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

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 Post subject: Lotus ((New note Feb. 2018))
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 3:28 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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Title: Lotus
Author: Zooeys_Bridge(Rachel)
Email: rsietz@gmail.com
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Joss and ME own their characters. I’m just adding a little bit of spice. And not making a profit.
Spoilers: This is heavily steeped in canon, so be wary of all of it.
Feedback: Yes, please! This is my first story, so please feel free to scribble away with red pen. It’s highly encouraged. I’m also in need of a beta, so if anyone is interested, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
Notes: Well, Kittens, this is it, I hope you enjoy. As much as I’d like to be able to post regular biweekly updates, I’m afraid I can’t guarantee such a gift. I’m very much committed to finishing this, but writing is slow as it is my first time, so please be patient with me.
Acknowledgments: I would just like to give my thanks to this wonderful community. There are so many authors and stories I’ve admired and treasured, and I wanted to extend my gratitude for all they’ve done. A special thank you to Pheonix for lots of help and support.





.::Lotus::.




“Let us alone. What is it that will last?
All things are taken from us, and become
Portions and parcels of the dreadful Past."
::Alfred, Lord Tennyson::





Tara waited.




She idly picked at her knitting, pulling a few stitches through out of habit rather than anything else. She needed to keep her hands busy. She had discovered early on that if she had something tiny and focused to do, her brain would quiet itself down for a few menial hours.




Which is how Tara came to be knitting in the first place. She had never aspired to make fragile sweaters, caps, or mittens for her various acquaintances until she was at least fifty-two and desperate for middle-aged activities to fill her spare moments. She expected to do those old lady deeds wrapped in blankets, being softly mocked by her beloved Willow, who was equally engrossed with the daily crossword, sitting by her side.




A sigh escaped her lips.




Tara hated knitting.




Knitting meant she had to jump-start that future for the sake of necessity, and there was nothing Tara disliked more than starting something too early. Especially without Willow. She mindlessly completed a row of the burgundy and cream scarf she had been knitting for what seemed like forever.




Too long, she thought.





1, 823, 069 stitches and she had come no closer to easing her aching heart than she had at stitch number 1.




1,823, 070. Enough for now.




Tara placed the long train of fabric beside her on the bed, flexed her aching fingers, and sat up. Feeling the pressure in her bladder, she swung her legs to the side and put her bunny slippers on. Before she could stop it, as she stood mid-step to the bathroom, a memory swept her, powerful in its grasp.




“See?” Willow urged happily, her hands busy fidgeting with an apparently fascinating tissue. “They’re bunnies! For my snuggle bunny.”




Tara’s grin stretched across her face, slowly and with a hint of flush in her cheeks. Rising to her feet, she took a few steps to meet her lover by the bureau. “Will, they’re lovely,” she said, gathering Willows hands in her own. “And they’ll keep these frigid feet of mine toasty warm for you.”




“Oooh, all ready for bedtime snuggles?” Willow bounced excitedly.




Chuckling, Tara replied, “Yes, Willow. All ready for bedtime snuggles.”




A devilish glint in her eyes, Willow’s mouth turned up at the corner. ”Good. ‘Cause you know, there’s nothing I like better than making sure you’re all warm and toasty. Especially during bedtime snuggles”.




“Oh really, Miss Rosenberg? And how were you planning on doing this exactly?”




The glint in Willow’s eyes was all but snuffed out as her pupils dilated to hardened stones of un-mined emerald. Raw, consuming, and powerful. “Well, I had kinda planned to throw you down on that bed and have my way with you, if that’s all right,” Willow whispered.




“Oh, yes,” Tara rasped as she felt strong arms wrap behind her thighs. Tara dropped her head to hover scant millimeters from Willows face.




“Ravish me, Willow,” was the last thing Tara could say as she was soon swept up in the intense ocean of Willow’s lips, waves crashing upon her consciousness, obliterating all possible thoughts from her mind.





Tara gasped, thrusting her right arm suddenly to the doorway in order to balance herself. Assaulted by her memories, Tara didn’t even realize that tears were slowly migrating down her cheeks, collecting in heavy beaded drops on her chin. It felt like a horse had kicked her in the chest, leaving Tara reeling, shell-shocked, and heart broken for at least the tenth time that day.




Will it ever stop hurting this much? Being here without Willow? Tara thought, still slightly dazed.




Steeling herself, Tara made her way to the bathroom determined to prepare for bed without further disaster. Several minutes later, after brushing her teeth, relieving her bladder, flossing, and washing her face, Tara flicked the switch, bathing the bathroom in darkness. Placing her knitting on the bedside table, she turned on the lamp and made her way to the other side of Joyce’s old room.




Tara shut off the lights and closed the door before shuffling wearily back to her side of the bed. Removing the extra pillows, she pulled a corner of the blanket down and settled herself under the covers. She picked up the picture frame on the table by her pillow and lovingly cradled it in her hands. She paused, staring at the figure that had haunted her for what seemed like forever. Tracing her fingers along Willow’s face, she hesitated before taking a deep, shuddering breath. She put the picture back on the table.




No, I suppose it won’t, she thought.




Before turning off the lamp, Tara turned on the radio, the alarm of humanity, like she did every night since, and waited with bated breath.









…..Nothing.




Not even the hiss of static or the rambling of car commercials could be heard. An abyss of sound pervaded the room, and Tara sighed. Again.



The room, now silent and dark, howled its emptiness back at Tara as she clutched the sheets to her chest and laid her head on her pillow, quietly succumbing to another night of restless sleep and broken nightmares.





Willow…


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




“…Willow.”




Willow jolted awake, her head jumping up from its resting place on the inside of her arm, elbow crooked beneath her head on the table. Willows eyes were unfocused and panicky, her chest rising and falling rapidly as she panted, still hearing echoing screams from the chasms of her dreams.




Sliding into a nearby chair next to her at a table and room not unlike the research area at the Magic Box, Ms. Harkness slowly began rubbing Willows back. She had gotten used to waking Willow with a soft hand. But no matter how gently she was woken, Willow would always wake with a start. There would be several flustered moments before awareness would settle and Willow would realize where she was.




“Willow, you’ve been asleep for hours. Aren’t you the least bit sore on that table, dear?” Ms. Harkness posed quietly in a sweet British tongue as her arm making tender circles on the middle of Willow’s back.




Taking several slow deep breaths to settle herself, Willow blinked and turned her head. “Why do you keep doing that?” she asked softly with a slight frown on her face and a crinkle between her brows.




Smiling gently, Ms. Harkness could still not get over the onus the small woman in front of her felt she carried.




The time for guilt is over, Willow.




“Do what, dear. It’s nothing that I haven’t done dozens of times now.”




Sure in her convictions, Willow knew more than anything the kindness this woman was showing her was wrong. A murderer like her doesn’t deserve being woken tenderly. A torturer like her shouldn’t be entitled to warm biscuits and jam in the morning. Malicious and destructive villains like her don’t warrant clemency. The Big Bad doesn’t get a break. It went against every Scooby bone in Willow’s body. And she knew it.




“That doesn’t make it better. I don’t deserve this. Any of this.” Before she would let herself soften and melt in tears of Tara and sobs of ‘sorries’, Willow pushed her chair back and stood. Looking to the floor, she hid her eyes. Taking a few small steps, she turned and let out a quiet “Please excuse me,” before closing the door to her room behind her.




Ms. Harkness sighed and turned to look as the latch to the door slid quietly into place with a small click.




“ You’re right, Willow," she said sadly, shaking her head. “You don’t.”

_________________
Lotus


Last edited by Zooeys_Bridge on Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:23 pm, edited 28 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:05 pm 
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Hey DIBS :pinky
Anyway , this is pretty cool so far. I think you set the atmosphere up beautifuly. From the beginig here it looks like you could take us somewhere very intressting. I can't wait to see where were going.
Good job.
:peace
Rose


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:48 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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:wave Well I can honestly say Im very interrested in this story. I cant wait for your next update. I'm a patient person. Umm, I think lol. :sigh That flashback was beautiful and heart-breaking :sob Im intriged to see what happens next.
Tis All, :kitty

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Last edited by MsKittyB on Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 4:51 pm 
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29. Miss Psycho-pep-squad
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ooooh I'm hooked!! :bounce
wanna see where it's going
I'll be there waiting patiently 4 ur next update...
soonish would be nice :p :impatient

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|| Fanart...sort of || Short poetry || A little bit of smut never hurt anyone | Nothing left | Promise || Text ||

When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew. -Arrigo Boito


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2008 6:22 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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First off, excellent choice for a title! I was really happy to see this posted and I blazed through the update. Once again, I'm astonished by your way with words. You've introduced us to a great big mystery, why is Tara where she is, why doesn't the radio work, and what is going to happen next?

And Willow. Poor tortured Willow. She's grieving for a lot of things, isn't she?

Like I told you earlier, you've got a terrific start. You certainly belong here on the board. Looking forward to the next part!

Phoenix


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:18 am 
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Really good beginning... update-y goodness soon pleaase :pray

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:29 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 6:47 am
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Hmmmm. I really love the fics that pick up at the end of season 6 and get the girls back together somehow, which is what I'm assuming you're doing here? I could be completely wrong, of course, but that's the vibe I'm getting, at least for now. Is Tara trapped in some crazy dimension? Can Willow fogive herself? These are the questions, dear.

And you're doing a great job. I'm really looking forward to what you're doing with this.


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:47 am 
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A Monday morning kick-off. Here's to a good and productive week. Thanks to all who are reading, I hope you stick with it.

hondos: Congrats on the dibs! I know how much I enjoy snagging one. I’m glad you like the atmosphere. It’s going to get a little more flushed out as it continues, and quite a few things are going to come into focus.

MsKittyB: I know how impatient I get when it comes to updates, so I totally get where you’re coming from. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep writing fast enough to make those twice-a-week postings. Thanks for reading!

jay/wt4evr: Thanks for waiting! I’m having a hard time pacing myself, so maybe it won’t be too long between updates. :P

Pheonix: I’m glad you like the title. I was contemplating posting a few days earlier, but I had a head slapping moment when I realized it didn’t have a name! It took me a while to settle, but now that I have, it seems to be really appropriate. I think it’ll provide a nice skeletal undertone for the piece. We’ll see! And again, thanks for your feedback :)

Zampsa1975: I’m glad you like the beginning. Once I had the first sentence, the rest of it just flowed out. Thanks for reading!

taraslove: I love the post season-6 fics too. You’re not wrong, that’s exactly what I’m doing here. I’m a sucker for angst, and here it is aplenty! Good questions. They’re important, and all will be told in due time.
And a new story! * rubs hands * oooh! Can I mention again how much I adored Portal? ‘Cause I did! The Dark Folly sounds ominous and mysterious. I’m excited!

Title: Lotus
Author: Zooeys_Bridge(Rachel)
Email: rsietz@email.smith.edu
Rating:/[b] PG(for now)
[b]Disclaimer:
Joss and ME own their characters. I’m just adding a little bit of spice. And not making a profit.
Spoilers: This is heavily steeped in canon, so be wary of all of it.
Feedback: Yes, please! This is my first story, so please feel free to scribble away with red pen. It’s highly encouraged. I’m also in need of a beta, so if anyone is interested, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
Note: This part is a bit light on W/T but it's important. I hope you aren't too distracted without our girls :P



[center] .::Lotus::. [/center]







“Don’t.”




Buffy’s eyes hardened and she squinted at her foe. Circling slowly, but with superior awareness, she quickly checked the exits to make sure the being in front of her couldn’t escape.




“Make me.”




Appalled, Buffy screwed her face up and spat, “Dawn, if you think for one second I’m gonna let you get away with this, you’ve got another thing coming to you.”




Not relinquishing her hold on the box of Oreos, Dawn slid slyly closer to the doorway. “Oh yeah? What are you gonna do, slay me? Sure makes the whole jumping off a tower thing kind of redundant, don’t you think?”




“That cookie is mine and you know it. It’s my post-slayage treat. A Scooby snack for the Scooby! And...and…I even put a post-it on the box, see?” Buffy tried desperately.





Turning the box over, seeing ‘Last cookie dibs’ with a little stake drawn on the sticky note, Dawn relented. “Fine. But you know this means I get the whole next box to myself?”





Happy that the standstill was over, Buffy yanked the coveted treat and shoved it in her mouth. “What, so you can mix it with Tabasco sauce and marshmallow fluff and call it icing? I think not.”




“Ugh, fine. Whatever.” Dawn rolled her eyes. “I’m going upstairs, you coming?”




“Yes ma’am. Just give me two shakes of a lamb’s tail. I’m going to do another sweep.”




Dawn pondered the conundrum as she began climbing the stairs. “Huh. Why do they say that anyway? Lambs don’t shake their tails twice. Do lambs even shake their tails once?” Turning around to see if Buffy had an answer, Dawn was puzzled to see her sister nowhere in sight.




“Buffy?”




Shrugging, she turned and continued up to her room.



[center] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/center]




The night was still, heavy with a hint of humidity, thick like a blanket. The rain from the day before soaked into the streets and shimmered underneath the streetlamps. Buffy circled the Summers’ house for the third time that night. One part guilt and one part determination, Buffy continued to stubbornly patrol long after any threat had reared its bumpy face.





Buffy had promised that nothing would ever happen to Dawn as long as she lived. But she had failed. Hadn’t she learned? Hadn’t she seen what damage a selfish Slayer could cause?





And I thought I was different than Faith.





The saintly and superior attitude she had clung to when she had come back had blinded her irreparably. And so she had failed in so many ways. The Slayer failed to protect Tara, the beloved innocent who made pancakes and juice in the morning. The sister failed to safeguard her family who had suffered enough that year. And the friend had failed horribly. Useless and aloof, Buffy was unable to save and defend the people who had selflessly upheld a vigil of support for her and her duty, adopting it as their own.





And thus wrapped up in her thoughts, she sheathed Mr. Pointy. Satisfied with her sweep of the house, Buffy walked back up the front porch. Letting her eyes scan the front yard once more, she reached one hand to the doorknob and hesitated. Twisting around, she stared at the moon for a long moment.





Round and full, the moon shone foggy, caught behind a light mist of clouds. The moon had meant so much before. Cycles of cages, wolves, and magic had occupied the past. Now the only thing that seemed to orbit the Summers’ house was pain, blood, and death.





I’m so sorry.





Turning her back on the heavens, Buffy entered the house and shut the door on the moon.

_________________
Lotus


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:02 am 
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Good update-y goodness...

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:04 am 
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Hello :)

That nice to read you through a fic :)

I'm really curious to see where you'll bring us.

Friendly,

Julia.

PS: I love The Little Prince :)

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:19 am 
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29. Miss Psycho-pep-squad
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mmmh really liking this
and don't worry take your time wth updates I so know how hard smtimes is pacing the story but.....soon? :pray :p

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When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew. -Arrigo Boito


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:50 am 
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This was so fun with the Oreo dibs, and then so sad with the whole blood and suffering thing. The Scoobies really are a tortured group of souls! It's really a testament to your writing that you've looped me into this with a little bit of knitting and snacks, and a lotta bit with the sorries. It seems taraslove has nailed this one in saying Tara might be in some other (ohsolonely) dimension. But I assume that Willow is not so ready to try that raising from the dead thing again after stealing Buffy from heaven. Only, it doesn't seem Tara's in heaven. Maybe because she's not meant to be dead yet, but alive with her Will. I dunno, all speculation on my part, and I love it! Thrill us!


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:40 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Zooeys_Bridge wrote:
I’m a sucker for angst, and here it is aplenty! Good questions. They’re important, and all will be told in due time.


I expect nothing less.


Zooeys_Bridge wrote:
And a new story! * rubs hands * oooh! Can I mention again how much I adored Portal? ‘Cause I did! The Dark Folly sounds ominous and mysterious. I’m excited!


Of course you can! And may I say thank you very much. I'm looking forward to it, myself.


That being said, I think you have a new super power. The Magnificent Gift of Realistic Dialogue (MaGoRD). You have totally pegged Buffy and Dawn. Good dialogue is difficult to write, and you are doing it really well. So, kudos. Looking forward to seeing what's up with Tara. Keep it up!


Last edited by taraslove on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Mon. Jan. 7)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 2:12 pm 
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Hi there Rachel,
I really like the start to your first fic, I can’t believe it’s just your first one since it’s absolutely fantastic and definitely has me gripped.
Poor Tara, stuck knitting, I can’t stand knitting either, maybe she could find a hobby she enjoys more, like painting – plenty more scope for the imagination in painting. I’m not sure where she is exactly or if she even knows where she is but I love a good mystery.

Buffy and Dawn fighting over the last oreo was classic, a little levity in an otherwise very angsty beginning! I look forward to reading future chapters!
:peace
Alcy

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Willow Van Helsing...saving the world since 1777Van Rosenberg II - Lord of Ice and Shadow


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Mon. Jan. 7)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 5:48 pm 
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:lmao The whole cookie thing had me in tears.. Great update. Im still very interested in were this story is going. Im hooked pretty tight lol. Definally looking forward to see what happens next.
:peace

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Mon. Jan. 7)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:08 pm 
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Happy Friday! I wish everyone a great weekend and a relaxing afternoon. :wave


Zampsa1975: Thanks! I’m glad you liked.

JujuDeRoussie: Hello to you too! I love the Little Prince. My mother gave me a copy when I went into high school, and I bring it with me wherever I reside. I read it to my campers every summer :)

jay/wt4evr: I’m glad you like it! Enjoy the update.

katjetson: May I just say how much I constantly enjoy your posts? When I leave fb for other fics, I always get a kick out of reading whatever you write. It’s always so funny and very heartfelt. Thank you so much.

taraslove: wow, I’ve never had a superpower before! I’m quite pleased to have the MaGoRD. I’m very worried about dialogue. I never can tell if it just sounds right to me, or if I’m just filling in words that ‘just do’. There’s more coming up, so please tell me if something doesn’t rub you the right way. We don’t want Xander sounding like Giles or Dawn sounding like Buffy, now, do we?

Alcy: Thank you so much. I’ve been such a long time admirer of your work. Each of your fics are so unique and powerful and I’m always gut deep in action and adventure, enjoying every moment of the ride. And I’m sure you can tell how much I’m loving Van Rosenberg. I think it might even be my favorite. Your words mean so much to me, thank you, I feel quite humbled. I hope I can keep you gripped. :P
I hate knitting too. Mostly because all of my friends crank out scarves and hats like crazy and I just sit there de-knotting copious amounts of yarn.

MsKittyB: I laughed at the whole cookie thing, too. Oh, Buffy and Dawn, how you slay me. (That was bad, I know :P)




Title: Lotus
Author: Zooeys_Bridge(Rachel)
Email: rsietz@email.smith.edu
Rating: PG(for now)
Disclaimer: Joss and ME own their characters. I’m just adding a little bit of spice. And not making a profit.
Spoilers: This is heavily steeped in canon, so be wary of all of it.
Feedback: Yes, please! This is my first story, so please feel free to scribble away with red pen. It’s highly encouraged.
I’m in need of a beta, so if anyone is interested, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.






[center].::Lotus::.[/center]




“I put on that sweater you gave me
I woke up in the kitchen a few minutes later
I didn’t know how I had gotten there
Did you guide me?
So lost I was asleep in the palms of your hand
In dreams we were happy and safe
I can’t comprehend the ways I miss you
They come to light in my mistakes
In my mistakes
In my mistakes”

::Neko Case, South Tacoma Way::





“The stars burn. You can’t quite touch ‘em, can you? They burn, burn, burn. Tiny little holes right through little Spikey.”




The peroxide vampire made his way through the alleyway. Drunkenly stumbling around trashcans toppled like boxes, Spike muttered to himself; his own crazy voice more soothing than the reviling buzz of victims tearing through his head.




“Time, time, running out of time. Have to get back home. Quick like a bird.”




He paused, sensing something was wrong. Subtle, like changing a recipe by adding extra salt. The air reeked of dark changes. Unnatural and erratic. Alarmed, Spike braced himself for danger.




“I hear you, you know. Your skittering little legs. Didn’t think I could, did you?”




There- in the corner behind the dumpster- a buzzing.




At first a low hum, Spike’s eyes narrowed and he grabbed a nearby bent golf club, sticking out of a soggy cardboard box like a spider leg, and slowly stalked towards the noise. The humming grew louder and morphed into a cacophonous swarm of bees.




Swatting the air around him, Spike crouched ready, club swung behind him like a baseball bat. Slow steps brought him closer to the dumpster. As the buzzing grew, so did his nervousness.




Swallowing loudly, he whispered “Bring it on, luv.”




As the last word left his lips, the buzz exploded in a brilliant nebula. Spike lifted his arm to try and shield his eyes as a thousand luminous shards pierced his flesh. A barbaric and ferocious cry tore through Spike’s throat as the light engulfed him completely.





As quick as it began, the glowing and buzzing reversed its explosion like rewinding a videotape. Mutely it ceased, snuffed out like a candle flame. The alleyway remained as it had before, save the screams reverberating and echoing throughout the dark.


[center]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/center]



“Tara!”




Like a bolt of lightning, Willow shot up in her bed drenched in the warm sticky sweat of nightmares clinging to her flesh.




Pupils dilated, it took her a moment to realize where she was. Her flesh crawled from the bloodied and agonizing visions of her dreams.




England. I’m in England.




But, I felt her. Here, but…not here.





Trying to shake the cocoon of Tara that encased her every time she woke, Willow tried to relax her tense body by following the now mustily familiar landscape of her room at the coven.




A small hum echoed in the back of her sleep-fogged mind, and Willow blinked.




“Willow, this is your room. You’ll be expected to arrive at all meals, but otherwise you are free to stay and wander as you wish. Elyse will come and check on you every hour to see if there’s anything you…require. All right?”




Recognizing the subtle aftertaste in Ms. Harkness’ speech, Willow slowly nodded, if only to get the woman in front of her to stop talking and leave.




“Good! Then we’ll see you shortly for some supper. Enjoy.” With a kind smile, Ms. Harkness turned and walked away, her short heels click-clacking on the wooden floor like beetles.




Left standing on the threshold of her room, Willow forced herself to open the door. She stared emptily at the living quarters in front of her.




Aloofly perplexed, she slowly explored her new arrangements. Dust particles shimmered in the light that poured in from the large windows opposite the bed.




She trailed her fingers lightly over the old lacy pillows, the thick frilly beige blanket, and her thin suitcase resting flat on the edge of the bed.




There was a light bouquet of flowers in a small vase on the little table near the pillows. She went to her suitcase and unzipped the small section on the front and pulled out a single picture frame. Sitting down on the cushioned surface of the bed, Willow stared longingly at the photograph in front of her.




Taken the Thanksgiving before Joyce’s death, Xander had snapped a picture of Tara and Willow snuggled up together on the couch. Willow had seen him out of the corner of her eye and was about to tell him off, but Tara…darling Tara hadn’t even noticed. Staring adoringly at Willow above her, a smug smile of contentment and happiness shone on Tara’s face.




So perfect, Willow thought as she traced Tara’s grin.




Placing the frame next to the flowers, she stood and began unpacking. Refolding everything before she placed them into drawers, Willow mindlessly organized her life into five 2 x 3 sized spaces.




Paying direct attention for the first time to the large wardrobe next to the bureau, Willow stood. After a moment of hesitation, she opened the doors wide with both arms.




Taking off both her shoes before stepping boldly into the closet, Willow closed both doors firmly behind her, steeped her breathing, and concentrated. Drenched in darkness, brows furrowed, lips tight, and hands clenched, Willow turned to face the back wall and lifted one arm warily. Sifting through several old coats, she held her breath and reached out shakingly.




It seemed like forever that her hand crept forward. On and on she moved until suddenly, her fingers touched the back of the wardrobe. Willow grimaced as the rough and gritty grains of the wood mocked her light touch.




…But there was no magic. Not for a witch in a wardrobe in England, not for a bartender on the white beaches of San Juan, not for a peddler in the streets of Bangkok, and especially not for anyone in the town of Sunnydale. Not anywhere. The world was just as it had always been: dry, scabbed, and cruel.




Willow had somehow forgotten this, having had buried a tiny part of herself deep. Long before Buffy had come along and whisked her off her feet with danger and purpose, before Cordelia and her cronies had taunted and belittled her into spackled wallpaper, and even before Billy had put those frogs in her lunchbox, Willow had protected herself.




Submerged beneath the companionship of two young boys, a tiny Willow had hidden the white and shining beauty of her innocent heart away. She knew she would need to keep it safe. In order to lose oneself in books and forts and neglect, one had to take the necessary precautions. The lessons of C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, E.B. White, and Tolkien among others had taught her that. She had learned well.




And there it had stayed, already shrink-wrapped and refrigerated for the time the Slayer would come with her friendship and bumps in the night.




At the cold hard touch of the back of the wardrobe, this part of Willow exploded and let loose every moment of pain and anguish in her young life simultaneously. In flashes, her life decomposed.




…a constant key under the doormat



…a skinned knee and sneering faces on the blacktop



…crinkled toilet paper and used wrappers in her locker



…a twenty-dollar bill and a ten-word note taped to the fridge



…two helpless puncture marks in the side of Jesse’s neck



…the dark dismal realization of Moloch’s deception



…dead fish on a string in the solitude of her bedroom



…the cold steel of betrayal twisting deep at the sight of two naked bodies tangled together underground



…the bitter frustration of Buffy’s blind obliviousness and preoccupations when she needed her most



…a warm bench and a blue-eyed blank gaze at the fair ten seconds too late



…Buffy’s serene body atop rubble and dust



…screams in the night



…the slinking fear of argument



…brittle herbs



…delicate words



…red sheets



…red shirts



…splotches of red



…red



…red



All Willow could see was warm, sticky red. And in that, something broke.




It was terrible and colossal. The floods of Noah were nothing compared to the torrential downpour that ravished Willow.



Sinking brutally to the floor of the wardrobe, a lifetime of empty wasted endless days stared Willow in the face. For the first time since the funeral, Willow cried. Giving in to the abyss that claimed her, a low cry began deep in her bowels. Scratching its way through her lungs and throat, its claws erupted with a terrible and mighty ferocity.




Shaking, wailing, and hacking sobs on the floor of the wardrobe, somewhere Willow wondered how the tears could feel so hot when her chest felt so cold. Her pulse pounded in her ears as fire poured forth from her eyes and trailed down her face but hissed and evaporated when it ran blindly into the collapsing icy caverns of her breast.




And this was how Ms. Harkness found her charge hours later, throat raw, eyes vacant and unfocused, mouth trembling, with a never-ending barrage of tears streaming down her face.




An hour late for dinner, Ms. Harkness crept into Willow’s room, scooped her up and rocked her slowly on the floor whispering chants of ‘hush’ and crooning old English songs from her childhood.




Hair being stroked softly, Willow brokenly succumbed to sleep for the first time since the bluff with the murmuring of gentle words in her ear.







With a flourish of bed sheets, Willow got up before she could easily persuade herself not to. After throwing some clothes on and washing up, she emerged from her room to be welcomed by a plate of still steaming biscuits, berries, cheese, and juice left on the table. Despite her best wishes, a tiny smile graced her lips, cheeks stretching unused to the action. The smile did not reach her eyes, as another useless day loomed ahead of her: tedious and barren.




All right, then. First breakfast, then Giles.

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Lotus


Last edited by Zooeys_Bridge on Fri Jan 11, 2008 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:11 pm 
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dibs!!

funeral??
FUNERAL?!?
I so don't like the sound of this
well, I do like it, coz suspence and all, but...well, you get it
update soon? :pray pweasee!

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:40 pm 
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Love it!! Hmmmm, i must say, i really enjoyed the oreo scene, with buffy drawing a little stake on the post-it note :p It's the little things which make this story so enjoyable!! And there is a sufficient amount of angst in here to keep me going :) You promise a good ending yeah? I like stories that takes place whilst Willow's in england cos it's nice to see other people's interpretations of what happened there! But poor Tara and Willow...everything is screwed up :p Keep it up!

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 12:46 pm 
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I loved Willow's breakdown in the wardrobe. I mean, not that she had a breakdown, but how heartbreakingly beautiful it was. Well done, and keep up the great work! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:03 pm 
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Good update-y goodness... Scoopy Funerals are never good... Willow's breakdown in the wardrobe was beautifully written...

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 2:15 pm 
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Aww... kind words. Thank you. :)

1. Neko effin' Case! She's a wonderful precursor to heartbreak.
2. I think Roget's Thesaurus might come to you if they need more words for loss, lonely, empty, ache... This fic hurts (so good).
3. What's this with Spike? How does that big niblet fit into your story? Intriguing.
4. I'm watching this awesome Who documentary right now. Oh wait, that doesn't have anything to do with this, huh? Still, VH-1 Classics RULE when one calls in sick when said one isn't sick.

When I read "Tara died" fics I get all arm-fold-y about the Season 7 that was Buffy. But I wonder if there wouldn't be this great desire for all you fine people to keep writing these awesome "what if" fics, ya know?


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:36 pm 
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Dear, sweet Zooeys_Bridge,

Where have you been hiding this fic all my life? I am really on board with you on this one. Willow's pain is so tangible and isolating. I hate to read about it because I know what she went through to get to that spot, but I love to read about it because I know what's coming eventually (this is the KB, after all). But it so is about the journey. And you are taking us on this one magnificently.

Keep up the phenominal writing. It's really great.


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 8:31 pm 
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Ha! I finally found a link to the Neko Case song I quoted. If you haven't heard her, she's quite fantastic. Please enjoy.

http://www.auralfitness.com/audio/States/Washington/10%20south%20tacoma%20way.mp3

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:59 pm 
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Hi Rachel,
Thanks for another great chapter, you write so beautifully with some lovely descriptions that definitely and succinctly paint a mental picture of what you're conveying.

It's very clear that Willow is struggling to come to terms with the immediate aftermath of trying to destroy the world and it is being done very well so far. Her pain is so tangible and yet at the same time abstract as she struggles to come to terms with what has happened.

I'm just wondering if you prefer to have such large breaks between each paragraph, it might just be me but I like to be able to see more of the story on the screen without having to scroll down but if that's your preference that's cool :peace
Keep up the great work!
Alcy

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:36 pm 
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Wow, you have me so hooked. Confused, but hooked. Okay, Willow's in England, Buffy's patrolling because she feels like she's failed everyone, Spike's crazy and possibly zapped, and Tara's in like some hell-knitting dimension? Each update just makes me want another, hopefully getting closer to some answers.

Great job. Can't wait to see what's next.


Wimpy

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:39 pm 
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This is ab awesome fic. I love how you pretty much summarized all the periods of Willow thru the show . All the changes and what not all thru just a few sentences. Very well done. and is Dru coming around? I'm pretty sure rhe was at the begining of that last update or maybe I'm wrong. I love Dru. :smash
Rose


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Fri. Jan. 11)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:03 am 
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jay/wt4evr: I know, I know. I’m not happy about the funeral either. But don’t worry. It’ll get better, I promise. You know ….eventually.

Lifty: Hey! I liked the Oreo scene too, I enjoy when Buffy and Dawn have some sisterly moments without whining, drama, or demons. They pull off the cute sometimes, too :P About the angst. I’m a huge of it, and as you can tell, and there are copious amounts of it here. But yes, all will be well in the end, I promise. It’ll just be a long, angsty road until we get there :P

magicdanw: I’m glad you liked the breakdown. It took me a while to get it started, but once I knew she would go into the wardrobe it kind of flew from there. Thanks, and enjoy the update.

Zampsa1975: Mhmm. Scooby funerals are a downer in my book. I’m glad you liked the breakdown, too. Poor Willow :( Gah.

katjetson: Hey, you! I think you know everything else now, but I never addressed your first point. Neko Case. Freaking love her. I’ve got the pleasure of seeing her February 2nd and I’m ballistically excited. I know ‘ballistically’ doesn’t really work there, but it sounded better than ‘super’ so the incorrect use of the word will just have to suck it. A shmillion thank you’s to you in your help and endlessly entertaining emails.

taraslove: Thank you so much for your kind words, they really do mean a lot. It hurts me to write Willow’s pain because it’s just that gut-wrenching and desolate. I worry that it’ll get redundant after a while- you know “She’s hurting and broken, we get it already. On with it, woman!” If it gets to that point, please smack me firmly upside the head with a frying pan. I don’t want the angst to get in the way of the story. Thanks again, and enjoy the update.

Alcy: Oops, sorry to make you scroll so much. The text shows up pretty tiny on my screen, so the extra empty lines just made it easier for me to read. I’ll shorten it a bit so it’s not so bad for the Kittens. I’m glad Willow’s pain about a whole lot of issues is evident and clear. She’s really a mess. I hate how the worst thing about that is how she really could have cared less. :( I guess I’ll just have to fix that, won’t I? :P

wimpy0729: Yeah, about the confusing. Sorry about that. Hopefully things should come into focus more as it progresses. I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Answers, not so soon, but they’ll happen, I promise :P

hondos: Yeah, Willow hasn’t had the easiest life considering what she’s gone through, has she? When I looked back I was like ‘damn.’ Sorry, Dru won’t be making an appearance here, but I hope you enjoy Spike. He’s here for a long while.

Title: Lotus
Author: Zooeys_Bridge(Rachel)
Email: rsietz@gmail.com
Rating: PG(for now)
Disclaimer: Joss and ME own their characters. I’m just adding a little bit of spice. And not making a profit.
Spoilers: This is heavily steeped in canon, so be wary of all of it.
Feedback: Yes, please! This is my first story, so please feel free to scribble away with red pen. It’s highly encouraged.
Note: Again, this update is a little low on W/T, but is very important.
Acknowledgements: Special thank you's abound to my spankin' new betastic beta katjetson. Applause all around.


[center].::Lotus::.[/center]


Tired and weary of browsing through volumes of dry texts, Giles removed his glasses and massaged his eyes with the backs of his hands. Even after the dull weary itch had faded, he continued to rub his eyes as if he could scrub it all away.



Before he could dwell on his unhappiness, a rapt knock on the door drew him forth from his thoughts.



“Yes? Oh, Ms. Harkness, please do come in.”



Closing the door behind her, Ms. Harkness surveyed the cluttered desk and let out a soft chuckle. “Research, Mr. Giles? I wasn’t aware of an advancing apocalypse. Is something new and shockingly evil afoot?”



His eyes crinkling, Giles smiled. She always knew how to barge into a room like an irritatingly welcome friend and make him smile amidst danger, worry, and responsibility.



“No, unfortunately not. Nothing we don’t already know, at least. Actually, things have been surprisingly static as of late. I’m beginning to worry. It’s not…natural for the forces of evil to be so quiet before-“



“the shit hits the fan?”



“YES!” he shouted as he pounded the table with his fist. After a rigid moment, his shoulders slumped and Giles looked at her despondently. The anger, evaporating like the morning mist, fled from his voice and he spoke. “Yes. And quite frankly I don’t know what to do, Marissa.”


Recognizing the slow sticky dread of helplessness in Giles’ eyes, Ms. Harkness gently nudged Giles’ chin so he met her gaze. Searching his pleading brown eyes, she beckoned him to stand, wrapped her arms around as far as she could reach, and held him tight.



He’s just a lost little boy, she thought sadly.



They swayed silently for a few moments, two little buoys adrift in a wide, dark, and tumbling sea.



Breaking the comfortable silence, Ms. Harkness pulled back to look at Giles. “Rupert. She’s not making any improvements.”



Meeting her gaze, Giles stared deep into her eyes and calmly replied, “Yes, I know.”



“Good. Then I think you realize we’ve done all we can for her here.”



Seeing him opening his mouth, preparing to interrupt, she placed a finger over his mouth and continued. “Rupert. It’s been months. She came to us broken. She’s still in pieces, but….she’s stubbornly resigned herself to live. And I doubt she’s even realized it, but she has. In fact, she’d probably deny her own will. I daresay she’s stronger than she gives herself credit for.”



Shaking his head, Giles agreed. “Oh, I have no doubts that Willow's gotten remarkably better. But it’s only been a few months, do you really think she’s ready to go back to Sunnydale?”



“My dear Giles. She’s going to have to go back eventually. And she’ll never be ready. What person would ever be ready to go back to the place where they died inside? No.”



She took a deep breath. “But she is needed. There will be a great battle fought on the Hellmouth soon as you well know, and your Slayer will need all the help she can get. Willow must go back. It won’t be easy, but there’s nothing more we can do to help her. The rest is up to her. And her friends. And you.” She finished, looking up at him with a smile in her eyes.



Smiling back, after a moment Giles said, “She thinks you’re afraid of her.”



Chuckling softly, Ms. Harkness replied “Oh don’t be ridiculous. I couldn’t be more afraid of her than Tupperware. Now, come. Let’s go to her, shall we?”

[center]~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[/center]

Pain.



That’s all that he could remember. There was no room in his brain for anything else, all possible thoughts scattered like ants by new waves of torment.



Blinding flashes of pain besieged him and tore through his flesh. His mouth opened and closed, a fish gasping for air, but no sound escaped. He was trapped in a bubble of anguish.



It seemed endless, stretching on into infinity, pulling him like Silly Putty to the far corners of wherever he was.



He thought it was pain at first, what else could it have been? But for a moment - a miracle moment - his back stopped spasming. Primal body functions kicked in and relishing the respite from agony, his spine relaxed into a gentle natural arc.



It seemed that the moment his back relaxed, the rest of his body followed, each muscle softening slowly like refrigerated butter. It seemed to take forever, but the agony and sound eventually melted until he was just Spike, with elated tears of thanksgiving leaking from his eyes.



Limbs sprawled out, he lay panting heavily on the ground, praising whatever Gods above for the solid terrain he could grasp.



Grateful for his newfound freedom, he was nonetheless aware of his vulnerable state. Desperate for survival now more than ever, he forced himself to his knees and scrutinized his surroundings. Bracing his aching arms on his thighs, he opened his eyes and froze.



Trashcans littered the damp alley. A dumpster lay dormant against the far wall. And a bent golf club stuck out like a spider leg from a dank cardboard box.



It was the exact same alleyway he had come from.



Except it was daylight.



Spike ever so slowly raised his gaze towards the sky.



…And didn’t burn.

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Lotus


Last edited by Zooeys_Bridge on Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Wed. Jan. 16)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 7:11 am 
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oooooooooh me liking asking you continue it!!!
{you reduced me at a cavewoman}
It's really interesting keep it coming!!

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Wed. Jan. 16)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:26 am 
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5. Willowhand
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Hey you.

Look! It's a section! ;)

W/T light, but absolutely integral to the story, yo! And I love the idea of Giles as an unsure man, looking up to Mrs. Harkness for a little ...something. Poor Rupert couldn't really let down his guard much -- unless he ate some candy, huh?

And, oooh, confused Spike. In. the. sun. (I always got a chuckle when his steaming, leather coat would barge into a room.)

Ga, I'm afraid to say more 'cause I might slip up (tie me up and duct tape my yap trap), but trust me fellow kittens, it's gonna be aces!

Good job, Rach! Gimmie more!


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus (Updated Wed. Jan. 16)
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:30 am 
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Hey, don't worry about the confusion. It just makes everything more exciting and interesting, and of course makes me want more.

Seems everyone's a little lost here, Willow and even Giles. Even he doesn't know what to do for Willow, and that has to be so frustrating. So they're going home soon because Willow's needed. It still tears me up when I remember Willow going home, going back into that room and to that window. Oh, I still feel her excruciating pain. I can't wait to see what you do with all of that here.

So Spike can be out in the daylight now? What the heck happened here? And where's Tara? Is she still knitting?

Great job. I'll just be anxiously waiting for the next one and hopefully some more answers.


Wimpy

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