, what I needed? I told her that as long as she’d thought things through carefully and her mind and heart were in accord then she was making the right decision.

        I looked down at my half finished soup and the cracker crumbs scattered on the table and then looked back up and reached out and briefly touched her hand. I looked into her eyes once more and said I wouldn’t stop her from leaving, or doing whatever was best for her, but I was glad she wouldn’t be going. She was more important to me than anyone else but my mother ever had been.

        It was as close to telling her I loved her as I could come, especially with my stomach again being agitated and the swirl of activity occurring around us. Ah, it’s as close as I could’ve come even if we’d been alone.

        But she gave me that look and a half grin and squeezed my still outstretched hand and I had to look down again. How would I ever be able to really communicate to this extraordinary girl how much she really did mean to me? She moves my heart, my body, even my mind to new levels I’d never thought possible for someone like me.

        Goddess I hope I’m not so far gone that I define myself in her. I know who and what I am and maybe that’s the problem. Evil, nothing, homely, beneath notice, and barely tolerable; all the things Father and Donny have said and drilled into me. Do I truly love her or am I just seeking self-validation? No, that’s just being neurotic. I know how I feel, and while I may never have known love or friendship before, this is too powerful and real to be my imagination or simply some psychological reaction. Yes, I may be lost in her, want her, need her, maybe even be a bit dependent on her but I won’t let any of that get in the way of what I know. I love her and she has feelings for me, too. That’s all that matters.

        Perhaps I should try writing how I feel for her, translating my emotions into a poem, some ballad or sonnet of love and devotion? I mean, I did give her all those pieces to listen to, that was pretty cheesy so how much worse could some bad scribblings be? I just wish I had an artistic bent so I could express myself to her more clearly. Well, besides just grabbing her, ripping off her clothes and licking her to within an inch of her life. I bet that’d be more fun though.

        Ah Mother, when she gives me that look it’s like I melt inside. I can feel the warmth rise up in my chest and spread throughout me. I just want to soar into her and be with her, in her, surrounded by her and I can’t help but thinking about the magic we’ve shared and how our essences have merged, or that night with the nether spell. I can’t believe that we weren’t somehow meant to be together, to have met each other.

Continued immediately below...

Edited by: Garner at: 4/22/04 3:17 pm

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 B
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:05 pm 
From the Journal...Where the Wild Things Are, Part B

        We ate in relative silence, the din of the cafeteria providing an insulating cocoon around us, pressing us together yet keeping the other students from us. Even just eating a simple meal with her is special, an experience to treasure.

        Finally I asked how her parents took her decision and she replied that they weren’t exceptionally happy and gave a little sardonic laugh. Her mother was more upset and disappointed, but agreed that graduate school someplace prestigious was a good plan and to make sure I didn’t waste my time here, kept up my studies and was careful about the sort of friends I associated with. The usual parenting stuff. I did sense a bit of relief and perhaps just the oddest little wistfulness again as well. Whether it was from her parents or the last vestiges of the road she didn’t take I don’t know.

        She walked me to my class and it was a nice cool day. She had on that red jacket again and some darker pants that definitely showed off her rear very nicely. I sort of wished I could just stare at her walking away from me forever. Well, no, I’d want her to come back to me, but still…

        She has to make up for lost time and get her projects done so she’s going to be studying late tonight. She said she could drop by when she was done, see how I was doing, but I said, and did feel, that I was still not fully recovered and would just turn in early. I told her she didn’t need to check on me and she replied that she knew that, but it made her feel better to know that I was OK. She even gave me a cute concerned smile, but I insisted she needed to get her work done and we could meet the next morning before lunch if she wanted and so we settled on that.

        I did watch her walk off to the next class before heading in for mine. All that trig, sines and cosines, seemed more bewildering than usual, but my mind wasn’t really on it. The curves of a certain redhead swirled in my head instead.

Thursday Morning: Only time for a quick note before heading to class. Mandy and her bunch were in the bathroom this morning and were making comments again, mostly just name calling, dyke, fur bumper, stuff like that. It’s funny, I’ve never been noticed enough before for anyone to really pick on me, it’s kinda strange. Well, except for Donny of course, but that’s different. And the interesting thing is that I’m starting to care less and less, at least for now. I have a girlfriend, someone who values and respects me, said I was beautiful, likes me for who I am. How can the blind prejudice of ignorant strangers dampen that? Let them think what they want, it doesn’t matter. It’s a sick, sad world when people have nothing better to do than belittle others for so little.

        I got quite a bit done last night. I spent the evening in the library, went over the trig again and highlighted some areas I wanted her to help me with, worked on the chemistry, went over my art history, I was amazingly productive. I even had a chance to look at the witchcraft book she brought back for me. It’s in old French. That’s about as similar to the modern version as Chaucer’s English is to current speech. It’s going to take a bit more work than I’d thought. Still, the script is thin and a bit spidery but clear. The diagrams seem interesting, ritual layouts, candle setup and various sigils, that sort of thing. I’m actually looking forward to getting into it.

        And I even tried to write a little poetry for her. It was all terrible. It’s probably a poor idea anyway, I should just as soon try to write her a song and sing it, embarrass myself completely. I just wish I had some talent, even if it was only for her.

        She called instead of coming by. The phone startled me as I was working on verse then and it was unexpected. I knew it was her though, who else would call me? It was so cool to hear her voice, the worry and concern there. She just wanted to make sure I didn’t need anything, wasn’t feeling worse.

        I gripped the phone tight to my head, as if I could somehow get closer to her. My eyes were misty and I might have sniffled a bit. It’s still so new to have someone care that much, she’s so sweet and thoughtful.

        We talked for a short while and then hung up. I just sat there afterwards and marveled at what had just happened. It was like we were a real couple, which I suppose we are. I can’t wait to see her again this morning.

Thursday Afternoon: I caught another glimpse of her Scooby life today. We met up outside my chem. class and she said Buffy was meeting with Giles at Stevenson so she thought maybe we’d join in, see what the what was, whatever that is. I’ve said she can be too cute didn’t I. And she was too, wearing a neat red skirt and this purple shirt with an apple on it. I just had on my blue pants and that pinkish, red, white swirl shirt, but I did but my hair back in a pony tail cuz she said she liked how it made my face more visible. I wish I was anywhere near as attractive as she is. I know, she says she likes how I look, but I know who’s the real beauty in our relationship, even if I’m not the beast.

        We got there first though Mr. Giles was only a moment behind us. We chose a spot in the first floor lounge and sat down on one of the sofas, her next to me, the former librarian on one of the chairs. I pulled my feet up under me while she excitedly told him about Stanford and some of the programs she’d seen there, the library and how big it was yet how the occult section was pretty poor comparatively. He interjected a few Hmmns, and oh reallys until she mentioned the magic store and the book she found. That peaked his interest and he told me that rare magical works like that were very valuable and if I needed any assistance in going through it to be sure to let him know. I like Mr. Giles, he’s so proper, and English.

        Buffy and Riley finally showed up and sat together across from us, virtually on top of one another. Everything must be going better with them as they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Constant contact, hand holding, rubbing. It made me happy for the Slayer that she was at ease and over whatever problems Faith had caused. They seem so happy together and from what Willow has said they seem perfect for each other. I mean he’s a commando and knows what she does, is trained and can handle himself yet seems to respect and admire her abilities. Their auras are more in tune than they know. Love must be in the air.

        Actually it was kinda distracting. I mean here they were able to be as close and affectionate as they wished and while I don’t think I would’ve been comfortable being quite so effusive with everyone else there, it might’ve been nice to hold her hand a bit, or maybe sit closer.

        Anyway, they related how last night they ran into a vampire and a demon working together, or at the very least one came to the other’s aid, which Mr. Giles thought was odd as they normally despise one another. I think he said demons consider vampires abominations. Buffy figured it was Adam who was bringing them together since he was made from various different parts and I had to add he was sort of a Martin Luther King bridging the races.

        Mr. Giles thought it was significant and something to keep tabs on, though when Riley mentioned a party planned for tomorrow night he seemed to think that was ill timed, but Riley said his men had been working especially hard lately and needed some time to relax and blow off steam. I bet he’s a very good leader and his soldiers all like him; he always seems to be concerned with their welfare.

        He even invited Mr. Giles, who declined saying he had other plans at the Expresso Pump and when I asked what they were he just said it was adult stuff we wouldn’t be interested in. Maybe he has a date!? That would be cool for him.

        There was no real news on Adam and since Buffy and Riley had some time before their next class they decided to…well, go be intimate. Which Willow had to point out explicitly though it was so obvious even Mr. Giles knew what was going on. She was very cute about it though. It made me wish we could do the same thing. If love really is in the air it would be nice to partake.

        The meeting broke up and we headed slowly off to class. She was quiet for a while and we walked together in silence though I could tell that something was troubling her. Not a lot, but in some small way, certainly. Finally she said that it sounded like Buffy and Riley had been pretty busy lately, lots of activity. I could tell by the way she said it and how her aura flickered that she was upset at being all out of the loopy, as she calls it.

        Hadn’t she spent some time with the Slayer recently, I questioned? She said that she had on Monday, but that they hadn’t actually talked that long. Buffy went on about Riley and she’d probably spoken too much about her trip and it seemed like neither of them had really listened to the other that much. It was like they each had separate lives going on and they intersected less and less. She missed just hanging out, even if she was happy that Buffy finally had someone who was normal enough and nice and not dead or anything.

        I laughed responding that it’d seemed she’d liked Angel too, and that she was just a romantic at heart, wanting everyone to have someone. She sort of rolled her eyes there, my guess thinking about Xander and Anya. Still, it’s true, she’s so kind and compassionate, she does want the best for everyone. I think that she often gets disappointed by people, the world, maybe her parents lack of attention and over the years has built this sort of quiet nerdy shell for herself. A way to keep herself safe from everything. I wish I could convince her that with me she has nothing to fear, that she’ll always be safe. I’d never do anything to hurt her, I love her too much to be able to bear the thought of that.

        And suddenly I felt sort of bold and since she’d have probably asked me in a bit anyway I went ahead and asked her if she wanted to go to the party with me, but I did get nervous by that point and sort of trailed off adding, that she knew, the one Riley was having and which Buffy and everyone would probably be at anyway and how it probably wouldn’t be that big a deal and…

        And she stopped me with a smile and that look saying she’d love to go on a date with me to the party. It sounded like fun and as she said it she did seem happier. Since I was being daring already I asked if she was free tonight, maybe wanted to come over and do a spell and help me with the dread trig some more? She laughed and said that would be great, she’d gotten most of her work done and should be able to finish up the last little bit this afternoon. She said if I hadn’t just been sick she’d suggest we go out to someplace nice tonight, sort of celebrate just being together, but that maybe it would be better to do that the later when I was all better.

        I had to agree that was probably the best plan, though I smiled at her and it felt great to hear her suggest it nonetheless. Since we were at her class she gave my arm a squeeze, trailed her fingers along my palm sending a tiny shiver through me and I joked that she was such a tease which earned me a big smile and a different look that was sort of calculating and hungry at the same time. For some reason I got the impression that if each of us let our emotions, our passions, loose it would be like two raging rivers crashing into each other. Now that truly was, and still is, a thought to distract one most effectively. If I didn’t want, need, her so much it’d almost be funny.

        I think I might take a little nap here before dinner. I am actually mostly caught up. I got some more done over lunch and in the early afternoon. Class is interesting enough, but with all that’s going on outside of school it’s sometimes hard to remember what it is I’m doing here. She’s come to dominate my thoughts, mind, actions so much, everything else seems to pale by comparison. Yay, an ‘A’ in this class or that, Monet painted this in such and such a year, whatever, when will she paint me with her tongue?

        I tried to work on the poem but no appropriate words came to my mind. Nothing poetic certainly. Maybe I’ll try and translate some of the book she gave me, see if there are any interesting spells in that. They might be a bit clearer than the rest of it.

Friday Afternoon: What an incredible night! Not that every one with her isn’t, but this one was better, bestest. I missed my first class this morning, but after she left I just didn’t feel like getting up, wanted to lie there amidst the scent and warmth of her. She was worried I was having a relapse and I had to assure her that wasn’t the case, I just wanted to prolong the sense of belonging and well being.

        And it started out on such a sour note, too. I had just come back from dinner, which was mostly a little salad and soup; I really wasn’t fully recovered and didn’t want to push myself too much. I ‘d napped and felt refreshed, was even productive for a while. When I came back to the room there was a square of red rug taped to the door and a stupid note saying something like I needed a little fresh red carpet to rub against. I was just disgusted and threw it in the trash without giving it much regard. People can be so petty and stupid sometimes, it sorta makes me think that maybe they deserve the various creatures the Hellmouth attracts to the area. Not really, but there are times…

        She was late getting here, too, which is so not like her. After about half an hour I thought about calling, but didn’t want to appear too desperate or needy, though in her case something bad could easily have happened, but I reasoned that Buffy would call me if that were the true, or if not her Riley certainly would. I didn’t start to panic, so good on me, but I was getting worried that’s for sure.

        A few minutes later I heard her knock and was instantly at the door to let her in. She had an exasperated look about her and came in with a sheepish smile and a kinda subdued hi and then flopped in the chair at the desk.

        I asked what was wrong, since it was plain that something was, and she said she’d been on the phone with her mother for the last hour. She’d thought they’d settled the question of Stanford already, but apparently that’d only been round one. Her mother had been checking into women in the sciences and various scholarships and such for graduate school for later, just to be ready, and found some pretty good deals that she could apply to now, for next year. Apparently her mother came to the conclusion that she was just staying here to be with ‘that musician fellow, Buzz or something,’ whom she certainly didn’t approve of. She practically accused Willow of being nothing but a band groupie and how that was no way to realize her potential or become empowered. It sounded like this was as close as she’d come to an actual fight with her parents, even including the time her mother tried to burn her at the stake.

        She went on a little more about how she had to tell them that Oz’d left school and left her and that she didn’t know where he was and they weren’t seeing each other any more and that certainly didn’t mean that her mother should even start to think about setting her up with anyone though she knew that was coming since one of her mom’s colleague’s sons was going to Stanford for physics which is actually the science she’s least interested in and how is she ever going to tell her mother that she likes girls now much less that she’s dating one? Again, all in basically one breath in that wonderfully delirious and enchanting Willow-babble she does so often. I still smile just thinking about it.

        What was I going to say? I know all about the problems family can cause, but I’ve never had any answers there. My great solution was basically to leave, sort of run away. They know I’m at college, let me go, but they don’t know where, exactly, even if I do have to go back there over Christmas and in parts of the summer. I call infrequently and we certainly aren’t close. They especially don’t know I’m a lesbian, I think my Father would what? Burst a vein in his forehead? At the very least I’d be reprimanded, punished, watched and prayed over till I was ‘better’ or ‘cured.’ I have no intentions of ever telling them, that’s for sure.

        Poor Willow, she wasn’t so much sad as just fed up and maybe a little frustrated. From what she’s said about Buffy and her mom, Joyce, I believe she wishes her relationship with her parents was similar to theirs. And I just don’t know what she thinks or feels about Oz anymore. He hasn’t come up in a while, but her aura shows the pain is still fresh, the loss still present and that she still cares very deeply about him. I wonder if that should scare me more? If he came back would she return to him? Where would we stand? I know some about him and he seems fairly nice, his wolf side notwithstanding. Still, it’s hard to think kindly of, or forgive, someone who hurt her so badly, gave up the most fantastic and amazing woman ever. I mean, he hasn’t even called her or kept in contact, how caring is that?

        All right, I know I’m letting my own darker side surface, letting my jealousy over what she shared with him cloud my judgment and better nature. I probably should be ashamed, but damn it, how could he do that to her, her!

        I was silent for a moment and then finally inquired if they reached any conclusions or settlement? She shook her head and said she had, it would just take a little while for her mother to get on the same page, and she sighed. Ah, another of the pitfalls of being gay, what and when do you tell your parents? Wait too long and they’ll find out from someone else, too soon and, well, maybe there isn’t too soon unless they kick you out of course. One of the girls in the Lesbian Alliance said her friend had come out, eventually worked things through with her family only to meet a guy her second year in college and was now getting married to him and probably could have saved herself a lot of grief. That happens sometimes, the going back to boysville, and it makes me a little scared in her case. Is this just a rebound phase after Oz? Some rebellion or protest against guys in general? And here I was in such a good mood. I can’t let this bother me or let it ruin things between us. Mother always said could bes and maybes have less power than moonlight, and less substance to walk on.

continued immediately below...

Edited by: Garner at: 4/22/04 3:08 pm

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 C
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:07 pm 
From the Journal...Where the Wild Things Are Part C

        She looked contemplative for a while so I went and got out my sketchbook for some paper and some watercolors. I thought it might be neat if we practiced telekinesis by trying to draw something together by directing the brushes, or maybe possibly applying the paint directly. We could even try both controlling the same brush and see how synchronized we are.

        She suddenly exclaimed ‘What the hell is this?’

        I spun around and she was holding the carpet and note, which I hadn’t even bothered to crumple up when I tossed it. The garbage was sitting right next to her and it was no stretch to figure that the big blocky letters had easily caught her attention.

        I stated it was no big, just the girls down the hall being stupid, but she got that scrunched up brow thing again and her hand closed tightly around the paper as she declared this was verging on harassment and how many other times had they said stuff?

        I tried to be off hand responding maybe a couple others, when I was being sick in the bathroom, once down in the cafeteria, but that it didn’t bother me because I had her and I didn’t care what juvenile girls like them thought.

        Her look softened as she smiled at me but then the hard expression returned and she said while she shouldn’t care either, it still wasn’t right and there’d be no end to the hassling and who knew what they’d do? She’d had her fill of bullies and being picked on like that in high school and she certainly wouldn’t tolerate this sort of persecution, especially not when it was targeting someone she cared about.

        I smiled at her; she can be so fierce and protective sometimes. I explained that while I basically agreed with her, we shouldn’t descend to their level by striking back; that would be wrong, too.

        I could see her jaw clench for a moment and the anger work through her. Obviously she’d been subject to too much belittlement in high school and this hit a raw nerve, as the cliché goes. She wanted to do something and was clearly thinking about what would be appropriate and yet not get me upset, too. At the time I was just worried, though in retrospect it was kinda funny. She looked so serious and annoyed, angry and still trying to think. I stood there and waited a moment while she considered until a half grin, almost predatory, rose up.

        I asked her what she had in mind, slightly afraid she wanted to conjure water in their rooms or transmute the air there into fetid earth or some such retaliation. She explained that since I always said that evil actions or spells return on their caster threefold, we should put that principle to use on them. We’d curse them so that any ill thoughts or actions towards others would result in bad luck for them. It’d be sort of like the gypsy evil eye. If they were smart, which she doubted, they’d figure it out and change their ways.

        Actually, it wasn’t that bad of an idea, I had seen several hexes of a similar nature and ill luck was a common curse. Of course, ill luck could include getting run over by a car, and I didn’t want that to happen so we’d have to be a little careful about the spell’s particulars. And I thought it better that they know why bad luck was happening to them so I suggested we get the spell ready, and then wait till the next time they did something and then cursed them so they knew who and why it was done. That way they’d have to come to us to get it removed and ask forgiveness. They might even learn something; it was possible.

        She smiled at me, got up and came over to take my hand, looked in my eyes and said I was so smart, that I always came up with the perfect answer and she kissed me long and deeply. I practically had tears in my eyes I was so happy. Goddess what she does to me, makes me feel!

        I just about dissolved into her and hugged her tightly to me, returning the kiss like a drowning person clinging to a line suddenly thrown their way. As we parted she expressed some amazement at how much better I must be feeling and we both giggled a bit and kissed again.

        Finally we broke and she went to my spell books to look for an appropriate curse. I suggested a couple that might contain something similar and outlined my telekinesis idea. She thought that was neat, but that we better put out the picnic blanket in case it got messy, which was probably a wise precaution.

        We ended up finding a good hex based on gypsy magic that we only had to alter slightly to ensure nothing lethal occurred. We prepared two little herb bags and got everything ready so we could perform the spell at any point.

        I have to admit it sort of felt good to be able to do something other than shrink into myself, hide behind my hair. I’ve always felt so powerless and unable to change much in my life. Mother, I think you’d be proud of me. I don’t think I overreacted, yet I did something, am standing up for myself. She’s so amazing, so much more than that. Maybe someday I’ll call on your spirit and you can meet her though I kinda think you already know how special she is as you watch over me. She makes me happy, allows me to see the joy in the world, for the first time realize that all is not evil and ugliness, that good things are possible for me. I’m hers to my last breath, for as long as she’ll have me. I just hope and pray that that’s forever. Goddess, let that be so.

        Since it wasn’t too late at that point she made me get my trig book out and helped me with the few points I was stuck on. I finally got what they were trying to getting at and was able to finish the last few questions on my homework. She was so patient and helpful, I know I wouldn’t be doing anywhere near as well if it weren’t for her tutoring. She’d make a really good teacher, though I don’t think she realizes how good.

        She suggested a snack but I said I was still full and didn’t want to really have more than some water, but that she should go ahead and get something if she wanted. She decided that I really did need some juice and ran down to the snack bar while I set up the water color paints, the brushes and the sketchbook, which I leaned against the chair, on the orange blanket. I hadn’t fully explained my idea to her yet and I hoped it would be something she’d enjoy, though she should have been back already. What was keeping her? I hoped she hadn’t had a run in with Mandy and her cohorts.

        She re-entered the room a few minutes later saying there’d been a line, everyone must have had the same idea at the same time. I drank my juice, which actually did taste good and was just what I needed, and told her what I’d planned. She thought it was a neat idea and wanted to know what we should paint? I suggested something simple like basic shapes, a house or a tree, maybe.

        We sat side by side, my left arm entwined with her right, our hands linked while our legs pressed together since we sat with them under us oriental style. That was nice enough and the sense of energy and magic flowing between us just made it even more exciting. It’d been a little while since we’d done a spell together and it felt great to have her essence and mind merging, tingling every nerve.

        We each lifted a brush and dipped it in the paint and started trying to create something recognizable. She did a sort of zigzaggy, shaggy tree while I made an oblong house with a more Picasso-esque set of windows. It was a lot harder than I’d thought it would be, even letting our energies feed off each other.

        At one point our brushes collided in the air and sort of twirled and bumped as we went for the same color. She got that mischievous smirk on her face and suddenly her brush was painting a red stripe on my face.

        I laughed at the cold liquid and how the bristles sort of tickled and sent mine flying to paint yellow dots on her face. What followed was a duel of epic proportions to be sure. We squealed and harrumphed and giggled and never let go of each other. When we were done I think there was more paint on our faces and arms than on the sketchpad. And the funniest thing was, even with all that paint, the purple and yellow and green on her, she still looked so beautiful. I don’t think there’s a color in the world that could mar it.

        Fortunately we hadn’t messed up the room that much and we decided before heading off to the showers to clean up, that we’d try working together once, just to see how hard that was.

        We concentrated and one of the brushes rose up, it dipped in the paint and flew over to the paper and moved in short swift strokes. It was amazing to see the fence spring up around the house. It wasn’t perfectly straight, but it was more consistent than our individual efforts and had an oddly surreal feel to it. The planks looked somehow sort of old and worn, homey and used, but natural and not dilapidated. We added some bushes, a sun and some blue to the sky. Renoit didn’t have to worry in his grave, but despite that it had an artistry that evoked a powerful feeling of home within me. I still don’t know why and I think she felt it too because we were both quiet and sat there, our legs now falling asleep and knees starting to ache, just looking at it.

        Finally we both said cool, and agreed it was a neat effort and fun, but I was suddenly tired and worn out. As I got up my legs tingled and we had to help steady each other as the pins and needles of returning blood sort of made us do a little jig of shaking limbs. Which got us laughing again.

        I yawned and said I was exhausted and instantly she was all mother hen and wanted me to get ready for bed while she cleaned up. I tried to help but she thrust my shower stuff in my hands and ushered me out before I could protest much. The hot water felt great and I soaked in the stream, letting the paint and weariness sort of wash from me. I dried off while she washed and headed back.

        She’d gotten a little more juice, which proved to be just what I wanted again, and I saw that everything was straightened up and put away. My little ball of energy, so industrious.

        I got under the covers and shut most of the lights off but the small one by the bed. I wanted to wait till she got back, but really was just so tired that my eyes kept drooping and I nodded off.

        I awoke as she slipped into bed and I felt her curl up behind me, and slip her hand around my belly. Her face nuzzled the back of my neck and she smelled so clean and like her herbal shampoo, so like Willow that a tear coursed from one eye, dampening the pillow. Her lips brushed the area beneath my ear and she said good night.

        I sighed and sort of twisted a bit so I could see her outline in the darkness, smell her more strongly, feel more of her alongside me. I was sleepy but I wanted to, had to, touch her, take her lips in mine, feel her hair slide through my fingers, the sensation sending vibrations through me.

        We kissed a few times, let our hands sort of languidly caress and rub each other. I could feel the excitement, the arousal building, but in a muted sort of way, my weariness still not entirely chased off. I let one hand wander down and stroke her rear end, felt her hand on my hip and side, her forearm brush mine as she also grasped my butt.

        I’m not sure how long we continued to sort of explore each other. Neither of us felt an urgency or took things too far. I just felt good and right to have her feeling me, to be touching her, it was oddly relaxing and for a while it was like nothing else existed.

        We woke the next morning with me nestled in the crook of her arm while she slept on her back, her arm protectively around me. The feeling of contentment from last night hadn’t gone away. I pulled myself a little closer to her and she murmured something about ‘not on the couch,’ and let out a little sigh of her own.

        I vaguely recalled a small slice of a dream with us sitting in a living room of a wonderful two story house that had a worn wooden fence barely visible past some bushes through the front window. We were draped together on the couch and had a little black pole with a string and garish yellow-red feather attached which a black and white cat leapt and rolled after. The pole moved on its own, supported by our joined power, while our hands rubbed each other, intertwined and disengaged, sort of like Riley and Buffy’s had the previous morning. The sun shone through a kitchen window far behind us and gave everything a cheery glow.

        Well, the image was fixed pretty vividly in my mind though I remembered nothing else. I rubbed my face on her shoulder and just sort of sank deeper into the sense of the picture in my mind.

        The stupid alarm went off and she stirred and stretched, which sent shivers of pleasure through me and asked in a soft voice if I was up? To which I replied no, and hugged her tighter to me. I could sense her smile of amusement and her fingers traced my bare arm that was around her. I think I let out a little murmur of happiness and continued to pretend I was asleep.

        She finally said she had to get up, go to class, but I held on tighter and claimed I wouldn’t let her go, that she should stay and skip class. Horrible influence, yep that’s me.

        She let out her breath and then commented that she’d like nothing more, but she had to turn in her project and she’d left it at Stevenson and really did have to get up. I snaked my other arm under her as she tried to rise and held on for all I was worth. So then she threatened to tickle me until I let go and I replied that it’d never work, she could do her worst to no avail. Whereupon her fingers started probing my side and stomach and I laughed and squirmed and eventually had to release her.

        Free, she got up before bending down and kissing me a couple times on the cheek in apology and then softly smoothed my hair out. I heard her rustle around, and then the door open as she went off to the bathroom.

        I just lie there and remembered her body straining to get free, her fingers on me and pulled the covers back over my head. She came back in a short bit and asked if I felt well or if the bug had returned? I said it had and she should come closer and feel my forehead, but there must have been a little too much exuberance in my voice and she said she was on to my wicked ways, but would come by tonight to pick me up for the party, around seven?

        I said that sounded fine and she came over, lifted the blanket off and kissed me one last long time. I made a little grab for her but she dodged out of reach and as she headed out said something about recovering from illness making some people overly frisky.

        I don’t know exactly what came over me but I just wanted to stay there, her taste on my tongue, the sensation of her fingers all over my body, the smell of her hair still lingering. Life is so good, better than I ever imagined it could be, whenever she’s here. And the dream image haunted me, it was so real, so completely everything I’ve always wanted but never known. My Willow, with me.

        So I remained there in bed and sort of drowsily slipped in and out of sleep. Somewhere along the line I decided that maybe I really should get a kitten, as long as she wasn’t allergic or anything of course. It would be fun to have one in the room, it could be my companion when she wasn’t here, could play with us and everything. Maybe I was just trying to hold onto that figment of heaven a little longer.

        Somehow she must have inspired me because I thought about the poem I’d been trying to write for her and what I wanted to say suddenly seemed to come to me. I didn’t have the exact words, I probably still don’t, my skills along those lines just aren’t that good. But I got up and scribbled them down anyway. I’ll copy them over again in a nicer hand after class, before she comes tonight.

I…I think I’ll give it to her when we come back from the party. If my courage holds that is. It says what I’ve wanted to since I first saw her, since our first kiss, every time I see her. Goddess, I just hope it’s the right thing to do, but I want her to know, I have to find out if she can handle it or not.

I don’t know if she feels the same, if she even knows how she feels, but I want to be honest and forthright with her. I owe her that much. No one has done so much for me, been so important to me. It scares me so that a chill goes through my body, a cold sweat covers my arms along with goosebumps, but I’m as resolved to go on as I’ll ever be.

Continued immediately below...

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 D
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:11 pm 
From the Journal...Where the Wild Things Are Part D

Saturday Morning: Well great, I may have inadvertently ruined my life and the only good thing that’s ever happened to me. Goddess, how could I have been so weak, so easily influenced? And the previous day had been so good, too. Now I go and ruin what could have been one of the best nights ever, a full fledged actual date with the greatest most wonderful girl. Maybe my evil side sought to sabotage things or remind me of who and what I am? I just can’t accept that, but how else can you explain that I hurt the one person I’d never want or intend too? The one I vowed I never would.

        I know, it wasn’t really my fault, but to see that look of shock, confusion, almost a sense of betrayal, I never want to see that ever again, much less be the one who caused it. Mother, just let me be able to fix things, don’t let this be the end. I love her so much, how could she ever think otherwise? She’s too much a part of me to let go, to ever not want her. My stomach is so nauseous and unsettled, I can barely think straight, it’s like I have to pace and pace, walk off the excess nervousness. What if she never wants to see me again? No, I won’t believe that, not after all we’ve shared so far, Goddess don’t let it be true.

        So much has happened, I hope that I remember it all correctly.

        Let’s see, she got here a little bit before seven o’clock, early as always, and was wearing the cutest red jacket with flowers on the collar and back that had silver petals, a lighter red shirt that complimented the jacket very well, and a dark green skirt. A little necklace adorned her pretty neck and gave her that final touch that made her irresistible, not that she isn’t normally, but this went above and beyond, to use yet another cliché. I told her she looked fabulous, a great choice of wardrobe and she blushed a fetching color that made me smile even more.

        She said I looked good too. I’d decided on a pair of almost olive drab pants, and a green shirt with a lighter stripe on it. Given what she had chosen the outfits complimented each other to a remarkable level. I had on a couple of my own necklaces, nothing fancy just chains, but I hadn’t been able to get my hair right. I wanted to put it back off my face the way she liked it, but didn’t think a pony tail was right.

        She noticed my distress and the brush and comb sitting on my desk and asked if I wanted her to put my hair up in bobsy tails again? I thought that would be cool and so we headed off to the bathroom where her strong, yet delicate fingers did their work in front of the big lighted mirror. I love it when she does this, it’s so soothing and relaxing to have her brush and work on my hair. And she always takes her time, too. Goddess, I just wanted to turn around and hold her to me forever.

        Which is when Mandy and a couple of her friends came in and saw us. Of course the first thing out of her mouth were a hurtful laugh and, ‘We heard you got a new piece last night, sure she isn’t gonna be jealous?’

        To which the others responded with scornful laughter of their own. I could feel Willow’s hands tense in my hair, which was thankfully just about finished. She turned on them and said they shouldn’t anger us because we’d had enough of this. If they didn’t apologize immediately they’d be cursed for all the ill thoughts and actions they’d exhibited.

        That got more laughs of course but she persisted saying that unless they changed their ways and sought forgiveness, they’d suffer nothing but bad luck and misery. Her hand found mine while our free hands reached for the pouch of herbs in our pockters and we said a short invocation in Rumanian. One of the lights on the side of the mirror popped suddenly and noisily.

        That stopped their laughter and something outside caught their attention. Mandy turned, her long black hair swirling around her head, and then the door opened violently catching her in the nose and knocking all three of our tormentors to the floor in a heap. One girl got an elbow in the stomach and the other landed heavily on her wrist.

        Jennifer, probably the biggest girl on the floor, rushed in and headed towards the stalls, the sounds of her being violently ill followed. It seemed like she had whatever bug struck me down earlier this week. Or I suppose had started partying awfully early.

        Whichever the case, Willow had a smug little smile on her face as Mandy held a hand up to her bloody nose. My girl said they’d been warned and now would suffer the consequences. We left before they could pick themselves up, her hand wrapped around mine in a firm, possessive and protective grip.

        When we got back to the room a fierce smile lit up her face and she asked if I saw how quickly it’d worked? I did and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t happy, didn’t feel sort of vindicated in our actions. On the other hand, I really did hope they didn’t suffer any serious injuries.

        Her gaze softened and she said she knew I didn’t want to hurt anyone, that I had a kind and compassionate heart, but that in this case something had to be done. You couldn’t just let people like that continue or it’d never stop. She said I should never be afraid to stand up for myself. I was too good a person to suffer in silence.

        I went and took her in my arms without a word, kissed her so deeply and passionately. Goddess, I’ve never had someone feel like that about me, much less be willing to say it, act on it. Every single time I’m with her she makes me feel special and valued, not worthless at all. I crushed her to me in an intensity of emotion that was almost overwhelming.

        Eventually we parted and I sort of wished we could’ve just stayed in and been together, shared the bed, but I knew we were supposed to meet Buffy, Riley, Xander and Anya so I just told her that no one ever made me feel as good as she did. I brushed her chin with my hand, traced her smiling lips with my fingers and had to taste her just once more before we left.

        The walk over to Riley’s fraternity house was short and I held her hand part of the way there, but let go as we neared. I didn’t want to embarrass her in front of her friends or force her into revelations she wasn’t ready for.

        Buffy was already there and seemed eager to see us, but also kept looking around, probably for Riley who wasn’t in evidence yet. Willow asked about the previous night’s patrol and if anything unusual happened and the Slayer said that her Initiative member boyfriend was being a little too careless and needed to think a bit before rushing in. He hadn’t gotten hurt or anything, his flak vest protecting him, but that was no reason to give her a wig about his safety.

        Willow gave her friend a little grin and teased that she was absolutely virtuous in this regard because she never, ever, ran into things half cocked, and Buffy replied distractedly that they were always fully cocked, which got a big laugh out of both of us as we followed her gaze to Riley who’d just started walking down the stairs. I remember thinking that maybe this party thing was going to be pretty cool after all. Goddess was I wrong.

        Xander arrived then, sans Anya, which got Willow’s attention as she asked where the other girl was? I’m still trying to figure out exactly what she has against Xander’s girlfriend. It’s not like her to dislike someone on such a petty level. I guess she’s just a little too overprotective of those she cares about and maybe is annoyed that this relatively new girl is such a big part of his life. Like she’s stealing him away from her, maybe. It reminds me I’m still such an outsider in their group, have only been around for a short while and makes me wonder if he feels the same about me? After all I’m the interloper here from that perspective.

        It seems that the pair got into a bit of a tiff over not having sex every night and ended up discussing the matter in front of a bunch of little kids and their parents while he was working. It must have been very embarrassing and he asked if it was his fault, if he was the crazy one?

        Buffy distractedly agreed, her attention still riveted on Riley across the room. Willow and I shared a glance and a look over at the source of Buffy’s fixation and my girl brought up that someone, who certainly wasn’t her, might have spilt something on one of Buffy’s tops, which she never would have borrowed without asking, and wanted to know if she still loved her? The Slayer replied, sure, and we shared grins and amusement, this could be lots of fun! But then Buffy sort of snapped out of it, the fashion comment finally getting through her boyfriend haze to make her inquire as to what was that about her peasant top?

        Willow feigned innocence and I hastily interjected that Xander was just talking about Anya and he jumped right in oblivious to what was going on saying he was glad that his girlfriend didn’t have her demon powers anymore. He felt for sure if she did that she’d be using right about then.

        Buffy thought she’d get over it, that it was probably just temporary, though Xander expressed some doubts since the ex-demon still hadn’t shown up. Buffy excused herself, then, to go over to Riley and left while Xander decided to look around a bit and see what was going on and said he’d catch up with us in a bit.

        That left her and me together, amidst a sea of strangers. I asked her if she wanted to do anything in particular, and she confessed that she’d never been much of the party scene type and without her friends was sort of a wallflower. I pointed out that at least she’d had friends to go with, which earned me an ‘aww,’ and a reassuring touch on the arm that was nice but not what I was going for really. I added that I just meant that she had more experience at these things and might know what one did.

        She went oh, and sort of laughed explaining that the last one she’d been to was just after Oz left and it had pretty much been in the set of things that sucked. She’d met a classmate from high school whom she’d tutored and he’d called her a nerd, though not to her face, she’d been reminded of Oz because one of his band’s songs came on, and then she’d been the one to find the body while she went off to lie down for a moment when she’d looked over and it’d been right there next to her.

        It was my turn to go, ‘aww,’ and give the reassuring contact, though for some reason it made me feel naughty, like I was doing something I shouldn’t. I supposed that it was just fear of Xander or Buffy seeing us and forcing Willow to have to answer questions she might not be ready to. And I’ve always been nervous about public displays of affection, not that I’ve had the chance for them, but they’ve always make me uneasy even when it’s just other people. It’s like I’m watching something private not meant for me, sort of spying.

        I said one bad experience wasn’t that big a deal, but she shook her head and placed her hand on my arm, which sent another flash of annoyance and guilt through me. Why did she have to keep touching me?

        She said the time before that, at Halloween, the house of the party they went to turned out to be possessed by demon of fear that had scared them all pretty badly. She’d felt like she wasn’t important to the group, just a stupid side kick or something and after they’d separated her magic had gone haywire when she’d tried to find the others, Oz had sort of lost control of the wolf inside him, which, she reflected, might have been part of what sent him off, or at least started him questioning its nature. Even Xander and Buffy had problems with their own fears, but fortunately Mr. Giles had come and helped them figure out what was going on. The demon itself turned out to be this little thing that Buffy just stepped on. She said it was like some comment that our fears, if confronted, were always smaller than they seemed, which was both sort of lame and obvious but still cool.

        By this time we had wandered off and were circulating through the ground floor. People were jostling us as they passed and it was pretty noisy. She asked if I wanted something to drink and I said a little water would be nice, but all we could find was beer and soda. We had some of the latter as she continued explaining her history with parties. I noticed that mentioning Oz this time didn’t seem to cause her a moment of melancholy like before.

        I commented that with her experiences at parties this year it was a wonder she wanted to come this time. If I had known, I might not have asked her to this one and thought of something else. But she said no, this was a fine idea, maybe we’d get a chance to dance at some point, and besides this was different because I was there. And once again with the touching, her hand trailed on my arm and I could sort of see desire leering in her eyes and smile. I looked away for a moment and we threw our cups in a plastic garbage can and went to find someplace to sit down.

        We ended up on the stairs together, sitting side by side and she seemed so cute and shy and somehow delicate, yet I wanted to hug her, hold her to me so fiercely. It was so hard to think straight with her all flirty come hither looking and why was she doing that in the middle of all these people? It was so wrong.

        I told her that not all memories of parties were bad. This one time, when I was almost in high school, my mother borrowed some horses for my birthday party and we had had lots of fun with them.

        She got her sort of horrified or aghast look and asked if they were big, tall, teeth that could take your arm off kind of horses? I said yeah, that I’d learned to ride when I was a kid, it’d always been fun, and that most horses didn’t like arm very much.

        She confided that she’d had a bad birthday experience with a pony and that horses just reminded her of great big ponies. I said she should ride with me, I guaranteed both safety and fun. She smiled and coyly ducked her head and did this roll with her shoulders that was so fetching. She even seemed to bat her eyes once. I’ve never had anyone act so, I don’t know, sexy? Enticing or alluring like that with me, but that’s kind of how it felt. She started saying that if I promised to look after her…while getting this big smile and boldly putting her hand on my knee.

        Suddenly I could sense the lust and desire in her. She seemed like a perverted, despicable creature driven by insatiable sexual desires that would corrupt any she came in contact with. I jerked back and almost screamed, ‘Don’t touch me! That’s, that’s just disgusting!’ I tried to put as much distance between us as I could, backing away and up against the wall.

        The change her face went through was the most dreadful thing I’ve ever seen. Where before she’d seemed so sweet, innocent and attractive, it had been replaced by a leering, contorted visage that reminded me of some gross little troll, but what came next was far worse because she was just Willow again and her smile faltered, the playful sparkle left her eyes and a crushing sense of distress and betrayal came over her instead. A deeply hurt and anguished look was directed at me and yet all I could think was how wicked and shameful her desires were! How tainted I was just being near her.

Goddess, the look of pain in her eyes as she said my name and asked me what the matter was?! I stuttered that I didn’t know though I was half lying and half not. Her immoral appetite colored the space around her, yet my reaction so distressed her that she sorta stuttered herself, saying she was sorry, she didn’t mean to…wondering if I was feeling OK?

        I barely got out that I was fine, that I just wanted to go to the bathroom, when inside I was so torn. Part of me wanted to run screaming from her, to go and hide in a closet or small room and punish myself, repeatedly strike my head against the wall to drive away the impure thoughts she caused to rise up within me. That part couldn’t stand to be in her appalling presence.

        But the other half of me wanted to just ball for the pain I caused her, wanted to take her hand, or wrap my arms around her and apologize profusely, fall to my knees and beg her forgiveness, anything to extinguish that anguished look from her. Goddess what was I doing? And those thoughts just made the other part, the desire to reprimand myself, that much stronger.

        I couldn’t stay there, I had to go, had to leave before I was split in two or made things worse. Was this the evil in me finally rising up and showing her what I truly was? I hadn’t felt sick or bad and yet now I did, something was wrong and I just couldn’t figure out what it was, why I was reacting like this. What was happening?

        I ran up the stairs, deeper into the house, hoping that by putting distance between us I could avoid her wounded look and shake the feeling of being a bad, wicked little girl. I passed the bathroom and went into one of the rooms and caught myself just as I was opening the closest. What was I doing? How could I be thinking those things? I loved Willow, she’s my girlfriend. I wanted more than anything to see that enticing look on her face, have her touch me and be close. How could I have reacted so negatively when she was making herself vulnerable and trying to…no not seduce me! But be loving and attractive? These couldn’t be, weren’t, my own thoughts, something was influencing me.

        As I made that realization, the house seemed more ominous, a sense of emotion or presences seemed all around me. It was an unhappy feeling of repression, punishment and shame. A miasma of negativity that passed over me in a wave, was gone and then returned. It didn’t feel good and it scared me.

        I had to go back and find her, warn her, tell her what happened. Somehow I was going to have to apologize and get her to understand that I hadn’t meant what I said, that I didn’t intend to run from her. Mother, I almost dropped and started crying in despair right there, thinking that maybe I’d just destroyed the only thing in my life that made it worthwhile. I was so bad.

        And that’s when I understood that the house or presences or whatever was still affecting me. I got a hold of myself, as it were, and tried to ignore the outside influence. I concentrated on who I was, Tara, a witch and Wiccan, the Goddess’ child. I loved Willow, she was my girlfriend, and my friend. I wasn’t ashamed of how I felt for her. I’ll never be!

        After a few moments I kinda felt better and left the room and headed out to find her. I checked in the bathroom, but it was empty and then returned downstairs. I hoped she hadn’t left, fled in disappointment and misery over my harsh rebuff of her simple affections. Goddess I hoped it wasn’t too late!

        I found her in one of the many rooms just off the entrance talking with Xander. She didn’t seem so upset at the moment and thankfully she looked calmer. Maybe whatever was affecting me had colored her actions too? I went over to her and hesitantly touched her sleeve, making sure not to touch her directly. She turned and said my name, while our hands briefly brushed across each other, the contact helping to settle me, even if only a little bit. I think she seemed relieved to see me, and asked how I was? I responded that I was OK, but that I didn’t like it there, in that house, and that I thought we should go. I wanted to say so much more, but Xander stood nearby and I was really nervous and stuttering; I just couldn’t get any more words out.

        Our attention was caught by a group of students sitting in a circle playing spin the bottle and as we watched the bottle spun crazily about building in speed and then suddenly shattered hurtling glass fragments all over. They screamed and cried out and she said we needed Buffy and headed back towards the stairs.

Continued immediately below...

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 E
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:13 pm 
From the Journal...Where the Wild Things Are Part E

        Xander led us to Riley’s room where we pounded on the door and called their names, but got no answer. Suddenly these green viney growths came out from under the door and we leapt back, there was no way we were going to get past them into the room. Xander dared to knock a few more times and they shouted for their friends, but still nothing happened.

        I could sense a gathering force someplace around us. It was dark and malevolent, somehow angry with us, wanting to punish all within the fraternity. I wandered over to the balcony that overlooked the entrance and main hallway trying to figure out exactly where the feeling was coming from. I looked at the people gathered below to see if their energy flow was off, maybe like they were possessed, but that didn’t seem to be the case. Still, something bad was going to happen, I felt it, and the whole place started shaking and shuddering as if there was an earthquake. Stuff started falling over or off shelves and breaking, people screamed, ran for the exits and then we were thrown to the floor.

        In a momentary lull we picked ourselves up and ran downstairs into a sort of study or library area. Xander saw Anya and called for her to come with us as the building started quaking again. Books flew off of the shelves and battered into us and we sort of helped push and propel each other outside. Xander went back in little ways to help a girl whose hair seemed to have fallen out or something. We stopped on the sidewalk just past the front porch, Willow next to me. I put my arm on her shoulder and tried to stand close to her, let her know I wasn’t really disgusted by her, but she was either too agitated or still hurt by what I’d done and kinda stepped away, but not far, thank the Goddess. A thin blonde guy in a black leather coat who could only be Spike, Willow had told me about him and how he’d threatened to kill her a number of times, was there, too, while Anya stood across from us. Xander brought the other girl out who promptly ran off with a scream.

        Willow’s first comment was that we needed to go back in there. She’s so thoughtful and devoted. Anya demanded to know why, and Xander answered because Buffy and Riley were still in there. He asked who was with him, but even the thought of going back, facing the hurtling books, the shuddering structure and the feelings of self loathing and punishment were enough to keep us silent. I just crossed my arms and looked at her, but she didn’t say anything more either, her nerve failing, or perhaps for once she just didn’t know what to do, how we would get through to the couple still inside when we’d already failed once.

        A voice I’d never heard before, English, soft but with a sort of animal power said he’d join though he wasn’t the first choice for heroics, and Buffy’d tried to kill him more than once and he didn’t, what was it he said, fancy a single one of us, but… And here Spike stopped and decided that those were all pretty good reasons not to go in and took off. It was pretty weird actually, not what I would have expected from all she’s told me about him. I need to remember to ask her more about him next time I see her.

        Anya wanted to leave, but Xander didn’t want to bail and declared he was going back for Buffy. He strode in very determinedly, but a second later came flying backwards out of the house and landed with a flip on the sidewalk. He didn’t seem hurt, though no one moved to help him, which was a little odd, and he suggested it might be watcher time.

        She said that should we go to Giles’, but I had to remind her that he wasn’t there, he was going to the Expresso Pump and she remembered that he told us not to come, that he needed some grown up time. Despite this, everyone started heading in that direction anyway.

        We all stayed quiet on the trip over there. She kept ahead of me and I silently wondered if she was still hurt, or maybe mad at me? She was acting fairly normal, all things considered and we needed to rescue Buffy and Riley so her attention was focused, but somehow I couldn’t see anything but the look of anguish and pain I had caused her. Goddess how could I have been responsible for that? I wanted to make things better, comfort her, relieve the terrible guilt that was pounding at me, but I didn’t know how, what to do or say, so I just walked along in silence trying to keep those thoughts at bay.

        We got to the coffee house where a fair number of people were gathered in a wide circle and the sounds of an acoustic guitar and singing came from the far side. We pulled up short and stared dumbfounded at Mr. Giles perched on a stool wearing a dark outfit with a deep brown jacket and playing for the gathering. His voice was steady and melodic and had a rawness that really suited the lyrics. We just continued to stand incredulous and Xander stated that he wanted to go back to the haunted house cuz this was creeping him out.

        I asked if Mr. Giles did this a lot, and Xander responded only when the earth went backwards and the sky turned orange. She said something about having had a crush on the watcher before, and all I could say was that he was pretty good. She’d had a crush on him? Anya affirmed that his voice was pleasant and Willow added that it was kinda sexy, too. Xander pleaded with her not to encourage his complete mental breakdown and I had to agree. I mean, he did have a nice voice and all, but sexy? Inwardly I sort of shrunk down a little more, worried that what’d happened in the fraternity had somehow maybe changed our relationship. What would I do if she decided that she didn’t want to be my girlfriend anymore? We’d only really just gotten together! I crammed the panic starting to rise back down within me and wished I could hide behind my hair, tried to make myself seem smaller and unnoticeable.

        After the song was done he thanked everyone for coming and said that was all for the night. There was a round of clapping and expressions of disappointment over his stopping. He looked sheepish, thanked everyone again and said he’d surely be back sometime soon, which seemed to mollify the crowd a bit.

        We headed over there and just sort of gazed at him and he seemed pretty embarrassed, murmuring something about hidden talents and what brought us there in the first place?

        Xander described the odd occurrences at Lowell House, and Mr. Giles suggested we go to the library where we could research the house and discuss the matter in more depth. Everyone sort of numbly agreed and we headed over there. On the way they all took turns chaotically telling him some of what happened. I didn’t say anything about what passed between me and Willow, and she didn’t bring it up either, except to look at me once while saying that other out of character incidents seemed to be occurring as well.

        Once in the library we found various books on the history of the University, looked for building records, got old newspapers and clippings, checked for campus legends and ghost stories, all sorts of stuff. Pretty soon the table off in a corner they were using as a gathering and research center was covered with materials. Everyone helped out going through stuff, though I certainly didn’t know exactly what I was looking for.

It was interesting to see the Scooby group in action. The watcher and Willow pretty much led the actual investigating, suggesting new directions or evaluating something one of the others found. I sat at an end of the table with her to my right a ways down. She’d taken off her jacket revealing a sort of white cloudy design on her red shirt that had thick black lines on it that hinted at a dragon’s head or maybe the body of a wild boar. I tried to be helpful and not just keep looking at her, thinking how beautiful she was and how much it hurt to have put more distance between us, but just didn’t find or notice anything useful, though maybe my concentration wasn’t the best.

        I felt bad for not contributing more and partially just wanted to disappear into the stacks and not be in their way, but was also kinda proud of my girl as she went through the articles and stories quickly and efficiently, made comments and seemed so…what professional, competent? I hadn’t seen this side of her before, not exactly, and it was very cool. I knew she was so smart, but never realized how well she complemented Mr. Giles and aided him in the research, how vital and useful he found her opinions, how important what she was doing really was. I mean, if they were going to help Buffy and Riley they needed to figure out what was going on and soon. Was someone’s life always at stake? How did she stand that kind of stress, the anxiety over what could happen if they failed or weren’t quick enough? I don’t know if I could stand that kind of pressure and strain.

        After a while Mr. Giles came back from another run to the stacks with a partially open book and asked once again about Buffy and Riley not responding to their calls. Anya, bluntly said they were probably dead, though I think that was just her way of being concerned, while Xander opined that they were probably just too busy doing it to answer. This seemed to take the Englishman by surprise and Xander kidded him about being naïve. Mr. Giles said he couldn’t believe they were keeping it up through all the tumult before realizing the implication of his statement and wishing for better phrasing.

        She chimed in saying that people all over the party had been acting weird, sexually, which made me kinda cringe and glance at her. She definitely had a miffed or put out air about her. The watcher, always seeking more detail to try and classify and understand what was going on, asked in what ways? She just flipped the page she was on and said, ‘you know…ways,’ without looking at me.

        Goddess, I just wanted to sink under the table. I hung my head ashamed once again and annoyed that my hair was put up. If only I could’ve told her I didn’t mean it, I wasn’t in my right mind, this wasn’t some deep seated fears or rejection of her. After she’d finally gotten over the pain Oz had caused her here I go and bring that same wound to the surface again. I don’t think I’ve ever hated my weakness so much as then. How was I ever going to make her feel better, make it up to her? What a fool I am.

        Mr. Giles said that maybe it was a succubi or satyr’s prank, perhaps even energy from the lab below. That got my attention; perhaps I wasn’t to blame after all? It had felt like some sort of outside influence was upon me, but neither of those solutions seemed quite right. Besides, it shouldn’t have mattered, undue influence or not, I should never have let those words escape my lips, shown such revulsion at her contact. It’s the last, very last, thing I’d ever feel. I’ve longed for her touches and caresses so much and when she offers them I turn on her! Goddess I still feel so terrible about this. Why did this have to happen, why now when things are, or were, getting so good?

        Willow stated that it wasn’t always a fraternity, that from 1940 something to 1960 it was called Lowell Home for Children and had more than 40 adolescents there, runaways, juvenile delinquents and emotionally disturbed teenagers. That sounded horrible and I apprehensively asked if any of the children had…died?

        Mr. Giles observed that it might be a standard haunting then, but she kept on reading and noted that it didn’t say if any had passed on, mostly it was about the old house director, Geniveve Holt, who had thirty years of community service. He wanted to know when she died and Willow replied that she hadn’t.

        It didn’t take them long to find out where she was living now, and Mr. Giles arranged a visit since it wasn’t too late yet, and he felt it was vitally important to find out if anything untoward had happened at the home. He, along with Xander and Anya left to interview the Sunnydale Children’s Aid while Willow and I were to continue research on the house, see if there was anything on deaths, murders or suicides.

        They left and I was finally alone with her, but though we could now speak relatively freely, hardly anyone was in the Library on a Friday night, I couldn’t find the words and we had an important job to do. I was miserable and felt wretched the whole time, but tried to keep my mind on the task. Buffy and Riley were counting on us.

        We went through the papers for obituaries, stories and even police reports but found none that pertained to Lowell Home. Mrs. Holt was even given a commendation for her work there when they finally closed the place and turned it into a fraternity. Otherwise there was nothing else unusual.

        I kept looking over at her as she worked, her head craned, those soft, gentle hands moving swiftly through the pages. Her face was intent and I don’t think she noticed me watching her. Whereas before I have always felt drawn to her, wanted to be as close as possible, enjoy the little contacts and brushes, now it felt like we were both similarly charged magnets constantly forced to stay apart, never to come together.

        I think I sighed once, but either she was too wrapped up in her concern for her friends and the research or still too upset with me to notice, which is probably just as well.

        The others returned a short while later and Mr. Giles said that it appeared that Mrs. Holt had repressed and terrorized the children under her care with an overly zealous, religiously based fervor believing that they needed to be purified and kept from immoral thoughts. What was manifesting was a poltergeist or apparition born out of the intense adolescence emotion and pent up sexual energy. Anya stated that Buffy and Riley must have triggered it with all their sex, and looked at Xander like she was going to drive holes through him if he said anything.

        Mr. Giles agreed and ventured that they were probably feeding off the couple and would eventually drain them. The trick would be finding some way to get them free.

        At this point I hesitantly spoke up, my voice sounding small and soft, suggesting that maybe I could do a séance to communicate with the spirits and allow the slayer and her boyfriend to get free.

        She looked over at me then, and once again I saw her half smile, and the faint echoes of that look she sometimes gives me. I…I turned red and looked down and mumbled on that was if they thought it would help and that I wasn’t sure if I could accomplish anything useful, but that I was willing to try.

        She jumped right in saying if I thought it would help then it was worth a go, and Mr. Giles agreed saying we might be able to distract the spirits long enough for Xander and Anya to reach Buffy and Riley and what exactly would I need to do this?

        I replied that I would need a quiet, sort of familiar area, some candles to focus on, a table and probably two others to help. She then moved that we go to her dorm room where she had all that.

        We all agreed and left quickly, making the short trip to Stevenson Hall. I tried to go over what would need to be done in my mind; at least it made not worrying about what she felt a bit easier. Maybe that is part of the attraction of the Scooby life? You have purpose and a mission that helps push other, more personal, problems into the background, makes it simpler to ignore the worries and doubts.

        When we got to their dorm room I had them push one of the beds further aside and bring a small round table into the middle of the room. I got out the red satin table cloth she had for various rituals and placed it over the table while she got out three thick white candles and Mr. Giles got three chairs. Xander went to Buffy’s weapon’s locker and rummaged through it while Anya sort of sarcastically inquired what they were for since disembodied spirits had no ass to kick? Mr. Giles agreed and said they should wait outside and Willow said we’d try and bind the spirits long enough for them to get the others out. They asked how much time it would take and I had to admit it could be tricky, we were calling on the communal spirit of a certain time and place. Still, I preferred dealing with the dead than the living. I didn’t say it, but their reactions were usually simpler to read.

        With a machete and axe, the couple left, ready to get past the vines and rescue their friends. All they needed was for me to do my part. I just hoped that I’d be able to help, maybe in some small way be useful for a change. She lit a few more candles and set them around the room for background and turned off the lights.

        I sat before the table with Willow to my left and Mr. Giles across. I took a little while to compose myself. Given the state I was in I would have preferred to meditate for a good half hour, but I realized that wasn’t possible, time was of the essence. Instead I tried to remember all that Mother had taught me, about gathering my will, holding it, picturing it in my mind like a shining ball of energy ready to be unleashed into whatever spell or pursuit I was about. She told me to always appear confident, assured and in control no matter how I felt, never let my will or demeanor waver, picture the successful outcome of the ritual and it would be so. I could do this, for her, for them, for myself.

        I asked the other two to give me their hands, to form a circle. When our hands were joined I called on the children of the past, the spirits of Lowell. I told them to be guided by our light and come forth and be known to us. I kept my voice firm and even, knowing that when I opened my eyes the spirits would be there around us.

        Mr. Giles asked how we’d know when it worked and I opened my eyes and saw the pale forms of many children of different ages and dress standing about us, their now solid forms blocking out the surrounding candlelight. It was kinda spooky with so many present and their energy beating at us. All the privation, resentment and desire. It was a powerful force that seemed to pulse and expand as we sat there. It took a great deal of effort and will not to let the emotions seep into us. I pictured our circle an inviolable dome of steel that their influence bounced off without effect. It was much more draining than I would have thought.

        After a moment I continued, imploring them to be still. Mr. Giles said the second part of the binding, telling them to find it in their hearts to leave our friends passage while she did her part by saying the should transform their pain, release their past, and here she sort of paused before hesitantly adding ‘and get over it.’

        I would have chuckled inwardly at her very new agey outlook except a wind suddenly rose and the candles on the table blew out. The spirits all looked up and I could sense that Xander and Anya were attracting their attention in Lowell House. The poltergeists’ wills beat down on us again, pressing and pushing, outraged over being here and the amount of sin they knew dwelt within each of us.

        I tried to keep hold on them, continue the binding by almost shouting for them to find the serenity they sought, the peace they…and at that point the pressure became too much, the table was thrown across the room and smashed into the wall and the forms all disappeared.

        Mr. Giles asked what happened and all I could say was that we’d lost them. I’d failed, hadn’t been able to bind them and now they were back at the fraternity. Some help I turned out to be.

I slumped over tired and exhausted and after a moment I felt her hand on my shoulder as she asked if I was OK? I took strength from that, at least she was still concerned, still able to touch me, that had to be a good sign, didn’t it?

I said I was all right, just tired out and that the power of the spirits had been very difficult to hold, even for that brief time, and the other two agreed they had felt their essence straining to leave, to punish us. She wondered if Xander had made it through and suggested we go over there and find out. That’s my girl, loyal and anxious to the last. They’re so lucky to have her in their group.

Continued immediately below...

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 F
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 3:16 pm 
From the Journal...Where the Wild Things Are Part F

The two of us quickly blew out the candles that were still lit while Mr. Giles put the chairs and the miraculously unbroken table aside. We went over to the Fraternity, apprehensive and unsure what we would find when we got there. I kept on seeing Xander being shot out of the front door and landing on the sidewalk. I certainly hoped none of them was injured or anything, I’d hate to think that my inability to hold the spirits would be the cause for anyone getting injured.

As we arrived at the front the other couple were just coming out, though Anya held a bloody strip of cloth around her hand. Xander said that they’d made it to Buffy and Riley and the two were probably getting dressed, finally. Whatever we’d done had worked and they had been able to get the room and once they’d opened the door the weird effects had ended. Everyone was thankful for that and I definitely felt very relieved, maybe I’d been able to help out after all.

However, my limbs felt like the proverbial lead and I had to stifle several yawns. I needed to get into bed and rest, and even Mr. Giles and Willow were starting to act tired, too. Xander said he was going to take his girlfriend to the hospital to get her hand looked at and everyone said they’d go along, but I just couldn’t keep my eyes open and I wished the ex-demon well and said I needed to go back to my dorm and crash for, like, a week. Willow asked if I was OK, or needed any help, bless her and though she might have stayed with me even after all that I’d done to her, I knew she needed to be with her friends and get some rest of her own. Besides, I was in no condition to try and straighten anything out between us so I just said I’d be fine after I slept, and that I’d call her tomorrow?

She thought that was a good idea and yawned once more. Since my dorm was on the way they walked me back. I said my goodbyes, but with everyone there didn’t get a chance to kiss her goodnight or even brush hands. I had no chance to let her know how much she means to me or how sorry I was, and so I walked up to my floor alone, dreary in body and soul and pretty much just went to bed.

My dreams were strange and troubled last night, too. I remember various images, flashes of somebody calling me, or for me, and being unable to go to them. It was like they were shouting far and wide and after a while there was an answering cry that joined the first, but it wasn’t me. I think I got a flash of a tall cliff and a woman in robes standing by a cauldron, but can’t remember for sure. A sudden storm definitely arose and lightning lit the area and cracked into nearby trees repeatedly.

The next part I remember was pale, grasping hands reaching for me, pulling me in various directions while she was lying beside me, a blanket covering her naked form and try though I might I couldn’t get back to her, the hands were clammy and cold, they lifted me and drew me away from her and my cries fell on deaf ears. I rose up and up and though a small black and white kitten batted at me, leapt to play with my trailing feet, I hurtled up into the darkness, the last thing I could clearly see was her shining red hair spread out on the pillow.

The scene sort of shifted or I slept more deeply and the next thing I knew my Father was looking for me bearing a set of manacles of silver with strange red writing that glowed and pulsed on them. He arrived on campus but I’d been able to see the camper coming and hid in the library so he didn’t see me. I knew somehow that he’d gone to my room and classes, and that the only spot I could hide was with her, but I couldn’t find Stevenson, couldn’t find her room and she was nowhere to be seen. I ran and he continued his hunt while I searched, it wouldn’t be long before the caress of the metal stripped my power, bound me forever to him, and yet nowhere could I find my Willow, even her name was gone from the directory and phone book. I fled into the cafeteria and hid in the giant fridge behind the counter, but it did no good. I woke just as he was coming around the stoves and counters, closing on my hiding spot.

I had slept sort of late and my blankets and sheets were tossed almost off the bed. I could smell the sweet, post-storm air come rolling in through my window. Obviously nature was as unsettled as I had been. I wished that she was with me, there to calm and comfort me, but after my behavior the previous night, I would be lucky if she stayed with me ever again. That thought thoroughly depressed me and I trudged to the bathroom to take care of business, hoping that a nice hot shower would refresh me and give me some idea of what to do. Luckily Mandy and the others weren’t around.

The water was invigorating and I luxuriated under the stream far longer than I should have. No new ideas presented themselves and all I could think of was how nice it would be if she was there with me, her soft, small body pressed up against mine, her hands sliding along my skin as we shared the soap, and slow, languid full bodied kisses. By the time I was done I had switched the water to near freezing and was certainly awake and alert, if not any happier!

Back in my room I decided to call her before dressing, in case she had something specific in mind, and really I just wanted to hear her voice again. Though the phone rang and rang there was no answer. For a moment I got a sinking, panickey sensation that that was it, she was done with me, but then figured she was probably just out with Buffy and Riley getting brunch, going over the previous night. Still, she hadn’t called to see if I wanted to come along.

Goddess, how am I ever going to let her know I didn’t mean to hurt her? That it wasn’t really me, entirely, who said and did those things? The thought of losing her makes my stomach flip worse than the bug I caught. Maybe these things happen and I’m overreacting? But it doesn’t seem right to just let it go, I know she appears strong but Oz hurt her very deeply, made her doubt her own attractiveness, that she was wanted or that anyone was able to love her. She has fears and doubts of her own and Goddess, this time I’m the one who’s touched on them. Maybe I really am evil. I hurt the one I love more than anything; isn’t that the worst evil of all?

Sunday Afternoon: Oh Mother, I feel like crying, like singing, like my heart will burst from sheer joy and yet almost can’t believe that things can work out so well sometimes. And here I see that I wrote that the day before last was the best in my life, and yet really, this one was just as good, if not better. Is that what being in love with my Willow means? Is that what I have to look forward to? Each day better and better than the previous one? Well, with a few immensely dismal and scary days thrown in for balance, that is. Still, what a change from the bleakness, the despair of no hope, no prospects of anything at all, that life at home used to fill me with. Cruelty, mean spiritedness, disdain, these are not the only emotions that exist or define my world now, thank the Goddess. And thank her, too, for being there and being, well, just her.

        Yesterday had started off so poorly, strange dreams, no Willow-voice, unsure of where we stood other than that I’d hurt her. I’ve never felt so low and wretched. It was all my fault; I was to blame. Goddess, I hope I never feel like that again!

        I guess that my misery made me both brave and cowardly at the same time. I wanted to let her know how I really felt, but I was afraid to see her, to see rejection in her eyes, or to have those luscious and delicate lips turn down towards me. So I took out the poem I’d been writing for her and carefully copied it over in my best handwriting, on a crisp new sheet of paper with my favorite pen. I wrote a little note along with it, telling her I was sorry for how I’d acted the night before, that I had been influenced by the poltergeist spirits, but that it was no excuse and I hoped she could forgive me.

        I know, I was probably overreacting, being all Miss Melodrama and it probably wasn’t necessary, but it was something I had to do nonetheless. She’s too important for me not to.

        Of course it took me till later that afternoon before I nerved myself up to go over and slide the envelope under her door. I half hoped she’d be there and I could take the whole thing back, but no, they were both still out. So I slunk back to my room like a whipped dog and waited. I spent some time meditating to clear my mind, in case she might actually want to do some spells or something later, and then translated some of the book she’d gotten me.

        I still get a warm, pleasant feeling knowing that she got it just for me. It seems to be a mixture of observations on the qualities of various herbs, plants and minerals along with some spells, astrological correspondences and a little bit of history or diary. It belonged to someone named Golina Geverti or something like that. She wasn’t Spanish but Italian, born someplace in the Piedmont area. Ah, it’s hard going and I’m not sure my medieval French is all that accurate, though I do have a good dictionary from the library. At least it kept my attention from too many thoughts of her.

        Well, I did picture her in a cute little peasant dress, living in a small thatch house with an extensive garden in the back and a little out house, a small barn full of animals, cows and such. A little chicken coop was attached in the rear while thick hedges and a clump of trees along with a nearby stream sort of completed the scene. It was an unusually clear daydream, but one that wasn’t terribly distracting for a change. Maybe because it had no sex in it!

        Before I knew it the shadows were getting longer and there came a sudden knock on the door that could only be hers. I rose, along with the trepidation in me as I had a brief flash of her tossing the envelope in my face, and I went to the door both excited and fearful.

        She stood there wearing a pale yellow shirt with a black dotted circle around a ruffled white fish over her right breast, she has some very unusual shirts, and blue jeans. I don’t think she ever looked lovelier, though to be fair I tend to think that each new time I see her. I also realized that for some reason she was near tears and sort of out of breath, yet before I could make any comment she flung herself in and embraced me, the paper clutched in her hands sort of scratching at my back. I soon forgot about that though, as her lips and tongue were all over mine and I sighed into her mouth as I returned her kiss.

        We broke after a deliciously long time and she closed the door behind her. I smiled shyly and asked what that was for? She said nothing and just moved me towards the bed and kissed me again. When our lips parted and I sort of flumped back on my rear, she sat down next to me. She had that look on her face and sort of fluttered the envelope and papers I’d left for her.

        She said it was the most amazingly beautiful thing she’d ever gotten from anyone and she knew I hadn’t meant what I’d said or to be abrupt and all but we’d been having such a good time and she’d really liked how the green shirt had contrasted with my hair and I looked so cute with the two little bobsy tails and my round face and were having such a nice discussion and everything that she’d been startled and shocked by the sudden change and though she figured I wouldn’t hurt her deliberately it still stung and made her feel all disgusting and ugly like no one would ever love her again cuz she was such a spaz and nerd and should have known I didn’t feel that way but with all the talk of Oz and all that, well, she’d just sort of lost it and…I had to kiss her to stop her delirious babble before she burst something. How she can go on and on like that I’ll never know, cute as it may be.

        When this kiss ended I still felt a little sheepish and softly said that I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing, that I should’ve just said it directly to her, but that I’d been scared I’d hurt her too badly, that she might not want to listen.

        She said she’d always listen to me, and that the poem was so cool and that she couldn’t believe I’d made it up myself, and then from memory she said the entire thing, though it isn’t that long.

How often must I see you?

How often must I gaze in your sweet eyes?

How tenderly must I touch you?

Before you know that I care?

Can you see my body shiver?

Can you hear my voice quaver from your name?

Can you tell by my constant calls?

That I desperately need you?

How many times can I kiss you?

How many times can I say ‘you’re beautiful?’

How tightly can I hold you?

Before you know that I love you?

Nothing will ever change

That love is my salvation,

And you are my only love.

        When she finished she reiterated how beautiful she thought it was and how it touched her heart. I responded that the only beauty in those words were the breath she put in them. OK, so I can be as maudlin as the best of them, but when she gave voice to the poem it seemed so much better than it sounded in my mind, like when she says my name; so different from how Father or Donny say it.

        She gave me her stern look and said she thought that I wouldn’t get down on myself like that anymore? I had that lump in my throat again and it was me who was close to tears then. She truly is the most unique and special woman ever if she can find that much beauty in me or anything I do. But her words gave me such heart, such courage that though the world was starting to spin and blur, though I had to swallow before I could speak and everything almost seemed to stand still, I went ahead and said in a soft, almost cracking voice, what I’ve wanted to since I first laid eyes on her.

        ‘I love you, Willow.’

        I repeated it more firmly, passionately and told her I’d loved her since I first saw her across from me at the Wiccan meeting last semester, and that the more I learned about her, the deeper and more completely I fell in love with every aspect of her. She was the most beautiful, amazing, special woman ever and I reiterated that I was completely, desperately, hopefully in love with her.

        It took all of my will, but I looked directly at her, into those wonderful emerald eyes as I said it, a part of me still fearful that it really was hopelessly after all.

        But she didn’t flinch, she didn’t look scared or annoyed and though her lips said ‘Oh, Tara,’ as she moved to kiss me once again, her eyes said, ‘I love you, too.’

        We kissed long and deeply and I don’t think I was seeing things. She may not be quite able to say the words back yet, but I feel, believe, know, it’s true anyway.

        When we were through for the moment she opened her mouth to say something more, but I silenced her with my finger. I told her that it was OK, I knew she wasn’t entirely sure what she felt, couldn’t say the same, but that I could wait till she was.

        Oh Goddess, she smiled at me and gave me that look again, touched the side of my cheek with her fingers, traced the line of my jaw and just stared at me so intently, so magically it felt like we were going to fly off in each other’s arms. I felt like I could have battered down any barrier right then, thrown cars about. Nothing could keep me from her embrace, from the incandescent feel of her hand, the searing moisture and softness of her lips. I let myself go and jus t kissed and kissed her. I think our tears merged on our cheeks along with our tongues and lips. We made out for ages, felt all over each other on my bed, and ended up lying side by side, our foreheads pressed together, our breaths still mingling, both hearts racing. While all of us might have the capacity to find the one, truly right person, how many were blessed with finding them? I knew I was and I still thank the Goddess for it.

        I think we lay there for a while just stroking each other’s hair, sort of caressing the other softly and slowly. I could feel the wetness and desire deep within me, but it was sort of distant and not as pressing as at other times. She was here, in my arms, I was content. I didn’t think it could get any better at that moment but I was wrong.

        She was so happy, and excited as well, in a heady, giggley sort of way and said we should celebrate, go out some place nice, have an outrageously expensive dinner, go dancing, that sort of thing. She wanted the world to see us together.

        I smiled and stroked her fine hair, nodding that I agreed. After a moment I asked about Buffy and the others? Would it be all right if she ignored them, or if they saw us on an obviously fancy date? She grinned back and said she didn’t care who saw us, parents, friends, whoever. And she’d spent enough time with the others already earlier today. Buffy and Riley were going to patrol tonight, while Xander would be caring for Anya, who was doing better and fortunately not in much pain. She must’ve been feeling pretty good to be kindly disposed to the ex-demon.

        I thought of my own jeans and shirt and said that we’d probably need to change, wear something a bit better, but I really didn’t relish the thought of letting her out of my sight, not then. She expressed similar sentiments so I suggested I change first, then we go back to her place and so she could as well. Hopefully Buffy wouldn’t be back or I’d have to wait downstairs, and that would ruin some of the fun.

        She must have been thinking along similar lines as she chuckled and said that meant I had to go first, but really, that was all right. I’d already undressed before her once before and this time I wouldn’t be taking off everything either.

        I picked out a nice blue dress and matching top that was a shade lighter, but still not ‘Sunday best.’ It was more unnerving than I’d thought, undressing before her, knowing that she was watching, feeling that parts of me were too big, stuck out too far. I got so self-conscious that I almost tripped over my skirt and rather than laughing at me, she just held out an arm and steadied me with her hand. She’s so sweet.

        We went back to her place and then it was my turn to wait and watch. Did I say she was sweet? I meant a vixenous hellfiend. I swear she took her time just to tease me! I watched as she deliberately slid her pants down very slowly, and with exaggerated care stepped out of each leg. She unfastened her shirt and let it slide to the floor as well, her white bra revealing her perfect little mounds less than I would have wished, though I found myself licking my lips at the site.

        Only then did she go over to her closet and pick out an outfit to wear, bending over slowly to rummage for an appropriate pair of shoes that were probably right in front anyway. Even her rear end looked decidedly lickable. If she kept this up much longer I was going to completely forget about going slow and jump her right there!

        Which is of course when we heard two voices, a deep male and female, coming down the hallway. She, ‘eeeped!’ and almost jumped in the closest. My face felt so warm it probably could have fried an egg as I turned around and desperately looked for some excuse to be sitting there while she was half naked in the closet. I quickly grabbed one of her textbooks as the voices got closer, smoothed my hair back, this time it wasn’t put up, and hoped I didn’t look too guilty.

        Fortunately the voices continued on by and receded into the distance, but by the time I turned around she was just emerging, fully dressed. I gave her a half smile and quirked eyebrow and she gave a little smile and a mock glare daring me to say anything about ‘coming out of the closest.’ I just completed the smile and commented that my turn seemed to have been cut short and that I never got any fun, to which she replied if I was good maybe I’d catch the encore. I drew her into a kiss and said I wouldn’t miss it for the world, but that we’d better go before Buffy really did get back.

        Oh, Mother, I’ve never had such an enchanted night. It was like those storybooks you used to read me, where everything goes right and the people are all having fun and enjoying life, something that I thought could only take place in fairy tales, though you said differently.

        We walked to one of the fancier restaurants in town hand in hand. She looked so radiant in her green skirt and white silky top. Her necklaces sparkled and she was the perfect definition of beauty.

        The meal was wonderful and we talked about birthdays, how Buffy’s always turned out badly, what we each thought the perfect one would be like, a little about Spike since he came to mind after yesterday’s encounter. The Scoobies end up meeting such a wide variety of, what, people, creatures? She mentioned more about Drusilla, and Ethan Rayne again, the mayor, Richard Wilkins. We even talked a bit about poetry and who we liked. I was finding the Romantics of the early Victorian Era, especially the Bronte sisters, fascinating. She expressed again her admiration for my effort and made me blush as deep as the wine. The candlelight sparkled in her eyes and I can’t remember a thing I ate.

        Afterwards we went to the Bronze, and though we were a little over dressed, we got to dance and listen to the music. It was a lot of fun and we even got to hold each other for a couple of slow dances. We weren’t the only women together, though I didn’t recognize any of the others from the Lesbian Alliance. We talked about the music we liked in between, held hands some more, danced again. My world began and ended at arm’s reach with her. For a change no one shouted anything at us and our time there was trouble free and thoroughly enjoyable, perhaps even idyllic.

        Even the walk home was pleasant and without any of Sunnydale’s other ‘nightlife’ to disturb us. We talked a little bit about magic and various spells on the way back, and decided the night wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t practice something. We settled on practicing conjuration, partially cuz we didn’t want anything messy while we were still dressed up. We’d see if we could call small objects to us from the closet, or maybe even the bathroom. Distance really shouldn’t matter, but I found, when younger, that it does at the outset for some reason. Likely it’s a confidence or mental block thing.

        We made our circle, held hands and felt each other’s energy flowing around and through us. The familiar electric tingle and crackle that still remains very exciting and wonderful passed through me. We each pictured the objects we desired brought to us, a pencil at first, then later books and various magical herbs. She reasoned that being able to call specific components would be useful if we had to cast a spell in the ‘field’ and didn’t have the proper materials with us. Always thinking practical, and of ways to make herself more useful to the slayer, that’s my dear, sweet girl.

        We didn’t do too bad either. We ran a few things down to the bathroom and put them in one of the stalls and then successfully apported them to us. It was fun if not quite so spectacular as some of the other things we’ve done. Next time we’re going to try and conjure something from nothing, or maybe bring it all the way over from her dorm room. She laughed and said as long as it wasn’t the chair Buffy was sitting on, and we both sniggered at the idea of various items popping away as Buffy sat there trying to do her homework.

        We cleaned up and I don’t think there was any question that she was going to stay. We agreed to change at the same time just to speed things up and slid into bed from opposite sides. As I settled in, she ran her foot along mine, and it sent a tremor of delight through me, her skin was so cool and smooth.

        I opened my mouth to say something, but she silenced me with a nibble and a kiss saying, ‘no words, only touching tonight.’ She’d ended with a whisper in my ear and took the lobe in a tiny, soft, kissing caress that made the previous tremble seem like nothing. Her weight on top of me felt so slight, so comfortable, and yet made my breath come quicker. I kissed her mouth, her chin, the base of her neck and ran my tongue along her collar bones. She tasted as sweet as she smelled, as she is. My heart raced as her hands worked down my shoulders, over my arms and onto each breast. I could feel myself harden under her fingers, the fabric of my pajamas maddeningly thick.

        I ran my own hands along her sides, over her rear as the muscles there contracted while she moved. She was so soft and yet firm, like nothing I’d ever felt. Our mouths clasped again in another sequence of kisses and we eventually rolled onto our sides. I felt one palm snake under my shirt, her fingers lightly stroke my stomach, trail upwards to cup a breast, the thumb and one finger softly pinch and caress the nipple. I think I moaned ever so slightly and slowly I felt the buttons come undone, her breath, fast and heated on my chest as her head neared me and then the warm fire of her mouth upon me.

        It was so much more erotic and excruciatingly pleasurable than the last time, when we’d been in the throes of the nether spell. The area between my legs virtually burned and I arched my back into her, while my hands found their way into her hair, pressing her more tightly against me. Her tongue traced a rapidly cooling, silky line to the other mound and the procedure was repeated eliciting small murmurs from me.

        After a few moments I wanted, needed to taste her and as her head raised I rolled her fully on her back and kissed her mouth, her nose, her cheeks, showered her with bites, nibbles and kisses, working my way first back towards the soft nub of her ear and then down to her collar.

        My hands weren’t so dexterous, but she helped open her shirt and I saw the gleaming pale skin, the darker halo around her erect nipples and lowered my mouth down on her. It was her turn to moan and wriggle and the taste of her perspiration and tender skin was almost more than I could stand.

        Once again I could feel the desire, the need within me and could sense a similar response in her. Yet, though I wanted to feel all of her, to taste her inner fire, I don’t think either of us felt undue pressure to rush ahead. There’d be plenty of time for that later, right now we could go slow, enjoy the gradual explorations, the new sensations and discoveries.

I’ve never been with anyone before and though she has, this is her first time with a woman. We only have one chance to enjoy the newness, the freshness of it all and I don’t think either of us saw the need for haste. With each new step the desire kept on building, yet the sense of this being something special and meant to last continued to grow as well. We went on touching, licking, kissing each other until we were at least partially sated for the moment. We fell asleep wrapped together, our tops agape, her bare skin pressed against mine, a smile curling both our lips.

        I’d told her I loved her and it hadn’t freaked her out; given her the wiggins. Although she hadn’t said the same, I hoped, believed, that soon she’d be able to. Another barrier had fallen between us and till the time that the last few did, I could be content to have her beside me when I woke in the morning, to know that I was hers, that she was becoming mine. Few are given such blessings.


(post note: this time the poem is, unfortunately, mine. It has no title.)

Well, that's it for now.

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 F
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:17 pm 
:heart That was a SUPER update...and I was thrilled by how long it was. :pinky *does a happy dance* happy, I'm so happy!!! Will there be more soon? :flirt

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 F
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 5:27 pm 
First, I'd like to say that I enjoyed the poem and the story as a whole. There is so much emotion and so many details to explain the way Tara thinks, feels, etc. It's like being in her head (which of course, we are in some way) but it just makes everything seem even more real. Thanks so much for the update.:)


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 F
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 9:49 pm 

I am so ecstatic to see you back with another magnificent update. WOW. I can't wait until NMR.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.

Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

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

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 F
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 10:42 pm 
my god was that just the sweetest, saddest, most wonderfully hot thing ever! and such a long update too! i love it! thank you for continuing on with this great story!


Forgive me now! Tomorrow I may no longer feel guilty...

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 F
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 12:10 am 
That was just too awsome.... thanks alot for the update~!

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay, Part 12 F
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2004 3:04 pm 
HUGE update as allways, thanks!

To begin at the end; whats that about it being 'unfortunatly' your own poem ? What's wrong with that ? I'll sic Willow on you if keep talking yourself down like that you know... :)

The detail of Tara's thoughts make her seem to wise for her age at times. At other times it's much less rational, which is a Good Thing.

Didn't like that Mandy girl very much, taunting Tara even when she was ill, b00000 :smash . As such I don't mind her having some trouble of her own. Not to sure I like the idea of making her come back to them to get rid of that curse though. That could easily go on to long and Mandy & co. will blame all their trouble on Tara mostly. Not a good way to get rid of problems, the trick in such situations is to give back enough so they won't do it again... not motivate them to do something worse. Yeah I probably over-worry here.. :lol .

When Tara was thinking she didn't care much about the remarks anymore, I noted down that Willow most likely take a different view. And low and behold... she did, how shocking :) . It's normal to get more upset if someone else is being harrased, since you won't reason that away. Besides which, Willow is rather protective by nature :-)

Tara wondering "Do I truly love her or am I just seeking self-validation?" is interesting, don't see why she sees that as mutual exclusive choice. Of course she seeks self-validation, everybody does to some degree. Tara had her self-validation stripped to some degree by the remainder of her 'familly'. So if anybody deserves (to seek) self-validation it would be Tara.

This line was nice as well; "but I know who's the real beauty in our relationship, even if I'm not the beast.", esp. the last part. She no longer sees herself as part-demon all the time, which is good. Tara comparing Adam to Martin Luther King was rather odd shall we say ?? :) Even though she's techically correct in the uniting part, Adam was a bit more violent however.

I like Tara's short decription of Willow here; " I think that she often gets disappointed by people, the world, maybe her parents lack of attention and over the years has built this sort of quiet nerdy shell for herself. A way to keep herself safe from everything.". Not entirely sure about the nerdy shell but the first part is definitly true. That's an inherent danger of being very nice too people, you expect the same back but thats not guaranteed by a long shot (have to remind my sister about that frequently, way to nice for the world).

Oh btw. I'm with Willow in usually disliking Anya and that has nothing to do with Xander :) Anya just tends to annoy me, don't know if that's 'petty'... though the true disliking started in S6 (nowhere near Xander or Buffy however :-).

I finally figured out why I keep thinking _Where the Wilde Things Are_ is earlier in the season. I mix it up with _Fear Itself_, both eps center around people trapped in a house. I liked Giles way of 'making a door' better in _Fear Itself_, heh. "you can make a door?"... yezzz... : -->>:

Anyway, nice update. I liked how the end up in bed, comfortably exploring each other, no rushing... niiiiice :lol


"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

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay Part, 12 F
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2004 1:19 pm 
Well it had been a long while, so it was good to get back into it again. I don’t know if the next part will be as long, or shorter, we’ll have to see, or exactly how long that will take me. Anyway, thanks to everyone for the continued interest,

Rocktoddy, SaraBiga, hope the wait was worth it and did I answer what happened after the ‘horses incident’ well enough for you?

Imjustme, it depends on how soon you mean by soon? I have started the next part, but when, probably 2-3 weeks, but one never knows how RL will impact that.

Onyxsundrops (now that’s a pretty, cool name and I don’t I’ve seen you before so welcome to the story) Glad you liked the poem, I’ll comment on that later slightly more, and the story. Tara is pretty emotional and part of the point for doing this journal style is to show her emotions, as she thinks she feels them. There are probably too many details for anyone actually writing a journal, but I’ll put that off to artistic license. I’ve never actually done a journal of my own.

The Rose24, not much longer. J Glad you’re still with me.

RaiStarr, well, I don’t know about hot, but thanks for the sentiment. I should say that I don’t read much NC-17 style fic, hardly any at all, and I also really dislike the idea of writing in that style. I have nothing against it, just am not exceptionally comfortable with it for my own reasons. Which is going to make NMR a hard part for me to do and I am not resolved on what the end will be like. Hopefully it won’t be too disappointing.

Everbreeze, don’t recognize the name, but glad you enjoyed it. Will work to keep that up.

Grimlock72, thanks as always, for the long response, that’s always appreciated, especially with the longer updates I know it is harder to make comments, there’s just so much there.

OK, I have to admit to hating my own poetry. I don’t write poetry often, don’t ‘get’ real poetry most of the time, always missed the main points in English class and real should just stop doing it, but it seemed appropriate for Tara here. I actually have a story from about a year ago that is about 20-25 pages along where I also had Tara writing a poem to Willow, but hated it so much it ground the entire thing to a halt. I could see her doing it, writing it, what she wanted to get across, but detested what I’d done and pretty much haven’t been able to get back to it since as a result. For whatever reason I have a big lack of confidence in this area, so that’s why the ‘unfortunately’ crept in. Now if you could really sic Willow on me that might be more fun than not…J

I see Tara as having grown up a bit early for her age, that is partially why she seems a bit wiser, and more cynical which you’ve mentioned before. And partially that’s just me being older too.

Ah, the curse. Well, the traditional gypsy style curse usually requires some atonement from those cursed. Normally they have to ask the person who cursed them to lift it, so that’s not too unusual. And besides, they do anything worse and they could always be cursed worse, that makes them not want to push again, wouldn’t you think?

I also felt that Willow would be more pissed about harassment having suffered it herself before, and yeah, they both are pretty protective. Tara certainly deserves self-validation, so does Willow at this point for that matter, but they go so much further than that too. I will also say that the Martin Luthor King line is not mine, unless I am misremembering, out of the show itself. It is a strange contrast. I did like many parts of WtWTA, just the constant Buffy/Riley boinking was less interesting. But on later watches I like the humor and personal contacts in this episode. Spike and Anya especially have a lot in common, I wouldn’t have minded seeing them, not as a couple, but at least as friends before season sux. It might have helped make Anya less annoying and given her more to do.

Willow does seem so innocent and optimistically positive in seasons 4-5 especially. I think that’s why what she went through was both harder and easier for her. Easier, because she can see the good and things to love in anyone, harder as she was afraid of the distance with her friends and that growing. I will also confess the end is, in part, a bit of a warm up for NMR, as I said, I am still not positive how that’s going to play out in the Journal. I am divided and probably won’t decide till I am near the end of the episode. And depending on how much beer I might have had then! J No, I don’t write like that, but it did work for Philip K. Dick… :)

Anyway, thanks for all the responses. The good news: as far as I see right now there will be no interlude or anything else next, it should be relatively straight into NMR. So that should be good news!


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