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

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 Post subject: Re: looking foward to an update
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 11:22 pm 
Ok, I know, bad, bad kitten! L I have been massively busy with Buffy RPG work for Tim and Eden Studios and with real life so I have gotten jack and squat done lately for this story. I’d say it’s time for a spanking but that would only delay things even more! J Actually I have gotten some work done and it is going to be a bit longer of an update than I expected. I hope to have it ready to post Wednesday or at latest Friday. Crosses fingers and prays! So I hope everyone will bear with me.

Sam7777, welcome to the story, hope it was worth ploughing through. We definitely missed a lot of what Tara was doing and going through in season 4. We saw much of Willow, but not Tara. The attack in Superstar is…well, I guess some of my Lovecraftian tendencies are going to show. Nothing drastic out line with the show, just an extrapolation from what was shown.

Tempest Duer, well of course Tara is wonderful, duh! J Seriously, it is odd that reading missing scenes stuff can still be surprising and show new details we didn’t see before. I’ve experienced that several times myself. Part of that comes from how much was left unsaid.

Xita, yeah, I finally decided that I liked the idea of the first time being in NMR despite having said before that WAY was probably the first. It just seems to flow better as I’ve written this so far. I still see Tara as very conflicted, it’s part of the way she is, strength and vulnerability, victim yet courageous, all of that wrapped in a package that doesn’t realize how special it is. It would be tragic if it weren’t for Willow and them getting together in the end. Not everyone is so lucky.

Singgirl, yeah, I did walk that line and I’m glad that you thought I didn’t cross it. I think Tara felt more pathetic early on but Willow’s friendship let her begin to grow. I am glad you are still sticking with it and have noticed the change. Hope you continue to enjoy it.

Imjustme, sorry about the withdrawal pains. You can blame a little bit of that on my cats who have to sit on my lap when it snows out (among other times, usually whenever I have the laptop there) and that makes it hard to write since I have to put the computer next to me and sit at an angle. But have no fear, one is coming, I’m about half done so it shouldn’t be long.

OK, that’s it for me. Lots of snow tonight so shoveling tomorrow and then working on the story. Be well, all,


 Post subject: Re: looking foward to an update
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 10:43 pm 
MORE PLEASE!!!!! Pretty please with WIllow and Tara on top!!!! Hmmmmm, Tara on top...I like that idea

Giving myself yummy visual place here...this story really draws you in...the Tara POV is great...and I still can't believe this wasn't written by a woman...great job! More please!!!!!!!!:tara :willow :luv2 :pride

 Post subject: Re: looking foward to an update
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 7:49 pm 
Good point you make, there. I was kind of stating the obvious when I said that Tara was wonderful, but hey... oh well...

Willow: Hey Buff. One more thing. Buffy: Yeah? Willow: I’m gay. Buffy: Okay, Will. Xander owes me ten bucks.

~Remember to Breathe by Yellow Crayon

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara McClay- Part 10A
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 2:27 pm 
Hey Kittens,

Umgaynow, uh, thanks? No seriously, thanks for the compliment, if I can make you question my gender than I must be doing something right, (or my parents did something wrong! :) ) Hopefully you'll like the future parts too.

Tempest Duer, well it never hurts to state the obvious sometimes. Willow and Tara are both wonderful and deserved so much better than ME had in store for them. It makes me sad that Amber and Aly had to go through such crap. Oh well. If it were a perfect world...

Well I finally, finally, have the Superstar chapter done. I know, it took forever, sorry about that, nowhere near as much writing time as I'd like and way too much snow shoveling. Blah! Anyway, it is finished and longer than expected by quite a bit. Hopefully the wait was worth it and this does not disappoint. Anyway, enjoy. I am not sure how many parts this will be in, looks like 4, maybe that's why it took so long. This might be a bit more, I don't know, creepy or intense, maybe, than usual, so be warned.

Title: From the journal of Tara McClay Pt. 10

Rating: R sort of.

Summary: The events during Superstar in Season 4.

Note: Written December 2003. The entries are no longer consecutive days, some gaps appear. As said previously, Superstar seemed like a big waste of time on Jonathan when more important things could have been addressed. Still, there was a fair amount of Willow and Tara present so it wasn’t a total loss, they just didn’t really discuss much in depth.


Thursday Morning: I dreamed of him again last night. It was so cool, he was giving a lecture at the University on tolerance and gay rights and we were there, listening and hoping to get a picture signed. We sat about five rows back and the place was crowded, but he looked right at me. He’s so dreamy and it was like I was going to melt or pass out. Willow gave a little sigh too.

        And then, when he was finished, he’s so brilliant and everything he said was just profound and would convince even the most conservative stick in the mud, he came down the row to exit and shook my hand, said he was willing to give me an interview for school. It was so great and Willow was holding onto my arm and almost squealing with delight.

        The next thing I know the three of us are alone in some back room and I’m asking questions and he’s answering and I know this is going to be the best paper ever and it’ll even have pictures too. She’d brought a camera with and I stood next to Jonathan and she took a picture, but the flash blinded me.

        When my eyes cleared Willow and I were sitting on the bank of a river, arms round each other, watching nature spread out before us; looking at these giant fish in the water pass by. One stopped and looked up and burbled that dogs were howling all around, that things were falling apart and that we had to be careful. Another came by, a smaller orange goldfish, and said that we needed to hold onto each other, when two are one, slings and arrows affect both equally. A larger white and black mottled fish stated that the future was apparent in the shapes of breakfast, for those who could read them.

One more that was brighter orange and fully five feet long bumped up against the others and offered to help us across to the other side of the river, but Willow said she didn’t want to get wet and seemed a little scared of the water. I thanked the fish and asked what was on the other side. A smaller black and white one, striped and more dark than light and not looking like a zebra at all, said that pain, madness and death awaited; would we face it on this side or the other? All the fish, there were over a dozen now, began chanting, ‘one side or the other, this one or that, here or there,’ and spat water at us in little torrents that drenched us affording me a fine view of her chest and hardened nipples.

We both cried out for them to stop and put our hands in front of us because the water smelled strange and the fish were laughing, malice filling the thin cackles, when a black and white feline fully ten feet tall leapt beside us and swatted fish away with her paw; for it was obviously a her kitty. The cat’s tail wrapped around us in a cocoon of warmth and soft flowing fur, pressing us closer together and Willow’s breath came raggedly against my cheek as we clutched at each other, and when we kissed it was like the world exploded and we were floating in darkness, with no clothes, nothing separating us at all. She was so soft and I could feel her heart beating in tune with mine, both racing at quite a rapid pace. She was whispering in my ear, telling me how beautiful I was, how special and devourable she found me and I was so happy my skin started to split and golden light shone out, merging with a radiance of her own.

I woke up more abruptly than normal with the damn alarm ringing, images of a shining Willow and a prancing cat still present in the back of my mind. It was very strange and I felt disorientated and aroused, but not in a pressing sort of way, just deep and pleasant. I must have had a small fever or something as I was a little damp and my nightshirt hung more heavily than normal. I swore I heard her voice but couldn’t shake whether that was here or still in the dream. She was saying something about finding some new Jonathan pictures to put up on the wall and would be by after an early patrol tonight.

I was so out of it, still feeling phantom kisses and her feathery breath in my ear not to mention her fantastic body that I didn’t even think of picking up the phone. I could have found out which new photos she found! She’s so thoughtful that way, always bringing new pictures to put up. I can’t wait to see her tonight, see what she found, spend time hanging out and talking about him.

Thursday Night: Well she’s gone. My room seems as empty as the river in my dream, At least, before all the fish showed up. It certainly has that chill that makes you want to hold onto someone dear. I still wish she could stay again, but I vowed that I wouldn’t pressure her, give her the time she needs to figure out what’s going on in her life. I just hope she decides soon.

        When she got here she was all excited and bubbling over about how he helped Buffy and them out against a particularly nasty nest of vamps. I guess they had found them in a crypt in one of the cemeteries, and there were just too many for her gang to handle alone. So they went and got his help.

        She said he was amazing. He helped plan out the whole thing, gave them some encouragement and advice, even indicated where she had missed an entrance when she hacked into the city building commission to get the layout of the mausoleum.

        She excitedly told me all about how a crazed vamp was heading right towards her and she knew if it got by it might hurt someone else. I smiled and teased her about how she loved the Scooby life. It’s obvious she enjoys the danger, helping others, needs for Buffy to feel she’s useful. She admitted she had fun and that it was exciting, especially his big entrance through a skylight.

I asked about Buffy and how she was doing and she said she was fine, got one with her crossbow. She even used cute little sound affects, it was so adorable. She’s just so amazing, I love her more and more each day. It’s silly, but it’s true. I’ve found out so much about my Willow since we first met, what, three months ago? Each new layer of her is just more fascinating and incredible than the previous.

        Oh, I’m not saying she’s perfect, certainly no one is, but she’s perfect enough for me. I wouldn’t ask for her to change anything. How did that song Mother liked go? ‘Don’t go changing just to please me, I love you just the way you are.’ I think that was one of her favorites, but…I’m not sure. I wish we’d gotten more time to get to know each other. I was so young most of the time and when I was older…she just wasn’t herself anymore. Goddess I miss her. Would she be proud of me now? I know she’d like Willow; be happy for us. I wonder what it would have been like if all three of us could have performed a Sabbat together?

        I asked her how Buffy was handling the whole Riley sleeping with Faith thing, well Buffy’s outsides and Faith’s insides at least. It was pretty weird and unusual and I’m used to magic and stuff. She said they weren’t coping really well, that a strain had come between them, but that she thought it would blow over and they’d be big with the smoochies soon. It made me wish we could be doing the same.

        The pictures of Jonathan she’d found were cute too. We cut them out and put them on the collage which is getting pretty big, really. It’s just that he’s so neat I can never get too much of him.

        Which also led to her big surprise! She said that tomorrow she knew Jonathan was going to perform at the Bronze, along with some other band, and wanted to know if I wanted to go with her? It would be an official date sort of thing though the others would be there too.

        I smiled and put my hand on her leg and said I’d love to do anything with her, that I’d be happy to go. I was so excited she’d asked me my smile broadened and my face sort of felt like in the dream, ready to split open, I was so happy. She grinned back and though already in a good mood, seemed even more so then.

        She looked in my eyes for a little while and gently traced my jaw, cupped my chin with her strong yet delicate fingers. It’s amazing how even a simple touch from her can be so arousing, make me ache deep within and tingle all over. It always feels like I’m going to sink through the floor, or maybe just float away.

        We kissed for a while, lying on my rugs, against the pillows from the bed. Just slow, lasting kisses, hands stroking and touching. She’s soft, warm, tastes so good and is such an excellent kisser. Sometimes I wish those moments would never end.

        After a while we just sort of lay together, kinda sleepy and content just to caress each others’ arms, feel the pads of our fingers here and there. We talked intermittently about little things again. Classes, Jonathan, more bands she’d seen.

        After a while she kinda giggled and suggested we should give each other makeovers with the glamour spell, make it seem like we were older, sophisticated ladies or something. She really thought it would be fun and good test of our abilities so I figured: why not?

        We arranged the room, got the materials we needed, a mirror in which to see ourselves, lit a bit of incense and sat in the center of the cleared area facing each other crosslegged with our knees touching. We didn’t bother with a circle as we weren’t raising that much energy, and wanted to practice without the aid of one in any case. That was her idea since drawing a circle takes time she might not always have. We did put our hands together though, the link thrumming like always, threatening to both distract us and make the magic more intense.

        She went first and after closing her eyes and concentrating for a while, she opened them and looked at me with that funny look and smiled. She held the mirror up in one hand and in the little square of glass I beheld an older version of myself. I had slightly more defined cheekbones, hair in an elaborate coif behind me that was set off with a couple of beautiful pins with butterfly designs on them. I wore an elegant evening dress that showed off shapely bare shoulders and more cleavage than I’d ever dare. A string of pearls accented my neck and ears. It was really pretty and cool. I looked at her and smiled, too, and pretended to be drinking a tea with my finger extending and we both laughed.

        She said it was my turn now and I probably flushed and ducked my head. I couldn’t think of anything. I mean, I really do love her the way she is. I have such a hard time picturing her different. How could one improve on her?

        She sensed my hesitation and unease and took my hands more firmly in hers. She told me to close my eyes and picture her in my mind and then sort of alter the picture. Let something from my subconscious start to change the image and then go with it.

        I tried and after a little while an image slipped into my mind. I held onto it and pictured her looking like that, though I felt my face heating up the whole while. When I thought I had superimposed the likeness on her, I opened my eyes.

        Sure enough she was wearing a leather skirt and top like Xena, along with that small piece of chest armor. Her hair fell in bangs and was a thick long red mane in the back and sides. She reversed the mirror so she could see herself and after a moment asked me why this image? I couldn’t look at her, but I told her it’s because I thought she was a hero, very brave for helping Buffy and not having any super powers herself.

She seemed very touched and leaned forward and kissed me once. Then she leaned back and laughed saying at least it didn’t look as kinky as what her vampiric self had worn; but if she’d known we were going to do TV characters she’d change her image.

        We spent the next half hour or so making each other look like our favorite characters, she gave me Gabrielle’s skimpy outfit and that made me blush even more, though secretly I was very pleased she’d done that. I made her look like Scully and then she gave me a butch haircut and a suit sort of like Mulder’s. I countered and made her bald with a bone ridge and flowing dress-robes like I’d seen once while at the hospital waiting to visit Mother after surgery. It had seemed like an SF show and she recognized it and sort of sputtered and looked happy too. Then she made me look like a big Oprah and we got sillier from there.

        It was fun, and we laughed a lot, though I’ve seen so much less television than her that it was harder to think of people to make her look like. The Xena and Gabrielle images are still my favorites.

        We cleaned up and though it was late, it wasn’t absurdly so and she decided she better get going, early class tomorrow and a test before spring break. I was shocked and said she should have been studying, but she replied that she’d rather be here with me and besides, she’d studied all day and had everything down cold. It was just Diffy Q anyway.

        I smiled and drew her to me, kissed her firmly and told her it was for luck, and we both almost exploded in laughter. She finally calmed down, kissed me and said she’d see me tomorrow evening.

        Ah, it was a great night. It’s so good to see her having fun and forget about worrying over Buffy and Riley, about whatever badness is happening, even the turmoil and anxiety she’s going through, even if it is just for a while. Tomorrow we’ll get to see Jonathan perform together, what could be better?

Friday Afternoon: I dreamed that he taught Willow and I a new spell last night. It was so cool. The two of us were practicing floating a rose, which he had shown her earlier this year, sometime before he had taught us the passage to the nether realms spell and acted as our anchor so we could find out what had happened to Buffy, when there was a knock on the door. It opened and he was dressed in the stylish black suit coat and pants that he calls his magic garb because they have small silver runes sown into the lapels and along the seams.

        He came in and we were both excited and happy and he showed us this cool spell, I can’t recall exactly what it was, some sort of big illusion spell, a grander version of the little glamour we knew, only allowing for more detail and movement within it, I think. Anyway it was a great spell and after he instructed us on how it worked we all practiced it together.

        He had to leave then, some call from the president or something, and that left me and her alone. We practiced the spell together and it was fun yet somehow by the end we were both cats. She was sort of a Persian with the scrunched in face and little upturned nose and had bright orange fur while I was a big Maine Coon with long brown and black hair and a large puffy tail.

        We rolled around on the floor and took turns grooming each other and then left the room through the cat door at the bottom. We went running and exploring on campus, avoiding all the people and a vampire or two. Eventually we went back to her room where her owner Buffy was staying and slept in a pile there on her little cat bed. When we got up later there was a small nasty rat in a cage which we got open so we could play with it.

        That’s about all I remember, it was pretty strange, especially seeing the campus from down low with everything appearing very big, tall and out of proportion like some weird Dali painting. I must be missing Miss Whiskers more than I’d thought, that’s two cat dreams in two days. Maybe I’m just longing for some company, any kind, to distract me from the lack of her?

        Oh, Mother, I need her so bad. I just hope she can work things out before I go too crazy. I know she likes me, has feelings for me, but I’m just so used to the worst, to being alone. When she’s around it feels like there’s nothing I couldn’t do. It’s trite and a cliché and all that but exactly right. I guess there’s some truth in those after all. However, when she’s gone and I’m left by myself I start to doubt what just happened, wonder how long it can go on.

When I was little you used to tell me I was special, that the spirits came because I called and that they didn’t do that for everyone; it was a gift to be treasured. But Father always said it was evil, that dark things crept in the night and that God despised witches, that it would damn me to Hell. People weren’t meant to play at His role, have power over the world in this way. It was arrogant and wrong to play with the dark forces. They always put on a fair face to trick the unwary, to perpetuate evil and lead people further astray. The evil that was part of my heritage had to be fought against constantly, my own judgment suspect and undermined by that legacy. He said never to trust my own instincts but to check with him or my brother to make sure I wasn’t being tricked.

And he wasn’t wrong either. I can still remember just before junior high school how I wanted a pet raccoon very badly. I summoned a spirit and asked if it could aid me, draw the friendly looking fellow I had seen in the yard to me and convince it to stay with me. I should have known something was off, the spirit seemed eager, almost hungry and it was late night, I couldn’t risk being caught during the day and had snuck out.

It showed me how to call the raccoon and said it would never leave me, but when it came the spirit descended on it. The screeches were horrible, they echoed through the woods along with the sound of tearing and slurping. I was so scared. The smell was terrible and I gagged, my vomit adding to the hideous stench. I panicked and ran back to the house, but everyone was up, wakened by the sounds. Father was beside himself with anger and I knew I would get a strapping, but it was Mother’s look that hurt the most. She had this disappointed air about her, a quiet disapproval that really frightened me more than anything else that had happened. What if she stopped teaching me? What if I had messed up so bad that that was it?

Goddess it’s still embarrassing and awful. I was so stupid. How could I have disregarded all that Father had said, let the evil within me attract like kind? Mother forgave me of course, she’d warned me before about being careful, but after this she made sure I knew about the evil beings that exist, how to tell them apart from the good ones, or those that were more neutral in aspect. It can be very difficult, and some dark forces are very good at hiding their nature.

She went into more detail on how magic can corrupt a person, how the lure of power and control can take them over, lead to the loss of their true self in the darker, more primeval aspects of their being. She said base instincts are part of all humans, the world, just the way things are. But Father made it clear that we were touched by more of it than most people; that the demon legacy within us would always try to surface and get free, color our judgment and bend us towards evil acts like what happened with the raccoon.

And then there was Mary Jo. I truly thought she might actually have been interested in me. It never occurred to me that she could be playing me to get to my brother. I so misread her; my instincts were completely fooled.

When Willow’s not with me all these experiences rise up within me, whisper to me that I don’t really know her, can’t possibly recognize the deception, or truly be in love. Father’s voice is always there, like attracts like, evil will seek you out and only your family can protect you from it. Is my own desperation blinding me?

I wish I could ask Jonathan, I’m sure he’d know in a second, could tell me what to do. I want to follow my heart, to believe that Willow has feelings for me, that she could somehow, beyond all hope, find something within me worthy of love, but if my heart is black with evil, how can it possibly be right?

Why does everything have to be so confusing?

Damn it, I can’t let my past destroy the possible future that lies before me. Mother said that everyone makes mistakes, misjudges people or situations. The hard part is to learn and grow from them, not dwell on them forever. When I’m with her there’s no evil present, I’m positive of it. I know I’d do anything, sacrifice everything for her, that can’t be motivated by darkness, can it? I’ve seen her true beauty in the nether realms, I don’t think I could be fooled there, not with our link, the magic connecting us. There’s nothing evil about my Willow, and if she can see some light in me, then I have to as well. I can be strong, for her, for us. There has to be an ‘us.’

Concentrate on tonight Tara. You’re going on a date with Willow. An honest, full-fledged date, to see Jonathan even. You never thought that anything like this could happen. You’ve kissed and touched the most wonderful girl ever created. You’ve been blessed by the Goddess and God and need to stay positive. What will be, will be. Enjoy the day at hand and all the moments with her she gives you. You love her; that will give you all the strength you’ll ever need.

continued immediately below.

Edited by: Garner at: 2/3/04 2:43 pm

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara McClay- Part 10B
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 3:31 pm 
Here is Segment B

Saturday Night: She’s gone now, the door has closed behind her and I’m alone again, but at least not in the dark, not with that thing pounding to get in, its hideous aura pressing at me like a slobbering tongue. Uggh, the images it conjured up, of Willow’s body broken, my scaled hands cracking her bones so I could feast on the marrow, all due to my demonic nature, it threatens to bring on the uncontrollable shaking again.

Oh Goddess, what was that? Was it at my door?

No, just someone knocking and being let in down the hall. Please, come back quickly, Willow, I need you here. I can still smell its rancid breath in my face like the stench of an early grave after excruciating pain. I need my Willow’s deep herbal scent. I have to look on her to remind myself that beauty does exist, that nothing happened to her. Mother, how could something so Evil exist?

        The residue of it makes everything else seem so…banal, unimportant, insignificant perhaps. What difference does any of the previous night make when that thing could be lurking outside even now, haunting the dormitory hallways. Goddess how did I ever escape it?

        But I did, Buffy’s out hunting it now, getting Jonathan’s aid. But he said it was safe, and he was wrong, so wrong. No place is safe, it could be anywhere, prowling through my dreams, homing in on my thoughts, my fear. It’s already got a taste of me. I can feel the scratches from it’s claws throbbing with malignancy, vermillion lines squirming like fetid worms, wanting to burrow further into my flesh.

And I was worried about the possible evil in me? I’d laugh if I thought that I’d be able to stop. I, Father, we both knew nothing of true evil. Now I’ve seen it, felt it, had it pawing at me, drooling like a pedophile at an unattended playground. I’m unclean, tainted by it’s saliva, ripe with the remains of its last meal, little bits of fetid flesh and blood sprayed all over me, discolored patches on my clothes where it fell on me like acid.

I need to shower, to cleanse myself though no soap is ever going to be enough. I’d go to the bathroom and do so now, but it’s a long ways down the hall and what if it’s there? What if it’s hiding in one of the stalls just waiting for me? I…I can’t face it again. I can’t even get up the courage to take off my clothes. I won’t cover my eyes, return to the darkness, not for a briefest instant, even the time it takes to remove my shirt.

Oh Willow, hurry, hurry, come back to me. I need you, why couldn’t you find me? Why didn’t you come sooner? When it was there, pounding and pounding, all that went through my mind was that it had caught you first, torn you to bloody bits and it was now my turn.

I know you have to help Buffy and Jonathan find out what it is, discover how to kill it, and I do want it dead, destroyed; I’ve never wanted something dead so much in my entire life and I don’t even feel guilty for thinking it, but can’t Buffy and Jonathan handle it alone? Or Riley and the commando guys with the biggest most powerful guns they have? I don’t want you anywhere near that thing. It’s too horrible, I know you fight demons and vampires, but you should never have to feel something this dark, be subjected to its corruption, so foul and dirty. Goddess I’m already tainted, soiled, such things are never for you. I have to wash, can’t be like this when you come back; soon, I hope it’s soon.

Think of her, Tara, think of her and calm yourself. She said you’re safe and that means something. She’d never lie to me. Goddess she’s so courageous to even think about going out there with that on the loose. I wanted her to stay, to be safe too, but I couldn’t make that request of her. Oh, she’d probably stay if I did, but that wouldn’t be right. They need her, Buffy needs her, as much as I do, and if she can help in any way with killing it then I have to do my part and let her go. No one else should ever have to suffer its presence.

But her magic’s no match for it. She’s practically defenseless, and yet she doesn’t even hesitate. How could I not love her? She’s the most spectacular person, a radiant beacon that’s driven away the shadows from my dreary life. I can’t even begin to contemplate what it’d be like without her. She’s got such a vibrancy and joy of living canted by an adorable innocence and veneer of fragility that covers an inner strength greater than just about any I’ve ever seen.

Last night really did start out so well, too. I think I can still recall what happened despite the terror that came later. Why does that stench have to linger? It makes it so hard to fully picture her. I chose my pale blue dress and a top of matching, though slightly darker, color with small blue specks on it. I like blue, it’s a cold color that tends to allow one to merge with the background, remain unnoticed, but I’ve sometimes sort of secretly thought it shows off my hair well? Maybe? Father always disliked flashy or bright clothes, saying I wasn’t some harlot on display, but he didn’t seem to mind the blue so I could be all wrong.

Anyway, I wanted to look good in case he noticed me, sort of like in the dream, only I knew that would never happen. And I did want her to be pleased, too. I mean, all her friends would be there and everything. That thought made me nervous again, I still haven’t interacted that much with them and they’re such a big deal to her; I don’t want to embarrass her. That might make her decision about where to go next much easier. I know I’ll never fit in, I just didn’t want to stick out.

I did put my hair back in a pony tail too, which I hardly ever do. It makes me feel sort of vulnerable, with no place to hide, but I thought maybe she’d like a new look? And since it’s sort of cool in the evenings now so I also took a split pea green sorta light coat thing that in retrospect is probably a little icky. I just wish I had more practice picking out nicer things to wear.

She showed up right on time as always. I did look to see if she was standing there outside, waiting, but no, she just walked up and knocked. Well, after arranging her own black jacket, pulling her light pink shirt in place and brushing her hair back with her hand. It was so cute, and here I thought I was the only nervous one. I almost giggled and that would have been horrible as she would have heard me and caught me spying on her. It was neat to get a little glimpse of her without knowing I was looking. An unguarded moment that’s just mine now.

I couldn’t help it, she knocked, I opened the door and when she came in I embraced her and gave her a big kiss, full of passion, tongue and a little squirming. I just had to let her feel how excited she makes me. That tiny glimpse of her worrying about how she looks just for me, Goddess I love her so much. Just thinking about it calms me down, makes the horror of last night recede just a little more.

She was surprised and pleased and kissed me back and smiled giving me that look that almost made me want to just continue or draw her down on top of me on the bed and never let her go even though I knew we had to get going and she had one more picture of him in her hand for the wall.

I must have been more fervent than usual because she asked me what all that was for and I told her it was just because I was so happy and excited to see her, to be going out on our first date.

I know, I probably shouldn’t have said it. Date, too effusive, way too forward. I could have scared her more, made her think I couldn’t control myself in front of her friends, led to questioning the whole idea of going out tonight. It’s just that I couldn’t control myself then, I was literally overcome with love for her. It felt like I would swell up and float away, my heart pulling me to the top of the room. I wanted to laugh, to sing, dance, maybe even cry a bit at how much it hurt, only in a bittersweet good way. Yet through all that there was a tingling, a bubbling like I was some fine champagne all effervescent and ready to pop.

It must have been contagious because we both giggled a bit and when I got the tape to put his picture up, we both ended up sort of wrestling for the dispenser to be the one to attach it. I still get shivers from the memory of her body straining against mine, reaching and groping for the tape while I tried to keep it from her.

Of course we fell over in a thud, with her sort of on top of me. Her breath came in short little gasps and smelt like peppermint and something deeper and nicer. It tickled my neck and face as she looked down at me and I swear her eyes actually did sparkle like gems. Two sweet little emeralds that contain all that is good in the world. I looked in those eyes and at her slightly open mouth, her thin lips just barely parted in a grin, saw the joy that covered her face, seemed to light it up, and in that moment I didn’t care about anything else. I felt nothing evil or demonic present. Somehow I had helped give her that joy, made her smile and come to life in a way that was beyond friendship.

And she didn’t shy away, look off or avoid me at all. Instead her gaze seemed to return all the emotions that were passing through me like a tumult of charging elephants.

I opened my mouth to tell her that I loved her, how much she meant to me, but her lips and her tongue silenced any words I might have had. She held me tightly, probably too tightly and then I could feel her hands behind my head, pressing me against her even more firmly. There was almost a desperation and franticness to her passion. It was like a sluice or a dam had been opened and the deepest hidden emotions behind were finally starting to pour out and for once she didn’t care, they didn’t scare or worry her.

I remember leaning back and drawing her fully on top of me, her legs parting mine, her chest a welcome softness on my own. Our lips locked, tongues danced, our breath became one. And still her hands continued to grasp at my hair, hold my head as if to never let me go.

And then we heard a knock at the door and coarse voices laughing and carrying on. Somebody said, “Dude let us in, we’re almost out of beer!” In a too loud, sorta drunken, voice.

It wasn’t so much that which killed our mood as the laughing. She turned bright red and I could feel my own cheeks practically glowing like coals, though why we should feel like our parents had caught us doing something naughty I don’t know. But we did, and as I got up to answer the stupid door, I heard more laughing and someone saying that this was 323 not 333 and that they had the wrong room.

We composed ourselves while the voices left and the laughing dwindled. She commented that stuff like that probably never happened to Jonathan, and I had to agree. Things always go right for him. I bet what happened with that hideous monster is even part of some subtle plan of his that I don’t understand. I just wish I could forget the image of that terrible symbol on its forehead and all the scraggy, dank hair that seemed to be reaching for me on its own.

We looked at each other, I picked up the tape, tore off a piece and she used it to put up the new picture and then we left the room. Some early celebrations of spring break were going on in the Hall, but otherwise it seemed a bit more deserted than normal. We walked to the Bronze, occasionally touching, talking about him, what songs he’d play, the things we had to get done during the break. It was very nice and reminded me how good my life has gotten lately.

When we arrived at the Bronze, which had Jonathan posters all over the place, the line was already pretty long. We took our place in it and talked some more while waiting to get in. It didn’t take too long and it turned out Buffy and Riley were already inside and had gotten a good table.

We greeted them and it was obvious that the strain between them was still there. Willow asked if they intended to patrol later and got non-committal grunts. We talked a little while about him and before we knew it Anya and Xander joined us.

It was strange how we seemed like we were three couples each isolated in our own little world. The intro band wasn’t on stage yet and I tried to say something about the role of music in primitive tribes and how warriors often used it to re-enact their greatest hunts or feats and wondered how that could be applied to some of Jonathan’s songs. Willow thought it was a fun topic, but Anya cut in with something about Jonathan’s movies being more engaging because she could look at him and that set Xander off and got a glare from Willow. Buffy and Riley just seemed sort of lost.

That’ll teach me to open my mouth and try to make conversation. Donny always said no one was interested in my drivel and I should shut my face and keep quiet in public. Still, she knew what I meant. She always does. I never feel like a stupid dork when she’s present.

So we talked a little bit about Jonathan and how his musician aspect contrasted with his warrior aspect and yet how both were really more similar than one would normally consider. It was fun and then the first band started up and suddenly her hand was in mine and she was drawing me out onto the dance floor!

Goddess, it was like a dream come true. I couldn’t believe she was being so…bold, brazen even. I mean her friends were sitting nearby, lost in themselves, true, but wouldn’t they notice? Wouldn’t they begin to ask questions? Oh, Mother, it was just so cool to have someone willing to be seen with me, to have a dance partner I actually wanted to dance with. We were both awkward, not wanting to dance too closely and I think both self conscious, but I’ve never had so much fun like that before. She just opens whole new realms to me that I would’ve never thought possible. I’ll reiterate: I love her so much.

We didn’t dance too long and when we went back to the group Buffy and Riley were still acting stiff and Anya and Xander squabbling about something. It didn’t matter though because Jonathan took the stage next and we were both enraptured by his performance. He’s so cool. I think Riley and Buffy went to dance during the song, which was clearly sung to them. He’s so clever, helping them out, allowing the incident with Faith to be put in the past.

That’s not it breathing outside the door is it? That thing skulking about, waiting for me to come out? I’d feel it, sense it’s malodorous aura if that were the case, right? It couldn’t mask itself, could it? What if it can? It tricked me once before.

I wonder where she is, what she’s doing? I hope it’s something that will direct Buffy to it quickly. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through what I did. Come on Willow, you’re smart, you can find out what it is, what its weaknesses are so Buffy can kill it.

OK, I can be brave, I’ll just get a few spell components and put them on the desk with me, just in case. At the moment I only wish I was more like her.

I listened at the door but didn’t hear anything, checked the lock. I should be all right; for all its evil nature and fear it didn’t seem that strong, couldn’t even break down a simple door, thank the Goddess and God. How was that possible?

It’s odd my thinking about the creature now when during the middle of the concert at the Bronze a girl came running in all scared and bloody. He instantly knew something was wrong and halted things and went to comfort her. I bet he’s a great doctor with a winning bedside manner.

Anyway she left with Jonathan and Buffy which sort of put a damper on the evening. Xander and Anya had left sometime earlier so Willow and I hung around at the Bronze for a little while. Everyone was all upset about the attack and wondering what happened and pretty sure that he’d take care of it no problem. We talked a bit about what we thought had happened, though we were terribly wrong in our suppositions.

After a while we decided to head back to campus. It was another great walk. We held hands part of the way and she told me how they’d probably have a Scooby meeting about the attack, or at the very least help Jonathan and Buffy hunt it down. Heh, my brave monster fighter. She was all excited and keyed up, but in an undercurrentey sort of way. Yeah, she enjoys the Scooby life all right, danger aside. I…I don’t know if I could handle it myself. If she were there, maybe.

As we were just getting to campus we ran into Buffy on her way back from Jonathan’s. I asked if they were going to go fight the creature, and Buffy said that Jonathan had said no go. Willow was surprised at this, but Buffy related that he felt it was just an animal, nothing dangerous.

How could he have been so wrong? I mean, Willow’s right, it’s Jonathan and he said no one was in danger. He must have some plan to lure the beast into the open or not want it to leave the area where he’ll have a hard time finding it. Something like that. It still sends shivers throughout me, raises goosebumps just thinking about it. The noise it made…it still rings through my ears like a predatory bird ready to pounce on something small and helpless. It almost drives her sweet voice from my mind.

Since they weren’t going to go after it right away, and we were at my dorm, I pointed out that this was my exit. I have to admit being disappointed because I had hoped that Willow would come back to my room, but with Buffy along that wasn’t possible.

I asked her if I’d see her tomorrow and she smiled and said yes. She gave that special look and her beautiful smile and ran her hand along my arm, trailed her fingers along mine. I didn’t want to leave her and it seemed like she felt the same. Leaving her is so hard, it’s like going from the warmth and light of home into the cold desolate night where the wind cuts through you and you’re alone under the stars, small, inconsequential.

But we parted with a last glance and she and Buffy continued their conversation while I headed back into the hall. It must have been later than I thought as there was no one around. There was a creepy echo and an odd surreal sense of being the only person left alive, the lone survivor after some weird holocaust.

I think I must have sensed something as soon as I started moving through the lounge area, there was a presence about, like a brooding watchfulness or something stalking. It was as if it knew that I knew that it was there but was playing with me anyway, trying to increase the terror of wondering what it was, where it was, when it would pounce, what exactly it’d do once it caught me. Different images flashed through my mind of blood and slaughter, each more horrible than the previous.

I looked around but didn’t see anything, didn’t hear anything specifically, just the ominous unease and those phantom sounds you think you hear when you’re scared, which I was, very much so, though it had been building since I entered the Residence Hall.

I went for the door to the actual rooms and they flew open in front of me. It was there, a large, seemingly giant, creature with long scaborous arms and filthy stringy hair and large discolored fangs. It let out a roar and startled me so bad I almost wet myself. It batted me with its arms and I went flying backwards, little flashes of light and black obscuring my vision and pain slashing through me.

It was on me in an instant and I tried desperately to keep it off, barely getting my feet up to kick at it, keep it at bay while it’s long arms slapped and clawed at me. Terror must have given me extra strength because it wasn’t able to close or get a good grip on me.

A tiny voice in the back of my head kept saying ‘use a spell, use a spell,’ but I was having a hard time bringing any to mind. All I could see were its teeth tearing at my stomach as it buried its face in my blood and entrails. Its breath was so rank, carrying a carrion smell that promised death and dismemberment, that I could barely breathe.

Somehow while scrabbling back I managed to recall a mist of obscurity spell that might allow me to get away from it. I chanted the words hurriedly, praying I had them right and extended my arms in the proper gesture and white smoke shot out into its horrid face, hiding the triangular symbol on its forehead from my sight.

I scrambled away, putting distance between myself and it, and then managed to get to my feet. It quickly recovered from the spell and I ran, looking for someplace, anyplace, to hide. I could hear it behind me and in my mind there came a high pitched screech that almost seemed to be laughing, taunting me.

I spied a janitor’s closet and barely managed to get it open, my fear-numbed fingers fumbling with the knob as it threw itself towards me. But I was quick enough and managed to get inside and shut and lock the door just as it gave another scream and reached the area.

I cowered there while it pounded on the door, screeching its frustration and rage. It was pitch black and its vile aura and odor pressed at my mind, making me think I was buried alive, trapped and unable to get out with the forces of putrefication and rot already starting to dissolve my still living form in an eternity of agony filled darkness.

I needed light, anything to chase off the gloom and the feeling of hopelessness. My hand shook but I groped for the light switch while it continued to pound and rage. I found that small little plastic plate and hit the switch and there was a sudden flash and a pop as the light bulb burst. There would be no relief from the darkness for me.

My sudden despair and increased terror seemed to fuel the thing at the door, which now seemed to shake under its pounding. Each blow was almost like a physical slap directly to me, I cringed at each strike, waiting, picturing the wood splintering and its long limbs reaching through to grab me and tear at my flesh.

I recoiled back against the far wall and slid to the floor in a fetal ball, or that’s what I think I did, it’s so hard to recall anything but the feel of death and horror running through my mind. I remembered Mother saying that you should never picture negative things happening, always see what you wanted to happen, the best outcome, in your mind and then your spells will always work out.

I put my hands over my head, tried to muffle its constant cries and bellows and kept a vision of the door intact, standing firm like a mighty slab of oak, in my mind.

The creature’s aura, it’s foul presence beat at me, whispered of dark things, of my demonic nature coming to the fore and swallowing Willow, her blood running down my chin, dripping warmly on my chest while I clawed at her eyes, opened her belly, and all the while it continued to throw itself at the door. How long this went on I don’t know. It seemed like forever, so that with each slam my head throbbed and pounded. I’m sure tears flowed from my eyes, but I kept the image of the solid barrier ever present. In fringes of my mind my Willow was there to help me, not dieing or injured at all. She kept telling me to be strong, to be brave, that I could survive this, that she needed me and couldn’t stand it if I were lost to her. I held tight to her image though the creature’s promise of a gruesome death for her as well was unrelenting.

Eventually, finally, somehow I realized it was quiet. I thought a lot of time had passed, but I was still cold, alone and in the dark. My head hurt where it had been hit and from the constant mental assault. Various parts of my body stung and ached where its claws had struck me and I still smelt that charnel house odor. I could barely move, but crept to the door and tried to listen. I heard nothing and after a few more moments of indecision, opened the door and peeked out.

Almost as I did I felt the creature’s presence again and heard its enraged cry. I barely got the door closed and locked before it crashed into it once more. Promises of more pain and death flashed through my mind along with images of it waiting there for me forever; being just out of sight, constantly lurking and waiting for me, ready to devour and rend as soon as my guard was down. It was the patient stalker, ever ready for me, never seen but always there.

This went on and on while its pounding continued and I couldn’t see anything in the dark. I was all alone and it seemed to whisper that this was how we all died. I cried out Willow’s name then, hoping, pleading that somehow she’d be nearby, hear me and come to my rescue.

The creature’s aura was like a bleak laughter saying she was already dead, I had killed her when my evil made a spell slip out of control and no one would ever find me.

I don’t really know what happened after that, how long it pounded, if it left or not. I couldn’t move; was curled on the floor praying it wouldn’t get through, keeping that image of a solid door between us intact.

Continued immediately below.

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara McClay- Part 10C
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 3:36 pm 
Here is segment C

Sometime much later I finally heard voices and what could have been people moving about. I certainly couldn’t trust my senses, wasn’t sure this wasn’t just another trick, some dementia caused by its evil presence. After the voices changed, faded and others took their place, I finally shouted out for help.

They came over to the door but it was locked and they couldn’t get in, asked me to open it, but I couldn’t move, couldn’t be sure they were real and not just another trick. After a while I heard a metallic scraping and the lock opened. A janitor stood there with several other students, while blessed light shone in around them.

One of the girls from my floor recognized me and with one of her friends helped me up to my room. They kept asking if I was all right, what had happened, but all I can remember doing is shaking uncontrollably, looking around wildly fearing that it was just behind any corner, out of sight.

They got me to my room and I must have kept saying Willow’s name over and over because one of them said something about the red haired girl that was always over and knew who I meant, probably from class, and called her.

They put me on my bed and before I knew it Willow was there and I began to shudder violently. Her voice was like a soft gauze enfolding me, wrapping me tightly in a protective layer that warmed me and pushed the darkness back. I have no idea what she said, but the love in her tone was clear, her concern real.

I felt her arms around me, her body pressed up against me and her breath on the back of my neck. I couldn’t stop shaking but she held me tight, kept talking, soothing. Finally my tremors subsided and I felt her get up. I think I may have cried out because I distinctly recall her suddenly in front of me and saying that she was right there, she just wanted to rinse my wounds out, that she wasn’t going anywhere. I felt her soft, sweet lips on my forehead and then on my cheek and lips and tasted her breath…her. It finally began to sink in that I was safe, or as safe as could be. My Willow was with me and she’d never let anything happen to me, I knew it.

After carefully dabbing at me with a cloth, she said she was going to call Buffy. She went to the telephone and I heard her tell Buffy to come over to my room, give her the number and hall and that she needed to hurry. She continued her ministrations till there was a knock on the door and the Slayer came in.

I was still terrified and sort of curled in a ball. I just couldn’t get the feel of that thing’s aura out of my mind. Its horrible face was constantly hovering before me. Willow told her that someone had found me in the janitor’s closet and that I had been in there all night. The worry and concern were so obvious in her voice. I realized through my haze that she was almost in tears, had already cleared her nose earlier several times. I wanted to comfort her, tell her I would be all right and not to cry for me, but all I could hear were the screams and pounding.

Buffy came over and gently asked what had done this. Her demeanor was clam but firm, protective in a big sister sort of way and it helped. I knew that she was in full Slayer mode and would set things right.

I tired to describe the monster, big, bumpy, with that strange symbol on its forehead, sort of like a Greek letter. She drew something on some paper and I recognized it immediately. That was the creature’s mark. Buffy said it was the same that had been at Jonathan’s.

Willow couldn’t believe that it was the same one because Jonathan had said it was OK, not a danger. I vaguely remember thinking that if he could be wrong, how much worse could the world get?

Buffy left saying she’d get to the bottom of all this, while Willow stayed and continued to clean me up. I was still too scared to really move much or get up, but she told me not to worry, she’d take care of me. She asked if I had slept at all, and I shook my head and mumbled that I was too scared to shut my eyes, I’d be back in the darkness again.

She cooed, awwed or tssked and got one of my extra blankets from the closet and put it over me. I heard her shoes drop and then she slid in behind me again and I felt her lips on my neck, her hand softly stroke my hair. She started talking, telling me about what happened on Spongebob Squarepants last, other things she’d seen on TV, how Jonathan had guest starred on Friends, things like that. She held me again and never stopped talking. She told me to just drift off, that she was there, nothing would happen to me and that I was safe.

I finally did fall asleep. I recollect dreaming that I was trapped in a hole, the sides towering all around me and someone was above me, laughing and occasionally throwing dirt down on me. Where it struck my skin or clothes it burned and hissed. The faces of my family and others from back home appeared in the dirt around me, all laughing and saying I got what I deserved for leaving them, that evil is as evil does. But it didn’t last long. I heard a cat meowing and then Willow’s hand reached down, impossibly long and pulled me out of the ground, up into the Bronze where we slow danced and Jonathan played just for us.

I was awoken by the harsh ring of the telephone and the soft warmness behind me shifting and leaving. I stretched and looked around. It was evening, darkness falling outside though the lights by the bed were on. As she talked she turned on the others and turned and smiled at me.

I felt my heart warm and grinned back. I sat up as she put the phone down and told me that Jonathan was having a meeting over at Giles to get to the bottom of what happened.

I asked if she was going to go, and the conflict on her face was plain to see. She wanted to, but she also didn’t want to leave me either. She’s so thoughtful and caring. What have I ever done to deserve someone like this?

I told her it was all right, she should go to her friends and find out what was up, put a stop to this monster before it hurt someone else. She asked if I was sure, that she could stay and that Jonathan and the others could probably handle it, but I told her she was an important part of the group, that they’d need her and that I was feeling better, which was true thanks to her. I put on a brave face and smiled and thanked her for being here for me, that it was a terrible way to start her spring break, but she shushed me and said she didn’t mind, that she’d be back as soon as they were done.

She asked if I was hungry at all? I still had a bit of the creature’s scent lingering in the back of my throat and couldn’t stand the idea of food right then so I told her maybe later. She smiled, came over and hugged me. She said I’d have to tell her the whole story of what happened when I was able. She kissed me briefly and then left with another promise of returning as soon as possibly possible.

When the door shut and she was gone the light seemed suddenly dimmer, and my brave intentions felt hollow. I couldn’t help it but I wished she hadn’t gone.

It helps to be writing this, to keep my mind occupied even if it does raise the memory of that creature. How can something that Evil exist? It’s not natural. It’s like all the worst horrors and fears, the darkest nightmares were compressed and given form. It can’t be some dark god, it wasn’t powerful enough, there’s no way it wouldn’t have gotten to me if that were the case. It’s like all that was bad was stuck in one spot, one avatar of some sort. It raised some of the worst nightmares I could imagine, and made them seem convincing, real.

Ah, Goddess, whatever it was, however it got here, I just don’t want to ever see it again. I really should change, go to the showers, but I can still feel it, my mind echoes with its cries and the pounding, that have faded but are not gone. Maybe when she gets back? It’s so much easier to be brave when she’s around.

Sunday Evening: Thank the Goddess and God it’s all over. That the creature is gone. To think it was really caused by some spell of Jonathan’s, designed to make him appear to be the paragon of all things positive and good. I can still vaguely recall being smitten with him, captivated by his seemingly perfect nature.

Buffy destroyed the creature that attacked me, which is what ended the spell. No wonder the monster was so horrifying. It must have been created to balance things out, the representation of all that is bad in the world, projecting sheer terror and fear, raising some of everyone’s worst nightmare images. I’m lucky to have survived it with my sanity intact. Such a prolonged exposure to something so negative could have had serious repercussions. Magic like that, which tries to circumvent the natural order always has consequences. It’s why dabblers are so dangerous, they don’t realize the full ramifications of what they’re doing. I hope she recognizes this and learns from it, too.

Ah, my sweet Willow, without you I might have been lost. It was thoughts of you, how much you meant to me, that you existed and were out there that helped me keep my grip on sanity. Or maybe it’s just that I have already plunged so far into the insanity that is love that there was no room for more craziness in my brain. Love certainly can drive you mad, make you give up all rationality, but I know deep down that I would never hurt my Willow, never.

She was amazing as always. When she got back Jonathan’s spell was already fading, but the memory of his creature, the feel of its aura corrupting mine had hardly passed; I don’t think it ever will completely.

She knocked on the door and I almost jumped out of my chair and into the closet before I recognized her rap. She called out to me as I was hesitantly approaching the door, which turned into a rush that ended with it flung open and my arms around her. Someone might have sniggered down the hall, which was fortunately mostly empty, but I didn’t care. She was back, safe and sound and more importantly here with me, for me.

She was surprised but pleased I think. She embraced me back, but I couldn’t help looking both ways down the hallway. Even with her there I felt exposed, still unclean and dirty where it had pawed at me. As a matter of fact I couldn’t wait to get out of the clothes I had been wearing since the start of the previous evening. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to wear them again.

We parted and entered to my room, I locked the door even though we were both there, just in case. I sat on the bed and she sat next to me, put and arm around me and asked if I was feeling better, rubbed my back. I said the memory of it was either passing or fading, but that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to fully forget it.

She told me not to worry as Buffy had returned and said that it was destroyed, killed by a fall down a huge crevice, which ended Jonathan’s spell. She’d found out about it in her research, told me a little about it and then asked if I could tell her what happened, but that it wasn’t a big deal if I didn’t want to talk about it.

I smiled at her and looked into her inquisitive green eyes and replied that with her there it didn’t seem as terrifying, and that it might help to tell her the story. So I explained what occurred as well as I could, it took a little while and I stuttered more than normal but she just sat there holding my hand, being patient and understanding.

When I was finished she gave me that look and said that I was very brave, that I had responded better than she would have. She didn’t know any spells that would work that quickly. She said I should be a Scooby, too, that I had a lot to offer the group.

I was quick to disagree, I told her I couldn’t even change my clothes or go to the shower I was so frightened; how could she think I’d ever be able to do what she did? But she gave me her smile and said I had acted, I had survived, and that was all that mattered, the not dieing part. She thought that my ability to see a person’s energy flow, their aura probably made me more open to the creature’s evil nature and that the prolonged exposure to it made things worse for me than anyone else. But, she added, that she was here now and would do all that she could to make things better. A shower, change of wardrobe and some food would help set things right, and afterwards we could just watch some TV or listen to music or whatever I wanted.

I was still too scared to break down and cry, on edge and skittish I guess, but I did smile at her as my love and admiration for her sought to chase away the scare that ran through me. I took her hands and said with her here, I was certain everything would be fine.

We grabbed some of my extra clothes and bathroom stuff and headed off to the showers. The hallways were deserted and kinda dark again, and that made me nervous. My hand sought out hers and I probably squeezed it too hard, though she didn’t complain. We went to the end of the hall and into the vacant bathroom.

The front part had mirrors and some stools to do your hair, while further in were more sinks and stalls. The actual showers are in the back, small cubicles on three walls around a big empty center area with little wooden seats and hooks. I set my stuff down and the echo off the cold porcelain tiles made me jumpy again. What if the creature was hiding behind the plastic curtains, waiting?

Somehow she knew what I was thinking and went to each of the slots and thrust the curtains aside. Of course nothing jumped out, it was dead after all. I smiled weakly and felt very foolish, but a little relieved, too.

Still I hesitated, and she came over with a mischievous grin on her face and asked if I wanted her to turn around or maybe needed some help? I felt myself blush and though normally the idea of her undressing me would have been a total turn on, this time even the thought of her slender fingers unzipping my pants didn’t seem erotic at all. I just gulped and said I could do it, and before I could think more I pulled the shirt over my head to take it off, only it tangled up somehow and I couldn’t see anything and my belly felt exposed and I could smell it on the shirt and I started to panic flailing about until I felt her strong hands on my wrists, her voice telling me to be calm, to relax, no one but her was there.

I tried to do as she asked, settle down and was then able to get my hair loose and the shirt off. She smiled and said, ‘see, no one here but me.’ They were some of the most wonderful words I’ve ever heard.

And that’s when I did start to get a self-conscious. I mean here I was going to strip right before her, while she was watching.

She saw the purple discolorations of my bruises, the slashes from its claws and I think all the playfulness drained out of her. I was sort of stiff and there were multiple stingings and throbbings, but I’ve had worse, physically at least, from Donny. I said it probably looked more serious than it was, stuttering the whole time.

A single tear slid down her cheek as she continued to look at me, her energy flow was terribly divided and jagged, angry, scared, maybe even a little aroused. I moved closer to her and brushed her tear aside and softly told her I wasn’t hurt that bad, really. I didn’t have to go to the hospital or anything, and that the fright would pass, she’d already seen to a lot of that.

She shook her head and said in that wispy voice she uses sometimes when she’s simultaneously thoughtful and hesitant that she didn’t realize how close she came to losing me, how badly I could have been injured and how much that would have hurt, how much I meant to her.

I kissed her then, softly, gently, because at the moment she seemed more fragile than me. I inhaled her scent, ran my hand through her hair, and told her that I wouldn’t be gotten rid of that easily, and smiled. Her timid grin really did make it feel like my heart was swelling or that I could shoot through the ceiling and into the night sky.

I backed up and without considering what I was doing I quickly took off my skirt and underwear in one move and turned to place them on the hook by the shower I was going to use. I looked over my shoulder as I undid my bra and saw that her eyes were bigger than any I’d ever seen, larger than anyone’s had a right to be. Her mouth hung open just a bit and for a second I thought she had stopped breathing. I bent and took my shampoo, soap and cloth and went into the stall, but didn’t close the curtain. Under other circumstances I would have enjoyed the fact that I was pretty much teasing her and probably would have looked to see what she her reaction was, but in truth I was still nervous and afraid that if I closed my eyes I would be back in the closet with that thing finally battering its way through.

It took all my courage to lather up my hair, but she kept up a conversation, explaining how Buffy had figured out something was wrong, her alternate dimension theory and Anya’s strange fixation on shrimp. Her talk really helped but washing my hair seemed to take forever and for a moment I wished I had a shorter, more ‘butch’ style. I probably did rinse it longer than necessary and ended up scrubbing myself three times with the soap, just to be sure.

I wrapped my towel around me and got a momentary panic when I emerged because I didn’t see her right away, but she was sitting on the side of the stall, looking away. I wondered how long she’d been there. I dried off quickly and then put on fresh clothes. Now I was more embarrassed and I think my face was hot enough to heat the whole room. Goddess, what had I just done? How long had she watched me in the shower?

She didn’t say anything though, she just smiled at me and asked if I was done. I nodded and she took my blow dryer and little bag to the other room saying she’d help with my hair. I followed behind and sat in front of her at a mirror.

She fussed and fretted over me, checking my cuts and making sure more disinfectant was put on them, which stung a bit. Though I didn’t say anything she kept apologizing and her hand did shake more than I would have thought. I could see my face redden as I wondered again how long she’d watched me? Ah, if she enjoyed it then I’d gladly do so again, it’s so hard to think of my body ever exciting anyone. Still, anything for her.

When she was done with the first aid routine, she turned on the blow dryer and started combing and brushing my hair. It felt wonderful, all that heat and the massaging rhythm. I think I could have almost fallen asleep right there, it was so mesmerizing and relaxing. I sort of sighed and thought again how lucky I was to know her. Eventually she finished and we gathered my stuff together and went back to the room.

Continued immediately below.

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara McClay- Part 10D
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 3:39 pm 
Here is the last segment for part 10. (whew!)

It was late but by this time I was starving. Everything in the dorm was closed for the break and even the student union would be shut now so we decided to order some late night pizza and watch TV. WGN had a Marx Brothers late night movie marathon so we decided to watch that. We moved the set so we could see it from the bed, took off our shoes and cuddled together under the extra blanket. Maybe it was just the tension of the previous day, but the scene where more and more people kept going into their stateroom, each trying to do their jobs, cracked us both up. It felt so good to have her reassuring warmth there beside me, our hands idly touching or stroking each other. Her arm was protectively around me while the silly antics along with the big musical sequences kept us both entertained. It felt good to have something to laugh at, about. Some of those old black and white films are just so funny, hold up so well. Even the pizza was better than normal, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted one so good. I suggested that maybe we should watch some of the other older comedians, Abbot and Costello, W.C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin and see if they were any good as well. She said if it would help set me at ease she was definitely up for it. As long as we didn’t have to watch the Three Stooges, she’d had enough of that with Xander.

That made me pause for a moment, I remember Donny going through a Stooges phase where he inflicted many of their actions on me. She sensed something was amiss and asked what? I just said I didn’t like all the meanness in their show. She gave me a big hug and sort of nodded and then said I’d had all the cruelty anyone should have to endure and that she’d try to balance it out and kissed me, lightly at first, and then with more passion.

The now familiar wonderful tingling and excitement swept through me again and my heart started racing in that Willowey caused good way rather than the fear induced galloping from before. For a while after that all I could think about was shimmering red locks and soft pliant lips and a tongue so sweet it made even the best chocolate seem sour. I became lost in her truly healing embrace, a rapture of warmth, love and devotion. Or at least that’s what I hope she felt something akin to that.

We finally wound down, our kisses becoming longer and more lingering than fiery and threatening to scintillate each nerve ending. I was exhausted again, not having really slept deeply earlier. I murmured something about getting out of bed to prepare for sleep, but she said we already were, and directed my head into the crook of her arm as we both scootched down further under the blanket.

I sighed and wrapped my arm across her, held her tight, just so thankful that she was staying the night, willing to be with me, care for me. She asked if I wanted the lights off and I said with her here I didn’t fear the dark, she lit up the world. I almost said I loved her, but stopped short, still not sure she was ready for such a declaration. Instead I looked up into her marvelous, beautiful, almost cherubic, face and said simply, ‘thank you for being here.’

She smiled back down at me and stroked my hair, my face, with her free hand, and said there was no place else she wanted to be. And she kissed me once on the forehead and settled back into the pillows and we both drifted off to sleep.

There are times when love can conquer fear, be worth the heartache, the indecision and silly games it forces us to play, this was one of those. I’ve never felt like I belonged with someone so strongly as when I finally, truly, started letting go of the terror Jonathan’s creature had filled me with. Time may heal all wounds, but love does so more deeply and completely, and, fortunately, much faster.

Mother, how I wish I could tell you about my Willow. She’s the kindest, most considerate person I’ve ever known. Not once did she complain about me taking all her time, being so needy or anything. Her arms really are healing arms, they wrap around me and all the little pains, the contusions and rips, fade into the background, lost beneath the sea of her.

That night I dreamt once more of a cat. A big black and white one that loped through the halls of the dorm, hunting, searching, sniffing for something that remained out of sight. It ran past my door where I lay in a bed of red hair that seemed to merge with my own. Green lights shone on either side of me and though it stormed outside, thunder and lightning strong enough to shake the foundation of the building, I wasn’t scared. Something screeched in the night, a long mournful sound of ultimate frustration ending in shrill pain as the cat leapt onto whatever gave the cry. There came a lessening to the rain and thunder, the shaking subsided and the cat bound back into the dorm, through the hallways. Though its ears bumped the ceiling and the fixtures there, it had no difficulties navigating through the corridors. It left a sodden lump outside our door, for I wasn’t alone, as if to say that there was nothing it couldn’t do for us, no harm in the vast darkness for me. I sank deeper into the silken tresses to the sound of its deep purring as it also settled down in front of our room.

That next morning I awoke with my arms wrapped around her. I had turned on my side and clutched at her stomach, my head pillowed on her chest. She must have woken before me as her hands softly traced little swirls on my shoulders, rubbed my arm. Another glorious awakening. Though I recalled the dream, I had slept soundly enough that I was no longer tired and the fears that had beset me seemed to have dwindled like the setting sun on the horizon. The afterimages were still there, but they were just pale reminders of the actual event itself. I sighed and she asked how I felt?

I said much better, rested and ready to face anything. She said I should be since it was just past ten and I had slept quite some time. I stirred, worried that I had imposed too much upon her, but she hurried to say that it was all right, I had needed the downtime to recharge and all. Buffy had even called and left a message that everyone was getting together on campus about a half hour before noon and if I felt up to it we could join them.

I thought that was a good idea and said so. I kissed her once for being there. She smiled back at me and said she was glad I was feeling better; it had really scared her to see me so shaken up and hurt.

Actually it felt great to know she was so concerned, worried about me. Again, no one besides Mother ever expressed that kind of apprehension for me, it definitely sent a thrill through me to know that I was that important to her. And being able to fall asleep and wake up with her in my bed is almost nothing short of a miracle. It reinforces how lucky I am, the horrible attack aside. She’s so cuddleable, her scent so inviting and arousing. It makes me want to smother her with kisses, show her how much I love her.

She asked me what I was thinking and I know I blushed, stammered something about how I was glad to have a friend like her around. How much easier she made sleeping, though I qualified it by adding, ‘you know, after that thing trying to get at me.’

She smiled and said she was glad to be able to help, and then fussed over my wounds again. She can be so cute and adorable in so many different ways. I said we better get going if we wanted to meet her friends, but she wanted to make sure I was tended to right, so we both went off to the bathroom and after I had changed she applied some more disinfectant after watching to make sure I washed the cuts and claw marks.

She idly brushed my hair again after I’d finished with my teeth and said I had such a beautiful face I shouldn’t conceal it with my hair all the time. I asked what she meant, and she replied that my face was sort of roundish, and my eyes were often obscured by my hair, the lines of my cheeks blocked. She loved the way my face had looked the previous night when I had worn a pony tail. She took it upon herself to brush my hair into two little bobsy tails and pronounced that that looked really good.

I hung my head a bit and didn’t know what to say, this was so much more attention and compliments than I’d ever heard. What do you say? Thanks? I felt uncomfortable and didn’t have anything to hide behind and started turning even redder, but she moved around to face me and said that I needed to be more confident, never ashamed of the way I looked and that my eyes were the most beautiful blue, like a deep inviting ocean one could get lost in.

Goddess, she was so serious and earnest as she said it. I wanted to turn away, to cry or just hide. She couldn’t be saying these things to me, but I forced myself to look back at her emerald eyes, to see no veiled cruelty or waiting ridicule there, just a frank and bold appreciation.

She leaned forward and our lips touched again and I swear the room spun about us as an electricity passed through me. She drew back so we could both breathe and I was about to renew our kiss when the door opened and four girls came in talking loudly about what they were going to do for break this week, something about going to the beach. One looked at us and laughed bumping the brunette near her in the ribs with her elbow and raising an eyebrow. They sniggered and quieted as they went towards the stalls, though I distinctly heard an ‘ewww, gross.’

I’m surprised my face didn’t set my hair on fire, I was so hot and embarrassed. I had looked down and away almost instinctively, and when I glanced back at her, she had a mix of confusion, surprise and something else on her face. Her brow scrunched up, her eyes began to narrow and her lips got thinner and tighter. I…I think she was getting mad, no furious!

I lightly touched her arm and said we needed to get going if we were going to meet her friends and thanks for the doing my hair. She nodded and helped gather up our stuff, but I could tell that her muscles were still tensed. We walked out and the sound of more and louder laughter drifted out behind us.

I snuck another peak at her and though she still looked angry, there was a thoughtful, considering expression as well. I thought, ‘yeah, this is where your realize that everyone really isn’t as tolerant as they pretend. Sometimes the scorn and ridicule are just veiled or delayed till when you’re not right there. And sometimes not even that long.’

I wondered if this would be the thing that finally freaked her out, made her reconsider where we were going.

We dropped my stuff off and left for her room. Before I could continue worrying more about how she’d react, she very purposely took my hand and held it all the way back to her dorm. She’s so bold and confident, not willing to back down from anything or anyone I bet. I’d hate to see her angry, and definitely not with me.

The sun was up, few clouds were in the sky and it reminded me how good it was to be alive, to have someone dear with you. The air seemed fresher and cleaner than normal and soon she was back in good spirits as well, though we didn’t say much on the walk across campus.

We got to her room and Buffy wasn’t there, she must have gone to meet Riley after church, so Willow took what she needed to the bathroom while I waited and looked at her things. I suddenly realized this was the first time I had been in her room.

The doll’s eye crystal was sitting prominently on her shelf. Various books on math, computers and such were in her bookcase along with some spell books and a few novels. Her stuffed dog sat on the bed, looking a little abandoned since its owner hadn’t been there all night. Everything was so neat and orderly, a reflection of her mind’s sharpness and clarity. I didn’t want to touch anything for fear of disturbing it.

We got to the gathering on the park like area in the center of campus a little late so everyone else was already there. Riley and Buffy sort of leaned against a tree, while Anya and Xander were together next to them. We took a spot opposite the tree.

They were all talking about Jonathan’s spell, how complete and thorough it had seemed. Willow mentioned that she couldn’t believe we believed the spell, and Riley thought it seemed so real, which, as Buffy pointed out, in that world it was real. Anya said that was the cool thing about alternate realities. I guess as a vengeance demon she’s visited a lot of those, or seen them created. At least that’s what Willow said later when I asked.

The swimsuit calendar stuck in Riley’s mind in a bad way while Xander felt diminished somehow, less full and complete now that the spell was broken and Buffy thought Xander had been hurt the most by Jonathan though I raised my hand and had to disagree, which she was quick to acknowledge. I smiled at Willow and she grinned back, encouraging me to continue standing up for myself.

Riley said he felt too tall, and I had to admit that I had sort of felt too large, sort of bloated for some reason, though that had been just a peripheral sort of thing and not that different than how I normally think of myself. Obviously Jonathan’s own likes and views had colored how we saw ourselves to some extent. I know Willow would have disagreed with his projection of me, and though I may think she’s being too kind, it only reinforces how special and unique she is.

I mean here she was, sitting near me, treating me like one of the group. Everyone was oddly relaxed and more at ease than I had seen anytime before. It was a good time just talking about what had happened, how things had changed, or gone back to the way they always were.

Jonathan came by at one point and Buffy went off to talk with him, said he was still adjusting to the return to being normal and Willow expressed some anger at how thoughtless and dangerous his experiment with magic had been. She looked at me very protectively and I think it was good for Jonathan that he didn’t come too close.

After hanging for a while we even all went and got lunch and ate together and discussed the upcoming week, which no one had any special plans for. After that we parted, going our separate ways, though she came back with me, hung out for the afternoon.

We looked over my trig, practiced a few simple spells, the connection between us still as strong and intoxicating as ever. It was almost a perfect day. The terror from before slipping further into the back of my mind. I can almost close my eyes and not hear its screams, not see its ugly visage.

She’s gone back to her room to get a change of clothes and some night stuff so she can stay over again. Here, with me! It’s so cool. I know this won’t happen all the time, but right now it seems so natural to have her here. She said she’d surprise me with some food on the way back; she’s been so thoughtful lately. I need to think of some way to thank her for all that she’s done.

Mother, despite the pain in the recent days I’ve still been so blessed. The most gorgeous girl in the world is staying with me, sleeping in my bed, has said such wonderful things to me. Just don’t let it end, don’t let me wake up.


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay- Part 10D
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 9:23 pm 
your timing with this story has been absolutely wonderful! i had a pretty crappy day then Voila! update! and this is not the first time it has happened this way. i almost wish i could have more crappy days so i could get more story! almost. i really like how you did Superstar and was quite traumatized by the horrible mental assault of the demon thing. and much wooing and hooing for the incredible length of this update. Wow! great story! cant wait for more!


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

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay- Part 10D
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 9:26 pm 
Wow. That was a nice, long update.

Once again, you have captured what Tara is going through during these times. The Willow and Tara interaction is beautiful.

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 McClay- Part 10D
PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2004 9:47 pm 
Wow... what a read. You painted everything so perfectly, I could practically see the images dancing in my head... Tara cowering in the closet, Willow trying to comfort her, the two of them cuddling in bed and watching old movies...

You are so much better at this than the ME writers. I mean, really. Yeah.

Willow: Hey Buff. One more thing. Buffy: Yeah? Willow: I’m gay. Buffy: Okay, Will. Xander owes me ten bucks.

~Remember to Breathe by Yellow Crayon

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay- Part 10D
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 6:31 am 
I'm never liked _Superstar_ much as an episode since I dislike the premise of Jonthan doing such a powerfull spell to make him look cool. Hardly anything is explained on TV, the attack on Tara is (in effect at least) much more 'felt' in this story compared to TV.

I liked them playing a bit with glamour spells. No harm in doing some fun magic :) . Tara picturing Willow in leather... I'm sure Willow being a hero had something to do with that but I wouldn't rule out other motivations as well : -->>: .

What always irks me is that Jonathan is hardly punished for endangering a lot of people, esp. Tara. I agree with Tara that Jonathan would be wise to stay far away from Willow for a long while, heh.

Tara's dreams are a bit confusing at times, though there are LOTS of cats in them :) . Must be a sign from above to get a pet animal :-). Tara is clearly a person who likes to have company around, preferably Willow of course but a cat/kitten might fill the time when Willow isn't around.

By the way; is the chapter length ever-increasing or is it just me ?? :) Hate to think how long _New Moon Rising_ will get, heh.

It is encouraging to see Tara begin to somewhat believe in herself. Now if she could listen more to her memories of her mother as compared to the evil speak of her father, that would make my day :)


"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: 2/4/04 6:40 am

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay- Part 10D
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2004 7:23 am 
WOW! That was worth waiting for, now I have to brace myself for the wait for the next update. Have I mentioned how much I love this story? :heart

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2004 1:09 pm 

I just caught up with your fic and had to ask one question. Is it true that you are of the male, boy-type, XY chromosome persuasion? 'Cause if it is, I'm very impressed. Not that I'm not impressed anyway, you're a fine writer. It's just that you so accurately captured the image of a young girl's first love. Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised; after all, true love crosses the boundaries of gender. Love it. More soon?


P.S. *Where* on earth do you get the ideas for Tara's dreams? Your head must be an interesting place to live in. :)

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing." Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 6:28 pm 
awwwwwwwww!!! :tooth that was adorable!

:peace Pax! -Bev

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay - New Fic
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 10:32 pm 
Hi Garner,
That was truly outstanding.I never liked the Superstar episode, I found the Jonathan character to be a insipid little twerp,but your treatment was inspired.I really admire the fluidity of your writing and your take on Tara's feelings.Thanks ever so much it was well worth the wait.I anxiously await your next installment.
Be well,Karen

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay - Part 10
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 12:29 am 
Hey all,

RaiStarr, well I wish you less crappy days, no one needs a plethora of those. Besides, we’re starting to get low on eps to do. I really did think the nature of the creature got a less attention than it could have.

Rose24, Thanks, I hope the W/T interaction evolves as their relationship did.

Tempest Duer, unfortunately I think 1 chimp writing for 1 minute would be better at this than the ME writers, but thanks for the sentiment. For some reason them watching old B&W comedies resonated for me. It seemed very normal and we missed a lot of that normal mundane interaction.

Imjustme, hopefully the wait for the next one won’t be as long, glad you are still liking it.

Grimlock, I never liked the fact that Jonathan could suddenly do such a powerful spell either. Yeah, Willow in leather is probably a bit of a fantasy for Tara, (and everyone out there stop drooling on their keyboards, it’s bad for your computer!) No, Jonathan was mildly chastised for the spell, but that was about it, reminds me of Xander in OMWF. Tara’s dream were a bit more confused this time because I think she still was, and because Willow was as well. Sort of that subconscious soul link sort of thing. OK, really I was confused. I don’t know if Tara likes company so much as is desperate for love and affection, which a cat definitely gives in spades. I believe there is a general trend towards increasing length even if every part is not longer than the previous. I put that off to there being more of Tara in the later eps, and her doing more in them, than earlier where she was more of a cameo. I think I am also adding in about the same amout of made up stuff. I don’t even want to think about how NMR is going to go yet. One could argue that a lot of what Tara goes through, Hush to Family is finding out which parent is going to have more influence in how she lives the future, her mother or her father. It’s an interesting journey of self discovery and courage. And love.

Salandar3, yes, it is true I am male. I am even relatively conservative, into military history from a non-social history standpoint, like shooting and guns, into martial arts, and am a big gaming geek (see the Dragon and the Phoenix BtVS RPG stuff for proof of that.) even like baseball and football, and yeah, I’m oldish too, 40. So I’m pretty far from W/T in some ways, but not in others. I certainly am all for gay marriage. I think that is the true power of their relationship, it can affect someone like me as strongly as many lesbians. Love does cross all boundaries. Oh, and my cats whisper Tara’s dreams to me while I’m asleep at night. J

Singgirl, um, thanks, it’s easier to be adorable with W/T as the subjects of a story.

Good2cats, yeah I sort of agree with you on Jonathan, I certainly thought that when I first saw the ep., though I don’t know if I really thought of him as insipid as just a much more typical nerd. The more I wrote the more I realized there was quite a bit going on in Superstar behind the scenes and as usual with W/T that’s where all the interesting parts were. Ah well, it really should have been the Willow and Tara Show. By the way, nice screen name.

Well, I hope the next part will not be anywhere near as long in coming, but who knows what will happen. Thanks to everyone who left a comment and who has read and enjoyed this. It has been a lot of fun to write it.


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay - Part 10
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 3:01 pm 
Hey Garner, sorry for the delay I was a bit behind in this fic. I really do enjoy your writing though, it is so much fun to read everything from Tara's perspective. I think the dreams that you write are incredible and frankly quite scary in places but Tara's in that scary place when she still thinks that she is evil. Superstar was very well done and I am eagerly awaiting the next update as we are about to get to New Moon Rising. Can't wait too read what you do to that.

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

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay - Part 10
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2004 12:31 pm 
Puff, thanks for the comments and good to hear you are enjoying the story. Tara's mind does indeed have its unpleasent portions. The damage her father and brother did can't be fixed quickly or easily unfortunately. Not that Willow wouldn't try if she knew the extent of it. For whatever reasons I now see the Superstar time period as a fairly major turning point in their relationship. Not as big as NMR perhaps, but vital in leading up to that.

So the bad news is that the next update will probably be another interlude style which means it will take longer to get to NMR itself.

But the good news is that the next part might be done sometime next week, a bit quicker than I thought, and the end of the journal series is a bit further removed. Assuming those are good of course. :)


 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara McClay - Part 10
PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 8:08 am 
Wanted to reply to the latest offering. It's amazing how such familiar territory can seem so new when presented from a different point of view. I just want to hug Tara when I read your portrayal. I loved how Willow's reaction to the homophobic girls was anger, I am glad she didn't retreat into some panic induced closet. Of course, she's getting closer and closer to making up her mind about the whole thing. And you know once Willow came out, she really came out, she doesn't do things halfway. Thanks for the update!

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

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay - Part 10
PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:25 pm 
Every now and then I overlook the obvious. I was editing another story for someone to post elsewhere and noticed I had spelled MaClay, with an 'a' not a 'c.' I think the 'a' method is correct. Oooopss. Lot's of red face here! I have fixed that on the title and will in the future, but probably won't go back and edit all the posts so far.

Xita, I think Willow faced a couple of situations in Superstar that is going to make her more conscious of what is going on in her life. The homophobic situation is something we never saw on the show and I think HAD to have happened at some point. It didn't throw her back in the closet or anything, but it did make her think. A bit more of that is coming. And Tara is pretty hugable anyway, but then so is Willow, but again, no surprise there.

Bad news, I am behind, doing too much stuff for Tim so you can blame him for no update. (Well, that's my excuse, you should realy blame me anyway.) But I think it will be up next Monday. Hoepfuly, dieties willing and the river don't rise.


 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 8:51 am 
Hi Garner!

You already know how much I like your story and I have to say it again. It's GREAT!!!

I love this journal-writing style. And it's just wonderful to see what Tara thought during season 4.


"I am you know" - "What?" - "Yours."

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Part 11 A
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:16 am 
Well it's finely done, maybe even a tad quicker than last time though the length is why I didn’t post it Monday. This is another interlude story, between Superstar and Where the Wild Things Are, sorry, no full episode this time. This covers spring break and it is way too long, I got carried away (or is that should be carried away, I hear the men with the white coat are very nice! :) ) and I don't know what I was thinking. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this part. I will be massively busy with Tim's project for Eden so the next part might be a little longer in coming.

WiccaGirl, glad you are up and active on the board now! Thanks for the compliment.

Umm this will be in what, 5 parts (I said it was insanely long, right?) A-E this time.

Title: From the journal of Tara MaClay Pt. 11

Rating: R

Summary: The events between Superstar and Where the Wild Things Are in Season 4.

Note: Written February 2004. The entries are no longer consecutive days, some gaps appear. Umm, well that is, errr. I can’t believe how long this is? What the Hell was I thinking? Anyway, it’s spring break for W/T, but not in the way either would hope for.

                        SPRING BREAK INTERLUDE

Monday Afternoon: Have I noted how amazing and special and lovable my Willow is lately? How I simply can’t get enough of her, or how wonderful and creative her mind is? Oh Goddess, I just want to cry with happiness, smother her with kisses, lick all those sensitive, erogenous areas until she’s wild with passion, breathless and panting, exhausted by the ecstasy of my touch.

        Argh, I’m going crazy with desire, lust and love. She evokes such strong emotions in me, and never by doing what I expect. How does she do that? Surprise me with how thoughtful and caring she can be, it’s humbling really, to see her mind work, make connections, develop new ones, think outside the box as it were. It almost makes me feel slow and stupid, but I know it’s just because she’s so brilliant. I just hope she never gets bored of me, that I can keep up with her, continue to captivate her interest, stimulate her mental faculties. She deserves so much, better than me without doubt, but that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying. I can’t do anything else, I’m already hers, have been since I looked up and saw her sitting across the group from me. I just hope that I never disappoint her.

        She returned last evening after having gone back and got some stuff to sleep over. I admit to being a little frightened while she was absent. I didn’t quite shiver or panic or anything, the memory of the creature from Jonathan’s spell had receded, but I could still catch a whiff of it in the back of my nostrils, a clinging, cloying scent of death and decay, burnt flesh and blood that conjures dark images from the depths of your mind.

        Maybe it would’ve helped to have seen its wrecked, dead body, to comprehend on a visceral level that it was gone, not coming back, finished and no longer a threat, I don’t know. But while I was waiting the little doubts scurried about my mind like elusive mice, their soft rustling seeming to say that she wasn’t coming back, that it had gotten her and I was still in the closet, still subject to its nightmares and insidious influence.

        Oh, I knew different, but that’s the power of something needed to balance a spell so disruptive of the natural order, so widespread in its magnitude.

        And she was late in getting back too, not much, but enough to be unlike her and to have me worked up, sweat actually starting to form as I worried, feared. But I got a grip on my fears and forced myself to think about what I could do to show her how much I appreciated her, loved her, but without scaring her. I really do want to do something for her, though I have no idea what. Flowers and chocolate seem so…obvious, thoughtless, impersonal, trite even, though she’d probably like them anyway. I know that if she gave me flowers and chocolate I’d almost swoon, be all teary and mushy.

        Anyway, I heard the fantastic sound of her knock on my door and rushed to let her in. She was standing there amidst the wonderful smell of fried chicken carrying a box from Wing’s World, some video tapes in a Blockbuster bag, another sack from the Magic Box and an overstuffed backpack on her shoulder. Yet what immediately attracted my attention was the redness on her cheeks and her tightly clamped mouth. Did I hear laughter coming from down the hall by the staircase?

        I hesitated only a fraction of a second before helping her with her load and ushering her in. When everything was set on the desk I turned to hug her, but she was taking off her backpack over by my closet with her back to me. She rummaged around in it, yet I got the sense she was sort of avoiding looking at me, keeping her distance. Now that truly frightened me.

        I asked her if something was wrong, and she shook her head and said no, but her voice was a little too high, cracked just slightly. For a second I thought she was crying and moved towards her, panic starting to fill me, but no, on second glance that wasn’t the case either. I stopped halfway to her and instead asked if she wanted to eat first.

        She just said, ‘yeah,’ and now I knew something was wrong, was bothering her. She’s hardly ever so monosyllabic. I went and opened the box of food and saw it was full of chicken strips, a variety of sauces, some coleslaw and fries. It smelled good and my mouth watered in anticipation, I was definitely hungrier than I had thought.

        I set things out on the desk and pulled the extra chair over so she could sit at it and by the time all was ready she came over and sat down. We ate in silence at first until she finally said that she had gone to the video store to get a few more old black and white movies and a few other things she’d wanted for tonight and she was sorry she was late and hoped I hadn’t gotten worried or anything cause she should’ve called to say she’d be late but was too busy making sure she got everything and had a hard time deciding on what to get and everything was more spread around town than she’d thought and she really should have called and she should’ve known I’d get nervous and she hoped I wasn’t upset. Basically all in one breath. Her nervous babble is so cute, but for once it was also kinda worrisome too, why was she so unsettled?

        I touched her arm with my fingers and for a moment she tensed before relaxing and putting her other hand on mine. I said it was OK, I was getting much better and though I did worry, it wasn’t that big a deal. She’d obviously gone to bunch of places and the food was great, just what I needed.

        She gave a lopsided smile and yet the strange unease didn’t leave her face, and she didn’t eat with anywhere near her normal enthusiasm. She just picked at the meal and looked lost in thought.

Moody Willow was new and different. I found myself drawn more to her than ever before. I wanted to comfort her so badly, let her know that whatever it was, I was there for her, would do all that I could to make things better, help her. But her aura was so…blue, like I’d never seen it before. I had a hard time reading her, though I got the sense she was upset, angry, confused, saddened, pondering and maybe even trying to come to some conclusion. Her mind was clearly wrapped around something she couldn’t quite solve or format an approach to and that’s gotta be a situation she wasn’t used to.

Eventually she let out a little sigh, put her plastic fork down and stared into her pile of fries. In that faint, hesitant voice she uses when nervous and unsure of herself she asked me how I stood it?

I was confused and replied ‘stood what?’ and she continued saying all the snide comments, the looks and mocking laughter. Even the overheard jokes not directed specifically at me or anyone in particular, but still said nonetheless. She didn’t see how I could take it, I’d been out for a while, but she hadn’t realized how often little jabs got said.

My poor Willow, I think we all go through something like this, at least that’s what it seemed like at the Alliance. I wanted to reassure her, make her feel better, but I also knew I couldn’t pretend or tell little white lies, not with her.

I said it wasn’t easy, especially near the beginning. It’s like you’re suddenly conscious of what you’re feeling, who you are and overly aware, highly sensitive to all that you hear, what you see on TV or elsewhere. And each derogatory comment is like a little pin, a jab that stings and sort of deflates you, makes you think maybe a little less of yourself, wonder what’s wrong with you that others would hate you or ridicule you so much without even knowing you.

But after a while you do sort of get desensitized to it, develop a tougher exterior and come to accept that it doesn’t matter what others think. There’s always someone that won’t like you for some reason. I told her that since I knew I liked girls pretty early it was almost easier, I had longer to get used to it, and no one really liked me anyway. But I added that sometimes you were taken unawares, either by someone you thought better of, or when you were particularly low, or thin-skinned, and then it was surprising how much it could hurt.

I added that from what I saw at the Lesbian Alliance, it seemed like those that discovered their orientation later on had a slightly harder time of it, but I didn’t know for sure what that was like. At least here it was a bit more liberal, more open to alternate lifestyles than other places. Back home it was definitely not as tolerant, more conservative and religious based in a strict, fundamentalist way. She was quiet throughout and I don’t know if I helped or not.

She looked down, fiddled with her slaw a bit, then looked back up and her eyes seemed a little watery, bigger and more vulnerable than usual and my heart hurt for her. I wanted to enfold her in my arms and whisper over and over again that it would be OK, it didn’t matter, but I knew that would be a lie. It would be a big deal for her, a frightening step filled with doubt and unsurety, it would matter.

She said that it felt strange, was scary to think, much less say out loud, ‘I’m gay,’ and her voice did quaver and was softer, barely audible when she said it. She was so scared, frightened, like a lost child seeking solace from the unforgiving world around her, asking reassurance that I wanted to give, but couldn’t. Instead I found my own fears rising up. Was this the point where she finally couldn’t handle it, where she made all the connections and shied away from me, back to what was safe: hopes of Oz finally returning? My heart almost seemed to freeze in my chest as I stuttered out, ‘Do you want to stop seeing me?’

She looked right at me and said no, that she liked me, that she had feelings for me and seeing me injured had given her a sense of clarity, shown her how much she cared, how she really felt. And here a couple of tears did trickle down her cheeks and she looked away, all red faced and sniffling her nose a little.

I wanted to touch her then, comfort her, Goddess I almost started crying, too, and I couldn’t say a word past the lump in my throat. My hand went out but hung there short of her, I knew there was a ‘but’ coming and a tiny tremor went through me.

She kept her head down and sheepishly, haltingly said that she was scared, scared that she’d lose her friends, that they wouldn’t understand, freak out, no longer want her around. She didn’t care so much what her parents thought, though I knew that wasn’t true but didn’t contradict her. She went on that Buffy and Xander were her best friends, what if they didn’t understand, hated her?

And here I did go to her, drew her against me as my own tears finally spilled over. She was so worried, almost as terrified as I had been while that creature tried to get at me. This must be one of her worst nightmares, losing their friendship.

I told her that from what I’d seen they both would accept her no matter what. Her breath came hot and wet in my ear as she said that it seemed like they’d all gotten so distant lately, lost in their own problems. She couldn’t stand it if she drove them further away. Caused the group to splinter apart.

I shushed her and moved her head onto my chest, below my chin. I stroked her hair, rubbed her back as she cried, not wracking sobs, but still full of anxiety, indecision and fear despite that.

After a little while as she calmed a bit I told her that they had been through too much together to ever really grow apart, were still too important to one another. I could tell things were strained now, but there was an underlying bond that could never be broken, not by something like this, not by anything. I might not know a lot about them, but I was positive they wouldn’t reject her no matter what.

And I was, and still am, sure of this. They’ve saved each other, saved the world, fought side by side, dealt with pain, loss and more weirdness than anyone ever should. They have a friendship forged in the harshest of fires, it’s why I have such a hard time even thinking about trying to fit into the group, don’t know if I even have the right to. I really don’t see them turning on her just because she’s gay now.

I told her this and that they might be momentarily surprised, caught unawares, but it would pass quickly. I understood her concern, her fear, you hear such horrible stories of friends or parents reactions. When I’d told my Mother it was hardest, scariest thing I’d ever done, but she supported me, never belittled me for it.

I kissed the top of her head, held her tightly and said that I understood why she was afraid, that it was natural and normal, nothing to be ashamed of. I told her that when she was ready she should trust them, that they’d be more understanding than the few bigots or narrow-minded fools you sometimes come across. However, until the time she was ready, I wouldn’t do anything to let them know, expose her. I’d never come between them and her.

She looked up at me then, moist tracks staining her cheeks and her cute little nose all wet, still so beautiful, her watery eyes looking at me with that look and she kissed me once, said that I was the bravest person she knew. Vampires, demons, they were all easy to face by comparison, all they did was attack you physically. No self doubt, anxiety, worry about what your life was going to be like from here on, what changes would occur, what friends you’d still have, who you’d lose.

She said I was beautiful and strong and the most wonderful girl ever and she kissed me again, her arms squeezing me tight, her lips like a searing brand, igniting my heart, trying to mark me as hers. And I matched her passion with my own, every part of me filled with more joy and love for her than I could possibly imagine just to hear her words. This was more magical than any spell we’d done together.

We pulled back, each of us breathless, each with moist cheeks and tear heavy eyes. I reached up and softly, ever so delicately, touched her chin, the side of her face, maybe afraid that somehow she’d disappear if I touched her too hard. Again I almost said those three words, my mouth opened and ‘I,’ came out, but some part of me edited it, still not positive she wanted to hear that, could handle it. She’d taken such a big step already.

Instead I said I never had anyone like her as a friend before, hadn’t even had a regular friend who wasn’t also my Mother. Although I really want to be her girlfriend, and her to be mine, I didn’t say it, wasn’t going to push until she was comfortable with who she was, was sure that’s what she wanted. And that small part of my mind that never can quite accept anything good happening for me murmured that what she really wanted was for Oz to come back. For her first love to return and sweep her off her feet, end this horrible doubt, anxiety and turmoil once and for all. I tried to ignore it, but how could I compare to him, her first, one of the Scooby group. He was gone now, but who knew if, when, he might come back. I still don’t understand him, I certainly would never leave my Willow by choice, not if she loved me.

Ah she’s so sensitive, empathic maybe, she sensed my own doubt and almost looked hurt, asked me what the matter was? I tried to smile at her, to reassure her, and replied that I just didn’t want to force her into anything she wasn’t ready for.

But she silenced my words with another kiss and said she might not be totally certain of everything that she felt, what was happening to her, but that I helped make things clearer for her each time we got together. And she kissed me again.

Willow kissage, Goddess there’s nothing so wonderful, no music, no food, nothing. We made out on my bed, her body on top of me, below me, beside me, a wave of Willow all over me, her lips on my face, my neck, under my ear, so soft and sweet. I taste her tongue, feel its smoothness and warmth and it’s like my body suddenly lights up like the city at night, all aglow, awash with activity so varied and widespread it can’t be described. And I want so much more, to feel her skin, her mouth on me, her within me, to taste her inner essence, make her rise up like a tidal wave, feel the same from her. Yet just kissing is oddly satisfying, too, a taste of pure nirvana, hinting at unearthly pleasures to come.

After a long time we slowed, just sort of lay side by side, dinner long forgotten, our foreheads touching, arms sort of crushed under us, hands rubbing arms, stroking fingers. I told her she was beautiful, that I felt very lucky to have her in my life, in my room, and she smiled and said she felt the same that I didn’t know how much it shocked her to see me bashed, bloodied, and torn up. It was an awful feeling.

I smiled back and mentioned that there were a couple times when she’d been hurt and I knew exactly what she meant. I just felt bad to be the cause of her distress right now, to see her in so much unrest, but I was glad she had said something, told me what she was feeling, that I would always be there for her to talk to, help out in any way.

She said it was odd but she did feel like that, like she could tell me anything no matter what and I’d never think the worse of her, always understand.

Oh Mother, how can I have possibly found someone like this? It’s like we belong together, almost as if we’re meant for each other. Everything about her just screams ‘love me more!’ It’s almost deafening.

And of course she has to go and show me how special she is one more time. She got up and went to her backpack and got out a book and a small box. She said that what happened to me this weekend had gotten her thinking. I had been locked in that closet all night, no one had known what had happened and that shouldn’t be. We should always be able to contact, find, each other no matter what. While cell phones can fail to work inside some places or the batteries run low, there was a spell she’d used once before that hadn’t worked right, but that she thought with some alteration and my extensive experience it might work even better.

I smiled at her compliment and she showed me a spell in what was probably one of Mr. Giles’ books. It involved creating a tiny wisp of light to act as a guide to show one the right direction or to a particular place. She also had a few pages with her own notes and ideas for how to modify the spell so that we could always find each other. It could even be used to alert the other that one of us was in trouble.

It was a great idea and she’d really thought this through, though when she had the time is beyond me, we’d been together for most of the weekend. I did note how smart she is, right? I couldn’t have come up with something like that so quickly. But the surprises were hardly finished.

continued immediately below.

Edited by: Garner at: 2/25/04 10:30 am

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Part 11B
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:19 am 
Part 11B

She said that we’d probably need to anchor the spell to each other somehow, probably with an item to act as a focal point. It had also occurred to her that I had given her the doll’s eye crystal and the silver ring for the protective charm, which she also now realized how expensive a gift it had been and that I needed to be properly thanked for it though that would come later, and that she hadn’t really given me anything. Well she was going to make up for that, and handed me the little box I’d spied earlier.

The jeweler’s name emblazoned on it was the same place where I’d gotten the ring from the attic appraised and had looked to see if any other ring or necklace would’ve worked as well. I held my breath as I opened the cardboard and saw the ring box within. The velvet felt soft in my hand, but the box seemed incredibly heavy for some reason and my vision started to blur. No one had ever given me a gift for no apparent reason other than friendship and maybe love. And certainly not something that was likely to be quite expensive, this went way beyond the magic supplies she had given me before.

My hand trembled a bit as I opened it and my breath rushed out. Laying in the case was a beautiful ring of entwined silver and gold with two small glittering gems of turquoise and emerald set where the metals seemed to flow together. I had remembered seeing it there and thought about getting it for her, had even gone back and looked at it once, but figured the other would be less likely to catch on something since she was so active while helping Buffy. It was beautiful and I felt a warm trickle slide down my cheeks. How could I accept this? It was too expensive, too nice, too pure for someone like me, I didn’t deserve this.

Yet the look on her face, the broad grin and happiness that suffused her made it impossible for me to reject it. I just couldn’t. I didn’t know what to say and that lump was back in my throat, but I managed to get out that I thought it was exquisite, a magnificent piece and only stuttered a little. I told her I couldn’t believe she’d gotten this for me; it was way too valuable.

She went ‘pffft,’ and said it was but a fraction of what I’d given her and if she had known then how much my ring was worth there was no way she would’ve accepted it, this was mine and we’d use both of the rings as focuses so that the spell would work more surely.

I hugged her to me and stroked that silky smooth red hair, shivered at its softness and how much she excited me, felt the stirring deep within me, the need to have her touch me. I kissed her deeply, let my mouth and tongue say my thanks. As we parted she leaned forward and kissed my cheeks, sort of licked my tears away. I had my eyes closed and felt he electric thrill of her touch pass through me.

Goddess I love her more with each day. Everything she does brings her deeper and deeper into my heart. It’s all I can do to not burst from the love of her, just explode in a frenzy of adoration and desire. She’s almost like a living goddess, oh I know she has faults and is only human, that someday we’ll likely disagree or even have an argument, a fight, but that won’t change the way I feel about her. How could it? She’s wakened such hope and feelings of joy within me, things I thought were non-existent or simply not possible for me. Suddenly I look forward to each new day, look with anticipation for what will come tomorrow instead of with dread or just a numbness born of…not despair but utter apathy perhaps. My life was so dark before her.

And she was so happy too, excited about the spell, pleased that I liked the gift, glad to be able to return my affections. I told her she didn’t have to give me anything, her caring for me and being there after the monster had hurt me was more than enough, but she silenced me with a small peck on the lips, even that brief touch sending jolts of tingley Willow-induced goodness through me, and said if she was going to endure people’s sniggers and snide comments then she should at least be able to show me how she felt.

I smiled at her and ducked my head, blushing and suddenly shy. I had been doing so well around her lately, but such praise, such earnest appreciation and emotion, it makes me wonder what surreal dream I’m part of. When will Father suddenly burst in and chastise me, disapprove and take me away? Can something this good truly be allowed to happen to me?

She held my hands for a moment, brushed her lips on mine, then hugged me and sort of rocked me. She gave a little laugh and said it was time for us to earn our witchey designation.

I gave her cheek a quick kiss, brushed the last lingering moisture from my face and looked more closely at the spell while she got out the herbs and incenses necessary. I gathered that the idea was to create something that would allow the spell to always home in on the other, so that we could find each other no matter where we were, though extreme distance would obviously be a problem. This would make it so that the little ball of light would reach the other more quickly and surely than if one of us just did the spell cold. The only part that worried me was binding it to an item which could be stolen or removed. When we worked magic we had a link between us that I’d never read about or encountered before. Maybe if we also worked our combined spirits into the spell that would allow it to still work, though not quite as well, if the rings were gone?

I mentioned this to her and she smiled and said she knew I’d come up with something to improve on her idea. However, she was mildly worried that the protection charm on her ring would interfere with this spell, or the reverse. It was my turn to smile and shake my head and say that the opposite was more likely, since it had a little bit of my essence in it already for the protection spell, the new spell would probably work that much better.

Then she surprised me again when she said she wanted to learn the protection spell herself, she’d feel better if I had one too, it could be placed on my new ring and it would set her mind at ease knowing I was protected as well.

She’s so sweet and considerate, so thoughtful of others. Sometimes I think she’s involved in a life that is wrong for her. All the death, heartache and misery she must see, horrible things that must tear at her each time, even if just a little. I’d hate for her to lose that natural exuberance and almost naïve innocence that’s so much a part of her. Maybe time is likely to take those things from her anyway, but it’d be a crime for it to happen too quickly or all at once.

At times like this I wish I could shield her from life’s stings and injuries, protect her from the gay bashers and bigots out there, from the demons, vampires, and evil that lurks in the shadows or the dark of night, keep her my sweet Willow forever. But I know that’s not possible and that she’ll end up being one of the strongest women, the most powerful witches, ever. Goddess, just don’t let me be a lead weight around her neck, let me be able to support, encourage and keep up with her.

I agreed to teach her the protection spell and said I would feel better, too, knowing I had even just a little portion of her essence with me always. She smiled, I smiled, we looked into each other’s eyes for a moment and something seemed to pass between us, something unspoken but there nonetheless. It was as strong and exciting as when we worked magic together, but so much less definable. I got the sense that she knew I loved her and that she was maybe starting to come to grips with all that that meant, was open to it and might actually be feeling something similar herself. It was a wonderful, magical moment.

For the next hour or so we went over both spells, what was needed for them, when they needed to be cast. We decided that she would do the protection charm on the ring she got me first, and then we would use both for the locator spell. Both needed dawn or at least the sun in the sky to be most effective so we decided to do them tomorrow morning.

We got everything ready to go, all packed in our bags and backpacks, and then cleared the remains of dinner away. We settled back on the bed and watched Laurel and Hardy, which was OK, but not as funny as the Marx Brothers. Maybe it was the mix of styles in the brothers’ films that made the comedy seem to work better. She had also brought one called Arsenic and Old Lace with Carry Grant that was very funny, about two old ladies who killed old gentlemen with no families so they wouldn’t be lonely. It was strange, crazy, and sort of chilling, a reminder that even the best of intentions can lead to wrong actions, that anyone, even nice-seeming grandmas can perform horrible acts. Demons and vampires aren’t the only evil things around, humans with souls can be just as bad.

Which of course got me sort of nervous and thinking about myself. I mean I may not feel evil, may not think I’m doing anything wrong, but how can I be sure? I could easily just be fooling myself, rationalizing my actions and not seeing them for the selfish and evil acts they are. Would I know if I crossed the line?

Bless her but she sensed my change in mood, the sudden introspection and melancholy that came over me. We’d changed into our nightclothes by then and snuggled under the covers. She turned the TV and VCR off with the remotes and turned to face me and slowly began to run her hand along my arm, down my side. When she moved it to my rear I felt a shudder go through me. Her touch was as enticing as I’d ever imagined, even with the fabric between her skin and mine.

I reciprocated, letting my hands explore the slope of her arm, the soft firmness of her belly, the slight swell of her hips and butt. Before long we were kissing again, her weight on top of me like the sweetest blanket. Her fingers gently traced the sides of my breast, the thumb teasing my nipple, my shirt still maddeningly between us.

I kept my eyes closed, wanting just to concentrate on the feel of her on me, her legs between mine, the wetness spreading out from my center. It was exciting, intoxicating, a dizzying experience that produced tiny bursts of joy and stimulation wherever we touched. Her muscles slid, bunched and contracted over me sending shivers and more longing through me. I could feel her breath hot and thick on my skin, tickling my face, softly stirring my hair. Her tongue tracing my chin, on my neck along with her lips and occasionally her teeth were so fantastic.

But there was no frenzy to our explorations, neither of us pushed to hard, or put our hands under the other’s clothes. It just didn’t seem to be necessary then. There was so much of her I hadn’t felt, areas already exposed to taste and feel. It felt good to leave more for another time, concentrate on the overwhelming sensations that were cascading through me already, any more and I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy them, they would have been lost in the crescendo that poured through my mind.

We wound down and fell asleep with our heads together, arms entwined. Each feeling safe, happy and momentarily satiated.

I dreamed of her of course. We were younger, smaller, but not too much so, and sat in a yard under some trees with all sorts of stuffed animals around us. We sang some sort of song to them and the sun was starting to get low in the sky, the shadows lengthened and as they did the number of stuffed animals got smaller, those that remained seemed closer and tighter around us. Finally, as the sun was but a golden streak in the sky I was left with a little black and white cat while she had a white dog with big wide eyes. We took them and went hand in hand to the front of the house and crawled under the porch. Loose, rich smelling dirt was all around us and we used a little shovel and bucket set to dig out a small area for us to sleep in. Some woman, it was sort of like Mother, but not quite, said goodnight and we nestled together in our hole, stuffed animals on the look out above us, and went to sleep.

I awoke again with my Willow beside me. She had ended up on her back and I was snuggled up against her, my head on her shoulder while our arms were still tangled together on her middle. I scrunched closer to her, putting one leg over hers and sighed, settling into the warmth and comfort of the bed, her. No place to go today, no school. I wasn’t hungry but just deeply and profoundly happy.

She stirred after a little bit and said something in her sleep that sounded like ‘five flightless puppies,’ but it was hard to tell. One of her hands closed on my arm and gripped it tightly to her as she murmured ‘lower.’ I squeezed her more firmly to me and lifted my head up to softly kiss her cheek and she sighed and settled down.

I must have fallen back asleep for the next thing I knew I was on my back and delicate fingers were caressing my forehead and face. Her warmth was pressed up against my side, one leg thrown over mine, our positions pretty much reversed. I smiled at that and she sort of chuckled and asked if I was awake? To which I replied, ‘no,’ and moved my head more firmly against hers while her fingers continued their stroking. It felt oddly calming and relaxing, but a little strange. Somehow there seemed to be a little awe and hesitation in her touch, like she was truly looking at, feeling, my face for the first time. When they got to my lips I kissed her fingers and turned and looked at her.

Large green eyes were staring up at me with a quiet intensity and inquisitiveness that was almost unnerving. She had her studious face on and that made me feel embarrassed, self-conscious and a little unworthy. What was there about me that deserved such attention?

But she answered that question without it actually be spoken, saying that I had a beautiful face, such mesmerizing eyes that seemed to pull her into them. And as if to prove it she pressed more tightly against me to lift herself and kissed me deeply and slowly. It ended way too soon, but before either of us passed out from lack of breath or over stimulation.

We stayed in bed for a while, just laying there, touching a little, talking in brief little spurts though I had a nagging feeling we were forgetting something. She mentioned that she’d had a weird dream last night with me in it. A bunch of strange animals had gathered round us, a humpless camel, two zebras with no stripes, three fuury birds and five puppies. They all ran in a big circle one way then the other and sort of herded us down the campus, past all her friends, Buffy and Riley were fighting something while Anya was talking to Xander, until we got to a section where we sank into the ground, past commando guys, vampires, demons even, and ended up in a cave where there was just the two of us. She thought she heard her friends up above, but couldn’t tell for sure, the earth shook and trembled for a while and then we lay down by a small underground stream and went to sleep together. She thought it was really strange.

I told her about my dream, too. Thought it was oddly similar in some ways and I wondered what that meant? She laughed and said our heads were too close and our thoughts had leaked together, which, given that we’re on the Hellmouth is actually a scary thought, all sorts of bad things could happen from something like that. We traded some outlandish theories on this until we realized it was almost Eleven O’clock and that the morning was all but gone. Which meant we weren’t going to be able to do the locator and protection spells!

I mentioned this to her, that we had slept through our alarm and she laughed and said that she hadn’t, she’d heard it, but that I was sleeping so peacefully, so deeply that she didn’t have the heart to wake me. It was vacation time after all, I had been through a lot, and she figured it would be no big deal to do it the next day instead. She got a slightly unsure, sorta pouty look, and said she hoped I didn’t mind, that she did the right thing?

I gave her a little kiss and said that anything that kept us in bed longer had to be good, and I think we both blushed at that. I stuttered out a thanks for letting me rest, but thought maybe we should get going now so we got up and headed down to the showers and took care of morning business without incident.

Afterwards we decided to go get a big breakfast, pancakes, waffles, eggs, hashbrowns, the whole deal. It was a fun meal, she joked that I was a slugabed and I teased her about being a slacker type. A bit later I observed that it seemed like Riley and Buffy were over the Faith thing finally, at least they seemed closer the previous day. She agreed and though she did seem happy for her friend, I could also tell something about it mildly bothered her. Was that a flicker of jealousy I detected in her aura? It seems like not all the ties that bind the group have been tightened.

Near the end of the meal I asked her what she wanted to do today? She thought a bit between bites and finally said that she needed to check back with Giles and Buffy, make sure nothing new on Adam had popped up, nothing with Faith for that matter, drop off her dirty clothes, but otherwise she had nothing planned, maybe another trip to the Bronze? The others might be up for it, too.

I thought that was a fine idea and timidly noted that there was a full moon this coming Friday and perhaps we could do a Moon ritual then? It was a Wiccan sacred time and though I didn’t observe the moons like I really should, magic flowed much more freely and easily on those nights. We could maybe try something really cool or spectacular, if she wanted. We’d need to do a little preparation ahead of time obviously, but still...

This got her all wide-eyed and excited of course, she thought maybe we could summon a nature spirit or something like that. I suggested we look through our spellbooks and see what we could come up with, something a little different and fun, though she thought perhaps a spell that was useful if either of us were attacked might be a better idea and I had to agree with the sentiment. Life has been so great with her around, but it has also been a lot more dangerous.

But Goddess it’s so worth it! Every time after we part my heart is just racing so fast, a wide smile cracks my face. I don’t know what it’s like to be on uppers but I’m so energized and invigorated from seeing her it can’t compare. The human form just doesn’t seem like it should be able to contain all the energy pulsing through me then. It feels like I could dive out the window, hit the ground thirty feet below in a roll and leap across the campus to the top of next building. If I were to shout out my love for her it would be a thunderous boom shattering windows throughout the state. It’s so amazing, so wonderful that I ache with the need to see her again, hear her voice, talk and be together. Mother, did Father ever make you feel like this? How did you ever survive it? The extreme highs, the agonizing lows waiting through unbearable hours, each an eternity long, before seeing your love again. I just wish I could fully and completely show her how much she means to me, how much I love her. At least now I know that I might someday get that chance. What a thing my life has become, Goddess just thinking about her, us, makes we ache with need.

OK, so eventually we decided that we’d go to her dorm first, drop stuff off, and then head over to Mr.Giles and see if he had anything in his spellbooks that would be useful. After that we’d go to the Magic Box, get any extra supplies needed, and then come back here.

She looked at me coyly and said we should maybe go out for a real dinner date, like someplace kinda fancy and sit down, maybe a little dressy, before doing the Bronze thing later?

I know my face lit up at the idea and I readily consented. It sounded like a cool, fun time and it’d be so fantastic to do something sort of romantic. I can’t wait for her to get back, I still can’t decide what to wear exactly. I want to seem sort of classy, but not evening gown formal, not if we’re going to the Bronze afterwards. I have some silver earrings that I don’t wear often that would be perfect, and I’ll wear the ring she got me too, I know it’s not enchanted yet, but the fact that she got it for me, paid real money, and a lot of it too, gave it to me specially, Goddess how could anything ever be more magical? I’m such a silly girl, sniffling and crying over such a little thing. It’s just so amazing to think that she did all that for me, thought it, planned it, cuz she never does anything without a plan, and then went through with it. So much work and effort just for me. I want tonight to be extraordinary, a wonderful breathtaking night to let her know how much I appreciate what she’s done, make her happy. Nothing would make me happier than to see her laughing, smiling, at ease. A special Willow that’s no-one’s but mine.

I gave her what I hope was a sultry look and asked if it would end with her staying over and she just gave me that funny look and her cute little half smile. A shiver of anticipation went through me.

We finished, walked back to campus and she talked a bit more about some of the times it would’ve helped her to have a spell that could help out while Buffy was fighting, you know to distract a vamp or maybe hold it still for a moment, allow Buffy to get in the killing blow, that short of thing. I know I would certainly feel safer knowing that she knew something like that and said so and she said she knew about the knowing. At least she said something like that, I don’t know for sure. Sometimes she’s just too cute for words.

continued immediately below.

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Part 11C
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:22 am 
Part 11C

So I listened to some more of the amazing things she’d done, asked a few questions when it wasn’t clear, like how they had saved the world from the thing in the Hellmouth a second time, what Mr. Giles had done that was so brave then, things like that.

We got to her dorm room and naturally Buffy wasn’t there, but a sheet of paper sat by their phone and Willow read it and got a look on her face that I’d never seen before. She didn’t seem worried or anything, just surprised and maybe a little perplexed. She said her parents were back in town after their latest stop on the latest lecture circuit and wanted her to give them a call. It didn’t sound like anything was wrong, but she could count on one hand, even with all fingers gone, the times they called for no reason but to catch up. It almost gave her more of a wiggins than Adam.

I told her she should see if they were home now and find out what the deal was, so she did while I sat on her bed and kept myself occupied by playing around with her stuffed dog. I know, it was pretty childish of me, but I didn’t want to eavesdrop, this mornings dream returned, and I still felt so happy from being with her for so long. I guess I’ve just always had the ability to sort of entertain myself with whatever’s at hand, pretend it was Willow’s dog and that he was glad to see me, and wanted to know why his mommy wasn’t there to greet him and I had to keep him occupied before she got out the milk bone treats and a ball to throw for him. I’m such a total dork sometimes, but I was merrily playing and shutting out everything going on around me, thinking a bit about what dress I’d wear tonight that the next thing I knew she was behind me and her arms had snaked around my belly and her face was pressed against my cheek, and her lips gave me a sideways kiss. I leaned back into her and sighed, so much nicer to be drug out of my own little world that way than how Donny used to.

I held her arms around me and just breathed in her scent, luxuriated in her enveloping grasp, the silky smoothness of her cheek pressed against mine. I think I even gave a little whimper and turned to kiss her again when we heard someone grab the doorknob and as the door opened she jumped back with a start and I’m pretty sure we both were red faced as Buffy entered with a ‘Hey.’

Willow stammered a ‘hi,’ and asked how her friend was while I stuttered a greeting out too. Buffy was all annoyed with Riley and went off on the stupid Initiative and why did they need him now when it was the middle of the day during spring break and obviously no danger was lurking yet? Fortunately for us, well Willow mostly, the Slayer seemed to be pretty oblivious to our blushes and wasn’t particularly interested in what we had been doing. She did ask if Willow had gotten the message from her parents and she gave an exasperated, ‘yes,’ that sounded warning bells in my mind.

Buffy said that she was about to head over to Mr. Giles to see get a sit rep and if we wanted to tag along? I was about to agree and say that was where we were bound for when Willow appearing really crestfallen and apologetic said we’d planned on going there but her parents wanted to talk with her and so she’d have to check in later.

She looked at me while she said it and sheepishly kept her eyes glancing down more than at me and I could tell that she really hated having to forestall our afternoon plans, but I said it was all right, she had to see what her family wanted and I’d do some spell research while she was gone. Buffy asked if something had come up but Willow replied that we were just trying to expand our spell repertoire. Well, she said expand our knowledge, but I love ‘repertoire.’

It’s funny, I was disappointed, I mean we had an afternoon all set and planned out in Willow-exacting detail, but for some reason it just didn’t get me down. We’ve spent so much time together lately maybe I just don’t want to jinx it, make something really bad happen because I got too much Willow-time. I want to savor every moment with her and this is just a chance for me to reflect on how great she really is, build the anticipation for tonight, decide exactly what to wear, maybe even look in the phone book to help choose a specific restaurant, or is she going to do that? I think I’ll shower again, I mean we did do all that walking around and it got a little hot. Oh, how about the red dress? No, I think darker colors go better on me. Hmmn…

Monday Night: Damn it all, I was so looking forward to a fancy date with her, I even had just about settled on an outfit, the dark blue dress and black top with the silver highlights, I think that would’ve been perfect. Now it doesn’t matter, and I shouldn’t even be mad either, it’s certainly not my right to be. So her parents want some time with her, have plans that they think are important for her and they might even be right. Goddess never let me be the thing that holds her back, that denies her true potential. That would be awful.

        No, no whiney Tara tonight. I had wanted it to be a special night, to show her how I felt, well, as much as was safe, but that can wait to another time, it’s not like I’ll never see her again. She is going to come over tomorrow morning so we can do the spells before she leaves.

        Yes, leaves. She called just after I had gotten back from the shower. I washed my hair and used some of the herbal essences she seems to like and was just laying out my outfit when the phone rang. It was her but she sounded all sad and mopey from the very start. Before I knew it I almost had tears in my eyes just from sensing how bad she felt. Oh mother, it’s true, love does make it so that I hurt when she does, I’m happy when she is.

        And she was unhappy. She said her parents were taking her to Stanford with them for a conference and lecture thing this weekend. They were leaving tomorrow night to be there early and so they could all meet with a friend of her Dad’s. He’s some sort of computer expert for the University who does statistical analysis of data for the psychology department or some such. Anyway, they’re getting together before the conference proper and going to show her around the campus and all that. Her parents were very firm about her getting an idea of what opportunities might await her in graduate school even though that’s so far off. She actually thinks they are trying to lure her into transferring next year to the better college, still aren’t happy with her staying here, and I actually have to agree with them. She’s way too big for this little puddle of water intellectually. She deserves to be at a big name university where she could really be challenged.

        So why isn’t she? We’ve never talked about this, but I’d bet she applied to all sorts of high powered places, and was probably accepted too. No, if she wanted to be at Stanford, or Harvard or Princeton or wherever, she could be. She’s here because of Buffy and the Hellmouth, maybe a little bit because of Oz, he was going here also, though whether he followed her or the other way around I don’t know.

        She’s here to help people, be it to aid Buffy, Xander and the others, or make a difference saving people’s lives it’s still the same. Her parents don’t know what she does do they? They can’t or they wouldn’t try and tempt her to leave, or would’ve just picked up and left long ago.

        Goddess, I hadn’t thought about this before. It’s just another example of how amazing she is, how loyal to her friends, her ideals, the sacrifices she willing to make for them. She’s a girl of strong principles who’s willing to act on them. Oh Mother, I knew you’d like her, she has your strength, compassion and resolution. I bet she even convinced herself that this little University wasn’t that all that bad; yeah, right. There are parts to my Willow that almost leave me awestruck.

        Which, unfortunately, doesn’t change the fact that she had to stay at home with her parents and pack tonight, eat dinner with them and prepare for the trip. They’ll be gone till Sunday. That’s all of spring break! No, I promised no whining. She will be back. And I will see her tomorrow before she leaves. I wonder how she managed to get that past her parents? There’s no way she told them about me, us, assuming there really is an ‘us.’ It doesn’t matter, at least I get to see her once more. I really do need to do something for her, something to make the trip easier, the separation less painful. Assuming she’ll miss me at all that is, amongst all the activities and new sights.

        I did have one idea of something to do for her since she’s going to be gone. A sort of thanks for all the care she’s shown me the last few days. I…I think she’d like it, at least I hope so. It might not be as standard as flowers or chocolate or something like that, but hopefully she’ll like it anyway.

        I still wish we’d gotten to go out, I bet she would’ve looked great sort of dressed up, I wonder what she would have worn? Something sorta low cut? No, that’s not her style, maybe a beautiful dress all shimmering and sort of a light tan or pale green that showed off her hair, the sparkle of her eyes, her shapely butt.

        I’m going to have to sleep alone tonight, now that is something worth whining about. At least the bed will probably still smell like her.

        All right, I have work to get done, no more thoughts of Willow and the bed.

Tuesday Afternoon: She’s gone. I won’t see her for what, five, maybe six days? Won’t hear her voice, feel her touch or those soft, pliant lips, so moist, warm and sweet. Big, big sigh. This is going to be harder than I thought, as if last night wasn’t bad enough.

        I got her surprise done, but it was late, much later than it should have been for something that simple, but I wanted to pick out the ideal selections and get the order right and make it perfect. It took me a practice try, too, that didn’t help. But it was so worth it, I think. I mean she loved that I got her something, but since I didn’t tell her exactly what it was I suppose I won’t know till she gets back. It won’t be soon enough will it?

        OK, so I got my surprise done like I said. I set the alarm on ‘radio,’ really loud, so I wouldn’t miss it, and went to sleep. Naturally I dreamed of her, how could I not? She’s almost like a part of me, each day I feel closer and closer to her, like I’m a part of her, too.

        I remember running down a dirt road with ultra-green grass poking up along the side from sandy soil. Trees grew a bit further back and arced over the road, but there was a blue trail of sky above me and a few puffy, cottony clouds. As I ran I kept kicking up little wisps of dust that formed into tiny circular faces which all shouted, ‘the stampede is here,’ in high thin voices that carried oddly well.

        I felt a horrible presence behind me, one I knew I couldn’t let catch up or something bad would happen. Yet as I ran, the dirt seemed to sink with each footstep and pull at my shoes. My beautiful dark dress flapped in the wind like a great sail and seemed to further slow me down. It was almost like that horrible creature of Jonathan’s was after me. I feared to turn around and see its marred forehead, the straining hair, all of it hurtling towards me.

        I rounded a corner and came to a halt before one of the halls on campus, though the doors were open and dirt and sand comprised the floors. Various students, their faces blank and featureless moved about, some carrying starfish, others with little squids, which they spoke into while the tentacles oozed ink onto wide seaweed pages, forming strange symbols.

        Almost in slow motion I whirled around to see how close the creature was. I could hear its breath coming hot and slow from around the corner as it neared me, not even running, the little puffs of dirt screaming, ‘oh wow, it’s you again!’

        I shivered and sweat dripped off me, yet I couldn’t move. I shouted for the faceless students to help me, but they all ignored me and wandered into the trees. I looked back and Donny came striding very determinedly down the road. He was pissed off, I could tell, and his fists clenched as he got closer and closer.

        Suddenly I heard her voice. She was calling from a classroom on the second level and she was urging me to run to her. I turned and found I could move and ran into the building. A small black and white cat pointed down the hall and told me to hurry before the stairs were rolled up.

        I made it up to the room Willow was in no longer feeling pursued. I ran into her arms, and she kissed me, and kissed me and it felt so good. I purred in her arms and she stroked my hair, squeezed my rear end provocatively, held me to her.

        She took off her shirt and said here there were no secrets or reason to conceal ourselves. Her chest was all awhirl with emerald green and ocean blue swirls that ran together like a whirlpool. I hesitated for a moment, nervous about taking off my top, unsure of what would be beneath, not positive I wanted her to see me like that, when the door opened and Father walked in. He seemed much bigger than normal, at least a couple feet taller than us.

        He looked at me, then her, and said that she’d been bad, but he had the cure for that. He took off his coat and revealed a shirtless chest, only eyes stared out at me where his nipples should have been and a craggy black mouth almost as wide as he was stretched across his belly in a wicked, cracked grin almost like a Jack-o-lantern’s.

        He strode over and grasped her in his arms before either of us could do anything. She turned towards me reaching and struggling as he lifted her up and the blackness on his abdomen gaped open. He thrust her into the mouth, feet first. Her lower half disappeared from sight into the mouth but her top half remained out. She was fully facing me and the colors on her chest started to darken. She screamed for me to save her, but I didn’t know what to do and my Father’s hollow laughter rang in my ears saying that I was evil and needed to be punished, too.

        The small kitty squeezed into the room past the door and meowed that I had to quickly pull my Willow out. Her arms reached for me and I ran over to her, I grasped her hands and pulled, placing one foot on my Fathers leg for extra leverage. There was a wet tearing sound as she slid loose and the horrible maw laughed at me. She got to her feet, put her shirt back on and jumped out the window while my Father’s arms grasped me and he said it was time I was put back where I belonged and he thrust me face first into the dark, stinking mouth. Blackness, rough and putrid surrounded me and I couldn’t breathe.

        I woke up screaming with the blanket wrapped around my head. I flailed about, momentarily trapped, before I got free, though I was panting and soaked.

        What a nightmare! Maybe I was more upset over Willow’s parents taking her off than I thought. It was still dark out, but my heart was racing and I felt scared and alone, though certainly not as bad as on the weekend. I lay back down but slumber wouldn’t come. I kept on thinking, ‘what if she doesn’t come back? What if her parents make her transfer, take her off to some other school? What will I do then?’

        I know, not very likely, but early morning anxieties are the worst, everything seems so hopeless then. Would she finally question why she was starting to date such a homely duck? See that there was so much more the world could offer and move on? Fortunately, I managed to silence my doubts and did get back to sleep and woke with the radio. I got ready to meet her, and sure enough she made it right on time, like she normally does.

        She was all apologetic as I let her in, kept saying she was sorry she had to cancel our date last night and everything, that she’d really been looking forward to it but she hoped we’d do it later when she got back and it was going to seem like forever. I smiled and told her I did understand, that it was OK, you had to do what your family said and it wasn’t up to her, I got that.

        She gave me a kiss and a smile, saying she was glad of that, at least, though it wouldn’t make the time go any quicker. I smiled back, blushed and stuttered that I had something for her, to help with the passage of time thing. I said I knew it wasn’t much, but she had been so kind and thoughtful while I was hurt, it was the least I could do, and I shyly handed her the box.

        She looked at me like that again, and her green eyes shone so brightly when I dared look up at them. She said I didn’t have to, and now she felt bad not getting me anything, but I said she’d done so much for me, got me that beautiful ring, it was the least I could do for her.

        She opened it and saw the tape recorder I’d gotten at the start of the semester and occasionally used to record lectures. Beneath it was a poetry collection with a bunch of post-its marking a bunch of the pages. Each one had a numeral and a little drawing, a pattern of sorts, around it. Nothing fancy, I’m not that good of an artist, but the best I could do on short notice. She looked at me quizzically and I told her to listen to the tape it would explain everything. A pair of headphones were also inside.

        She put the box down and gave me a hug and said she wished she had the time to truly thank me, we were under a tight time schedule, but that I better not think I wasn’t going to get a lot of Willow smoochies when she got back! I sorta pouted and said with that to look forward to even the minutes would seem to crawl by and then grinned.

        We left and hurried to ‘our’ spot in the woods. We quickly cleansed the area, raised a circle and said a blessing to the Goddess and God. There was a strange tinge or flavor to our connection then, it seemed bittersweet somehow, as if even the energy flowing between us knew we would soon be parted. The tiny sparks that rose up as the circle was completed seemed to be like little jolts of sensuality and arousal, they left me gasping and staring at her rear wondering what underwear she had on and what it would look like with nothing covering it. I…I think she was staring at my chest as well, and when she licked her lips, that little pink tip briefly thrust forward, I thought my legs were going to buckle.

        Somehow we managed to get on with the protection charm without incident. She did most of the spell since it was for me, but we did stay in contact and I swear our fingers never stayed still, but were constantly moving in soft caresses and little strokes. Maybe our spirits know better than us how we truly feel.

        We then began the ritual to lock the locator spell to our rings. We had various incenses burning, some fresh herbs spread out and a variety of powdered gems. It took a good half hour all told and involved dedications to each of the Guardians of the Watchtowers so that no matter which direction we went, we would always be able to find each other. As we were finishing the final step the magic was a stimulating current that constantly flowed between us. I thought I could see a faint image of her form like that from the nether realms spell, a golden and silver nimbus around her that seemed to bend towards me.

        I saw her wide eyed gaze regarding me and on the spur of the moment added a dedication to the fifth direction, the nether or spirit, linking the spell partially to us in case the objects should ever be lost. I don’t know if I could have ever done that without her hands in mine, or the two rings acting as a focal point. The golden light ran like water towards me, mine towards her. An intense wave of exhilaration and Willowness spread over me. We already seemed so in tune yet this was a shocking exchange of essence. For a second I saw myself standing there with arms outstretched and my own aura cascading towards smaller and thinner arms. It was as if I was in her looking out at myself.

        The moment passed in an instant, but I was left with a sense of satisfaction, admiration and contentment that seemed to set my core ablaze. It was very powerful and now my knees did give way and we both toppled to the ground simultaneously. We ended in each other’s arms as the light around us dissipated in a flash. No energy remained within the circle and the trees around the clearing appeared to take flight and whirl about us, but not in a sickening sort of way.

        It took a while to recover, during which time we just leaned against one another, breathing slowly. The rush was soft, silky and lingered longer than with any of our previous spells, well except the nether realms one of course.

        Eventually we looked at each other and our lips met in an electrical tingle of flesh and something more. It was like she was touching my entire body with her lips, enfolding me in the warmth of her tongue, that I could taste all of her. We broke apart and each wordlessly mouthed, ‘Wow!’

        There wasn’t anything more that could be said.

        After another pause we said our thanks to the Goddess and God, grounded our energy and broke the circle. I wanted nothing more than to lie beside her, hold her and watch the clouds in the sky like we had observed nature the last time, but time was hounding us with its relentlessness.

        We drank some juice, nibbled a few cookies while sitting facing each other. That was all we could allow ourselves before picking everything up and starting back. We held hands the whole way not caring who saw us.

continued immediately below

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Part 11D
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:25 am 
Part 11D

        She walked me up to my room and helped deposit the supplies. When everything was put in its spot she faced me and said that right now she didn’t feel sad or like she was really leaving me, that a part of me would be with her and somehow she could feel it within her, a smoldering ember constantly warming her. I smiled and said I felt it, too; it was like some of her spirit had joined with mine, merged and took the edge off the sadness I’d felt. But I still wished she’d hurry back anyway.

        She pulled me into a tight, possessive embrace and she said she did, too. She’d try and call each night, if possible. She didn’t want to be without my voice at least. I smiled and kissed her ear, sort of nuzzled the lobe, and whispered I might be nearer than expected and left it at that. We locked lips another time and she finally pulled away saying ‘bye,’ and heading out the door.

        It’s strange, I’m here by myself, but I don’t feel alone. There’s a faint sense of her presence that reassures me, gives me peace and comfort despite the separation. At least for now. How long this will last is anyone’s guess. I know I’ll miss her, but tonight I should be able to sleep well, I hope.

        And I’m going to make good use of this positive mood while I can. It’s certainly time to hit the books and make sure I’m up to date in my classes, all my projects done. I have one paper to finish and a test to study for. At least I’ll get some studying done.

Wednesday Evening: I slept soundly and without any dreams that I recall last night. I awoke refreshed and charged to get work done and sure enough that’s pretty much what I did all day. Art history didn’t seem so dull, trig was easier than normal, even my chem. is coming along. I still have more stuff to do, but the hours past more quickly than I would’ve thought. I didn’t even spend endless minutes thinking about her beautiful smile, her brilliant red hair, so soft and cool to the touch, the wonderful taste of her skin.

        No, I didn’t dwell on her fabulousness and what it would be like to touch her thighs, feel her legs against my head, maybe hear her gasp under my caress. And I certainly didn’t long for her scent, the sound of her voice, the adorable Willow babble I’ve come to cherish so much. I didn’t look forward to listening to what was happening with Buffy and Riley, what progress the Scoobies were making on Adam or what other badness might be going down.

        And her face didn’t hover behind my eyes whenever I closed them as if she were so close that I could just reach out and touch her.

        Nope none of that at all…until now.

        Goddess, I hope she calls soon. I wonder if she liked my surprise? I wonder if she liked the poems I selected? I just hope I didn’t mess them up. Ah, it was a dumb idea, why did I ever go through with it? Like I could read poetry well, or even passably. I bet she listened to the first one and threw the tape out the window.

        But I thought it would maybe be neat for her to hear some of my favorite poems, listen to me reading them while she was in the car or late at night before she goes to sleep. Maybe save one for each night. Thought maybe it’d give her something familiar in unfamiliar surroundings.

What if she doesn’t like poetry? What if they’re too sappy, too mushy or something. I didn’t choose love poems just in case, well except for the last one. I mean I know we’re getting closer, more intimate but I still don’t want her to bolt, suddenly get scared. And she’s going to be with people so much smarter than I am, amongst equals who could really challenge her, offer her things I’ll never be able to. Will she laugh and think I’m just some dumb lovesick girl back in the sticks, insignificant and of no consequence?

        Oh, Mother, I just hope, pray, that love means something. That being madly in love with her doesn’t end up with the emphasis on mad, crazy, insane. Maybe I am taking leave of my senses thinking she’ll ever really fall for me, but we’ve shared so much already, she seems to truly care about me. I have to trust her don’t I? Trust that the Willow I fell in love with would never hurt me, is too kind and compassionate to ever be cruel.

        I hope she calls, it would be so great to hear her voice and listen all about her trip. Maybe I’ll see if I have a message from her still on the machine so I can hear her voice.

Thursday Night: Arrrgggh! Still no call from her! OK, now it’s getting harder. Now I am having a hard time thinking about much else.

        I had a truly strange dream last night. I was walking on a beach, the sun rising in the sky above me, casting warm rays down on the tan sand, which was warm and particularly pleasant to walk on. I was wearing a swimsuit of red, a one piece that still left way too little to the imagination.

        No other people were in sight, only a few seagulls soared lazily above, gently gliding in circles, occasionally swooping out to sea, dropping down to the water and then majestically rising up again. The ocean was a deep blue-green and the sun shone off it, a brilliant sheen where fire was captured in water, and both were transformed into something more beautiful still.

        I walked along, sat and rested, looking out to the horizon and at the crashing waves and shimmering spray. I walked and wandered some more, slowly, meanderingly, and yet never once saw a soul. It was very peaceful.

        I can’t for the life of me think what that might mean? At least nothing pursued me.

        I went to the library, needing to get out of the room, get a new perspective, fresher surroundings without the reminders of her constantly around me. I did get some work done, not as much as yesterday, but still, any progress is good.

        It was just so hard to get my mind off her. It’s like there’s an empty place in my heart, a hole in my mind that’s waiting for her presence to rush in and fill. I sometimes get distracted and wonder what she’s doing? Is she eating lunch, dinner? Is she spending time with her parents or touring about campus? Has she listened to the tape or has she not had time? Does she think of me at all?

        It’s like my heart is lead and instead of giving me the feeling that I could soar over the campus, bound across the rooftops it pulls me deeper into the chair, makes my steps drag and my breathing seem forced and labored.

        Goddess bring her back safely and soon. Give me the strength to last till then.

Friday Evening: Still nothing. I made sure the machine was plugged in, called from a pay phone in the library to make sure it was working. Goddess I couldn’t stand it if I missed her call.

        I do have her voice on tape, I’ve played it so much that I could recite it back from memory, inflections and everything. Its from a little while back when I was in class and she wanted to come over and show me a spell she’d found that she thought was neat and that we should try. It was something involving conjuring and shaping fire, that for some reason we never did get around too. Maybe I’ll dig that out so we can do it when she gets back. She seemed very keen on it before.

        I didn’t have any dreams last night, which I suppose was OK. I had breakfast at the fast food place we went last month. It felt odd to be there by myself, without her. How has she come to dominate my perceptions of the world so much? We are still in March and I’ve only known her since last December, that’s what, barely four months? It seems like an eternity. An epoch of her being with me, telling me about Oz, Buffy, her friends, doing spells.

        I meditated today before going to the library and that helped quite a bit. I even took a little time before I left to plan out what I would study, when and for how long. It was funny but I could picture her making out a study schedule and complaining that all we had was two colors of ink and there really should be one for each class. I laughed and told her she’d just have to alternate them instead and she got her pouty face. I nuzzled her nose and said we could buy more pens at the Union. Oh Goddess it was so real I could almost smell her.


Friday Night: It was her! She finally got away from her parents long enough, while back at the hotel room, to call! They went downstairs to meet with the conference chair and discuss tomorrow’s agenda and for once left her alone. Thank the Goddess!

        She said she loved my tape! She said it was the neatest most thoughtful gift anyone had ever given her. She loved the poems and has been listening to them so much before bed each night she thinks she could recite some from memory. She really liked the Emily Bronte one, ‘The Night Wind,’ it was really moving. And just who was Jenny and why did she kiss me? I laughed at that and said I just liked Hunt’s ‘Rondeau’ because I used to imagine someone named Jenny falling in love with me.

She said it seemed like I preferred the older poets to new stuff and I said Gunn’s ‘A Map of the City’ was from the fifties at least. She laughed and said it was strange but she had been listening to that as they arrived. It was appropriate but strange. They were all wonderful and it helped to hear my voice because she missed me so much. She sort of wished I could be there with her, though that obviously wasn’t possible.

        I told her I missed her too and wished I could be there as well. I had gotten a lot of work done, but…and here I stuttered a bit and was all nervous and tentative, but I went on and said I couldn’t stop thinking of her. I knew it was selfish of me, but I really did wish she was back here with me.

        She went aww, and sort of used that sweet voice when she’s trying to comfort me and said she knew what I meant.

        And then she got all excited and even squeaked a bit saying that we could sort of be there for each other, and do a spell together and it would be cool and we should give it a try and she knew it was being silly and someone might notice but her parents wouldn’t be back for a little while and it would be fun and couldn’t we give it a try?

        Goddess, long distance Willow-babble, I had tears in my eyes for the sheer joy of it! I had to sit down, it just felt so right to be hearing her that excited, but I had to ask, ‘do what?’

        She responded with, ‘our locator spell,’ and instantly I knew what she meant. We could each cast the spell, maybe even in sync over the phone, and then the little fairy wisps of energy would seek each other out, maybe pass in the night sky, and bring a bit of her to me, some of me to her. And we’d be doing a spell together long distance!

        I told her it was a great idea and I couldn’t wait to start. I sat crosslegged on the floor and floated the phone in front of me so she could hear my voice. I asked if she was ready and she said yes and we began the spell. It isn’t very complicated and doesn’t take too long. I intoned the words and could hear her voice seemingly echoing mine. It was neat and before I knew it a tiny whitish, or maybe pale blue, ball of light had sprung into existence in front of me. It pulsated there and bobbed just a bit before disappearing into the phone. Was that supposed to happen?

        I started to tell her my light had darted into the phone and she was saying something similar when a moment later a matching little slip of light shot out of the receiver and hovered near me and then circled about my head. It trailed a little Willow-scent and I breathed in deeply, my heart racing and my chest seeming to swell at the same time.

        I heard her laugh and I couldn’t help joining her. It was so cool. Despite the distance we had found each other in a flash, the spell taking the shortest route between us, following our voices. It was just so cool. I haven’t giggled like that in a long time.

        We watched the little specks of energy for a few minutes and then ended the spell and continued our conversation. She asked if anything had come up while she was gone and I said I hadn’t actually seen any of the others. I was sorry but I just didn’t know, but she said that was no big, Buffy and Riley probably had things firmly in hand and we both laughed at that.

        We talked for almost an hour and honestly it’s hard for me to recall anything specific that we discussed. I was just so happy to be speaking with her, I probably had my goofy grin on the whole time!

        But it ended too quickly nonetheless, she said she heard her parents at the door and that she’d better go. We closed with simultaneous, ‘I miss you very much. Bye.’

        And that was it, the line went dead and though I continued to hold the phone up to my ear until it started beeping, no more Willow. That might be the saddest thing I’ve ever written. No more Willow. Just the thought sends chills through me.

        But she liked my surprise, listened to the tape, thought the poems were cool! I could tell she was touched and happy, and really, what’s more important than that?

        I’m so excited and wound up I don’t know what to do now. I think I’ll look for the fire shaping spell and read through it, maybe get stuff ready so we can practice that when she gets back. Oh I can’t wait. Maybe she’ll get a chance to call tomorrow.

Saturday Morning: Wow. I have never had so erotic a dream before, not one so…realistic seeming and yet not. Definitely not one that’s gotten me so aroused and frustrated at the same time.

        It was pretty simple actually; I was in my bed getting ready to go to sleep. Outside it was dark though some moonlight filtered through the open window along with a nice warm breeze.

        The door opened and she stood there stark naked, her red hair a shimmering maroon in the pale light. Her small breasts were perfect and my eyes were drawn all over her body. She walked over to the bed and slowly drew me out so that I stood before her.

        She kissed me and then slowly unbuttoned my shirt, ever so delicately. After each button she stopped to kiss and lick the exposed flesh and I found myself trembling in anticipation and pleasure. When she completed the last one, she rose up and kissed me again, our flesh merging in a slidey tingling. She widened the gap of my shirt exposing my chest and nuzzled each mound before taking first one, then the other in her mouth, her tongue swirling around my nipples making me gasp and moan ever so slightly.

        Her tongue worked its way down my belly and her hands slid my shirt off before settling on my rear and kneading both sides. One finger then slipped in my waistband and traced the line between them. I could hardly stand it and raised her up and crushed her to me in a kiss and embrace that left us both panting.

        As we broke apart she put both hands on my pants and slowly knelt down running her hair along my chest, belly and one thigh. She pushed me back onto the bed and followed along on top of me, her thigh thrusting up between my legs, against me in a contact that sent moist shivers through me.

        Which is of course when the sudden shouts and a slamming door woke me up, damn it! Of all the rotten, lousy timing. I was awash with the need for her, I just couldn’t get the image of her naked body out of my mind. I just kept wishing that they were her fingers in me instead of my own.

        Goddess when will she be ready? How much longer till she gets back?

Saturday Night: She called again! It was shorter this time, but we got to talk. I…I’m almost glad it was over the phone so she didn’t see how red I must have been or asked why. I couldn’t help remembering this morning and the image of her standing naked before me or how she took my clothes off.

        And yet she sensed something was different, or off anyway, asked me what the matter was. I didn’t want to lie, exactly, so I just told her that I had missed her more today than previously, which is definitely true. I hardly got anything done in the library and all I could think about was how excited I had felt after the dream, how much I wanted to do that with her for real. I think…I mean I hope there’s nothing wrong with me. I love her and want her very badly, it’s OK to be thinking such dirty thoughts about her all the time isn’t it?

        I just couldn’t help it. She moves me so much, raises my passion, arouses my body, excites my mind. Buffy and Riley are so lucky, no hesitation or wondering what’s going on with them, they obviously have feelings for each other and aren’t afraid to act on them, don’t care who knows. It must be nice.

        It doesn’t matter, I got to talk with her, hear about the conference and how she found a couple points interesting, how neat the library there is and how it’s like five times the size of ours. The campus is bigger too, and she said the curriculum is so much more extensive, all sorts of specialist classes from Women’s History to three different courses on Quantum Mechanics and Theory, whatever that is exactly.

        A couple grad students showed her around earlier and she was able to meet some of the professors today since they weren’t teaching classes. I could tell she was pretty excited by the whole thing. There was a big dinner later on that she was getting drug along to that she wasn’t as happy about. She told me a little bit more about all that she had seen and then asked me about my day.

        What could I say? It had been pretty dull and routine, except for the constant naughty thoughts of her. I told her I’d gotten a lot of work done, had even done pretty well on my trig though I’d need a little more help when she got back.

        She said she had to get running but that she still missed me and wouldn’t be happy until she finally got home, which would probably be sometime Sunday night, probably after 7, but that she’d definitely come right over after she unpacked and all that. She reminded me she still owed me for the poems and then we gave our good byes.

        Although we didn’t talk as long it was still great to hear her voice, talk again. No matter how long it was it wouldn’t have been enough, not for me. If…if I was bolder, more forward, I’d get some sexy music and candles and have them all set up tomorrow night, maybe some flowers about the room and greet her in bed with nothing on. Then she’d be surprised and pleased and we’d make love and it would be a fabulous night, but I just can’t do that. I’m not brave enough, not positive that she wants, or is ready, to go that far. I’d be too nervous and afraid she wouldn’t like it. Besides, with my luck her parents would keep her late and she wouldn’t make it till sometime Monday anyway.

        No, some flowers around the room and maybe a little food in case she hasn’t eaten, some sugary goodness and that will have to do.

        I never realized that being in love could be so hard.

continued immediately below

 Post subject: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Part 11E
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:28 am 
Part 11E which is the last part for this chapter!

Sunday Night: See, I knew there was a good chance she’d be later than she thought. It’s almost 9:00 already and still no sign of her. I want to see her, but if she can’t make it I have to believe that that’s all right, too. You’re always at the mercy of your parents when you’re with them.

        I slept soundly last night, but the whole day was spent apprehensively waiting for time to move along already. The hours slid by so slowly and it was nearly impossible to concentrate. At least I am all caught up and ready for my test Thursday. See, I can be productive and Tara the good student, I’m not totally lost in love.

        When is she going to get back?

Monday Morning: Poor Willow, so unsure, confused, pulled in so many different directions. It must be hard to deal with the many forces all pushing this way or that, things you should be doing, things you want to do because they’re important, things tugging at you that you have no control over. It’s a wonder she’s able to deal with it all. I wish I could help more, I just pray that I did. At least she seemed more confident and content when she left for class a few moments ago. I know that I felt instantly better when she knocked at the door last night.

        It was probably about half past nine when I heard it. My breath caught in my throat and I did run to the door. She was standing there with her bulging backpack, a bag dangling from one hand and a grin on her face, and yes, she did have clothes on but I didn’t mind at all!

        Her eyes shone brighter than normal and she threw her arms around me, the bag dropping to the ground with a plop and clink. I was so overjoyed to see her that I hugged her back and our lips met in a near bruising kiss. My eyes got watery and that tingling excitement spread throughout me. My Willow was back!

        But our kiss was interrupted by a snort of derision and a scalding voice saying, ‘That is so sick. Can’t you people at least go inside.’

And another female voice full of scorn, ‘Stupid dykes, that’s just gross.’

        I immediately looked down ashamed and blushing, but Willow grabbed the bag she dropped and then whirled around. I glanced up and realized she had a completely ‘pissed off’ face. She sort of tilts her head forward, narrows her eyes and scrunches her brow, it’s actually kinda cute, in a scary way, though I thought for second she was going to snarl as two of the girls from the previous Sunday came down the hallway. She flipped them off and deliberately put her arm around my waist and guided me into the room before slamming the door shut. I think the first girl said something like, ‘We know who’s the butch one in that pair!’

        I just shook my head and tried to ignore the faint laughter, though this was one of those times when it hurt more than usual. I mean, I hadn’t seen her for almost a week and instead of having a wonderful and joyous reunion we get ugliness and ridicule. I’ve seen too much of that at home.

Willow must have sensed my mood as she got even more worked up as she came over and put one hand on my shoulder while the bag swung wildly from the other.

She told me not to let them get to me and if they weren’t careful they’d wake up as toads. Slimy, warty, GAY toads! And I had to laugh a bit at that and her angry face was gone, replaced by her mischievous half smile and we shared a grin and she kissed me again and asked if I missed her?

I didn’t say anything but enveloped her in a fierce hug and kissed her deeply and with as much passion I could muster. She returned my kiss and then squeaked a little as I was probably holding her too tight. We kissed one more time before parting and she noticed some of the roses and lilies around the room and quirked an eyebrow and asked if I had another admirer she didn’t know about?

I looked down and blushed fiercely and stammered no, they were for her. I’d just wanted her return to be sort of special and nicer than normal. I told her I even had some small salads and a chocolate cake incase she was hungry after the trip. It still stung that everything had been marred so easily.

She lifted my head and gave me that look and said it was a perfect greeting and took my hands and kissed me once more. She’s so sweet, it’s no wonder I love her so much. She always knows how to make me feel better, not get down on myself.

She smiled and said she’d had a similar notion and revealed a strawberry rhubarb pie and can of whip cream from her bag. I grinned back and said we’d be wired on sugary goodness for the next week! We laughed and that seemed to dispel whatever lingering negativity had come in with us.

She was hungry but also had to apologize as she had run into Buffy back at her room while dropping her stuff off and the Slayer had given her an update on the situation while she was gone and all the demons her and Riley had encountered.

        While I got out paper plates, the salads and some milk, cause milk goes best with cake at least, she told me that Riley and Buffy were really busy this last week. All sorts of vamp and demon activity was going on, hardly giving them a moments rest. She’d offered to help them patrol, but Buffy said they had it handled, no big.

We ate and she told me all about the trip up to Palo Alto and how big the Stanford campus was, how all the buildings had lots of arches and were in a sort of Southwestern style with umber or orangish-red roofs and that there were a some many trees everywhere on campus, 25,000 according to their web site, and it had bunches of students and big name professors and she went on about their computer department, the cutting edge programming and hardware work they were into, the various research programs and facilities, all the cool things they were developing and looking into. She was very animated and as excited as a kid at Christmas. Her parents knew her well enough to punch her buttons and tempt her with all that UCSD couldn’t offer. I wondered if they had succeeded in their plan?

As she described everything, ever how the college was not that far from San Francisco and Oakland though she didn’t get to visit them, all the myriad opportunities the curriculum provided, the numerous accelerated programs and state of the art equipment her enthusiasm was sort of contagious. I found myself intrigued by the courses and all that the place had to offer, but also a little worried. The trip had obviously left a big impression on her.

After a while she wound down, we’d eaten our salads in between her details and were now well into the chocolate phase with the promise of pie and whip cream next. She asked me about my time while she was gone and I told her I’d gotten caught up with a bunch of my school work, which was good as I had pretty much gotten behind. Sadly, that really was about all I did, except fantasize about her of course, but I wasn’t about to say that.

She pushed me for some details though, which courses, how far in the trig book, could she read the paper, that sort of thing. I don’t know whether she was honestly interested or just felt bad for talking so much about what she had done. I said that it was OK, she got to do something special and that deserved a lot of attention, my week really hadn’t been that noteworthy or special. She said she felt bad that she had this cool experience for spring break and I did nothing but study, but that she might have something to help make up for it.

She went over to her backpack and took a book out of it that was fairly old looking and bound in thick black leather. She handed it to me and I saw that it was a volume on witchcraft dated from the mid 1600s. The thin scrawling script was in French and I recognized the title vaguely, but couldn’t place it. She said it was from a famous witch who had fled the inquisition in Spain and been reputed to have lived for over a 150 years afterwards in Gascony. This was a copy supposdedly made in the early 1800s that they’d had a at a small little magic shop in Palo Alto she’d noticed while walking around the area. She’d wanted to get me something for that wonderful tape and she didn’t remember Giles having a copy and she’d thought she recalled it being referred to in one of our other spellbooks. She said I’d have to work on translating it so we could practice some of the spells, if they were any good.

I guess being with her is starting to have some affect on me as I didn’t get all teary eyed exactly. I just beamed like an idiot and thanked her profusely, it was a very neat gift, so useful, too, and promised that we would definitely give them a try. She said it still didn’t compare with the poetry tape, but she was glad I liked it.

Now I was more embarrassed and didn’t know what to say so I told her I had found the fire conjuration and shaping spell, the one she’d talked about before, and if she wanted to give that a try I had gotten the brazier ready and all the materials we needed. Assuming she wasn’t too tired out of course.

She of course got excited and so after a little pie we practiced the spell for a while. It was actually more difficult than I would have thought. Though she through herself eagerly into the spell, all we really got were sort of asymmetric balls and lopsided doughnuts and pudgey squares or triangles. I don’t think our concentration was at fault, though we were both exhausted by the time we finished so that could have been a factor. Maybe it’s just that we needed more practice? In any case we decided to work with this again the next time we got together.

By this point it was late and she had early class the next day so we began picking stuff up. She put a few things back on one of the shelves and stopped to smell the flowers. She sighed and softly asked if it was all right if she stayed here tonight? There was a note of timidity in her voice that I hardly ever heard and she seemed more introspective and quiet now that we were finished with the spellcraft.

I told her she never had to ask that, she was always welcome here no matter what. I was happy to have her stay with me, and here I dipped my head and said I kinda looked forward to it. She came over to me as I sat on the edge of the bed, put her hand on my arm and said she knew, she did, too. I looked up at her to make sure I was hearing her right, and she just smiled and gave me a little peck and we finished cleaning up in silence.

After going to the bathroom, uneventfully I might add, and getting ready for bed we returned and crawled under the covers. I left one of the candles on and she said the room looked nice with the low light and all the flowers around. we snuggled up together and sort of touched a bit, kissed a little occasionally, but I could tell there was something going on in her mind as she had that distracted with thoughts air about her.

So I just lay there and held her, stroked her hair and waited until she was ready to talk about it. I knew her well enough now to know that she was just framing in her mind how to approach whatever it was.

Finally in that small hesitant voice of hers she said my name, and I sort of murmured an assent. She asked if I ever felt like, she wasn’t sure, but like I had made a mistake or made the wrong decision about my life?

I asked her what she meant and she went on inquiring if I’d ever wondered what my life would have been like if I had made different decisions? If I’d ever wanted to get a glimpse of what that other world would be like?

I asked her how so and she said like if I had gone somewhere else besides here. I said, ‘Oh,’ and left it at that. She continued even though I hadn’t answered and said it was like that this last week, she’d seen what it might’ve been like if she left Sunnydale, gone to one of the big, prestigious universities she’d been accepted at.

And now she started talking a bit faster, more forcefully though still quietly as if she was hesitant to give her uncertainties too loud a voice as if that might make them more real. She wondered if she really belonged here. Oz had left her even though she’d thought he’d loved her, Buffy had Riley now and they were dealing with the bad guys together and hardly ever needed her; Xander was with Anya and three was definitely not company there. It was like all the reasons she’d had for staying were evaporating, maybe hadn’t really been all that important after all, perhaps she had made the wrong choice. She wondered if she wasn’t, not throwing her life away, but maybe not living up to what she could be? Living in the past, still in high school, instead of looking to the future?

I put my arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer to me, nestled her head against mine and used put hand beneath her to hold her across the tummy while my free hand softly traced her forearm and hand. I kissed her head a couple of times and asked her if she was happy here?

She replied that she was with me and held my hand for a moment and sort of looked up at me with her wide, inquisitive eyes. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ecstatic at hearing such simple words. Did I really make her happy? It was so hard to believe, and yet I had to ask if she thought she’d be happier in Stanford or someplace like it?

She took a few moments to think and finally said she didn’t know, she wasn’t sure and that might be the problem. She didn’t know what to do and wasn’t sure who she could turn to for advice. She paused then and I could sense she wanted me to say something, anything. I sighed and said that I was the last one to give her advice, but that right now her life was in turmoil. A lot was going on and it’s natural to wonder what things would be like if she done something different. But I knew that she had stayed here to help people, to fight evil, and yes to help Buffy and be with her friends, and had any of that really changed?

She said no, not really, but it just seemed like they were growing apart, going different directions, like she was no longer important to them. I squeezed her middle, put my other arm around her chest and held her firmly, but not too tightly this time. The indecision and self doubt in her voice was so unusual, so heartbreaking. She’s normally so decisive and sure of herself.

I said that it might seem like she was alienated from the group right now, but their lives were probably changing as much as hers. They all had to adjust to life after high school and that eventually things would fall back into place. Like we had talked about before she left, they had very strong ties that would reassert themselves, remind them what was really important if she gave it some time.

However, after a moment I had to add that if she truly thought she’d be better off in Stanford or elsewhere then she owed it to herself to consider it at the very least, keeping in mind that she didn’t have to make up her mind right away, either.

She asked if I wanted her to go, what I’d do if she did? Goddess, what a question. I would be disconsolate, my heart rent and my life a dismal prison without her. For there is no way I could follow her, get into Stanford or someplace like that, no way I could afford it. But that didn’t matter, we were talking about her future, what was best for her. How could I put my feelings, my interests, before hers?

I swallowed once and stuttered that what I wanted shouldn’t matter, she needed to do what she thought, felt, was right. She gave me an exasperated look and I added very softly that I’d miss her terribly if she did go.

She sighed and sort of settled back and was silent for a little while. Her thumb idly stroked my leg and I continued to caress her arm. She rolled over suddenly and looked me fully in the face and asked if we were girlfriends?

That took me by surprise, I mean, I actually hadn’t thought she would say or think that yet. Not really. I said we could be, if she wanted to.

She smiled and said she most definitely did. It was the one thing she was positive about. I smiled too and said then we were official girlfriends and I kissed her to make it seem more real. I, Tara MaClay, had a real girlfriend.

We kissed a couple more times, slow, lingering meshings of lips and tongues that were sweeter than the cake or pie we’d had earlier. It felt so good, so right, to have her back in my arms, lying beside me. I just wanted to lay there and hold her forever.

I don’t know if she’ll go to Stanford or not, I don’t think so, it seems more like a sudden realization of what that avenue could have been like, of all that she gave up when she decided to stay here. Her loyalty to her friends, the common experiences that link them are too strong for her to just leave, whatever the Scooby life gives her too important. I don’t know how much of the equation for staying I am, I’m just awed to be part of it, to be worthy of consideration in such important decisions.

We fell asleep not too much longer after that and my thoughts flowed smoothly into a dream. We were standing together on a grass covered plain just a short ways from a cliff that fell off at least a hundred feet to a beach far below where the ocean spread out beyond, deep and vermillion, but calm save a few gentle ripples.

A herd of horses made from orange, red and yellow flames raced around us in a ring so tight that they were almost one blurred wall. Their heads occasionally raised and manes of brilliant yellow streamed out from them as eyes of deep scarlet flames regarded us. The ring squeezed in and they sped ever faster about us. We shrank back against one another and joined hands. As we did we held our other one aloft and the horses suddenly bolted off inland leaving a charred path in the grass. They disappeared with a clap of thunder in the distance, and we turned and went to the edge of the cliff.

We walked down on stones that jutted out of the wall of rock with each step, until we’d made our way to the beach below. The sand was warm and soft to our feet. She was wearing a two-piece bikini that was a deep green and showed off her body wonderfully; she was stunningly gorgeous. I looked down and saw that I had on something similar only in a true blue, and though I was exposing way too much skin I wasn’t uncomfortable at all.

We played on the sand, splashed around in the water, threw one of those giant beach balls about; it was amazingly fun and relaxing. We ended up lying together looking up at the stars which pulsed and twinkled above us. A giant constellation that kinda looked like a face seemed to smile down upon us and we slept.

I got to wake up in her arms again. My own little slice of heaven, beautiful red locks, a cute upturned nose, and a face that sometimes makes me want to cry just for the joy of it. But I had to pee really bad. Hah, betrayed by my body again. I almost laughed, but if I did I would have wet the bed.

Of course she woke up then and sleepily asked what was so amusing. I almost said, ‘I love you but I’ve gotta pee,’ as an excuse for getting up, but fortunately got out ‘I l-l-liike you,’ instead. She laughed and slid her fingers lightly under my shirt and wiggled them on my side. I shrieked and giggled and screamed at her to stop it before I wet the whole bed. She grinned evilly and continued her tickling. I tired to roll from her but she pursued me and continued her devilish ways.

I managed to choke out that if she continued she’d be late for class, and that got her out of bed and hustling for the bathroom, with me right on her heels. She headed off for her eight o’clock class and I stayed here waiting for my nine, updating my journal.

We’re going to meet at 10:00 in the cafeteria and get some brunch before our 11:00 classes.

Goddess, it felt so good to have her back. It’s odd but the whole time she was gone I was tense, uneasy, it was like I was missing something vital but as soon as she got back everything was so much better, doubts notwithstanding.

Yes, she’s going through a lot of things. She’s come out to herself now, I wonder how much longer before she tells Buffy, the others? She’s been shown what her life might have been like if she’d left Sunnydale and that’s sort of thrown her, maybe tempted her to think about changing directions, but I think she’ll realize that her original decision was the right one. At least I certainly hope so though I’d support whatever decision she makes.

I just have such a hard time getting my mind around the fact that she’s my girlfriend. That she actually brought it up, wanted to take that step. I get a little misty eyed just thinking about it. My Willow, my girlfriend.

The last poem I put on the tape says what I’m still too afraid to,

I want to write you

a love poem as headlong

as our creek

after thaw

when we stand

on its dangerous

banks and watch it carry

with it every twig

every dry leaf and branch

in its path

every scruple

when we see it

so swollen

with runoff

that even as we watch

we must grab

each other

and step back

we must grab each

other or

get our shoes

soaked we must

grab each other


        But it’s the one she liked best.


(Post note: The poem is not mine but ‘Love Poem’ by Linda Pastan, 1988, and is not used with permission though no copy right infringement is meant.)

 Post subject: Re: From the Journal of Tara MaClay Part 11E
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 7:14 pm 
WOW! What an enormous, and totally cool update! Wow. I'm just totally... overwhelmed. I loved it. I absolutely loved it, this was fantastic and definitely worth the wait. Just... wow.

Willow: Hey Buff. One more thing. Buffy: Yeah? Willow: I’m gay. Buffy: Okay, Will. Xander owes me ten bucks.

~Remember to Breathe by Yellow Crayon

 Post subject: update
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 7:34 pm 
BRAVO :applause That was a great great GREAT update!!!

 Post subject: Re: update
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 9:16 pm 
what a wonderful WONDERFUL update! Thank you so much.


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

 Post subject: Re: Update
PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2004 9:46 pm 
Beautiful. Just beautiful. :heart

Yes, this update is lengthy, but it didn't feel like it. Everything flowed so nicely. Our ladies have moved to the heavy petting stage, and Tara isn't shy about thinking of moving further.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.

Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

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

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