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

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy 06/10/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:04 am 
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“I can’t help feeling like a fool since I lost that place inside; Where my heart knew its way and my soul was never wise; Once innocence was lost there was not faith enough, still my heart held on when it found that kind of love” –That Kind of Love, Alison Krauss

************

The sound of the rain hitting the window slowly tore Willow out of the light slumber she was in.

Freezing under the cool temperature of the room but unwilling to open her eyes, she blindly reached out with a hand to grab the blanket that had fallen off of her and promptly covered herself back with it.

Still shivering slightly, a wide grin lit the redhead’s face when she accidentally brushed her foot against a soft and, more importantly, warm calf. Slowly as to not wake the leg’s owner, Willow moved closer but hesitated once she was inches away from her goal. “Just get your butt in here, sweetie,” Tara mumbled with a soft smile on her face.

Willow giggled when a hand grabbed her by the shirt and dragged her across the bed. Resting her head on the blonde’s chest, Willow sighed and let her lover’s warmth spread through her small body.

She was dozing again, comforted by Tara’s arms around her and relaxed by the girl’s delicate aroma of honey and lavender when the thunder startled her awake. “Shh, it’s okay, it’s just thunder,” Tara reassured her as she felt the redhead’s nails pressing into her back.
Tara put a hand under Willow’s chin and gently raised her head so she could lean in and pressed their lips together. “Better?”

Grinning when Willow nodded with a small smile, Tara loosened her hold on her girlfriend. Tara had been awake for a while, keeping herself busy with watching her girl sleep as she thought of what would be happening later that day.

Callie had apparently found a spell to test Willow’s mysterious lycanthropy. It had taken three days to gather every ingredient necessary to the spell, and another extra two to wait for the new moon to be at its peak.

They had started another race against time since there was only one week left before the next full moon.

They were all hoping it would help finding some answers, but Tara didn’t dare get her hopes up. The spell was initially meant to determine the werewolf’s origin, but Callie and Giles had tweaked it so it would also reveal if the lycanthropy was magically induced or not.

Willow hadn’t been sure at first if she wanted to submit herself to a spell after having been magic free for months but, after Tara had started asking questions regarding her magical rehabilitation, Willow had quickly agreed to the spell and had been prompt to change the subject.

Tara had been more than patient. For almost two weeks now she had waited for the right moment to talk with Willow. After everything that had happened, Tara had decided to move back in into the Summers’ house to be closer to the redhead.

If Willow had been hesitant at first, stating she didn’t want Tara to feel obligated towards her, one night apart turned the redheaded witch into a nervous wreck and she end up calling the blonde the next morning, pleading her to come back.

Tara had moved some of her things back to the house and slowly settled back in and, if she didn’t want to push Willow at first, she was now getting tired of how the redhead always managed to find a way to distract her from having the talk.

But Tara couldn’t wait anymore. She was getting sick of not knowing where both girls stood. Willow had changed, that Tara was sure of, but she still had no idea what was going through the redhead’s head, and how she had been dealing with everything since she had left.

Tara snapped out of her thoughts when slim digits brushed against her cheek. “Hey, what’s with the frowny face?”

Tara smiled and moved her hand to caress Willow’s stomach. Everything was quiet on the floor, which made Tara guess that everyone must have been either downstairs or out running errands. It was past ten in the morning so it was most likely they were the only ones still in bed. “Sweetie?”

“Yeah?” Willow whispered after a little while as she pulled back and put her head next to Tara’s on the pillow.

“We really need to talk,” Tara murmured kindly.

Willow lost her smile, her whole body stiffening. She had completely pulled away from the blonde before a hand tried to push her back on the bed. “Will-”

“I’m not leaving, I just want to sit.” Willow reassured her faintly, even though Tara could see it was taking the girl’s every effort to not bolt from the bed.

Both girls looked at each other nervously, neither knowing exactly where to start. “What do you want to talk about?” Willow finally asked.

Tara sighed, hating to see her girlfriend so closed up again. “Honey, I’m not here to judge or yell or anything. I just want to talk. You know we have to talk. We’ve been pushing aside any chance of talking we had in the last weeks, we can’t avoid it any longer.”

Willow nodded softly but her face showed her discontent. “What do you want to talk about, magics, unexplained werewolf shifting, weather, school…” She said but stopped at the look Tara sent her. “Fine. You want to talk, you ask the questions.”

“Willow...”

“Tara, I already know what I’ve done wrong. I know how bad I screwed up, so I won’t waste your time trying to come up with any excuses to make up for how stupid I’ve been. Just ask me what you want to know so we can be done with it,” Willow said, impatience tainting her voice.

The blonde pursed her lips together but refused to let Willow win. She wasn’t going to let her go without having to talk because she was worried the conversation might turn into a fight. Willow needed to deal with her issues whether she wanted to or not.

Sitting as well, Tara crossed her arms on her lap and watched her partner closely. “Do you know why I left? I mean, really know why I had to leave?”

Willow flinched and stared at her pale hands, unable to look at the blonde. “Start with an easy one, why don’t you?”

“It should be an easy one, Willow. If you don’t even know why, I’m not sure if we should b-bother to have the talk at all.”

Willow gulped and felt nauseous at the doubt she heard in Tara’s voice. If the blonde was having second thoughts about getting back with her…She couldn’t lose her, not again. “I…I-” Willow started nervously. “You left, because you didn’t trust me anymore.”

Tara breathed out a shaky breath, upset but also somewhat relieved. She had expected the ‘I was doing too much magic’ excuse, but she could see now that Willow had really thought not only about their break-up, but about their relationship as well. “And what made you think I couldn’t t-trust you anymore?”

Briefly glancing at the blonde, Willow then settled on watching the raindrops that were sliding down the window. Her hands were clenched into fists on the covers to keep them from shaking too much. “You stopped trusting me- I’ve destroyed the trust you had in me because I have abused it.”

Tara felt tears pooling in her eyes as she remembered the weeks that preceded their break-up. Still, she pushed to get more answers from her lover. She may have been back in Willow’s life for almost two weeks now, but she desperately needed to know that they were both on the same page.

She needed to be sure Willow wouldn’t make the same mistakes again because neither of them could take another heartbreak. “You didn’t d-destroy my trust, honey. But you did abused it by lying to me a-and trying to take the easy way out from dealing with our problems. Do you agree with that?”

Willow bit her lip so hard Tara thought it was going to bleed. She waited as she sat barely a few inches away from the redhead, and waited to see if Willow would finally step up and admit the gravity of what she had done.

The wait was killing Tara but she forced herself to remain quiet. Willow needed to do this on her own, for her sake as well as Tara’s. The blonde held her breath when sorrowful green eyes finally forced themselves to meet anxious blue ones.

“Yes.”

I thought about it so much, Tara, I swear but I can’t even figure out why I treated you like that, like you meant nothing to me. You warned
me about what the magics could do if I wasn’t careful with them, but I wouldn’t listen.” Willow sniffled and impatiently wiped her tears with her shirt’s sleeve. “Why did you even come back, Tara? I mean, you don’t deserve this, you don’t deserve all this crap.”

“I really don’t deserve you,” she whispered with a broken voice.

Tara grinned through her tears and pushed herself close to Willow. “I came back because I love you, Willow. Not because of what’s happening to you, and not because I wanted to see if you had learned your lesson.”

“I’m sorry if I was harsh with you, but you didn’t leave me much choice,” she explained gently, putting a comforting hand on the redhead’s knee. “I came back,” she continued as she moved her hands on the redhead’s hips to hold her in place, “because this is where I belong.
Do you still love me?” she asked with more nervousness than she intended.

Willow’s eyes widened in shock. “Of course I love you! How can you even ask me that!” she quickly said, putting her hands over Tara’s arms and squeezing them tightly. “Don’t ever doubt that!”

Tara softly nodded, her hands relaxing the strong hold they had on the redhead’s hips. “Then why did you do all of this, Will?”

The redhead sighed and closed her eyes as Tara’s hands released her hips and began to venture down her thighs. “I guess…I don’t know. I think I was so scared of not being in control of everything….I couldn’t even think of dealing with the thought of losing you. I, I wasn’t thinking at all.”

“Are you mad at me for leaving?” Tara blurted out, surprising the both of them.

Willow studied her partner’s face intently, suddenly unable to look away. “I guess I am,” she finally admitted softly.

Tara moved her hands from the redhead’s legs but they were quickly caught by smaller, slightly shaking hands. “Tara…please listen, okay? I’m not mad, not anymore at least.”

“I was so angry when you left, I couldn’t help but think that you had chickened out on us because you were scared of my powers, or that you were jealous or something. It took me a while and many nights spent in the bathroom being sick to realize you were scared for me, not of me,” Willow told the blonde, her features clouded with shame and regret.

“I didn’t want anyone to think I was weak, that I couldn’t handle things on my own.”

Willow gasped when nails suddenly bit into her wrists. The stern glare Tara shot her made Willow gulp audibly as the blonde’s kept her strong hold on her. “No one ever expected you to be perfect, sweetie. You’re human, just like anyone else. It’s okay to make mistakes once in a while, and it is certainly not the end of the world to ask for help when you need it.”

“One single letter enunciated the wrong way can open up a hell dimension, Tara, you know that. That, or running out of power and not being able to do what needs to be done and it’s the freaking end of the world,” Willow uttered bitterly.

Tara frowned at what Willow was saying. She has caught the switch from hypothetical to present but it didn’t make sense, she wasn’t even talking about why she had never asked for help. “Will-”

“Don’t you get it Tara, I couldn’t ask for help. There was no one else. I didn’t want to be weak,” Willow interrupted her as she got off the bed and went to the window. “I don’t want to be the weak one,” she whispered to herself.

Willow’s words echoed in Tara’s mind as the truth finally dawned on the blonde. She stared at her girlfriend with unshed tears in her eyes. She didn’t want to believe what she had just heard. “Willow, sweetheart…please tell me you’re not blaming yourself again…we’ve talked about this.”

Tara sighed when Willow only shook her head and glared at the rain outside. A question was burning the blonde’s lips but she was worried of how Willow would react if she dared voicing it out loud. She had already pushed her partner’s limits in a short period of time and she didn’t think Willow would last much longer before fleeing from the room. “Willow, is that why you went t-to Rack’s?” she finally asked, although not expecting an answer.

Tara let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding when the redhead glanced at her ominously. “Not at first. I didn’t know he even existed before Amy dragged me there.”

“But then you kept going back.”

Willow could feel Tara’s eyes on her, watching her every move with concern. The blonde’s anger had flared when Amy’s name was mentioned, but she had remained silent nonetheless. The redhead closed her eyes as she took a deep breath. She didn’t want to talk anymore. All she wanted to do was to crawl in bed and sleep for a week.

But what she wanted didn’t matter at the moment. Tara wanted her to share her most humiliating moments, Giles and Callie wanted to perform a dangerous spell on her even though they had no idea if it was going to work. Lycanthropy spells were tricky because the slightest error while performing it could backfire on either the spell caster or the person the spell was being cast on.

Buffy was still upset she may unwillingly be responsible for Willow’s condition, and the redhead was at a loss about what to do about it. She had tried talking to her but the slayer could be even more stubborn than herself when she didn’t want to listen.

Willow was tired of talking. But she owed it to Tara. She owed her everything. “I only went three or four times before…going to Rack’s, it made me feel, I don’t know, alive. He made me feel so strong, so powerful, like I was special,” she said with a cold and detached voice.

The redhead’s comment stung Tara as if she had been physically slapped. Her shoulders slumped and the tears she had been fighting back finally fell. “So I-I wasn’t m-making you feel s-special enough a-any-m-more?”

“Tara, no! Baby, you are the best thing that ever happened to me. The only times I ever felt like my life was worth living was when I was with you. But then you left, Tara. I know it was my fault, but you left, and I wasn’t anyone’s special person anymore,” the redhead pointed out delicately.

Willow lingered next to the window for a few seconds before seemingly coming to a decision. Shuffling her feet up to the bed, she climbed on it and crawled next to Tara. When it didn’t look as if the blonde would pull away Willow got up on her knees and straddled her legs.
“Tara, baby, believe me when I say that you are the best thing that ever happened to me,” she whispered soothingly to the blonde as wrapped her arms around the girl’s waist. “That thing...that thing at Rack’s, it only brought me trouble and, and so much pain…I almost lost everything because of the need to get a stupid high. I lost myself, and if Buffy hadn’t been there that night I, I, I…”

“Shhh…I know, honey, I know,” Tara murmured, leaning in so their foreheads were touching. It broke the blonde’s heart to hear the distress in her girlfriend’s voice. Willow never had any problems with words before, it was in fact quite the opposite. So for her to stutter and not being able to express herself… “Willow, what happened that night? You know you can tell me.”

Willow exhaled shakily and brought her lips to Tara’s, kissing them softly before placing small kisses on the blonde’s cheek, jaw and neck. Tara’s hands had begun to explore and they were slowly inching down under the redhead’s waistband, moaning at the softness of the skin she found.

Tara moaned when Willow licked and sucked on her pulse point, her hands busy roaming under Tara’s shirt. “Will, love, we weren’t not done talking yet.”

The blonde had to stifle a grunt when Willow tensed on her. She let the redhead go when she slowly pulled back, knowing it wouldn’t help if she tried to keep her in place.

Surprisingly enough there wasn’t any frustration or resentment in Willow’s eyes when she glanced at Tara. Her normally bright green eyes were darker and tired, but the love they conveyed were enough to momentarily distract the blonde from what she had just said.

Goosebumps rose on Tara’s skin as her girlfriend cupped her cheeks and grazed their lips together, Willow’s tongue pushing through her girlfriend’s lips without hesitation. Tara smirked as she responded eagerly, one of her hand moving up grab a fistful of red hair.

Their tongues were fully engaged in a series of passionate kisses, Tara’s hands now on her lover’s back and thigh while Willow’s had slipped under the blonde’s boxers and glued themselves to her butt cheeks. Neither of them heard the soft knock or the door opening until it was too late. “Hey guys, are you thinking of joining- Oh my God! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!”

Dawn quickly turned around and exited the room, closing the door behind her and leaving both witches to stare at each other in shock. Tara closed her eyes and groaned as she fell backwards on the bed. “I swear she’s getting worse than Buffy.”

Willow pushed herself off her girlfriend and off the bed. “Well, she should have known better than come in when she hasn’t been invited.” She smirked, although she was blushing brightly. She kneeled by the bed and watched Tara apologetically, taking her hand into her own and kissing it softly. “Tara…”

“Willow, I’m sorry I brought up the question about that night, we’ve talked a lot today already, so can we just forget about it for now? Please don’t go.” Tara sighed as she remembered their discussion from minutes before. She moved her head so she was facing the redhead, hopeful to get her statement being refuted, but the look on Willow’s face proved her wrong.

“I, I can’t baby, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to keep you in the dark on purpose. It’s just…I can’t, not right now, okay? Willow finished nervously. She leaned forward and gave Tara a soft but quick peck on the lips before getting up and leaving the room, bumping into Dawn in the hallway.

“Hey, Will, do you want…” Dawn began but stopped when Willow didn’t even slow down and practically ran downstairs.

“What’s going on? Is it my fault? Is she mad?” Dawn asked sheepishly, her head peeking inside the girls’ room, frowning at the frustrated look on the blonde’s face.

Tara closed her eyes and sighed dejectedly.


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/17/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:07 am 
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dibs! Streak continues! (I do get up early though :P )

They're always getting walked in on! Yay for their first big talk!

You know I love it, as always! Take you're time, though! I don't know what happened to our simple lives but I miss them too! All this complicated crap sucks!

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/17/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:46 pm 
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wow nice going Dawn right when it was getting good >:P
Willow is so stubborn! She needs to let Tara in again. It's sad that Willow feels that she's weak without magic, I can imagine for her it feeling a little like being helpless, but definitely not weak. With a mind like Willows she could hack anything you don't need magic to do that.
I don't know how you do it, but every time Willow and Tara are together in your story you just make it so perfect :]
I'm a little afraid to find out what happened between Willow and Rack, I hope she didn't do anything she'd knew she'd regret.
I'm eagerly awaiting your next update :]

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/17/2011
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:27 am 
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So sad they couldn't do this before.

And I'm still anxiously trying to ifnd out how scraping her foot open on a piece of concrete could make Willow a werewolf.

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/17/2011
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:25 pm 
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OK so, no new clues as to how our redhead became all wolfie? Boo! Dragging this out is so unfair! :miff :miff

So anyway, I loved the snuggle time...very sweet. The talk was painful, but necessary. The sooner they get some of this stuff out in the open, the faster they can mend their relationship.

I really feel for Willow. Stuck with the wollfieness, the pain, the guilt and now a dangerous spell that could kill her. She's just not having a good year. But on the bright side...Tara is there for her and she's not going through it all alone.

Can't wait to see what comes next! ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/17/2011
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:19 pm 
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Loved the update. I know the talking was hard for both of them but in order for them to move forward and have a chance of making it they need to sort out their past.
Patiently waiting for the next update.


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/17/2011
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:21 am 
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Hey there,
I'm so far behind that I don't think I can break this down effectively so I'll just say that I've read this entire thing in the last few days. It's quite enjoyable and a pretty original concept. I've read a few fics where Oz had bitten Willow or (God-forbid) Veruca had but never that she had accidentally become a werewolf and certainly not after having kicked magic. I will say that I find Tara's attitude toward their relationship a bit troubling. She seems to just take for granted that because she says she's back and that they're together that it's what's so. Maybe she'd like to give Willow a chance to say yes or no? She's sort of like, "oh... I screwed up leaving. Well, I'm back so let's forget that..." A bit presumptive I'd say.

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/17/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:10 am 
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leonhart17: lol, it really does! I wish I could get up later but, who knows why, I always wake up super early these days :eyebrow

They are, poor girls! :p Yep, the first of the talk has been done now!

lol, thanks :) I'll probably send you something tonight because I'm stuck and I don't like what I have so far...It's been quieter this week but not enough yet!! Boo to crap!!

nightmask: Well, I believe there is a unwritten rule somewhere that says something about the girls never being able to get a moment of peace, lol. Willow's self-confidence issues were always a problem, it's true. She is everything but weak! Like in the show, her confidence grew along with her powers so stepping down from that is far from easy...but Tara is there now so they will work on that :)

Aww, thank you!! I'm glad you think so! The infamous night at Rack is coming soon and, if it is kinda bad (or it is in my head) I don't think it's too horrible either...

New chapter is here, I hope you'll like it!! Thanks for the feedback!!

DaddyCatALSO: Yeah...unfortunately a lot of drama could have been saved if they had talked earlier, but then again I don't know a lot of people that are eager to have that kind of talk...More details behind Willow's injury and its possible implication in the lycanthropy situation are coming soon!

Thanks for commenting!!

Finey_McFine: No, sorry :blush It is coming though! A little slowly, but it is coming :)

:) thanks! It was about time they talked...it didn't all go according to plan but the matter is out on the open now at least. Mend their relationship is the best part, they can finally work on that now..

I agree, Willow is really not having a good year...but she is strong, much stronger than she thinks she is. AND, Tara is there so she will get all the help she needs...

Thanks for commenting!!

love_2003: I'm glad you liked their conversation. That kind of discussion is never easy but yeah, it had to happen and now that it has (partially at least) they can work on getting better and move on, true :)

Thanks for the feedback!!

JustSkipIt: Thanks, I'm glad you like it! Yeah, I've seen some of them too and after some research I thought I'd go for something more original...Well, I can see why it can seem troubling, after all she did come back kind of quickly. She had been thinking of talking to Willow for a while before though (as it was told in the first chapters) but the werewolf problem kind of rushed everything...Willow will have a say in their relationship soon though, it just didn't happen yet :wink

Thanks for the feedback!!

Update directly below


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/24/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:11 am 
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"See how I'm strong see how I keep my vows, Maybe I'll trip, mabye I'll lose you, what happens, Then, what happens now, just tell me how" -And I Will Follow, Sara Ramirez

************

Xander’s fingers nervously tapped on the steering wheel as he drove through the streets of Sunnydale. His hands visibly tensed when he turned on Revello Drive, the leather of his seat creaking under him as he squirmed on his seat.

It had taken him a couple of days but the young man had finally realized, after some coaxing from the slayer, that he may have overreacted. Or, as Buffy had put it, ‘he acted as an ass and jumped to conclusions without even giving his best friend a chance to explain herself.’

An accident on site kept him from going to see his friends sooner, but he had called in sick earlier so he could take the day to go and talk to Willow. Xander only fully grasped how badly he had hurt his best friend when she had refused to even talk to him on the phone.

Today would be different though. He would wait as long as needed for Willow to agree to see him and then he would take the time to apologize to her. He even had stopped at her favorite restaurant to bring her her favorite dessert and a tall mocha.

Xander pulled his eyes away from the road a second when, after hitting a pothole, the hot beverage threatened to spill over. Slowing down and keeping a firm hand on the cup, the young man glanced at the road and braked sharply when a slim figure wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt cut right in front of him.

The mocha spilled over and burned Xander’s hand, sending the carpenter swearing and frantically searching for tissues to clean up the mess. Through his half opened window Xander tried to take a better look at the reckless individual.

The hood was covering the person’s face so Xander couldn’t see who it was, the only noticeable thing being a small garden gnome nudged under one of the person’s arm.

Xander frowned but a loud horn coming from behind startled him, distracting him from what he had just seen. Still annoyed at the incident he parked his car in the Summers’ driveway less than 30 seconds later and sighed at the now almost empty cup. ‘Well, it’s the thought that counts.’

**********

“What do you mean she’s not here?” Tara asked too loudly.

“She just left, Tara, I’m sorry. She grabbed her clothes in the laundry basket, borrowed my hoodie and said she had an errand to run.” Buffy told the blonde, frowning. “Why, is everything okay?”

“No, yes, I-I don’t know.” Tara retorted with a groan. “I finally got her to talk but things kind of got out of control.”

“What do you mean, out of- ohh. Never mind.” Buffy mumbled as she blushed before burrowing her brows in confusion. “Why did she left if you guys, you know…”

Tara couldn’t help but smirk at the slayer’s blush, but she quickly lost her smile when she remembered what they were talking about. “She b-bolted when I tried to get her to talk about that night at Rack’s.”

Wishing she could do something to make her friend feel better, Buffy hesitated as to talk on behalf of the redhead or not.

“Tara.” Buffy pleaded with the blonde as she heard a car pulling in the driveway. “Giles and Callie are back, and we need to find Will so they can do the spell. I know you’d rather hear it from her but if she still doesn’t want to talk later I will tell you, okay?”

Tara looked less than pleased but she nodded, somewhat comforted that she would finally be told the truth. “Fine. Did she at least took an umbrella?” She demanded the slayer but already guessing the answer. “Of course not.”

Buffy sighed and ran a hand through her hair when no one came in. “What is taking them so long?” She wondered a she went to the door. She was about to open it when it was pushed open, revealing Xander and a completely drenched Willow. “Look what the cat dragged in! Or the carpenter, to be more accurate.” Xander joked lamely.

“Will!” Tara rushed to her girlfriend’s side, frowning in concern as she took in the shivering redhead and her bluish lips. “Sweetie, you’re freezing!”

“F-forgot u-umbrella.” Willow mumbled through chattering teeth, her whole body slumping under the girls’ disapproving eyes.
Still standing next to the door, Xander shifted nervously from one foot to the other and glanced in direction of the short blonde. He gulped when he saw Buffy staring back at him. “Hey.”

“You came.” She stated deadpan, but there was a trace of gratefulness warming her voice. Both friends shifted their attention to the witches when Tara hovered around Willow.

“Come on, let’s get you changed.” Tara told her softly, reaching for Willow’s hand.

“Actually, why don’t I go with her and you go talk with Giles.” Buffy suggested as they all heard another car pulled in the driveway. Tara was about to object but nodded when the slayer mouthed “I’ll talk to her.”

“Okay. We’ll get things ready down here then.” Tara agreed and watched the two girls slowly climbing the stairs.

**********

“You’re mad at me.” Willow ushered as Buffy closed the bathroom door behind her. She frowned and watched her best friend turning the heat on before fiddling with the shower faucet. The sound of the running water suddenly filled the silence between them, Buffy seemingly refusing to answer Willow.

Willow bit her lip and looked down at her sodden clothes. She was trying to find the strength to lift the heavy hooded sweater above her head when two hands appeared close to hers and grabbed the edge of the sweater. “Raise your arms.”

Doing what she was told, Willow sighed in relief as she was freed from the icy cold garment. “I’m not mad, Will.” Buffy startled her when she spoke quietly in her ear. The redhead glanced up to meet the slayer’s soft but serious eyes. “Tara talked to you.” She replied gloomily, her shoulders sagging.

“Can you blame her? Willow-”

“I know, Buffy! I do want to talk to her, but it’s like I am physically unable to.” Willow mumbled, her gaze focused on the running warm water barely a foot away from her. “Can I?” She gestured miserably to the shower before the blonde could argue.

Buffy nodded although it was clear in her eyes that the discussion was not over. She let her friend to go find her some warm clothes. Quickly searching through the redhead’s drawers and closet, the blonde picked up a few items before going to her own room to grab a sweater that would be warm enough for Willow.

By the time she was back she could hear the witch moving in the bathroom. “Will? Are you done?”

The door opened ajar a second later to let the slayer in. Willow was wrapped in a thick, oversized towel and was unsuccessfully wringing the slayer’s hoodie over the bathtub. “Here, give it to me. You’re just going to hurt your wrist and get cold again.” Buffy quickly told her, putting the new set of clothes on the counter before taking the hoodie from her friend’s hands.

Buffy kept herself busy squeezing the water out of the pile of drenched clothing while Willow changed. It was only when she felt the redhead close to her again that she stopped. “Buffy? What if she hates me?”

Turning around to face her friend, Buffy took a slow breath and dropped in the sink the pants she was holding. “Willow…there is no way to know for sure how Tara will react. But what I am sure of is that she loves you. And no matter how she reacts, hating you is not an option.”
Willow nodded but didn’t look convinced. There was sorrow and a tinge of fear eradiating from her when she locked eyes with her best friend. “Like when you say you don’t hate me even though you totally should?”

Buffy’s features softened and she grabbed Willow’s arm to pull her into a tight hug. “I could never hate you , Will. I hope you know that.”

“But.”

“Nuh-uh. But rule. I may have been pissed back then, but it was because I was upset. And I never, ever hated you, and I never will.” Buffy comforted her friend, not letting her go. “Just talk to her, ok?”

“Yeah.” Willow croaked in the slayer’s shoulder. The redhead sniffled before slowly pulling away. “She’s not going to hate me.” She stated with as much certainty she could muster.

“Nope.” Buffy smiled at her. “Because I know a secret.”

The blonde’s smiled grew wider when Willow’s agitation immediately faded to curiosity. “A secret?”

Buffy leaned forward and whispered in her best friend’s ear, as if she was about to reveal something earth shattering. “Once you fall for Willow, you stay fallen.”

Matching Willow’s goofy grin, Buffy took her friend’s hand and led them out of the bathroom. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”

**********

“They’ve been upstairs for a while now.” Xander commented nervously.

Tara looked up from her spot on the couch, her eyes glancing briefly towards the stairs. “There’s no rush. Are you in a hurry, Xander? Because if so you could always come back later, no one is forcing you to stay here.”

Kneeling on the living room floor, Giles froze from drawing a protective circle on the floor to shot Tara a surprised look. “Is everything alright?”

“It’s all fine, Giles.” Xander said. “Tara has every right to be mad. I acted like a first class jerk the other day so I had it coming.”

“I’m sorry Tara, I really am. I shouldn’t have doubted Will like I did, and I intend to apologize to her as well. See? I even brought her a mocha!”

Tara’s efforts to remain annoyed at the carpenter failed as quirked an eyebrow at the half-empty cup. “You brought her a cold, obviously half drank mocha?”

“And Double brownie cheesecake! Don’t forget the cheesecake! The mocha accidentally got spilled when a kid crossed the street right in front of me. I mean, who goes out in this rain to play with a garden gnome anyway?” Xander exclaimed indignantly.

“Who goes out where with a huh?” Buffy inquired as she and Willow reached the bottom of the stairs.

“An unknown kid, in the street, with a garden gnome.” Anya repeated tersely as she appeared out of thin air, startling everybody.

“Anya.” Tara rose from the couch, or at least she tried before the vengeance demon’s annoyed glare pinned her where she was. “You!”

“All of you! What the hell is wrong with you? Willow is a werewolf now and I wasn’t even informed?”

“Anya.” Tara repeated patiently, flinching when she saw the hurt in her friend’s eyes.

“No, no Anya! I know I am not one of Willow’s favorite persons, but she is still my friend! I deserved to know before those two goons showed up at the shop!”

“And yet it took you several days to even bother showing up here. That’s nice, Anya.” Willow shot back, annoyed at the girl’s outburst.

“Okay, that’s enough!” Buffy shouted. She stared hard at everybody in the room, nodded in satisfaction when they all looked at her guiltily. “Anya, we’re sorry we didn’t say anything to you before. Tara tried but you weren’t at the Magic Box much lately, I swear we didn’t mean to keep you away, okay?”

After receiving an accepting nod from the vengeance demon, Buffy turned to Xander but he motioned her to stay silent. He timidly walked over to where Willow was standing. “Can we talk? Alone, I mean? I promise being an ass is not in the agenda.”

Willow glanced at Tara, not sure how to respond, but an encouraging smile from her girlfriend helped her reach to a decision. “I guess.” She relented as she pointed him towards the kitchen.

They all watched them go, their attention diverted until Anya raised her hand. “Um, excuse me? What was that about a gnome?”

**************

“Did you get it?”

“Yeah but it was close. I almost got run over on my way back. I told you we should’ve waited until tonight!”

“We’ve waited too long already. Now stop whining and give me the gnome.” Jonathan ordered Andrew. The short man grabbed the gnome from his friend and tossed some knick knacks off a table before depositing the ceramic figurine on it. He swiftly unscrewed the gnome’s hat and pulled out a bunch of cables from it and plugged them into the main computer.

Both men waited and watched impatiently as images began to appear on the multiple computer screens. The whole room was filled with a variety of boards, computers and tv screens. The room could easily have been a lab somewhere if it hadn’t been for the piles of comic books, DVDs and sci-fi memorabilia that took up half the space.

“There!” Jonathan shouted a few seconds later when he froze the desired timeline on screen. A slim figure, a young woman, suddenly appeared on screen. The dark-haired boy observed the moving girl with a grim expression, dreading what would soon be happening on screen.

Sure enough, minutes later Jonathan let out a grunt and punched Andrew on the arm. “Ow!”

“You idiot! I gave you one job! One single job and you screwed it up!” The shorter man ranted as he stood up and started pacing. “All you had to do was to follow Buffy but nooo, mister is such a big shot that he cut corners by assuming the blood on the porch’s steps was hers!”

“It was hers, I was watching the feedback all day that day!” Andrew argued back, shaking his head. “It’s not my fault if the spell didn’t work, you big bossy pants!”

Jonathan scoffed and threw his arms in the air in frustration. “Oh, so you weren’t busy watching the Battlestar Gallactica marathon that day? Look at the screen, Andrew! Who do you see in this shot, huh? Because that ain’t no slayer, you moron!”

Andrew scowled at his friend while crossing his arms against his chest. “You can’t even see her face, so how could you know! You asked for slayer blood and I got it for you!”

Jonathan was fuming. The plan had been so easy, almost too easy. Follow the slayer during patrols, wait for her to shed some blood. Why didn’t he had decide to do it himself? “Look at the background, Andrew! Who do you see, huh?”

The blonde man pursed his lips in annoyance but complied and leaned forward. His face paled as he took in what Jonathan had been pointing at. Here was the proof of his monumental mistake. If the front silhouette was only visible from toes to midriff, the other one that could be seen emerging from the back door was far more distinguishable: even in black and white, the slayer’s figure was impossible to miss.

“I…”

“I? That’s your brilliant answer, ‘I’?” Jonathan shrieked. “The spell was meant to work with slayer blood but you brought back witch’s blood! You, you stupid idiot! Witch’s blood!”

“What about witch’s blood?” A voice spooked them.

“Warren?” Jonathan and Andrew spoke in unison.

**********

Xander stood in the middle of the kitchen and watched as Willow took a seat at the island. “You look tired.” Xander observed softly.

“Yeah, well I haven’t been sleeping much. I wonder why but hey, I’m sure it has nothing to do with being called a liar and getting rejected by my best friend.” Willow retorted, not looking at the man and instead focusing on her joined hands over the counter.

Xander cringed but nodded. “I know. I’m guessing it must also have something to do with the werewolf thing?”

The pair of cold green eyes that suddenly stared back at him almost made him back up again. “So now you believe me? Jeez, thanks Xand! What made you change your mind, Buffy threatened to kick your ass?”

“Hey, I am trying here. Least you could do is to listen, you know?”

Willow glared at Xander and jumped off the stool, edging her way back to the living room. “No. You know, it’s enough that I have to deal with everything else, if you’re just going to turn your apology into another blaming speech, I am not interested.”

“Willow, wait!” the carpenter hurried after her and caught her left wrist but let it go when Willow flinched. “Oh God, did I hurt you? I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to squeeze-”

“Xander, it’s okay.” Willow interrupted the man’s rambling as she carefully rubbed her still tender wrist. It didn’t hurt much anymore, except when she put a lot of pressure on it. “I kind of sprained it when I...but it’s okay, you didn’t hurt me.”

Willow sighed and felt her irritation deflate at seeing the look of pure guilt on her friend’s face. Still, she had trouble letting go of the fact that her best friend had, once again, unjustly judged her. She knew she still had a long way to go before making things right with her friends, but that Xander refused to deal with reality frustrated her.

She was still deep in thought when she felt a soft hand on her shoulder. Xander was watching her attentively, his eyes pleading. “I’m sorry, Will.”

“I’m sorry for doubting you and accusing you of having fallen off the wagon again. It’s just...I’m scared, Willow. I’m scared for you, for us, I don’t want to lose you again so yeah, I overreacted. So, again, I’m sorry, and I’ll try to do better.” Xander finished shakily.

The redhead blinked slowly, her hands fiddling with the hem of her sweater. “I, I can’t go through another round of you accusing me every time something is not going the way you like, Xander. It’s just, it hurts me so much that you would think that, that...what’s happening now, I have the feeling it won’t go away soon, if ever. I’m sorry too but right now, trying is not enough for me.”

***********

“I can’t believe this! I leave you alone for a few weeks and you screw up everything!” Warren yelled as he paced in the room. “I specifically told you to not do anything while I was gone!”

“It was Andrew’s fault!” Jonathan tried to justify himself. “The spell would have worked if bone head here would have done what he was told!”

“Bone head? How is it my fault if he gave me an impossible job! ‘Follow the slayer every frigging night until she gets hurt so mister can have his precious slayer blood!’ Your spell didn’t even work you, you tuna face!” Andrew shot back, insulted.

Warren shook his head incredulously. “Okay, okay. We need to fix this. I haven’t work this hard to have everything thrown away by you two morons.” He muttered as he slumped on the couch. “What exact spell did you do?”

“It was a tampering spell I found in the Pangkukulam Grimoire. With it we would have been able to temporarily neutralize Buffy’s super strength and have her off our backs for a while.” Andrew explained excitedly before a dark glare from Warren shut him up.

“I did everything the spell said but I think it didn’t work.” Jonathan continued, searching through a pile of books a few moments before picking up a small black leather book and bringing it to Warren. “That’s the one, page 54.”

The leader of the group barely glanced at the book that he was on his feet again, gesturing the Grimoire around. “This is written in Tagalog.”

Jonathan and Andrew exchanged a confused look. “It’s Tagoi, not Tagalog.” Jonathan argued.

Warren groaned and shoved the book in Andrew’s chest. “No, this is written in Tagalog dialect. Any idiot would notice the difference. Please don’t tell me you’ve translated a Tagalog spell with a Tagoi index?”

Jonathan and Andrew only paled and looked everywhere but at their friend. “Okay, so you’re telling me that not only you’ve translated the spell wrong, you used the wrong kind of blood, and I’m assuming that because you translated the spell wrong, you also got the ingredients wrong. Right? Great, that’s just great!” Warren snapped.

“Wow, that’s a lot of wrongs for one sentence. What are we going to do now?” Jonathan asked, wanting to fix his mistake but not wanting to exacerbate Warren’s wrath.

The man exhaled loudly before jumping to his feet. “Okay, um...hey, when did you notice the spell didn’t work?”

“Oh. Well we almost ran into Buffy last week while she was fighting a Staurk demon and she was kicking its ass, so that was the first clue. Then we started hearing rumors about one of her friends, so Andrew went over to recover the yard camera. That’s how-”

Warren frowned and abruptly stopped pacing when something on the monitor caught his eye. “Wait, wait, wait! No...don’t tell me-you are better not telling me that you dimwits used witch’s blood, the redhead’s blood, to do the spell?!?” He shouted to his friends, pointing accusingly at the screen.

“Oh, this is screwed up, this is all so screwed up.” Warren groaned even as his facial expression rapidly became curious. “What kind of rumors are we talking about?”

**********

“Maybe I should go in, you know to see if everything’s fine...” Tara offered after several minutes, no longer able to stand the silence. Giles and Callie had gone upstairs to prepare the rest of the spell while Anya went back to the Magic Box. Tara looked at Buffy, expecting her to disagree, but frowned when she saw the slayer staring at an open book on her lap, her features troubled. “Buffy?”

“Shhh!” the slayer quieted her, waving her hand in her direction even though she never stopped staring at the book.

“What? Why do you- Buffy Anne Summers!” Tara hissed disbelievingly at the blonde. “Don’t tell me you are eavesdropping on your best friends?!?”

Buffy glanced at her briefly before going back to the book. “Hey, you want to go in there, so you are no better, missy. Besides, you know they’ll stop talking if anyone goes in.”

“Yeah, but...Never mind. What are they talking about? Is Will okay?” The witch finally asked, not having the energy to lecture her friend on the rudeness of spying on Willow and Xander’s conversation, even though a tiny part of her was glad that the slayer kept an eye on what was going on in the kitchen.

Buffy sighed and closed the book on her lap. “Xander keeps going from apologizing to put his feet in his mouth, and Willow’s...she’s holding her own but she’s really pissed at him. I had no idea she was so upset at Xander,” she added quietly after a moment.

“She’s always had the tendency to bottle things up,” Tara thought out loud. “That’s why it’s so important to make her talk. I don’t want this to become another Tabula Rasa fiasco, Buffy.”

The slayer eyed the witch in surprise, her face going pale. “What do you mean?”

Tara glanced in the direction of the kitchen before leaning forward, her voice low and tensed. “Will, she’s always so scared she’ll do something wrong and that she’ll disappoint me or you, or someone else, that it makes her think or act irrationally sometimes. And I am not saying this to make you feel bad, Buffy,” the witch reassured the slayer when her shoulders slumped and her features clouded in shame and guilt.

She didn’t want to share everything what Willow had told her earlier, about her fear of being weak, but she needed to have Buffy on the same page as her in order to help her girlfriend properly. “We started to have issues some time before you d- before you died, but neither of us were willing to talk or take action to resolve them. That’s what I want to do now, that is what we need to do if I want us to really be us again, but for that she needs to know we are all here for her.”

“Oh,” Buffy whispered. “She’s still feeling guilty about bringing me back, isn’t she?”

Tara didn’t need to answer for Buffy to know. She has tried to make her best friend understand that she wasn’t mad at her, even if there were times where she doubted her reassurances sounded sincere.

“Tara, I...” Buffy said, not sure where to begin when a crashing sound immediately followed by a panicked scream from Xander interrupted her.

*************

“Are you sure this is going to work?” Andrew asked for the fifth time.

Jonathan groaned and rolled his eyes. “It will if I can concentrate, so shut up already!”

“Both of you, just shut up and do your stupid spell!” Warren warned from his place between the front seat and the back space of their van. They were all parked a few houses down the Summer’s home, far enough so the van wasn’t visible from Buffy’s but still close enough so they could have a clear look at the house and its occupants with binoculars. “What is taking you so long anyway? That spell is so easy a squirrel could do it.”

“Then why don’t you do it!” Jonathan snapped, annoyed at his friend’s pushy attitude.

“You did the first spell so you have to do that one as well. You know how this works so why don’t you stop whining and do the right thing for once!” Warren shot back. “I’d like to get out of here before someone sees us!”

Jonathan only muttered and mumbled while he finished mixing a dark powder to the rest of the crushed herbs that were already half filling a small bowl. “I only need to add the rest of the dried blood in the mix and recite the spell. If the smoke stays clear, it means Willow Rosenberg has not been affected by the wrecked spell.”

“And if it isn’t?” Andrew whispered to Warren, mindful of not disturbing Jonathan while he performed the short spell.

“Then we are in deep shit,” Jonathan muttered before Warren had the chance. All men watched and cringed as the smoke turned a dark shade of grey.


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/24/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 7:17 am 
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dibs!

Oooh, that cliffhanger is mean! I'm glad I know what's going on!

Lol, I was without internet for 2 days (horrors!) but I'm glad I didn't miss the update! Feel free to send me whatever you want - I'll be happy to read it! I'm glad it's slowed down at least - stupid crap going on!

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/24/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:33 pm 
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:O and so the plot thickens! It's never a good sign when Warren and his droogs get involved. I wonder if the woman who was holding the garden gnome was Amy? Maybe she's working with Warren? I really want to find out what happened "that night" with Willow and Rack. I hope Tara takes it well when Willow finally tells her, that is if she even does tell her. I'm really worried about what made Willow scream (0.0) This story just keeps getting so intense :D amazing update!

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/24/2011
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:32 am 
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Great update! I can't wait to see what happens. I hope will opens up soon she needs Tara as much as Tara needs Willow!


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/24/2011
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 5:57 am 
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Wow, this is a great story, I've just found it out but I can't wait to see what it'll happen!

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/24/2011
PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:47 am 
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I'm glad Xander and Willow were finally able to talk. It's hard to go through something big in your life and not have your best friend there to support you. You kinda left it on a cliffhanger so I'm definitely looking forward to what happens next.


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/24/2011
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:46 pm 
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Hi Marie! :wave

Quote:
he braked sharply when a slim figure wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt cut right in front of him...The hood was covering the person’s face so Xander couldn’t see who it was
At first, I thought this was Willow and I was like, "Why the hell does she have the gnome?" lol

I liked that Buffy took care of Willow...it was a very nice bff moment. ;-)

Quote:
Tara looked up from her spot on the couch, her eyes glancing briefly towards the stairs. “There’s no rush. Are you in a hurry, Xander? Because if so you could always come back later, no one is forcing you to stay here.”
Damn! Go Tara!!!

Glad that Xander and Willow talked so soon and cleared the air. It's better when they stick together. As for the evil trio...boo! I hate those guys and am not surprised that they are behind Willow's wolfieness. Those guys are bad news!

Great update! Until next time...

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/24/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:37 am 
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leonhart17: woohoo dibs!

lol, yeah, that's one of the perks of getting to read everything before everyone else :buried

Internet is so precious!! We don't know how much we love it until it goes out! I've sent you two versions of the last chapter, lol.

Thanks for everything!!

nightmask: No, you're right. It's better to run and take cover whenever they're around...the person holding the gnome was Andrew...Amy will most probably be back but only time will say with who she's been working :p The night at Rack's is finally here! You'll see how it will go :blush

Quote:
Tara, I...” Buffy said, not sure where to begin when a crashing sound immediately followed by a panicked scream from Xander interrupted her."


Xander was the one doing the screaming, lol. It could have been her though :)

Thanks a lot, I'm glad you like it! Thanks for commenting!


WR/TM: Thank you! She will soon, she's letting the walls she's built around her fall slowly but surely...

New chapter today, I hope you like it!! Thanks for the feedback!

Agilulfa: Thanks, I'm glad you like it (and discovered it, lol). New part today, so enjoy!!

Thanks for commenting!!

love_2003: They were overdue for a good talk...they still need to but at least they started to open up. I agree, you need your friends to support you and be there for you! Well, the new chaper is up now so I hope you will enjoy it.

Thanks for the feedback!!

Finey_McFine: lol, yeah that would have been weird! I always loved the Buffy/Willow friendship and it sucked in the show in the end, so I had to fix it. And besides, by doing so Buffy took the edge off of what could have turn into possible into a fight or something, so she's like Buffer Buffy, lol.

lol, hell yes! Protective Tara is not someone to be messed with!

Yeah, they will have to talk some more but they started to open up at least...They do have to stick together! You know things are about to get bad when Warren is around, that's true! More will be explained about Willow's wolfiness soon!!

Thanks for the feedback!!

Update directly below


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/01/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:38 am 
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Happy Canada Day to Canadian kittens!!

WARNING: Ok, I'm posting a warning just in case. I think this chapter is one of the angstiest so far, so consider yourself warned. Also, I researched online before I wrote that chapter so I based my writing on what I've read, but if someone's had a first-hand (or something else) experience about it, just sent me a pm and I'll do my best to make adjustments...This chapter also has a brief NC-17 moment.

Also, the last few chapter were a little shorter so that one is extra long!! :laugh

**************

“Answers only make more questions, I need something to believe in; Breathe in sanctuary in the easy silence that you make for me; It’s okay when there’s nothing left to say to me” –Easy Silence, Dixie Chicks

*************

Spike was taking advantage of the heavy clouded sky to walk the streets of Sunnydale instead of using the sewers. It wasn’t often that the vampire got to walk out in the open during the day, so he enjoyed observing his surroundings in the daylight.

The vampire was on its way to the Summers’ house to update the slayer on the previous night’s patrol, and to check on Willow. Despite his seemingly indifference, Spike was somewhat touched by what was happening to the redheaded witch.

Along with her girlfriend, Willow had been the only one to ever treat the vampire right. She had always respected him and had actually voiced her gratefulness for his help the summer Buffy was gone.

If he would have normally waited sunset to go out, even with the clouds and rain outside, Spike felt he should share with Buffy what he had heard the night before. Rumors were starting to spread in the underground concerning the slayer’s best friend and, as much as he would love nothing more than to sit back and enjoy the show, Spike knew he owed it to Willow to at least warn her.

Spike slowed down as he walked past a big black van that was parked across the street. Curious, he fished through his pockets to look as if he was trying to find something, finally pulling his lighter and a cigarette out of his duster’s left pocket. There was something odd about the van, a feeling that the vampire couldn’t shake off as he lit his cigarette.

Wanting to keep an eye on the suspicious vehicle, the bleached vampire stayed outside once he reached Buffy’s house. He leisurely leaned against one of the trees, taking his time to smoke a second cigarette when a thin wisp of dark smoke coming from the van caught his attention.

The van suddenly shook on its wheels, as if someone inside had hit the sides hard. The van’s engine roared right before a scream erupted inside the house. Spike could hear hurried footsteps moving inside as panicked voices he recognized as Xander and Tara rose in the kitchen.

Quickly glancing between the house and the van that was already pulling back on the road and driving away, Spike made a quick decision. He jumped on the porch to get inside but turned around as soon as the van was out of sight and ran after it.

**********

Tara’s heart stopped when Xander’s frightened voice startled her. She and Buffy were on their feet in an instant, their footsteps stomping loudly in the witch’s ears as they ran into the kitchen.

She didn’t know what to expect but nothing in the world could have prepared Tara to this. The witch stumbled to an abrupt stop when she saw her girlfriend convulsing on the kitchen floor.

Strong hands caught her and kept her from running to Willow’s side and swiftly pushed her into Xander’s arms. “No! Let me go!”
“Xander, don’t let her go!” Buffy shouted when the man seemed to be about to release the witch.

He instantly tightened his grip, his eyes never leaving the horrifying sight of his friend. “What the hell is happening to her?!?” he yelled shrilly.

Buffy didn’t answer straight away, being busy pushing away everything that could be a danger to the redhead. She hurriedly pushed the chairs and table out of the way, sending them to hit the opposite wall. The stools quickly followed before the slayer crouched close to her best friend, her eyes carefully watching every spasm and muscle contractions that were afflicting Willow’s body. “What happened? Did she hit her head? When did the seizures start?”

“Seizures?” Xander croaked. “I-I...I don’t know, we were talking and all of a sudden she was staring blankly into space. I think she tried to say something but she only managed to grip the counter before her eyes rolled into her head and she collapsed. Ow!”

Tara ignored Xander’s pain exclamation and forcefully pushed him to rush to her partner’s side. “Tara no, you can’t touch her, not right now!” Buffy quickly grabbed the witch’s hand to prevent her from touching Willow. “It might hurt her, or she might hurt you. It’s not safe right now,” the slayer explained to her gently although her eyes were wide and worried.

“Twenty seconds.”

Buffy snapped her head towards Xander, confused. “What?”

Xander pointed a shaky finger at the kitchen clock. “It had just turned 11:15 when she paled and, and...”

“What the bloody hell is going on?” Giles exclaimed as he and Callie entered the kitchen, both freezing at the sight of the seizing redhead.
Tara was hearing her friends’ distant voices but she couldn’t focus on them. She ignored Giles’s questions and Xander’s explanations; all she could do was to squeeze the life out of Buffy’s hands while staring at her soul mate’s taut and convulsing body. Tara noticed that the tremors had started to slow down, which relieved her beyond belief.

Her whole body ached to touch Willow but the slayer’s warning had scared her; she didn’t want to risk hurting her girl even though the wait was killing her. “B-B-Buffy, I-I think she’s c-calming down.”

Buffy nodded in agreement and released the witch’s hands, wincing slightly when she flexed her fingers. “You just need to wait a little while longer, okay? Xander, time?”

“Um...forty-two seconds.” He announced after a brief hesitation. “Is it good? Is she okay?”

Tara looked helplessly between the redhead’s almost inert body and the slayer, tears streaming down her face. “Buffy?”

Buffy clenched her jaw and came closer to the redhead, whose leg and hand only weakly jerked sporadically now. Willow was still unconscious but was breathing heavily. “Tara, can you help me? We need to move her. It’s not good for her to stay on her back right now,” she asked the witch softly.

Relieved to finally be able to touch her girlfriend, Tara grazed her hand over Willow’s arm and waited her friend’s instructions. Together, they gently moved the redhead over to her side, careful of moving her head so her chin was up as to keep her airways opened. Willow’s breathing improved as soon as both girls moved her but still didn’t regain any form of consciousness.

Tara leaned down and pressed soft kisses on Willow’s forehead, temple and cheeks while running a hand through the slightly damp red hair. The redhead was pale and clammy but her body had now completely stopped shaking, leaving her into an exhausted, boneless sleep.

Her hand still in her girlfriend’s hair, Tara watched as Buffy slightly bent Willow’s legs and arms, crossing and locking them to stabilize the redhead’s position on her side to prevent her from falling on her back or stomach. “Shouldn’t we take her to the hospital?” Xander inquired from his place near the counter.

Tara may have been deeply upset and shocked about what she had just witnessed, she was also aware that if she and Xander had freaked, the slayer had remained calm and had known exactly what to do. “I suppose it is not n-necessary, right Buffy?”

The affirmative but uncomfortable nod she got from the blonde confirmed her suspicions. “No, I can take care of her. Well, you can now that you’re here, Tare. We’ll just wait a few minutes and we’ll move her to her room.” Buffy said as she slumped on the floor next to the witches before taking the redhead’s wrist to check her pulse.

Giles moved closer and kneeled between both girls, wanting to check on Willow himself. “I think she is stable enough to move her. Buffy, do you still have her medication?”

“Yeah, it’s in my room. I’ll get it as soon as we get upstairs,” Buffy told him, not daring to look at the blonde witch. She knew she definitely had to talk now. Tara was still in too much of a shock to argue now but it wouldn’t be long before she would have to spill everything.

**********

Tara felt more than she heard Buffy come in the bedroom a few minutes later. The witch was sitting in a chair by the bed and was observing her girlfriend with worried eyes. The slayer had given them some privacy while Tara changed the redhead into her pajamas but she was back now, holding a glass of water in a hand and a small bottle containing blue pills in the other.

“Hey.”

“Hey. She’s still sleeping,” Tara half-said, half-asked as Buffy walked closer to put the glass and pills on the night stand.

Buffy turned to sit on the bed, briefly glancing at Tara before staring at her sleeping friend. “It’s normal, her body is still recovering from-”

“Seizures! She had seizures!” Tara hissed angrily. “My g-girlfriend had seizures! And by the way you reacted, it’s not the first time!”

Tara left the chair and anxiously paced the room. “You knew what to do, so it could only m-mean that she’s had them before. What the hell happened to her, Buffy?”

Buffy sighed and stood up as well. She walked to the other side of the room to where Tara was standing. She didn’t even try to propose the blonde witch of going to talk in the hallway, knowing neither of them would be willing to leave Willow alone even for a few minutes.
“I’m guessing that Mr. Giles is filling Xander in right now or he would be here as well, am I right?” Tara demanded the slayer.

“Yeah. He’s telling him what he needs to know. Not that we don’t want to say everything to him, Tara, but I promised Will. She’ll tell him the rest one day if she wants to, but right now you’re the one who needs to know the most,” Buffy agreed softly, crossing her arms against her chest as she spoke.

Tara frowned at the slayer’s mood change. The anger she felt left place to a deep sense of dread, and what she had been dying to know for weeks now suddenly seemed too much for her to handle. “Buffy, are you okay? You don’t-”

“No, it’s okay, it’s about time you know, you know?” The slayer shook her head. She took a deep breath and sat down on the floor, letting her back to rest on the door. “Things got…bad at Rack’s last time Willow was there.”

“I am so going to kill her. I am done. She wants to have her fun, well fine! She is out of my house. I can’t stand this anymore,” Buffy ranted as she and Spike walked in the downtown alleys of Sunnydale. They had been searching the redhead for hours, going to cemeteries, the Bronze, her parents’ house, Amy’s; Willow was nowhere to be seen.

The redhead had left a note on the kitchen counter saying that she was going out with Amy, a thing that wasn’t unusual since her break up with Tara. Except Willow hadn’t come home this time. It was now almost forty-eight hours later, and it seemed that the witches had fallen off the grid. Until a desperate demon had tipped them off in a futile attempt to save his life.

“I’d suggest you take that anger out on the bloody dealer once we get there. You might end up snapping Red like a twig if you take it out on her,” Spike shot back, somewhat amused to see the slayer so pissed off. The vampire slowed down when he suddenly felt a magical push on his right. “We’re here.”

Buffy glared at where Spike was pointing, not willing to back down. “I don’t care. She’s gone too far. How could she do this to Tara? To all of us? She needs to learn a lesson!”

Spike shot his hand straightforward, smirking when he felt the invisible portal move around his arm. “You mean how could she do this to you? You’ve been pushing her away ever since she brought you back. You think no one noticed but I did, and Red did too.”

“Shut up Spike,” Buffy warned him as she pushed him and uncertainly went through the invisible barrier. The slayer’s face cringed in distaste when she took a look around the room. How could her best friend have sunken so low? There were a dozen people scattered around the small, filthy room. Some were sleeping while others were either pacing or rocking back and forth on the floor.

“Come on, let’s get this over with,” Spike told Buffy as he guided her to a closed door. A young woman in her twenties jumped on her feet and tried to keep them from coming in by shaking frantically her hands. “You can’t go in! It’s not your turn!”

“Now it is,” Spike snapped at her, morphing into his game face. The girl shrieked and fell back hard on the chair but didn’t get up again. He shot a look to the slayer and noted that she seemed a little green. “You okay?”

Buffy only shook her head. “Let’s get this over with.” Not hesitating anymore the slayer kicked the door down and walked in. The main room was surprisingly big, and was barely furnished. There was a couch on one side, while a bed and a broken kitchen table with disparate chairs were taking up most of the space on the other side.

“I don’t believe you have an appointment,” a rough voice called from behind. Buffy turned around sharply, her fists clenched at her sides.

“Rack. Huh. I imagined you more Sirius Black, less Snape,” Buffy commented easily although the sight of the magic dealer made her queasy.

Rack smirked and took a step forward. “I’ve heard about the little puns you use when you’re scared. That’s cute.”

Buffy rolled her eyes and walked in the depths of the room. “Cut the crap, Rack. Where’s Willow?”

“Willow…doesn’t ring a bell.”

“She’s talking about Red,” Amy mumbled, stumbling from her place on the questionably clean couch. Hey, Buffy.”

Rack smiled, the scar covering his left cheek stretching into a wide smirk. “Ahh, Strawberry. Sorry, you can’t have her. I’m not done with her yet.”

Spike shifted from his place by the door and swiftly smashed the warlock against the brick wall. “Wrong answer, pal. Where is Red?”

Rack only smirked cruelly, amused by the vampire’s threats. “Sorry, but I have a big clientele tonight. She is my little ‘pick me up’. I’m surprised you haven’t tasted her yet, William. I’m sure her blood would send you to your knees.”

Buffy sent Rack a murderous glare. She fought to keep herself under control; it wouldn’t do any good to Willow if she’d killed the warlock without knowing where her friend was first. Buffy instead turned to Amy and grabbed her by the collar. “Where is she? And you better have the answer.”

“I, I-don’t shake me that hard, I’m going to be sick!” the witch croaked weakly. Buffy let her go, not wanting to get thrown up on her when a sharp sound startled her. She spun around just in time to see Spike falling to his knees, his nose and hands covered in blood.

Rack dusted his dirty shirt and grinned. “I like you, slayer. You’re just like Strawberry, dark and sweet but with a taste for blood. You know what, I’ll make you a deal. You get her to leave of her own free will, you take her. Otherwise she stays mine.”

Spike shot a warning look to Buffy, but she wasn’t looking at him. “This isn’t some kind of trick spell?”

Buffy cringed when Rack’s laughed. It reminded her of a fork being stuck in a garbage food disposal. “No spell, no tricks. Just a little confrontation between the slayer and my witch.”

“Strawberry!”

A loud crashing sound startled Buffy, making her look around carefully, but there still wasn’t any sign of her friend. “Buffy?”
“Willow Rosen…” Buffy began but stopped when she finally saw the witch. Willow was on the ground and was slowly trying to pick herself up. The slayer gasped at the condition her best friend was in.

The redhead had deep dark circles under her eyes and her hair was disheveled. It looked as if the witch hadn’t eaten or slept in several days even if she had only been missing a couple of days, and her normally bright emerald pupils were completely black. “Will?”

Both friends stared at each other, even though Buffy doubted Willow was really seeing her. “Will, come on, we need to go home now,” she told the witch slowly and gently.

“Will?” Buffy repeated more forcefully when Willow didn’t react. “What the hell did you do to her!?!” the slayer yelled at the warlock, her anger switching from the witch to the magic dealer.

Rack laughed again as he pushed Spike back down, sending the vampire to fall back on his face. “You should have better pets, slayer. You had a great one with Strawberry but you broke her, with your hatred and your constant pushing away. Things worked out well though, got a good witch out of the deal.”

Buffy’s eyes narrowed and she lashed out unexpectedly, hitting Rack on the side of the face.

“No!” Willow screamed.

Both Buffy and Spike froze in shock while Amy and Rack only smirked. “See how much of a good pet I have? Protecting her master?” Rack said smugly, shooting the redhead a short look. “A little low on response though. Might have to do something about that.”

Before anyone had the time to react Rack shot his hand up and sent a dark magic blast in Willow’s direction. It hit the witch hard in the chest and she collapsed, moaning and panting painfully. “Willow! You son of a bitch!” Buffy screamed as she turned on the warlock again.

“No!” Willow protested again getting up with some difficulty. The witch finally managed to stand on her feet, although shakily, and stared hard at her best friend. “Don’t touch him.”

Buffy couldn’t believe what was happening. Willow was defending Rack? The slayer was suddenly so furious again that she debated leaving and letting the redhead to deal with her problems on her own. It was only when she saw how badly Willow was shaking and that the witch was struggling to keep tears away that she changed her mind.

‘Buffy, please.’ The redhead’s voice echoed unexpectedly in her head, her tone pleading. ‘I, I’m…I’m sorry.’

‘Will?’ the slayer asked back in her mind, not liking the way Willow was now staring at her.

“Willow?”

“She won’t listen to you, not unless Rack tells her to,” Amy informed her casually. The witch was pale and twitchy but seemed to be
deeply amused by the situation.

“Willow, please listen to me,” Buffy argued, ignoring the brunette’s superior smile. “You don’t want this. Nothing good will come out of this unless you come home with me, okay? You need help, so let’s just go home and we’ll deal with this. Please?”

“Aww, isn’t this sweet,” Rack said dryly. “You’ve had your chance, slayer. Strawberry’s made her choice so you better go before I stop being a gentleman and show you what Red’s capable of.”

“Buffy,” Spike called out, sending the slayer a pointed look. Both came to an understanding; they had to take Willow out of there, no matter what.

Buffy swallowed hard and faced back her friend. “Willow, please, come home with me. Let me help you. What would Tara say if she saw you like that, huh? I know you still love her, I know you do, so do something, damn it!”

Seeing the witch’s face slightly twitching, Buffy continued blurting out whatever was coming to mind to distract the witch. She had to find a way to take her friend out of there or she could never forgive herself. “Will, sweetie, please, think about Dawn, she looks up to you so much, and Tara! God, Willow, haven’t you hurt her enough already?!?”

“She left me,” Willow slurred, her body dangerously swaying. “She…she left.”

“She will come back but you need to help yourself for that to happen,” Buffy shot back, becoming frustrated.

“Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Show how much of a good pet you are, Strawberry, get rid of the slayer and you’ll get a nice reward,” Rack taunted the witch as he walked closer to her, his hand stopping inches away of Willow’s heart.

Buffy didn’t react when Spike went to stand by her side. She was staring at the young woman who she had considered her best friend and sister for the past six years, woman that was now staring back at her with her hand raised threateningly, red sparks coming out of her palm.

“So that’s how it’ll go? You almost kill yourself bringing me back only to end up like this? Don’t do this, Will. Think of Tara, this will kill her. We all love you, sweetie, please don’t do this,” Buffy begged her softly.

The sparks in Willow’s hand lost of their intensity and she slowly lowered her hand. The witch was obviously struggling to control the power she had been about to release. For the first time since they had arrived, Buffy felt like Willow really was acknowledging her. Her eyes were still pitch black, but they didn’t seem as hollow anymore.

Seeing that he was losing, Rack screamed his frustration and shot his hand forward. Willow cried out as the warlock started draining magics from her, soon leaving her out of breath and about to collapse.

Spike was the first to run to Willow’s side but failed when Amy threw a fireball at him. Ducking at the last second, the vampire stayed down while Buffy snuck out behind the brunette witch and sucker punched her in the face. Amy fell on the floor, stunned, leaving the time for Spike to get back on his feet again.

Too dizzy from all the magics he had just drained from Willow’s, Rack realized he was about to get cornered so he grabbed a fistful of Willow’s shirt and threw her over to Spike to give him time to flee.

Unable to catch her in time, Spike and Willow went crashing on the wall, Willow’s head smashing hard against the cement wall.
Buffy had taken advantage of the chaos in the room to jump on Rack. Not expecting the attack, the warlock didn’t have time to protect himself as punches and kicks rained all over his body. It was only what seemed like hours later that Spike caught her and pushed her away. “Buffy!”

“Let me go! I am not done with him yet!”

“Yes, you are. Willow needs you, Buffy! There is something wrong with her.”

Buffy stopped with her fist in mid-air, finally listening. “What? Will? Willow!” She ran to her bloodied friend and panicked at the blood that was covering the redhead’s face.


By the time Buffy was finished with the story tears were running down her cheeks and refused to form eye contact with Tara. Both were sitting on the floor and were staring at the sleeping redhead on the bed. “Willow had her first seizures on the way to the hospital. The doctor said that because she already suffered from a head injury a few years back, the hard blow she took to the head was enough to set off the seizures. He didn’t know about the magics but Giles said they must have had something to do with it too.”

“She had some again about two weeks after, and then nothing before tonight. The most likely cause for last time is the withdrawals, but I don’t know what triggered them this time.” Buffy apologized faintly.

“Why didn’t you call me?” Tara tried to ask without sounding too accusing, but failed miserably.

“The first time? I tried, there was no answer. I called so many times but you weren’t there, and after the doctor came and said that she was going to be okay, I kind of blacked out, I’m sorry.”

Tara sighed and leaned her head against her bent knees. “Magic withdrawals can cause seizures?” Tara didn’t catch everything the slayer told her next. Images of Willow being hurt and in distress caused her so much pain, it was only when she felt a small hand on her shoulder that she fully grasped the gravity of what happened. "You're sure she doesn't need to see a doctor?"

"She already has an apointment for next week. I'll call if something's wrong but for now I don't think so. Tara, Tara what is it?" Buffy suddenly whispered when she noticed Tara's shoulders were shaking.

“She c-could’ve died. She could have died while I was crashing at a friend’s b-because I couldn’t stand being alone anymore.” Tara burst into tears, her sobs heavy and loud.

Buffy quickly pulled Tara to her and hugged her tightly. “She’s okay now, Tara I promise. I don’t know what happened tonight to trigger them, but we’ll figure it out.”

*************

Willow frowned and groaned when she found she couldn’t move her limbs without experiencing severe soreness. Her muscles were burning, her head was pounding and her whole body felt like a dead weight but she couldn’t remember why. Slowly opening her eyes, the redhead looked around a few moments until her hazy eyes stopped on something blue.

Blinking a few times to focus on the deep blue orbits in front of her, it took a moment for Willow to identify the blue round shapes as Tara’s eyes.

Tara smiled and tentatively brushed a soft hand over the redhead’s cheek. “Hey sweetie.” After about an hour, Tara breathed a sigh of relief when Willow had begun to shift on the bed. She had quickly put down her girlfriend’s laptop on the floor to watch her as she slowly woke up.

Willow’s painful gasp snapped Tara back in the moment and she rushed to the night stand where pills had already been put aside next to the glass of water. “Here honey, take those, okay?” Tara encouraged her sweetly before settling the redhead into a half-sitting position, smiling happily when Willow complied without a protest. The blonde helped her by holding the glass for her, the redhead’s hands weak after just woken up.

“Tara?”

“Yes, sweetheart?” Tara asked her kindly as she helped Willow lay back down again. The redhead closed her eyes and sighed. The earlier’s incident was slowly coming back to her and she felt humiliated. She had been doing so well lately, but now everything was ruined.

She had unwillingly showed her weakest side to her lover and she hated herself for it.

Willow had dreaded karma would come back to bit her in the butt for her mistakes, but she never considered it could get this bad. She could deal with the withdrawals and being sick. She could deal with a lot, having somehow become a werewolf being the last straw, but knowing that Tara must have witnessed her episode this morning simply horrified her.

Tara watched, concerned, as her girlfriend sluggishly turned over to her side and curled up into a fetal position, her eyes hardening and staring emptily at a discarded red sock on the floor. “Willow, sweetie what is it?”

“Leave.”

“What?”

“Please, leave me alone. Just, just go.” Willow reiterated, her voice stronger. “You should’ve stayed gone, you were right to leave so I’m officially releasing you from your obligations. Just...go.”

Tara stared in shock at the girl before her, anger quickly filling her. “You know what, I would if I didn’t love you so damn much!”
“I don’t believe this, Willow! I thought we were finally making progress! A-And I thought I had made myself clear about the fact that I wasn’t
going away anymore!” Tara expressed sharply.

Coming back in Willow’s life was one of the things they hadn’t talked about much yet and, even if the redhead seemed pleased of it, Tara was still a nervous wreck most of the time.

She didn’t let it show but this, the ultimatum Willow had just given her was yet another reason why Tara knew had to fight for them. If Willow still had doubts about them, Tara would show her that those doubts had no place in their relationship, not anymore.

Willow only blinked and bit her lower lip, although her body tensed under the covers. Her self-imposed silence, far from pleasing Tara, only added fuel to the blonde’s frustration.

As annoyed as she was, Tara took a deep breath to calm down. She remembered from what she had been reading online earlier that stressful situations, exhaustion and other abnormal circumstances could be triggers for seizures and the last thing the blonde wanted to do is to potentially send her partner into another round of convulsions. “Willow, honey please look at me.”

“Fine, you want to stare at the sock, stare at the sock but listen, okay?” Tara compromised half-heartedly when only silence greeted her. “You can avoid me, silent treatment me into the next century or even yell, I don’t care. But you need to put in that thick head of yours that I am not going away. Not now, not later, not ever. So please just tell me what’s going on in your head so I can help you. Please?”

Tara sighed and pursed her lips when Willow still wouldn’t react. “Why are you so afraid, Will? There is nothing you could say or do that would make me want to leave again. What on earth could I have done to make you think I would leave again?”

“You don’t know.” Willow finally whispered. She shot a tired look at the blonde, her eyes lingering when Tara watched her back with attentive and patient eyes.

“I know, Will.”

Willow opened her mouth but nothing came out. Tara couldn’t know, not everything. She hadn’t said anything and she had made promise- “Buffy.”

Tara nodded sheepishly as she sat on the floor next to Willow’s head. As much as she wanted to sit and cradle her girlfriend in her arms, she didn’t want to risk losing the possibility of ruining the progress they were finally making by rushing Willow. “After this morning she didn’t really have a choice. I-I think I even scared her a bit so really, she did it to save herself.”

“You must hate me.”

“For the hundredth time, no. I’m shocked, a-and upset but I don’t hate you sweetie, I never could.” Tara soothed her quietly, hoping Willow wouldn’t close-up like last time.

“You should. Buffy should hate me too but she keeps saying she doesn’t. I don’t get it. Everybody should hate me…” She asserted again, although somewhat weakly. “I tried to hurt her.”

“I know. But you didn’t.” Tara reminded her gently. “Did you want to?”

Willow shifted her head on the bed and gazed uncertainly at her lover, a tiny sparkle of relief warming her heart when Tara locked eyes with her and smiled encouragingly. “Hurt Buffy? No. I could never hurt her but I wasn’t thinking straight that night. Rack, he, he didn’t want to waste his own magics on her so he kept promising me things if I’d get rid of Buffy for him. She didn’t know because he was constantly whispering… inside.” She explained, her fingers moving and pointing at her head.

Now that the truth was out, the redhead was scared of the repercussions it would bring between her and Tara, but she also felt as if a giant band-aid had been ripped out, leaving her to mend the wound.

Her best friend had taken the first step for her, but now Willow had to assume responsibility and complete the story, thing that was more bearable to do now that she knew that Tara wasn’t planning on leaving again.

“You were strong, baby. You held your own even after R-Rack’s tried t-to hurt you.” Tara told her proudly but her tone betrayed her emotions. The blonde fought to keep her tears in check, refusing to upset Willow more than she already was but it felt like a lost cause as tears started to roll down her face.

The idea of her girl being at the mercy of a dark magic dealer, whether it was a conscious choice or not, upset Tara to her deepest core. She had so many questions, every one of them as terrifying as the other. “Willow, when you say that Rack offered you t-things, d-did he, d-did he-”

Green eyes widened in shock and Willow reached a hand, her fingers hesitantly brushing the blonde’s tears away and she grinned shyly when Tara leaned into the touch. “Please don’t stutter…and no, honey, he didn’t. That’s not what he was interested in.”

Tara nodded in relief and took the redhead’s hand that was still on her cheek to kiss it gently. “You really don’t hate me?” Willow asked her dubiously.

“No love, I never could. I love you, I love you so much Willow, I’m sorry if I s-somehow made you doubt.” The blonde declared softly, smiling broadly and her heart swelling with love when the younger witch mouthed the words back to her. Still smiling, Tara leaned on her
forearms and grazed her lips against Willow’s, her heart flipping when the redhead responded. “How do you feel?”

“Better. I’m not as sore anymore.” Willow admitted after a brief hesitation. True to her statement, the redhead gradually unbend her legs, wincing only slightly when she pulled her leg down too fast. She knew Tara was watching her every move and it made her nervous.

Tara had been doing a good job distracting her so far, but reality was now hitting Willow with renewed force. If she had somehow been forced to share the details of her last night at Rack’s, the consequences of that night were a whole other story to face.

Exhausted even if she had been awake for less than an hour, Willow didn’t have it in her to deal with the morning incident. Her head was throbbing, the light coming in through the blinds sending sharp bolts of pain in her eyes so she tried to shift on her side to rest but her body wouldn’t cooperate.

Willow ultimately settled on her back and carefully stretched her legs. “Here, let me help.” Tara offered softly when the redhead didn’t seem to be able to find a comfortable position.

The older witch sat on the bed and cautiously uncovered Willow’s legs and took one at the time, delicately stretching them and massaging the girl’s calves and thighs before gently laying them back on the bed.

Relaxing slightly under her lover’s touch, Willow was meanwhile staring anxiously at her pajamas and didn’t notice when Tara stopped to shot her a worried look. “Willow? Are you okay, did I hurt you?” Tara asked worriedly.

‘One step forward, three steps back’ Tara sighed as Willow shook her head and put an arm over her eyes. “Sweetie, no. S-safe space here, remember? You are doing so good, please don’t shut me out now.”

Willow mumbled something but Tara couldn’t make out the words. “Sorry honey, I didn’t get that.” She told her as she gently rubbed her lover’s thigh.

“You changed me.” Willow mumbled again, this time a little louder and clearer.

Tara only stared her girlfriend’s happy monkey pajamas in confusion. “I just thought you’d be more comfortable, I w-wouldn’t have done it if I’d known it would upset you that much…”

It took several seconds before Willow eventually lowered her arm, her eyes distressed as she glanced at Tara. “That’s it? You just wanted me…You mean I didn’t, I, I didn’t…” She babbled nervously.

“Didn’t you what? I don’t understand, what didn’t you- oh.” Tara stopped herself, suddenly catching on when a particular subject she’d read online popped in her head. “No, sweetheart. But it wouldn’t have mattered even if it had been the case. You’re my girl and nothing could ever change that, I wish you’d stop forgetting about that.”

“You know,” Tara continued with an ushered tone as she cautiously lay down next to Willow and began stroking the girl’s cheek with a feather touch, “For the girl who supposedly wears the smart pants of the family, you can be awfully silly at times.” She teased her as a soft grin lighted her features.

Willow closed her eyes but a placid smile was gracing her lips. “We both wear the smart pants. Or, smart skirts since Buffy wears the fighting pants. Or boots? Is there such a thing? What’s so funny?” The redhead pouted when she heard Tara chuckling.

The blonde witch was observing her with mirthful eyes. “I love when you do that.” She told her simply.

Willow rolled her eyes but she easily matched her girlfriend’s loving smile. “I love you.”

Both girls basked in the moment, happy to be alone together for a few precious moments. “Tara?” Willow wondered out loud several minutes later when a frown darkened the blonde’s face.

“Mmm?” Oh, sorry sweetie, was I staring?” Tara quickly apologized, her cheeks bright with embarrassment.

“No. I mean yes, but…are we okay? You really don’t hate me, and-and you’re not going to leave? Even after this morning?” She asked in a small, subdue voice.

Tara groaned and pushed herself closer to Willow until they were nose to nose. She grabbed a fistful of Willow’s shirt, mindful of not pulling or jostling her too much but she used just enough strength to make sure the redhead couldn’t back out.

Willow gasped in surprise when the blonde’s full lips were on her own, lustful and demanding. The redhead felt her lips being parted by Tara’s tongue and she quickly granted her access, too stunned to think about trying to take control.

Her heart jumped inside her chest as a determined but soft hand roamed under her shirt until it gently fondled her left breast while the other hand purposefully unbuttoned the top and pushed it down the redhead’s shoulders.

The moan that escaped Willow’s throat echoed Tara’s when the blonde’s thumb brushed a fully erect nipple, sending shivers down both girls’ backs. “Would I be…doing…this if I was planning…to…leave?” Tara panted, her lips never leaving the redhead’s skin. She could feel her lover tremble under her touch and Tara was, once again, amazed at being able to create such a powerful reaction out of another human being.

Both witches were lost in a sea of heated kisses, Tara’s hand having slipped under Willow’s waistband and had begun teasing her when a soft but sharp intake of breath froze the blonde. She swiftly brought her gaze to Willow’s face and pulled her hand out of her partner’s pants when she noted the darkened but glazed green eyes that were now staring questionably back at her. “Ugh, Tara! Why’d you stop!”

The redhead’s monumental whine made Tara smile but she sighed and regretfully pushed herself a few inches away from Willow. “You’re still sore, sweetie, We shouldn’t start something you aren’t ready to do.”

Willow gaped at the blonde, her breathing ragged and her cheeks flushed. “I don’t care!”

“Will…”

“It’s been almost three freaking months, Tara!” Willow argued almost desperately, the headache that had deserted her now rushing back with a vengeance. She rolled herself away from her girlfriend and displayed an impressive annoyed pout. “This is payback for this morning, isn’t it?”

“It’s not, honey, I swear. I didn’t want to stop either, believe me, but it wouldn’t be smart to tire you too much right now. I promise you though,” Tara whispered directly in Willow’s ear as she pulled the redhead to her and wrapped her arms protectively around her, “that as soon as you are better, I will ask Buffy and Dawn to leave us the house for a night.” She finished tauntingly with a wide smirk, kissing her lover’s neck and jaw line before placing a promising kiss on her lips.


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/01/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 6:49 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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dibs!

I like this one! Now Tara's caught up with everything! Yay!

Reading it early does have its advantages! And I got them both and will email you tonight, I swear! My roommate came down for a visit and it's been busy for the last few days so I haven't gotten to touch the computer! But she's leaving this afternoon, so I'll get back to you tonight!

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Every Step That I Retrace/Always Leads Me Back to You/But I've Loved You All Along
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Last edited by leonhart17 on Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 06/24/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:00 am 
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3. Flaming O

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Dibs....I love seeing Tara fight for Willow
Quote:
“You know what, I would if I didn’t love you so damn much!”
“I don’t believe this, Willow! I thought we were finally making progress! A-And I thought I had made myself clear about the fact that I wasn’t
going away anymore!”
:clap My favorite line so far!!!

great update and I can't wait to see what happens next!


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/01/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:11 am 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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Ugh! Poor Willow! Although in canon, you'd think that this would be happening to Giles as much as he got bonked on the head, lol.

Anyway, I'm happy that Tara is finally 'in the know' and that their relationship is on the mend. I can only imagine exactly what the trio zapped Willow with, but I'm sure that the gang will eventually get to the bottom of it:)

Big yay for the last part of the fic...maybe they'll get back to that soon!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/01/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Only read a tiny bit so far but:

1- I like your take on SPike. I'd never thought of it before, but Willow did show him some respect. And I've always thought Tara almost, *almost* liked him. As great as Christopher Golden's novleizations are, it alwys bugged me he didn't quite pick up on that.

2- Considering Tara doesn't swear, when she uses the h-word or the d-word or the a-word, you can tell she's *serious*.Good touch.

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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/01/2011
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:54 am 
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10. Troll Hammer

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Great update. I'm glad Buffy told Tara about Willow's previous seizures. I know it must be hard for Willow to seem vulnerable, but she has to learn that Tara wont leave her no matter what she learns about Willow. I'm guessing Tara learning this new piece of information from Willow's past will only strengthen their relationship.


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/01/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:23 am 
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leonhart17: lol!! I'm late posting the new chapter, will you be the queen of dibs anyway?? :p

She is finally all caught up!!

It does have great advantages! lol, yep, thanks again for the help! I haven't started fixing the 'train' yet, I didn't have time but I'll still have something to send you by the end of the weekend!!

WR/TM: ooh, almost dibs!!! :)

I like it too!! Of course I love when everything is doing well between them but fight for each other shows how much they love each other and I love it!

Thanks, I'm glad you like it!! New chapter's here, enjoy!!

Finey_McFine: lol, true. Giles must have a real thick skull :p Things have been really rough on her but it will get better, I promise!!

Yeah, it was more than time that Tara known about everything since it's the only way to salvage their relationship. Secrets won't lead anywhere! The gang is working hard on finding the truth, no worries!!

I'm not sure yet but they will get back to where they were, and hopefully no one will interrupt them this time ;P

Thanks for commenting!

DaddyCatALSO: I hope you've read the rest after, lol.

Re: 1-Willow and Tara were the ones that always showed him the most respect, and especially Willow...It did feel like she *almost* liked him! (before he started hurting Buffy anyway). I like Golden's novels too but it's true, Spike is one character he never nailed to the perfection

Re: 2-lol, that is completely true. Be aware of the quiet ones, they say. Or don't provoke the momma bear or...

I'm glad you liked it, thanks for the feedback!

love_2003: Yeah, maybe it would have been better for Willow to tell it herself but sometimes, it's easier when you get help from friends...Willow's finally learning it and is starting to believe it, so they'll be able to work on their relationship :)

Thanks for commenting!!

Update directly below


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/01/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:25 am 
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“But I'm not alone anymore, you are also here; Wherever I decide to go, you're already there; Cause' in my own little heaven, it's you and me; Everywhere I go; It's you I see, It's you and me” –My Own Little Heaven, Ulrich Munther

*************

Willow yawned and stretched lazily in her bed, part of her acknowledging with a satisfied sigh that, if her body still felt sore, it was much more bearable now. She took her time to open her eyes, not in a hurry to face the rest of the day.

The cold and empty space next to her eventually reminded her that wasting her time in bed was not a good option, not when there was still so much to do. A glance to the calendar on the wall confirmed the redhead’s doubts. There were only six days left before the next full moon.

Six days to find what had happened to her or she would shift again, all three nights this time, something Willow really wasn’t looking forward to. Oz had always been elusive about the nature of the shifting and its painful process, and now Willow knew why.

She remembered researching about werewolves back when she was in high school but, as for vampires, most information was based on fairy tales and legends, so she had stopped looking.

Part of Willow wondered if there was something Giles or Callie could do about the shifting, but asking them would imply having to tell Tara and Buffy as well, a thing the redhead refused to do. It would imply that she wasn’t strong enough to support it, that she was weak.

If Tara had an idea of what it felt like after changing back for having checked her out in the crypt almost a month ago, none of her friends or Tara knew how excruciating it really was. Maybe it was because of the way the curse had been brought on her, but Willow felt nauseated just thinking of having to go through it again soon.

‘Maybe…’ Willow thought pensively as her mind rushed through the hundreds of spells she had memorized over the years, trying to find one that could either tamper the pain or maybe even interfere with the next shifting altogether.

Willow didn’t even realize how her body had tensed the moment she had let her mind take control of the magics. She was slowly but surely losing herself in s sea of spells, some darker than the others when Tara’s face suddenly flashed before her eyes.

The sight of her lover surprised her and tore Willow out of a particularly dark spell that had been insidiously taunting her. Willow opened her eyes sharply and sat abruptly on the bed, ignoring the strain she put her muscles through. “No, I am not going through this again.” She muttered decidedly, her mind pushing away the magics with renewed assurance.

Panicked eyes quickly scanned her room in search of the blonde witch but she was alone in the darkened space. The chair that used to be next to the bed was now close to the closet and there was something bulky on it so Willow reached out and turned on the light.

“What…” She choked at the mess that was her room.

Boxes were scattered on the floor, some open and some still taped, and on the chair was a duffle bag filled with clothes. Tara’s clothes.

Willow teared up and got off the bed but groaned as soon as her feet touched the carpet, her legs protesting at the sudden weight crushing them down. Bracing herself, Willow trotted as fast as her stiff limbs would let her out of the bedroom.

Stumbling in the hallway, Willow turned towards the stairs and ran directly into a broad chest. Strong arms caught her as her legs buckled and kept her from falling down. “Whoa, Will! What are you doing up?” Xander asked her, surprise and concern obvious on his face.

Xander could only make up the words ‘boxes’ and ‘leaving’ from his friend before the sobbing got too loud for him to understand what Willow was saying. “Tara!” He shouted promptly, carefully putting an arm under the redhead’s knees and around her shoulders to carry her back to bed.

Tara and Buffy rushed into the room as Willow was struggling to get out of bed again. “Get your hands off of me, Xander”!

“Willow, calm down! Let go of her, Xander!” Tara promptly scolded him as she sat on the bed to comfort her partner, only to have her hand slapped away as well. “Will-”

“You promised!”

Tara sent a confused glance at Buffy before settling on the redhead again. “What?”

“I knew it was too good to be true.” Willow rambled through her tears, her arms gesturing at the boxes in the room. “I knew telling you the truth would make you leave again, I was so stupid to believe you’d stay.”

“Oh. Oh! Sweetie, no. It’s not what you think.” Tara hurriedly explained, mentally slapping herself for leaving a mess in the room. She should have known that her girlfriend would have woken up at the worst possible moment. “I swear, I am not leaving.”

“Oh, so those are not your boxes?” Willow challenged her with a pointed look.

Tara sighed and took her girlfriend’s hand in hers, keeping a firm hold on it when Willow tried to free herself. “Sweetheart, I promised I would never leave you again and I meant it. They are my boxes, but I’m not moving out, I am moving in.”

“You see,” Tara gently explained and smiled as Buffy had the right idea of taking a box and bringing it to the bed, “I went to pick up the things I had left at the dorm. I wanted to put them away while you were sleeping but t-there wasn’t enough space and well...I was taking a break when you woke up and saw the mess.”

Willow pulled the box closer to her and saw a bunch of books and knick-knacks that she remembered seeing in the blonde’s dorm room on multiple occasions before. “Oh.”

“I’m sorry it freaked you out Will, I wanted to surprise you or I would have told you. Hey, no more tears, okay?” Tara cupped Willow’s cheek and softly wiped the tears away with her thumb.

Willow sniffled but nodded, suddenly feeling like an idiot. “I’m sorry I doubted you, Tara, I just...I saw boxes and...well. Spaz.” She admitted as she pointed at herself sheepishly.

“It’s okay, honey. You’re my spaz.” The blonde teased her playfully with a loving kiss on the lips.

“Ahem.” Buffy cleared her throat a few seconds later when what started as a chaste kiss was rapidly becoming a heated making out session. “Sorry to interrupt guys, but can this wait until you’re, I don’t know, alone?”

Tara blushed but Willow only smirked and playfully glared at her best friend. “A few steps to your right and being alone won’t be an issue anymore.”

“Haha, you’re hilarious Will.” Buffy smirked back as she walked over to the bed and sat next to her friend. “How do you feel?”
Willow smiled and shrugged. “I’m good, thank you.” She answered softly, her eyes locking on her best friend’s before mouthing another silent ‘thank you’ when Tara wasn’t looking, knowing the slayer would understand why she was thanking her. “So, did anything fascinating happen while I was out?” She questioned shyly.

“Yes, actually.” Tara told her with a wan smile. “S-Spike noticed something on its way here this morning. A black van.”

“A van? And it’s unusual how?” Willow asked, not following but frowning at the stern look her friends shared. “Wait, a van...aren’t those annoying geeks driving a van?”

Tara nodded slowly, not liking the glare darkening the redhead’s features. The trio, as the gang has come to call them, had started messing with Buffy a few months prior. So far they had only managed to annoy the slayer by summoning demons meant to kill her. Of course none of the demons had been more than short distractions for the slayer, as she killed every single one of them within minutes.

Then, after a few weeks of random attacks, everything had stopped. They thought the kids had given up because they had gotten tired of having their plans thwarted so Willow had stopped the research to find them.

“I’m not sure I understand, I mean how is seeing a van, even if it was theirs, relevant here?” Willow asked although she had a pretty good feeling she was not going to like the answer.

“The van was parked on our street.” Buffy explained to her friend as she put the box on the floor so Xander could sit as well. “It left real fast at the exact same time you had seizures. Spike didn’t know what was going on, he just heard Xander scream so he decided to follow them.”

Willow glanced between her friends and grinned in surprise when Tara took her hand in hers. “Spike did that? Huh.”

“Don’t be so surprised, he was always fond of you. And Tara too, of course.” Xander piped in as he paced around the bed.

“Anyway,” Buffy continued before suddenly grabbing Xander’s arm and pulling him on the bed. “Would you sit already, you’re making me dizzy!” She chided him, but there was a twinkle of amusement in her eyes.

Xander coughed and sat properly on the bed, grinning shyly at Willow when she glanced at him with a soft smirk on her lips. “I’m sorry Buffy, what?”

“I swear no one ever listens to me.” The slayer complained with a pout. She rolled her eyes but smiled when Willow leaned on her elbows with exaggerated care and watched her with big, attentive eyes.

“Goof. I was saying that Spike found out where they live. He also managed to get inside and swap a bunch of books and notes that were lying around. He said the place reeked of magic.” Buffy revealed slowly, watching her friend’s reaction closely.

Willow sighed and focused on the feeling of her lover’s arm as it snaked its way around her waist. “You guys think they may be responsible for what happened to me.” She pondered quietly.

“It’s our best bet right now anyway,” Tara answered her, relief apparent in her voice. If magics were responsible for her girlfriend’s condition, it meant they had a fair chance of maybe reversing the spell and free her from her lycanthropy.

Willow squeezed Tara’s arm and shifted her legs out of the bed, a small but genuine small gracing her features. “Okay, where are the books? Is Giles already hitting them? Is-Tara, let go of me!” The redhead exclaimed when she felt her girlfriend’s arms tugging her back into bed.

“Oh no, you are not leaving this bed.” Tara told her with a stern voice. “You need to rest.”

“What? No, I’m fine! Come on, this is ridiculous. Buffy, tell her I’m fine!” Willow asked her best friend when Tara wouldn’t let her go.

“Um...” Buffy began but a sharp look from the blonde witch kept her from taking her best friend’s defense. She knew Willow was fine but it wasn’t her decision to make, not anymore. “I’m sorry Will, but if Tara wants you to take it easy, maybe you should listen to her.”

Willow scoffed and glared at her friend, not believing what she was hearing. “And you dare say I’m the one who’s whipped?”

Tara watched her partner carefully before sighing. “How about this? Dawn said she needed help with her homework, so how about you help her out? And if you still feel fine after, I’ll bring you a book or two so you can help.”

“I am not an invalid!” The redhead grunted in exasperation, even if knew that Tara was going to win. There was no way she would refuse to help Dawn, and the blonde knew it. “Fine,” she finally relented with a slight scowl.

Tara thanked her with a gentle kiss before getting up. “I’ll tell her to come. Thank you, angel.”

Willow looked away as her friends left her room, openly sulking.

************

She and Dawn were still shacked up in the redhead’s room a couple of hours later, busy working on the teenager’s algebra problems when a short knock startled them. “Spike?”

“Red. ‘Lil bit.” Spike came in and went to the window to close the drapes. The sky was still heavily clouded but thin rays of sun were starting to show through the clouds, unnerving the vampire. “Before I forget, blondie said she needed your help downstairs.”

Dawn shot Willow a curious look before turning to the vampire, assuming she was the one being asked for help. “Which blondie?”

“Red’s bird.” Spike specified as he smirked. “I never call your sis blondie, you should know that by now.”

“Of course.” The teenager muttered as she rolled her eyes and picked up her books. “I think we’ve done enough for now anyway, my brain is now officially dead.”

Dawn jumped off the bed to leave but turned around quickly to kiss Willow’s cheek. “Thanks Willow.”

“What do you want, Spike?” Willow demanded once Dawn’s steps could be heard downstairs. “Did Tara put you up to this?”

The bleached vampire chuckled and closed the short distance separating him from the bed. He knew the blonde’s little game wouldn’t be lost on the redhead. He had watched, amused, as Tara spent the afternoon finding excuses to go upstairs to get something she had ‘forgot’ or any other reason that seemed to fit her need to subtly check on her girlfriend.

“Saw right through her girl’s little game, huh? But, for the record, I offered to come ‘check on you.’” He said casually, quoting the last part with his fingers.

Willow cocked her head, curious. “Why?”

“Because I haven’t seen you since you pulled that stunt in my crypt. Congrats on freaking out your little group, by the way. Couldn’t have done it better myself.” Spike approved almost proudly.

“Shut up, that’s not funny.” Willow threw him a pillow, but the vampire caught it and wrapped his arms around it as he sat on the bed.
“What are you smirking about?” Spike glared at the redhead when he noticed her struggling not to laugh.

Unable to keep it inside anymore, Willow erupted in laughter as she pushed herself further away from the vampire before talking. “It’s just, you know, you sitting there, hugging a pillow...you look kinda cute.”

Spike glanced down at the pillow and hurriedly threw it on the floor, sending Willow in another round of laughter. “Fine, make fun of the vampire. I wanted to be nice and give you this but I think I’ll give them back to your bird.”

Willow wiped her eyes and saw that the vampire had taken two smallish books out of his duster pocket. “Wait, are those, are those books you brought back from the nerds’ nest? Give me, please, please! I’ll stop laughing! See? I’m not laughing anymore! Please, please, please!”

Spike eyed her with a smug smile, as if pondering if he should give them to her or not. He finally held the books for her to take, which she did with a happy smile.

“Thanks.” Willow didn’t lose time and promptly opened the first one. She scanned the first few pages before the vampire’s burning eyes on her became too much to ignore. “What?”

“What’s it like?” Spike rolled his eyes at the confused look Willow sent him. “Being a wolf. What’s it like?”

Willow gaped and stared, dumbfounded.

“What, you mean no one even asked you? You haven’t thought about it at least a little?” Spike pushed curiously, if not a little incredulous, just as a blush colored Willow’s cheeks.

The redhead only briefly glanced at the vampire before settling her back on the bed’s headboard. “I can’t remember anything even if I try. There’s just these flashes...everything’s dark and, and cold, then everything becomes so overwhelming it’s just...just...” Willow stammered in an effort to find the right words to describe her experience.

“You feel like every single one of your senses is trying to take over to drive you crazy.” Spike offered in a surprisingly soft voice.

“Yes,” Willow whispered back. “So that’s how it feels like to be a vampire?”

Spike grinned but gave her the evil eye as well. “Pretty much. Add the lack of conscience and the thirst for blood and you’re dead on.”
Ignoring the amused smirk the witch sent him for his bad pun, the vampire continued. “You probably think your life sucks now but it’s only because you don’t see the big picture here.”

“What do you mean?” Willow heard herself asking as she sat straighter on the bed, curious to know about the vampire’s point of view.

“You still got your soul, got your conscience, you’ve got heightened senses or you will with time.” Spike counted on his fingers. “The wolf thing is only three nights out of the month so really, what you got is more a blessing than a curse if you want my opinion.”

“I don’t.” Willow countered back but there wasn’t much force behind her argument. “Why are you helping me, Spike?”

The bleached vampire shrugged and stood. “You look like you were in need of a pep talk.” He commented casually as he walked to the door. “And I thought you should know that at least someone is on your team.”

“Besides, being a badass is awesome and it’s a real chick magnet, if you know what I mean.” He winked at her.

Willow snorted and rolled her eyes. “I already got my ‘chick’, but thanks.” She said, her voice tainted with gratefulness.

“Have fun reading your crap.” Willow laughed at this and watched the vampire leave. She turned her eyes back on the book but it was a matter of seconds before she closed it and walked to the mirror to look at herself, a pensive frown obscuring her face.

************

“Honeys, I’m home!” Xander shouted as he opened the kitchen door to the Summers’ house, his hands full of takeout food. “And man.” He added awkwardly when Giles shot him a sour look. “Hey Giles. Tara, Dawn and...Callie, right?”

“Yes.” Callie answered with a small smile. “We’re really sorry Xander, but we have to go. Save us some food?”

“Oh. Sure thing. Where are you going?” The carpenter asked as he helped Tara put the cartons in the oven so they would stay warm.

Giles grabbed his coat and hand Callie hers. “A few of the books Spike brought back seems to be in Tagalog and we don’t have any codex to translate them. A friend of mine has one in Tulare so we’re on our way to go pick it up.”

“Yeah, the one the creeps had was for Tagoi dialect. Any idiot would notice the difference.” Dawn remarked with a roll of eyes. “What?” she asked Tara when the blonde gave her a chiding look.

“Nothing. Don’t worry Giles, we’re also saving some for Buffy for when she comes back.” She reassured the watcher as she stared warningly at Xander. “Drive safe.”

“Yes. Quite.” Callie affirmed with a nod. She left quickly, Giles right behind her but the man turned around and trotted over to Tara, who watched him curiously. “Make sure he doesn’t hog all the Kung-Pow chicken.” He whispered as he pointed to Xander.

Tara laughed and nodded at the already retreating watcher. “Dawn, could you set up the table? And make sure Xander doesn’t eat any of the food while I go get Will.”

The blonde left her two friends to their amicable bickering while she trotted upstairs, the room quiet when Tara got in. Willow was sprawled face down on the bed and was sleeping peacefully.

Tara smiled and slowed her pace, debating whether waking her lover up when something on the floor caught her eyes. Picking it up she frowned at the small book that Willow had obviously been reading before succumbing to sleep.

A few seconds of skimming through it made Tara realize that it must have been one of the books the vampire had brought in, and that he must have snuck it in earlier when he had offered to come up and check on Willow.

She smirked, more amused than annoyed at Spike’s actions. The vampire’s had always had a soft spot for her partner, and it comforted her that one more person was there for her as well, even if it was a neutered vampire.

Knowing that every minute spent away from the kitchen and the food was at their disadvantage and deciding that Willow needed to eat something since she hadn’t gotten anything yet today, the blonde witch sat close to the redhead’s hips and began to gently rouse her by rubbing circles down her back. “Will?”

“Sweetie, wake up.” Tara chuckled when she only received a sleepy grunt from her girlfriend. “Xander brought Chinese for dinner and if you don’t come downstairs really soon, like now-ish soon, Xander will eat it all.”

“Not hungry.” A sleepy voice finally answered back. Tara waited patiently and counted backward in her head. “Wait, what?” was heard more clearly when Tara was down to one as Willow moved her head and pushed herself onto her side.

“Us. Chinese food. Xander and Dawn, alone downstairs with said food.”

“Crap! Oh, sorry but baby, you left those two alone with the food?” Willow asked again as she bounced off the bed.

Tara watched her in amazement. The sight of her partner going from sleepy and cranky to fully awake and completely hyper always fascinated her. “Um, yes, why?”

“Tara! Dawn is even more of a pig than Xander when it comes to takeout food!” Willow scowled her. “Why isn’t there Buffy or Giles with them?”

“Giles and Callie left to pick up a book somewhere and Buffy left on patrol with Spike.” Tara informed her softly while grabbing the redhead’s shirt, pulling her close to her before brushing their lips together.

“Mmm,” Willow moaned into Tara’s lips. She was busy savoring the sweet taste of the blonde’s lips when a shout from downstairs startled them. “Tara! Dawn’s taken the dumplings hostage!”

Willow laughed and quirked an eyebrow to the blonde. “Yeah, yeah, you were right.” Tara conceded, grinning as Willow dragged her out of the room.

************

“So, what were you and Will talking about this afternoon?” Buffy demanded more than asked to the vampire next to her.
Spike merely shrugged. “We chatted a while. Thought she could use a break from all the drama.”

Buffy stared suspiciously at him but didn’t argue back. Her best friend may have started to open up, but she was still holding back. The slayer would be lying if she’d said that the thought of Willow confiding in Spike didn’t bother her, but she knew that the vampire would tell her if her friend had said anything important.

“You brought her books, didn’t you?”

The smug expression on Spike’s face was enough to give her the answer. “Pet gets her fun with books but Blondie didn’t want her to give her any. She was bored out of her mind in that room. And we all know how fun it can get when Red gets bored.”

“Yeah... Hey, how’d you get all that stuff anyway? I don’t think they would have let you in, ‘evil fiend’ or not.” Buffy asked for the third time.
The vampire had refused to tell how exactly he had managed to get his hands on so many books, but the slayer was dying to know. “Come on! I won’t tell the others, I promise.”

“I know what could convince me.” Spike smirked as he stopped and grabbed Buffy’s arm. “Come on,” he mimicked her, “no one’s looking.”
Spike brought his hand to the slayer’s cheek and caressed it before cupping her chin. “You know you want it, slayer.” He breathed in her ear, loving the way Buffy shivered and clutched at his shirt almost in a desperate manner.

The vampire’s smug look was cut short when the slayer’s smaller hand forcefully shoved him away. “What the-”

“No! You don’t get to do that, not anymore.” Buffy warned him as she took several steps back. “Is that why you’re being nice to Willow? To soften me up? I’ve got news for you Spike, it won’t work!”

“Buffy-”

“We kissed, once, weeks ago! That’s it! Get it out of your system once and for all because it ain’t happening again.” Buffy said with more force, raising her stake for the vampire to see. “You want to help out, fine. But if you only do it to get in my pants, go. Leave and never come back, I don’t care. Just go.”

Spike glared threateningly, his hands clenching into fists. “I helped Red because she is the only one who’s ever given me some respect. Don’t flatter yourself slayer, I don’t go after seconds or at least not after Angelus’s.” He added with a grimace.

“Go. I want you out of this town by sunrise, or I will hunt you down and kill you.” Buffy hissed, her hand so tight on her stake her knuckles were pure white. She followed the vampire with dangerous eyes but Spike didn’t go near her. He circled her with slow, measured movements before turning around and leaving after locking eyes with her one last time.

Buffy took a deep breath and closed her eyes, letting her shaking body a minute to recover. “Well, well, look at what we have here.”

Her eyes snapping open, Buffy twisted sharply on her feet to see the owner’s voice. Her surprise quickly faded into annoyance as she took in the individual in front of her. “Warren?”

The young man stared at her, a wide sneer deforming his face. “Slayer.” Warren announced as he walked to the side of the road where a red motorcycle was parked. He glanced at it before seizing it and thrusting it in Buffy’s direction.

“Things are about to become interesting.”


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/08/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:37 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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dibs! Booya! Still the queen!

It's the Spike chapter! On one hand, he's sweet to Willow, and on the other hand, he's leaving Buffy alone - so you know I like this one! (and I remember what happens next, yay!!!)

Yay for new stuff to read, even if it doesn't avert the 'train' yet! :) I can handle the drama as long as the happy comes back before the end!

_________________
Ripples - Pretty Much Perfect and The Sequel to the Sequel, Who's That Girl?
Every Step That I Retrace/Always Leads Me Back to You/But I've Loved You All Along
Road to Recovery, The Call/The Lightning Strike, The Sun Will Rise


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/08/2011
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 12:29 am 
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3. Flaming O

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Oh this is so getting interesting. I just lost my puppy and I needed a update to take my mind of things thank you!!! Can't wait to see what happens with Tara and Willow I love how you put trials and angst in your story because it is a part of life things aren't always good and okay life is about fighting threw the storms to something better in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/08/2011
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:45 am 
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10. Troll Hammer

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Happy to see that Tara is moving in. Spike trying to help Willow made me like his character more and then him trying to mess around with Buffy made me not like him anymore. I hope Buffy takes down Warren.


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/08/2011
PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Just caught up with your story. :) You do a great job building suspense.

My favorite part of this last one? "Have fun reading your crap" ------I don't know why, but I laughed out loud at this. It's just so flippant and real and, well, very Spike-like.


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/08/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:19 am 
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leonhart17: haha, yeah you are!!

lol, yeah, I knew that chapter was a win-win for us!! Good for you, for knowing about what's coming next but there are still things you don't know, haha!!

You know it will have a happy ending, even if there wasn't a rule I could never hurt them too much... :p I had answered the other email last night and it got deleted before I could hit send (and it pissed me off). Sorry I'm late about the next update, the week has been crazy!!! I will definitely have something to send you this weekend though!!

WR/TM: Aww, sorry about your puppy! :( I'm glad the update came at the right time so it could distract you...Yeah, hugs and puppies are fun but life isn't always like that...fighting for what we want is part of life and it's makes you appreciate your victories so much more!!

Thanks for commenting!!

love_2003: It was time she made the final move to get their relationship going, that's true! I didn't always liked Spike, but he does respect her and help her out when she needs it :) It will get there eventually, but only time will tell what will happen to him...stay tuned to find out!

Thanks for the feedback!

little.hesperides: Yay, I'm glad you like it! And you had much more chapters to read than when I started posting, so that's always fun!

It really would seem like a Spike thing to say so I couldn't resist putting it in there :p

Thanks for reading and commenting!!

Update directly below


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 Post subject: Re: When It Don't Come Easy Update 07/08/2011
PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:23 am 
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‘The street surrounding Restfield cemetery was quiet and deserted, the road still wet from the heavy rain that had fallen all day. Only two people could be seen in the darkened street, their faces scarcely lighted by the lampposts’ soft glow.’

‘One of them, a fierce warrior despite its small stature, fought for-’

“Shut up, Andrew!” Jonathan snapped when he got fed up of his friend narrating the fight that was raging in front of them. “Shouldn’t we help Warren?”

Andrew moved from his place in the back of the van to take a better look outside. “I think he has it covered.” He thought out loud, wincing when Buffy fell hard on her back in the middle of the street. “Ouch. That got to hurt.”

“Those orbs really works. It’s impressive.” Jonathan observed with glee as his saw his friend being thrown against a brick wall. They had stolen the orbs from a Nezzla demon the day before, the orbs supposedly having magical properties; wearing them exponentially enhanced the bearer’s strength, making him nearly invincible.

Warren jumped back on his feet without letting time for Buffy to catch her breath. The man dusted himself off and threw a piece of the broken wall at the slayer, who didn’t manage to get out of the way in time.

Buffy collapsed as the bricks hit her square in the legs. She groaned at the sharp pain radiating from them and whimpered when she tried to stand up. “What’s going on, did a little rubble hurt the mighty, powerful slayer?” Warren asked too sweetly.

“Nope. I’m just taking a break.” She shot back offhandedly. Buffy had no idea what the man did to gain his sudden superpowers, but it did not bode well for her.

Every kick and punch she gave Warren barely affected him whereas Buffy was covered in bruises and cuts all over her body. Her head and back were killing her, and her legs were still too weak from the blow to kick, or run away. “You do know that steroids are illegal, right?”

Warren laughed as he bent down over her. He seized the slayer’s shirt with one hand and hoisted her up in the air until her legs were dangling off the ground. “You know, I don’t get why you’re the Chosen One. Actually I don’t get why they picked girls to be slayers. Seems like a total waste to me.”

“You know what, Warren?” Buffy asked as her head lolled weakly on the side. She waited until Warren tightened his grip on her jacket with his second hand to head butt him with all the force she had left. “You talk too much.”

Warren fell on his side and cursed when a breaking sound was heard. “Oww!” Warren cried and let go of the blonde to put his hands to his broken nose. “You bitch!”

Buffy fell back on the cold asphalt and took advantage of the man’s distraction to slam her arm behind Warren’s knees, sending him to the ground as well.

The man screamed in rage as he straddled the slayer and started bashing on her. “You bitch! Couldn’t you stay dead?!? You’re always ruining everything!”

The man may not have been hitting as hard anymore, but the damage he had done while he was at full strength had invalidated Buffy enough to maintain his upper hand on her.

“Oh my God, he’s going to kill her!” Jonathan gasped. He and Andrew watched as the slayer tried to protect herself against the blows that were raining down on her. “We have to help her!”

Jonathan pushed Andrew and opened the van’s door but he hadn’t even put one foot down that he was dragged back inside. “We can’t go out there!” Andrew hissed anxiously. “It’ll piss Warren off!”

“He’s killing her! That wasn’t part of the plan!” Jonathan shouted angrily, but Andrew’s uncomfortable silence shut him up. “No...We’re talking about murder, here!”

Andrew shrunk and glanced nervously outside. “He said not to come out, no matter what. We have to obey.”

Jonathan slapped Andrew hard on the face before shoving him. “You hit me!” The blonde shrieked as he brought his hand to his cheek, shock clear on his face.

“Yes, and I’ll do it again if you don’t shut up!” Jonathan threatened him, his hand ready. His next words were drowned under a loud “no!” echoed in the darkness of the night.

“What the...”

A bright flash suddenly emblazed the street, blinding Jonathan and Andrew. Rushed footsteps grew louder as they approached the van, the back door opening and Warren jumping in a second later. “Go!”

Andrew rubbed his eyes but complied and scurried off to the driver’s seat, starting the engine and quickly drove away, the tires smoking and squealing.

“What happened? You’re leaving her to die on the road like some lame road kill?” Jonathan asked disbelievingly as the van sped off in the night.

Warren sent him a dirty look and reached under his opened jacked to grab a small leather pouch that was half-dangling from his belt. He pulled harshly to free it and tossed it on the floor of the van. “She’s not alone.” He hissed as he grabbed his nose again.

Both watched as the crushed orbs rolled out of the pouch, their magic gone.

***********

“They’re gone.” Tara informed her girlfriend, her expression forlorn. “M-maybe I should’ve d-done a spell to keep them from g-going.”

“We’ll deal with them later.” Willow answered distractly as she kneeled next to her best friend. “Buffy? Buffy sweetie, please wake up.” The
redhead asked with a small voice as she tried her best not to freak out.

Tara glanced around one last time before kneeling as well and watched as her partner attempted to rouse their friend. Willow had woken up abruptly half an hour ago, crying that something was wrong and that they needed to find Buffy.

A locator spell took the witches across town, Tara’s hasty driving taking them just in time to witness the severe beating their friend was taking.

Tara frowned as she observed Willow for any sign of distress. The younger witch had practically jumped out of the jeep the second Tara had stopped the vehicle, screaming a deafening “no!” before sending a blast of magic in Warren’s direction.

Hit in the chest, the man flew off the slayer and skidded over several feet before he stopped and crawled on his knees, stumbling over to his van while mumbling and clutching his side. Tara wouldn’t forget the look Warren had shot them right before he disappeared into his vehicle; it was one of pure hate.

Buffy, under Willow attempts to wake her, finally let out a painful groan as she regained consciousness. “Ugh, did someone get the plate number of the ass that hit me?”

Tara held her breath when Willow glanced at her but quickly sighed in relief. The redhead’s eyes were shiny with tears but they weren’t black, as the blonde dreaded.

************

“There, I’m almost...done...” Willow said as she finished cleaning a gash that ran above Buffy’s right eyebrow. Thankfully, none of the slayer’s injuries needed specific medical attention so, after managing to help Buffy more or less back on her feet, the witches had taken her back home to tend to her wounds.

Willow shot a look to the bandages on the counter and at her now shaking hands. She had been able to control herself so far but they were now getting too strong to hide. “Will?”

‘Darn.’ The redhead knew she was busted when Buffy whispered her name, concern clear in her voice. “I’m fine. I’m the one who should be worry about you, not the other way around.” She gently chided the slayer.

Buffy scrutinized her as best she could through her swollen eyes. “I’ll be fine in no time, you know that. What happened to you, Warren didn’t hurt you, did he?”

“No.” Willow reassured her but the answer didn’t seem to satisfy the blonde. “Then why are you...” Buffy began but her voice died down as the truth fell upon her. “You did magic.”

There was no accusation in her eyes, it was a simple question asked out of curiosity and concern for her best friend. Buffy blinked and reached to take Willow’s hand in her own. “Willow...”

“He was hurting you. He, he was killing you, I had to do something.” The redhead whispered pleadingly, locking eyes with her friend as she talked.

Buffy shook her head but instantly regretted it. “It’s okay, I’m not mad. I just don’t want to see you go through everything again. It was bad enough the first time. How do you feel?”

“Not so peachy,” Willow admitted with a frown. Lying or hiding her condition was pointless if she was determined to do things the right way this time.

“I can take care of myself, it’s no biggie. You should go to bed.” Buffy tried but Willow wouldn’t hear it.

“You may have a concussion again. It’s bad enough that I’ve knocked you down last time, I’m pretty sure two concussions in a month is not a good thing, slayer healing or not.”

“We’ve already discussed this, it wasn’t your fault, Will. Accidents happen.” Buffy shot back with a chiding look. “Now go to bed, I’m fine.”

Willow hesitated, refusing to relent so easily. “Everything okay?” Tara suddenly asked as she joined them and put two steaming mugs on the counter. She turned and sighed at the sight of her pale girlfriend and her beaten friend.

The blonde surprised herself by wishing Giles were there. A massive car wreck on the 99 had forced them to spend the night in a motel out of town and so they wouldn’t be there before next morning at the earliest. They had at least, thankfully, brought several books with them so they were going to start translating some of the texts and call if anything came up.

Xander had left early after dinner because he had to go out of town again in the morning to work on another site he was supervising and Dawn was sleeping over Janice’s, so it was only the three of them tonight. “Here. Drink this.” Tara said to Willow as she handed her one of the mugs.

Willow seemed suspicious about what was in the mug but she took it anyway. Glancing down in embarrassment when she almost dropped it, Willow’s head snapped up in surprise when Tara’s hand cupped her own over the mug. “Hey, I don’t want any of that attitude here, okay? There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” She comforted her softly as she let Willow control their hands, the blonde only securing the hold on the mug to make sure it wouldn’t spill over.

The redhead gave it a tentative sniff before drinking half of it in one gulp. “Eww, gross.”

“I know.” She quickly amended when Tara frowned. Willow grimaced and took another mouthful of the drink but she visibly struggled to
swallow it. “Thank you.”

Buffy glanced between the mug and her friend and made a face. “Mine doesn’t taste like that, does it?” The slayer breathed in relief when Tara grinned and shook her head. “Yay. Hey, Tare? Do you think you could convince sleepy head here to go to bed? I can take it from here and she’s exhausted but she won’t admit it.”

“Tattle tale.” Willow grumbled when Tara took the mug back and gently pushed her out of the room.
“I’ll be right back, Buffy.”

“You don’t have to-” The slayer argued but the taller blonde shot her an admonishing look.

“I’ll be right back.”

***********

Tara put the mug on the nightstand and pulled back the bed covers while her girlfriend undressed until she was down to her underwear. “How do you feel?”

“I don’t know. I guess I’m still feeling shaky and, and my head is kind of pounding but it’s not as bad now.” Willow confided as she took a seat next to the blonde. “I love you.” She whispered, her hand coming up to bury itself in the blonde’s hair and leaning in for a sweet kiss.

“Will...”

“No. I promise you, Tara, it was a one time thing. I am not starting magics again or not yet anyway, I just, I just...” Willow pleaded until soft lips interrupted her.

“I’m not mad, sweetheart. We’ll talk about it tomorrow if you want.” Tara reassured her.

The blonde gently pushed her partner down in the bed and tucked her in. “You’re okay, you sure?” Tara checked one more time but by the way the redhead was already fighting sleep, she knew it would be a matter of seconds before she would be asleep.

‘I love you too.’

***********

Buffy was unsuccessfully trying to wrap her sore ribs with an elastic bandage when Tara came back fifteen minutes later. “Here, let me help with that.”

“Thanks.” The slayer cringed but sighed gratefully when it became easier to breathe as soon as Tara was done with wrapping her ribcage. “How’s Will?”

“She’s sleeping.” Tara informed her she took a closer look to her friend’s legs. The slayer’s jeans were torn to pieces on one side, and blood was still seeping from a deeper gash. “We need to get you out of those.” She noted with a frown.

Buffy smirked but didn’t comment. She bowed her head to unbuckle her belt but almost tipped over when a wave of dizziness hit her, Tara catching her before she fell. “Whoa, okay, change of plans.” The witch announced, motioning her friend to rest against the counter and gave her the still warm mug. “Drink.”

Tara then picked up a pair of scissors from a drawer and began cutting the jeans off. She winced as the slayer’s legs came into view; they were covered in dark bruises and cuts and the left knee was all red and swollen. “Buffy...how on earth are you even still standing up?”

“I’ve had worse.” She replied tersely but Tara saw her turned slightly green as Buffy looked down at herself. “Ugh, this is not fun anymore. I need to find that bastard.”

“H-How-”

“He must have done a spell or something to get so strong.” Buffy anticipated Tara’s question. “I couldn’t even hurt him.” She whispered bitterly while glaring at her battered body.

Tara frowned, visibly upset. “Willow’s m-magic did the trick though.” She helped the shorter blonde sit on the edge of the bathtub and began disinfecting and patching up her legs. “Some weird light came out of his jacket after he crashed. I’ll try to look into it tomorrow.”

“Yeah.” Buffy deflated and put her now empty mug back on the counter.

Tara noticed how the shorter blonde kept peeking in the redhead’s darkened bedroom, the adjoining door to the bathroom being partially opened. “She’s okay.” Tara said softly as she glanced in the room’s direction as well. “The herbal tea she drank helped a lot. She felt a little sick but I think she’ll avoid the worst of the w-withdrawals.”

There was a small but genuine smile lighting the slayer’s face when she raised her head to meet her friend’s eyes. “Good. I kept telling her it wouldn’t have been so bad if she had accepted to get help from you but she was so damn stubborn.”

“She p-probably thought she d-deserved them.” Tara nodded sadly, the idea of her girlfriend being in pain, somehow willingly, was breaking her heart. “Was it that bad?”

Buffy sighed and stared at her scraped hands. Images of her best friend, in bed and writhing in pain as she fought the abrupt withdrawals her body went through when she quit cold turkey suddenly assaulted her and she didn’t want to share them with her friend.

She didn’t have to, the haunted look on Tara’s features revealing she already knew, or at least had strong doubts about the truth. “I want to find Warren. I need to find him or, or one of his friends so they can tell us if they really are responsible for Will. They need to pay.”

“What do you have in mind? T-they’re hu-m-mans, Buffy.” Tara asserted more calmly than she actually felt. As much as she despised Warren and his little gang, they were human beings and so they couldn’t deal with them as if they were demons or vampires.

“Unfortunately.” Buffy growled but had the decency of withering when Tara shot her a chiding look. “I don’t know what I’ll do. Right now I just want to kick his ass into a bloody pulp so we never have to see his face ever again.”

Tara listened to her friend’s rant with anxiety. The slayer wasn’t always the best at thinking before acting and it concerned the witch. It wouldn’t be any good to any of them if Buffy snapped and put her anger into action before any kind of plan was made. An imprisoned
slayer could have catastrophic consequences on them and, more importantly on Sunnydale itself.

“I am the first one who wants to make W-Warren pay for what he did to you and Will, if he’s responsible for that t-too, but we can’t do anything now. W-what if he uses you against yourself? We can’t lose you, Buffy. I know it’s frustrating but right now we n-need to wait for Mr. Giles to come back to see what kind of information he’ll have for us.” Tara explained patiently, hoping it would calm down the slayer a bit.

“It’s been almost a month, Tara!” Buffy hissed. “Twenty-five days and we still don’t have a freaking clue of what happened to her! It has never taken this long before to solve a crisis.”

“We’ve made progress, Buffy. A lot, even. Because of Spike we know that magic is most likely the c-cause of what happened to Will even if we’re not completely sure yet. A-and I’m confident Mr. Giles will find something soon too.” Tara countered tiredly as she finished cleaning her friend’s cuts.

“Yeah.” The slayer scoffed. “I really hope so because I don’t want Willow to go through a full round of shifting again.”

Tara sighed and sat on the floor, taking a brief moment to inspect her work on Buffy’s legs. “We’ll figure it out, I know we will. Could Spike track down one of the guys? I-it might help...”

“I should let you get back to bed in case Willow needs you.” Buffy brusquely changed the subject as she cautiously stood on her feet, hissing when her knee protested against the move. “Thanks for everything, Tara.”

“Buffy-”

“Please, I just, I don’t want to talk about it, okay?” Buffy asked, suddenly irritated. “He’s gone anyway so there’s nothing to talk about.” She muttered. She walked past Tara, her blackened eyes imploring her to drop the subject.

Tara bit her lower lip and let the slayer go. She waited until the girl’s door closed before doing a quick clean up of the bathroom, throwing away papers, bandages and pieces of tape in the garbage can. Buffy’s clothes soon followed and Tara finally went back to bed.

Willow was still asleep; she hadn’t moved and was still curled up on her side facing Tara’s side. The blonde joined after having undressed as well. The redhead was having a small fever and her limbs were twitching sporadically, but the herbal drink she had made her lover drink earlier had clearly helped.

Tara smiled and wrapped an arm around her girlfriend’s waist, bringing her closer to her. She rested her forehead against the redhead’s and was asleep within minutes, her lover’s steady breathing lulling her to a dreamless sleep.

************

A pressure on Willow’s cheek woke her up shortly after 5:30 am. She opened a sleepy eye, quickly recognizing the feel of her girlfriend’s hand’s thumb lazily stroking her cheek.

Grinning sleepily, the redhead brought her hand up and took Tara’s, gently grazing her lips against it but rapidly taking it down as she entered a coughing fit. “Hmm, what are you doing, what it is?” Tara mumbled, tired blue eyes appearing in the darkness to give her a concerned look. “Are you okay, are you feeling sick?”

Willow cleared her throat and gave her lover a quick peck on the nose before pushing herself up. “I’m okay, I just need some water. I’ll be right back.”

Tara sat on the bed and yawned as she glanced at the clock. “I’ll go and get it for you.”

“It’s fine, baby, I’ll go. I’ll be right back so keep my place warm for me, okay?” Willow asked with a grin as she put on a shirt.

“If I do that my side will be the cold one. How is that fair?” The blonde playfully glared at the redhead, who was now standing in the doorway.

“Then I suppose we’ll have to share the same side.” Willow’s smile turned into a wide smirk and even through the darkened room Tara could see the twinkle in the girl’s eyes.

She watched the redhead leave with a delighted grin, her body unconsciously moving to fill her lover’s side of the bed.

*************

Willow let out a relieved sigh when, after peeking Buffy’s room, she saw her friend deeply asleep and sprawled on her bed, the covers half on the floor.

Quietly the witch entered the room and put the blanket back on her friend, chuckling as she descended the stairs a few moments later. It amazed her that the faintest noise could wake up the slayer in a fraction of a second, but someone barging in and moving things around her room didn’t even bothered her.

Willow slowed down as she reached the bottom of the stairs, her prior energy depleting quickly. She was grateful her aftermath with magics didn’t affect her as badly as she first feared, and Willow promised herself she would have to thank Tara the proper way for helping her.

Her head still throbbing, Willow didn’t pay attention to her surroundings when she entered the kitchen. She exhaled loudly as she rubbed her forehead, not seeing the form in front of her until the last second. “Giles? What the- you scared the heck out of me!”

Giles smiled apologetically and turned on the light over the kitchen sink. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. What are you doing up so early?” The man asked kindly as he took in the girl’s sleeping attire and her pale features. “Are you alright?”

Her face scrunched up in annoyance at the harsh light, Willow grunted and sat on one of the kitchen stool. “When did you get home?”

“About ten minutes ago. Callie needed to go to San Bernardino to meet with a contact so I rented a car and came back here. Did something happen?” He asked again with more insistence.

Willow nodded, her thirst and the thought of Tara waiting for her upstairs forgotten. “Warren attacked Buffy.”

“Dear lord. Is she alright?” Giles asked quickly, worry overwhelming him. “What did he do?”

“Buffy was out on patrol with Spike when Warren came out of nowhere. She said he was like super strong and she couldn’t hurt him. He beat her up pretty good.” Willow talked with a low, agitated voice. “Tara patched her up, she’s sleeping upstairs. Did you find the book you were looking for?”

Giles noticed the change of subject and the way the young witch was practically vibrating with anxiety. He had seen the pouches of herbs and the herb grinder on the kitchen counter but he hadn’t paid much attention to it before now.

Watching Willow closely until she was squirming on her seat, Giles walked over to the fridge and took out two bottles of water, and handed one to the girl. “How are you feeling?”

Willow rolled her eyes at the question but held the watcher’s gaze nonetheless. “Tara helped. I still feel the magic buzzing inside but it’s not as hard to hold it in now. I really can do this, Giles, I promise.”

“I have no doubt of it. You are much stronger than you think, Willow. You made mistakes but I am quite certain you won’t make them again. Am I right?” Giles smiled when Willow agreed hastily. “That’s what I thought. I don’t think it is necessary anymore, but know that the coven I talked to you about will always be opened to you, whether you wish you visit them, or for any other reason.”

“Thanks.” Both shared a moment of silence, enjoying the quietness of the night. Giles regretted to break the peacefulness of the room so, instead of voicing out loud his findings, he reached for his jacket and pulled two small books out of the inside pocket.

He rapidly found the desired pages and put them before the redhead so she could take a look herself. “They translated the spell wrong.” She finally whispered after a while.

“That’s what we think too.” Giles concurred easily. “The notes that were written on the margins don’t add up with the original text. This,” the
man showed Willow a small leather bound book, “is what they should have used to translate the spell.”

Willow barely glanced at the new book, being more preoccupied with what was in front of her. She translated the spell as she read it, her eyes expertly going back and forth from the book to the codex.

Giles didn’t say a word, merely observing the redhead’s features going from confusion to distress. “This is a dampening spell.” She mumbled, still not looking up. “They wanted to incapacitate her so it would be easier to kill her. The spell was meant for Buffy.”

“Let’s not jump to conclusions here, Willow.” The watcher reasoned with her but it was no avail. “Yes, let’s jump, Giles! You didn’t see her! He was beating her to death when I stopped him! That Warren guy is a much bigger threat than we first thought but there’s nothing we can do because he’s human.” Willow ranted, slamming her bottle of water on the kitchen island before crossing her arms against her chest and giving Giles an irritated glare.

Pondering his words, Giles slowly went around the island and took a seat next to the redhead. “The codex they were using was a fake one, one that had been reedited one too many time. Callie went to meet someone that will hopefully loan us a real Tagalog codex.”

Willow had lost her glare but she still seemed hesitant about what Giles was trying to tell her. “What are you saying, Giles? My head is still pounding so I’m not too good at guessing tonight.”

Giles nodded in understanding and turned on his seat to face Willow. “If Callie finds the book and manages to translate it successfully, we may have a shot at reversing the spell, if it is reversible of course.”

“You mean that I may not change at the next full moon? Like, if we all work on that spell we may be able to prevent me from shifting in a few days? Willow asked softly with a frown.

“I can’t promise it but I can certainly try my best to make it happen.” He replied with a caring smile, misinterpreting at first the expression on the redhead’s face for hope.

The cuckoo clock sang as 6 am arrived along with the first rays of sun of the day. Willow ran a now almost steady hand on her face as she stood and eyed the stairs. “I think...I think we should focus on finding Warren and stop him for good. My problem can wait.”

“Willow-”

“I appreciate the help, Giles, I really do. But right now getting rid of that creep is more important than me changing into a werewolf again. I can wait.” Willow decided, and, without looking back, went back to bed, into her lover’s arms.

****************

Jonathan and Andrew winced as an empty bottle of beer crashed into the wall next to them. Warren had been throwing a fit ever since coming back to their new lair, a small apartment situated on top of a Mexican restaurant. “That bitch! That stupid bitch!” He screamed,
grabbing another bottle of beer and drinking it in seconds before throwing it in the kitchen sink.

“Warren, maybe you should I don’t know, stop with the beer?” Jonathan asked nervously, shrinking back in the couch when Warren turned around to glare at him. “Or, never mind.”

“Yes, never mind! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find those orbs? The next closest Nezzla nest is in Maine! In Maine! How are we supposed to rob the truck now, huh?!?” Warren shouted, enraged.

Andrew gulped and ran to the table where his laptop rested. “I’m sure I can find us some cheap tickets online, we could go and be back in time to catch the other truck next week.” He babbled while turning his laptop on and typing furiously on the keyboard.

Warren finished one last beer and dropped it on the table, not caring if it fell and broke on the floor. “Never mind about the orbs, it’s too late now. I’ve had enough of those bitches always ruining my plans. The game is over.” He muttered as he went to a small safe placed in the corner of the room.

The man smiled as he opened the door and took out a small pistol.


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