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

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 Post subject: Re: Changes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:08 am 
9. Gay Now
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Thanks for the updates... Still interested in reading the whole story...

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 Post subject: Re: Changes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:27 am 
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The final written chapter-in-the-making piece


Tara slouched on a quad park bench, paying little heed to the bustle of people around her. The multicultural fair had been fun the last year, with great enthusiasm from the innumerable campus groups that seemed to pop up out of the woodwork for the day. The sheer variety of food being hawked by their fundraisers was itself a form of entertainment, but it seemed stale this year.

It hadn’t been an argument. It wasn’t even a misunderstanding. It was when Tara had let slip a thought that hit several of Willow’s button’s squarely on the head. Quiet disapproval seeped through from her concerns, Tara knew, but she’d been wrong to make it so plain. There was no way Willow could have missed it, and having heard, no way she would let it go without elaboration. Then Tara was caught- she would not lie about this, but she almost wished she had.

Loud music started up somewhere not far off and Tara dimly remembered it as samba from seeing it the year prior. It would’ve been fun to watch all that vivacious motion with Willow and see her enthusiasm light up in reflection of the verve of the dancers. Instead Willow was out there somewhere hurting. Tara sighed. She couldn’t take back what was said and wasn’t even sure she should. The concerns were all valid, but there could have been a better way to bring them up. Tara had anticipated that the conversation would happen, much as she hoped that Willow would see the problems herself and obviate the necessity. She just hadn’t figured out how to ease her girlfriend into it.

The saddest part of it was that it was fundamentally Tara’s fault. If not for needing a source that could be channeled through Willow to sustain her, they would never have considered touching the Hellmouth’s energy. If not for Tara’s constant teaching that magic could be neither good nor evil, only used for either purpose, Willow might have been more cautious about using the magic she now had access to.

Blah- spiralling

It was unexpected when a warm hand slid into hers, fingers interlacing with her own. Tara had been so wrapped up in her thoughts that she hadn’t even noticed she was no longer alone, but it was a welcome change. A little squeeze brought a smile to Tara’s face and she looked down at their hands as she opened her eyes. She loved that casual touch had returned to their lives with the necessity of the charms having passed.

They needed to discuss Willow’s use of the Hellmouth again. There was no question of letting that particular issue be conveniently ignored in the background. For now, though, it had to wait. The subject was too fresh, the wounds of the words too raw. Willow’s immediate prickliness may have passed, but Tara knew better than to assume it gone.


Tara looked up and was met with a wide, bright smile. She froze, a gasp escaping her.

Glory was sitting there as if there was nothing in the world more natural than a Hell Goddess in a red tube dress in the middle of a campus multicultural fair. Her hand was still warm in Tara’s own, still just a slight pressure, yet now carried the sense of captivity.

“Is this seat taken?”

The little part of Tara’s mind that had no sense of survival suggested telling her that yes, it was. The rest of her mind was telling her that if she didn’t do something, she was going to die. The brilliant aura was unreadable but the intent was clear enough.

“This is so nice- just hangin’ out, just us girls. You like that sort of thing, don’t you?” Glory seemed so very much like that cliché of girls in high school- the disingenuous smiles and predatory eyes, the seemingly innocuous words leading up to the inevitable attack. Their goal was humiliation, though, while Glory’s promised to be far, far worse. Franticly Tara’s mind scrambled for a spell that could save her, but without Willow’s power to back her there was nothing sufficient.

Tara realized she’d been drawing away unconsciously when Glory’s grip tightened painfully, grinding bone to bone as the surrounding flesh was crushed tight. It was reflexive to jerk away from the unexpected pain but it only drew more pressure. Pain turned to agony as a bone gave way with an audible crack. It shot up her arm and speared into her brain, penetrating the urge to instinctive withdrawal with the imperative against further motion. The only thing keeping her from curling around the hand was the fact that it would bring her that much closer to Glory.

She didn’t realize she had made any noise, but she must have because Glory was admonishing her as if Tara’s acknowledgement of the pain offended her. “Don’t… make a sound.”

The crowd passed by unheeding and uncaring. Just a yell, just a clear struggle- even just losing control and letting her succubus features show- anything could alert the crowd to her situation, but what could they do? Even the Slayer was helpless. The best any of them had managed was to slow Glory down. As best they could tell, even a teleportation dropping her from the stratosphere hadn’t caused her more than inconvenience.

Glory seemed to misinterpret the despairing survey of their surroundings as hope. “Nah- they won’t help you. I’d kill them. You know that. There’s no one here that can stop me.”

Tara did know. She knew that she would live or die by Glory’s whim, tethered to her doom by their locked hands. She also knew that she had to find a focus other than the pain if she was to have any hope of staying silent. She set her eyes on people in the crowd, following one after another as the play of their auras gave her mind a task to sort out. Bicycle police, with their varied degrees of disinterest and amusement. A couple with twining affection and enjoyment. An annoyed woman trying to make her way through the crowd with a full bookbag, likely trying to get back to the dorms and finding the fair blocking her usual route. Distantly Tara could hear Glory’s merry ticking off of everyone her eyes came to rest on. “I’ll kill her. And them. And him. And her. And her. And it’ll all be your fault.”

Glory squeezed harder, pulling Tara’s mind forcibly back to the physical. It was just another torment, trying to wring out exactly the noise that she was warned against. When Tara failed to satisfy, five nails dug inward, producing a trickle of blood and a whimper. The pain had enough time now that she had accepted it, drawing it away into the realm where she knew it was happening, but its control over her was declining. Candles and birthdays had taught her this. Terror kept her breathing from calming, but little changes in Glory’s expression when Tara whimpered told her that the Hell God would simply torture her further if she clamped down on all responses. In her detachment she noticed an odd flicker through the dazzling aura before her, a current as readable as any human’s that confirmed what the expressions had already told her.

Glory wasn’t done gloating, having kept up a steady monologue while Tara had adjusted internally. She drew it to a close, turning her eyes back on Tara. “- that’s people for you. They’re pretty worthless. Keys, on the other hand? Keys are worth a lot.”

In another situation it would have garnered hysterical laughter. Glory thought she, Tara, was the Key? Then she didn’t know about Dawn. Buffy’s sister was still safe. Tara distantly watched Glory pull their joined hands up, making an oath to herself that Dawn’s identity would die with her. If she could save a crowd of strangers by her silence, surely she could save one more teenage girl. Blood started to trickle down her arm and Glory leaned forward, catching it with a lick.

There was another of those flickers in her aura, showing clearly Glory’s enjoyment of Tara’s predicament and her feeling of triumph. Faint hope sparked as Tara’s mind flew back to another trapped, terrified moment. A mouth connected to blood from a hand, only this time the position was flipped. The Burn within her, was hungry but not ravenous yet. Still, it was eager enough to leap forth at her command.

The Burn roared through the connection and Tara had no willpower to spare trying to control it, nor did she want to. It raged like a wildfire across endless, tinder-dry plains, the energy flooding back to her so vast that she doubted her body could contain it. It wasn’t a physical sort of pain, but for a moment it eclipsed her awareness of her hand, panic turning toward the inward sense of that energy overflowing and engulfing her. The connection broke as Glory pulled back with a look of disgust and spat the blood back out.

“You lying little tramp! You’re not the key- you’re not even human!”

Tara’s hand was twisted as it was pulled back down, the sudden change in position and pressure drawing forth a new brand of agony. She was aware of it, but she had control of it now and it was layered behind the sense of turgid internal pressure threatening to crack through her skin. What drove despair even deeper into her was the realization that even after all that the Burn had consumed, Glory wasn’t even aware anything had happened. The aura was still shining like a miniature sun, undiminished.

“I hate being lied to. It makes me feel so betrayed,” Glory huffed. Then she brightened. “Hey! Want to make it all better? If you tell me who the key really is, I’ll let you go.”

“Think about it. You think your hand hurts? I can break you little by little… hands, shoulders, knees, and toes.” The words were wrong, but she did it in the sing-song of the children’s tune. “And when you think there’s nothing left to break, that you’re done being a good little martyr? I’ll take one of them and do it again, all because you can’t bring yourself to tell me one little thing.”

On each of the last three words Glory gripped harder and the sound of snapping reached Tara’s ears shortly after the internal sensation did. It reached through the detachment, yanking forth another whimper. She willed the tears that spilled down her cheeks to disappear, but they kept flowing regardless and she could only hope none of the people passing by stopped to notice. Again she gathered herself, turning pain into awareness of pain, fear into awareness of fear. In the forced detachment she came to a decision. If she provoked Glory, she didn’t doubt that she’d be killed without a second thought. Her death was already decided- the only question was whether torture came first, whether her resolve could break under that torture, or whether others would then be tortured until she did.

Tara set her jaw and turned her eyes to Glory’s. It was as much defiance as she could muster, but even that little show had the intended effect. Glory’s face twisted in anger, standing abruptly with a hand raised. It could have been over before Tara knew what was happening, but that wasn’t the point. Glory would want to see fear. She would want Tara to know she was going to die, that there was nothing she could do about it, and see that despair before she ended it.

Faintly she heard an echo of Willow’s voice and in that moment was content. She’d had more joy than she thought she would ever be allowed in her lifetime and in her death she was buying a little more time for those precious to her to find a way to save the world.

Glory looked over her shoulder, anger fading.


It hadn’t been an echo in her memory. This time Willow’s voice was more clearly audible and terror returned anew as Tara saw Glory’s face turn to cruel delight.

“Isn’t this just perfect? How about a trade? You tell me where the key is, and I don’t stick my fingers in her brain?”

Glory leaned forward conspiratorially. “It doesn’t kill you. It… makes you feel like you’re in a noisy little dark room… naked and ashamed… and there are things in that dark that need to hurt you- because you’re bad…”

The delight had faded and Glory’s eyes dulled, darting around as her body drew inward.

“Little pinching things that go in your ears… and crawl on the inside of your skull. And you know- you know that if the noise and the crawling would stop, that you could remember how to get out…”

Tara had the sudden realization that this wasn’t just what Glory did to her victims. That wouldn’t give her this kind of insight, especially given her callous attitude towards humanity. This was why she consumed the sanity of others- because she gave them what she herself was drawn into as the borrowed sanity wore away.

“But you never, ever will.” Clarity returned to Glory’s eyes and she locked them back to Tara’s gaze. “Now, let’s try again. Who. Is. The. Key?”

If it were a threat to herself, the answer was simple, but how could she choose for Willow? Yet how could she give up Dawn to this monster and doom the world in the process?

In a calculated move, Glory had stood aside enough that Tara could see Willow struggling through the crowd toward her. She could faintly feel a drawing force in the air around her, sensing Willow preparing to cast something. To feel it from this distance meant she was drawing from the Hellmouth again, that the spell was far, far too powerful to be safe, but how else could they fight a Hell God?

Her choice was now was simple. All she needed was to buy enough time for Willow to save the day. It was the Hell God who had a deadline. Giving up Dawn was not an option and neither was sacrificing Willow.

“He’s… hidden. J-justin… when we f-found-”

“Lying again. I may not be able to read your mind, but can tell when you lie, you know.” Glory shrugged and turned. “Fine. Let’s get crazy.”

Tara didn’t even have time for her eyes to widen. Glory disappeared in a blur, only to reappear beside of Willow. She smiled brightly at Tara while Willow recoiled in shock, then reached out and stuck her fingers through Willow’s skull.

Tara launched herself from the bench, conjuring an airstream that pushed aside people that stood between her and Willow. At a dead run it was still several seconds and she started framing a repulsion spell. If she could only separate them, get to Willow, combine their power- there would be something they could do. Anything.

There was light streaming from the junction of Willow’s head and Glory’s hands, the redhead’s face in a rictus of misery while the God seemed delighted. She was still too far away to do anything when Glory let Willow go and looked Tara straight in the eye. She licked her lips with a smile and in another blur she was gone.

Heedless of the people pushed aside around her Tara finished the mad dash to find Willow on her knees. Dropping down beside of her, Tara took in cringing rise of the shoulders and slack face that looked so lost. She reached out tentatively only to have Willow recoil, but when she stilled the redhead’s head slowly tracked up Tara’s arm toward her face. Her eyes were completely black, so it was hard to know if they met Tara’s or not, but Willow’s expression crumpled.

“It’s inside me- I let it in and it won’t let me go.”

For a moment Tara thought she was talking about the magic of the Hellmouth, which still radiated off Willow with an intensity that seemed like it should burn to be so near to. She could hope for Willow to focus enough to ground the magic safely but when even her hold on reality was in question, it was a tenuous hope at best.

“I’m here, Willow. Sweetie?”

“They’re watching- I’m tainted and they know it. I know they know. I can’t…” It ended in a moan as Willow dropped her head down and locked her hands over it, drawing up her knees to rock in place. “The ants have taken their due.”

With her good hand Tara reached out and drew Willow’s head against her, feeling slow weeping against her chest that echoed in her heart.


Tara’s hand throbbed with every heartbeat. The bones had been set and a cast put in place while she’d concentrated desperately on not letting her illusion of humanity slip. It had given her mind something other than the pain to focus on but even that was only partially successful. What seemed sad was that it was her injury that had gotten them rushed in, when it was Willow’s state that seemed more dire.

Willow was in the next Pod of the ER- the substitute psych unit. That’s what the nurses had called it and from what she’d seen, they hadn’t been exaggerating. The levels of clarity of their gibberish were different, but they were alike enough to see Glory’s fingerprints on almost all. There had been some initial concern focused on Willow’s eyes, which were still blacked out from the Hellmouth’s energy she had yet to release, but Tara had hastily explained it away as scleral lenses for something they were doing at the multicultural fair. She couldn’t quite believe it when they accepted the excuse readily.

She’d finally conceded to having her hand seen to after Buffy had arrived, trailing Mr. Giles, Dawn, Xander, and Anya. While the limit on visitors was still in force, the Scoobies watched over Willow in shifts of two while the orthopod did the necessary x-rays on Tara and talked to her about the likely need for surgery after the soft tissue swelling had gone down.

She’d given herself enough time to escape to the semi-privacy of the restroom and sob briefly at the unfairness of it all. Then she spent a few minutes composing herself and headed for Willow’s side. The psych pod had quieted down somewhat, for which she was sincerely thankful. Willow was huddled as close to the wall as the gurney allowed, eyes squeezed shut and wincing at every sound. Tara closed the door behind her as quietly as she could, getting a grateful glance from Xander.

“Baby? It’s me…” Tara approached slowly. Willow didn’t respond immediately, but she didn’t wince either. “Do you hear me?”

Something crunched under her feet and Tara looked down to see clear broken material on the floor, though it was unclear whether it was glass or plastic with the room lights as low as they were and the curtain blocking much of the outside illumination. She paused, casting a questioning glance back at Xander. He pointed up to the overhead lights. The plastic covering was mostly gone, while the shattered remains of the fluorescent bulbs hung precariously.

“After you left, it got a little crazy in here. She got really freaked when one of the nurses came in- all the lights suddenly blew out… They’re gonna really have to work to come up with a rational explanation for how that happened.” He chuckled with more unease than humor.

“Her magic… it needs to be g-grounded.” Even through her haze of pain Tara could feel the weight of Hellmouth born magic radiating off of Willow. It wasn’t clear to her how Willow was able to keep hold on this much power for as long as she had. She sat carefully on the edge of the gurney, within Willow’s reach but not crowding her. Willow looked up suddenly, looking startled.

“The kitten is a kiwi underneath!” She seemed distraught about this, but Tara didn’t know how to respond. “Get her IP address!”

“Doc wants her to stay overnight- get some tests and stuff.”

“I can’t l-leave her here, Xander.” Tara slid back to rest against the wall. She cradled her hand in her lap, waiting for the spike of pain that had occurred with the motion to even out.

“I hate hospitals too, but…” Xander stopped when Tara started shaking her head.

“It isn’t safe… I don’t mean for her, but f-for them.” Tara felt a hand slip under her arm and allowed herself a grin as Willow started to cling to her. The grin faded. “This much magic… if she lets go of it all at once…”

“Badness?” Xander asked.

Tara nodded. Willow’s clinging was awkward, but there was no comfortable way to adjust without trying to use her freshly cast-bound right hand.

That's all. There is no more story written at this time.

Willow being brain-sucked was going to lead into an angst-fest regarding consent and her inability to give it.
Willow was going to remain dangerous magically in a very blunt-force way.
The succubus community was going to rally in support (mostly from afar) against Glory. They lure away the crazies. Glory gets the tower built anyway. She kidnaps Dawn much as in canon.
Big battle scene. Tara impersonates Buffy and acts as bait, partly because this is a way to incite Willow to attack Glory (somehow crazy-Willow knows it is still Tara under the vapid exterior) with a massive magic maelstrom. Tara returns Willow to her senses, but magically they are both down for the count.
Spike will bite Dawn and take the tower plunge. Her blood + his unbeating heart = Dawn's blood not flowing = closed portal.
All are sorry to see the sacrifice of Spike (for about 2 minutes), then go off to celebrate... it turns out Spike wasn't really dusted, just buried under a bunch of stuff and knocked out for a while.
Wind-down chapter: Spike crashes the party causing humorous annoyance. Willow is ashamed of her crazy-time. Tara is comforting, manages to cheer her up enough for a happy ending.


I'll set a reminder to myself to visit the Kitten again in about a month to check for comments. I intend to answer any questions and reply as seems appropriate, but the story is for all intents and purposes, over.

My apologies again, for not finishing.


 Post subject: Re: Changes
PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2015 10:10 pm 
9. Gay Now
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Topics: 15
Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Nice work.

Good story, and i wished you'd finished it.

but, if you can't, this is definitely the best way to finish, so thanks.

And the wrinkle with spike was very cleaver.

Definitely one of the better 'what if' W/T stories i've read.

Though the one on here where she turns out to be a wood nymph... yeah, that's epic.

I think for me, one of the best parts, was exploring the changed world, the growth of the characters, and succubi society.

Also, i liked your Mr Maclay.
He was a character with depth.
Mean and horrible, but for good reasons.

Bravo. I shall definitely take tips from this. :)

R :flower

“All I feel is sunlight. All I hear is music.” Willow
How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel

My Story: Coming Home

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