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 Post subject: Re: Lotus ((73/?-October 29th, 2019))
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:37 pm 
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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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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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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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10. Troll Hammer
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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 :) )

_________________
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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4. Extra Flamey

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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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