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

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 Post subject: Fic: The Brown Triangle
PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2002 4:29 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 11:46 am
Posts: 678
Title: The Brown Triangle
Author: Tiggrscorpio
Email: Tiggrscorpio1117@aol.com
Feedback: Yes, please!
Distribution: Sure, just let me know.
Spoilers: Takes place after Tabula Rasa but before Smashed.
Pairing: W/T
Rating: PG-13 or R
Disclaimers: Joss and Co. own all.
Summary: Willow, still not having learned her lesson, tries a spell to reverse time in an effort to win back Tara's love. The spell goes wrong and Willow finds herself in Poland, at the height of WWII. In the Warsaw Ghetto, she meets Tara Maclay, a local woman fighting against the Nazi's.
NOTE: This fic is extremely dark and will deal with some of the atrocities of the Holocaust.
_____________________________________________
The Brown Triangle - Part 1

Willow moped around her room, desperately trying to take her mind off how much she missed Tara. It had been three weeks since Tara packed her things and left. Everything in the room reminded Willow of the blonde witch.

She had no one to talk with. Things between her and Buffy were awkward. Willow felt a tremendous amount of guilt about pulling her friend out of heaven. Dawn blamed Willow for Tara leaving. And Tara, well Tara was just gone. Willow didn't even know how to get in touch with her. Her sadness soon turned to anger. She paced the room, talking out loud to herself.

"Too much magick. What does she know? So, I did a spell wrong. Big deal. It's not like she's never done a spell wrong. She cast that spell on us, when she thought she was a demon. That almost got us all killed." Willow's tone softened. "Of course, she was really scared. That poophead of a father telling her she was a demon. She was trying to protect us...me." She started to rant again. "Of course, that's all I was trying to do. To make things better. If I could just do things over, I know I could fix everything."

She stopped in her tracks as an idea hit her. "That's it. I can fix it."

She dug through the chest at the foot of the bed. From a hidden compartment, at the bottom of the chest, she pulled out a spellbook. The thick, leather-bound tome had gold lettering across the cover. It read, 'Darkest Magicks'.

Willow flipped through the pages for several minutes, before finding the right incantation. It was a spell to reverse time. She knew if she could go back to Halloween night, she could stop herself from performing the first forget spell on Tara. Instead, she would apologize for the fight in The Bronze and everything would be alright.

She gathered the necessary ingredients for the spell and drew a sacred circle on the floor of her bedroom. She was a little nervous about performing a spell that required astral projection, without an anchor, but proceeded with the incantation.

"Goddess Cailleach hear my will.
Turn back the hands of time until.
Before her love for me was tore.
To be rejoined forever more."

Energy crackled and lit up the entire room Willow felt the energy flow through her. She opened her eyes to find herself surrounded by total blackness. She was floating through space. No, through time. She was filled with a creepy, eerie feeling. Immediately, she knew something had gone wrong with the spell. She tried to break the incantation, but her words were muted. The pressure built all around her and she felt as though she would pass out. Suddenly, her body slammed full force against a hard surface. She blacked out.

Willow came to, a full three minutes later. She opened her eyes to find herself lying on the pavement of a sidewalk. It was nighttime. She struggled to sit up and as soon as she did, was hit by a wave of nausea. She threw up in a garbage can that was right behind her. As the nausea subsided, she stood to her feet. A voice from behind, startled her.

"You there. Show me your papers."

Willow whipped around. She looked into the cold eyes of a blonde-haired soldier. He pointed the rifle, in his hands, directly at her chest. Her eyes fell on the red band around his arm. The symbol was a Swastika. She gasped, as he repeated his demand.

"Show me your papers!"

"Papers, what papers?" she said, terrified.

"Don't play games with me, you filthy Jew."

"But, I don't....I'm not from...." she stammered.

The butt of the gun caught her across the chin, knocking Willow back down to the ground. She spat out a mouthful of blood and tried to regain her focus, while fear gripped her whole body. The soldier pointed the gun at her head.

"Show me your papers, now!"

Willow felt around in her pocket. She pulled out a brown parchment paper and handed it to the soldier.

"You belong in Sector 7. You will go there, now," he ordered, handing her back her papers.

"Yes," she nodded, staggering to stand up. She wiped a hand across her mouth, smearing blood from her split lip, across her cheek.

The soldier walked away.

Willow looked around. She did not recognize her surroundings and she had no clue how to locate Sector 7. She read the paper in her hands.

Name: Willow Rosenburg - Jew
Age: 20
Residence: Sector 7 - Warsaw Ghetto
Work Detail: Munitions Factory

She looked down at her clothing. The jeans and t-shirt she had been wearing, in her room at the Summer's house, were gone. They were replaced by a long black skirt, white blouse, and a black cardigan sweater. Sewn on the pocket of her sweater was a Star of David.

Willow knew where she was. She was in Hell.

Part 2

Willow stood helplessly and looked around, trying to decide which direction Sector 7 might be. Her panic turned to fear as she heard footsteps coming around the corner of the building. Before she could hide, the figure was upon her.

"Willow, what are you doing here?" the young man asked.

"I..."

"My God, are you alright?" he asked, looking at her bruised chin and bloody lip. "What happened to you?"

"Attacked, but I think I'm okay."

She eyed the young man standing before her, who was about 25 years old. He was tall and thin, with short black hair and dark eyes. If it were not for his round glasses, he would have reminded her of Xander.

"You shouldn't be here. It's dangerous," he warned. "Go back to your room."

"Yeah, well that's kind of the problem. I must have hit my head. I can't really remember anything." She lied, feeling it was probably easier than trying to explain how she actually got there.

"You don't remember. This is bad. We have to get off the street. Come."

He led her to a small building, just two blocks away. They entered an apartment on the second floor. The four rooms were shared by eight different families. A total of thirty-three people, occupied the crowded space.

Rope was strung and sheets were thrown across them, to offer some semblance of privacy, for the various families. They ranged in age from toddlers to the elderly.

The young man led Willow to the rear corner of the apartment. There were two twin cots and a table with four chairs. A middle-aged man, at the table, spoke.

"Simon, where have you been? Your mother and I were worried."

"You should not be out so late, Simon. You could have been caught," his mother protested.

"I'm sorry to worry you. This is my friend, Willow." He pointed to Willow, who waved sheepishly. "She needs our help. Willow, these are my parents, Jacob and Sarah. And that is my little sister, Rachel." He indicated to a young girl, sitting on one of the cots. She looked to be a few years younger than Dawn.

"Willow sit down," his mother offered a chair, "and let me tend to that cut." She poured some water into a bowl, wet a cloth and proceeded to wipe the blood from Willow's cheek and lip. Willow flinched in pain and the woman apologized.

"No, thank you." Willow said graciously.

"Willow has lost her memory, so we must help her." Simon explained to his family. "Why don't you ask some questions and we will answer for you."

His mother gave her a glass of water, which Willow gratefully accepted.

"Okay," she said, after sipping the water. "What year is it and where am I?"

"It is December 1943 and you are in the Warsaw Ghetto. The ghetto is an internment camp for about 350,000 Jews."

"How do I know you?"

He smiled for the first time. "We are both members of the Jewish Fighting Organization. We defend the ghetto. We work with the local resistance to fight the Nazi's. We smuggle goods for food and medical supplies and guns. You work in the Munitions factory, so you are able to steal bullets for our guns. You fight the good fight."

Willow smiled at his last statement. She thought back to a conversation she had, with Buffy, on the lawn of Sunnydale High School. She told Buffy she was staying in Sunnydale, to attend UCS, so she could 'fight the good fight.' She suddenly missed her friends. Especially Tara.

"Is my family here?" Willow asked.

Simon's smile faded. He let out a long sigh.

"What is it, Simon?" she asked.

"Your parents were deported last month," he explained.

"Deported? To the camps?" Willow said, alarmed.

"You know about the camps?" he said, surprised.

"Yeah, I remember them. Why wasn't I sent with them?"

"You were on a mission, with us, when they took them."

"This is just too disturbing." Willow got up and paced frantically.

Simon placed his hands on her shoulders. "I know. That is why we have to get you out of here. There is someone who can help, but I'll need a few days to contact them. We'll have to review the daily routine of the ghetto, so you are not suspected."

Simon talked well into the night. He explained the layout of the camp. He outlined for her, where she worked and her job of boxing and packing bullets. Willow committed everything to memory. He suggested that she stay with them, until he could sneak her out of the camp. Willow agreed.

Willow awoke at 6am, to begin her day. She had cried silently, throughout most of the night. She could hear similar cries from the various other rooms in the apartment. There was a painfully sad comraderie among the group. People doing their best to cope with a horrifying situation. Everyone holding on to hope for a better tomorrow.

There were only two bathroom facilities, in the hallway, for the entire floor. There were about seventy-five people on the floor. The facilities were only used to relieve themselves. Washing was done in your own quarters, with a basin of water and a cloth.

Food was scarce. Each person was given only 180 grams of bread, per day, and water. On a monthly basis, they were rationed 220 grams of sugar, one kilogram of jam and one kilogram of honey. This totaled less than ten percent of a normal persons daily requirements. Were it not for the food that was smuggled in, everyone would have starved to death. Some did.

They headed to their work details at 7am. Outside, Willow got her first good look at the ghetto. It was enormous. There were walls along all sides of the camp. The top of the walls were covered with barb wire and broken glass.

Soldiers, with guard dogs and rifles, were everywhere. As they passed the large open compound, in the center of the camp, Willow saw about ten long lines of people. They waited, luggage and papers in hand, to reach the small desk, at the head of each line.

Simon leaned over and whispered, "Deportation." Willow nodded her understanding.

Simon walked with Willow until he reached his turn off. He pointed out her building, before heading for his own work detail. Alone again, Willow was suddenly afraid. She avoided eye contact and made her way to the Munitions factory.

She found everything just as Simon had detailed. She worked silently, boxing and packing the bullets, as they came off the assembly line. She sat by herself, during the lunchbreak, praying no one who might know her would approach. No one did. Ten hours later, she returned to Simon's apartment.

A concerned Sarah asked, "Are you alright?"

"Yes," Willow replied. "Simon is a very good teacher."

His mother smiled. "He wants to be a teacher. He is a good boy."

Willow nodded and smiled at Simon's little sister. "How are you today, Rachel?"

The shy girl smiled at the redhead and in a hushed tone said, "Fine."

Willow's heart broke for the young girl. She hoped Rachel would survive the hell she would have to face. Willow hoped they all would.

Simon and Jacob came through the curtain, into the room.

"How did it go?" Simon asked anxiously.

"Fine. Thank you for your help."

"Do you remember anything new?" Jacob asked.

"Not yet," Willow answered.

"It is okay," Simon responded. "I have sent word. You should be out of here in a few days."

They ate their humble meal of bread and water in silence. Simon had smuggled in a few potatoes, which his mother did her best with, to make a soup.

After dinner, Simon took Willow to a meeting for the Jewish Fighting Organization. They traveled through the sewers, to cross the compound. Willow hesitated, before entering the sewer.

"Are there any vamp..., I mean, soldiers down there?" she asked tentatively.

"No, it's all clear." He helped her down the ladder.

They walked for five or ten minutes through the labyrinth of tunnels, before climbing back up, out of the sewer. The group met in an abandoned warehouse, on the south end of the camp. The group consisted mostly of men in their mid to late twenties. There were only two other women. Their leader approached Willow and softly spoke.

"Willow, Simon has told us of your memory loss. You have done good things with us. We will help you, now."

"Thank you," she replied.

For the next several hours, Willow listened as the group discussed the escape of several prisoners. She learned of their elaborate communication system, using candles in windows, as signals. She heard about how food and supplies were smuggled through the tunnels, from sympathetic villagers, outside the camp. And, she learned of treachery within the camp. Of Jews, who helped the Nazi's capture resistance fighters, for their own personal gain. It was all very overwhelming for Willow.

The next few days brought more of the same. Willow worked during the day and followed Simon to their meetings at night. On the fourth day, after work, Simon informed Willow that she would be leaving tonight.

She tearfully said goodbye to Jacob, Sarah and Rachel and followed Simon into the sewers. Instead of turning right, as they had done the previous few nights, they went to the left.

After fifteen minutes or so, Willow could see the tunnel emptied to the outside. She believed it to be beyond the ghetto's borders. At the mouth of the tunnel, a figure stood in the shadows. As Willow neared, she gasped.

"Tara!"

Part 3
"Hello Willow," the blonde smiled.

"Tara, is it really you? What are you doing here?" Willow was both excited and fearful for Tara's safety.

"It's okay Willow, I'm here to help you. Hello Simon."

"Hello Tara," the young man replied.

It suddenly dawned on Willow that this was not 'her Tara', from Sunnydale, but the Tara from this time dimension. Goddess, Willow thought, even in the middle of a World War we found each other. She asked out loud.

"We know each other?"

"Yes, of course Willow." She flashed her lop-sided grin and looked at Simon. "This is the memory loss I heard about?" she indicated towards Willow.

He nodded.

"Alright. Well we must get going. We have a long journey ahead. We want to get there before sunrise. Simon, be careful on your way back."

"I will."

They turned to go in opposite directions, but were frozen by a voice just outside the tunnel.

"You three, what are you doing there?" the soldier asked.

Willow reacted on instinct, pushing Tara to the ground. She stood before the soldier and raised her palms. She summoned her powers and chanted her command.

Nothing happened. No bolts of lightening. No flashes of energy. As the soldier raised his rifle, she tried again. Still nothing.

"Willow move," Simon yelled. He was brandishing a pistol, pulled from his bag, but could not get a clear shot. Willow stood between him and the soldier.

In the commotion, Tara had manuevered herself behind the soldier. She hoisted a large rock and brought it down on his head. He fell to the ground, unconscious.

"Nice move," Willow's eyes were wide with astonishment.

Tara grabbed Willow's hand. "We have to go. There could be others."

Both women immediately registered the electricity that flowed through their bodies, at the contact. They stared into each others eyes. Both were breathing heavily from the adrenaline rush. Tara spoke again.

"Simon go, before you are discovered," she ordered.

Willow gave him a quick hug and thanked him, before he disappeared back into the sewer. Tara pulled Willow across the field and into the protective covering of the nearby woods.

They spoke in whispered tones and listened for the sounds of potential danger, as they walked.

"Where are we going?" Willow asked.

"To my home," Tara answered. "It's about half a days walk from here. The people I live with will help to get you out of Poland. You'll be safe there, until we can arrange for your departure."

Leave, Willow thought to herself. For the first time since she entered this nightmare, she didn't want to leave. She was with Tara. She felt safe. It was a familiar feeling.

"Do you live with your parents?" Willow questioned.

"No, I live with a German couple, on a farm. They are good people. They help to smuggle Jews out of the country. I know you will like them."

"How did we meet?"

"Through Simon. You helped to organize a raid on the Records Office." Tara smiled at the memory of their first meeting. She had been instantly drawn to the redhead. She knew there was something special about her. She thought about the detailed drawings, the redhead designed, for how everyone would enter and escape the office. Her precision planning and intelligence, astounded Tara. "Because of you, we were able to falsify many records and save many lives."

Willow beamed at her unknown accomplishment. "I'm a rebel," she smiled broadly.

Tara laughed lightly. "Yes, you are."

They walked for three hours straight, before sitting down to rest on a log. Tara pulled some bread from her satchel and broke off a piece for Willow. She reached back in to the bag and pulled out a small jug of water and offered it to Willow. She drank a little and handed it back to Tara.

"So, what else am I like here?" Willow probed further.

"You're very brave. You fight with all your spirit." Tara blushed a little and was glad the night would not reveal this to Willow.

"Would you say I'm like a slayer?" Willow asked.

"A what?" Tara asked confused.

"Nothing." Willow took a deep breath. "Tara, I have to tell you something. About me. And you're probably gonna freak, but I think you should know."

Tara sat silently and listened to Willow recount her tale of the spell she used and how she came to be there. The blonde was surprisingly calm, when Willow finished.

"So, you're from an alternate time dimension. Your thoughts and memories are from that period. That explains why you don't remember anything here."

"Yes." They got up and continued walking.

"And, you can do magick?" Tara asked.

"Usually, but I don't seem to be able to cast here. Otherwise, I would so be toasting some Nazi ass, right now. I think my powers got all mishy-mash during my astral projection," Willow explained.

"Oh," Tara exclaimed.

"What's wrong?" Willow asked concerned.

"Nothing." She smiled. "You're a witch."

"Yeah, well you're a witch too. I mean, the other you, back home." Willow defended needlessly.

"Tell me about your life, there." Tara said.

"I live in Sunnydale." Tara's look showed no signs of recognition. "It's in California," Willow clarified.

"Oh, you're from America."

"Yes."

"What do you do there?"

"I'm a student."

"At University?"

"Yes."

"That's good. America is a good place."

"Yeah well, Sunnydale's kind of unique." Willow smirked.

"How do you mean?" Tara asked.

"Let's just say we have our own brand of monsters, there."

"So, even there, you fight evil?" The thought made Tara smile.

"Yes. We both do. Me and the other you, I mean. With our friends."

"Have we been friends for a long time?" Tara was curious.

"We've know each other for over two years."

"Are we close?"

"We used to be." Willow said a little sad.

"Why aren't we now?" Tara probed further.

Willow sighed deeply. "You worry about me. And I'm sort of impatient and I don't always listen to you."

"Why do I worry?"

"We use magick to fight our demons." A thought suddenly occured to Willow. "Tara, can you do magick, here?"

The blonde smiled and nodded. "My mother taught me. When I was little. She was a gypsy."

"Wow. Are you from Poland?"

"I was born here, but my father is from Ireland. That's where I get my fair complexion. My mother was Hungarian. They met during WWI. My mother's family moved to Poland, after the war. She didn't want to leave them, so my father started a farm here. After she died, he returned to Ireland with my older brother. I stayed to help my mother's family, with the farm. The Nazi's invaded Poland the next month and I was trapped here."

"Where is your mother's family now?"

Tara frowned. "Gone."

"I'm sorry." Willow tenderly brushed Tara's elbow with her hand. Tara nodded, tears brimming in her eyes.

"When were you born?" Willow changed the subject.

"November 1921."

"Wow. That would make you almost eighty years old, where I'm from. I so get now, why Buffy was wigged about having a two hundred and forty year old boyfriend."

"Huh?" the blonde muttered.

"It's a long story." Willow waved the subject away with her hands.

"You said we were friends. Back in America." Tara stated.

"Yes. Good friends."

"Are we lovers?" Tara asked bluntly.

Willow looked at her stunned. "Yes. How did you know?"

"I feel very close to you. The you here. I have since we first met. It's a strong connection." She paused, then added. "Are we in love?"

"Yes." Willow said with a trace of hesitation.

"But?"

"We're sort of separated, right now?"

"Why?"

"You think I'm not in control of my magick."

"Am I right?"

"You're the big knowledge woman," Willow said flippantly.

"Pardon me?"

"Sorry. It's just complicated."

"Am I like here?"

"Exactly. Well except for your slight accent and you don't stutter."

"Stutter?"

"Yeah. My Tara stutters, when she's nervous. Not so much anymore. She's gotten more confident. She's strong, like you."

Tara blushed at the compliment.

"Do you use magicks to fight the Nazi's?" Willow asked.

"No. There's too many of them. And if I were discovered, they would take me to the...." she hesitated.

"The camps." Willow finished for her.

"You know about the camps?"

"Yeah. History class. You should be careful. We'll have to find another way to beat them." Willow said hopefully.

Sunrise was just over the horizon. They were still about a half hours walk from the farm. Tara suddenly halted Willow's steps and covered Willow's mouth with her hand. There were voices up ahead. Lots of them. The two women crouched down and remained hidden in the woods. The sound of gun fire shook them both. They embraced tightly. It went on for an eternity, before finally ceasing. From their place in the woods, Willow and Tara heard the trucks start up and move away from them. They waited, in their hiding place, for a full half hour before going to investigate.

About five hundred yards to their left, they found a clearing in the woods. A shallow ditch held the bodies of almost one hundred dead Jews. Willow had seen some horrifying sights in Sunnydale, but nothing compared to this. She shut her eyes tightly, from the vision, and turned to embrace Tara.

"Why?" The tears fell freely from her eyes.

The blonde comforted her, running her hand up and down Willow's back and holding her tightly.

"Einsatzgrrppen," Tara explained. "They're mobile killing squads. They search out and kill Jews. They make them dig their own grave, first."

Willow shuddered against the blonde. "Just like vampires, these bastards hunt and kill. At least vampires are indiscriminate."

Tara pulled back from the embrace. She wiped Willow's tears with her fingers. "We should go. They may still be in the area."

"Don't leave me Tara," Willow grabbed the blonde and held her tightly.

"I'm here Willow." She reassured her. "We'll get through this together. I"ll take care of you. I promise."

Willow gave a faint smile and took the blonde's hand in her own. She took one last look over her shoulder, before continuing on towards the farm. It was a sight she would never forget.

Part 4

As they stood on top of the hill, the tiny farm came into view, in the valley below. It was a simple house, with a small barn about fifty yards behind it. There was both a potato and wheat field, beyond the barn. Willow's eyes lit up as she spied the rather large pond, off to the left of the house.

"A bath," she exclaimed.

Tara smiled. She had to agree that after their long journey, a bath should be the first thing on their agenda.

As they neared the house, Tara called out.

"Mama Emma! Papa Henry!"

An older couple in their mid-sixties came out of the house. Willow skeptically thought, these are Jew smugglers. They look like my grandparents.

The couple simultaneously embraced the blond, rejoicing. "Tara, thank heavens you are alright."

"I'm fine," she smiled. "Mama Emma, Papa Henry, this is Willow."

The couple hugged the redhead as if she were their long lost daughter.

"Willow welcome," Mama Emma said. "Come in. Come in. You must be tired." She took Willow by the arm.

"Actually, I'd really like to take a bath, if that's okay?" Willow asked.

"Of course. I will fix you some breakfast, while you both bathe." With that, the woman disappeared into the house.

Papa Henry spoke to Tara. "We heard the trucks. We were fearful they might find you."

"We saw them too. It was bad." Tara frowned.

He placed a calloused hand, softly on her cheek. "You are home now." He smiled at her, before going into the house.

She turned to Willow. "I'll go get some towels and fresh clothes and meet you by the well."

"Okie-dokie. Whoa! The well? What about the pond?"

Tara laughed. "Willow the pond water is freezing. It's December."

"Oh right. Okay."

It had been an unseasonably warm day and Willow had been more than heated by their long walk.

She set off towards the well. Adjacent to the well was an overly large basin. There were poles around three side of the basin. A rope was tied across the tops of the poles and sheets were hung to offer some privacy.

Willow studied the pump for just a moment, before figuring out how it worked. She rigged the connection, so the water would flow directly from the pump into the basin. It was half full when Tara returned.

"Isn't this water gonna be cold too?" she asked.

"Yes, but it is easier to heat than the pond." Tara explained, setting the towels and fresh clothes on a bench beside the pump.

"Heat?" Willow was confused.

Tara pointed her finger at the basin.

"Incindere."

The water warmed instantly.

"Impressive." Willow smiled.

"It's nothing, really."

Willow began to shed her clothes, without regard. Tara's abrupt turnaround made her stop and ask.

"Tara, what's wrong?"

"I'll let you finish in private," she said, with her back to Willow, ready to leave.

Willow grabbed the blonde by the arm and spun her around. "Tara, we always shower together. It's no big."

Tara's eyes went wide at seeing Willow naked from the waist up. She shyly looked down. Realization finally hit Willow.

"Oh Tara. I'm sorry. I'm just so comfortable with you. And it really isn't a big deal. The water is warm and the basin is plenty big enough for two. We should just get cleaned up and rest," she said practically.

Tara nodded and modestly turned around to take off her clothing. She heard Willow enter the water.

With Tara's back to her, Willow couldn't help but stare at the familiar curves. She wanted nothing more than to take Tara in her arms and make love to her. On one level it felt odd, but on another it felt completely right. She knew that she and Tara were destined to be together, in all realities.

They finished washing and put on fresh clothes. They ate the hearty breakfast, prepared by Mama Emma, and decided that some sleep was necessary.

They shared Tara's small, but comfortable bed. Tara drifted to sleep, enamoured with the feeling of the redhead snuggled up against her.

They slept through until the next morning. At breakfast, Tara reviewed the next steps in getting Willow safely out of Poland.

"Papa Henry will meet with his contacts in town. It will take a few weeks to arrange your new papers and transportation, out of the country. In the meantime, you will be safe here. The Nazi's have cleared out most of the surrounding towns, so they don't really bother with Papa Henry anymore. They check the farm, every three months or so, but they have no reason to suspect him of anything."

The rest of the morning was spent attending to chores around the farm. Tara worked in the barn, while Willow helped Mama Emma inside. After awhile, Willow headed out to find Tara.

"Tara?" Willow called out from the barn door.

"I'm in the back," the blonde answered.

Willow stood frozen at the door. Tara peered out from the last stall, where she was raking in some fresh hay.

"Are you coming in?" Tara asked.

"That depends. Are there any horsies in there?"

"No, why?" Tara looked confused, then added. "Let me guess. It's a long story."

"No, short story. Bad pony." Willow still hovered at the door.

Tara laughed gently. "Willow, you fight demons everyday and you're afraid of horses."

"Well, we all have our issues."

"I promise you'll be safe."

Willow smiled.

"What?" Tara asked.

"You're gonna make the same promise to me, in a frat house, sixty some years from now."

Tara folded her hands on top of the rake and rested her chin on top of her hands. She watched the redhead tentatively enter the barn. She was in love with Willow and had been since their first meeting. She wondered how the redhead felt about her. Clearly, this Willow was in love with another reality of Tara. But, what about the one standing right in front of her? Would it be too strange for her? Would it feel like cheating? Her thoughts were jolted by a voice calling to her.

"Earth to Tara. Come in Tara."

"Huh?" the blonde focused on Willow, now standing right in front of her.

"Geez, you surfing the universe, like me? I asked how I could help you."

"Oh. Well, you could finish raking this hay into the last stall." She handed Willow the rake. Their fingertips touched as the rake exchanged hands.

They both felt the blaze of energy rush through their bodies. Eyes locked on each other for only seconds, before Tara turned to reach for a feed pail. She took only one step and turned around to say something to Willow. She was shocked to find herself, nose to nose, with the redhead. She lost her balance and fell slightly against Willow. Her hands landed on Willow's waist, to steady herself and to keep from knocking the smaller woman to the ground. Willow still held the rake, now between them, in her right hand. Her left arm wrapped around Tara's waist. They stared at each other.

"Tara," Willow breathed, before their lips met.

The rake was discarded, as Willow pulled Tara closer into the embrace. Tara's hands moved up to cup Willow's face and they kissed again. She felt Willow's tongue touch her lips and she willingly opened her mouth to deepen the kiss. They kissed until oxygen was necessary, then achingly parted, resting their foreheads together.

"Wow." Tara breathed heavily. "That was...."

"Nice," Willow finished.

"Is it always that powerful...with us?"

"Yes."

Tara pulled back to look into emerald eyes. She gathered her courage and blushingly said.
"Willow, I want to make love with you."

Willow stared intently into smoldering blue eyes. She held Tara's hands in her own.

"I keep expecting this to feel weird, but it doesn't. It just feels right. I may never get back home. And we might not live to see tomorrow. Apocalypse deja vu. I guess that's just a really long way of saying, I want to make love with you, too."

Tara kissed her passionately, before leading her back into the last stall.

"Here," Willow smiled. "In the barn. You want to make a little hay in the hay," she waggled her eyebrows.

Tara spread out a nearby blanket and sat down. She gently pulled Willow down, next to her. They kissed again as hands began to explore.

Willow broke the kiss, suddenly alarmed.

"What's wrong?" Tara asked, concerned.

"Is this...I mean, have you...ever...you know," she tried to ask, but prayed she wouldn't have to finish her sentence.

Tara held Willow's face in her hands. "I have a feeling you're always my first."

Willow's heart melted. She layed Tara down and climed fully on top of her. Their bodies molded together. She kissed Tara's cheek and jaw, before moving down to her neck. Her hands were busy untucking Tara's shirt, from her skirt. Finally free, she reached under Tara's shirt and cupped her full breasts.

Tara moaned and pulled Willow back to her mouth. Willow released her breasts and sat up, straddling the blonde's hips, to remove Tara's shirt. Her hands returned to Tara's ample bosom, while Tara began to unbutton Willow's blouse. Neeeding more contact, Willow reached behind, undid Tara's bra, and pulled it off. She removed her own blouse and bra, before returning her hands to Tara's breasts. She softly caressed Tara's sensitive nipples. Tara arched her back, at Willow's touch, and moaned.

Willow gave her a quick kiss on the lips, before moving down and wrapping her lips around Tara's left nipple. Willow sucked, then gently bit the hardened tip. This time, Tara's hips thrust up against Willow. Her head tilted back, and hands lost themselves in red locks, as she cried out Willow's name.

Willow moved to the right breast and repeated her actions. Tara's center was on fire. She gently nudged on Willow's shoulder, silently pleading for the redhead to move lower. Willow followed her direction and kissed her way down Tara's stomach. The material of Tara's skirt halted Willow for only a moment, before it was unbuttoned and pushed down to her knees.

Willow re-positioned herself between Tara's legs, but not before removing Tara's skirt completely, and also shedding the remainder of her own clothes. Soft fingertips traced the tops of Tara's thighs, upward, to the band of her panties. Willow looked up and wordlessly asked permission. Tara nodded. Willow removed her panties, to reveal the already damp nest of blonde curls. She inhaled Tara's scent and felt a familiar awakening in her own center.

She kissed Tara's inner thigh, desperately close to her desired goal, and smiled when Tara whimpered. She kissed Tara's outer folds, before entering her with her tongue. Tara's hips propelled forward and her hands, in Willow's hair, pulled her love in deeper. Willow tasted her, until satisfied, then moved up to her pearl. A quick flick of her tongue against the nub, and two fingers where her tongue was moments before, sent another wave of pleasure through Tara's body.

She cried out, "Oh Willow. Willow."

Willow knew she was close. She rhythmically pistoned her fingers inside of Tara, reaching deeper with each thrust, while sucking on the precious nub. Willow felt the orgasm rip through Tara's body and summoned her own release, at the same moment. Tara's hands moved to Willow's shoulders and her nails dug in, as she cried out again.

Willow kissed the blonde curls, before removing her fingers from inside. She cupped and softly massaged Tara's mound, while moving up to lay alongside the blonde. Tara's eyes were closed and she was breathing heavily. Willow brushed a golden lock, from across her face, to behind Tara's ear. Blue eyes opened and gazed into loving green ones.

"You okay?" Willow asked rubbing her tummy.

Tara answered with a kiss, tasting herself on the redheads lips.

"Willow, I love you."

"I love you too, baby."

After a moments silence, Tara asked with an arched eyebrow, "Are you sure we're separated?"

Willow laughed. "Believe me, there's never been anything wrong with this part of our relationship."

They held each other, in silence, for a long while before Willow spoke.

"Tara, I want you to leave with me."

She wanted to say yes immediately, but responsibility took the upper hand.

"I'm needed here, Willow." She stroked her red hair.

Willow shifted to look into Tara's eyes. "You've done more than enough. I need you. I need to know you're safe." Her green eyes pleaded.

"What about Mama Emma and Papa Henry?"

"You said yourself, they're already safe."

"Where would we go?" Tara was intrigued.

"We could go to Ireland, with your father. Or, we could go to California. You'd love it there."

"What about your other life, Willow? Don't you want to get back there?"

"I don't want to think about that. I just want to be with you." She rested her head on Tara's chest.

"Yes Willow." She kissed the top of her head. "We'll be together. In this lifetime. In every lifetime."
_____________________________________________

Life went by with a fair amount of routine for the next couple of weeks. Willow helped with the farm. She and Tara made love, when and where they could. Although she still could not cast herself, she taught Tara some spells. For a time, they were sheltered from the harsh realities of the war.

Tara had walked the five miles to town, to check on Willow's papers. She had agreed to leave Poland with Willow. It wasn't a hard decision. She couldn't imagine her life without the redhead, now. She still hadn't told Papa Henry or Mama Emma about her decision. The thought of leaving them made her sad, but she was sure they would understand.

She reached the top of the hill and looked down on the farm below. Her happiness turned to horror. The army turck could mean only one thing - trouble. As she raced down the hill. Her only thought was to save Willow.

Part 5
SUNNYDALE (The same night Willow cast her spell)

Buffy knocked on Willow's door, annoyed. She had been calling her to dinner for almost twenty minutes.

"Hey Will, dinner's ready," the Slayer announced for the fourth time. "Are you joining us or not?"

Still no answer. She poked her head in the door.

"Will? Oh God, not again." She threw open the door, at seeing her best friend laying motionless on the floor. She ran to her, but stopped short, thankful her Slayer reflexes kept her from breaking the sacred circle.

She ran to the phone to dail Tara, but realized she did not know the blonde witches new number.

"Dawn," she screamed. "Dawn, get in here now!"

"Geez, where's the fire?" the teenager said, annoyed. She saw Willow on the floor. "Oh no." She ran towards her.

"Don't enter the circle," Buffy warned. "What's Tara's new number?"

"555-7022," the teen said, kneeling just outside the circle.

"Tara, it's Buffy. I need your help. Willow's cast some sort of spell and it looks like she's in trouble." She listened. "Okay. Please hurry."

She hung up the phone and knelt by her sister.

"Is she gonna be okay?" Dawnie asked.

"Help is on the way," Buffy said, putting her arm around the younger Summer's shoulder.
_____________________________________________

POLAND

Tara raced down the hill towards Willow. She bolted through the front door, but found the house empty. She felt the power surging through her body. If they hurt Willow, she would...She would, what? Kill? The answer came quickly. Yes, she would kill these monsters for her lover.

She threw open the barn door and saw the SS Officer holding a knife to Willow. She raised her palm and chanted her spell. The officer was sent flying, twenty feet, away from Willow. Tara was quickly upon him, ready to strike again.

"Tara, no!" Willow screamed and grabbed her arm.

The blonde looked dumbstruck, as four more SS Officers piled through the back door of the barn.

"What's going on?" one of the officers shouted.

The soldier who had been thrown by Tara's magick, spoke up.

"This one is a Jew," he pointed at Willow. "And that one, she is a Gypsy. She used her supernatural powers on me," he said visibly shaken.

Tara's eyes never left Willow's.

"Shall we kill them?" another officer asked.

"No," the first officer answered. "We will take them with the others, back to the ghetto. They will be deported." He walked over and stood very close to Tara, eyeing her up and down. "I'm sure the doctors will want to study the Gypsy witch. Put them in the truck," he ordered.

The marched them out the back door, of the barn, past the lifeless bodies of Mama Emma and Papa Henry. Both had been shot in the back of the head. Tara closed her eyes and wept bitterly.

There were four men, two women and a little girl, already in the back of the truck. Willow sat next to Tara, on the bench, and wrapped both arms around her trembling shoulders. She whispered softly in her ear. "It's alright. We'll take care of each other." She wiped the steady flow of tears, from Tara's pale cheeks, and held on.
_____________________________________________

SUNNYDALE

Tara ran into the bedroom and saw Willow laying on the floor.

"Oh Goddess," she exclaimed. "Where's the spell book?" She looked at Buffy.

"On the bed." Buffy pointed to the leather-bound tome.

Tara quickly read the spell, shaking her head as she finished.

"It's a spell to reverse time," she explained. "She's tried to astrally project, without an anchor. She's probably lost in another dimension. I'm gonna have to see if I can find her."

"What do you need?" Buffy asked.

"I'm going to need Anya to be my anchor. The rest of the ingredients are already here."

"I'll go get her." Buffy ran out of the room, taking the stairs three at a time.

The fear was evident on Tara's face. She knelt beside the circle and watched her former lover.

"Can you help her?" Dawn asked nervously.

"I'm gonna try, Dawnie," she said seriously to the teen. She looked back at the redhead and whispered. "Oh Willow, when will you ever learn."
_____________________________________________

POLAND

A pothole jolted Tara awake. She had cried herself to sleep, against Willow's shoulder.
It was dark now. They were both afraid. They sat, holding both hands.

"You okay, baby?" Willow asked tenderly.

Tara nodded, then added, "You, love?"

"As long as I'm with you." She smiled faintly.

Tara smiled briefly, then frowned.

"Willow, why did you stop me?"

"Because you're not a killer," she answered simply.

"You told me, we fight monsters. These are monsters."

"We kill things that are already dead. These people, their hearts are dead, but they're still people. I'd never want you to be on their level."

A single tear fell down the blonde's cheek. She softly kissed the redheads lips.

"I love you, Willow."

"I love you, too."
_____________________________________________

SUNNYDALE

Anya and Xander entered the bedroom. Anya looked at the redheaded witch, on the floor, and threw her hand up in the air.

"That's just great. When is she going to stop this foolishness? If I end up in the Land of Trolls, there's going to be hell to pay," the ex-demon vented.

"An, less talk. More with the helping, please." Xander said.

"Xander, Buffy, Dawn. I need you to leave the room. We need to concentrate." Tara ordered.

Buffy shoved the other two out and closed the door behind her.

"What do we need to do?" Anya asked, seriously.

"I need to see if I can follow her trail. I need you to be my anchor, to keep me on this plane. Whatever you do, don't pull me out. If you do, I may never find her." Tara's eyes, drilled her meaning to Anya.

They drew another circle and began the spell. In the circle next to theirs, the redheads body went into convulsions.

"We have to hurry," Tara said, alarmed.
_____________________________________________

POLAND

They were only in the ghetto for half a day, before they were loaded into a freight car on a train.

Sixty people packed into a car designed to hold half as many. Who were they kidding. It was not designed to hold people at all. It was for livestock. That's how they were treated. Like animals.

The air was unbreathable. An acrid smell of sweat and human waste. For three days, the lovers clung to each other. It was all they had, but it was enough.

It was dark when they reached their destination. The freight car door slid open to reveal their fate. Willow didn't need to be able to read the foreign lettering, to know where she was. She remembered the all too familiar arch from her history books. It was the worst of all possible scenarios.

Auschwitz.

Part 6

Willow hopped down from the freight car, on to the platform. She held up her arms, to help Tara down. They held each other's hands and took in the activity around them.

Hundreds of people were now assembled on the platform. Some held on to luggage. Most clung to things more precious. Children. Mothers. Fathers. Wives. Lovers.

Some spoke in hushed tones. Others barked their questions. Some wept. Some prayed. Others waited patiently to be told what to do.

Soldiers surrounded them everywhere. They laughed. They pushed. They insulted and intimidated. Their rifles and their viscious, barking dogs maintained order.

Men and women were divided into two groups. Those who would not let go, were forcibly separated. Husbands reached for their wives. Mothers wailed for sons, no longer within their grasp.

A swarm of doctors appeared before the group of women. The sinister forms, in their white lab coats, decided their fate in a matter of seconds. A thumb flick to the right, meant death. A motion to the left, brought work in the forced labor camp. The redhead and the blonde watched and waited. A quick intake of breath, became a relieved sigh, as both women were sent to the left.

The next few hours were a frightening blur. They gave their names to be registered. It is the last time they will be acknowledged by name. White hot metal presses against their left inner forearms. The flesh burns and leaves behind an indelible number. Willow was given a yellow triangle, to pin on her clothes. Yellow for Jew. Tara's triangle is brown. Brown for Gypsy.

They were pushed into a room. Women were lined on a bench, sitting down. Their turn arrived. Within moments, silky red and golden locks lay intermingled, on the floor, at their feet. What was happening to them, had not yet processed in their minds.

They were shoved on again. In the larger room they were ordered to strip. Fear and embarassment made them tremble. Willow held her lover close, to both protect her modesty and to calm her fears. The spray of cold water had little affect on their already numb bodies. Afterwards, they are deloused and their clothes are returned.

They were hurried along, again. As they moved towards the barracks, the unthinkable happened. They were separated. Willow was pushed off to the right, while Tara was sent straight ahead. They both verbally protested and tried to regain the necessary contact. They were denied. Words of love were exchanged. They both looked over their shoulders, maintaining eye contact until the last possible second.

The wooden barracks, with its three tier bunks, is designed to hold 150 people. There are nearly 600. They lay on top of each other. They have no choice. They huddle close, because it is cold and damp, but their thin frames offer little warmth.

Willow crawled up on the floor in a corner. The tears came in a flood. She had been holding them back for awhile now. She did not want to close her eyes, but exhaustion overcame her. She gave in. Her dreams were a curious mixture of a barn on a tiny farm in Poland and of a darkened dorm room, lit only by a single flamey candle.
_____________________________________________

Willow searched desperately, the next day, trying to locate her lover. The camp was tremendous and there were thousands and thousands of prisoners. She was supposed to be working on a drainage ditch, with the rest of her group, but she needed confirmation that the blonde witch was okay.

Her attention kept drifting to the continuous cloud of smoke, from the buildings, beyond her barracks. She knew what was happening, in those buildings, and the thought made her nauseous.

With her eyes fixated on the billowing cloud, instead of on her path, she bumped into someone. She gave a quick glance down, to apologize, and met a familiar gaze.

"Simon," she exclaimed, immediately hugging the man who had helped her escape the ghetto.

His face was expressionless. His eyes were sunken in and he had lost at least twenty pounds, off his already too thin frame. He looked defeated.

"Willow," he said, without emotion. "When did you get here?"

"We arrived last night."

"We?" he questioned.

"Tara is here, but I can't seem to find her," she said despondently.

"Why did they arrest her?"

"She used some magick..." Willow blurted, before she realized her disclosure.

"Magick?" he said, confused.

"Yeah. Well, it's not as weird as it sounds. I'll explain later. Do you know where she might be?"

"If they suspect her of being magickal, then I imagine she is in the Gypsy camp," he explained.

"How do I get there?" she asked anxiously.

"Willow, you can not just wonder around the camp. The guards will shoot you," he said, with disbelief at her naivete.

"I need to see her," she said urgently.

"It is best to sneak out at night. Give me a day or two, to see if I can find her in the Gypsy camp. Where is your barracks?" Willow indicated the location. "I will send word, when I have found her."

His words gave her a little bit of hope.

"Simon, thank you," she said, relieved. "How are Jacob, Sarah and Rachel?"

His face went slack. He simply shook his head and looked at the smoke.

Willow reached out to touch his forearm. She said with sympathy, "I'm sorry."

"Go back to work," he insisted. "I'll see you soon."
_____________________________________________

That night, Willow returned to her corner of the barracks. The pace of the camp was exhausting. Awoken by screaming whistles, the day began at 4:00am. Morning roll call took hours. After an unsubstantial breakfast, they went to work for eleven hours. Evening roll call could take even longer, if any punishment was to be administered. After an equally unfulfilling dinner, they were sent to their barracks, for bedtime at 9:00pm.

Willow was about to lapse into sleep, when she saw the tiny round blue light, circle her head twice. She knew in an instant it was Tara and her heart rejoiced. The light beckoned her to follow, so she did. Most of the other women, in the barracks, were already asleep.

Willow quietly opened the barracks door. She peered around to ensure no guards were afoot, then she slipped out the door. She was careful to walk in the shadows of the other barracks.

The light bade her to a fence. It followed close, along the base. Willow saw the links were cut and that she could easily slip through. The blue dot disappeared, behind a brick barracks, about fifty feet from where she stood. As Willow turned the corner, she saw her love.

"Oh Goddess, Tara." Willow rushed into her arms. "You found me."

"Yes Willow, I will always find you," the blonde hugged her back.

Willow pulled back anxiously. "Are you alright? Did they hurt you? Is this your barracks?" The questions poured out, like water bursting through a dam.

The blonde was suddenly hesitant. She turned her gaze away from Willow. She touched her right hand to her own head, now lacking the golden tresses.

"Don't look at me, Willow."

"Tara, what?" The redhead was shocked and reached out again, for the blonde.

"I'm ugly." She lowered her eyes.

"No, baby, no. You're beautiful." Willow shook her head vehemently and lifted the blonde's chin. "Nothing, not even a really bad haircut, could make you anything less." She offered her lover a playful smirk.

Tara's own lop-sided grin, magnified the beauty Willow had just spoken of.

They fell into each others arms. Tender kisses became more eager and frenzied. Hands moved to more intimate places. Their hurried releases were more about comfort, than pleasure, as they desperately tried to regain control over their now bleak existence.

It was only day two in Hell.

Part 7

Days turned into weeks. And weeks melted into months. What was at first an almost surreal environment, soon became routine. It was amazing how the human spirit could adapt to even the most hellish surroundings. There was pain and suffering in the camp. But there was also laughter and celebration. News of the Allied advances, in the fall of 1944, brought hope to the war weary prisoners.

Willow and Tara saw each other every chance they could. Sneaking out was a risk for both women, but they wouldn't have it any other way. Looking up at the stars, at night, took them away from the nightmare. Willow pointed out The Big Pineapple, along with the other constellations named by the future Tara.

Willow had almost resigned herself to never getting back to Sunnydale. Without her powers, she wasn't sure how to go about even trying. Although this reality was hell, at least she was with Tara. But, the thought of never seeing her ex-lover, from Sunnydale, weighed heavy on her mind.

Shortly after arriving in Auschwitz, Willow, Tara and Simon, reclaimed their titles as resistance fighters. Willow smuggled food to the infirmed in the hospital. She also plotted escape routes for those brave enough to attempt the feat.

Tara helped with her magicks. During one particular escape, the prisoner ran in the wrong direction, which only led him deeper into the boundaries of the camp. Willow and Tara watched in horror.

"Oh no, he's going the wrong way," Willow whispered, from her hiding place.

A guard in a watchtower spotted the escapee and took aim. Tara also took aim. A flick of her hand, with a latin phrase, soon found the soldier's rifle jammed.

A guard on the ground released his dog after the fleeing prisoner. Another simple chant, from the blonde witch, and the ferocious beast was laying on his back, begging to have his tummy rubbed. The guard looked dumbfounded at the animal.

In the meantime, the prisoner corrected his directional mistake. He disappeared into the night. Another one saved.

Willow smiled at her lover. "Did you do that?"

"Maybe." The blonde grinned back.

"You're really special," the redhead said, leaning in to brush her lips against Tara's.

Willow wondered why they didn't attempt to escape themselves. The thought of being killed, and a big no to that danger, answered her question. Mostly, she believed it was for the same reason she stayed in Sunnydale. She was meant to fight the good fight. Even in other realities.

In early October 1944, the good fight was about to rival any one of the seven apocalypses Willow had fought.

Simon had been a member of the Sonderkommando, since his internment at Auschwitz. These groups of Jewish prisoners, had the dreaded responsibility of leading their fellow prisoners to the gas chambers. Then, they disposed of their dead bodies in the crematoriums. Months of this horror had built a burning rage, for revenge, in Simon's previously placid tempermant.

With word that the Russian army was penetrating deeper into Nazi occupied territory, the Sonderkommando devised a plan to seize and destroy a crematorium. Willow and Tara were there to help. Stolen machine guns and grenades were stockpiled, throughout the various barracks. Willow's vast knowledge of chemistry, allowed her to show the others how to make explosives, from the materials they stole. The research done with Giles to wire the Sunnydale High School library, on Graduation Day, paid off. She showed them how they needed to rig the explosives in the crematorium.

The night before the uprising, Willow and Tara met with Simon and a few other members of the Sonderkommando.

"Okay, where do you want us?" Willow asked eagerly.

"No Willow. You and Tara have done enough. I want you out of danger," Simon instructed.

"But.." the redhead protested.

"Willow honey, I think Simon is right," the blonde said. "Any one of a hundred things could go wrong."

"If something does happen," Simon added, "I want to know that you and Tara are still here, to continue our efforts."

"Okay," Willow nodded. "The Slayerettes will hang in the background."

Everyone in the room gave her a disconcerted look.

"It's a long story," Tara jumped in.

The next day, the almost five hundred members of the Sonderkommando reported to their normal work details, throughout the camp. About three hundred members of the group were organized to be sent, on assignment, outside the camp.

Willow and Tara both knew something was wrong, when they saw the large detail being arranged. They abandoned their own work and met up, by Willow's barracks.

"Something's wrong." Tara announced.

"I think they know," the redhead concurred. "We should warn Simon."

"I think we should stay here, Willow. Something bad is going to happen."

The blonde witch looked paler than usual. She cast a protection spell over herself and Willow. Her appearance frightened Willow.

"Okay, baby." Willow cupped her face. "We'll wait here."

The Sonderkommando also knew something was wrong. Word spread quickly of an alternate attack plan. They began throwing stones at the SS and successfully drove them away. With their oppressors at bay, they initiated their designs to demolish the crematorium. They carefully packed the homemade bombs and stolen explosives, then wired the death chamber, according to Willow's instructions. Moments later, crematorium IV blew sky high.

Initial shock was soon accompanied by thunderous cheers, throughout the camp. The celebration didn't last long, as a hundred or so trucks, filled with SS, arrived at the camp. The Sonderkommando fought back, with the stolen machine guns and grenades. The SS retaliated, by unleashing a swarm of attack dogs.

Hundreds of Sonderkommando died during the battle. Those who survived the initial combat, were executed. Simon was among them.

Willow and Tara watch, horrified, as the events unfolded. It was a small victory, for so many who were lost. But, it was these small triumps that gave them the courage to face another day.

The camp was in chaos. Screeching whistles summoned the prisoners to roll call. Tara was too far away from her own barracks. She fell into line with Willow's group.

Her heart jumped into her throat, as Willow was pulled out of line and thrown to the ground, in front of the group.

"She is one of the resistance. I saw her with the others," the soldier informed.

From behind, a strong hand grabbed Tara's upper arm and pushed her forward.

"This is another one," the other soldier announced, pushing Tara to the ground next to Willow.

Frightened blue eyes stared into equally terrorized green ones.

"Shoot them," the SS Officer ordered.

The soldier aimed his pistol at Willow and fired. But, the bullet did not wound. It bounced off the hidden force and landed, harmlessly in the dirt. Tara's protection spell was still intact. Soldiers and prisoners alike, gasped in wonder.

"It is the Gypsy's magick," the soldier beside Tara explained. He raised his gun to Tara's temple and squeezed the trigger. Again, the bullet richocheted off the energy field. This time, the bullet struck Tara's would-be assassin in the chest, killing him instantly.

The SS officer was enraged.

"Enough," he shouted. He went and stood by the first prisoner in line. He pointed his gun at the woman's head. She flinched away, terrified. He pulled her back and held the barrel of the pistol to her temple.

"You will surrender, or I will kill them all. " He narrowed his eyes as he spoke to Tara.

The blonde stared into his lifeless eyes. She looked, with pity, at the woman and then at all the women before her. Then, she looked at Willow. Her heart was torn. She looked back into the eyes of evil.

"Will you die for them?" he asked.


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Brown Triangle
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 5:02 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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Part 8

Willow knew Tara's answer before she spoke. It was written across her lover's beautiful, conflicted face. Willow's memory latched on to the vision of 'her Tara', sacrificing her mind to Glory, rather than revealing Dawn as the key.

"Yes," Tara answered, her jaw held firm.

"Tara, no." Willow cried, reaching out for the blonde.

Blue eyes met green and silently begged them to let this happen. Willow saw Tara release the protection spell on herself. Willow tried, with all her being, to summon the power to restore the spell. Nothing came.

The monster yanked the blonde to her feet. He held the pistol to her temple. Wordlessly, she mouthed to the redhead, 'I love you.' Willow watched horrified. Most of the women, in the group, looked away in pain. Those who didn't, were fixated on Tara.

No one seemed to notice the bright, blue light appear behind the trio of SS. The familiar blonde figure, who materialized within the light, looked wide-eyed at the scene before her. Without hesitation, she sent a bolt of energy, that knocked back all three SS Officers.

The crowd of women reacted instantly to their opportunity. They rushed their oppressors. Years of pent up hostility, helplessness and torture were brought forth like a volcano erupting. The demons were slayed.

Willow and Tara did not watch the retribution. They were captivated by the image in the blue light. Tara watched the other version of herself, with wonder, and was taken aback at hearing her own voice call out.

"Willow. Goddess Willow, I finally found you."

"Tara?" It was a question.

"Yes love. Please take my hand. Come home. We need you. I need you."

Willow touched the blue light and felt her spirit disconnect, with the body it was in. She floated into the light and reached for Tara's hand. She looked back and saw the version of herself, from this reality. The memories of the past few months were clearly still intact for her. The fear of almost losing Tara was written across her face. Willow knew that fear all too well.

As soon as she was fully enfolded, within the light, everything turned black. She could still feel the firm grip on her hand. She closed her eyes and held on tightly. Within a matter of moments, her entire form collided with a hard surface. Her eyes remained closed. The energy soared through her body, forcing her back to arch and eliciting a deep gasp from her mouth. She heard similar exclamations from the two beings alongside her.

She layed on the floor for several minutes, pulling herself into conciousness. She was afraid to open her eyes, not sure of what she would find or where she might be. The softest of fingertips, against her forehead and cheek, urged her eyes to open.

Crystal clear blue eyes came into focus. She bolted upright and shouted, "Tara." She wrapped her arms around the frightened blonde. "You're alive. What happened? Where are we?" she exclaimed, in one short breath.

"Oh Willow. Thank Goddess."

Willow looked around. She looked at her clothes, expecting to find the weathered skirt and top she had worn for the last ten months. Instead, she found herself in a pair of jeans and a T-shirt. She checked her inner forearm for the tattoo. It was gone. She felt her hair, but it was back to normal. Tara and Anya stared at her bewildered.

She continued to look around. She recognized her room in the Summer's house. She was on the floor, inside a sacred circle. Tara was kneeling beside her. Tara. Her joy was short lived, as the memories of the camp came flooding back to her. She pulled away from Tara, in shock.

"No," she shook her head.

"Willow, what's wrong?" Tara was alarmed. She reached for the redhead, but Willow pulled further away and turned her back.

"No. No." The tears flowed feverishly down her cheeks. She curled up, in a fetal position, away from Tara and repeated over and over.

"It's my fault. It's my fault. It's my fault."

Tara waited anxiously for Willow to settle down. Anya left them alone. After awhile, Willow's protests had silenced, but she still remained curled in a tight ball. Tara reached out to touch her shoulder, but Willow withdrew immediately. Tara let her hand hang in mid-air, unsure of how to proceed. After another moments silence, she spoke softly.

"W-Willow, you n-need to sleep. Is it alright if I h-help you to the bed?"

After more silence, Willow finally sat up. She did not look at Tara. She got to her knees and said, "I can manage." Holding on to the dresser, she stood to her feet. Tara hovered, ready to catch her if she fell. She climbed onto the bed and pulled the comforter up to her chin.

"I'll check on you in a l-little while," Tara stammered, turning off the light.

Willow nodded.

Tara closed the bedroom door behind her. In the hallway, she burst into tears, sliding down the door to the floor. Inside the room, Willow cried silent tears.
_____________________________________________

Half in and half out of conciousness, Willow registered the bedroom door opening. The familiar scent, of vanilla and jasmine, filled the room. The blonde kneeled beside the bed. She placed the back of her hand on Willow's brow. Willow's forehead was covered with beads of sweat, from the fitfull nightmares she had been experiencing.

Willow tensed at Tara's touch, causing the blonde to remove her hand. Willow felt Tara's eyes on her. She wanted desperately to open her own eyes. To lose herself in a sea of endless blue. But, then she would have to talk and she was not ready.

Tara pulled out a blanket from the closet. She sat down, in the armchair by the window, and took off her shoes. She curled her legs underneath her and spread the blanket across her body. She watched and waited.

Willow's restlessness woke the blonde, instantly. She jumped out of the chair and stood by the bed. Willow whimpered, trapped in her nightmare. She thrashed about, on the bed, for several seconds before bolting upright and screaming.

"No, no, no. Tara. No."

Tara leapt on the bed and grabbed Willow by the shoulders.

"Willow, it's okay. I'm here. Wake up, Will. It's just a dream."

Willow's gaze registered on Tara. She panted feverishly. Tara held her firmly by the shoulders. After several deep breaths, she began to relax. When the redhead was finally calm, Tara released her grip and moved back. Willow looked down.

"W-Will, you have to talk to me."

"I know. I just need some time to process this. Then, I'll tell you everything."

"I'm afraid for you, Willow."

Willow looked directly at Tara for the first time. "Me too."
_____________________________________________

For the next three days, Willow did not leave her room, except to shower. She picked at the food Tara brought to her, but did not really eat. Her body ached and shivered from the countless nightmares. She allowed no one in the room, except for Tara. They barely spoke. Willow looked frail and worn. Tara worried for her health. A suggestion for a walk outside was immediately dismissed.

Tara's patience wore thin. She took a deep breath and spoke up.

"I n-need you to talk to m-me." To her surprise, Willow agreed.

She recounted her experience in graphic detail, admitting shamefully to the spell which began the terror. The budding anger Tara felt, about yet another spell, was soon eclipsed by overwhelming sadness.

Willow spoke for five hours straight. Tara sat opposite her, on the bed. Occasionally, Willow would move from the bed to the window, as she continued the tale. Willow's gaze was stern, as she described the atrocities of the camp. Tara wept openly. She tentatively reached out a hand to hold Willow's fingertips. She was thankful when the redhead did not pull away.

Willow concluded with an emotional recollection of the scene just before Tara pulled her back into the present reality. When she finished, she sat on the bed, eyes cast downward.

Tara tried to grasp the enormity of the situation. In Tara's reality, Willow had only been gone for twenty-four hours. But, for Willow it had been almost a year. Tara collected her thoughts and spoke.

"Willow, look at me. Please."

"I can't."

"Please." She lifted Willow's chin with her fingers.

The guilt was crushing Willow. She leapt from the bed and paced frantically, around the room. Tara followed her.

"Don't you see? It's my fault. If I wasn't so useless, you wouldn't have had to help me. If I hadn't encouraged you to use magick, then you would have never been captured. And then, you wouldn't have almost been killed. I couldn't help. I had no power," Willow yelled.

"Willow, I'm safe. I'm right here." Tara shook the redheads shoulders.

"No, you're not," she said distraught.

"What do you mean?" the blonde asked, confused.

Willow's eyes were dazed. "I lost you here. Because of magick."

Tara's anger flared. "Is that it, Will? Is that all you learned?"

Her tone brought Willow into focus. "What?" she asked.

"That's it? Magick bad." Tara threw her hands up in the air. "For someone so intelligent, you really don't get it."

"What are you saying?"

"You spent almost a year there. You didn't cast."

"I couldn't cast." Willow interrupted.

"You didn't have to. You fought anyway and you survived." Tara's tone softened. "I...she still fell in love with you. You Willow. Not magick. Just you."

"But plain old Willow wasn't enough to help save that Tara. If you hadn't appeared, she would have died. In the end, ordinary Willow always loses."

Tara shook her head slowly and sighed. "How, after all you've been through, can you not understand? She's the best part of you!"

Willow stood silently. Her green eyes conveyed the ocean of distance between the two women. Tara's chin quivered at the separation. So, this was it. The moment she had dreaded was now before her. 'Her Willow' was gone.


Part 9

Four weeks passed before Willow found the courage to go and see Tara. She had done nothing, but think about the blonde's last words to her. She stood outside Tara's apartment, for a full five minutes, before knocking. She swallowed hard, as the door opened.

"Hey," her voice squeaked.

"Hey," Tara replied, her astonishment at seeing Willow, played all over her face.

"I was...um...hoping maybe we could talk. If you didn't mind," Willow spat nervously.

"Sure. Come in," Tara said evenly. She stepped back to allow Willow's entrance.

"Oh, these are for you." Willow held up the wild flowers in her hand. "I didn't conjure them. I picked them from the yard out front." Willow blushed, suddenly embarassed by her petty theft. "When I saw them, I thought I should have brought flowers. But I didn't, and anyway, there some were, so why not just take them." Willow sighed heavily, finally stopping herself.

"They're lovely. I'll just put them in water." Tara took the flowers. Heading to the kitchen, she smiled at Willow's admission. She returned a moment later and put the flowers on the coffee table.

"Do you want to sit?" Tara offered, pointing to the couch.

"I'm kinda jumpy, so I think I'll stand, if that's okay."

"Sure." Tara stood opposite her.

Willow looked good. She had regained some of the weight she lost, right after returning. There was color in her cheeks. Tara could tell she had not been casting.

"Yeah, so talk. You're probably waiting for me to start. So, I should just do that. Start. Now. Cause you're waiting."

Tara smiled. She couldn't help it. It was instinctive. Willowbabble. It had been ages, since she had heard an endless, endearing parade of words, from the redhead's mouth. She nodded slightly.

"I wanted to tell you...that is I wanted to say..." She got flustered and became irritated with herself. "Damn it. Why can't I just say what I mean?"

"Just say what's in your heart, Will."

Green eyes locked on to patient blue ones.

"I know that you're hurt and that I'm the reason for your pain. For that, I'm more sorry than you can ever imagine. I thought I needed magick to be strong. To be someone special. But I saw strength in those camps. I saw people with nothing to live for, fight to hold on to another day. They were surrounded by death and horror, and they still managed to hold on to their faith. They could still love. It was amazing."

The tears began to well in her eyes.

"I wanted to hide my true self from you. Willow who's not quite pretty enough. Willow who's not quite stylish enough. And Willow who's not quite popular enough. But there, in that camp, none of those things mattered. Then, I got a rare opportunity to see ordinary Willow in action. It's a big scare to face the thing you've feared the most. The ironic thing is, I kinda like her. And I think, maybe, she's the Willow that you love...um...loved. She's a part of me and she's pretty lost right now. I don't even know if you want to find her." Willow took a deep breath. "But I do."

Tara's heart leapt. This tiny step forward gave her hope. She searched Willow's emerald eyes and silently rejoiced. Her girl was still in here. She was buried in a sea of insecurities and doubts, but she was still reachable.

"I don't know what to say." Tara said evenly.

"It's okay. Doesn't really require a response. I just wanted you to know."

"Thank you."

They stared at each other, awkwardly, for several seconds. Neither woman really knew what to do next. Willow broke the silence.

"So, I should be going."

"Did you w-want to stay for dinner?" Tara blurted out hastily.

Willow shifted nervously. "I'd like to, but I sort of have plans."

"Oh." Tara could have kicked herself. "Sure, of course. Plans."

Willow chastised hersef, when she read the disappointment on Tara's face.

"It's not...It's just...I'm on my way to temple. I've kinda been going regularly, since I got back."

Tara brightened. "I think that's great, Will."

"Well, if you wanted to...you could come with. You don't have to. It would just be...um...really nice." Willow's eyes darted nervously, waiting for her answer.

"I'd love to go. I'll just get my sweater."

Willow watched the blonde leave the room. Her heart was filled with love for this woman. She understood now, that this was what made her strong. Her love for Tara was more powerful than all her past demons and tormentors. Way more powerful than magick. It could never be buried or destroyed. Their love would always survive.
_____________________________________________

The Brown Triangle - Epilogue

Willow and Tara watched, in awe, as the bright blue light disappeared from the camp. There was no time to discuss what had happened. The three beaten bodies, of the SS Officers, needed to be dealt with. The group of women helped move the bodies, dispersing them among the casualties from the Sonderkommando battle.

Much like the residents of Sunnydale, the women of Willow's barracks only selectively remembered what they saw. However, they never forgot what Tara was willing to sacrifice, for them.

Willow retained all the memories of the last ten months. She was in there, though clearly not alone. It was as if another part of herself, shared her body. The memories and sensations, of this time, were all very real experiences for her. She was as much of a willing participant, in this love affair, as the other entity within her. She does not remember very much of what the other Willow's future life was like. But, in her dreams, she sees a future vision of herself and Tara. They are happy. They are in love. And, they are together.

Willow and Tara continued to fight the good fight. They helped prisoners escape. They protected and cared for the sick and the injured, until the camp was liberated in January 1945. And, when the time came, they testified to all that they had seen and to all that had been done to them.

They did it because it was the right thing to do. They did it because there were so many others, now lost, who could not do it for themselves. They did it, in the hopes that no one would forget the terrible injustice of it all.

The demons tried to destroy them. They tried to humiliate them, by making them feel less than human. They were battered, broken and beaten. Yet, the monsters could not destroy them. Their love made them strong.

Tara carries Willow's yellow triangle with her, always. Willow wears Tara's brown triangle, inside her clothes, next to her heart. They were once symbols of each woman's faith. Now, they are symbols that their love is bound. Their love survives. It flourishes. It does not forget. And, it lives to build hope for a better tomorrow.

THE END

Tiggrscorpio


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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Brown Triangle
PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2004 6:42 am 
oh my goddess...that was an incredibly beautiful fic...i've always been a ww2 buff...the concentration camps and the nazis and all that other stuff...but yes...wow...i actually cried at some parts...but yes..incredible...



stacey



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 Post subject: Re: Fic: The Brown Triangle
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2020 6:34 am 
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