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

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 Post subject: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 3:08 pm 
Title – Paths Diverged/Divulged – Stone



Author– JustSkipit - Debra



Spoilers–Season 6



Rating– Part 1 - PG



Disclaimer – Guess what, I don’t own W&T, Buffy or the rest of the BtVS crew. Any similarity to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental and fortunate.



Notes and Thanks Well I think it’s always a good idea to start with the important thanks: Thank you to the love of my life: Rachel. Thank you to Joss Whedon who created these characters and the Buffyverse. Thank you to the fictional characters of Willow & Tara and the wonderful actresses Alyson Hannigan & Amber Benson. Finally thanks to all the Kittens who read and enjoy and comment on these fictions, particularly the moderators and Xita!



Thoughts in italics!



Flashbacks and dreams indented



About this story This fiction is a sequel to W/T Season 3 Y’all. It will make most sense to you if you read that fiction first, if not the entire thing, at least the first part, Wish/Wash, Dopplegangland Too, and the last part. But heck, why wouldn’t you just read the whole story?



While Y’all left off in May of 1999, this Story begins in August of 2002. What has happened since we last left our girls? Well…



For the most part, their history since attending college at Sunnydale U has merged with cannon. Some differences occur for what I hope are obvious reasons:



Season 4: Obviously W&T are already a couple and are already out to their friends. No Oz trauma/drama and no coming out drama. Oz left school in the middle of the year to control his inner wolf after he killed Veruca. But no Oz/Willow trauma, no Something Blue, and obviously no NMR. Instead we have Willow and Buffy sharing a room with Tara down the hall. Willow and Tara continue their magical partnership and loving and passionate relationship, both learning from the other.



Season 5: Dawn arrives and has always been there. Tara and she are very close. Although Tara is not conscious of it, they have a special bond. If you read Y’all you know that Dawn is the reincarnation of Tara’s mother who died when she was a junior in high school. The Family episode never happens! No evil family to come take Tara away. No myth that the Maclay family women are demons! She has a lovely birthday party with lots of presents and cake as anyone would want. Checkpoint happens! Willow and Tara don’t have a fight over magic or boys or anything else; nonetheless, Tara is sitting on the bench waiting for Willow when Glory shows up. The hell-god sucks her brain and shatters her hand. Willow nurses her and Tara accidentally reveals that Dawn is the key. Willow reverses the damage Glory has done to Tara and Buffy leaps into the portal and dies to save the world.



Season 6: Tara and Willow move into the Summers house to raise Dawn. Although everyone has mixed feelings about it, the four Scoobies work together to raise Buffy from the dead. Willow dabbles with the idea of getting the fawn’s blood herself but decides against it. Anya gets the necessary ingredient on the black market. Tara and Willow begin to fight about Willow’s increasing dependence on magic. But she’s not addicted! [because that’s a stupid idea!] She doesn’t erase Tara’s memory. Tara does not leave her. The Scoobies make lots of stupid decisions while fighting the super-geeks. Tara is standing in front of the window when Warren tries to kill Buffy. A stray bullet goes straight through her heart and kills her instantly. Willow can’t bring her back. The doctors at the hospital save Buffy by removing the bullet and she recovers quickly because she has slayer healing. Xander stops Willow from killing either Warren or Rack (see below). Warren is sent to jail for what he did. She didn’t go all “Dark Magic Willow.”



Edited to say: Suze pointed out to me that Xander doesn't have to stop Willow from killing Rack because she really never goes that far. She never went all magic addiction so she never meets up with him. Great job Suze!





Why the differences? A few reasons. First, my intention is that her magical partnership with Tara helped her to learn the right and wrong applications of magic (somewhat), that her training by Tara and Tara’s grandmother taught her the connection between nature and power. That she used her power for good, not evil. Second, because her loving relationship with Tara gave her the confidence and love that had been missing from her life. She doesn’t have to attempt to fill that void because she has a strong base of love and belonging. Third, because I don’t personally believe in the addiction philosophy.



So there it is. The setup. We’re moving to Willow & Tara together but it’s going to be dark for a little while first. Enjoy.



One final note Ok, here’s the thing. Timewise this story takes place in season 7. But Willow’s hair is not season 7 hair. It is more like late season 5 hair: think Blood Ties or Triangle.









T-A–R–A M-A-C-L-A-Y



T-A–R–A M-A-C-L-A-Y



T-A–R–A M-A-C-L-A-Y



Y-A-L-C-A-M A-R-A-T



T-A–R–A M-A-C-L-A-Y



T-A–R–A M-A-C-L-A-Y



Willow’s index finger traced the letters as if it were moving on its own. Over and over it moved, noticing only the texture of the cold rough stone with the letters forging a path to follow. As she traced the letters, she heard each one in her mind. T-A–R–A M-A-C-L-A-Y. Like a loud speaker in her brain announcing the arrival of the next train at the station, announcing that Tara was arriving at track nine. Sometimes the letters seemed to sing as they passed from one side of her brain to the others. At other times they seemed more like a whisper, a reminder of something that she would never forget anyway.



And always Willow’s mind returned to the motion of tracing the path of the letters on the stone. There were other letters: October 16, 1980 - May 7, 2002, but her fingers never traced those. Only the name, the only name that mattered, the only name that would ever matter.



Tracing the letters Willow’s mind took a break. She didn’t think of Tara or the pain and anguish and loneliness. She didn’t think about the pile of rocks growing every day on the top of this headstone. She didn’t think about the fact that she sometimes wondered if she should have even agreed to put the stone up so fast. Is it incongruous to place the stones on the grave but put the headstone up so fast? Which traditions to keep and which to discard? Should she have buried Tara here or did she belong with her mother? She had thought of all this, but not today. Not as long as her finger traced the letters. Not as long as she could be with her lover. No thought. No time. No wondering. Just the feel of the stone under her fingertips and the letters echoing in her mind, taking her away from conscious thought as the cemetery faded around her.



“Clothes,” Tara smiled as she finished pulling her shirt over her head.



“Better not get used to them,” Willow teased back in her vixeny way. She playfully poked her finger into the waistband of her lover’s jeans before pulling her closer. Their hug brought back all the amazing connection of the last few days.



“Xander!” Tara exclaimed her arms still wrapped around the redhead.



“Ok,” Willow remarked, “not the reaction I was expecting.”



Tara moved toward the window to look down on Xander and Buffy in the backyard. “Maybe they’re making up…” she suggested. Willow nodded lovingly. She and Tara had been doing a little of their own making up. The fighting about her increasing dependence on magic had intensified for the past few months but the blonde now appeared satisfied that Willow understood that she couldn’t use magic for everything. Their renewed relationship was bearing the fruits of their reconciliation.



Willow watched as Tara turned from the window. As always she was amazed at the love she felt for this woman. In over 3 years, she had never tired of her, would never tire of her. Every time they touched it was electric and felt like coming home. She noticed the dark red spot that appeared on Tara’s blue shirt before hearing either the sound of gunshots or Tara’s confused utterance: “your shirt?”



Willow crossed the space quickly to catch her lover as she plummeted toward the floor of the bedroom. “Tara! Tara!” she cried over and over as she held the blonde’s lifeless body. Within moments it became apparent to her that the life had in fact gone from Tara’s body. She did something she had vowed never to do again, invoking Osiris to bring her lover back.



As tears streamed down her face her power brought the form to their room. His refusal to return her lover to life infuriated the red haired witch who could do nothing but curse him as he departed. Still she held and stroked the body of the woman she loved so deeply crying her name over and over: “Tara! Tara! Baby…”



Knowing that it was too late, she lay on the floor of their bedroom cradling and rocking her lover’s body as it cooled. She was not even aware of Dawn’s entrance hours later as the girl called to her to let go: “Willow? Willow. Willow!...




“Willow!” Dawn shook the redhead’s body as Willow finally realized that she was really hearing the teenager.



“Dawn?” she questioned.



“Willow,” Dawn spoke quietly, “you have to come home. It’s almost dark.”



“I can’t leave her,” Willow answered, her words echoing those she had issued three months earlier to the girl.



“I know,” Dawn nodded as she helped the redhead to her feet. “You aren’t leaving her. Just come with me for a little while ok?” As Willow started to walk alongside the teenager Dawn attempted to reassure her: “Buffy will come by tonight ok?”



The two girls began walking slowly through the cemetery toward Revelo drive. As they walked Willow tried to carry on a conversation about Dawn’s day, about school and boys and everything else. But all she could think about was that she should be with Tara. That she couldn’t be without her. It would never work. A Willow without Tara? Nonsensical. She would never make sense of it. Never.



---

"Keep in mind always the present you are constructing. It should be the future you want." - Alice Walker, Temple of My Familiar

Edited by: JustSkipIt at: 6/29/03 2:00 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 3:38 pm 
The sequel's starting and you've already dug yourself quite a hole to get out of. You must enjoy a challenge. I wasn't anticipating you skipping so many years, though I guess I should have given your pseudonym. I like the changes you've made to past seasons, though I'm curious as to why you chose so difficult a beginning for yourself.

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 6/4/03 4:50 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 3:39 pm 
Debra, it's dark alright. Heck, I've already started bawling. I'm so happy the sequel is finally here. :bounce

---------



"See? I've mastered this tact crap." Anya in Tears Of The Goddess by Lisa



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 Post subject: hmm
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 4:38 pm 
Well, I wasn't expecting you to skip so many years...and I'm a little nervous about Tara's death, because that could lead to her returning as a vampire...which isn't fun. I'll look forward to seeing this updated to find out how all of this will be dealt with!



Kita :eek

----------------------------

I won't be held responsible she fell in love in the first place.



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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 8:33 pm 
I am going to ask the same question everyone else does.



Why season seven? Season seven is worse than season six, and in season seven, Willow barely notices Tara is gone. I am intrigued to see how you will handle this because it is a very touchy subject.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.


Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

Willow: I found you. I will always find you.




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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:05 am 
Well that was certainly an, um, interesting start to the story.



I guess there are two possibilities, either



1: you've got a cunning plan (more cunning than a fox who has just been made professor of cunning plans at Oxford university) to bring Tara back and for them both to be happy together.



2: :joss has replaced you with a JustSkipIt-bot as part of his evil scheme to replace all the best writers with robots in order to deprive us of WT stories.



I'll assume it's the first one for now.



Quote:
A Willow without Tara? Nonsensical.




So true.



I understand, you should be with the person you l-love


I am




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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 4:39 am 
Wow the sequel...:bounce :bounce but its so dark!!!!:shock



Okay i wait patiently till it gets lighter and happier.

Well one thing at this death was "good" Willow didnt turn into the dark Willow like she was in the show.



Update soon???:pray



Cu:wave

SoL/Natti



There are two kinds of tears, tears for those who leave you, and tears for those you never let go - Gabrielle/The Quest



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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 7:00 am 
yay a sequel, but a very sad beginning. very curious to see where it goes from here

I'm not stealing, I'm just taking things without paying for them. In what twisted dictionary is that stealing?
Consciousness: that annoying time between naps



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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 7:55 am 
Well I'll just jump on the bandwagon of not expecting you to skip so many years. W/T Season 3 Y'all was overall a lighthearted romp with lots of smootchies and minor angst. Only one entry into the sequel and I'm already ballin' like a baby. But I love the way you write our girls, so I'm definitely looking forward to see how you work this out.



More soon please :pray

-shuyaku



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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 8:22 am 
HEY JSI nice to see a sequel already, wow a lot of time has passed. I like the things you changed in the past seasons in your summary but it is such a sad part to start off with. Season 7 didn't really have anything going for it, but this has potential (no pun intended) as it's the pens and Willow and Tara are each others destiny. Looking forward to seeing where you take us.



So, the day started and I knew my name and had my pants on. So far, so good. Yay.
Amber Benson



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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 12:11 pm 
The sequel is fantastic. I like the things you´ve changed in the seasons.

I´m really curious how you will bring Tara back. (You´re bringing her back, don´t you?)



*lil´c*



Unter den Blinden ist der Einäugige König.



Check this out



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:26 pm 
Well, Debra, you said the sequel would be different and unexpected. Seems pretty obvious that the reason you're skipping to S7 is that S4-6 in your world are so close to canon. While the logic of your fiction improves the events of those seasons, it doesn't substantially change them. The changes you made are particularly valid in S6: no magic addiction, no magical abuse, no break-up, and especially no "Dark Magic Willow." Of everything that happened that season, that's the one I really couldn't buy.



Your reasons given for the differences are valid and logical. (well, the first two are. As for number 3, hey, you're the author -- if you can't write from your personal beliefs, what's the point?)



So, a shock seeing that "Seeing red" happened pretty much as in the original. We've shared love and laughter, anger and fear with you in "Y'all"; now it's time to share grief as well. It's a tough place to be, but many of the best fics start at this point. I have confidence that you will take us through the grief to a much better place than ME could have.



"A Willow without Tara? Nonsensical."



Russ



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 9:52 pm 
Debra, you heart-breaker you...



As I read the prologue, scanning through the intervening seasons until that one dread moment was upon me, I felt my eyes widening as I asked myself, "Is she gonna do it? Is she really gonna do it?" And then I certainly got my answer...



I have to say that the image you gave of Willow at the cemetery was simply heart-wrenching. Indeed, the very start of the story, with Tara's name spelled out as it was until we saw what Willow was doing, was really inspired, Debra. I totally get how that kind of repetitive motion is a distraction, a brief but oh-so-welcome respite from a reality that is simply blasphemous. Actually, you end the chapter with Willow reiterating that very fact: reality without Tara makes no sense at all.



You broke my heart, Debra, but I know what capable hands it's in and that it will be healed in due time. In the meantime (at any time), I'm so glad to see another story from you, especially a sequel to the wonderful "Season 3, Y'All."



Great work, Debra.

Mary



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 8:22 am 
DMW - Dug myself a hole? Well I guess it seems so. I did say that it would start out dark. Hmmm, I don’t think I want to give too much away in regard to your curiousity. Suffice it to say a few points: Trust me. I’m a kitten and kitten writer. So that means happy W/T at the end right? And W/T for most of the fic. Plus which you know I love to see them together so you can count on it.



But your question is a good one and as I read it and the other responses I realized that I really don't find much interest (for myself) in attempting to craft a story using the confines of an existing season. When I think over all my fics they are either blatantly AU or start from cannon and just leave it behind.



Interestingly enough, I think of this current story as kind of an AU/AU. I have the AU which I created (Y’all) which merged somewhat with cannon and then I am going to diverge from that somewhat. I’m not sure if it makes sense and I’m not sure I want it to make sense. I think my intentions will be very clear in about 3 more parts.



Thanks for being my first commenter though!



Washi - Hi. I certainly can’t feel any guilt that you’re crying after your very painful part 3 update. But I’m glad that it grabbed you. When I reread it it almost made me cry too.



Kita Hi. Well Tara as a vampire is a great idea (other fics for that including my Favorite ) (shameless self promotion huh?) but I promise it will not happen in this fic. No Tara as a vampire at all. Also, Tara’s been dead for months (the current date will become apparent in the next update). But a nice guess.



Since this part was so short, I’ll update pretty quick. I’d say another day or two. Thanks for reading and writing.



The Rose24 - Well yes season 7 has it’s issues but that’s ME season seven. Not MY season 7. Trust me to say that mine will be very different. In fact, I’d say I will have zero season 7 spoilers in this fiction at all.



Justin - Are those the only two possibilities? I’m not sure how cunning my solution is but I like it a lot. I’m intrigued and interested in where I’m going so I think the kittens will like it too. Seems many readers liked the nonsensical line. Glad to have something likable in such a dark post.



Natti
Quote:
Okay i wait patiently till it gets lighter and happier.
Now that’s some confidence and loyalty! Thanks. I’ll update with another dark part in the next few days then it gets lighter so thanks for your trust.



Grimaldi – Yeah, I’d say that everyone is intrigued and curious.



shuyaku – I’d say this will be a cross between angst and lighthearted once it really gets going. Glad you’re intrigued.



Puff – Potential? I like that. Yes, it definitely has potential and I’m currently loving what I’m writing. On the other hand, whatever I’m writing is always my favorite…



littlecrazy80 – Wow, that’s the most positive feedback from anyone. You like the start? You know the pens rules: W/T happiness and love and forever right? So trust that.



russ – After a few readers asked about the skipping I thought about it. My thoughts are above in my response to DMW but a good thought.



Quote:
So, a shock seeing that "Seeing red" happened pretty much as in the original
More on that to come.



Thanks for the confidence.



Mary- Back from vacation with copious updates and comments in stock huh? So glad to see you commenting.



Yes, many people use a motion such as that for entering a meditation or some other plane of consciuosness. I’ve seen stores selling “finger labyrinths” so people can trace their fingertips through the path and meditate on it. And I can also imagine a state of having absolutely nothing else to do but sit and trace those words. Now I’m starting to cry darnit! Anyway, thanks always for your wonderful feedback.



"The simplest and most popular cosmological model today predicts that you have a twin in a galaxy about 10 to the 1028 meters from here. This distance is so large that it is beyond astronomical, but that does not make your doppelgänger any less real." - Scientific American



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 10:50 am 
Debra! :clap



*places hand over her heart* Jesus woman, you have my heart beating so fast! I just re-lived Seeing Red...



But but a sequal to Season 3 Y'all... :bounce :bounce :bounce

That's all I need! :grin



I cannot wait to read along with this fic as well. BTW, Season 3 Y'all... was beautiful and I absolutely love yours fics and creative, imaginative mind and ideas. Go you. :clap



~Holly~ :heart



"I Just Woke Up This Morning, And Hated Everything." Lara Croft - Tomb Raider



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 11:07 am 
That's how I like to write fic too--start from canon and then leave it behind--which is one of the reasons I was surprised to see you return to it from your previous story. Like I said, I think you did a good job of fitting in your previous story and exploring its consequences while still keeping the essential components of previous seasons.



Paths. Labyrinths. It sounds like our minds are thinking in the same direction these days. I've been writing about both in a short story I hope to have ready soon.



Oh, and I see you've read that article in SciAm. It's interesting that you can calculate how far away a duplicate "universe," that is, a Hubble horizon enclosed volume, is, though their assumptions are way too pessimistic. It's probably 50 or so orders of magnitude closer, not that it'll help you since you're stuck in your own Hubble volume unless you exceed the speed of light.

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 2:07 pm 
Hello you, :bigwave



Yipee for the sequel. :banana . But :cry for the beginning of your story. But I've totally faith in you that it will certainly be better. And as far of your title, I have really difficult to read it and or even understand it (:blush sorry about that, I think my English is not as good as I thought :cry ):laugh

Bye

Until next time

Velaingie









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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Fri Jun 06, 2003 5:11 am 
Holly – As I said over in NNLT, welcome back and thanks for commenting. I’m glad you liked Y’all so much. Remember that my love for NNLT (as well as All you Wanted) was part of my inspiration for writing an AU. Now we have the sequel. Glad to get your heart beating.



DMW – Yes, I’ve noticed that that is your style. Starting yours 20 years later certainly doesn’t limit you much does it? Works out well. Thanks for your comment about the integration of the stories. Some of those elements will become extremely important as this goes on and this story will have quite a few flashbacks (thanks for the HTML info by the way).



Cool about the labyrinths. Have you ever done them (the large meditative ones?). They are very nice to do for a mediation. Some places here have permanent ones and others have portable ones that travel. We toyed with the idea of building one in our back yard (smaller of course) but instead built a deck…



A friend sent me the SciAm article. You go the physics way of estimating the distance. Since I’d be more likely to go spiritual I’d say that all universes could possibly overlap and the distance is negligible (like Contact) but that’s more of a spiritual viewpoint I guess.



VelaingieWelcome. I’m glad to see that you were ripped by the start. You were supposed to be so it did its job. Sorry the title is confusing. My partner can’t stand it.



I’ll explain:



There’s a Robert Frost poem:



1. The Road Not Taken



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth; 5



Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same, 10



And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back. 15



I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference. 20







So that is the paths diverged part.



According to dictionary.com: diverged: To go or extend in different directions from a common point; branch out.



Divulged: To make known (something private or secret).



I hope that makes more sense.



---
"The simplest and most popular cosmological model today predicts that you have a twin in a galaxy about 10 to the 1028 meters from here. This distance is so large that it is beyond astronomical, but that does not make your doppelgänger any less real." - Scientific American



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 7:07 am 
Hey YAY!! The sequel, finally....

And..Wow.. a great start, I actually expected you to make a season 7 story, because in S4-6 there is Tara in the show, and it wasn't all bad, was ist. So, next season wihout Tara would be season 7...



This first part nearly made me cry, Willow is so much grieving... *sigh* but I know you will make it all better... This will be a much more better season 7 than that one on screen.



I trust you; don't disappoint me *eg*



Insanity

"Nobody messes with my girl!"Tara, Bargaining



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 7:41 am 
One comment then the next part:



Insanity - Finally? It took about a week? Ok, I’m just happy that it is so eagerly awaited. Makes me feel good. Yes with the grieving and it will get better but another dark one is coming up…





Title – Paths Diverged/Divulged Part 2– Desperation



Author– JustSkipit - Debra



Spoilers–Season 6



Rating– Part 2 - PG



Disclaimer – Guess what, I don’t own W&T, Buffy or the rest of the BtVS crew. Any similarity to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental and fortunate.



Notes and Thanks Thanks to DMW for help on the HTML formatting and to Romy and Susan for hosting my work.



Thoughts in italics!



Flashbacks and dreams indented



Willow lay in the darkness of her room. Not her old room. Not Tara’s room. This was a room Tara had never slept in. Willow slept in Buffy’s old room now and Buffy slept in their room. How could Willow possibly ever sleep in that room again? How could she go in that room again? She hadn’t been in that space since that day. Every time she passed even the doorway she could hear Tara’s last words, “your shirt?” and see the stain appearing on her chest as her body fell toward the floor.



And how could she possibly sleep? She remembered telling Joyce once that she couldn’t sleep without Tara. They were visiting Sunnydale for Christmas break their senior year in high school and had just come out to the entire gang. Joyce asked them not to sleep together and Willow had used her persuasion (and babbling) skill to convince the woman to allow them to sleep in the same bed fully dressed and with the door open. How could she have known at the time that there would come a day in which she was presented with the horror of trying to sleep every night without her love?



And now: so many people were dead. Was it a mistake to come home to Sunnydale? Joyce had died not of supernatural causes but of natural. Buffy died saving the world although her friends brought her back. And now Tara. If we hadn’t come here, she would be fine. She would be alive and we’d be together. I thought choice was so important but it was the wrong choice. She berated herself. How could it ever be ok? The two women had decided together to attend UC Sunnydale so they could hone their magic and help the Scoobies in the fight against evil. Who could know that the biggest threat would come not from some super demon but from an angry, greedy, super nerd?



Unable to sleep Willow returned her mind to its favorite current pastime: obsessing in what if. Just as some people might sit and think about what they would do with a million dollars or unlimited power, Willow lay each night and thought about bringing Tara back. It was an exercise. A mantra almost. Every night a different plan for bringing the blonde witch back to life.



What if she was turned into a vampire? What if I had brought her back by Osiris? What if I raised her as a zombie? What if I raised her as we did Buffy? What if I wished her back? Each night the redhead lay in bed completing her mental exercise. She started with a new fantasy and carried it through from initial thought process to complete execution. What could go wrong? What materials would I need? What are the upsides? (always Tara alive and with me!) What are the downsides? (brain eating, evil and murderous, etc.). Her mind followed these paths until exhausted she finally slept a restless sleep filled with zombies, vampires, and demons.



And each morning she woke to memories of last night’s fantasy and nightmare. The balance of the joy of her fantasy and the terror of her nightmare determined if she acted upon it. And with what success? Osiris refused her call more than one time in the last three months.



Zombie Tara came straight for Revelo drive, stopping to attack a passerby in the street. The shouts reached the second floor of the Summers house prompting Buffy to run toward her former friend. Willow shouted before Buffy could reach the creature, tearing the picture in half rather than seeing the slayer destroy Tara’s decaying body.



Vampire Tara? Not an option since she died so quickly.



Wishes? Willow had tried twice now. The first ill-thought-out wish she phrased so poorly, “I wish that Tara wasn’t in front of the window when Warren shot the gun” that it only moved Tara’s location from their bedroom to the backyard where she was visiting with Buffy when she was fatally shot.



Willow thought out her second wish more carefully wishing that “Tara was at school when Warren came to the house.” But it seemed that the fates had something in for them as Tara was hit by a car crossing the street when she thought she heard someone calling her name. After that Anya refused to perform any more wishes as she concluded that Willow was not in fact attempting to exact any vengeance. She only wanted Tara back, which didn’t perform vengeance on anyone, certainly not anyone unfaithful. Finally she relented to allow Willow to wish the original death back so she could at least have the reality of holding Tara’s body as she died.



Eventually Willow’s mental review of her desperate actions since Tara’s death had lulled her to sleep, into a sleep filled with dreams of their years together. Of the love they found and nurtured through catastrophes and pain and joy. But each dream ended the same place: with Willow on the floor of their bedroom cradling Tara’s broken and lifeless body as Dawn and Buffy attempted to pull the two witches apart.



---



Willow woke to the still silence of mid-morning. Glancing at the clock and finding it not on the nightstand but the floor, she realized that she must have hit the snooze button and knocked the clock to the floor. Who cares? There’s nothing I have to do today. No where to be… Her schedule was completely flexible. Nothing to do. Nowhere to be. Only one stop to make and that stop was the same every day. Back to the stone. Back to the cemetery. It was the only place that mattered.



Forty-five minutes later she walked into the cemetery once again. This time she found an unexpected visitor as Buffy sat in front of Tara’s grave. “Hey?” Willow asked.



“Hey,” Buffy replied. As Willow leaned forward to place her stones on the gravestone and then kneeled to begin tracing the letters the slayer continued: “Will?” Knowing how Willow could become so entranced she waited for the redhead to look up. “It’s Wednesday.”



Willow looked at Buffy in neither surprise nor understanding. “Still comes after Tuesday right?” she questioned her best friend.



Buffy took a deep breath. She was worried about this but everyone agreed that she was doing the right thing. The night before Dawn, Buffy, Anya, and Xander had all met to discuss Willow’s progress. Although Anya refused to disclose much information, claiming demon/wisher confidentiality, all the Scoobies agreed that Willow needed help. “It’s Wednesday, August 7 Willow,” Buffy explained. Willow returned her gaze to the headstone without responding so Buffy continued, “you said that you needed three months.”



“It’s not long enough,” Willow whispered through her tears.



Taking her hand Buffy agreed, “I know it’s not, but you have our help. And you and I will make it through.”



“I can’t do it,” Willow cried.



“I’ll help you Will.” As she held her friend, Buffy whispered, “we’ll stay here a little while and then go start ok?” Finally the redhead nodded. She wanted to be able to do this. To make it through but it was just so hard.



After a long time Willow and Buffy walked back to the house. “Do you want to eat first?” the slayer offered. Willow shook her head refusing the offer. She was completely convinced that any food she might eat would be wasted so why even try? Slowly they walked up the stairs.



At the doorway to Buffy’s new room, the room that had been Tara and Willow’s and before that Joyce’s, Willow stopped and turned her back. Buffy silently moved into the room before emerging with an armful of clothes from the wardrobe. Moving into Dawn’s room she set the clothes on the teenager’s bed. The group had agreed that this would be the easiest way, that if Willow became overwhelmed she could still retreat to her own room with Tara’s belongings in Dawn’s room. Boxes stood ready against the wall.



Willow nodded as the slayer laid the clothes on the bed and began holding up each piece one by one as she waited for a sign from the redhead. Most of the clothes she knew were Tara’s but some she needed to check. Sometimes the wacky wardrobes of the two girls seemed to overlap and the slayer couldn’t keep it straight. Although honestly she couldn’t understand why the blonde witch ever wore those weird skirts and shirts when she looked so good in jeans and boots. Not that I was staring at her ass Buffy quickly thought as soon as she wondered about Tara’s clothing choices. She mollified herself by remembering the look that had frequently crossed Willow’s face as she took in the sight of her lover dressed in riding clothes. And the sounds. Even without slayer hearing, Buffy had heard the two women together enough times to know that Willow appreciated the way her girlfriend looked. Shit Buffy she thought Focus on this! Get your filthy mind off of Willow and Tara’s sex life, or former sex life. The final addendum pretty much returned Buffy to a more pensive frame of mind. She held up another piece of clothing as Willow nodded toward the box that was quickly filling with Tara’s belongings.



The afternoon was like slow torture for Willow. She remembered when Giles had made the comment that Angelus had tortured him for hours and for pleasure. That was what the afternoon was. Not pleasure though: pain. Hours and pain. Each item that Buffy held up made the redhead remember her lover in that outfit. Some of them elicited memories of hundreds of days. Some she allowed Buffy to put in the box while others she reached out for and rubbed to her face, hungry for the scent of her lover. That scent had been fading from her life and her memory. In the days after Tara’s death, she smelled her everywhere. Willow had always reveled in the essence of their lovemaking remaining on her fingers for hours or days afterwards. But it faded so quickly…



And then it started to fade from other things: their bedclothes, stuffed animals, Tara’s clothing. And now, just three months later, she hungrily snorted each piece of clothing to try and drain any last smell from it. To remind her nose and her mind of the scent of her soul mate. Willow’s tears fell throughout the afternoon, never in an overwhelming breakdown but a constant rain until she thought she must be empty.



As Dawn entered her room after school Willow looked up to note that the afternoon was nearly gone and so was her Tara. The teenager didn’t speak but moved behind her friend and gathered her in a hug. Willow didn’t think about it: she just allowed her body to rest against Dawn’s comforting hug as she gave in to her emotional exhaustion.



Hours later Willow woke panicked, as she looked around unable to place herself. “Shhhh,” Dawn whispered, “you’re in my room with me. Buffy went to patrol. She left dinner. Can you eat?”



Willow nodded as she rose from the bed. “Thanks Dawn,” she spoke quietly. Dawn allowed the witch to wash her face before coming down stairs and eating the fried chicken Buffy had left on the counter. Knowing that the redhead was a “breast gal” Dawn served her those pieces and took two legs for herself.



The two ate slowly in silence. Finally Dawn spoke: “Do you want to finish?” Willow swallowed down the lump in her throat and the threat of her food returning as she nodded. The two girls made their way back to Dawn’s room and Dawn followed Buffy’s earlier path retrieving drawers from Tara’s dressing table and bringing them to her room.



The two girls worked in relative silence as Dawn held up each item before placing it in a box. Some items Willow took from the youngster, smelling it or running her hand along the blond hair caught in the comb or barrette. “Hey, what’s this?” Dawn questioned as she pulled an envelope from the bottom of one drawer. She handed the envelope over to the witch who looked at it for moment before placing the item on her lap.



The envelope was sealed with the words “Tara Too” written across it. Willow pressed the item through the paper as she tried to remember the reason for the envelope. Then she remembered.



Tara sank tiredly into Willow’s desk chair as she sighed. “This has b-b-been a strange day,” she repeated.



Willow sat down on the bed as she asked, “can you tell me about it?” This was so strange. Here she was in a room with the woman she loved and she felt like she couldn’t even touch her. It was obvious that Tara was largely uncomfortable with the redhead although she had agreed to come in the room and talk to her. That was something at least. In addition to looking at the floor rather than at Willow, she was continually playing with her hair band. She kept taking it off and putting it back on. The redhead recognized it as one that Tara and her mother had made when she was younger. Perhaps Anya had cast some kind of spell on her as they were leaving. No, that couldn’t be. Tara had seemed fine until Willow had gone to the computer lab.




Tara and Willow had accidentally brought their alter-egos from another dimension to their reality. While Willow’s other self was a vampire who stayed in Sunnydale, Tara’s other self was a student like themselves. The morning after returning the confused girl to her own reality Willow had found the hair band on the floor of her room. At first she thought it was Tara’s but her girlfriend had shown that she still had her own band and they concluded that the visiting girl must have dropped it when she and Willow went to Michelle’s room. Unwilling to destroy or discard something that Tara’s mother had made Willow had sealed it in the envelope and forgotten about the item until now. Setting it aside, she indicated to Dawn that she was ready to continue going through the drawers.



Near midnight Dawn pulled the covers over Willow. The redhead mumbled as sleepy and exhausted “thank you” as Dawn returned to her room to wait for Buffy to get home. She knew that the slayer would be happy that she made such good progress. Tomorrow Xander had promised to come early in the morning and take away the boxes before Willow awoke.







---"The simplest and most popular cosmological model today predicts that you have a twin in a galaxy about 10 to the 1028 meters from here. This distance is so large that it is beyond astronomical, but that does not make your doppelgänger any less real." - Scientific American



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 Post subject: re: update
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 8:53 am 
Great update! It's hard to see Willow in so much pain, but I have faith that you'll take care of our girls. I look forward to the next update! (When do you think we'll be seeing Tara again? *Hopeful*)



Kita :eek

----------------------------

I won't be held responsible she fell in love in the first place.



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 9:15 am 
ok... this story might be a sequel to "Y'all" but it's most definitly different. I suppose that fits with the season handled in them :-).



It does feel a bit strange to have a four year gap in a story-verse. Will take some more parts for me to see how the scoobies got through your season6. Having viewed/read most of TV-season7 I can confidently say that you'll make a better one, trust me :D



DoppelTara ("Tara Too"), hmm... why do I have the feeling finding that hairband is significant ? DoppelTara has had a very different life though, it's like she's an exact fitting replacement for Willow's Tara. Maybe DoppelTara found love in her life as well (she had four years to look) and is happy, I sure hope she's happy. I remember feeling sad for her when she went back.



About Warren, they do have the death penalty in California I hope ? No way that mr. UberNerd is going to wriggle his way out of a murder-1 and attempted murder, nope. I don't really about Rack, he's a sleazy dealer sure but other then that not too interesting.



I like Buffy and Dawn being all supportive here, I missed that after season5. Does Willow have much contact with Tara's familly any more ? I figured that Tara's aunt would be a good teacher for Willow, apearantly that went well.



Too bad we missed _New Moon Rising_ and parts of _The Gift_ from DebraVerse. NMR is my favourite episode and I simply adore the "she's with me" line in _The Gift_ and the 'you found me' part of course :D .



That only thing that struck me as silly is setting an exact date as to when to sort out Tara's clothing. There's no way to tell when you'll be able to deal with such things, ah well....



Grimmy :wave

--

She(Tara) knew that she was Willow too. If she knew that then why hadn't Willow herself? That wasn't fair. She was Willow. she should have known that first. -- Willow in _Sidestep Chronicle_ (part 80)



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 Post subject: hmm
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 10:28 am 
I'm very interested to see where this story is headed. it's a remarkable piece already and I can't wait for the update.



much love,

BindingWiccan:glasses



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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 12:45 pm 
I think what I like most about this beginning is just where you've chosen to start it. And when. Most writers take the plot of going from good to bad, solving the mystery; killing the demon; averting the Apocalyse, and then resolving the story with an upturn into happiness at the end. What I like about this story is that you've not only chosen to begin the story in a distinct trough, emotionally, but you've also taken readers to the deepest, darkest place you possibly could. And I think what works is that it's difficult for anyone to see a way out of it that's plausible. I like the structuring precisely because of that, though, as you're setting yourself a real challenge with this. Congratulations for wanting to write something that doesn't follow a lot of fanfic canonical structuring.



I also like your contemplative Willow; the way she lies in bed racking her brain in an attempt to find a world where Tara might return to her. The whole notion of playing "what if" is something that I'm sure we can all relate to; the idea of having been offered a "getout" clause. Of course, you don't let Willow off so easily. And, as with Alyson's superb acting, I think that, in the hands of a gifted and confident writer, Willow's character comes alive so much more. It's not surface detail that's important here, it's the inner turmoil that Willow's feeling, and her almost panicked nature at the grave, when Buffy urges her to move on. It could be three months, three years, or three decades, but I know that you communicated to me a Willow that would never move on from Tara's death. And that in itself is another one of the sticking points.



Yes, it's dark. And yes, it's angst-ridden. But it's also intriguing and cleverly crafted so that we're not sure how, or why, or when, Willow will bring Tara back. All we're sure about is that she will. Because she has to.



Thanks so much for this. I'll certainly continue reading to see where you choose to take it in future updates. :)



"To make you a vampire they have to suck your cheese. And then you have to suck their cheese. It's like a whole big cheese thing." ~ Welcome To The Cheesemouth



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 Post subject: Re: re: update
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 1:38 pm 
Hmm.. I think..maybe *ggg*

that is a really good idea *g* the other Tara..

Yes, I can handle that...



And.. was it really only a week untill the sequel? For me it seemed much longer...



Insanity

"Nobody messes with my girl!"Tara, Bargaining



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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 1:41 pm 
Beautiful update. Touching, painful, and just wonderful in its poignancy. Ruth explains so well what I like about this story in her feedback, much better than I did in my post about your last chapter. The way you've chosen to begin this story makes it so much more than a sequel, and it offers the potential for a greater depth of feeling in its darkness as more than enough compensation for not having the light, sweet mood of your previous story.



I'm intrigued the possessions remaining from alternate Tara. This appearance combined with the chapters you mention in "About this Story" and Willow's failed wishes have convinced me that she's going to be important in this story one way or another. There are more subtle possibilities than bringing alternate Tara into our Sunnydale though, so I'm not sure which direction you'll go in yet.



Like Grimmy, I'm interested in seeing how some of the episodes turned out differently, but if there are significant and interesting differences, that's what flashbacks are for, right?

--

"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."



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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 5:05 pm 
This update brings out in me so many emotions, some of which I can't name. I actually read it as soon as you posted, but it shook me so I didn't leave feedback right away. I agree on everything Ruth and DMW said and when my head will start working again, I'll leave something that makes sense. Great job and can't wait for more.

---------



"See? I've mastered this tact crap." Anya in Tears Of The Goddess by Lisa



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 Post subject: Re: hmm
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 8:46 pm 
See? This is why a lot of us thought the girls should stay in Texas. So Willow has tried to bring her back a few times eh? As you said, fate must have had it in for Tara.



How did Tara's family take the news, or are you getting to this in a later update?



Phew! :spin This is a difficult read, and I will try to remain patient until things get better.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.


Tara: Willow, I got so lost.

Willow: I found you. I will always find you.


Edited by: The Rose24  at: 7/12/03 8:20 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2003 10:48 pm 
WHIPLASH!



To go from the relatively upbeat (if philosophically provocative) story in Y'All to this makes me feel a bit like Regan in the Exorcist (sans the expletives and projectile soup).



Good word: trepidation. It and I met up at your "Season Reviews" and shared a quick lager. For me the most unsettling and head-scratchiest: That Super-Xander Comes to Save the Day! (really like Xander - hated the yellow crayon) and that there was a Rack to spare. I thought your Willow never went that far. Enlighten me Guru.



A Willow who acknowledges the profound loss of her soulmate and mourns? Way to stretch the bounds of credulity. People don't really *ACT* like that do they? I've only got Joss and ME to go by so...;)



Tracing the name on the stone. Why does this bring a bizarre transcendental peace? I don't know but it does. Maybe you know. You wrote it like you do.



Anyone who has been left with the task of disposing of a deceased's personal effects knows why I turned away from this for a while. I agree that 3 days or 3 months or 3 years cannot mitigate.



Like those before me I wasn't expecting your U-Turn. Thankfully I got a lil' internal/infernal Buffy dialog to lighten the load.:) Is it a Becca/Dawn thing? A Doppleganger thing? Given this new penchant for turning worlds on their heads and making them dance I can't know. May be something altogether different.:glasses



I'll check back in as my heart allows. I trust you Debra. It's just that if the Path gets too rocky I might have to go a little slower that's all.



Thanks for the power of your words~Suse

"Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own." ~ Robert Heinlein ('Stranger in a Strange Land')



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 Post subject: Re: Paths Diverged/Divulged
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:07 am 
That was a great update in a sad kind of way. :sob



It seems that the Willow in your version is a lot more persistent than the one on the show.



It's a pity that Willow tore up the photo after raising Tara as a zombie since that might have been interesting



Willow: Hi I'm Willow and this is my wife, Tara



Tara: Brains.



Guest: she's biting me.



Willow: That just means that she likes you.



Tara: Brains!



I'm looking forward to reading more.



I understand, you should be with the person you l-love


I am




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