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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((73/?-October 29th, 2019))
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:37 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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@DaddyCatALSO:
Yep. Andrew saw Tara at the butcher shop instead of Willow. Season Seven is changed in more than one way.

Tara is probably such a good driver she wouldn't have been pulled over for anything, but she's also smart enough to always play it safe rather than sorry. No driving for her for a while.

@shirrey:
they. are such. goobers.

I hated writing that line (jk, I loved the angst)

I'm glad the Osiris link wasn't too obvious for you! Hopefully the rest of the answers continue to surprise but also make sense

@Will's redemption:
I'm glad you re-read the episode summary - it's been a while since Lotus paralleled canon episodes, I almost forgot to include the note at the beginning saying what episode it coincided with! It's kind of an important detail.

I'm proud of Will for fighting to keep her senses and focus, not just for Tara but finally, also, herself.

And yeah, poor Xander. Yes, he messed up in Hell's Bells and Entropy but the poor guy really did go through the ringer with Buffy and Willow too during S6. Can we sign the Scoobies up for group therapy please???
______________________________________________________________________________________________________



Her first instinct is for Willow, sitting hunched and dejected at the table, looking akin to a very small kicked puppy.
“Hey,” Buffy says sharply to Willow, but her intent is gentle. “You didn’t do anything wrong,” she reminds firmly.

Willow’s face crumples, “But—”

“That was then,” Buffy interjects, stopping the protest. The year between them spanned lifetimes; lessons scarred over in blood, but still pink and healing. Buffy sends a silent ‘Are we good?’ Willow’s lips form a firm line and she nods back determinedly. Satisfied, Buffy turns her attention to Tara, who looks both gutted and sympathetic as only she can. “You ok?”

Tara nods, albeit a bit distractedly. “I’m just gonna…” She indicates the direction Xander left a moment earlier, and follows, but not before wordlessly checking on Willow.

“I’m okay, guys. I promise.” Willow squares her shoulders as she pulls one of the books toward her. “Now shoo,” she waves, attention already focused towards research.

Buffy’s heart contracts. Tara kisses Willow’s head before following Xander and Buffy gives Will’s shoulder a squeeze and heads up to check on Spike.

“‘Bout time,” he greets impatiently a minute later after she gets upstairs. “I can almost get my wrist out.”

“Oh come on,” Buffy scoffs, “If you could’ve gotten out, you would have by now. God knows you were unsupervised long enough.”

Despite her comments, Buffy begins inspecting the ropes anyway. “Figure anything out yet?” Spike inquires, interest piqued.

“More questions, but at least we know who to ask them to this time.”

Despite the limited freedom of movement, Spike manages to crane his neck towards where Buffy is on the floor checking the knots near his feet. “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah,” Buffy responds tersely. “Osiris.”

He lets out a low whistle. “Hearda him. Big muscle, much too serious for my taste. No sense of humor. Hey!” Spike yelps in pain. “Would you watch it? Might not have any circulation, but I’d still like to feel my limbs.”

Showing no signs of hearing , Buffy busies herself with retying the ropes. “Hello, are you listening? Be careful—” Buffy looks at him pointedly and yanks them tighter. “Alright,” Spike finally barks out, annoyed, “What is it this time, Buffy?” Each word dripping in sarcasm. “What did I do to so piss you off this time you’re going after my life and limb, eh? What could I have possibly done sitting in this stupid chair, bored out of my skull, not saying a word.”

“‘Not saying a word,’ Funny you should say that, Spike. It seems like ‘not saying a word’ is your specialty lately.”

He scowls, “What on earth are you on about?”

“How could you keep it from me?” she snaps. Anger and betrayal make the edges of her voice sharp and Spike sobers instantly at the hurt shimmering in her eyes. “How, Spike? How could you not tell me about her?”

The terrible stomach twisting shame and guilt has been a constant companion since Africa, but the freshness of this deed still cleaves deeply.

“It’s my job to protect this family, this world, and after everything we’ve been through, you couldn’t even do me the decency of a heads up?” she accuses. “‘Hi Buffy, thought you should know I’ve been seeing dead people and oh! By the way, the one that lived in your house, raised your sister, and dated your best friend is one of them.’ Did you even stop for a minute and think that it could have all been a lie? That maybe you were being manipulated by some unknown evil? Willow almost ended the world when Tara died and you thought what, just having her show up out of the blue would have been totally fine and not at all a huge risk? To Willow? To me? To Dawn, to the world?” The anger spirals into guilt and back again, into a panicked sort of ramble.

“Buffy-”

“I almost killed her, Spike. Right when she came back. I saw her outside my house standing next to Dawn with Willow falling apart again and if something hadn’t-- if I hadn’t…” She breaks off, pursing her lips against months of hurt. Tears brim but don’t fall; collecting sadness is something Buffy is good at. “I needed to know. I need to know these kinds of things. If I don’t, it’s my fault all over again. I can’t…” She stands away from him in a defeated posture, deflated.

“I’m sorry,” he apologies genuinely. “It wasn’t my place to say. I was going to, for what it’s worth, if it didn’t work. I didn’t think-”

“That’s right, you didn’t think.” The anger evaporates but the hurt remains, slowly softening with compassion. Next she speaks, it’s with the weight of a parent firmly chastising a child. “You don’t get to make decisions for me anymore. We clear?”

He nods. She exhales loudly, running her hands through her hair, and tiredly plops down in a nearby chair. There’s a bit of an awkward silence, but after eyeing Spike for the better part of a minute, Buffy softens. “How’s the uh…?” making a face and gesturing to her teeth.

“Better,” he confirms. “Packets been helping. Haven’t gone rabid since she brought ‘em back. Feeling more like myself again. For all that’s worth,” he mutters as an aside, “Hasn’t cured the crazy, I’m afraid.”

“I don’t think you’re crazy, Spike,” Buffy murmurs.

“Yeah, well,” he mumbles, almost sheepishly, “We’ll see.”

Buffy sighs, rubbing her head before jerking her chin toward the ropes. “Do you feel up to giving it another shot?”

He shakes his head. “No. Let’s give it another night. If I don’t go all bumpy n’ rabid, then maybe.”

___________________________________________________________________

In seventh grade, Willow convinced him to steal a chemical from Uncle Rory’s job so she could do a science experiment. It wasn’t for school, because Willow had already gone through the high school textbooks and was moving onto college level material. And, it wasn’t like Xander understood a lick of what she was doing anyway, but he was always game for things being lit on fire and going ‘boom’. Plus, someone needed to keep watch to make sure no one would catch them.
“It’s completely safe, Xander,” she promised. And he believed her, because she was Willow. And Willow wouldn’t lie to him.

It didn’t stop his eyebrow from being singed off or stop his favorite shirt from catching on fire. He was able to stamp it out quickly with no other injuries, thankfully, but the thing he remembered most was how completely it took him by surprise. Willow said it would be fine, so when things ended up not fine, it didn’t really compute.

She felt awful and apologized, guiltily bringing him small presents, like his favorite chocolate bars and comic books, the next few days to make up for it. But it still didn’t stop her from blaming the materials instead of herself.

“The ingredients must have been on the shelf longer than we thought and became inert. It should have worked fine, Xander, I’m so sorry.”

Willow was smart. Willow was his best friend. Willows didn’t lie to Xanders. So he believed her.

He believed her, too, that night . . . Well, he wanted t— Desperate to believe, more like it. They were raising the dead, how could it be alright? How could it possibly turn out fine? But she was the most brilliant person he’d ever met, how could she be wrong?


No, he does not want to revisit that night. Anything about it. Not the way Willow’s veins gashed open, nor the way she choked on the snake as it crawled out of her mouth. Not the way their hands shook as they held the candles, trembling in the knowledge of their transgression. Or the way the demon gang had turned Sunnydale into a living nightmare. Or the haunted, empty look on Buffy’s face. And everything else that came after, during that awful, terrible year. How long had Willow been lying to him? Why didn’t he ever let himself see it?

The cushion dips as someone slides in next to him on the couch. He’s surprised to see Tara join him, her eyes sad and full like the ocean at night. “Hey,” he greets emptily, already feeling his anger ebb.

The quiet way she says his name softens the rest of him immediately. She places a warm hand atop his. “I need to know.”

He still needs to hear it; that there’s a good enough reason to go through all this again. Somehow, in her Tara way, she recognizes this. “I need to know what happened to me,” she finishes.

It’s been a while since he’s seen this Tara. The one with heavy, tender eyes who looked at him with a knowing understanding the day Joyce died and he didn’t understand anything at all. And before that, the shy, quiet girl who made herself invisible and apologized for things she never needed to apologize for. It strikes him how terribly unfair it is, the things that have happened to her. He doesn’t ever want to be the cause of a hurt she would try to take away and put inside herself.

“Sorry,” he apologizes as he runs his fingers through his hair. “I just . . . ” The words sit there between them, unfinished and heavy. “I don’t want to lose her again.”

Tara nods, as if troubled by the same burden, “It’s different this time.”

“How do you know?” he asks, haunted by memories of a broken and keening Willow rocking in his arms. He can’t do this again.

Tara considers her words a moment. “Because she wants it to be.”

That gives him pause. Xander thinks of the afternoons Willow spent tutoring him after school, despite knowing full well the odds of him listening or succeeding were slim to none. The endless times she helped him in class or wordlessly brought an extra lunch or Snack Pack because she knew he wouldn’t have one.

He knew Willow used to do Buffy’s homework to help keep her grades up, covering when Buff was busy out patrolling. The hours she spent in single-minded focus, hacking into town records and uncovering every last inch of information that would save them in the nick of time.

The endlessly patient and loving way she took care of Tara when Tara wasn’t Tara. The way he knew Willow’d never leave her side, even if she never recovered. She’d’ve spent twenty years spooning applesauce and soothing outbursts while never giving up on finding a way to undo what Glory had done.

That if the resurrection spell hadn’t worked, there’s no doubt Willow would’ve kept fighting monsters in Buffy’s place until it killed her too, resolutely accepting Buffy’s vigil as her own.

Even now, peering into the dining room, he sees the nervous but determined way Willow purses her lips at the books in front of her, squaring her shoulders for what’s to come.

This is Willow. Once her mind is made up she can do anything.

Xander reaches down for Tara’s hand and gives it a squeeze. “Alright. Let’s go make one heck of a long-distance phone call.”

The half-smile he gets in return is more than enough to keep him warm.

_________________
Lotus


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((75/?-November 11th, 2019))
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:47 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Dibs! :whip
Another great, highly emotional chapter!
Quote:
“It’s my job to protect this family, this world, and after everything we’ve been through, you couldn’t even do me the decency of a heads up?” she accuses. “‘Hi Buffy, thought you should know I’ve been seeing dead people and oh! By the way, the one that lived in your house, raised your sister, and dated your best friend is one of them.’ Did you even stop for a minute and think that it could have all been a lie? That maybe you were being manipulated by some unknown evil? Willow almost ended the world when Tara died and you thought what, just having her show up out of the blue would have been totally fine and not at all a huge risk? To Willow? To me? To Dawn, to the world?” The anger spirals into guilt and back again, into a panicked sort of ramble.

“Buffy-”

“I almost killed her, Spike. Right when she came back. I saw her outside my house standing next to Dawn with Willow falling apart again and if something hadn’t-- if I hadn’t…” She breaks off, pursing her lips against months of hurt. Tears brim but don’t fall; collecting sadness is something Buffy is good at. “I needed to know. I need to know these kinds of things. If I don’t, it’s my fault all over again. I can’t…” She stands away from him in a defeated posture, deflated.

Poor Buffy, still carrying the weight of the world and the safety of their "family"on her shoulders and blaming herself for the catastrophic events of the last year. I love that she sees all the scoobies (maybe even including Spike?) as her family, though.

Quote:
Willow was smart. Willow was his best friend. Willows didn’t lie to Xanders. So he believed her.
He believed her, too, that night . . . Well, he wanted t— Desperate to believe, more like it. They were raising the dead, how could it be alright? How could it possibly turn out fine? But she was the most brilliant person he’d ever met, how could she be wrong?

What a wonderful passage that captures the partially still almost childlike trust Xander had into his lifelong best friend, hindering him from really seeing her downfall until it was almost too late.
Although I guess back in 7th grade after the science experiment blew up Willow didn't lie to Xander but more to herself, rather believing that something must have been wrong with the ingredients than that she made a mistake which brought harm to her best friend.

I love that Tara went after Xander. A heart to heart talk with her is almost as good as therapy.
Quote:
He’s surprised to see Tara join him, her eyes sad and full like the ocean at night.

What a wonderful imagery!

Quote:
Tara nods, as if troubled by the same burden, “It’s different this time.”

“How do you know?” he asks, haunted by memories of a broken and keening Willow rocking in his arms. He can’t do this again.

Tara considers her words a moment. “Because she wants it to be.”

Quote:
This is Willow. Once her mind is made up she can do anything.

Yes! For me this feels like justified faith in Willow's capability instead of childlike trust that she can't fail, so yay!

I loved that all the good memories Xander has of determined loving acts (I can't describe it better) from Willow help him overcome the bad memories of last year, parallel to Dawn's reconciliation with Willow.


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((75/?-November 11th, 2019))
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:19 pm 
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:wink :wink Love the simplicity of this update. Xander is justified in his fear but at some point needs to trust, needs to let Willow step off the pedestal, Willow has grown and Willow is imperfect. Interesting that Will wouldn't admit any fault with the experiment, nice job laying down seeds of S6 Will. And Tara's simple trust in her is so lovely, as is Tara's self-advocacy. She needs to know. I notice you didn't address my question about Will keeping Tara alive..... that's fine, I can be patient :wink

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((75/?-November 11th, 2019))
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:51 pm 
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@Will's redemption:
Buffy will never not blame herself, no matter how much the Scoobies will try to reassure her, even Tara. It might get a little better over time, but it'll never entirely go away.

I'm really glad you pulled that bit about Willow from Xander's perspective and the childlike trust came through.
Quote:
"Willow didn't lie to Xander but more to herself, rather believing that something must have been wrong with the ingredients than that she made a mistake"

omg yessssss, exactly! It's funny, how Willow fluctuates between taking too much responsibility for things or not enough. She's always had trouble with balance.

Quote:
"For me this feels like justified faith in Willow's capability instead of childlike trust that she can't fail"
yes yes! Will's 'Resolve Face' is a thing for a reason! Once xander's able to reframe Will's behavior, those positives and belief in her power of choice lets him trust her again.


@shirrey:

Yes, exactly! Xander's absolutely justified, but he does need to trust in Will. Tara's simple answer helps him reframe everything to remind him that anyone can make mistakes, but they can also grow. And growth is a never ending process!
(I was hoping you wouldn't notice that, shhh. Stay tuned :))
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________


The basement is different from the last time Tara remembers it.

Granted, everyone had been tied up, Buffy tripped her down the stairs, and there had been demons trying to kill them. So it wasn’t hard for it to seem like an improvement, but still.

Floor-to-ceiling shelving has been installed along the back walls and filled with carefully organized and indexed boxes, four of which are open, their contents piled at Willow and Tara’s ankles—remnants of the Magic Box, occult objects, books, magic ingredients, and slightly singed but still meticulously organized tax documents, jars of herbs and amphibian eyes that stare lifelessly until Tara rotates their gaze away toward the back wall. It feels like a mausoleum in the dim light.

It’s almost like mourning, she muses silently, as they continue digging through boxes for the particular spell materials. She hadn’t had much time to look through her mother’s belongings and choose what to save; an entire lifetime held in just a few objects.

Impatient to leave the broken painful memories down in the basement where they belong, Tara hurries to clear the contents and move to the next box, pulling it towards her to reach for the last few items within. It tumbles into her hand, cold to the touch, and she marvels at the weight. She stares, dumbfounded, having forgotten how heavy it was.
Willow looks over at Tara’s lack of movement and freezes at the sight of the crystal.

It had been the first time Willow’d stayed. She was still operating on false pretenses, then, about their relationship. Even to herself. Her brain hadn’t caught up with what the rest of her felt. She hadn’t understood yet.

“I knew.” Tara explained much later, one quiet night as she ran her fingers through Willow’s hair and down Willow’s skin, why she’d eagerly offered the doll’s-eye crystal so soon after they met. “Even if we never…” She trails off before starting differently, “I knew that you were where I wanted to be.”

Willow stammers, “I-I didn’t know it was still here.” Bewildered, Willow looks at it with a mixture of guilt and fondness. Her hands twitch, itching to hold it. Can I? Her eyes beseech. Tara offers it to her. “Think it’ll work?” Willow asks.

Tara clears her throat, recovering. “For the spell? I don’t see why not. It didn’t specify a particular type of crystal-”

“No, I mean...do you think the spell will work,“ Willow clarifies with a bite to her bottom lip.

“Oh,” she says, dazed.

Willow is quick to fill in the space with words. “I haven’t- Not since...well, there was a whole invisible thing when I first got back to Sunnydale, but that was an accident. This is…real. Deliberate.”

Tara can see it in Willow’s eyes—the hesitation.

It’s strange, seeing uncertainty in Willow’s face when it comes to magic; it’s a reflection of Tara herself from all those years ago. Tara’d trembled with doubt, night after night, when Willow kept coming back to her room to try new spells. Things had been so delicate and fragile in the cradle of their relationship. Tara, certain of her feelings, but so unclear of Willow’s, with the agonizing awareness of falling in love with someone who would never love the same way back; that awful sureness of having lost her without ever having had her to begin with; the miracle of of how a single flame in the darkness could light up her entire life.

Extraordinary circumstance had forged Willow’s magic into a superpowered weapon before she understood how to properly use it. Tara had learned the traditions as a child; respect and discipline taught reverently by her mother. But Willow, she realizes now, had been on the front lines with Buffy for years and saw how tradition and rules could bind and fail them. Willow’s big, beautiful brain mixed magic with innovation and creativity, finding new ways to save lives and thwart danger. But on the Hellmouth, the lines between life and death are drawn far too often. The right choices become more difficult to make, and the lessons are learned harshly and paid for in blood. They had all paid.

Tara had seen, right away, that day in Wicca Group how big Willow was. How her tiny body could barely contain anything within her. Willow was made of sharp edges and contradictions, but it was her love and passion that pierced Tara so fiercely. A love she had grown to depend on and feared losing as Willow’s skill in magic soon began to surpass anything Tara could teach her.

She had come alive under Willow’s touch, blossomed under Willow’s light, taken root, grown taller, stronger, until she was a tree in her own right.

They had come full circle with the magic, lost and found each other within it time and time again; here they were again, together and tentative.

But now they have lifetimes of experiences, with the benefit of full hindsight and the harsh lessons already learned. It’s already different, this time around. She can tell by the way Willow keeps glancing at the doll’s eye crystal with a hesitant reverence. If there’s anything the last week has taught her, it's that they can’t avoid the past. They can only make it a part of themselves and carry it forward.

They have to cauterize this wound.

Tara places the crystal in Willow’s hand, closing her fingers around it. Willow’s eyes widen, “Tara, I-”

“Will,” she interrupts gently. “This became yours a long time ago. Use it. You can do this.” Tara doesn’t know if the spell will work or if the answers they seek will be found. But she knows it certainly won’t be for lack of trying.

“No,” Willow says, the corner of her mouth quirking up as Tara’s words suffuse her. “We can do this.”

It nearly takes Tara’s breath away, those words. It’s dizzying, hearing them directed back at her all this time later. Willow’s confidence is shaky, but it’s there, flickering like a candle, growing more steady and true, her self-doubts and fear quelled for the moment, fortified by Tara. That’s what it was always about, after all—sharing and trading strength.

Becoming stronger with each other. For each other.

Like Amazons.

“It’s time,” they say.
_____________________________________________________________________

The tension lies thick and heavy in the living room, like humidity. The coffee table has been cleared away, making a large space for the spell to be cast.

Dawn sits, nibbling at her fingernails, knees pressed together tightly with one leg bouncing, her eyes skittering around the room. Xander sits next to her, trying not to appear moody or restless, and failing at both. He settles on distractedly rubbing Dawn’s back. Anya, in counterpoint, leans impatiently against the doorway with her arms crossed. Buffy hovers near the center, pacing as Willow and Tara ready the spell. Her gaze periodically flickers to Spike, who ignores her, and pretends to be only half-interested. And Giles, also leaning against the doorway, surveys everything with an aloof intensity.

Tara and Willow sit across from each other on the floor, surrounded by a circle of crystals and flower petals, scavenged from the remains of the Magic Box stored in the basement. The preparations are sparse, and soon there’s nothing left to do but begin. Tara sits up straight with purpose, holds her arms out, and waits. It is such a familiar gesture Willow goes almost dizzy with it. How many times have they done this? Together in a circle, magic crackling between them like electricity. How did Willow ever forget that the electricity had nothing to do with the magic and everything to do with Tara? Synchronicity and trust . . . Roses and fairy lights. The magic was them.

Willow used it to find Tara. And later, to push her away. Used it to protect her, and then to abuse her. She took the pure, innocent thing between them and corrupted it.

And when is the last time they’ve even done magic together? A long time—even before Willow twisted the precious gift between them into something selfish and ugly.

Willow looks at Tara’s outstretched hands and tries to ignore the way her palms itch. She can feel the dry sprig of Lethe’s Bramble in her hand and feels sick to her stomach. But Tara’s eyes are beseeching her. Tara’s hands are waiting. . . for her. For answers only she can give. Answers she owes Tara. She will not fail Tara again.

Swallowing hard, Willow reaches out and places her hands in Tara’s. The magic comes, unbeckoned, before they even have to call it—it turns on a light inside of Willow’s cold and dark places. God, how— how could she have forgotten this and left it behind?

Within the circle, lightning crackles, storm clouds brew, a breeze quickly strengthens into a sharp wind, and the familiarity of it fills her with nausea. But Tara’s hands are there beneath hers, soft and warm. There are no windows here, and Tara is alive alive alive.

She opens her eyes. Tara’s hair flaps in the wind as the spell picks up, but her eyes never leave Willow’s.

And then, he’s there.

_________________
Lotus


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((77/?-November 21st, 2019))
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:11 pm 
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Beautiful. again and as always, but there is something so delicate in this chapter. full of circles.



Quote:
jars of herbs and amphibian eyes that stare lifelessly until Tara rotates their gaze away toward the back wall.

I just really like this imagery, this metaphor for turning the unpleasant things away

Quote:
It’s almost like mourning,
Willow stammers, “I-I didn’t know it was still here.” Bewildered, Willow looks at it with a mixture of guilt and fondness. Her hands twitch, itching to hold it. Can I? Her eyes beseech. Tara offers it to her.


and yet... it's an unearthing, a resurrection for the both of them

Quote:
Extraordinary circumstance had forged Willow’s magic into a superpowered weapon before she understood how to properly use it. Tara had learned the traditions as a child; respect and discipline taught reverently by her mother. But Willow, she realizes now, had been on the front lines with Buffy for years and saw how tradition and rules could bind and fail them. Willow’s big, beautiful brain mixed magic with innovation and creativity, finding new ways to save lives and thwart danger. But on the Hellmouth, the lines between life and death are drawn far too often. The right choices become more difficult to make, and the lessons are learned harshly and paid for in blood. They had all paid.


in just one paragraph, you have said everything- Willow's experience wasn't like Tara's, she learned quickly and necessarily (with some frivolity in the middle) but magic really was life and death

Quote:
She had come alive under Willow’s touch, blossomed under Willow’s light, taken root, grown taller, stronger, until she was a tree in her own right.


:)

The memories were sweet and raw - I admire how you can say so much in so little words

The full trust they have in each other when doing the spell is the ultimate circle, and they are now trusting with open hearts and wounds.

And now, he's here........ dun dun dun!

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((77/?-November 21st, 2019))
PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:43 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Another lovely chapter!

Quote:
Tara had seen, right away, that day in Wicca Group how big Willow was. How her tiny body could barely contain anything within her.

Great image!

I feel like quoting the whole chapter, but that would be silly. This one is my favourite part, so hopeful:

Quote:
They had come full circle with the magic, lost and found each other within it time and time again; here they were again, together and tentative.

But now they have lifetimes of experiences, with the benefit of full hindsight and the harsh lessons already learned. It’s already different, this time around. She can tell by the way Willow keeps glancing at the doll’s eye crystal with a hesitant reverence. If there’s anything the last week has taught her, it's that they can’t avoid the past. They can only make it a part of themselves and carry it forward.

They have to cauterize this wound.

Tara places the crystal in Willow’s hand, closing her fingers around it. Willow’s eyes widen, “Tara, I-”

“Will,” she interrupts gently. “This became yours a long time ago. Use it. You can do this.” Tara doesn’t know if the spell will work or if the answers they seek will be found. But she knows it certainly won’t be for lack of trying.

“No,” Willow says, the corner of her mouth quirking up as Tara’s words suffuse her. “We can do this.”

It nearly takes Tara’s breath away, those words. It’s dizzying, hearing them directed back at her all this time later. Willow’s confidence is shaky, but it’s there, flickering like a candle, growing more steady and true, her self-doubts and fear quelled for the moment, fortified by Tara. That’s what it was always about, after all—sharing and trading strength.

Becoming stronger with each other. For each other.

Like Amazons.


I'm not sure which incident Tara remembers here where she said "we can do this" to Willow. Did she say it in the "strong like an amazon"-conversation in "The Body" or before they did the nether realm spell together?

It's totally silly considering the tension bordering on fear all the scoobies suffer in the last scene, but when I read of Willow and Tara sitting in the magic circle together the thought popped in my head that it would be pretty embarassing for all of them if this spell happened to have the same outcome as the nether realm-spell... :blush

Quote:
Tara sits up straight with purpose, holds her arms out, and waits. It is such a familiar gesture Willow goes almost dizzy with it. How many times have they done this? Together in a circle, magic crackling between them like electricity. How did Willow ever forget that the electricity had nothing to do with the magic and everything to do with Tara? Synchronicity and trust . . . Roses and fairy lights. The magic was them.

Willow used it to find Tara. And later, to push her away. Used it to protect her, and then to abuse her. She took the pure, innocent thing between them and corrupted it.

And when is the last time they’ve even done magic together? A long time—even before Willow twisted the precious gift between them into something selfish and ugly.

Willow looks at Tara’s outstretched hands and tries to ignore the way her palms itch. She can feel the dry sprig of Lethe’s Bramble in her hand and feels sick to her stomach. But Tara’s eyes are beseeching her. Tara’s hands are waiting. . . for her. For answers only she can give. Answers she owes Tara. She will not fail Tara again.


Another powerful moment which shows how much Willow has grown, realising and regretting her past mistakes but not getting lost in self-hatred. I love her fierce determination to pull through this because Tara needs her.
I trust that under these circumstances with Tara and Willow casting together the first will have no chance to misuse Willow's casting as a way to posess her or whatever exactly happened in Season 7.
Now I'm waiting with bated breath what revelations the conversation with Osiris will bring...


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((77/?-November 21st, 2019))
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:07 pm 
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@shirrey:

Quote:
metaphor for turning the unpleasant things away

It's funny, I imagined it as much sillier moment. This creepy jar of eyes is just staring at Tara and SHE can't stop staring it at either, so she just smoooothly turns it away.

Quote:
it's an unearthing, a resurrection for the both of them

Yes! Exactly that! Very well put.

Quote:
Willow's experience wasn't like Tara's, she learned quickly and necessarily (with some frivolity in the middle) but magic really was life and death

It's amazing how community helps us continue to think, learn, and grow. I didn't come to that realization on my own. It was only through a conversation with someone else that this concept even occurred to me! Context matters. Context ALWAYS matters.

@Wills redemption:

Quote:
I'm not sure which incident Tara remembers here where she said "we can do this" to Willow. Did she say it in the "strong like an amazon"-conversation in "The Body" or before they did the nether realm spell together?
The first one! It was part of their conversation in 'The Body' when Will is breaking down and crying 'I can't do this' and Tara just cups her face, kisses her panic away, and goes 'We can do this.'

Quote:
it would be pretty embarassing for all of them if this spell happened to have the same outcome as the nether realm-spell... :blush

HOO boy yeah, that would....well, I'm pretty sure they'd scar every single Scooby in the room for life.

The First won't be messing with our girls' magic now that they're together. Now to see what happens next!
_________________________________________________________________________

Willow remembers the screaming, the anger that had turned her inside out . . . The rage that she folded herself into, because anything was preferable to facing the grief that swallowed her whole. It was animal, the way she screamed—it clawed its way out of her. Every day since then, until Tara materialized in the room she died in, it threatened to claw its way back out again. There was never an end to the grief; to the shame and sorrow. No matter how tightly she squeezes her eyes, she still hears the screaming.

It takes her a moment to realize she’s not remembering. Someone is screaming, and it isn’t her.

A disembodied torso materializes in the ceiling above them, contained with the circle, though the storm clouds and light spread out across the room. He roars and looks down upon them, scanning his surroundings before squinting at Tara. “I recognize your essence,” he says almost curiously.

Bodies as one, Tara and Willow both stiffen in fear. Confused, Tara glances across the circle. Osiris continues his scan, eyes flashing in anger as he recognizes Willow. “You!” he shouts. “Months you have banished and imprisoned me.”

Willow looks legitimately shocked and baffled, has no idea what he’s talking about. Her jaw gapes but before she can respond, he continues. “No human is capable of such a feat. You reek of power not your own.”

Without preamble, he reaches an arm down to grab Willow’s head, holding her in his giant hand as if she were nothing more than a tennis ball. Head back, jaw open in a silent scream, Willow’s eyes burn from within, radiating a strange red glow.

“Willow!” Buffy shouts and runs towards them.

Tara, Giles, and Anya cry out at once, anxious to not disturb the circle, but Buffy moves too quickly. Buffy’s hand makes contact with Willow’s, who is still holding Tara’s hand, and that strange, familiar wave of energy passes through the three girls with a FWOOSH! and pulses out from them like a shockwave.

__________________________________________________________________________________

One moment, Willow is filled with fear, incredulous at how she could have ever—ever—been so disgustingly arrogant as to think she could demand anything of a god.

The next moment, her body is far away. Matter of fact, she has no body at all. She is spirit. Power. A god. She is death. Underworld. Judgement. Justice. She’s...being summoned. The required elements are present; the vessel, in place. The veil between the realms grows thin and she crosses over into a terribly mundane, physical world. She can feel the power concentrating. The vessel is gathering, focusing, ready for the channeling. She thrums with energy.

Instead, there is a great shattering; the walls of the vessel broken, power split, essence ripped, spirit torn. She flies, spinning spinning spinning, into death and decay. Into pain and desperation.

There is darkness. It screams. And awakens in Sunnydale.

Willow’s eyes fly open. She takes a harrowing, gulping breath, coming back to herself with a violent jerk.

She can see it all so clearly, now. How the consequences and events of the past year toppled like dominoes. And it had all started with . . .

“Buffy,” she gasps.

Buffy turns to her carefully, slowly. “Willow, what the hell was that.”

“Buffy,” she stammers, “It’s you. It’s me, i-it’s—”

“It. is. I,” Osiris bellows, startling Buffy and Willow.

Willow finally understands. She knows what she has to do. And she knows she has to do it very, very carefully.

Buffy’s hand still rests warm and heavy on her shoulder. “Buffy,” Willow looks into her best friend’s eyes. She sees worry, pain, confusion, and determination and is overwhelmed by the literal awesomeness of her companion. “Do you trust me?”

The answer comes as it would not have just a few months ago—without hesitation. “Do it,” Buffy replies.

Flooded with gratitude and love, Willow turns back around and asks the same of Tara. Permission. “Tara?” she lets the word trail off, containing the multitude of questions in the only name that ever mattered.

It, too, comes immediately. “I trust you,” Tara’s eyes ground her, and Willow can feel her gaze over every part of her existence. It’s painful and exquisite. Willow feels it in her bones.

Thus fortified, she turns back to address Osiris. “Keeper of souls, I beseech you, have mercy.”

“I deal in justice, witch.”

With Tara’s hands still in her own and Buffy squeezing her shoulder, Willow summons all the courage and strength she can, letting these powerful, strong women guide her. “Justice, then. I offer a trade. A just and equal exchange: something given, nothing taken.”

He sniffs the air, considering the offer. She takes it as a good sign and continues, “Spirit borrowed, spirit returned.”

Willow is dead-locked on the floating god above her, focusing with every fiber of her being, to do this right. To do it correctly. Because the most important people in her life depend on it. “I transfer, from within to without. I trade that which is mine to give, freely and without consequence. This and only this will be taken.”

Tara stiffens as the trade being offered becomes clear. She cries out just as Osiris booms, “I accept.”

As soon as the words are spoken, Buffy and Willow are thrown back and enveloped in a band of glowing red energy. It oscillates around them in waves, whipping their hair as if caught in a storm. From somewhere far away, Willow registers Tara leaning forward in alarm as their hands are torn apart. She feels Tara scream, though the sound is lost in the maelstrom of magic. And wants more than anything to reassure her everything will be okay; that this, finally, will be amends.

But there is only black.

_________________
Lotus


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((78/?-December 2nd, 2019))
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:19 pm 
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dibs! (i don't usually do that but what the hell)


Quote:
It's funny, I imagined it as much sillier moment. This creepy jar of eyes is just staring at Tara and SHE can't stop staring it at either, so she just smoooothly turns it away.
:laugh yeah I definitely over-analyzed that one


THIS WAS SO INTENSE. what is Willow doing??? is she giving Buffy back??? I don't really really think so but... what a cliffhanger!! and Tara is so scared :( poor baby girl

and the screaming... my heart was dying reading that - but it's all better, right?

Fix it soon!!! (can't wait :) )

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You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((78/?-December 2nd, 2019))
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:32 am 
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OMG, what a cliffhanger! :shock

Quote:
Buffy’s hand still rests warm and heavy on her shoulder. “Buffy,” Willow looks into her best friend’s eyes. She sees worry, pain, confusion, and determination and is overwhelmed by the literal awesomeness of her companion. “Do you trust me?”

The answer comes as it would not have just a few months ago—without hesitation. “Do it,” Buffy replies.

Flooded with gratitude and love, Willow turns back around and asks the same of Tara. Permission. “Tara?” she lets the word trail off, containing the multitude of questions in the only name that ever mattered.

It, too, comes immediately. “I trust you,” Tara’s eyes ground her, and Willow can feel her gaze over every part of her existence. It’s painful and exquisite. Willow feels it in her bones.

That was my favourite part of the chapter, such a powerful moment! And "the only name that ever mattered", so sweet! :flower

Quote:
With Tara’s hands still in her own and Buffy squeezing her shoulder, Willow summons all the courage and strength she can, letting these powerful, strong women guide her.

Yes! This sentence alone shows how far Willow has come, understanding that accepting help and guidance doesn't make her weaker but stronger!

So Willow had an epiphany here, caused by experiencing a memory of Osiris? As usual I feel (as Giles once pointed out, too) "she understands it better than I do!".
I gather that when the urn of Osiris was destroyed during the resurrection-spell the essence/spirit of Osiris was somehow fractured and that parts of it flew around like shrapnel, one of it resurrecting Buffy after all, some of it awakening the first and one of it ending up in Willow (?). That one might have enhanced and darkened her own magical power and might have been at least partially responsible for the almost god-like superiority Willow felt at the beginning of Season 6 (shown in the "don't piss me off"-conversation with Giles).
And maybe one godspirit-shrapnel ended up in Tara and prevented her from entering the "normal" heaven / afterlife?
And when Buffy, Willow and Tara touch each other at the same time (under special circumstances?) the god-shrapnels in them form this strange power-circuit between them?
(My "godspirit-shrapnel"-theory reminds me of Harry Potter who "became the horcrux Voldemort never wanted to make" when a part of his split soul latched itself onto the baby.)

If my assumptions are correct then Willow offered Osiris to take the part of his spirit inside her back, right? I would certainly prefer that to a "take my life but spare the others"-scenario!
I really hope that Willow's plan worked and that she (and Buffy) weren't harmed and that Willow only lost her consciousness in the end of the chapter. I vote firmly against Willow dying and/or ending up in Limbo-Sunnydale herself now!


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((78/?-December 2nd, 2019))
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:20 am 
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@shirrey:
No, you didn't over-analyze, you re-interpreted it! I love seeing what everyone brings to the story. That was a beautiful analysis.

Just a little more tension, but all will be fixed, I promise!

@Will's redemption:
our girls have all learned so much. Willow's come the farthest because she fell the furthest, but they've all gone through serious trauma and growth. PUT ALL OF THESE PEOPLE IN THERAPY

At this time I can neither confirm nor deny the assumptions posed :devil
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Giles has had enough of his charges being enveloped in mysterious glowing energies.

He’s lost both of them right after the other.

First Buffy, off that harrowing tower, into a growing chaotic ball of near-bleeding realities and universes. And Willow, ever so slowly—to his everlasting shame and regret—to the same magics and power that had seduced him as a young man.
Both his fault. If only he had been faster or smarter. Gotten to Ben sooner. Stepped in when Jenny had. . . .
If only he had stepped in.

And then, that awful, wonderful phone call at the end of last summer. One—if he were honest with himself— he had secretly hoped for, and as soon as it came, dreaded. He hadn’t been wrong to say to Willow what he did that night in the kitchen; he had only meant to say it to himself.

It’s all been his fault, really. But here they are. Both Buffy and Willow learning to live again, and doing it on their own, stronger than their worst selves. Stronger than the emptiness that once threatened to consume them both.

He feels helpless, watching the two of them trapped in Osiris’ red glow. But he’s never bothered to find out the details of the ritual they used to resurrect Buffy . . . never wanted to. What little he knows, vague and by allusion, has been enough to terrify him into wanting to know as little as possible. In this case, ignorance is bliss.

He curses himself for it now, of course. A man in his position can’t afford ignorance; the world depends on it. His world depends on it. And it appears to be going up in strange, red flames. So of course his first instinct is to panic. But then he thinks of something Ms. Harkness said to him before he left.

“Remind her to trust herself, Rupert.”

Trust.

It’s this thought that gives him pause when every inch of him screams to run forward and intervene. The hard-earned lessons for both of them from this summer rise to his consciousness. How carefully and measuredly Willow attended to her lessons; the meditations and hours of focus. The way she was almost . . . grateful to slow down and take the basics seriously. The spirituality and connectedness of all things seemed to ground her to something larger than herself. This time she trusted the process and found value in it. She was broken but he saw her painfully glue herself back piece by piece.

Suddenly, Giles realizes what Willow has just asked. For trust. And Buffy has given it, without question or hesitation. It’s something he has given Buffy, something she’s earned years before. Something Willow, in her turn, is slowly rebuilding.
Giles realizes then that he does trust her. He trusts both of them. So, despite the still very present fear and uncertainty, he stands back and Watches.

___________________________________________________________________


Well if this isn’t going tits up fast, Spike thinks.

He isn’t made to thwart gods and destiny. Matter of fact, he’d said bollocks to the concept when he left his mortality behind and went to go screw destiny a new one. Didn’t expect irony to be the one to screw him over in the end.

Becoming the second vampire with a soul, after that ponce, all for the fated enemy of his kind. Well, looks like even in death he can’t escape being love’s bitch.

It’d serve him right if the girl he goes and gets his soul over dies. Again.

Last year it nearly killed him. God or not, he’s not going to stand watching this time.

Right.

Spike takes a determined step forward, but is stopped by someone grabbing his arm. It’s the bloody Watcher. He glares. “Get. Off,” he grits through clenched teeth.

At least Rupert has the decency to look as haggard and terrified as Spike feels. Doesn’t stop him from wanting to punch him, chip or not. He’ll take the pain. Anything’d be better than just... watching. He moves to yank his arm away and continue.

“No!” Rupert shouts above the howling wind and magics. “We mustn’t interrupt! Whatever process has begun, to interfere now could cause irreparable damage.”

“Irreparable damage? Worse than what, dying?!”

“Trust them,” is all Rupert says in response. And god, it kills him to do it, but Spike takes one look at Buffy, aflame with determination and faith, and steps down. Part of him flares with frustration and regret, but mostly he finds himself at ease with a strange sense of certainty that things will be fine. This is Buffy, he reminds himself. Of course he trusts her; she’s a bleedin’ hero.

_________________
Lotus


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((81/?-December 11th, 2019))
PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:08 am 
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Dibs!
Quote:
Both his fault. If only he had been faster or smarter. Gotten to Ben sooner. Stepped in when Jenny had. . . .
If only he had stepped in.

Quote:
It’s all been his fault, really.

These sentences capture the feelings of failure he as a Watcher and more importantly father-figure of all the others (except Jenny of course) suffered very well.

Quote:
A man in his position can’t afford ignorance; the world depends on it. His world depends on it. And it appears to be going up in strange, red flames. So of course his first instinct is to panic. But then he thinks of something Ms. Harkness said to him before he left.

“Remind her to trust herself, Rupert.”

Trust.

It’s this thought that gives him pause when every inch of him screams to run forward and intervene. The hard-earned lessons for both of them from this summer rise to his consciousness. How carefully and measuredly Willow attended to her lessons; the meditations and hours of focus. The way she was almost . . . grateful to slow down and take the basics seriously. The spirituality and connectedness of all things seemed to ground her to something larger than herself. This time she trusted the process and found value in it. She was broken but he saw her painfully glue herself back piece by piece.

Suddenly, Giles realizes what Willow has just asked. For trust. And Buffy has given it, without question or hesitation. It’s something he has given Buffy, something she’s earned years before. Something Willow, in her turn, is slowly rebuilding.
Giles realizes then that he does trust her. He trusts both of them. So, despite the still very present fear and uncertainty, he stands back and Watches.

Yay for Giles' trust in Willow!

Quote:
Well, looks like even in death he can’t escape being love’s bitch.

It’d serve him right if the girl he goes and gets his soul over dies. Again.

Last year it nearly killed him. God or not, he’s not going to stand watching this time.

Wonderful! However complicated Spike emotionaly is and acts, here he is just a man who wants to save the woman he loves.

Quote:
“No!” Rupert shouts above the howling wind and magics. “We mustn’t interrupt! Whatever process has begun, to interfere now could cause irreparable damage.”

“Irreparable damage? Worse than what, dying?!”

“Trust them,” is all Rupert says in response. And god, it kills him to do it, but Spike takes one look at Buffy, aflame with determination and faith, and steps down. Part of him flares with frustration and regret, but mostly he finds himself at ease with a strange sense of certainty that things will be fine. This is Buffy, he reminds himself. Of course he trusts her; she’s a bleedin’ hero.


And once again trust is the key. It was a pleasant surprise for me that Spike doesn't only trust in Buffy but also in Giles (that he does know the risks of an interruption better).

Now I'm curious if you'll give us the point of view of the other "bystanders" like Xander first or if we'll jump straight to Tara...


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((81/?-December 11th, 2019))
PostPosted: Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:07 pm 
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I like the capital W when you say that Giles Watches- he has guided his charges and now its time to do his role and let them soar.
Both Spike and Giles are dealing with regret in this- nicely done with the dichotomy between their reactions- Giles feels he has done too little and yet too much, Spike did everything he could and still feels like he failed. Trust is what this whole journey seems to be about- well trust and faith and grace- and when the stakes are this high one better have trust because it literally is life and death. and one really needs to let others prove their trustworthiness- for the same reasons

I am so curious how this will play out!

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You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((81/?-December 11th, 2019))
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:31 am 
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@Will's redemption:
If season 6 was about Willow abusing people's trust -Giles, Tara, Dawn, Buffy- in her, season 7 (at least in Lotus-verse) is about her earning that trust back.

Quote:
However complicated Spike emotionaly is and acts, here he is just a man who wants to save the woman he loves.

Ain't that the truth, whether he's human or monster or something in-between :)

@shirrey:
capital W for Giles was important. It was his entire identity and thing he struggled with for every season. Finally embracing all that entails will set him and the rest of them free

Quote:
the dichotomy between their reactions- Giles feels he has done too little and yet too much, Spike did everything he could and still feels like he failed.
Didn't even realize that! Ugh, I love your insights. Thank you for opening my eyes to new things.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________

He asked for just one thing. One measly thing: don’t die.

The smell of damp soil, burning wicks, the forest at night, and fear wafts unbeckoned.

One. Thing.

It isn’t snakes and slices of flesh this time, but pulsing waves and glowing eyes. Not earth, but wind. And fire.

The result is the same, though. Willow goes away. The magic always takes Willow away.

He was one of the Slayerettes, before they became the Scoobies. And then he was...just Xander. Willow hadn’t needed him in years; she was always leagues ahead of him. He’d known that in the third grade when she arranged all the crayons by order of wavelength (Sure, it had ended up being a rainbow all the same, but not the way she described it, with invisible science and a beaming smile he didn’t understand but looked perfect on her face.)

But when Buffy came along, they were both similarly ordinary. For a while, at least, they were on the same level. And then Angelus happened and Willow got all witchy, and kept getting witchier until Xander was just a spot in the distance where they used to be. Where he still was and would always be.

The magic took Willow away. First from Xander, and then from herself.

Buffy and Willow glow and his stomach churns. ‘Trust me,’ Willow had said to Buffy. To Tara too, but not to him.

A secret bubbles up. He was ashamed to think of it, but part of him had been relieved, that day, after Willow had cried herself out on the bluff, that maybe that was the end of the magic. That she could just be Willow again, and they could go back to the way things were. But one look at the broken bundle in the backseat and blood that stained his hands reminded him that things would never, ever be the same. But the Willow curled tightly against the window, at least, he understood and knew how to help. He didn’t know magic or science, but he knew Willows. It was always the two of them.

Three of them, he corrects. It had always been the three of them. How easy it was to not talk about Jesse, because to talk about him at all would have been admitting his death their fault and that was just another unbearable truth.

The scene in front of him now almost seems to pass in slow motion - Tara practically clawing at Buffy and Willow, the tense way Giles is holding himself, even Spike’s jaw grinding as he seems to barely keep himself back- and Xander feels so helplessly lost. He hears gunshots and squeezes his eyes shut. He’s going to lose them both this time; it’s all going to fall apart again. The earth might not be ending on a global scale this time, but everything he cares about - his whole world- is right here in this room.

He can’t bear the weight of more deaths on his hands.

Don’t die. Please don’t die. He prays.

________________________________________________________________


Honestly, for a while there, what Anya was most frustrated by was the lack of inventiveness of mortal life. A thousand years of endless and limitless creativity made being human incredibly boring. Only a handful of moments really stacked up in comparison to her life as a vengeance demon. That thing with the mayor being a giant snake was a pretty good one, if ultimately a failure. But he got extra points for style.

Evil military Frankenstein was child’s play. Honestly, I mean who did people think gave Mary Shelley the idea in the first place, anyway? But Buffy and the others had really stepped up their game, what with the hellgods, and vengeance that made her previous clients seem like petulant children. Heroes becoming the villains, even Anya could admit that was a good one.

But even Anya has her limits. And this is getting to be a little ridiculous. The world can’t end every year almost on schedule without getting predictable. And people coming back from the dead or dying every few months is beginning to give Anya a headache. And heartache, if she’s being honest. And she’s had quite enough of that, thankyouverymuch.

Being alive for centuries doesn’t make it easier to deal with death when it happens to people you . . . care about. Fact is, she’s learned, it only makes it harder. It was difficult enough losing Tara the first time. And not just because of all the murder and rampage afterwards.

It started because they were the only two Scooby-adjacent significant others, having locked themselves in Giles’ bathroom to escape the Scooby core infighting. Xander had been trying to teach Anya about ‘small talk’ and though she thought it pointless and inane, determined that since a) it was important to Xander and b) she and Tara clearly weren’t leaving the bathroom anytime soon, decided to use the opportunity to practice. “I like the tile,” she’d mused pleasantly. Much to Anya’s surprise, she found she didn’t mind talking about things with Tara, even if they were pointless and inane. She found herself spending time with her often; between after her shifts at the Magic Box, before Xander came home from work, even when there wasn’t a particular reason to go, Anya would find herself on the UCSD campus more times than she thought.

The ‘Scrappy Club’ became official after Tara had tried to explain the reference. “Because Scrappy is Scooby’s sidekick, get it?”

Anya shook her head. “How can Scrappy be a sidekick when Scooby Doo is also a sidekick? Velma, Daphne, and Fred solve the crimes while Scooby and Shaggy hide, eat, or smoke marijuana in that disgusting van.”

Tara giggled. “I don’t think they were, um, allowed to show them smoking pot in the Mystery Machine.”

“Well of course not, humans can be so prudish, but they definitely were. They were clearly stoned.”


Even though she’d been more than comfortable with the idea of those nerds dying, she decided to help Willow for Tara, who could no longer do so herself. It was the last gift Anya would ever been able to give her best friend.

Tara was the only one who didn’t treat her like an idiot or a child. She was patient and kind and took the time to understand Anya instead of Anya having to try so hard to understand everyone else. Human beings were exhausting, but aside from Xander, Tara was the only one who had made her feel normal. She treated her like a person.

Even Willow, with whom she has a contentious yet relatively cordial, growing on genuine relationship. They’ve all had practice mourning Buffy, and even Tara. But Anya doesn’t want to lose another friend. Even one as often annoying and self-centered as Willow.

As Anya watches the energies surround and consume Willow and Buffy, part of her regrets not picking a different group of misfits to latch onto. Or not packing up to leave Sunnydale ages ago. All she keeps sowing here is death and pain.
And not for the first time, despite her best judgement, she finds herself gravitating toward Xander and holding his arm tight.

_________________
Lotus


Last edited by Zooeys_Bridge on Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((83/?-December 30th, 2019))
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:38 am 
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Great capsule of Xander's feelings, showing again he's in many ways the eyes of us audience, blocked form helping by his alck of unusual abilities just like we are by a TV screen.

I'm thinking I haven't developed the Tara/Anya friendship enough in "Snapshots." What you gave us here was a brilliant nutshell description of just *why* Anya values Tara a s both her official and actual Best Friend, that Tara has been there for Anya and let Anya be there for her. Even though (as we saw on screen in S-6) Tara herself may feel closer to Buffy, she both knows & willingly & cheerfully embraces the position that she holds in Anya's world-view. bobk

_________________
Snapshots:http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10210 a Love Story
____________________________________________________________
Kim: (breaks off the kissing) I l... (Sue stops her with a hand)
Sue: We don't talk about things like that right after, you know that, no saying those things in The Moment.
Kim: (moves the hand aside) Screw The Moment. I *love* you.


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((83/?-December 30th, 2019))
PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:02 pm 
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I love how you are spiraling inward with characters, all these pieces that make a whole and the lives and challenges and lessons they have learned being part of this family.

and dammit, I feel so much for Xander!

Quote:
The magic always takes Willow away.
:(( :((

Quote:
‘Trust me,’ Willow had said to Buffy. To Tara too, but not to him.


Quote:
But the Willow curled tightly against the window, at least, he understood and knew how to help


He's just a young man who loves his friends and wants to be needed, but people change...


Quote:
The ‘Scrappy Club’ became official after Tara had tried to explain the reference. “Because Scrappy is Scooby’s sidekick, get it?”

Anya shook her head. “How can Scrappy be a sidekick when Scooby Doo is also a sidekick? Velma, Daphne, and Fred solve the crimes while Scooby and Shaggy hide, eat, or smoke marijuana in that disgusting van.”

Tara giggled. “I don’t think they were, um, allowed to show them smoking pot in the Mystery Machine.”

“Well of course not, humans can be so prudish, but they definitely were. They were clearly stoned.”


I LOVE the Anya/ Tara bond- I wish the show had explored it more (as can be said with everything Tara and Anya respectively)- there was a reason Tara was her Maid of Honor

Quote:
She was patient and kind and took the time to understand Anya instead of Anya having to try so hard to understand everyone else.


Oh this is so true- on both counts, Tara just accepts- it's who she is and Anya, for once, was allowed to be who she is without remark or judgement. Now, I want an Anya/ Tara friend fic

I continue to be astounded by your writing! Thanks for sharing

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((83/?-December 30th, 2019))
PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 12:49 am 
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My heart aches for Xander, feeling totally helpless here and resigned to it because he has felt like the helpless bystander for years now.
Quote:
Willow hadn’t needed him in years; she was always leagues ahead of him.

Quote:
And then Angelus happened and Willow got all witchy, and kept getting witchier until Xander was just a spot in the distance where they used to be. Where he still was and would always be.

:cry
Quote:
It was always the two of them.

Three of them, he corrects. It had always been the three of them. How easy it was to not talk about Jesse, because to talk about him at all would have been admitting his death their fault and that was just another unbearable truth.

Another trauma the original show practically ignored, Jesse's death.

The insight into Anya's emotions is once again brilliant. At first she's trying to fight the fear and sadness by clinging to the vengeance demon's aloft attitude:
Quote:
And this is getting to be a little ridiculous. The world can’t end every year almost on schedule without getting predictable. And people coming back from the dead or dying every few months is beginning to give Anya a headache.

But then the emotions overcome her. I love the insight into her friendship with Tara, including the memory of their own "club for two".

So I guess Dawn's and Buffy's points of view will be next before we come to Tara (and hopefully learn that everything turns out good…)?


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((83/?-December 30th, 2019))
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:42 am 
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@DaddyCatALSO:
Using Xander as an eye of the audience in this way as opposed to the self-serving way Joss did in the show is one of my favorite things about fanfiction. Fandom Xander is my favorite, because he gets to live up to his true potential.

It's easy to forget Anya and Tara were friends, mostly because as two side-characters who barely got the A-list plots of episodes revolving around them and their own agency, we didn't see a lot in the show. Even when things were focused on Anya, it was either a) in reaction/tandem to Xander or b) treated as a joke. Tara is the best because she's able to truly connect with every single Scooby in different ways. Exploring that is such a joy to see.

@shirrey:
When I first started writing Lotus, I remember trying to tell the story in alternating chapters of every character's POV. It got hard after a while, for several reasons, as you may imagine, but it was nice to bring that back in this moment.

Remember when canon had Anya make Tara her Maid of Honor but we barely got to see them interact with each other independently of their significant others? I get it, but still. Grr.

Tara is the most accepting individual in the Scoobies. It's why she's so essential. Xander and Willow can be judgey, even unintentionally, and even though their support is unconditional, sometimes that judgement can't help but rise to the top first. ("Kind of like that face you're wearing right now?") There's a reason Buffy went to Tara and Tara only when she was worried she came back wrong in S6, and it wasn't because Tara was a witch.

@Will's redemption:
Ugh, ikr? Poor Xander.

BOY DID THE SHOW IGNORE JESSE'S DEATH.

Your guesses for what comes next are dead on :)
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


No, thinks Dawn. No no no no no no no.

Not again.

She’s finished with death. No more. She’s sixteen! She wants to gossip with friends and get caught for trying to sneak out late, not go through another cycle of death, mourning, and pain.

Instead she watches her sister bent backwards, glowing in a frozen mask of pain, while a god floats above holding her life in his hands. They’ve done this, literally, a year ago. If anything, fate is getting lazy. Desperately, she looks around for answers. Willow is equally afflicted, arched in a matching position of pain, glowing in Osiris’ grasp. Tara’s no help, clawing her way towards Willow and Buffy, looking as desperately terrified as Dawn feels. In a cold rush of awareness, Dawn realizes she’s going to lose them all.

Spike stands motionless in doorway. Though if the way his fists are clenched and his jaw grits soundlessly are any indication, he’s barely holding himself back. Xander’s face is clouded in anger while Anya’s arm snakes over to hold on to him.

It’s all happening again and there’s nothing Dawn can do to stop it. She can scream with the unfairness of it. The air feels thin, and despite gulping it down, Dawn feels like she’s drowning. Her arms spasm, reaching out towards help that isn’t coming.

Nononononono.

Her hands meet something warm and solid and she curls her fingers around it instinctively. Giles.

“It’s alright,” he tells her, squeezing her hand. Looking at her with gentle eyes that hold her and ground her ashore. “Breathe.”

He seems calm and steadfastly faithful in this moment of tumult when her world is being unmade once more. She nods as if to convince herself, holding onto his confidence.

It’ll be alright. It has to be.

Breathe.
_______________________________________________________________________


This is all my fault, Tara thinks in a desperate panic, now more certain than ever that her spell was the wrong and selfish, unnatural thing that she feared it was. She has upset the natural course of things with her resurrection and now Buffy and Willow are paying the price.

There’s always a price.

A trade, Willow said. Tara should have never allowed it. Life is not something meant to be sacrificed or traded for the sake of someone else. She watched her mother learn that lesson the hard way. Ran from home so it couldn’t happen to her, too. Left Willow to make sure it wouldn’t.

A just and equal exchange. There’s nothing just about this, about Willow trading her life. Tara’s come back from the dead and now the scales have been tipped again. She’d just gotten her back, finally and truly, after their reconciliation, Tara should have known better.

There’s always a price.

Tears stream down her face as Tara leans forward, practically doubled over, reaching out towards them, begging, begging, begging to take it back. But before she can, Buffy and Willow are thrown back in a powerful burst of energy.

And then, it’s over.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((85/?-January 12th, 2020))
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:55 am 
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MY HEART HURTS. The terror Tara feels is so visceral and bleak as is Dawn's- I know this will end well, because, Kitten board, but she and Dawn have just received another layer of scars on their souls, I think Tara in particular will carry this with her, something this traumatic would be imprinted in her psyche (unless something changes her understanding of the situation :pray ) I can't wait to find out what happens next

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((85/?-January 12th, 2020))
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:55 pm 
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Poor Dawn, fearing that she'll loose her sister and her two surrogate mothers all in one stroke this time.
Quote:
Her hands meet something warm and solid and she curls her fingers around it instinctively. Giles.

“It’s alright,” he tells her, squeezing her hand. Looking at her with gentle eyes that hold her and ground her ashore. “Breathe.”

He seems calm and steadfastly faithful in this moment of tumult when her world is being unmade once more. She nods as if to convince herself, holding onto his confidence.

It’ll be alright. It has to be.

Breathe
.

I love that Giles realized Dawn is the one who needs his solace the most in this moment and that he is able to give her hope with his conviction that everything indeed will turn out allright.

My heart aches for Tara who is so certain that the trade Willow made with Osiris will cost her life. An understandable assumption, but I still hope that Willow has thought out a better solution, returning some fraction of spirit/power she unintendedly got from Osiris when the urn was broken but keeping herself and Buffy alive in the process.


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((85/?-January 12th, 2020))
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:11 pm 
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@shirrey:
Even though things turn out okay (happy endings and all that), all this trauma will definitely impact their psyches. Get all of these scoobies into therapy IMMEDIATELY

@Will's redemption:
Dawn could write a novel on her abandonment issues. Poor kid.

The only problem with having such good, astute readers is they're TOO GOOD AND ASTUTE :D
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



It kinda feels like one of those roller coasters, where everything goes topsy-turvy and your stomach turns in the opposite direction, your skin feels like is put on backwards, and your skeleton kinda vibrates and everything keeps moving even after the ride is over and you’re standing still.

If anything, Buffy thinks, as she braces herself on hands and knees on the floor, it’s a keen reminder of why she doesn’t like roller coasters. She gets enough of that out-of-body-adrenalin action in her regular day-to-day, thankyouverymuch.

Quickly as it had all started, Osiris is gone. The storm clouds and lightning evaporate, leaving the living room as normal as it usually is.

Slayer recovery brings her upright again almost instantly—fast enough to see Willow swoon and mumble “S’ok,” woozily- but not quickly enough to catch her before she passes out. Willow slumps awkwardly, face first, into Tara’s arms. Tara’s cheeks are wet and her gaze flickers down to Willow before looking back up to Buffy, dazed and haunted and wild. At that look, the funny amusement park feeling is gone in an instant. Buffy sobers and draws her attention back to Willow.

Xander scrambles past and slides next to Tara, helping her out with Willow’s body. Buffy doesn’t like how floppy and pale she looks.

“She’s alright,” Spike says. “Heartbeat’s steady.” He shrugs at the quizzical looks. “I can smell it.” Despite how much that grosses her out, Buffy’s shoulders relax and she turns to Giles.

“I’m sorry, Buffy. I’ve no idea what just happened. But-” he continues quickly, at her and Tara’s stricken expression,

“Willow seemed to be quite certain. I’m sure when she wakes, she’ll be able to explain.”

She really hopes Willow didn’t do something stupid and self-sacrificial with the god of the dead, because if she did, it’ll all be for nothing cause Buffy’s gonna kill Will herself.

It’s sad that she’s actually looking forward to the biggest problem in her life being homework, Buffy thinks as she makes her way to the redhead sitting alone on the bench outside. Sophomore year, new school, new start, new focus. No more vampires. This is Sunnydale and she’s ready to put everything else behind her. “Uh, hi! Willow, right?”

God, the poor thing seemed like a strong breeze would knock her over, she was so startled and nervous by the
interaction. “Why?! I-I mean, hi! Uh, did you want me to move?”

The unconscious woman in front of her has come a long way from withering under Cordelia’s peripheral vision to withstanding dieties. For the thousandth time in the last few weeks, Buffy wants answers. She slides Willow’s limp hand into her own and squeezes it; she wants them now.

___________________________________________________


There’s no Blackness this time.

Well, sort of.

She’s still unconscious, but it feels different than it had over the summer - not abrupt or frightening, but rather like slowly waking up under soft white sheets. It’s still dark, because, Hello, eyes closed! But she feels safe, warm, and loved.

A smile pulls at the corner of her mouth at the sense-memory. Someone whispers her name, and the smile widens. “Tara,” she murmurs almost sleepily, burrowing herself deeper into the arms surrounding her.

Willow stops. The arm has hair. Like, a lot of hair. She cracks an eye open. “. . . Xander?”

“Will,” he exhales in relief. She dips slightly, and Willow realizes there’s more than one body under hers. Another arm, smoother and softer, is gripping her tightly, and she follows it up to meet the very worried gaze of Tara.

“Tara,” Willow sighs, eyes fluttering with relief. She was so sure, before the transference. But still, part of her was afraid to wake up again in a world where Tara no longer existed. Tara’s face sags in relief at Willow’s movement, and Willow grips her arm tighter not wanting to let go.

“Oof,” Willow grunts, as Dawn throws herself into them, hugging her tightly. “It’s okay, Dawnie, it’s okay,” Willow says, returning the hug.

“Will,” it’s Buffy’s turn to press, “What the hell just happened?”

For the first time since May, Willow doesn’t feel like she’s woken from one nightmare into another. Tara is safe. Buffy is alright. She knows what happened. It’s all going to be okay. The bright white of their future shines straight ahead.

Willow smiles.

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((87/?-January 23rd, 2020))
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:57 pm 
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Dibs! :whip
Thank god (or the gods/goddesses in this case?) that Willow and Buffy are allright!
Quote:
“She’s alright,” Spike says. “Heartbeat’s steady.” He shrugs at the quizzical looks. “I can smell it.”

I would have expected that he can hear it, but what do I know about vampire senses...

Quote:
She really hopes Willow didn’t do something stupid and self-sacrificial with the god of the dead, because if she did, it’ll all be for nothing cause Buffy’s gonna kill Will herself.

:laugh
Quote:
“Tara,” she murmurs almost sleepily, burrowing herself deeper into the arms surrounding her.

Willow stops. The arm has hair. Like, a lot of hair. She cracks an eye open. “. . . Xander?”

Another funny moment!

Quote:
For the first time since May, Willow doesn’t feel like she’s woken from one nightmare into another. Tara is safe. Buffy is alright. She knows what happened. It’s all going to be okay. The bright white of their future shines straight ahead.

This sounds very promising indeed! I agree with Buffy though, I want the explanation now. Is there a chance that you'll post the next chapter this weekend? I would be very grateful! :bow :applause


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((87/?-January 23rd, 2020))
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:02 pm 
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Quote:
Even though things turn out okay (happy endings and all that), all this trauma will definitely impact their psyches. Get all of these scoobies into therapy IMMEDIATELY


there has to be some Sunnydale witch with an MFT that could make a killing treating folks with Supernatural-related trauma

Quote:
If anything, Buffy thinks, as she braces herself on hands and knees on the floor, it’s a keen reminder of why she doesn’t like roller coasters. She gets enough of that out-of-body-adrenalin action in her regular day-to-day, thankyouverymuch.


this is so Buffy

Willow definitely has come into herself- through trials of fire, but she is emerging triumphant and a better, happier person

I want answers too!! Can't wait for more

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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((87/?-January 23rd, 2020))
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:32 am 
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@Will's redemption:
Quote:
I would have expected that he can hear it, but what do I know about vampire senses...

You know quite a bit, actually. I'm just an idiot, because of course sound work work just as well. Spike can totally hear Willow's heartbeat, so let's just say he went for saying he could smell it too bc it was more uncouth XD

@shirrey:
Quote:
there has to be some Sunnydale witch with an MFT that could make a killing treating folks with Supernatural-related trauma

Skype sessions with the Coven therapists? (Though I love the idea of there being a low-key non-violent demon or something who has an interest in human psychology and just operates under the table therapy)


Here we go everyone. Answers, finally.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


“Buffy,” Willow begins a little while later, sipping a glass of orange juice. ”You were the key.”

They’ve moved to the couch, Willow sitting between Xander and Tara, who hasn’t let go of her hand since.

“Um, hello,” Dawn waves, “Sitting right here. I thought it was pretty well established that I was The Key?”

“You are,” Willow affirms. “You’re The Key-Key. Buffy was the key to what happened with this. Lower-case key.”

“See, Dawnie?” Xander claps her shoulder, “You’re still the only super special mystical ball of energy in town.” Dawn rolls her eyes and crosses her arms in a very teenager-like way.

It took a few minutes for Willow to feel well enough to make it to an upright seated position, let alone a chair, though she still looked quite pale. Anya had suggested the high sugar content of juice to perk up Willow, who smiled gratefully at the suggestion and gladly accepted a glass. Soon she was able to continue her story.

“It all started last summer, when we brought you back.”

“It was wrong,” Anya interjects, as if proud of her moral compass, “I knew it.”

“No,” Willow says quickly with a frown. “Well, yes, maybe. But, it went wrong.”

Eyes trained on Willow, no one notices Buffy freeze at the words, or Tara sliding an arm over to hold Buffy’s hand. She squeezes it tightly, giving Buffy an intense look that leaves no room for disagreement.

“It didn’t go wrong,” Willow huffs frustrated, as her words trip over themselves. “I mean, we didn’t do it incorrectly. The spell did what it was supposed to. But we were interrupted.”

“The bikers,” Xander recalls with a snap of his fingers. “They ran over the Urn thingy, breaking it while we were doing that scary channeling thing.”

“Oh my god,” Anya mutters. “And he flew—”

“Straight into Willow and Buffy,” finishes Giles, who had taken off his glasses no fewer than three times in the span of five minutes.

“Pieces of him did,” Willow explains. “His essence was fractured along with the Urn.”

“So then why did he recognize me just now, and not Anya or Xander?” Tara asks. “They were there too.”

At the question, Willow turns somber as shame again flickers across her face. “Because of where you were.” She meets Tara’s gaze, “Tara, I’m so sorry.” Her voice cracks, “It was me. I did this to you. When you died. It’s why I was so easily able to summon him.”

“You didn’t need ingredients to beckon Osiris; part of him was inside you already,” Giles understands. “Tara’s spirit must have still been lingering in the room after . . . after her death. And wherever Willow banished him to, she was accidentally swept along. His prison must have taken the form of what it was ensnared in . . .” he finishes, looking at Tara, “You.”

Everyone is quiet—processing—when Spike suddenly blurts out, “That’s why it bloody looked like Sunnydale.”

Hot tears fall with Willow’s nod. Giles twists his glasses. “And why Tara couldn’t perform any magics. It was a soul dimension of sorts, devoid of mystical energy aside from itself. There was no source of power or energy, so to speak, to connect to.”

“Until Spike,” chirps Anya.

“Until me,” Spike echoes.

Tara frowns, a look of intense concentration on her face as she stitches the pieces of the story together. “Spike’s body was grounded to the world, but his soul connected on the plane I was in. And through his soul, I was able to reach magic on earth.”

“Hang on, this is all well and good n’all, but that doesn’t explain what just happened with Willow and Buffy.” Spike says insistently, and with a growing lack of patience. “Why were the two of you glowing?”

“I made a trade.” This, Willow is confident about. Her voice turns strong and even. “Giving Osiris the fragment of himself still inside Buffy for him leaving us alone.”

“You offered to return part of his spirit in exchange for taking nothing in return,” Giles confirms.

“Are you crazy?” Anya gapes, “Do you have any idea how insanely useful it is to have the help of a god in your back pocket? Need I remind you people, being able to call in godly favors comes in really handy in our line of work?”

Willow shakes her head, “It doesn’t matter. It wasn’t worth it.”

“What could possibly be worth giving up a favor that big?” Anya asks incredulously. “You do remember the giant snake, right? And the hellgod?”

Having not spoken this entire time, everyone turns as Buffy finally finds her voice, “We couldn’t risk him leaving with something that belongs to us.” But her eyes, and Willow’s, are focused only on one person - Tara.

______________________________________________________________


She hadn’t granted herself many comforts over the last several months but now, Willow snuggles contentedly into the veritable army of pillows and sips hot chocolate with a happy sigh. Her body is still a little heavy and uncoordinated, unable to make it up the stairs on her own, but warmth and strength infuses with each sip.

“I feel so fancy. Like a princess.” she giggled drunkenly.

“Well don’t get too used to it, princess,” Xander grunted, “Next time you walk up the stairs yourself.”

“Hey, I tried, but none of you would let me.”

“Your own body wouldn’t let you, Will.”

The logic was sound, but she still pouted. “I bet Buffy wouldn’t have had such a hard time carrying me.”

“Yeah, well, she didn’t call dibs fast enough, so the honor goes to your oldest, bestest friend.”

“You didn’t have to call dibs, y’know.” A beat. The suspiciousness of it settles. “Wait. You didn’t have to. Buffy could carry me as easily as a sack of potatoes. Why’d you call dibs?”

Xander sighs, knowing the gig is up.

“Because, as your oldest and bestest friend, I needed to tell ya something.” Willow sobers immediately at Xander’s serious tone.

“During the spell down there, I...I thought the worst of you, Will. Seeing you there, glowing, all magicked up, it made me remember after the bluff when there was no more magic, and I was...glad. I could do something, I knew how to help you. Everything was awful, but somehow, it felt like I’d finally gotten you back. Just...Willow. No magic, just...my Willow. The way it used to be. It was selfish and mean that I liked you when you were at your lowest. I don’t want to be the kind of person who only feels strong when the people around me are weak.”

“Xander.”

He won’t meet her eyes. “Xander,” she repeats gently. His eyes are shining and his burden heavy. It’s unfair for him to carry something that he shouldn’t. “For a long time I thought being strong was about having power,” she explains. “I know what true strength is now, Xander, because you reminded me. That day on the bluff, you were stronger than me, than Buffy, or Giles - anyone. Strength isn’t about power. It’s about who you are, how you love, and what you do with it.”

He doesn’t seem entirely convinces. “Historically, I haven’t had the greatest track record of that. Just ask Anya.”

“That’s the thing about history, Xan. We can learn from it.” A glint of light seems to penetrate his darkness. They share a knowing smile; having faced their own rock bottoms and created an even stronger foundation. “Now come, squire,” Willow encourages in a bright voice, playful banter returning like a welcome friend. This darkness is behind them now. “Take me to the royal chambers.”

Xander grins and poses dramatically. “As you wish, my lady.”

Exhaustion catches up with her as she rests -truly rests- since before Glory. The past few weeks since Tara’s return have been filled with sleepless nights of desperate research and anxiety and the months before with an empty aching inevitability of starting over. The previous two years have held nothing but death. The last time she’d been almost this content and relaxed was probably when it clung to her in red silken sheets the morning Tara died. It almost feels strange, soaking up leisure. As if she doesn’t even recognize it. Between the itching of the Blackness and gaping maw of rebuilding a broken life, she’d forgotten what stillness felt like. True stillness. When the sound and fury and chaos of life stills to a meditative quiet, without the whispering shame or flushed guilt in the way. In this peace, she hears a still, small voice. Here, in the quiet, she knows who she is; everything she’s always had the capacity to be - the good, the bad, the easy choices and the hard ones. She’s finally...just Willow.

A gentle knock on the door jam pulls her from her thoughts. The hot chocolate still has a little warmth left in it. Willow looks up as the door opens and smiles.

She’s home.

_________________
Lotus


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((89/?-January 28th, 2020))
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:28 pm 
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Dibs!

I feel all puddl-y gooey.

Brilliant using Buffy as the catalyst- it makes so much sense that parts of Osiris would have seeped into her. I wonder what effect that had on Buffy as she lived with a piece of a god within her

Quote:
“We couldn’t risk him leaving with something that belongs to us.” But her eyes, and Willow’s, are focused only on one person - Tara.


and this is it- this is what is important, not the power, not the upper hand, but the people you love.

Quote:
I don’t want to be the kind of person who only feels strong when the people around me are weak.”


aw Xander!! it takes a lot of courage to recognize and admit that- look at them all growing up!! ::sniff::

Quote:
. Strength isn’t about power. It’s about who you are, how you love, and what you do with it.


says it all :flower

Quote:
Here, in the quiet, she knows who she is; everything she’s always had the capacity to be - the good, the bad, the easy choices and the hard ones. She’s finally...just Willow.


this reminds me a bit of Terra Firma (I'm not just saying that) this is a rebirth into ground that is solid and rich and layered. Beautiful!!

Quote:
She’s home.


I... just.... :((

I have questions!!! and you didn't write 'the end', so I am hoping and being patient but....

what exactly happened between Buffy and Tara when Tara first arrived? with the glowing yellow? was it Osiris joining himself? or just a recognition? was it Isis and Osiris making a connection?? stir in some flour and make an ancient god cookie??

so Tara was in a soul dimension- dead but not dead? not dead because of Osiris or because her soul didn't pass all the way? the second sounds more like it- so again, even though Willow put Tara there, she also saved her life. All good all around.

~ shirrey

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You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((89/?-January 28th, 2020))
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:01 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
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Yay for Willow giving some answers - but like Shirrey I'm left with more questions.
Quote:
“Oh my god,” Anya mutters. “And he flew—”

“Straight into Willow and Buffy,” finishes Giles, who had taken off his glasses no fewer than three times in the span of five minutes.

“Pieces of him did,” Willow explains. “His essence was fractured along with the Urn.”

Quote:
“I made a trade.” This, Willow is confident about. Her voice turns strong and even. “Giving Osiris the fragment of himself still inside Buffy for him leaving us alone.”

And what about the Osiris-fragment inside Willow? Was he already united with it when Willow summoned him after Tara's death? Or was this fragment the stuff out of which she (totally subconsciously) built the "prison" Osiris (and accidentally Tara) were banished into? I'm also wondering why Tara never "met" Osiris in this "Sunnyhell"-prison. Did it collapse when Isis granted Tara the spell for her freedom, thereby freeing Osiris as well? Or was he stuck in there until Willow and Tara summoned him just now?

Little side-note:
Quote:
Anya had suggested the high sugar content of juice to perk up Willow, who smiled gratefully at the suggestion and gladly accepted a glass.

I'm touched that Anya thought of that and showed real care for Willow's well-being.

Quote:
“Tara, I’m so sorry.” Her voice cracks, “It was me. I did this to you. When you died.

I hope Willow will overcome this particular guilt. Granted the months Tara spent in there in total isolation kind of felt like hell for her. But on the other hand if she just went to heaven where she belonged Tara would never have been able to return to the world of the living of her own volition.

Quote:
“You didn’t have to call dibs, y’know.” A beat. The suspiciousness of it settles. “Wait. You didn’t have to. Buffy could carry me as easily as a sack of potatoes. Why’d you call dibs?”

Xander sighs, knowing the gig is up.

“Because, as your oldest and bestest friend, I needed to tell ya something.” Willow sobers immediately at Xander’s serious tone.

“During the spell down there, I...I thought the worst of you, Will. Seeing you there, glowing, all magicked up, it made me remember after the bluff when there was no more magic, and I was...glad. I could do something, I knew how to help you. Everything was awful, but somehow, it felt like I’d finally gotten you back. Just...Willow. No magic, just...my Willow. The way it used to be. It was selfish and mean that I liked you when you were at your lowest. I don’t want to be the kind of person who only feels strong when the people around me are weak.”

It really shows what a long way they all have come that Xander immediately tells Willow about his thoughts, feelings and memories during the spell which he regrets instead of trying to forget / bottle it all up because the crisis has been averted.

Quote:
“Xander,” she repeats gently. His eyes are shining and his burden heavy. It’s unfair for him to carry something that he shouldn’t. “For a long time I thought being strong was about having power,” she explains. “I know what true strength is now, Xander, because you reminded me. That day on the bluff, you were stronger than me, than Buffy, or Giles - anyone. Strength isn’t about power. It’s about who you are, how you love, and what you do with it.”

He doesn’t seem entirely convinces. “Historically, I haven’t had the greatest track record of that. Just ask Anya.”

“That’s the thing about history, Xan. We can learn from it.” A glint of light seems to penetrate his darkness. They share a knowing smile; having faced their own rock bottoms and created an even stronger foundation.

Awww! :flower I love that Willow's words pick Xander up (just as he literally picked her up). Their friendship is holding strong. Now I just hope that sometimes in the near future they will sit down together with some mochas etc. and have a long talk about their memories of Jesse.

Quote:
Exhaustion catches up with her as she rests -truly rests- since before Glory. The past few weeks since Tara’s return have been filled with sleepless nights of desperate research and anxiety and the months before with an empty aching inevitability of starting over. The previous two years have held nothing but death. The last time she’d been almost this content and relaxed was probably when it clung to her in red silken sheets the morning Tara died. It almost feels strange, soaking up leisure. As if she doesn’t even recognize it. Between the itching of the Blackness and gaping maw of rebuilding a broken life, she’d forgotten what stillness felt like. True stillness. When the sound and fury and chaos of life stills to a meditative quiet, without the whispering shame or flushed guilt in the way. In this peace, she hears a still, small voice. Here, in the quiet, she knows who she is; everything she’s always had the capacity to be - the good, the bad, the easy choices and the hard ones. She’s finally...just Willow.

I'm so glad that Willow has found her peace and her true self again.
I'm sure the person that's just entering is Tara. I'm really looking forward to their conversation - and some lovemaking to celebrate the secured permanence of their reunion couldn't hurt either… :wink


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((89/?-January 28th, 2020))
PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2020 9:04 pm 
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I didn't realize it's been a month since the last chapter, I'm so sorry! Bad author.

I had actually written FB and formatted the post last Friday but the whole thing got deleted when I tried to hit submit and was too frustrated to attempt again until today. So, double sorry.

@shirrey:
Quote:
this reminds me a bit of Terra Firma (I'm not just saying that) this is a rebirth into ground that is solid and rich and layered.

You know how much this means to me. There is no higher praise, thank you <3 <3

And yes, don't worry it's not the end yet!
Quote:
what exactly happened between Buffy and Tara when Tara first arrived? with the glowing yellow? was it Osiris joining himself? or just a recognition? was it Isis and Osiris making a connection?? stir in some flour and make an ancient god cookie??

so Tara was in a soul dimension- dead but not dead? not dead because of Osiris or because her soul didn't pass all the way? the second sounds more like it- so again, even though Willow put Tara there, she also saved her life. All good all around.



It was more like pieces of Osiris vibrating on a similar frequency as they came into contact and recognized each other. But with a little more...oompf :)

And correct! Tara in soul dimension not really dead but kind of just...in limbo. Definitely an 'oh shit, this was bad but also maybe not entirely terrible? It's all kinda...complicated. There's a lot Willow's still gotta work on, forgiveness wise, but she'll get there. Now she's got a Tara to help, which doesn't hurt :)

@Will's redemption:

Quote:
And what about the Osiris-fragment inside Willow? Was he already united with it when Willow summoned him after Tara's death? Or was this fragment the stuff out of which she (totally subconsciously) built the "prison" Osiris (and accidentally Tara) were banished into? I'm also wondering why Tara never "met" Osiris in this "Sunnyhell"-prison. Did it collapse when Isis granted Tara the spell for her freedom, thereby freeing Osiris as well? Or was he stuck in there until Willow and Tara summoned him just now?

Here's hoping the next bit makes any lick of sense. *Deep breath*

There were two fragments of Osiris that broke off during the resurrection spell. One flew into Willow, who was channeling the spell itself, and the other into Buffy, who was receiving the effects of the spell.

After Tara died, Willow unknowingly summoned Osiris through the fragment already inside of her, it's why she could summon him so easily without an urn, crystals, or other people to act as spell participants. She then also unknowingly banished him with her scream of rage, which got caught up in Tara's essence, which was still lingering in the room just after her death. Osiris' banishment took the form of a prison of Tara's essence, which it got accidentally stuck in. So yeah, Willow's fragment is what she built the prison he was banished into. And Tara never met Osiris because he *was* the prison. He was powering it, so to speak. So there was no 'physical' form for her to interact with as it was being used as a battery (sort of) for Sunnyhell. And yes, it collapsed with Tara's resurrection. I guess that fragment 'rejoined' his larger essence.

Now, that still leaves one piece in Buffy, the piece that allowed Spike to hurt her in S6 without his chip hurting, because it registered part of her as non-human. That piece is what Willow used as a bargaining chip to have him leave in peace and Tara with them.

Clear as mud, right?

Quote:
I'm touched that Anya thought of that and showed real care for Willow's well-being.
me too! I didn't plan on writing that, but Anya had plans of her own. She does care, just in her own way.

Quote:
It really shows what a long way they all have come that Xander immediately tells Willow about his thoughts
Babies coming so far *sniff*

Quote:
I'm really looking forward to their conversation - and some lovemaking to celebrate the secured permanence of their reunion couldn't hurt either… :wink
I'm just going to come right out and say that I cannot for the life of me write smut. Wish I could, but the most I've ever come close to is heavy kissing and electric ~feelings. I apologize in advance there there won't be a sex scene in this fic, but I can provide a list of my favorite W/T...reunions as recompense. Sorrryyy ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Dawn was glad to have her bed back again.

Not that sleepovers weren’t fun and having Tara back was...god, there wasn’t even a word for it, but Dawn definitely missed being able to sprawl without having to worry about smacking someone in the face. Plus, when her bedmate kept shifting and waking at all hours, it was kind of difficult to get a good night’s sleep. She loved Tara, of course she did, but that didn’t stop a happy sigh from escaping as she flopped openly on her bed like a starfish.

It’s funny, Dawn thought, how awkwardly Tara had broached the topic. She was in the middle of her evening routine when Tara had knocked on the bathroom door and asked if she could talk to her about something. Tara had gnawed her lip and looked a little guilty as she stumbled through asking if would be okay to sleep in Willow’s room tonight.

If Dawn hadn’t been so unbelievably thrilled, she would have rolled her eyes. It was obvious that something had shifted between them the night the evil apparitions had come for everyone.

It takes her a moment to figure out what it is that seems so off. But as soon as she crosses the threshold and turns towards the dining room, it becomes perfectly clear. Willow and Tara are both in the kitchen, laughing softly together, unaware of Dawn’s presence. They look . . . relaxed. Loose. For a moment, Dawn is dizzy with deja vu, remembering back to last summer and the countless times she’d walked onto this very scene. But it had been so long; it had been lifetimes.

The only thing Willow and Tara did these days was skirt around each other, Willow in her cocoon of worry and guilt; Tara in her bubble of quiet but conflicted anger. They barely spoke to each other this past week. And, Dawn wonders, had they even touched?

Now they’re standing practically hip to hip at the sink, passing dishes back and forth to wash.

Dawn stands gaping, absorbing the scene in front of her, afraid if she moves or blinks, it will disappear like a dream and she’ll wake up. She stands so quietly, it takes them a while to notice her. It’s Tara who finally catches her out of the corner of her eye. She blushes, almost shyly, before glancing quickly at Willow, who turns to follow Tara’s gaze, and blushes in turn when she makes eye contact with Dawn.

As they face her, Dawn notices how rough they each look. Sees the exhaustion crusted around their swollen eyes, yet there’s somehow a brightness to them that gives off an aura of freshness. Or maybe it’s the way they approach each other, as familiar and united as two parts of the same. Their shyness, now, reminds her of that morning all those months ago, of catching the two of them together in the hallway, flushed and blushing and in love.

Barely holding back a squeal, she’d given a good-natured eye roll and simply said “Omigod, Tara, please. You don’t have to ask if it’s okay to sleep with your girlfriend.” She’d flushed at the unintended phrasing, but Tara didn’t seem to catch it.

“She’s...we’re not…” she stammered instead, unable to form a coherent sentence.

Dawn’s heart plummeted at having caused distress. “Hey,” she interjected quickly, trying to ease Tara’s discomfort, “It’s okay if you guys don’t know what you are yet.” Tara shot her a grateful look. “But,” now it was Dawn’s turn to look sheepish as she couldn’t help herself from asking, “Is there a ‘yet’?”

“It’s still early,” Tara tempered expectations, as if trying to tell Dawn not to get her hopes too high yet. “There’s still a lot to work through on both sides and we’re not skipping anything this time, so we’ll take it slow. But after everything the last few days….” Tara tries in vain to stop a smile from taking over her entire face. That more than answers the question and Dawn doesn’t remember the last time she’d seen her so happy.

There wasn’t anything to say after that, except more excited smiles and some well-earned giggles.

It feels like things are starting to fit right again. Maybe even for the first time, really. Like the last few months - no, years- had been a bad dream and they were slowly leaving it all behind where it belonged. Every passing hour the nightmares fade further until the very shape of them is blurry and distant and they are merely wisps of ghosts with no names.

Two people she loved torn unfairly from her came back and there weren’t miracles enough for it. Though, she thinks wryly, she isn’t too keen to try it a third time. If people could just stop dying in the first place, that would be way better. Dawn hugs her pillow and lets out a happy squeal, just because. She’d stopped updating her diary some time last year when everything was so miserable, there hadn’t felt like a point. Now, though, there were things worth writing again. Pulling it out from the nightstand she cracks it open, turns to a clean page, and smiles.

_______________________________________________________

Tara stretched and sighed into her pillow, sunlight warming her back against the soft, soothing sound of ocean waves kissing the shore. It took a moment for that to process and Tara straightened up in alarm, staring at a wide, empty expanse of beach located near the water’s edge. Receding waves reach just to the edges of the bedskirt, and Tara gaped, dumbfounded.

“I always found the place where the land meets the sea to be a magical one.”

Though she swore no one had been there a moment ago, suddenly a woman materialized a few feet from the bed. Though she appeared to be a beautiful woman in her mid 60s, there’s something more ancient to her long, narrow face as if she’s survived far too many things. “It can be rather contemplative, don’t you think?” she mused conversationally, angling her head toward Tara.

Something vaguely familiar hummed at the back of her mind, but Tara couldn’t quite place it. “Do I know you?” she queried with a squint.

“I should hope so,” the woman replied with a patient but amused look. “You did pray to me after all.”

Isis.

“Your Holiness,” Tara bowed hastily, flustered and awed.

“Oh come now, child, none of that,” Isis chided. “I wasn’t fond of the cult of worship thousands of years ago, and I don’t like it now. Please do stand. That’s better,” she said as Tara rose, blushing.

“You worry, about there being a debt owed for the actions earlier today. You did not ask me for renewed life, Tara. You were given it as a gift and gifts do not come with a price: they are given freely. Like love. And trust.”

Though Tara yearned for the words to be true, she found she could not let go. “But...I was always taught to respect the proper order of all things. Was it natural, my coming back?”

“What is ‘natural’?” Isis gestures with her hand rhetorically. “Osiris’ resurrection was no less natural than yours. Both of you had natural deaths, but so were your resurrections in the cosmic order of things. I have the power over fate itself, my child. My dear husband likes to forget it was I who found the pieces of him scattered across Egypt and put him back together again. In reuniting the fragments of him once more, you were able to be restored as well.”

Tara frowned in confusion, “So, I’m back on a technicality?” She couldn’t help but feel unsatisfied by the answer.

“No, of course not,” Isis scoffed, “I’m a god, I don’t bow to ‘technicalities’. My husband deals with Justice, which can be cold and hard. Life does enough of that on it’s own. Besides, what is ‘Just’ does not always mean it is fair. So I granted you your plea. Your death was not your choice; it so rarely is for humans. But your life, however, is what you choose it to be.”

“But…” Tara stammered for words, desperate to try and express what she had so feared and still does not understand,

“Why me?” Why me and not others? Why me and not my mother? Why not the thousands who die as cruelly or unfairly and are just as worthy of a second chance? “I-I didn’t want-”

Isis interrupted gently, as if taking pity on her. “It is precisely because you did not expect life to be given to you that it was granted. A true prayer is not to express hope that the future bends to your will, but to experience closeness to the divine- appreciation of the gods’ bounties, connection with the rest of creation, discovery in the meaning of your life, and a sense of wholeness and peace.* That is what true prayer is, Tara. And that is exactly what you did.”

It had been a long time since Tara felt cared for and basked in a motherly glow. A great swell of love rose through her and she wiped away tears that she only just realized were there careen down her cheeks. A lightness she’d felt few times since her mother died - like that night in the Magic Shop when a new family had chosen her, claimed her as their own, freeing her from the past and giving her the endless possibility of a bright, shining future all her own - chokes through her tears and breaks through in laughter. Hope swells. “Is it really over?” she smiles wetly, overcome.

“No, my child,” Isis said with infinite tenderness, cupping Tara’s cheek as the light shines so brightly it slowly encapsulates the ocean and Isis herself in its’ glow. “It is only beginning.”

Tara blinks. Darkness thrums back at her, memories of a dream fading away like the tide against the shore. She frowns, not knowing why she feels a little sad to have woken, but a feeling of a sublime peacefulness lingers. The feeling grows as the rest of her senses register the scene around her: the warmth of Willow; the smell of her shampoo; the soft steady sound of her breathing. And the particular familiar way she’s managed to hog the covers, twisted up inside like a little Willow burrito. Tara quirks a groggy grin and shakes her head.

She represses the urge to snuggle up next to Willow, not wishing to disturb her slumber, settling for a feather-light forehead kiss instead, and heads downstairs. Willow hums, an unconscious smile pulling at her lips. Shuffling towards the muted glow coming from the kitchen, Tara remarks how strange it is that the dining room is no longer a research station.

Somehow she isn’t surprised to see Buffy sitting at the kitchen island nursing a beer. There’s an eerie familiarity of having seen the Buffybot at the same spot numerous times. This Buffy though, of flesh and blood, turns at the sound of footsteps. She stands, wordlessly passes Tara, opens the fridge and hands her a cold bottle before heading back to her stool. Tara takes the seat next to her and fumbles with the lid for a moment before giving up and handing it back to Buffy, who pops the lid off effortlessly with a flick of her thumb.

“Will still out?”

Tara nods as she angles the bottle up for a deep swig. “Like a light.” They sit side-by-side in mellow silence in the kitchen glow.

“So,” Buffy recaps slowly, after Tara takes a few sips, “I didn’t have a cosmic sunburn.”

“Nope,” Tara says measuredly. “Apparently you had part of a god in you and I was accidentally part of his mystical prison.”

“Huh,” Buffy grunts.

“Yeah.”

“Huh,” she repeats, not blinking or changing facial expression.

“Yeah.” Tara takes a long swig of her beer. Processing is quiet, even as it thunders through them with each heartbeat.

“How long has he been out there?” Tara motions to the door, where the porch light illuminates Spike’s outline against the darkness.

“Long enough that I’m starting to smell like an ashtray.” Tara’s nose scrunches in disgust. Buffy takes a sip as she fingers the label, peeling off the bottle from condensation. “Do you think it’ll get easier, the forgiving?” She looks almost embarrassed at having voiced the admission.

Tara can see the conflict warring in Buffy the same way it waged battle in her over the last several weeks. She thinks back to her own anger at Willow, the anger that felt like it would swallow her whole and never let her go. Anger that felt like it would consume the world in another abyss of loss.

Buffy’s words from days before about the world moving without her had rung true. Everyone else had six months’ head start on healing and forgiving Willow under their belt, and it was only in the past few days that Tara’s begun to not feel consumed by her anger and grief, able to find a foothold and follow the rest of the Scoobies down the same path.

Tara stops fiddling with the bottle and places it on the table, mulling the question. “I think forgiveness is a lot like love; it shouldn’t sit there like a stone.** But I don’t think it’s something we should carry, either. It’s too heavy; we have to put it down and let it go.”

Buffy looks off into the distance. “That price you mentioned earlier? I think we’ve all paid it. It feels...done. I dunno why I know that, but I do. Slayer-Deep. Something else- something bigger- is most definitely going on, but this? This whole thing with you? It’s over, you’re home. For good.” Buffy raises her beer and Tara joins her as their bottles clink celebratorily. “And if not?” Buffy adds with a shrug while Tara is mid-swig, “I’ve killed gods before. One more won’t be hard.”

Tara’s surprised that the part of her that had tugged with such doubt and uncertainty is quiet. Without knowing why, Tara smells salt and ocean and finds herself believing Buffy with a steady sureness. It’s over. She takes Buffy’s hand in her own, and Tara is on firm ground***, exactly where she belongs.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
*From either Siddur Lev Shalem or Machzor Lev Shalem, I'm not sure which
**Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven, inspired by Tulipp's Bread
***Terra Firma by Tulipp

_________________
Lotus


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((91/?-March 2nd, 2020))
PostPosted: Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:12 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Dibs! :whip
Thanks for your explanations in your replies to the comments, they (and what Isis said in the Tara's dream) did clear things up for me.
Quote:
Barely holding back a squeal, she’d given a good-natured eye roll and simply said “Omigod, Tara, please. You don’t have to ask if it’s okay to sleep with your girlfriend.” She’d flushed at the unintended phrasing, but Tara didn’t seem to catch it.

“She’s...we’re not…” she stammered instead, unable to form a coherent sentence.

Dawn’s heart plummeted at having caused distress. “Hey,” she interjected quickly, trying to ease Tara’s discomfort, “It’s okay if you guys don’t know what you are yet.” Tara shot her a grateful look. “But,” now it was Dawn’s turn to look sheepish as she couldn’t help herself from asking, “Is there a ‘yet’?”

“It’s still early,” Tara tempered expectations, as if trying to tell Dawn not to get her hopes too high yet. “There’s still a lot to work through on both sides and we’re not skipping anything this time, so we’ll take it slow. But after everything the last few days….” Tara tries in vain to stop a smile from taking over her entire face. That more than answers the question and Dawn doesn’t remember the last time she’d seen her so happy.

That exchange surprised me a little, I was sure Willow and Tara had resumed their relationship and defined each other as girlfriends again already (what with them being inseperable the last days).

Quote:
“You worry, about there being a debt owed for the actions earlier today. You did not ask me for renewed life, Tara. You were given it as a gift and gifts do not come with a price: they are given freely. Like love. And trust.”

Quote:
“It is precisely because you did not expect life to be given to you that it was granted. A true prayer is not to express hope that the future bends to your will, but to experience closeness to the divine- appreciation of the gods’ bounties, connection with the rest of creation, discovery in the meaning of your life, and a sense of wholeness and peace.* That is what true prayer is, Tara. And that is exactly what you did.”

It had been a long time since Tara felt cared for and basked in a motherly glow. A great swell of love rose through her and she wiped away tears that she only just realized were there careen down her cheeks. A lightness she’d felt few times since her mother died - like that night in the Magic Shop when a new family had chosen her, claimed her as their own, freeing her from the past and giving her the endless possibility of a bright, shining future all her own - chokes through her tears and breaks through in laughter. Hope swells. “Is it really over?” she smiles wetly, overcome.

“No, my child,” Isis said with infinite tenderness, cupping Tara’s cheek as the light shines so brightly it slowly encapsulates the ocean and Isis herself in its’ glow. “It is only beginning.”

Isis is much more likeable than Osiris. I'm glad that she set Tara at ease.

Quote:
Tara’s surprised that the part of her that had tugged with such doubt and uncertainty is quiet. Without knowing why, Tara smells salt and ocean and finds herself believing Buffy with a steady sureness. It’s over. She takes Buffy’s hand in her own, and Tara is on firm ground***, exactly where she belongs.

It's probably for the best that Tara doesn't remember Isis visiting her in her dream after she's woken up and that only the feeling of peace remains.

Quote:
“I think forgiveness is a lot like love; it shouldn’t sit there like a stone.** But I don’t think it’s something we should carry, either. It’s too heavy; we have to put it down and let it go.”

Again Tara shows her wisdom.

Quote:
Buffy looks off into the distance. “That price you mentioned earlier? I think we’ve all paid it. It feels...done. I dunno why I know that, but I do. Slayer-Deep. Something else- something bigger- is most definitely going on, but this? This whole thing with you? It’s over, you’re home. For good.” Buffy raises her beer and Tara joins her as their bottles clink celebratorily. “And if not?” Buffy adds with a shrug while Tara is mid-swig, “I’ve killed gods before. One more won’t be hard.”

I'm glad that Buffy found her peace of mind too. Maybe she also had a dream?
But instead of worrying about having to kill a god she will probably have to worry again about stopping and killing the First soon…


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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((91/?-March 2nd, 2020))
PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2020 4:33 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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dammit Rachel, how do you do it??? This is was SO GOOD

I love the Dawn pov- she's matured a bit and it feels fitting within this story- everyone has had to mature, get more grounded

Quote:
Dawn definitely missed being able to sprawl without having to worry about smacking someone in the face. Plus, when her bedmate kept shifting and waking at all hours, it was kind of difficult to get a good night’s sleep.


It's not surprising that Tara is not sleeping well, but hearing it from Dawn's perspective its just so sad. Luckily she has Willow arms to keep her all snuggled and safe again. That said, I was also a little surprised that Tara seemed so hesitant to define the relationship between she and Willow, especially after their lovely talk on the porch- but I guess they haven't actually said- hey, wanna be gf's again?

Quote:
There wasn’t anything to say after that, except more excited smiles and some well-earned giggles.
definitely well-earned, it's lovely to see them be giddy together- I love teh Tara/ Dawn relationship so much

Quote:
“What is ‘natural’?” Isis gestures with her hand rhetorically. “Osiris’ resurrection was no less natural than yours. Both of you had natural deaths, but so were your resurrections in the cosmic order of things. I have the power over fate itself, my child. My dear husband likes to forget it was I who found the pieces of him scattered across Egypt and put him back together again. In reuniting the fragments of him once more, you were able to be restored as well.”


wow yes!! I LOVE this interpretation!!! of course it's not that simple- not even life and death. Question: if Tara was resurrected- or brought back fully- when the pieces of Osiris were pieced back together, did she only fully return when Buffy and Willow did that spell? or maybe when the three of them touched when Tara first arrived- they pulled her fully into the living world.

Quote:
Tara frowned in confusion, “So, I’m back on a technicality?” She couldn’t help but feel unsatisfied by the answer.

“No, of course not,” Isis scoffed, “I’m a god, I don’t bow to ‘technicalities’. My husband deals with Justice, which can be cold and hard. Life does enough of that on it’s own. Besides, what is ‘Just’ does not always mean it is fair. So I granted you your plea. Your death was not your choice; it so rarely is for humans. But your life, however, is what you choose it to be.”


Isis rocks. How refreshing to see a god who is just doing their thing and not obsessed with power (the cult thing) and yet knows their power and uses it well. She is so empowering for Tara and it is empowering what Tara is already- patient and wise and respectful- and Tara is granted what she wants yet hasn't asked for- I remember the part when Tara basically gives herself to Isis, not knowing the outcome trust is given freely- thank you for bringing this back.

And Tara so needs that warm motherly embrace. so sweet.

Quote:
She frowns, not knowing why she feels a little sad to have woken, but a feeling of a sublime peacefulness lingers.


this is such a truth- loss leaves us grieving, even if the time was wonderful


Tara is waking up to a Willow burrito :heart

Quote:
She stands, wordlessly passes Tara, opens the fridge and hands her a cold bottle before heading back to her stool. Tara takes the seat next to her and fumbles with the lid for a moment before giving up and handing it back to Buffy, who pops the lid off effortlessly with a flick of her thumb.


There is such a familiar comfort in this exchange- these women know each other- i love it. Also, thank you for letting Tara have a beer. No matter how sweet someone is, sometimes we all just need a beer. (or a whiskey ymmv)

Quote:
Tara stops fiddling with the bottle and places it on the table, mulling the question. “I think forgiveness is a lot like love; it shouldn’t sit there like a stone.** But I don’t think it’s something we should carry, either. It’s too heavy; we have to put it down and let it go.”
Brave, wise Tara. Someone just gave me Lathe of Heaven- I cannot wait to read it!

Quote:
Buffy looks off into the distance. “That price you mentioned earlier? I think we’ve all paid it. It feels...done. I dunno why I know that, but I do. Slayer-Deep. Something else- something bigger- is most definitely going on, but this? This whole thing with you? It’s over, you’re home. For good.” Buffy raises her beer and Tara joins her as their bottles clink celebratorily. “And if not?” Buffy adds with a shrug while Tara is mid-swig, “I’ve killed gods before. One more won’t be hard.”

Tara’s surprised that the part of her that had tugged with such doubt and uncertainty is quiet. Without knowing why, Tara smells salt and ocean and finds herself believing Buffy with a steady sureness. It’s over. She takes Buffy’s hand in her own, and Tara is on firm ground***, exactly where she belongs.


Yep, they all pre-paid, no refunds. But its all starting to be worth it. Lovely, amazing work.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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