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

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 31 12/16/11
PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:18 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:45 pm
Posts: 919
Topics: 14
Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
OK, i was all 'Yikes! More frikkin smut getting in the way of the story!' until i realized who i was dealing with :)

So now i'm all 'The last one was hot! How's she gonna top that?'

So i now wear the cow of contrition :moo
for ever doubting you. :moo

Given how frikkin horney these two are, going a whole 24hrs without nookie, well they may wreck the place!

go nuts! :clap

looking forward to it! :bounce

P.S: that wasn't a vote for smut earlier, but what the hell!

_________________
“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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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:35 pm 
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8. Vixen
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Joined: Sun May 30, 2010 9:46 am
Posts: 854
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Location: Southern Arizona
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Chapter Thirty Two

Pairing: W/T

Angst Rating: PG-13 w/angsty, premonition-y type flashes to the future - & then a party!

Setting: The Grove - Tucson

Disclaimer: I in no way, shape or form own the characters from BtVS, they’re owned by Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. All original characters are in no way connected to them except by me in this forum. No money is involved this is simply for my own pleasure.

Email: riverwillows@me.com

Feedback: Always – all kinds, but constructive is preferred.

Author’s Notes: I’d like to thank Richard aka Azirahael for serving as beta this round. If anyone has questions about anything in this chapter feel free to PM me, they are accurate & factual. There are really only two bits of music this round, The Antlers “Burst Apart” and The Orb disc one of “The Orb’s Adventures beyond the Ultraworld”, and “Little Fluffy Clouds” was on repeat during writing the vision quest. I’d also like to thank the “Encore” channel for late night showings of the seminal “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour”. I'd also like to give Richard another big shout out for helping me make the fabu banner for the story and being so patient with my twenty questions - you are the best Richard! I'd also like to wish all the kittens a happy new year, as well as the kitten powers that be that provide us our playground. Much love & joy in the new year everyone!




Fore•bod•ing [fawr-boh-ding, fohr-] noun
1. A prediction; portent.
2. A strong inner feeling or notion of a future misfortune, evil, etc.; presentiment.





“Good Morning, Sister.” The girls replied in unison.



Marisol smiled at the pair, and reached for the robes in Tara’s arms. She set them aside on a low-backed wooden bench behind her that faced the fire. Moving to the altar she came back with a large Abalone shell that had a mixture of the cedar, sage and sweet grass in its center. Marisol carefully removed a small, hot ember with iron tongs and placed it in the bed of herbs. As it began to smoke she blew on it gently to get more of the herbs to catch and smolder.



Turning, she went back to the altar to retrieve a large feather, and then approached Tara and Willow, the smoking shell held in front of her.



“Sisters, this is a sacred place. The circle has been drawn and as you enter the lodge, you enter another realm. Many cultures believe that smoke purifies, that it can remove negative energies, and it can carry our prayers to the Goddess,” Marisol said solemnly as she looked at each girl in turn. “In preparation to enter, I ask that you take the feather and fan the smoke over your head seven times and towards your heart seven times. This is so that you may enter with a clear mind and an open heart to be ready for whatever the Goddess may have in store for you.”



Marisol smiled and offered the feather first to Tara. Tara glanced at Willow, before returning Marisol’s smile and with a steady hand accepted the feather. Waving the smoke towards her head, Tara closed her eyes and began to clear her mind and focus on her breathing. The herb mixture, a heady mix of sharp, sweet and pungent scents, brought back memories of standing very still beside her mother around a sacred circle as a child. The herbs mixed with the smell of wood smoke immediately set her at ease, and she moved the feather through the smoke and over her heart.



Opening her eyes, Tara smiled peacefully at Marisol, as she handed back the feather. Marisol waved the feather through the smoke several times, encouraging the herbs to continue to smolder and to cleanse it before handing off the feather to Willow. Willow took the feather reverently from Marisol as she stepped towards her. Closing her eyes Willow waved the smoke into her face and up over her head. She took in a deep lung full of the scented air, and as she exhaled a plume of smoke rose from her mouth. Opening her eyes she moved the richly scented smoke over her heart and looked over at Tara, who smiled encouragingly.



Willow’s eyes shone with tears as she completed the task. With a light sniffle she handed the feather back to Marisol, as emotions flooded her body. With another deep breath she allowed the emotions to crest and fall. No tears fell, but Willow stood up straighter, her shoulders squared, a look of pride on her face. With a nod to Marisol, the quest was truly about to begin.



******



“Sisters, since it is just the two of you, you can sit close together or not, your choice. When you enter, you’ll move clockwise around the pit before sitting. Once we enter I’ll arrange the stones and that signals that the ceremony has begun. We are to have four endurances of forty minutes each,” Marisol said earnestly. “At the end of each stage of the ritual you can come out. If you go around the barn in front of us, one of the pools is lit and available if you want to jump in to cool down; somehow I don’t see you two as the traditional rolling in the sand types.” She smirked, the girls giggled and the mood lightened a bit.



“Was each stage explained to you?” Marisol queried.



Nodding, Willow spoke, “The first round is for recognition of the spirit. The second round is for recognition of courage, endurance, strength, and honesty.”



Tara picked up where Willow left off, saying, “The third round is spiritual growth and healing and the last round centers on recognition of knowledge, that we may gain wisdom.”



Marisol beamed at them. “Very good, Sisters. Then let’s begin, shall we?”



The girls nodded and turned to face the door to the low roofed lodge. With a sweep of her arm, Marisol bade them welcome and enter. Willow followed Tara in, once inside, they stood for a moment letting their eyes adjust to the half light. They both had to stoop to walk through the door and into the lodge. The lodge was maybe six feet tall and fifteen feet wide, and very obviously a permanent structure.



The floor was polished blonde wood the walls were made of rough cut wooden planks with saplings lashed and bent to form the dome. A pit was recessed into the floor leaving a built in step down and made a built in place to sit. There were several large candles placed around the outside of the pit providing a small amount of light.



Marisol followed them in with heated stones, and closed the flap to the door. She laid the stones out in the pit in the direction of the four corners, as they glowed brightly. A small bucket with a dipper was already waiting by the pit.



Marisol gave a last look at the girls, and they watched her intently, as she took the dipper full of water and poured it over the stones. The rocks hissed and popped as steam began to fill the room. The candle light flickered and the shadows grew long around the walls. Marisol repeated the process until the room became hot and humid, the temperature having risen a good fifteen degrees.



Both girls sat with the legs crossed, watching as the flames from the candles cast shadows that danced hypnotically around them. Willow took her t-shirt off and sat in a sports bra and shorts; her skin already flush from the heat of the steam.



Marisol poured more water over the rocks increasing the heat again just as the girls became accustomed to the room. The flames flickered again and Tara found herself staring off at a peculiar set of shadows. They seemed to be swirling of their own accord and not in response to Marisol’s movements.



“Will,” she whispered.



“Yeah, baby?” Willow answered.



“Watch,” Tara said as she pointed to the movement at the far side of the lodge.



Marisol had heard the exchange and turned to look as well. The three witches sat watching the shadows swirl and morph into images along the wall. An “M” followed by a question mark swirled several times then faded away. Next came the image of a group of people in a circle, followed by a mushroom cloud that loomed for several long minutes before them on the wall. Slowly ghostly forms faded away and the shadows became just shadows again.



“Sisters, our first round is complete, you are welcome to leave to lodge briefly before the next endurance,” Marisol said quietly, although she was still watching the far wall where the shadows had played just moments before.



Tara stood first and held her hand out to Willow. They both left the lodge and were followed out by Marisol. She went to the side of the bench Willow had sat on, and opened a cooler neither of the girls had noticed before. Offering the pair bottles of chilled water, they each took them gratefully.



Tara sat next to Willow and they both drank deeply from their bottles. Willow held Tara’s hand and they sat in silence watching the stars in the inky blackness of the night sky. Willow pointed upwards and Tara caught the last of a comet flaring its last light across the canvas of stars.



Marisol tended the fire and prepared more stones for the next round, drinking water herself. Once she had the stones ready, she turned to Willow and Tara. “Sisters, it is time.”



******



The next second and third endurances were uneventful, quiet periods of meditation, and by the time they entered the lodge for the fourth round, both girls were now just in sports bras and shorts. Their waistbands dark with sweat, but neither girl had yet to make use of the pool. It was by an unspoken agreement that they would wait until the end.



This time instead of sitting Willow lay down, and Tara followed suit so they lay head to head on the warm wood. They both lay listen to the hiss of the rocks as Marisol, for the last time repeated the process of building heat and steam.



Sweat rolled from their bodies, as they slowly slipped into a trance state staring at the ceiling of the lodge. Their breathing began to sync, and the sensation of floating swept over them, as once again the shadows grew long, and jagged – dancing of their own accord over the ceiling.



The rocks never seemed to stop hissing in the background as the temperature climbed. Images began to pop in front of their eyes. They saw Dawn in a crypt with a stake in one hand, tears rolling down her cheeks as vamp dust cascaded around her. They saw Andrew and Jonathon standing next to a seal they didn’t recognize and watched as Jonathon fell over dead.



More images fired rapidly before their eyes. A ragtag group of girls, Faith with Angel and a weary looking Buffy digging a hole in her backyard; they saw themselves walking grim faced as energy crackling all around them. Giles, Dawn, Xander and Anya all armed for battle.



The flashes started to come so quickly they began to blur into one another. The gnawing knot of fear began to grow in their bellies; the dread and fear of being hunted down one by one to be weeded out in that moment became an overwhelming reality. All they had left were sounds – screams of pain, roars of rage and fear, the clang of metal on metal and the sickening sounds of ripping flesh and breaking bone.



With a thud Willow and Tara hit the wooden floor of the lodge and all of the candles blew out. Tara rolled off the ledge onto her hands and knees, and began to dry heave. Willow and Marisol scrambled over to her. After Tara gained some semblance of composure, Willow helped Tara to her feet. She stood unsteadily and clung to Willow in the dark.



Marisol went over to the flap and opened it, letting in cooler early morning air and some light, carefully leading Tara through the doorway and out of the lodge, Willow got Tara over to the bench and sat her down. She grabbed more water from the cooler and urged Tara to drink.



Tara looked at Willow and gasped. “Baby, what is it?”



“Your eyes, Will, they’re… pearlescent. A-and your nose…” Tara whispered, wiping under Willow’s nose with her first two fingers. Holding them out Tara showed Willow the blood on them.



“Baby, your eyes too,” Willow breathed as she grabbed her shirt she’d left on the bench earlier to stem the flow of warm blood that now dripped off of her chin and pressed it to her nose.



Marisol had followed them out and moved off to the side where there was a first aid kit. She snapped an emergency ice pack into use. Moving to Willow she knelt down to place it on the back of Willow’s neck. They both looked at Marisol, who gasped as she looked into their eyes.



The bench faced east, and as Willow and Tara looked at Marisol, the sun’s first rays broke over the mountains. The sky was bathed in hot cherry reds and sherbet oranges, as the sun filled the morning sky. The rich, velvety blue of the night turned into glorious lavender as the new day dawned. Marisol was given her first look at the pair since they all had entered the lodge for the last round.



“By the Goddess, your eyes…” Marisol whispered as she stared at the girls as they glowed golden against the backdrop of the vibrant sunrise. “Can you see?”



They both nodded.



“How many fingers do I have up?” Marisol held up four fingers.



“Four,” Tara said.



“Fawr,” Willow replied from behind her wadded up shirt.



“Willow, let me see your nose,” Marisol asked.



Willow removed her shirt from her nose, and looked down at the large patch of blood on the fabric. She looked at Marisol, who turned her head side to side, felt the bridge of her nose, and checked her pulse and the back of Willow’s head for any injury. Turning next to Tara, Marisol did the same, checking her pulse and the back of Tara’s head for any injury.



“You were both floating almost a foot off the floor. Are you sure you both can see okay? I can’t really tell by your eyes, they’re… well a little hard to judge by at the moment,” Marisol said the concern evident in her voice. “What happened in there?”



“I feel fine, Marisol, really,” Willow said softly avoiding the question, and Tara just nodded, still a bit pale and sipping water.



Marisol got the hint and dropped the subject. “Will, you’re not bleeding anymore and other than your eyes, you both seem alright. Why don’t you go to the pool, it’s heated but it will still feel cool after being in the lodge. I’ll be close by while I take care of things here, just holler if you need me, okay?” Marisol urged.



“Okay,” they replied in unison.



They picked up their robes, their hands easily finding its mate; they walked the short distance to the barn. Once around the barn, the pool was surrounded by a low wall and directly across from the side of the barn. They reached a small gate, and moved into the pool area. Hanging their robes over the wall, they pulled off their shoes and quietly waded into the warm water.



Willow slipped under the water and swam out into the middle of the pool. When she surfaced she looked for Tara as she treaded water. Tara broke the surface close to Willow, and they just looked at each other for a moment. Easing through the water back to where they could put their feet on the bottom, they stood shoulder deep, and as if of a single mind they moved into each other’s arms, shaking like leaves in the wind.



******



Minutes slipped away as Willow and Tara floated weightlessly on their backs in the pool. Their mood somber, they spoke little, still feeling the strong connection to one another, words weren’t necessary. With prune-y fingers and toes they got out of the pool to dry off.



They were coming out of the gate as Marisol came around the barn to meet them. “How do you guys feel?” she asked looking between the girls.



“Better,” Tara said.



“Calmer,” Willow added.



“Good, your eyes are back to normal now too. Lady Rowan asked that you meet with her before the initiation ceremony that starts at sundown. Don’t worry about anything you leave out here; I’ll see it gets back to you. In the meantime why don’t you go get some rest; I’ll have something light sent to your rooms shortly, even if you aren’t hungry try to eat a little, okay?” Marisol suggested.



“Thanks,” Willow said.



“Thank you, Marisol,” Tara said softly.



******



With heavy steps they made their way slowly back to their rooms. Closing the door Willow leaned against it and watched Tara cross the room to the couch. She lay down on the couch facing Willow and smiled tiredly. Just as Willow opened her mouth to speak there was a polite knock at the door.



Willow’s mouth snapped shut and she opened turned to open the door. Giles stood in front of them smiling and holding a tray of food.



“Good morning, Tara, Willow. Marisol asked that I bring breakfast to you, given that I was passing by,” he said with a smile. Giles crossed from the door to the coffee table in front of Tara. “I trust your quest was enlightening?”



Willow followed and sat down next to Tara. Taking the cover off of one of the plates, Willow speared some of the eggs and handed the fork to Tara. Tara took the fork, and Willow just shrugged when she looked at her.



“That would definitely be one way to describe it,” Tara said. “We should probably talk to you about some of it later.”



“Of course, I imagine you’re both exhausted. I’m sure it was quite a stressful ordeal.” Giles replied.



“Stressful not exactly…not what we imagined certainly, then again we didn’t know quite what to expect. We think some of what we saw may be important,” Tara answered.



“Really? Important? How so?” Giles curiosity was piqued.



“We think some of it may be a warning, and some may have already happened, even potentially be put in motion. We’re worried about Dawn and Buffy,” Tara said as she speared eggs with the fork and handed it to Willow.



He looked at them both, watching them load the fork and pass it back and forth feeding one another. He also noticed that Willow had yet to say anything and when Tara spoke she kept using “we”.



“I see, well, I’ll call them right away. If anything is amiss, I’ll be sure to let you know right away,” Giles said as he continued to watch them as they both just nodded. “Yes, well, get some rest. I’ll see you both later.”



“Thanks Giles, that would be great, we’ll see you later,” Tara said around a mouthful of eggs.



Giles smiled as he stood and moved towards the door. “If you need anything just let me know.”



“We will,” Tara said and both girls looked at him and smiled as he left.



“I’ve had enough, sweetie, I just want some sleep now. How about you? Are you ready for bed?” Tara asked Willow placing her hand on Willow’s leg and gently stroking it. Willow nodded as she took a drink of orange juice and then handed the glass to Tara.



“Let’s go, baby,” Willow whispered.



Setting the glass down, Tara rose and held her hand out to Willow. Hand in hand they went into her bedroom. They stripped, just letting their still damp bras and shorts drop to the floor and climbed into bed. Settling into their favorite position, they fell asleep quickly; limbs entwined and Willow’s head over Tara’s heart, while her hand rested over Willow’s.



******



They both were startled into wakefulness by the sound of the phone ringing next to the bed. Tara rolled away and grabbed at the receiver before it could ring again shrilly.



“Hullo,” Tara mumbled sleepily.



Willow scooted over behind her and kissed her shoulder while Tara listened to the voice on the other end of the line.



“M’kay, thanks we be there soon.” With a big yawn Tara hung up the phone and lay back down.



“Who was it, baby?” Willow asked.



“It was Dana. Apparently we’ve slept the day away, sweetie. Sunset is in two hours, and she thought she should give us a wakeup call,” Tara replied snuggling back into Willow’s arms.



“Dana thinks of everything,” Willow giggled.



“She does, it was very thoughtful. Did you set an alarm?”



“No, I forgot. I just wanted to be in your arms,” Willow said softly.



“Mmm, the feeling was very much of the mutual kind. Then again that’s my favorite place to be,” Tara murmured into Willow’s neck.



“And that’s always of the good,” Willow said with a smile.



Always of the good,” Tara murmured into Willow’s ear as she began kissing Willow’s neck, and nipping at the skin just enough to make Willow start to squirm. She ran her fingers lightly down Willow’s spine, over her hip, down her thigh and back again.



Willow groaned, wiggling against Tara’s mouth. She gave Tara a sharp swat on the behind that cracked loudly in the quiet of the room.



“Hey!” Tara whined.



“I know I didn’t hurt you, baby and we don’t have time for your antics, Little Miss Tease,” Willow said raising her eyebrow as she dared Tara to argue with her.



Tara grinned wickedly and licked Willow’s chin, nibbling her way up to her ear. “I wasn’t teasing, love.”



Willow tittered nervously, and sputtered, “I, well, we, um have to, you know, go see, uh, Lady Rowan and it’s almost, uh sunset,” pleading with her eyes, Willow continued, “So, you know we should be good, and um, you know just get ready, we don’t want to keep her waiting and this is important, so you know maybe we should, um…”



Tara laughed and squeezed Willow tight against her. “I love making you all tongue-tied! You’re right, and we’ll have time later to ourselves,” she yanked the sheet back and shot out of the bed. “Last one to the shower’s a rotten egg!”



Now it was Willow’s turn to yell as she bolted out of bed and after Tara. “Hey!”



******



Leaving Lady Rowans office, Willow looked at the garments in her hand, turning them over again with a disgruntled expression. She held an extremely small pair of what could loosely be called running shorts and bandeau in white.



“Do you think they could have found something smaller for us to wear?” Willow groused.



Tara giggled. “Well, at least they gave us the option of being skyclad or not, some would have expected it, sweetie.”



Willow turned bright red. “I know! I would have passed out if I had to be naked in front of a bunch of people I don’t know; I mean there are men in this coven! And Giles!” she squeaked. “Even in England we managed not to cross that line. It would just be too creepy, and besides, no one gets to see Tara-goodies but me.” Willow said with a decisive nod.



“Ditto, love,” Tara said. She slipped her arm around Willows waist as they walked, and Willow’s immediately went around her shoulders.



Hastily making their way to their rooms, they rushed in and went straight into the bedroom to change. Tara was bent over and Willow was topless when she stopped to ogle Tara, who was completely naked. Tara turned and found Willow staring with her mouth open. Tara’s eyes twinkled with mischief as she struck a pose for Willow.



“Is there something you like?” she asked, and Willow nodded and licked her lips. She sauntered over to Willow, and trailed her hands around her waist and played with the button on her shorts before popping the button free.



“Yes,” Willow murmured, finally putting her hands on Tara’s hips and kneading the flesh.



“Do you like what you feel?” Tara whispered huskily.



Tara slipped her fingers under the elastic of Willow’s panties, pushing the shorts and panties down to puddle around Willow’s feet.



“I can’t wait to get you alone later, Willow, can’t wait to put my hands on you,” Tara breathed into Willow’s ear while her hands wandered to Willow’s bottom, cupping the firm muscle and causing Willow to rise up on her toes.



“I love you,” Willow said looking deeply into Tara’s eyes.



Tara smiled and kissed Willow tenderly. “I love you too, sweetie, but now we have to hurry.”



******



As the sun began to set, the coven gathered in the field where Willow and Tara had practiced, and the field where they went against Amy. Willow and Tara watched as a sacred circle was drawn, and when the sun began to set a bell was rung, deep and sonorous.



Willow and Tara walked barefoot, hand in hand towards the circle along the path to the circle of the coven. They were met by Lady Rowan, who smiled warmly at them both.



“Willow, how do you enter this circle?” she asked.



“In perfect love, in perfect trust,” Willow answered.



“Tara, how do you enter this circle?” Rowan asked as she turned to Tara.



“In perfect love, in perfect trust,” Tara answered with a smile.



Stepping back several paces to the altar, Rowan turned to address the coven. “Today, I have the singular pleasure to initiate not just one but two extraordinary witches. Ladies, what is the whole of the law?”



In unison Willow and Tara replied, “Do what thou wilt lest it harm none shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law. Bide the Wiccan Rede you must, in perfect love, in perfect trust. Eight words law fulfill: “Do what thou wilt lest it harm none”. Lest in your own defense it be, ever mind the “Rule of Three”. Follow this with mind and heart, merry meet and merry part.”



Rowan turned to the altar and picked up a copper bowl with oil in it. The oil was a mixture of sandalwood, camphor, orange and rose.



Rowan began to anoint Tara, who recited as she was anointed. “I am a child of the Goddess, and I ask her to bless me.”



Rowan touched her thumb to Tara’s forehead. “What say you child?”



“May my mind be blessed, so that I can accept the wisdom of the Goddess.”



Rowan touched oil to Tara’s eyelids and asked, “What say you child?”



“May my eyes be blessed, so I can see my way clearly upon this path.”



Rowan touched Tara’s nose, “What say you child?”



“May my nose be blessed, so I can breathe in the essence of all that is Divine.”



Rowan anointed Tara’s lips, “What say you child?”



“May my lips be blessed, so I may always speak with honor and respect.”



Rowan touched oil to Tara’s breast bone. “What say you child?”



“May my heart be blessed, so I may love and be loved.”



Then Tara held out her hands so Rowan could place oil on the back of them. “What say you child?”



“May my hands be blessed, so that I may use them to heal and help others.”



Next Rowan touched oil just below Tara’s belly button. “What say you child?”



“May my womb be blessed, so that I may honor the creation of life.”



And finally kneeling to Tara’s feet, she placed oil on the soles of them. “What say you child?”



“May my feet be blessed, so that I may walk side by side with the Divine.”



Rowan then kissed Tara on both cheeks and stepped back while she spoke, “Mother Goddess, answers to all mysteries and yet mysteries unanswered; in this place of power I open myself to your essence. In this place and in this time I am changed,” Tara closed her eyes as she recited the words and unbeknownst to her, she began to glow with energy. “I breathe your energies into my body, commingling, blending, mixing them with mine, that I may see the divine in nature, nature in the divine, and divinity within myself and all else.”



Rowan turned to Willow, who began again with the supplication, “I am a child of the Goddess, and I ask her to bless me.”



When Willow was completely anointed, Rowan kissed her on both cheeks. She moved back to the altar and place the bowl on it. She turned and watched Willow with an affectionate smile as she finished reciting, “Mother Goddess, answers to all mysteries and yet mysteries unanswered; in this place of power I open myself to your essence. In this place and in this time I am changed,” Willow stood straight and proud, quite aware of the glow that both she and Tara were giving off together. “I breathe your energies into my body, commingling, blending, mixing them with mine, that I may see the divine in nature, nature in the divine, and divinity within myself and all else.”



“You both have chosen to walk the path of the Goddess, to listen and obey; to teach and give guidance, to nurture and love. Most especially, to fight to protect those who cannot protect themselves, and for the greater good of all, even in the face of immeasurable odds. Do you understand and accept this path?”



“We do,” Willow and Tara answered.



Rowan nodded. “Then with this understanding and this willing pledge before the Goddess, I Lady Rowan Kelly, the High Priestess of this coven, do hereby welcome you, Willow Rosenberg, and you, Tara Maclay into The Coven at The Grove. Welcome, Sisters, merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.”



Rowan held her arms wide and smiled as she hugged each girl. Dana appeared with robes of lavender. Each with a deep wine colored trim along the sleeves and the neck, as well as thick black Celtic knot stitching that matched the robes worn by the rest of the coven. Dana took a moment to help the pair into their new robes.



Once in their robes, Dana hugged them as well and with a wink and a grin, greeting them. “Welcome, Sisters, merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.”



Willow and Tara turned to face the coven still glowing. Giles, in a robe of light blue was the first to welcome them, and the rest of the coven followed suit. Once everyone had been greeted, Rowan gave Willow and Tara the honor of dispelling the circle and leading the coven back to the hall for the celebration.





TBC…

_________________
Heather aka vampyregurl73
"Dry Heat""Penny Arcade" "Fireworks" "Promise" "I Did What Last Night?"


Last edited by vampyregurl73 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:19 pm 
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11. Fish in the Bowl

Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:35 pm
Posts: 1480
Topics: 2
Location: California
DIBS!!! and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :pinky :party :pinky

Richard, Beloved Brother in Beta-ing this Story!
*tears hair, beats breast (my own, not yours!)* I grovel in shame! I, too, must wear the Cow of Contrition so I beg you to bestow the blessed bovine upon me that I may take up the burden of my guilt in not beta-ing. :moo I read it and honestly thought it was good and didn’t need correction! My bad! Anyway, forgive me! Okay, guilt-rave over and on to our regularly scheduled feedback! :blush


Hi Heather, :bigwave

First things first, kudos to Richard and you for the banner – love it! Like the word of the day, too. Strange, it gave me a sense of foreboding . . . Seriously, it sets the tone immediately. Never mentioned that technique before, great idea!

I like rituals but know they can become a literary laundry list of this happened then that happened. You skillfully avoided this:
Quote:
Tara closed her eyes and began to clear her mind and focus on her breathing. The herb mixture, a heady mix of sharp, sweet and pungent scents, brought back memories of standing very still beside her mother around a sacred circle as a child. Then Willow’s reaction quoted: Willow’s eyes shone with tears as she completed the task. With a light sniffle she handed the feather back to Marisol, as emotions flooded her body. With another deep breath she allowed the emotions to crest and fall. No tears fell, but Willow stood up straighter, her shoulders squared, a look of pride on her face. With a nod to Marisol, the quest was truly about to begin.
For me, a key part of why this chapter works in the ritual sections is the emotional reactions Tara and Willow have. That adds a layer of drama to the moment that’s essential.

Then the vision itself:
Quote:
The flashes started to come so quickly they began to blur into one another. The gnawing knot of fear began to grow in their bellies; the dread and fear of being hunted down one by one to be weeded out in that moment became an overwhelming reality. All they had left were sounds – screams of pain, roars of rage and fear, the clang of metal on metal and the sickening sounds of ripping flesh and breaking bone.
Visceral, scary – very powerful vision/prophecy and then it goes even further with Willow’s nosebleed and their eyes becoming “pearlescent” btw LOVE that word choice – both poetic and mystical.

Quote:
He looked at them both, watching them load the fork and pass it back and forth feeding one another. He also noticed that Willow had yet to say anything and when Tara spoke she kept using “we”.
Hmm, I’m intrigued by that. But what I also like is them sharing a fork and feeding each other – classic symbol of love manifested in physical cuteness! :love But I also see how their relationship with Giles has changed to a relationship of equals. It’s still loving, still respectful but you show throughout this story that they are adult women and I like that.

Enjoyed the return to comedy with: “Do you think they could have found something smaller for us to wear?” Willow groused and their mutual feeling of wanting each other’s ‘goodies’ left unviewed by others. On a more literary note, I loved hearing the word “Sky-clad” it’s always been the most poetic word for naked I’ve ever heard. :flower

The ritual itself was lovely. I liked the anointing and the “merry meet, merry part and merry meet again.” And I loved that Dana was in it; they are taking her with them and it seems right that she is a part of this moment.

Love this story - so I'll be there for the next round!

Ariel
How I Met Your Mother


Last edited by Ariel on Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:58 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:29 am 
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Yay for great update-y goodness... I'm glad that they got a heads up on The First badness... Can't wait for their private celebrations...

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:55 am 
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Hi sweetie!

I am seriously looking forward to your take on Season 7.
The First always struck me as a magic-focused big-bad given his trickseyness and lack of punchability.
It will be interesting to see how a battle-trained dynamic duo deal with the First Evil.
Hopefully with less sad mounds in the back yard.

It will also be interesting to see how Buffy handles being in a (likely) secondary position while the mages are slugging it out.
She tends not to react well to change :(

Who knows, maybe they could train up Dawn or Xander, both have always struck me as untapped potential.
that whole 'Former-Key' thing bugged me with Dawn. Hello? Still the key? Just not being hunted by Glory. Duh!
And Xander! surrounded by witches and slayers, much opportunity for training in battle or magic. does he?
oh no.
Because... what?
so he stays useless.
I mean, you don't measure your friends by how useful they are to you, but you also don't take them into battle with you when they can't fight either. However brave they may be.
I do like however that your Giles is a bit more hands-on magic guy. I always thought that they overlooked that in the series.

I can't wait for them to get back to Sunnydale :bounce

Favourite quote:
Quote:
I mean there are men in this coven! And Giles!

Poor Giles. :kiss1

Good work, keep it up! :bounce

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:42 am 
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I am thoroughly enjoying this story. I am eager to see how they will face the evil yet to come...and how the forming of this coven will go. Quite intriquing.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:10 pm 
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Hey Heather,

Thought I had left feeback on this already. My total bad. Just wanted to let you know that I am still reading and facinated to know what's going to happen next. Looking forward to the celebration. Not so sure I how I feel about he upcoming badness, but I'm sure that whatever comes our girls' way will be defeated as long as they work together.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:18 pm 
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Ok, so I FINALLY caught up. That only took like forever. But I'm leaving feedback finally, as promised because I love this story. You do such a good job with description that it's truly amazing. I'll echo Aziraheal in the fact that I'm very interested on how you're going to handle season seven. I'm super excited (though not sure if I should be) for them to get back to Sunnydale. The wondering how the whole coven thing's going to develope now that Claude and Dana are coming with. I know that wasn't from this last update but I'm still curious about it. The whole ritual for their initiation left me with a definite sense of doom but hey, it's Willow and Tara taking on the Hellmouth. What do you expect? Looking forward to the next update. :applause

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 12:51 pm 
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Great update. I'm hoping they will be a little more prepared since they were able to get some kind of vision. Hopefully everyone is ok back in Sunnydale. Looking forward to reading more.


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:25 pm 
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Om nom nom!

I'm eager to get my teeth into the next chapter. :bounce

Chewy coven-y goodness with a gooey Willow and Tara centre.

Buffy meets Charmed (another fun show, only let down by it's terrible lack of Willow and Tara)

Don't forget us sweetie, we're all here waiting with 'bated breath.

:kiss1

:flower

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:13 am 
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First, I would like to say thank you to everyone that has faithfully been following Dry Heat. All your love, feedback and support are greatly and muchly appreciated.

Secondly, I am going to say at least for now, I am putting Dry Heat on a temporary hiatus. I will finish it, I promise - I refuse to leave it to languish in the unfinished category. So that is a promise I make to you all now.

Real life has stepped in using the nefarious form of weekly mandatory overtime (that has been ongoing since before Thanksgiving) and then a back injury due to a car accident. So need less to say, the month of January has pretty much sucked ass for me. But on a brighter note I am working on something new and different, that hopefully will get to see the light of day here. :)

Thanks again everyone and I promise Dry Heat will return soon!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:28 am 
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Heather,
I'm sorry to hear about real life being a bitch. I hope you're recovering okay from your accident.

Whenever you get back to this, I'll be happy to see it up and running again. And good luck with your new thing!

Kate

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 32 12/31/11
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:11 pm 
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Bummer! :crash

And just as i was hoping the overtime thing was coming to an end too! :sob
I was wondering what had happened to you, how long the overtime thing was going to last.
Now i must wear the cow of contrition :moo

Get well soon sweetie! :flower
I miss you and our collaboration. :cry

And if you want a hand with the mysterious new thing, just say ok? :bounce

Here are many many hugs for your fuzzy hug box, ok?

[Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug][Hug]

Be well, and come back to us soon.
Please? :kiss1

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 33 05/06/12
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 5:57 pm 
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Chapter Thirty Three

Pairing: W/T

Angst Rating: PG but you may want a hanky at the end

Setting: The Grove - Tucson

Disclaimer: I in no way, shape or form own the characters from BtVS, they’re owned by Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. All original characters are in no way connected to them except by me in this forum. No money is involved this is simply for my own pleasure.

Email: riverwillows@me.com

Feedback: Yes, please - it gives me the "warm fuzzies"

Author’s Notes: I promised this would not go unfinished, and I meant it! Italics are for emphasis.Thanks to everyone who is reading this, and my never ending gratitude goes to my wonderful betas Julie aka Ariel and Richard aka Azirahael for their help and support. I have decided that since I also have “Penny Arcade” that I’m working on, and I want to work on chapters for both stories, so I plan to limit myself to one chapter each and try to post to each once a month until further notice. Music for this chapter is as follows: Dead Sara “Dead Sara”, Florence and the Machine “MTV Unplugged”; The Black Keys “El Camino”, Explosions in the Sky “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care”, and Snow Patrol “Fallen Empires”.







Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.

******

Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory. - Sun Tzu - The Art of War






During their meeting with Lady Rowan prior to the start of the evening, she had explained how both parts of the ceremony would work, as well as what their places would be at the feast. As Tara and Willow led the coven back into the main hall, the ripple of excitement raced through the coven as they celebrated the induction of the two new Sisters. Willow and Tara sat to Rowan’s right, while Dana and Giles sat to her left. Rowan’s seat was placed at the center of the most ornately carved of three very large and highly polished oak tables. They all were carved with the same knot work that adorned the robes of the coven.


The tables had runners down the middle that were designed with the same knotting from the robes. Each dyed in the same lavender, wine, and black colors that represented the coven. Against the backdrop of dimmed lights and large pillar candles spread over the three tables, shadows played merrily in the corners, and along the walls like children playing hide ‘n go seek. The room felt magical and inviting. On either side behind the tables for the coven, were ordinary tables that held platter upon platter of all sorts of delicious foods to choose from.


Everyone seated at the main table with Rowan was served first, following feast traditions. Rowan said a blessing, and led the toast welcoming Willow and Tara once again to the coven. Once she was seated and her table served, the rest of the coven made their way to the tables to serve themselves. As everyone began to eat, the room was filled with the quiet sounds of cutlery and plates, and soon small areas of relaxed chatter slowly grew. Several members of the coven made sure the group at Rowan’s table was well taken care of during their meal.


As the evening wore on, the ceremonial formality faded away in favor of a more casual and easy going atmosphere. Finally the food had all been cleared away from the tables, but some mead – honey wine – was still making its rounds. Much like most things at The Grove, when possible the coven made it themselves. There were no hives at The Grove, instead the coven had a standing agreement with a local beekeeper; bartering their organically grown vegetables for honey. As the mead flowed, people grew more relaxed, and of course, more social.


Conversations in small clusters ran the length tables, with some members moving up and down along the them to speak to one another. Once the meal had concluded and the evening had become more social, Willow and Tara moved their chairs into a position where Tara could sit with her legs draped over Willow’s lap and one arm resting around Willow’s shoulders. Willow had her arms securely around Tara’s waist, holding her close.


Coven members that the girls had become close with, had moved chairs to join them in conversation, and when the girls were approached by others, they both spoke cheerily to their fellow witches. It became apparent though, that Tara was doing most of the talking for the pair, just as she had been since the end of the vision quest. This did not go unnoticed by Dana. Rowan and Giles had already borne witness to this unusual turn of events.


Dana leaned over to Giles and whispered softly. “Is it me, or is Willow unusually quiet?”


“Ah. So you’ve noticed that as well?” He smiled. “When I brought them their breakfast, after the ritual this morning, they were like this. They share a look, and then Tara speaks for them. I spoke with Rowan, and she seems to think some of it may be a side effect from the… whatever… exactly happened with them during their vision quest,” Giles said.


Dana nodded. “Did you notice Tara’s stutter. Or should I say the lack of?”


Giles raised his eyebrow as he smiled. “Indeed… her confidence, it seems has greatly increased. It’s not only happening with the members she has gotten to know and befriend during her stay here either. In the past, she would have been far more uncomfortable in the social settings like this, and her stutter would have become more pronounced with the people she didn’t know well.”


“But it doesn’t appear that Willow has become shyer, it’s like she is just calmer, more at peace and less nervous than she was somehow. If you think on it, in a way that’s a form of confidence she didn’t have before either. It’s almost like they’re linked in some way.” Dana observed.


Giles cocked his head to one side, as he and watched Willow and Tara talking with Marisol, Tomas, and Ricky. Marisol said something that made the girls laugh, and as the conversation resumed Willow hugged Tara to her. Without any seeming self-consciousness, Tara dropped a kiss on Willow’s cheek and began to play with Willow’s hair affectionately, before she continued to chat on animatedly with the small group.


“It would seem you’re quite right, Dana,” Giles replied.


“Will wonders never cease…” Dana mused. “Do you think it will be permanent?”


“We shall see,” Giles responded with a smile.


Rowan turned to the pair, having overheard bits and pieces of their conversation. She had also been watching the girls throughout the evening; observing as they interacted with each other and the rest of the coven. When she had met with them earlier in the day, she had noticed this change in their dynamic, but was completely unconcerned by it.


“What are you two hens clucking about?” She said to Dana and Giles, not unkindly.


“Well, My Lady, we…uh, well we were talking about the change in Willow and Tara,” Dana answered.


“And?” Rowan asked.


“I just thought it was unusual. Considering their personalities before, and what they were like when I first met them, I would have thought their roles would have been reversed. More in line with what I already knew them to be like, My Lady,” Dana replied.


“It is interesting, isn’t it? They were already so close with one another before the ritual; it has simply brought their relationship to another level. The security they’re now feeling, within themselves and one another not just as lovers but friends, it’s carrying over. To me, Sister, it does make sense. Willow can slow down and just be, and Tara no longer feels like she has to hide herself away. Ultimately, Sister, they are just… good for one another,” Rowan said.


“I concur with Rowan, it’s not unusual for witches that practice together and are…intimate, to blossom as it were, and have their bond grow deeper as they continue to practice. Besides, Willow and Tara are young and still growing as women, perhaps this is just another step in their evolution towards the exceptional women and witches they will become.” Giles added thoughtfully.


“Rupert is right Dana; we know they are more than special. We’ve seen it in their time here with us; now they aren’t afraid to let everyone else see what we already know,” Rowan concluded with a smile.


Dana watched the girls for a moment longer before nodding in agreement. She saw but love, happiness, and calm in their auras.



******


The evening ticked away, and as the clock edged closer to midnight, the girls rose, made their goodnights and left the remaining members of the coven to continue socializing. In no particular hurry, they made their way back to their rooms. Arriving at their door, Tara let them in through her rooms.


They moved quietly into the bedroom, gently undressed one another, leaving their new robes neatly hanging behind the door, before making their way to the shower. No words were spoken as they reverently bathed one another; washing away the little dabs of ceremonial oil still left on their skin. Hands moved lightly over silky skin – not to arouse – but simply to soothe.


They knew that tomorrow they would be returning to Sunnydale. They would begin to train the witches that had made their way to Buffy’s door; bringing Giles, Dana and Claude with them as well. The many months they had spent at The Grove, all the hard work, all the spells learned, and the hours upon hours of training would now be put to the final test.


The time had come to prepare for the fight.


Leaving the warmth of the shower, and having gone through their nightly routines, they crawled naked under clean, crisp sheets. Willow and Tara lay looking at one another, reading each other on a deeper level. They had no need to speak; their souls spoke loud and clear to one another, saying all that they needed to say.


Tara stroked Willow’s cheek with the back of her hand, before leaning in to kiss her tenderly. Tara’s hand trailed down Willow’s neck and over the smooth, pale skin of Willow’s shoulder before she rolled Willow onto her back. Willow brushed Tara’s bangs out of her eyes. Her arms snaked around under Tara’s arms as she held herself above Willow. Starting with a slow grind of her hips, Tara kissed Willow deeply. With wandering hands and infinite care they began to make love for the next several hours. Touching, tasting, reaffirming and drawing their strength from one another.


In the half light just beginning to brighten their room, shortly before dawn they fell asleep wrapped tightly together. Each knew this might be the last bit of uninterrupted, peaceful rest they would be getting for some time to come. With bodies exhausted by loving, and free of worry, they slept.



******


Morning had come all too early. Having once again boxed their important belongings up to send to Sunnydale, Willow helped as they were loaded in the back of the truck that Giles and Claude would be driving. Once they had the truck all loaded up, the pair would then start the drive out just after noon. The flight that Willow, Tara and Dana were taking didn’t leave until 5:20pm and arrived in Sunnydale at 6:45pm.


Willow and Tara had put a few odds and ends in the backpack with Willow’s laptop; it being the only thing they planned to take with them on the plane. Dana had even put her belongings in the truck along with the plants Claude and Giles had decided could potentially be most useful. Dana kept a small bag and a book to go with her, and after the group had lunch together, they saw Giles and Claude off.


Willow and Tara decided to nap some before their flight, since they hadn’t got much sleep before getting up to pack the things they had brought or acquired during their stay at The Grove. In the end it worked well, their boxes plus Dana’s two would serve to help pen in the plants and keep them from sliding around the bed of the truck.



******


Dana spent her last few hours making her way around the compound saying goodbye. Once she had made her rounds of the coven, she went to find Rowan. She wanted to spend her last few hours at The Grove with her mentor and friend. They had been discussing Dana’s dreams for weeks now, and Dana hoped to glean any new insight into them that she could, before leaving for Sunnydale.


Before Tara had arrived, Dana had dreamed of her. She had dreamt of a young blonde witch that would change everything – change Willow – and bring power with her. She had also been having disturbing dreams of death, and dirt. Knowing now from Giles that potential Slayers from around the world had been turning up dead, Dana felt it was safe to say that her dreams of death were related. They held warnings of things that were coming, shades of old evils to fight against.


One thing Dana hadn’t counted on was how close she would become in such a short time with Tara. The effortless affection she felt for both Tara and Willows was simple to understand – they were easy to love. When Willow first arrived at The Grove, Dana had been a shoulder for Willow to cry on, a confidante and friend. This is what made her feel she had to protect Willow, her sweet vulnerability, but beneath that vulnerability hid a core of steel.


But the camaraderie that had developed with Tara was that of equals. During her training Tara, the power she sensed deep within her, let Dana know the truly what an incomparable warrior Tara was becoming having now been given the chance, and that she would be unlike anything anyone had seen in generations. It just reminded her of Rowan’s promise that Tara would in fact be Willow’s equal, and she was.


She spent her remaining hours with Rowan talking about her feelings for the girls, about what her role should be in their coven, and to them. Rowan had told her that there were now three other witches waiting in Sunnydale. Two had been there for some time, and one more had arrived yesterday morning. As it stood, including themselves, Willow and Tara would be starting with a coven of seven.


Rowan reassured Dana as best she could, though neither knew exactly what Dana would be facing in Sunnydale. Rowan reminded her that if she needed anything, she was just a phone call away, day or night. Together they had gone through Rowan’s personal library, and sent a box with Giles of things they thought would be useful along with Giles.


The time slipped by them quickly, and before long there was a knock at the door. When Dana opened the door to Rowan’s office, they found Willow and Tara standing hand in hand, their faces solemn and a little pale. Willow had her backpack slung over her shoulder, which she set on the floor as they entered.


“My Lady,” Willow said. She swallowed several times before she continued. “My Lady, I just wanted to say thank you, thank you so much for… just everything.” Her eyes began to glisten with tears, and her lower lip trembled.


Her voice clear but soft, Tara said, “My Lady, she’s right. You gave us back to one another – you gave me my Willow – my family back. You made it possible for us to move forward in a way we couldn’t, and no one else was able to help us do. “Thank you” just isn’t enough.”


Willow rushed into Rowan’s arms, and hugged her fiercely. Rowan stroked Willow’s back as her tears finally broke loose and she sobbed.


“Hush, child, hush,” Rowan cooed as she held her. “Willow, child, it has been my singular pleasure to help you both in any way that I could.”


Rowan looked at Tara’s tear stained face, and lifted her arm, inviting her into the embrace. Without hesitation, Tara stepped forward and was welcomed into the bear hug by both Rowan and Willow. Dana bowed her head, turning away from what felt like a private moment.


Rowan kissed the tops of the girls’ heads before letting them go. Willow and Tara stood before her with their heads down, and sniffling. Rowan placed a warm hand under both chins and lifted their faces to her. Smiling affectionately, she kissed each of them on the forehead.


“You two mean more to me than I ever would have imagined possible. Having you here, getting to know you has been nothing less than a joy for me. I guess I was just at the right place at the right time, and lucky enough to have you both grace my life,” Rowan said. “So the feeling is mutual girls, very mutual. I won’t say goodbye to you, because we will see each other again, I know it. So I’ll say merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.”


Smiling sadly Willow and Tara replied in unison. “Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again, My Lady.”


The girls simply nodded, and wiped at the tears on their faces. Everyone finally turned back to Dana, who had managed to fade quietly into the background. Dana looked at them with a questioning expression, Willow and Tara nodded solemnly and moved back towards the door. Willow stopped long enough to grab her backpack, and then she and Tara were gone.


Dana paused for a moment before following them, and pulled an envelope from her own bag. She held it for a moment, and took a deep breath before she handed it Rowan. Rowan looked at the envelope and then at Dana with a raised eyebrow.


“If… if anything should happen… those are my wishes. I know you’ll follow them,” Dana said quietly.


Rowan smiled sadly and nodded slowly.


“Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again, My Lady,” Dana said.


Rowan replied softly. “Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again, Sister.”


With a quick embrace, Dana bolted out the door and off down the hallway as well. Rowan sagged against her desk, holding Dana’s envelope tightly to her chest. Sadness, fear and worry were written all over her face as the brave façade broke and tears flowed freely.


When she finally stopped, she looked at Dana’s letter and saw the envelope stained with her tears. She moved around her desk, and tried to pat it dry. Tossing it aside, Rowan cradled her head in her hands, for now it was from that fear she cried for her loved ones.




TBC…


Last edited by vampyregurl73 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 33 05/06/12
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Dibs!

Awesome update! Can't wait to see what sunnydale holds for them.

~Leo


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 33 05/06/12
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 5:55 am 
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... I really loved the way they spended their last night on the coven and in tune they were with one another... I'm kinda worried about what kind of problems the bringers are going to cause and more importantly what nasty plans the Watchers Council has for the Sunnyhell Coven... I hope those new witch-y "recruits" staying in Casa Summers don't cause too much trouble...


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 33 05/06/12
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 7:06 am 
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5. Willowhand
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You made me cry a bit with this update... and the fact that departing from loved ones always makes me choke up.

Very nice update. I'm eager to see what awaites the girls in Sunnydale.


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 33 05/06/12
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 1:50 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Hey Heather,

So glad you're posting this wonderful story again. This was a very solemn chapter. It was as if the main player in the update was the looming quiet that hung over everything happening. Even the celebration seemed without mirth, though there may have been a little. It felt more like a long good-bye than a welcoming hello. Then all of the following scenes decribing the girls preparation for departure. I have to admit that for several chapters now I have been very anxious for the girls to just hurry up and get back to Sunnydale, but now that they are leaving it seems a bit sad. I really felt for Rowan. She must have such a heavy heart watching so many that she cares about leave and walk into battle with a truly deadly opponent.

Great update! Looking forward to...June?


Last edited by True_Love on Thu May 10, 2012 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 33 05/06/12
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 2:50 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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I'm so glad i get to help on this!

Makes me feel a bit like i'm one of the set-crew on Buffy.
Buffy, the way it should have been!

Stupid Joss.

Yay Heather! :kiss1

Now you know we are going to want more so: :flower :flower :flower :flower


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 33 05/06/12
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 8:34 am 
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Heather,

Quote:
Conversations in small clusters ran the length tables, with some members moving up and down along the tables to speak to one another. Once the meal had concluded and the evening had become more social, Willow and Tara moved their chairs into a position where Tara could sit with her legs draped over Willow’s lap and one arm resting around Willow’s shoulders. Willow had her arms securely around Tara’s waist, holding her close.
Love this image but more than that your whole concept of them being drawn even more closely together; their energy and natures truly complementing and strengthening each other. You layer the depth and still have an eye for the details, like Willow playing with Tara's hair later on.

There lovemaking is beautiful and tender . . . but its framed in sorrow, a farewell to that place that was at least some kind of sanctuary for them. That sadness is a thread running through the whole story, beautifully done and then its culmination is in the actual farewells.

Dana's scene with Lady Rowan, the folded paper stained with tears, Lady Rowan crying alone and fearing for her loved ones . . . beautiful, powerful foreshadowing. The feeling of an epic . . . breathless excitement. More please? :pray

Ariel


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 33 05/06/12
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 7:59 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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Heather...wow...really nice chapter. It was kind of like Willow, calmer. I liked how you tied everything up and I feel more confident about them returning to SD. They are very much connected, stronger and grounded. They should, without a doubt, be able to organize the coven and train the witches, because I have a feeling they'll need all the help they can get!

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Shelby - Racing The Rain (IN PROGRESS) / Baby Makes Three (IN PROGRESS) / The Santa Line / Everything She Does...Is Beautiful / Calfornia Grass

"Transform your pain. Release your past. And ... uh ... get over it."
~Willow, Where The Wild Things Are


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 33 05/06/12
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:17 pm 
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leo's_pride,

Congrat's on your dibs. Home again, home again...life on the hellmouth. Well, here's were things get interesting! ;)

Thanks for reading!

******

zampsa19752001.

I'm glad you enjoyed their last night at The Grove. That connection will be key from here on out. As to what The Council has in store, the coven recruits and all other sorts of fun a la Sunnyhell, patience is a virtue.... :grin

Glad you're enjoying the story.

******

fhiwda,

Awww, I made you cry?! Well, we can't have that... so I'll have to come up with something soon to make up for it. ;)

To quote Bette Davis, "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night"... which considering we're dealing with slayers and witches and evils, it kinda fits...

Thanks for commenting.

******

Lexi aka True_Love,

So glad you enjoyed the chapter, and you're right while there was some laughter it was subdued by the bittersweetness of they're leaving and the unknown factor of how things will turn out in Sunnydale.

So here's June's installment, and the arrival home! Hope you like it.

******

Richard aka Azirahael,

Quote:
I'm so glad i get to help on this!

Makes me feel a bit like i'm one of the set-crew on Buffy.
Buffy, the way it should have been!


Richard that has to be the nicest thing anyone's ever said about my story! :kiss1 :kiss1 Thank you! :blush

Thanks for all your help!

******

Julie aka Ariel,

Thank you so much for your words, they truly are encouragement to keep sharing my version of what could have and in my opinion should have happened. So glad you're enjoying the ride I'm taking you on.

******

Shelby aka Finey_McFine,

Yes, I think a calmer Willow and a more confident Tara go hand in hand. They've learned and grown so much, so now you get to see some of the payoff so to speak for how all that work is manifested.

Now that they're back in Sunnydale the games are afoot! ;)


UPDATE DIRECTLY BELOW

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Heather aka vampyregurl73
"Dry Heat""Penny Arcade" "Fireworks" "Promise" "I Did What Last Night?"


Last edited by vampyregurl73 on Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:59 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 34 06/04/12
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:45 pm 
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8. Vixen
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Image




Chapter Thirty-Four

Pairing: W/T

Angst/Drama/Smut Rating: PG

Setting: Sunnydale – The Summers House

Disclaimer: I in no way, shape or form own the characters or dialogue that is borrowed from BtVS; they’re owned by Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy et al. All original characters are in no way connected to them except by me in this forum. No money is involved; this is simply for my own pleasure, and hopefully the people reading too.

Email: riverwillows@me.com

Feedback: Like silence in a movie theater – it’s golden.

***Author’s Notes: This note is a little more important than the others I normally leave since it serves as a reminder. I mentioned early on, that at some point I was going to play heavily with the episode timelines to suit me. Up to this point it has just been pushing things further out than they happened on the show. Well, welcome aboard because here it comes. I may use bits and pieces of episodes as back story in this and upcoming chapters. What I use may not be in the order it was done on the show, so don’t expect that. Ok, you have been forewarned, lol. I'm also unveiling the new banner for the story, so pretend there was a drum roll. As always I’d like to thank you for reading and Team Dry Heat (that never fails to amuse me): Crystal aka CYTEACH; Julie aka Ariel, and Richard aka Azirahael – you guys are the best. Italics are for emphasis. Music for this chapter Ane Brun – “It All Starts With One”, “Spending Time with Morgan”, “A Temporary Dive”, and “Changes of the Seasons”, and Nina Kinert – “Pets & Friends”.



All the great voyagers return
Homeward as on an arc of thought;
Home like a ruby beacon burns
As they crest wind, scale wave, soar air;
All the great voyagers return.

“The Homecoming” - Barbara Howe






The plane touched down in Sunnydale fifteen minutes early. The flight had been a short one, at just under two hours, and the plane was a ‘puddle jumper’, the smallest commercial plane available; it was almost identical to the plane the girls had flown on to Sunnydale months ago. When the plane taxied to a stop and everyone was given the clear to disembark, Tara, Willow and Dana waited for everyone else to get off. The flight only had about thirty people on it, so they had been able to sit wherever they liked.


Once they were all out on the tarmac, Willow closed her eyes and paused to just breathe in the air. Tara slipped her hand into Willow’s and gently raised her hand to place a soft kiss on the back. Willow opened her eyes and smiled at both Tara and Dana. They could feel the change in the air; it was heavy with moisture from the sea and magickal energy from the Hellmouth. Pointing to the stairs that led off the runway, Willow shifted her backpack and Dana led the way inside.


They were the last to come out of the door into the cooler air of the terminal, and since they had no bags to pick up, the three made their way right to the doors of the airport. Standing off to the side, Willow texted Buffy to let her know their flight had landed early. Buffy texted that Xander was already on his way, so the little group decided to wait in the cool of the airport and people watch.


They didn’t have to wait long before Xander wandered into the airport and looked around. Willow hopped up and ran to him with a squeal. Xander looked in the direction of the sound, catching her up and swinging her around in a hug.


“Will!” Xander laughed holding a giggling Willow in his arms.


“Ooo, Xander! It’s so good to see you!” Willow squealed excitedly.


Willow brought him over to Dana and Tara. Xander immediately pulled Tara into a warm hug. Then holding her at arm’s length, he tugged affectionately at her shortened locks. He cocked his head to the side and studied her for a moment before he nodded in approval.


“Well, hey there pretty lady, look at you,” he said with a smile.


“What do you think, Xan?” Tara asked as she pushed her bangs out of her eyes.


“I think you look great,” he said with a squeeze of her shoulders.


Xander turned to look at Dana, with her unruly blonde hair and golden, cat-like eyes. She stood taller than he did. “Well, who do we have here, Will?”


“Xander, this is Dana. She helped train Tara and me at the coven. When we started making plans to come back to Sunnydale, well, she felt that she should come with us. So here she is. Claude will be coming with Giles; they haven’t gotten here yet have they?” Willow inquired.


“Claude? We have another guy?” Xander asked hopefully, shaking hands with Dana.


“Umm, no it’s short for Claudia,” Tara said with a smile.


“What do you mean another?” Willow asked as they made their way out to his car.


“Well, Jacob showed up looking for you before the twins did, and then there’s Andrew, but I don’t think you can really count him as a guy,” he said.


“Andrew? You mean Warren’s little butt monkey?” Tara asked incredulously. “When did he and Jonathan show back up?”


Willow and Xander both snickered.


“Yup, that be the one,” Xander said rocking up on the balls of his feet. “He’s more of an unwilling guest than any real use anyway. Jonathan was with him, but now he’s… not.”


“Explain the ‘not’ part. Wait, do I really want you to explain the ‘not’?” Willow said with raised eyebrows.


“Well, about a week after Jacob showed up looking for you two, we found Andrew when we were out patrolling. Uh, how much do you know about what’s been going on here in lovely old Sunnydale since you left?” he asked seriously.


Willow and Tara looked at one another, then at Dana who shrugged.


“I know what you know,” Dana replied to the questioning glance.


“Which means not so much. We know potential slayers have been turning up dead mysteriously all over the world, Giles told us that. We know there’s some big bad brewing, and it’s old and mean and not here to snuggle,” Tara replied.


“Uh, yeah, well that’s a good start. Maybe I should let Buffy fill you in. Are you folks hungry? Let’s stop and pick up some food on the way home. How does pizza sound?” Xander smiled, as he dodged away from the subject. Xander opened the passenger door for Dana and the girls slid into the backseat cuddling up immediately.


The girls shot knowing looks at one another as they recognized Xander’s ‘avoid-y dance’ for what it was – there was something he didn’t want to tell them. Dana watched Xander curiously, as he kept his gaze averted while he fiddled with the radio before pulling out to head back towards Sunnydale. Tara slipped her hand into Willow’s, and squeezed reassuringly.


******


“Are we trying to feed a small army or what?” Dana asked looking at the boxes of pizza split between her and Tara’s laps, and the dozen bags of drinks and salads Willow had around her ankles and in her lap.


Xander smirked. “You could say that. Potentials can eat, and we have to feed everyone at Buffy’s. I can guarantee you there will be at least two potentials there as guards.”


“Guards?” Tara asked in surprise.


“Yeah, we have to keep Dawn and your ever growing witchy fan club safe, although Jacob seems to be pretty handy in that department. And here we are, home again, home again,” Xander replied.


Everyone got out of the car and started walking towards the door. Dana and the girls stopped and looked at one another then back at the house. Xander didn’t notice he was now walking alone as he passed through the protection spell that had been cast around the Summers’ house. The spell shimmered like a soap bubble briefly when he crossed through it.


When he got to the door he realized he was alone and turned around. Tara held her hand to the spell’s boundary, creating what looked very much like a glass door. She pushed and it swung inwards as though it were on hinges. After Dana and Willow passed through, she entered and in effect, shut the door she had created.


The door to the house was yanked open and a slight young man with chestnut colored hair and striking grey eyes rushed out, looking panicked. He rushed past Xander and immediately started to draw energy into a crackling orb in his hand. Tara quickened her pace, putting herself between him and Willow, and literally took his orb from his hand, dispersing the energy.


“I think you really need to calm down before someone gets hurt accidentally,” Tara said with calm authority. “I’m Tara, and I’m the one that breached your spell. You must be Jacob?”


The young man nodded curtly, looking between Tara, Willow and Dana with a wary eye. Willow stepped forward with her hand out.


“Hi, I’m Willow. This is Tara, my girlfriend, and that’s Dana. You were the first one to arrive looking for Tara and me, right? We’ve been looking forward to meeting you,” Willow smiled brightly.


“I’m so sorry, My Ladies,” Jacob said his eyes wide in recognition. “I didn’t mean to offend you, I had no idea you had already arrived. I simply felt the breach, and panicked,” Jacob apologized and ducked his head in respect.


“That’s a solid spell, Jacob,” Tara encouraged. “We can reinforce it later. What have you been using to power it?”


“Andrew,” Jacob replied with a smirk.


“Andrew?” The girls asked in unison, looking at each other in dismay.


“I helped Giles find the spell that allows Andrew to charge several large quartz stones that we have stashed around the perimeter of the house, like rechargeable batteries.” Jacob replied with pride.


“Nice, so do you power it at all?” Willow asked.


“Once a day I have to key it to me, but that’s all. I act like a human alarm system should it ever be breached. We use Andrew as an ongoing power source, since he doesn’t really do anything else but whine and eat hot pockets. Faith thought it would put his “bitch ass” to good use, as she put it.” Jacob smiled and used his hands to form air quotation marks around Faith’s description of Andrew.


Faith?” Willow squeaked, looking at Tara incredulously.


“Curiouser and curiouser,” Tara muttered. Her look of annoyance matched Willow’s.


“Hey, guys the food’s getting cold. Let’s take this inside and you can compare notes with Jake while we eat,” Xander suggested. He threw a glance over his shoulder and tried to hurry into the house.


“Oh, you so have some explaining to do, mister. Xander, you didn’t tell us Faith and Andrew were here!” Willow yelled as she whacked him on the arm when she walked by, then Tara cuffed him on the back of the head, and Dana who punched him in the shoulder.


“Hey!” he griped at Dana.


She smiled wickedly and said, “It seemed like it might be deserved, and I didn’t want to be left out of the fun.”


“Great, now you too,” he rolled his eyes. “Okay, okay. I may have left that tiny little detail out, but I distinctly remember saying that we should talk once we got back here,” Xander said as he went out of his way to avoid any further blows from angry women.


“No, you said Buffy would explain. So what’s your excuse now?” Willow groused.


“Aw, c’mon, Will! Cut me some slack, there’s been a lot going on, and honestly Faith was not on my radar,” Xander pleaded as he walked into the dining room to set down still warm boxes of pizza.


“Really? I didn’t think she was ever off of anyone’s radar,” Tara said.


“That’s all part of my charm, Blondie,” Faith said as she sauntered into the dining room


Everyone turned to face Faith. Jacob swallowed rapidly and blushed before exiting quickly; Tara looked at Faith and raised an eyebrow in silent question at his behavior. Willow crossed her arms over her chest while narrowing her eyes. Dana eased off to the side, watching closely as everyone in the room became tense.


“Long time no see, Red. How’s it hangin’?” Faith asked leaning casually against the door frame, one hand on her hip. “Is that pizza?” She asked, peeking around the two women that blocked her view of the pizza laden table.


“Yeah, it is. There should be enough for everyone, is Buff around?” Xander asked. He scooted out of the other doorway and away from whatever was about to happen between Faith, Willow and Tara.


“Yeah, B’s out back with the little Slayer tykes,” Faith said, holding eye contact with Willow.


“So when did you show up, Faith?” Willow asked her voice flat.


“I played taxi to the twins a few days ago. Plus ‘The Fanged Wonder’ thought I might wanna get in on some of this,” Faith smirked.


“You mean Angel sent you? And to ‘get in’ on what exactly?” Willow asked.


“Why didn’t he just send them on their own?” Tara asked suspiciously, putting her hands on her hips. “What do they need you for?”


Faith eyed Tara closely before she realized who Tara was. Her eyes widened. “Whoa, you definitely got in touch with your inner butch, didn’t you?” She said moving towards the table opening pizza boxes to see what kind they were, picking up one with extra pepperoni. “Fang boy said something was gonna go down here in Sunny D, so here I am. ‘Sides, the twins – they don’t talk.”


Willow’s hands clenched into fists and she stepped towards Faith. “Watch your mouth, Faith,” She growled.


Tara wrapped her arm around Willow’s waist and pulled her close to soothe her. “What are you leaving out, Faith? Why don’t they talk?” Tara asked ignoring the jibe.


Faith took a breath, and continued with a little less attitude. “I dunno why they don’t talk, you can ask ‘em yourself. They’re around here somewhere. They showed up in L.A., Queenie saw ‘em comin’ and told me I had to be the one to bring ‘em ‘cause she knew they needed to be here with the two of you.”


“Interesting…” Dana spoke softly for the first time.


“And who might this tall drink of water be?” Faith asked looking at Dana a little too intently.


“This is Dana; she came with us from The Grove. You may not want to piss her off Faith, she helped train Willow and me. In combat magicks,” Tara smirked.


Faith raised her eyebrows when she looked at Dana again, who narrowed her eyes and rose to her full height to peer down stoically at Faith. Looking up at Dana, Faith laughed and winked at her, then eyeing Tara once more, Faith smirked. “Things is changin’ all over, ain’t they, Blondie?” she said as she plopped down in a chair holding the pizza box in her lap.


Willow was still shooting daggers at Faith when the back door opened and slammed shut.


“Tara! Willow! Where are you?” Dawn yelled.


“In here,” they replied in unison.


Dawn squealed and rushed in capturing both girls in a big three-way hug. In minutes, Buffy stood in the doorway smiling. The door opened again and several other bodies filtered into the house, following the sounds of chatter and the scent of food.


“Alright, Dawn, let them go already,” Buffy teased. “It’s my turn for hugs,” She laughed hugging her best friends tightly.


Willow sat, still watching Faith warily. Tara sat down in Willow’s lap, pulling pizza boxes towards her, looking for the one with pepperoni and black olives for her and Willow to share. Finding her box, she chatted with Buffy while she ate. No one paid any attention when the front door opened. Two more additions joined the growing group of people trying to fit in the small dining room.


“Pizza! I’m starving!” Claude said, announcing hers and Giles’ arrival.


Someone had managed to bring plates and napkins in at some point during the initial hellos and chatter. The dining room was quickly filling with more bodies than it could hold comfortably. Buffy whistled loudly to get everyone’s attention


“Why don’t we migrate into the living room, there’s more room, and it looks like we have a few new faces and introductions to make,” Buffy said picking up her box of pizza and soda.


The group shuffled into the living room, while Dawn and a girl with shoulder length chocolate brown hair; and pierced nose and eyebrow passed out drinks. Willow and Tara took the loveseat, as people started to fill up the space around the coffee table holding the pizza boxes.


Fifteen people were spread around the living room, all munching on pizza. A boy and a girl sat off to the side along with Buffy, Jacob, Claude and Dana in chairs. Xander, Dawn and Giles had claimed the sofa. The girl with the piercings and a light skinned African American girl with pretty green eyes sat on the floor next to one another; Faith had pushed Andrew out of the recliner, so he joined the group on the floor.


Murmurs of “Can you pass me…” and “What’s on that one?” filled the room while everyone settled down to eat. Eventually the meal began to wind down as everyone ate their fill.


Buffy wiped her hands on her napkin, and looked around the room. “Will, why don’t you make your introduction and then I’ll make mine,” she said with a smile.


Tara handed Willow a napkin, and she nodded wiping her mouth. “Sure, well that’s pretty easy,” Willow pointed at Dana. “On the other side of Tara, we have Dana, and next to her is Claude. They came back with us from The Grove, and for those of you who don’t know, I’m Willow and this is Tara,” She said with a smile and a wink at Tara. Tara took her hand and kissed the back of it smiling.


Buffy smiled affectionately at the pair. “Okay, here on the floor next to you, Will, we have Charity, next to her is Veda,” Buffy pointed to the girl with the shoulder length brown hair and facial piercings, then the African American girl. “You guys already met Jake,” she said smiling. “Over here we have the twins, Livy and Stephan. The twins don’t speak, they hear fine though, just so you guys know,” The boy and girl with strawberry blonde hair, and sweet, cherubic faces grinned shyly and waved. “Then we have Andrew over here,” Buffy pointed to the short young man with blonde highlights, “Oh, and hiding over there in the corner in the recliner is Faith; she’s the other slayer.” Buffy said with a jerk of her thumb in Faith’s direction


Faith rolled her eyes and muttered, “Gee, thanks B.”


Willow gave a little wave to the room, and Tara nodded, replying in unison, “Hi.”


Charity made a point of reaching her hand out for Willow to shake. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”


Willow shook her hand politely, but when she had to tug her hand back she shot Buffy an uncomfortable look. Tara briefly narrowed her eyes at the girl, and Dawn gave Charity a not so subtle kick in the leg. Claude and Faith snickered and then looked at one another.


Buffy shot Charity a disapproving glare, then looked at Willow and Tara said, “The twins and Jake are here for you and the coven. Veda and Charity are potentials, as I bet you guessed.”


Willow rested her hand on Tara’s thigh and sat back. “Will and I are here with our coven of witches that we’ll be training. We’re also here to help Buffy in any way we can. Since it seems like some of you have some excess energy, it would be great if you could help Claude unload the plants and herbs she brought with us,” Tara said looking pointedly at Charity. “She’s our herbalist, or will be,” She said with a smile.


Willow nodded. “Since it’s still early, once you get all the plants arranged outside, Claude, why don’t we all meet in the dining room and get to know one another.”


“Great!” Charity said with a little too much enthusiasm and a big smile, not taking her eyes off of Willow.


“Um, I meant the coven, Charity,” Willow said as politely as she could.


“Oh,” she said as her smile faltered.


“You don’t have time anyway,” Buffy replied, further shooting Charity down. “Once you guys help unload whatever Giles and Claude need help with, Faith will take you back to the barracks. You two are done with your rotation here, who’s up next?”


“Vi and Tammy,” Charity answered.


“Okay, remind Tammy not to forget her pillow and stuffed lion this time, I won’t go back for it at 4am again,” Buffy said brusquely.


“Barracks?” Willow and Tara asked in unison.


“Do you guys do that all of the time?” Veda asked.


“What?” They replied, then looked at each other and giggled.


“Yes, they do,” Dana answered for them with an affectionate smile.


“I think it’s cute,” Claude added.


“Me too,” Dawn said happily.


“Since when do you have barracks, Buff?” Willow asked with a grin.


“People have started leaving town – lots of people. The building next to The Magic Box has been empty for ages now and it used to be a gym,” Buffy replied.


“So we kinda liberated it, yo,” Faith interjected. “We needed the space, it has showers an’ whatnot, so Xan Man hooked it up. He got it all setup; water, electric and bunk beds for the Slayer tykes. He even got the little brats cable.”


Buffy shrugged. “It beats having another twenty plus people all crashing around here. Once Jake showed up, he put a cloaking and protection spell on the building to keep them safe, and he and the twins stay here. Faith stays there at night, along with Andrew and Anya, and we pull two girls for three day shifts here at the house for added protection with me. They train with me while they’re here too.”


“You have that many girls?” Dana said amazed.


“Wow,” Claude whispered.


“The only thing it don’t have is a kitchen, so Anya gets to play ‘Mrs. Garrett’. Gotta feed the little tykes, ya know?” Faith smirked.


“Several girls already had watchers and were training. Buffy is using their expertise as well to train those still at the barracks,” Giles said. “Buffy has also informed me that the twins and Jake rotate casting the spells there; they work together to keep the signature from staying the same for too long.”


Tara nodded. “Making it harder for another witch to pinpoint the caster, which in turn it makes it harder to find the location of the potentials. So far it’s working, and everyone is staying safe? ”


Buffy nodded again. “They train all day, either at the barracks or with either Faith or me. Sometimes both,” she said solemnly. Making eye contact with Willow and Tara, Buffy added. “We’ll talk later. I need to fill you both in on lots of things.”


“They seem to keep coming too. With people leaving, we’ve, uh, “liberated” futon mattresses for padding, and sleeping bags,” Xander said. “I’m surprised by the few that have stayed. The pizza place is one, the grocery store and the drug store too.”


“Seems like they’ll be the last to go, but they will go, Buffy,” Tara said sadly.


“Yeah, they will,” Buffy replied calmly. “That’s what will be safest.”


“The more that leave, the closer it will be,” Dana added morosely.


“And we’ll be ready,” Willow and Tara said in unison.


“We have to be,” Buffy said firmly.


Claude hopped up clapping her hands. “Then let’s get started, come on girls. Let’s do this!”


The group dispersed; people went to start their tasks. Dawn, Andrew and Xander picked up empty pizza boxes, and generally cleaned up. Willow, Tara and Buffy stayed in the living room, waiting until everyone had left. Buffy seemed to be lost in her thoughts, her expression blank as Willow and Tara watched her.


“Buff,” Willow said quietly, trying to draw Buffy back from her thoughts.


Buffy looked at Willow and Tara; her eyes troubled and pained. “I don’t know what else to do.”


“We can only do our best, and hope that it’s enough, Buffy,” Tara replied.


Buffy nodded. “You know not everyone will make it; it’s inevitable.”


“We know,” the girls answered.


“So where’s Spike, Buffy? I thought he would be skulking around by now,” Willow asked with a smile.


“Spike’s gone,” Buffy replied, as her face darkened.


“Where did he go?” Willow asked.


“No, I mean he’s gone – dusted.” Buffy looked up at them.


Both girls sat in shock for a moment, surprised that someone had finally gotten the best of Spike after all this time.


“How?” they asked in unison


“You know, you guys have really got to stop doing that,” Buffy said with a sad smile, taking a breath she continued. “It was Dawn. She overheard Xander and I arguing about him after… well, you know, and she went to his crypt. She didn’t tell me for days after she’d done it.”


“Oh my God,” Willow breathed and looked at Tara.


“She was so angry, and he was drinking. She cornered him and asked if it was true, he started crying and trying to apologize. She said he didn’t even realize that she was staking him,” Buffy said softly, looking at her feet.


“We know,” they said.


Buffy’s head snapped up, confusion clear in her expression. “Did she call you?”


“We saw it. We saw Dawn in tears, but we didn’t see it until a few days ago, and it made no sense until now,” Tara said.


“I don’t understand,” Buffy said.


“Part of what we had to do before we joined the coven was a vision quest,” Willow said. “We saw it during the vision quest.”


“More accurately, we saw Dawn in tears, and dust falling all around her. We had no idea what it meant though,” Tara added quietly.


Buffy sniffled, and looked away the muscle in her jaw jumping as she grit her teeth and tried to keep control of her emotions.


“You loved him, didn’t you?” Willow asked gently.


“No…I don’t know…maybe. After what he tried to do I didn’t trust him – I just couldn’t deal with him,” Buffy laughed grimly. “Dawn did what I’ve never seemed to be able to do.”


Willow and Tara went to Buffy; Willow wrapped her arms around Buffy in a hug. “It’s for the best, Buff. There was a reason for it.”


Tara stroked Buffy’s hair. “We don’t see it now, but there had to have been a reason it was Dawn. Has she talked about it anymore?”


Buffy let go of Willow, shaking her head. “No, she says there’s nothing to talk about.”


The front door opened and Claude came, in followed by the others talking and smiling. She took one look at the serious faces that greeted her and stopped in her tracks. Buffy quickly wiped her face, all traces of her turmoil gone in an instant.


“Are you good?” Buffy asked Claude.


“Uh, yeah. Everything is as good as we can make it. I was wondering if you had a hose, I need to water my babies,” She said, trying to smile and lighten the mood. “Faith said she and the Slayer tykes are ready to go too.”


Willow rolled her eyes at hearing Faith parroted, and snorted, “Slayer Tykes.”


“Will, can you?” Buffy asked making absent minded hand gestures. She wiped her face again and walked out. She looked at Willow and Tara. “Later?” They both nodded.


“Sure. Follow me, Claude. We can’t have any poor little plants dying on us now, can we?” Willow chirped.


“Is she okay?” Claude asked quietly.


“She will be,” Tara said. “C’mon, let’s go water your babies.”


The three girls walked through the kitchen and out into the back yard. Willow and Tara looked around at the abundance of herbs. The porch rails were covered in window baskets, and the other dozen and a half of other assorted pots were filled with medicinal and cooking herbs, along with a half dozen whiskey barrel pots containing some of the larger shrubs.


Smiling at each other, they went over to the water spigot that had a two hose adapter. Tara handed Claude one hose and she took the other; while Claude watered her ‘babies’ Tara watered the rose bushes and her small herb garden. Dawn must have remembered to water the garden, keeping it alive while she was gone. There was no chance it had been Buffy; she had such a notoriously black thumb that she had even killed fake plants


Willow sat on the ground close to where Tara was watering and began to meditate. The scent of Roses, lavender and rosemary wafted into the air deliciously, helping to calm and center both girls.


It was going to be a long night




TBC…

_________________
Heather aka vampyregurl73
"Dry Heat""Penny Arcade" "Fireworks" "Promise" "I Did What Last Night?"


Last edited by vampyregurl73 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:10 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 34 06/04/12
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:03 pm 
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11. Fish in the Bowl

Joined: Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:35 pm
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DIBS!!! :whip :whip :whip

Hi Heather,

Really like using “The Homecoming” – creates an epic feel for what will be an epic battle. Great surprise!

Loved the Willow/Xander hug n’ squeal-fest (Willow doing the squealing, of course) and liked how Xander and Tara met again, too. This caught my eye:

Quote:
The girls shot knowing looks at one another as they recognized Xander’s ‘avoid-y dance’ for what it was – there was something he didn’t want to tell them. Dana watched Xander curiously, as he kept his gaze averted while he fiddled with the radio before pulling out to head back towards Sunnydale. Tara slipped her hand into Willow’s, and squeezed
reassuringly.
Adding this weights the previous paragraph appropriately – good move and it shows how well they know each other. (minor formatting glitch – read through, there’s a couple like this)

This part made me giggle:

Quote:
“Oh, you so have some explaining to do, mister. Xander, you didn’t tell us Faith and Andrew were here!” Willow yelled as she whacked him on the arm when she walked by, then Tara cuffed him on the back of the head, and Dana who punched him in the shoulder.

“Hey!” he griped at Dana.

She smiled wickedly and said, “It seemed like it might be deserved, and I didn’t want to be left out of the fun.”

“Great, now you too,” he rolled his eyes. “Okay, okay. I may have left that tiny little detail out, but I distinctly remember saying that we should talk once we got back here,” Xander said as he went out of his way to avoid any further blows from angry women.
Shows their feisty side and Xander knows it’s coming. Funny when Dana joins in – also highlights her protective instincts towards W/T and her sense of humor.

Magic bit – GREAT! They calmly take charge just like they should and do it with both grace and power. Nice work. Our girls have become “My Ladies.” :applause :applause :applause

Loved Faith’s entrance . . . and am shamelessly praying for some sparring between her and Dana! :pray :pray :pray Nice W/T dialogue with Faith – glad there’s tension and not a hugs n’ puppy fest, your choices make total sense. But I also like the potential of them becoming true allies later . . . eager for more.

And Charity . . . ahhhhh! Loving the various smack-downs enroute. Petty I know, but I don’t care!

Speaking of petty . . . Mr. Smarty-pants Azirahael! I didn’t know what day she was posting so :P on you! I can dibs if I want! <=(spending way too much time with little kids in my head!) For this you should wear TWO cows of contrition! :moo :moo Okay, I forgive you . . . and the cows look pretty uncomfortable, too, so take them off and let’s be friends. :flower

Tension, humor, relationships, high-stakes end-game WOW - keep it coming, Heather!

Ariel
How I Met Your Mother


Last edited by Ariel on Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 34 06/04/12
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:21 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Heh, i was waiting for someone to dibs.
I figured it wouldn't be fair 'cos i'm a beta for this story.

*eyes Julie with suspicion*
*Says sorry*
*Gives Julie a cupcake* :cupcake
drat! no cupcake icon.
Hmm, how about :cake ?
Nope
:Parfait ?
Nope
:amusing fountain made out of sausages ?
Nope
oh well, you'll have to imagine me giving you a virtual cupcake :)

Oh-ho! this is shaping up to be good!
The First was always trouble 'cos the slayers specialize in hitting stuff and it can't be hit.
Now there's a witch squad on board.
Time to bring the hammer down.

Don't worry Buffy, we'll get there in the end! :bounce
Remember: friendship is magic!

R

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 34 06/04/12
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:02 am 
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8. Vixen
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... I guess Charity is taking the place of JFK as a bratty bitch trying to steal Willow, I sure hope Tara very soon zaps her ass and makes sure she gets the message that nobody messes with Tara's girl... Can't wait to read about how Potentials and Witch-y Squad take on Bringers, Über vamps and other "friends" of the First and the Watcher's Council...

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 34 06/04/12
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:08 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Yay! Heather another great update to Dry Heat. I feel just like Willow did when exiting the plane. Taking a deep breath now that we're finally back in SunnyD, but at the same time with all the big badness on the way it's not necessarily a calming breath, more of a heavy sigh as if to say 'okay, here we go!'.

I loved the giddy reunion with Xander and Willow, so cute. I especially liked the meaningful hug between him and Tara. I know that their relationship evolved over the time that Willow was away before she met back up with Tara. I got the sense that it really warmed his manly heart to see the two of them back together again and to see Tara smiling face after so many months of sadness.

Great job with description back at Buffy's house. I could picture the whole scene in my mind, with girls rushing around and a flurry of emotion matching the commotion that was happening around them. I agree with Ariel, interesting and good choice to not have Faith and W/T hit it off right away. There is hope for a future friendship, but that has to come with trust and right now there's not much between the girls so it wouldn't make sense for them to hit if off right away.

I was a bit sad about Spike. I kinda loved that he was redeemed at the end of S7 for all the mayhem, destruction and death that he caused over the many years of his vampyric life, but you are doing such a great job with your vision in this fic that I'm sure whatever you come up with with be equally as good.

Definitately looking forward to more. Love this fic!

_________________
Tara: " I got so lost."
Willow: "I found you. I will always find you."


Remodeling: The Reconstruction of Tara Maclay / W/T Potpourri


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 34 06/04/12
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:46 pm 
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5. Willowhand
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Location: Maryland
Hi Heather! So exciting to see an update here!

I'm way late to the fb party (bad Jessica) so pretty much all my thoughts were already thrown out there by the other kittens but I loved the reunion between the group. Very realistic and spot on. I was a little sad about the whole Spike being dusted bit but I'm sure it'll all be ok. And Faith is ever-charming as usual. You did a great job writing her character. And I agree with everyone else as far as Willow and Tara's reaction to her presence.

I'm interested to see how all these relationships work once everyone is settled it between with new coven and the junior slayers. I think you've got something really great here and I can't wait to see what you do with it next.

_________________
Anya: I don't like the sound of this. They don't sound very ex-demon compatible.
Tara: Are you sure they're English? I thought English people were, um, gentler than uh... normal people.

An Everyday Life


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 34 06/04/12
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:33 pm 
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8. Vixen
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Ariel,

Congratulations on your dibs!

I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter. I'll keep in mind some sparring for Faith & Dana, although I have a feeling that could write itself, lol.

Ahh, yes, Charity... I've had her sitting in the wings since I started this story two years ago! I have plans for her... then again don't I always have plans?

Thanks for reading.

******

Azirahael,

Glad you're looking forward to the end, lol. Yes, things are shaping up aren't they?

Thanks for the feedback.

******

zampsa19752001,

Who is this JFK you speak of? I have no idea what you mean. ;)

Yes, now it's time for the last of our guests to arrive and me to tie it all up!

Glad you're enjoying it!

******

True_Love,

Glad you're enjoying my version. It was fun to rewrite Willow & Tara's reunion, there was more leeway there in what I could do with it. Now it's down to the nitty gritty. Let's see what kind of fun I can have with it!

Thanks for reading!

******

beautiful_love,

No, no bad Jessica - all feedback is good no matter when it comes in.

You enjoyed how I wrote Faith in the last chapter, and I honestly have fun writing her, she's another character that is fun to play with. So I'm curious as to what you think of her this chapter. I hope you enjoy how I tie the coven in and take on The First too. It's gonna be interesting to rewrite the end of season 7!

Thanks for feedback.





POST DIRECTLY BELOW:

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"Dry Heat""Penny Arcade" "Fireworks" "Promise" "I Did What Last Night?"


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 Post subject: New Fic (AU/Slight Canon) Dry Heat Chapter 35 07/07/12
PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:03 pm 
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8. Vixen
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Location: Southern Arizona
Image



Chapter Thirty-Five

Pairing: W/T

Angst/Drama/Smut Rating: PG-13 for light innuendo

Setting: Sunnydale – The Summers House and the barracks

Disclaimer: I in no way, shape or form own the characters or dialogue that is borrowed from BtVS; they’re owned by Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy et al. All original characters are in no way connected to them except by me in this forum. No money is involved; this is simply for my own pleasure, and hopefully the people reading too.

Email: riverwillows@me.com

Feedback: Is all I can ever ask for.

Author’s Notes: Well, hello everyone, so happy you’re here. Let me start by saying that there will be a temporary hiatus on the story while I have surgery and recover. The story has not been abandoned, never fear, and hopefully while I recover I’ll be able to work on the next chapters as usual. Now with that out of the way, I’d like to thank my beta Crystal aka Cyteach for all her help through this chapter. Music was as follows: The Smashing Pumpkins “Oceania”, Eva Cassidy “Simply Eva”, Metric “Synthetica”, and A Place to Bury Strangers “Worship”.





I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received. - Antonio Porchia




After turning off the light, Willow slid into bed next to Tara. Tara opened her arms and Willow snuggled in close, wrapping an arm tightly around Tara’s waist. They lay quietly in each other’s arms, with the steady drumming of Willow’s heart under Tara’s hand, and strong rhythm of Tara’s heartbeat under Willow’s ear.


“What a day, what a day,” Willow whispered; she knew Tara was not yet asleep.


Tara kissed the top of Willow’s head while she tightened her embrace. “Yes, love, it has been. Lots to take in, isn’t it? Can you believe little Dawnie, though?”


Willow traced aimless shapes along Tara’s lower back and hip as she spoke. “In a way I can, baby. It really drives home for me, at least, that Dawnie isn’t that little girl I always see in my head when I think of her anymore. She’s almost eighteen… an adult, and I think we all need to come to terms with that quickly, one way or another.”


“Mmmhmm, like Buffy said, Dawn did what she never could. We really don’t know what Buffy’s reasons were, what stopped her for so long. I mean, she could have done it at any time, long before they were... involved, so what always stopped her? I just wonder what the price was for Dawnie, what this has done to her. The worst part of all is that I think in a way Dawnie loved Spike,” Tara said thoughtfully. “And now, now there’s all of this… end of the world stuff happening all over again.”


“I can’t even begin to imagine, honestly. Maybe we should talk to her, or just you know, let her know that we’re here if she wants to talk about it,” Willow said pulling back to look at Tara in the half light of the orange glow pouring in from the sodium-vapor lamp outside of their bedroom window.


Tara smiled, and stroked Willow’s hair. “I think that’s a good idea, Will.” Tara leaned in to kiss Willow softly.


Willow hummed lightly. “Tara-kissage… the best there is,” she said.


Tara laughed gently and nuzzled her nose against Willow’s. “We should sleep, love. The research starts tomorrow, and we also have to start the training of our coven.”


Willow nodded, turning her head to yawn sleepily. “I was actually hoping we could recruit Dawnie into the research fold tomorrow on a permanent basis. We have too much to do on our own, and we won’t be able to be the workhorses this time, and neither can Giles. He has a lot to do with the gathering of the potentials. Dawn is our best, most reliable option; Xander can help, but you know how he is.”


Tara began to stroke Willow’s hair again. “You’re right, and I think Buffy won’t put up much of a fight about it anymore now either. I just wish Dawn hadn’t had to prove herself that way.”


Willow gave Tara another squeeze. “I know, baby, me too. Buffy has tried so hard to shelter her from even doing research for so long,” Willow said thoughtfully. “You know, I was younger than Dawn when I cast my first spell, Buffy too, when she started slaying… I guess you don’t get much of a childhood when you grow up on the hellmouth.” Willow sighed heavily and yawned. “We have to be realistic, too; we need her, and we wouldn’t have to watch her every move, you know?”


“I agree,” Tara replied her hand stroking Willow’s back gently.


With a few more soft kisses, the girls began to slip into sleep. Their last thoughts of the day were of what tomorrow would hold and all they had to do. Willow was making lists sleepily in her head as she fell asleep. They had to test the skills of Jacob and the twins, and work with Dana to begin their training accordingly. There was also the matter of getting Claude up to speed with spell ingredients as well.


During their earlier conversation with Buffy, Willow and Tara had been brought up to date on all the new weirdness that she and the potentials had been dealing with in their absence. On top of all the details of training with the coven, they also had to find out more about the blind minions and the Nosferatu-esque vampires that kept springing up like cockroaches.


This was just the beginning of the end – again.



******



The sound of laughter and the smell of coffee wafted up the stairs and through the house. Willow tied a knot just above her belly button in the linen shirt she was wearing, as Tara slipped on a blue t-shirt and Willow watched her dress. Willow slunk up behind her grinning mischievously, and eased her hands into the front pockets of Tara’s shorts and kissed her neck.


Tara tilted her head to give Willow better access to her long slender throat. Willow nibbled and sucked on her neck while Tara purred her approval, and reached back to pull Willow’s hips tight against her. Willow growled and sucked harder on her neck just below her ear, and quite in plain sight. Tara knew she would be sporting a bright new love bite on her neck when Willow was done, and she couldn’t care less.


“Mmm, someone woke up feeling frisky this morning,” Tara chuckled at Willow’s insistent mouth.


Pulling away from Tara with a loud pop, Willow nipped again at her neck. “I woke up next to you, what more do I need?” she replied sweetly.


Tara laughed and turned in Willow’s arms, kissing her soundly. “Suck up,” she laughed.


Willow wiggled her eyebrows as she cupped Tara’s bottom and gave it a firm squeeze while she smiled wickedly. “Ahh, but you have such wonderful things to suck.”


Tara laughed loudly. “You are horrible, Willow!”


“And yet, you love me still,” Willow teased, the picture of innocence.


“I do, you know that I do,” Tara replied in a husky purr.


Willow kissed her once, barely brushing their lips together, but what started out as a simple kiss quickly grew into a heated make-out session. Tara had unbuttoned Willow’s shorts and slid to her knees as she pulled the knot free from Willow’s shirt. She was pressing wet kisses into the warm skin of Willow’s tummy, working her way lower, when a loud knock at the door stopped her.


“Guys?” Buffy called through the door.


With Willow half dressed and Tara on her knees in front of her, they froze like deer in headlights. Looking first at each other and then at the door, they were both willing the door not to swing open.


“Yeah,” Willow squeaked out quickly then coughed and tried again. “Yeah, Buff, what’s up?”


“Breakfast is being made, you might want to come down before it’s all gone,” Buffy said.


“We’ll be right down.” Willow called out.


They heard Buffy’s footsteps as she moved away from the door, and once she was gone they burst into laughter. Several minutes passed before they got themselves under control enough to make their way down the stairs. When they came into the kitchen they made a beeline for the coffee pot. Looking into the dining room they could see Stephan, Jake, Xander and two young women they had yet to meet.


Livy was at the stove cooking an omelet, and turned to smile at the pair. She pushed a small dry erase board at them that asked what kind of omelet they would like. Willow picked up the board and noticed that it still had a cord attached to it when she turned it over, which made her snicker.


Both Livy and Tara looked at her in confusion, and Willow just shook her head waving off their unspoken question. Willow told Tara to just get whatever kind she wanted and they could share, before she wandered off to find Dana. After a quick circuit of the downstairs, she went out into the backyard.


She found Claude pruning herbs with Dana bundling them to be hung to dry, and Buffy sitting alone in the sun. Her head was tilted back and her sunglasses on. Willow walked over to Buffy, her shadow falling over her friend. Buffy slid her sunglasses down her nose to look up at Willow; there were circles around her eyes making the stress she was feeling obvious.


Willow pushed Buffy’s bangs off her forehead, and smiled down gently at her. “Hey.”


“Hey, Will. Sleep well?”


Willow nodded. “You don’t look like you slept at all though.”


Buffy smiled sadly. “I didn’t.”


“You have to rest, Buffy,” Willow scolded and sat on the wide arm of the wooden lawn chair.


“I know, but there’s just so much to worry about, Will. Giles left this morning, and he’ll be back in three days with two more girls,” she whispered with concern. “I was thinking after breakfast, maybe I could take you and Tara to the barracks. To see if there’s something more we can do to keep everyone safe while they’re there?”


“Sure, Buff. We can do that. I’ll ask Jacob what spell they’ve been augmenting and we can do some tinkering of our own,” Willow grinned. “We want everyone as safe as possible.”


Buffy looked relieved and some of the tension she was radiating eased as she slipped her hand into Willow’s. Willow sat down next to her in the grass keeping Buffy’s hand in hers, turning her face towards the sun as well. They sat like that for several long moments enjoying the warmth and each other’s presence.


Willow gave Buffy’s hand a gentle squeeze before she let it go and rose from her spot, walking over to where Dana and Claude were working quietly. The closer she got, the more she could smell the different herbs that had already been trimmed and prepared to hang for drying.


“Good morning, Sisters,” Willow greeted them.


Dana was sitting Indian style in the grass, and looked up from the bundle she was tying the thread off on. “Good Morning, My Lady.”


“Good morning, My Lady,” Claude replied as she looked up with a smile from the sage she was trimming.


“Do you have any idea how odd that sounds?” Willow giggled. “I keep expecting Lady Rowan to pop up out of nowhere like she always did.”


Dana and Claude laughed with her. “Well, Willow, it’s what you and Tara are for all intents and purposes. You’re both now leading and training your own coven. We should get the others used to saying it,” Dana said seriously.


“Although, technically Jake will be the only one you can hear saying it,” Claude chuckled lightly.


“There will be others,” Dana said knowingly.


Willow raised an eyebrow. “How many more will there be, Dana?” She asked curiously.


Dana didn’t look up, she just kept bundling herbs. “There are three more that will be here with us, but…” she shrugged.


Claude looked at Willow surprised. “How does she know that?” Then Claude looked at Dana. “How do you know that?”


Willow’s smile was tinged with sadness before she winked conspiratorially at Claude. “She just knows, and she’s more reliable than Xander’s magic eight ball. Take my advice; listen to her when she says stuff like that,” she said trying to lighten the mood Dana’s pronouncement had made, and deftly made a subject change. “After breakfast, Tara and I are going to the barracks with Buffy. When we get back, I’d like for us all to get together again. Tara has some ideas on what herbs we’ll need immediately for healing, and what we’ll need for spellwork, Claude. I’d also like you to help us test the others, Dana.”


“Yes, My Lady,” Dana replied respectfully.


Taking her cue from Dana, Claude said with a smile. “Yes, My Lady.”


Willow walked back towards the house shaking her head and chuckling again. She reached for the door knob just as Tara opened it. They both jumped back a bit, and then giggled at each other. Willow reached out to take Tara’s hand as she stepped through the doorway.


“I was just coming to get you. Our breakfast is ready, sweetie,” she said with a smile.


“Good, I’m starving!” Willow said with a grin. “Hey, baby, after we eat wanna go take a look at the barracks with Buffy? She asked if we could check out the spell they’ve been using to hide the potentials.” She picked up two glasses of orange juice from the island and followed Tara.


Tara had picked up their plate, with a large omelet oozing cheese and mushrooms and taking up most of its surface in one hand, and their forks in the other. “Sure. I’m curious to see what spell or spells they’ve been using. I keep thinking it must be more than one.”


Just as they sat, everyone else at the table rose and began clearing their plates away. Xander stopped before them with two girls in tow. With a flourish, he pointed at Willow and Tara who both stopped with forks midway to their mouths.


“These fine ladies are Willow and Tara. They are our Wiccans of Witchery… our Mistresses o’ Magicks… Priestesses of Prophecy… Vixens of Voodoo… wait, you guys don’t do voodoo do you? We really don’t need zombies on the hellmouth too… again,” Xander shuddered as he rambled on enthusiastically.


Willow and Tara looked at each other with amused expressions on their faces.


“Uhh, yeah… anyway Will, Tara this is Vi and Tammy. They’ll be here with us at Casa Summers for a few days doing their rotation.” Xander pointed to a lanky redhead with hair cut in a bob and a darker shade than Willow’s, and a blonde that could have been Buffy’s twin.


“Hi,” Willow and Tara replied politely, and then began to eat their omelets.


“Okay girls, let’s go find Buffy,” Xander said, and the two potentials waved goodbye.


“Oh, she’s in the backyard, Xan,” Willow said around a mouthful of food.


“Thanks, Will,” Xander smiled as he left.



******



Walking through Sunnydale with Buffy was a little unnerving. Everything was silent. There were no sounds of traffic or children playing in the distance; no televisions turned up too loud or radios blaring – no signs of human habitation at all. It seemed even the wildlife was aware; there were murders of crows on telephone wires all over but they still did not utter one sound.


Willow and Tara walked hand in hand, while Buffy still had her dark sunglasses on and her hands shoved deep into her pockets. As they approached downtown, they finally saw two other people in the distance hurrying towards a car and leaving quickly. Willow threaded her free arm through one of Buffy’s and pulled her close trying desperately to impart some comfort to her friend while gaining a little of her own.


Buffy slowed her pace a little and smiled weakly at Willow and Tara. “It’s been like this for a little over a month now.”


“But that’s good, right? I mean, we can just focus on keeping us safe, right?” Willow tried to sound hopeful and failed.


Buffy tried to smile, but it looked more like a grimace, and silence fell between them again. They arrived at the door of the gym down from The Magic Box, and Buffy held her hand to the door. It glowed for a moment and then the audible sound of a lock opening was heard and the door swung inward on its own.


“Giles and Jake figured out a way to also have the spell recognize us and only us,” Buffy said as they walked through the door.


“What happens if the spell doesn’t recognize the person at the door?” Tara asked.


“Well, for one it sends an alarm all through the barracks,” Buffy replied.


“And we come runnin’, Blondie,” Faith said as she appeared armed with three potentials behind her armed to the teeth as well.


“So it tagged us as we walked in too?” Willow asked, and Buffy nodded. “How is the spell being keyed to everyone?”


Buffy shifted for a moment looking uncomfortable. “You might as well tell ‘em, B,” Faith said.


“Thanks, Faith,” Buffy said tightly. “The only way they could come up with to be that specific was blood, Will.”


“Blood and what?” Tara asked coolly.


Buffy and Faith looked at each other. “Just blood,” Buffy said.


“We all pitched in a drop, an’ Ol’ Tweedy and The Broom Crew have been usin’ that,” Faith added.


Willow raised an eyebrow. “’The Broom Crew’?”


Faith rolled her eyes. “Yeah, you ain’t that dense, Red. You know, your little groupies.”


Willow and Tara both roll their eyes at the term “groupie” being applied to their coven. Willow shot a glare at Faith, who just smirked in return. Willow crossed her arms over her chest, refusing to play Faith’s game. Taking a deep breath and turning her back on Faith; Willow moved next to Tara and slipped her arm around Tara’s waist.


“Well, that’s one way to do it, I guess. It would definitely make it very specific, but blood magic can still be fooled, it can still go wrong,” Tara said. “All it would take is one drop from any one of you in the right place or the wrong place, rather…”


“And you’d all be done for in a matter of minutes,” Willow finished. “No passing go, no collecting two hundred dollars, just a couple of really dead slayers and a gym full of potentials.”


Looking at one another, something passed between them silently. “We can do better,” Willow and Tara responded in unison.


Buffy sighed with relief and agreed. “That’s exactly what I wanted to hear. I knew you guys would have a better solution once you could check it out, see where it could be made stronger.”


Faith laughed. “Bet you never thought you’d be head of security did ya, Red?”


“Well, someone has to be the brains of the operation, anyone can be the brawn,” Willow snarked.


Hey! Slayer standing here! Right exactly here!” Buffy groused.


“Sorry, Buff. You know what I mean,” Willow said, then turned to Tara. “Baby, what are you thinking? I hope are your ideas for a new spell are maybe some with a little less with the icky blood factor?”


Tara nodded, then took Willow’s hand and began to walk away. They started walking down along one wall, and when they got to the corner, Tara stopped and looked up. In the rafter, you could just barely make out what looked like a small sachet. Scanning the corners, they began to pick them out in the corners of the rafters placed strategically.


“How many more rooms are there?” Tara asked.


Buffy thought for a moment. “There’s here, the workout space, what Xander turned into a dorm for the girls, then a rec room, the weight room and the bathrooms. Did I leave anything out, Faith?”


“Nah, you got it, B,” Faith said.


“How many more windows and doorways are there?” Willow asked, tapping her index finger against her lips as she thought.


“There’s a wall of windows in the weight room,” Buffy said as she thought.


“An’ at least two doors to every room, yo’,” Faith added.


Willow and Tara walked to the middle of the room and continued to look up at the exposed beams of the ceiling and the pattern they made, looking for anything that might be significant to the spell.


“Are all the ceilings like this? Exposed beams?” Tara asked.


Buffy and Faith looked at one another. “Umm, I’m not sure. I don’t think I ever paid any attention.” Buffy answered. “Faith?”


“Got me, I don’t spend a lot of time starin’ at the ceilings,” Faith said with a shrug.


“Let’s have a look then,” Tara said with a nod.


She and Willow made a quick circuit of the room, pointing here and there as they went before moving on to the other rooms, studying the ceilings and door frames all the while. Buffy produced a notebook and several colored pens from somewhere for Willow, and now they were back in the main room.


Willow and Tara were sitting with their heads close together. Willow would write furiously, and then Tara would make little sketches of each of the rooms. They both were making notes around the sketches; they would pause to look at one another as if they were having a conversation.


Buffy, Faith and several of the potentials had gathered around to watch Willow and Tara go back and forth without ever actually speaking a word out loud. Looks and gestures took place of actual words between them, as they worked through several pages of notes and sketches.


One of the new potentials sat on the floor and watched them entranced. She was a striking older girl dressed in denim and moccasins. Luminous deep set brandy colored eyes stared intently, from smooth russet colored skin complemented by long jet black hair in a braid that fell to her waist.


“Do they always work like this, so well with one another, in silence?” She whispered up to Buffy reverently.


With a wry smile, Buffy answered softly. “They do. Willow and Tara just keep getting better and better together, too.”


“My unci (prounounced oon-chi) and my tunwin (pronounce to-weeh) could work like that,” she said.


“And you said what?” Faith asked.


“Sorry, my grandmother and my aunt; my grandmother was a healer and she taught both my mother and my aunt. I can remember playing in the kitchen while they worked like that. It’s fascinating to watch,” she answered.


“Joanie girl, you got some screwy ideas about fun, lemme tell ya,” Faith replied.


Joanie smiled. “I don’t know, Faith, maybe you do.”


Tara’s head popped up and she looked over the group that had gathered for a moment before she locked eyes with Joanie. Willow stopped and turned to look at Joanie too. She cocked her head to one side and studied Joanie specifically; turning back to look at Tara, they both rose and approached the little audience that had formed to watch them work.


Once before the group, they both sat down in front of Joanie, whose eyes had grown large as she watched them move towards her. Tara smiled up at Buffy, and Willow continued to study Joanie intently with a soft, knowing smile on her lips.


“We have some good ideas here, and they’ll be strong,” Tara said excited and a little breathless.


Willow offered Joanie her hand, palm up, and when Joanie rested her hand atop Willow’s, the air around them crackled and sparkled for a moment. Joanie sat shocked, looking at their hands still resting together, speechless.


“And Joanie’s going to join us,” Willow said confidently.


“Will, she’s a potential,” Buffy said obviously confused at what was happening.


Tara smiled and shook her head. “That may be, but that’s not why she’s here, Buffy…”


“She’s here for us,” Willow finished her sentence again. “That is if you’d like, Joanie, we would like to train you with us and the rest of our coven.”


Everyone was quiet while they watched the trio. Willow held out her other hand palm up to Tara, who rested her hand on top of Willow’s and Tara then offered her hand palm up to Joanie. Again there was the sparkling and the air shimmered around them. The potent scent of sweet grass and sage filled the air around them quickly.


Joanie looked up at Buffy and Faith. “I think maybe I should go with them.”




TBC…

_________________
Heather aka vampyregurl73
"Dry Heat""Penny Arcade" "Fireworks" "Promise" "I Did What Last Night?"


Last edited by vampyregurl73 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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