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

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 Post subject: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:30 pm 
Author: Onyxsundrops

Title: Caged Angels

Rating: R

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters. Other characters are my own.

Feedback: Yes, please.

Summary: A novice Doctor seeks to change the world starting with one patient at a time. But what happens when a few simple visits turn into more than she bargained for.

Note: I am not sure if the places I mention in this story are actual hospitals, etc. They are fictional in my mind and it is purely coincidental if they exist.

Note2: I've decided to post this here even though I have other fics on this board. I'm not entirely sure if there's a limit to the number of stories one author can have, but if anyone has any problems please email me.



~~



“Angels whisper so the Devil won’t hear them.”



“Mocking me.”



“Mocking me.”



“Angels whis....”



Eyes downcast, the rocking figure in the corner quieted upon feeling another presence.



The padded door swung open with a soft thud, washing the white room with more blinding light. The woman standing just beyond the doorway turned back to quietly whisper to the tall, balky man beside her. With a stiff nod, the man exited, closing the door behind himself.



Alone with the new presence, the shaking body uncurled enough to stretch an aching leg but kept her eyes on the pillowed floor.



The woman stood against the door, leaning back into the softness as she read over her notes. Thoughts confirmed, she looked across to the hunched figure in the corner, who by now had started to mutter softly under her breath.



The woman, dressed in a white coat, cleared her throat in hopes that the small sound would dispel any threat the figure might be sensing. The muttering stopped and with a satisfied smile, the white clad woman stepped further away from the door, cautious of her movements.



“Hello,” she spoke as she drew closer, “I’m.....”



“Shhh,” the figure loudly interrupted any further words. “Angels whisper so the Devil won’t hear them.” The crouched body resumed rocking and pressed her head into the padded wall in hopes of meshing with the scratchy fabric. “Mocking me.” The voice continued, lessening in intensity as the chant lowered to a whisper.



Startled by interruption, the woman stopped a few inches from the door and looked back through the thick glass cut into the door. Seeing the tall man who had accompanied her, a brief feeling of relief washed over her. After all, it was her first real assignment and although she had gone against her mentor’s advice, she chose this specific patient for her first analysis. It wouldn’t look good on her report if she were attacked on her first day on the job. Not only would it not help the patient, but it would be a damper on her own position and show her failure to communicate with her subject.



“There are no Angels here.” The words left her mouth before she knew it. She paused when the shaking head stopped and turned in her direction.



“Devils?” The figure asked, refusing to meet the eyes that were now fixed on her.



“No. No Devils.” The woman said, deciding to stay within the patients chain of thought.



“Mocking me.” The words were nearly screamed. “Mocking me.” The angered voice echoed against the thick walls. Rebounding back into a dreamy state of mind, the figure once again turned away from the woman.



Giving a frustrated sigh, the woman ran fingers through her hair, snagging when she reached the French bun.



“Everything okay in here, ma’am?” When had the door opened? The orderly stood in the doorway, hand on his plastic baton.



“Yes... yes, it’s fine. I’m fine.” The last words were more to convince herself. Questioning eyes glanced back into the corner, where the figure disappeared back into herself. “Anything else?” She looked over her shoulder, curious to know why the man hadn’t left yet and why he was staring at her patient.



“Oh, huh,” his eyes quickly darted from the hunched woman. “You have a visitor.”



“Who?” None of her colleagues knew she was here. What if ...



“He wouldn’t give me his name, ma’am.” Looking guilty, the orderly shifted from foot to foot, eager to be out of the presence of both women.



Sighing once more, the woman cast a final glance to the patient and followed the nervous man down the hall.



At once, she recognized the gentleman sitting cross-legged at the large desk and prepared to look as less hostile as possible.



“What in God’s name do you think you are doing?” Setting aside his formalities, the older man’s eyes narrowed as he regarded his protege. He held up his hand before she could answer. “This is not your own playground and you are not to experiment. These patients have real problems and are in desperate need of real treatment. You are an amateur to the field, and I will not have you overstepping my authority. I specifically told you to stay away from Pines View, and yet here you are. Parading as if you were Freud.”



“But-.”



“No.” Gathering his briefcase, he stood, looming disapprovingly over the shorter doctor. “That young girl is fragile, she does not need you playing mind games with her.”



“Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?” She retorted, unable to control her rising temper.



Choosing to ignore her outburst, he moved toward the door. “Get your things. We’re leaving.”



“Giles, I think I can help her.” The pleading tone of her voice made the older man pause at the open door. “Just give me a chance. Please.” Her mentor’s back remained toward her, but she was glad that he stopped, possibly to consider her plea.



“Doctor Rosenberg, this is not a game,” Rupert Giles’ tone softened. “You are not ready. Now put on your coat, it’s chilly outside.” He silently admonished the fatherly tone he took. Willow Rosenberg was his best student, and in some way, like a daughter to him.



Disgruntled, Willow snatched her coat from the rack and stormed through the door. Unaware to Giles, the young doctor had already slipped a copy of the patient’s file between a stack of papers in her shoulder bag.



Saddened eyes watched her go. If there was anything Rupert Giles was sure about, it was that Willow Rosenberg never gave in easily. He would have to make it clear to both the hospital and his student that she would not be allowed back into Pines View. Softly, he stepped into the hall and closed the door behind himself.



Willow impatiently argued with the young woman who stood behind a glass window. It was protocol to turn in ones identification card when visiting the hospital, and the young officer was clearly nervous as she tried to find the doctor’s form.



Giles unfastened his temporary badge and stepped to the window opposite Willow’s. It didn’t help Dr. Rosenberg’s mood that he received his card before she did.



“Willow, I,” Giles paused, regarding the woman with a mixture of sorrow and unrelenting professionalism.



“Don’t, okay. You don’t want me to come. I won’t come. There, it’s settled.” She retrieved her card and hurried through the security door.



A pair of eyes watched them go through a thick sheet of glass.



Enduring the ache in her tiptoes, the patient’s curious gaze continued watching until both people had completely disappeared.



“Angels whisper so the Devil won’t hear them.” Her breath fogged up the glass. An orderly tapped his baton on the glass and the figure shrank back, scurrying quickly to the corner. Rocking steadily, the young woman continued her mantra. They were the only words anybody who has ever visited her heard. The muttering resumed as she drew back into herself.



~~



Willow sped home, cursing under her breath. Amateur. Well how was she supposed to move up in her field if she was never given the opportunity. She shifted her automobile into another gear and passed several cars trying to turn. The sour pressure of tears built up and she resisted the urge to cry in frustration.



Parked and fuming, Dr. Rosenberg walked briskly up the path until she reached the appropriate door. Unlocking the door with her key, Willow swung the door open and slammed it shut once she’d entered.



Robin Hawthorne carefully regarded her roommate from her position on the dark velvet couch in the living room. The woman’s red hair was neatly packed into a bun and at 5'4 and (she didn’t want to guess her friend’s weight for fear that Willow would read her mind and throttle her) slim, Willow Rosenberg was beautiful. However, at the moment, her usually dark green eyes were ablaze, signaling for Robin to proceed with caution.



“So I guess it didn’t go well,” she watched for flying objects.



“Did you tell him?” The accusation caught Robin off-guard. She had known Willow since childhood and seldom had she ever seen her so upset.



Robin’s black hair swung wildly as she shook her head “no.”



“Then how else would he have known? I sure as hell didn’t mention it. And you were the only other person that knew I was going there.”



“Well you are sort of predicable, maybe he already knew you would try it.” Robin gave the best explanation that came to mind.



Willow frowned but couldn’t argue the statement. “I just don’t understand it. Why doesn’t he want me there? I’ve had internships at three different hospitals in this city, and still I can’t go to Pines View. I’m a grown woman and I’m listening to him like I’m asking permission to go to the local sock-hop.”



“Why don’t you go back to one of the other hospitals? My cousin, you remember Anya, right? Well, she works over at Riverside, and she told me that they get new patients every day. Although some of them are still on the wait-list, you’ll be able to have your pick of fresh loonies.” Not seeing any change in Willow’s demeanor and seeing the evil squint she often got, Robin backpedaled. “Kidding. Only kidding.”



“I don’t want to go anywhere else. And besides, your cousin shouldn’t be on the payroll, she should be on that waiting-list.” Willow allowed herself a small smile.



“However true that may be, it is still a job, Willow. What’s so special about this place anyway?”



“I... I know I can make a difference, that’s all.” Aware of how naive she sounded, the redhead finally took a seat across from her roommate. Dr. Rosenberg thought quietly, frowning ever so often before her face relaxed.



“You’re going back, aren’t you?” Even without her skills as a rookie Prosecutor, Robin was able to read the other woman’s expression. Willow had the decency to look somewhat guilty. “See, predictable.” Raising her once forgotten beer to her lips, she smiled before taking a sip. “How do you plan on getting past Giles?”



“Easy, I’ll just wait it out for a few days. Give him time to think I’ve learned my lesson, and also give the hospital some time to forget that my name’s on the restriction sheet, and then I make my move.” Willow nodded in triumph.



“You sound as if you’re going to rob the place.” Robin finished her beverage with a couple of swallows. Watching her friend, her tone grew a little more serious. “Just be careful, okay? Don’t do anything rash, and please... please, don’t get in over your head. I know, I know,” she stopped her roommate from speaking, “humor me, okay. If it gets so that you can’t handle it, back out. No one will think less of you, especially me. You’re allowed to be wrong, Willow. Remember that.”



After a moment to consider the words, the redhead nodded.



“Now, go plan your heist and let me get back to my story.” The dark-haired woman grabbed the remote.



“I can’t believe you still record those silly shows,” Willow shook her head when Robin merely grunted, already too engrossed in the never-ending plot of her favorite daytime show.



Once in her room, Willow opened the balcony window and breathed in the familiar scent of Seattle rain and trees before stepping away and closing the window. The redhead was pondering the idea of a shower, a quick dinner and sleep when she suddenly remembered the file in her bag.



Retrieving the worn folder, the doctor kicked her shoes off and comfortably settled onto her bed. A collection of different photos fell into her lap once she opened the file. Some were obviously taken years ago and others were more recent, but they all contained the same face. Unsmiling or smiling, the features hardly changed although the subject’s age had.



Dr. Rosenberg spent the remainder of the night reading and taking notes before sleep overcame her. Her mind was filled with every incident and detail of the patient’s life for the past eight years. She would do it. She would do it because she had something to prove, not only to Giles and her colleagues but to herself as well.



~~



Days passed both slowly and quickly, and Willow Rosenberg found herself standing outside the gates to the Pines View Psychiatric Hospital. Slipping on her white medical coat and checking her appearance in the window’s reflection, the doctor confidently entered the building.



With graceful steps, she arrived at the security checkpoint, looking as if she not only belonged but could get any one of the officers fired with a quick word. Only after she had received her badge and was out of the officers’ earshot, did she let her facade drop. The orderly beside her didn’t show any signs that he noticed the change, and continued leading her down the corridor.



“Right this way, Doctor.” He gestured toward the door at the very end of the hall. “She’s been behaving well today. No sudden outburst, just sits in her corner. I think she’s getting better.” The orderly realized that he was giving a doctor his unprofessional opinion and awkwardly unlocked the door.



Willow disregarded the man’s blunder and stepped within the room. “I’ll call when I’m finished.” Her tone wasn’t strict, but dismissing. As a Doctor’s should be, or so she had been taught. Unlike last week when she had heard the quiet voice whispering in the corner, the room was silent other than the soft rustle of shifting cotton against the padded wall.



“Hello, Ms. Maclay. I’m Dr. Rosenberg.” The redhead rushed out, deciding to proceed differently, and not wanting to be interrupted again. Absentmindedly, she wished that she had used the woman’s first name to make the visit more personal, but shook off the inner reproach. Moving away from the door, more specifically the glass window, Willow hesitated. She didn’t want to move closer and startle the young woman who had clearly sunk deeper into the wall, but she did not want to leave herself open to be viewed as the inexperienced doctor she was.



“How are you today?” She probed for a response. Any response that would tell Willow she wasn’t wasting her time. A quick glance over her notes told the doctor how Tara Maclay had been every day for the past eight years, but Willow wanted to hear her patient speak. Even a simple “screw you” (which she received more than enough of as an intern) would be better than silence. But the silence reminded Willow of her reason for being there.



Stepping to her right, to the corner opposite the unresponsive figure, Dr. Rosenberg crouched down until she, too, was sitting on the padded floor. Legs folded over each other in a casual position, the redhead looked over to the young woman.



“Angels whisper so the Devil won’t hear them.” The soft muttering began and Tara squeezed deeper into the padding.



“Tell me about the Angels, Tara.” Willow chose a topic that she thought would interest the blonde-haired form curved into the corner.



Tara stopped rocking and half faced the doctor, but her eyes remained unseen as the curtain of blonde hair covered the front of her face.



“Are the Angels here, Tara? Can you hear them?” Leaning a little closer, Willow gently inquired. She watched as Tara’s mouth opened, her lip quivering, but saying nothing. “Can you see them, Tara?”



“Devils!” The blonde growled, making Willow jump.



Controlling her rapid heartbeat, Willow gripped her clipboard in frustration. Patience. You’re allowed to be wrong, Willow. Her friend’s voice echoed in her mind. What if she had been wrong and Giles had been right all along? She leaned her head back, eyes cast toward the bright lights of the ceiling.



Taking a steady breath, the doctor seemed to temporarily banish her inner turmoil. After twenty-minutes of unanswered questions and repeated outbursts, the redheaded doctor ended the session. Hopelessly, she gathered what little belongings she’d brought and called for the orderly.



Willow’s boots clacked against the hard, shiny floor of the hallway. What was she doing wrong? Dazed, she studied the white tile. Maybe she had only been fooling herself to believe she could make a difference. Fresh out of grad-school and bordering on her twenty-ninth birthday, she expected to have achieved more. Sure there was always less fortunate people, but Willow Rosenberg had never failed at anything. Overachiever for years, she looked forward to a challenge. So why was this assignment wearing so much on her self-esteem?



Past the security checkpoint and outside the doors before she let go of her daydream, Willow lowered herself on the curb. With her arms thrown over her knees, the doctor sat and watched people walk by. The outpatients and well-behaved patients were easily recognizable, clad in their usual white and accompanied by a nurse or orderly.



Doctors, nurses, and security officers stood near the front door smoking cigarettes and chatting about their lives or lack there of.



A male patient swayed by and dropped the miniature foam football he was holding. The toy rolled, hitting Willow’s foot before stopping in front of her dark boot. Distraught, the older man began to wail, squeezing his empty fingers together like a child asking for a bottle.



Hurriedly, Willow grabbed the football and handed it back to the man, immediately silencing his cries. She gave him a friendly smile as he cradled the toy in his arms. “There ya go. All better.”



“Too loud. Too loud.” He pressed a finger to his lips and shushed her. The nurse beside him began ushering him down the sidewalk, but the man had yet to remove his finger.



Willow frowned and watched them go. Angels whisper so the Devil won’t hear them. The now familiar words rang in her mind. Carefully pondering the phrase, an idea came to mind. She glanced at her watch, confirming that visitor hours would be over soon. Grabbing her belongings and sprinting toward her car, the redhead’s brain went into overdrive.



Tomorrow. Tomorrow, she would start over.



~~

Should I continue?















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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:48 pm 
You have certainly peaked my interest. What a fascinating premise for a story. Please continue!!!



I look forward to finding out more about Tara's past to bring her to this point in her life and also Willow's ability to help her, given her "amateur" status as a doctor.



The doctor/patient angle you've created also intrigues me. I'm curious how their relationship will unfold as the story continues.



Can't wait to see where this goes!



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 2:56 pm 
Hey, got my attention.. yes please continue.. sounds really interesting.. i want to know whats up with Tara..



-reds:willow



my banana dances for smut :banana

Tara in a wet shirt, Tara in a wet shirt. Tara in. A. Wet. Shirt. “Of course.”-Willow From Remember to Breath By Yellow Crayon



Now that just sucks- me



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:00 pm 
Wow.... This Is A Really Great Beginning! I Think The Idea Of It Is Absolutley Brilliant! I Can Tell This Is Gonna Be A Really Deep Story! But Wow, Great Idea. Im Already Hooked. :D

D2D





Dreams To Dream In The Dark Of The Night, When The World Goes Wrong, I Can Still Make It Right...- Dreams To Dream



Oh Now I Can Be Nurse Willow, Tara's Gonna Love That! - Willow In Chaos Bleeds



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:04 pm 
Definitely! You have to continue. This is a very interesting concept. I am curious to see what is "wrong" with Tara, but for some reason, I am thinking she is there on more of a misunderstanding. There is something more to her history than anyone understands. Willow never giving up the idea that she can help her is wonderful. I cannot wait to see how this develops. This more than makes up for the hold on the other fics. More soon, please!



~Mikaelah

That'll teach me to challenge her. ~Tara ... ~Something New by Ophelia11



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:47 pm 
onyx,



Another great story! I am hooked already. Please give us more as soon as possible!!



:peace s

-pipsberg



"We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep - it's as simple and ordinary as that."

Michael Cunningham, The Hours



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 5:02 pm 
Hell yes continue. This is off to a fascinating start. There's so many questions I wouldn't know where to start asking. You do an amazing job creating tension and atmosphere. I'm also dying to know what happened to Tara to put her in there, and to see how Willow reaches her.



Great job!

-Cameron



What should I be but just what I am? - Edna St.Vincent Millay



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 5:41 pm 
Yes you should continue!!:banana This is great.



I wonder what that saying that Tara was saying means and how Willow is going to help her.



More soon. Great job.





brittney







"Arn't you going to tell me to 'break a leg'?"

"Break 'em both." Amber Benson as Cheyenne in The Crush



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 7:00 pm 
oh my god you so have to continue this story!! you have definately peaked my interest as to why tara is in an institution and how willow and tara are going to establish the sort of relationship we see most often from them in such a setting. also, im definately curious about tara's mutterings. and then the other patient alluding to similar things...itll be interesting to see all of this tied together.

cant wait for more!



~mel:kdevil

'The Cat in the Hat' is fine, just not during sex.--Alyson Hannigan



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:58 pm 
This is an intriguing variation on the Willow/Tara meeting.

Tara locked up in the sort of psychiatric institution like in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

I'm waiting to see what the backstory of Tara is that led her to such a vegetative state, but given her male family members, they'd drive anyone to insanity.

Can Willow gain Tara's trust and through skin on skin contact, can she bring about the sparkage recognition factor?

:bigwave :peace



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 12:51 am 
Wow..amazing :heart ..Yes, please continue. Love sam xx

"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong. And those are the ones that change your life." - Jessie Sammler (Evan Rachel Wood)



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 2:31 am 


*closes mouth*



oh wow.....this is such a good opener! It's such an interestinfg story line! oh wow! WOW! I love it haahaha



If you don't keep going i'll cry...like....i'm not even joking! I can tell I'm going to get obsessed with this fic already...:blush baaah!







- Bellie :D

Forgive me love For loving you, Forgive my heart For needing you, Forgive my mind For wanting you … So much … Forgive me Love



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 3:47 am 
I'd love to see more of this story. I understand Willow's point of view exactly, who wouldn't want to try to help? Especially Tara, stuck in there with whatever's going on in her head... you just want to reach out and somehow make things better and bring a smile to her face. I'm guessing it'll be a hard road for all sorts of reasons, not least Willow having to maintain her professional perspective, but if anyone can do it... :)

Chris Cook

Through the Looking-glass

A Willow and Tara for every world.



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 3:52 am 




Bring it on Yvonne!



This fic has hooked me in good and propper, and wow, Tara is the patient, and Willow is gonna get to know her, and wow..... *wipes a tear*



You just keep pourin em' out dontcha? :D



Gotta update this soon pweese?! :aww



Stace xXx

"Left to the sight of the sky, in your arms I'm defined" -Juneau



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 2:49 pm 
Please keep going. I have so many questions about whats going on. I can't wait for the update:eatme





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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 5:18 pm 
Note: A special thanks to those who’ve encouraged me to go on. Thank you. And also, thank you to everyone for reading.



*Same disclaimers, etc apply*



Chapter Two



~~



Willow chewed on the plastic straw to her soft drink as her fingers busily typed on the keypad to her laptop. The old habit of chewing on straws or biting pencils had stuck with her since adolescence and the redhead saw no reason to rid herself of the custom.



File 738, Subject 45. The solid words and numbers were followed by a blinking cursor as the doctor stopped writing.



Tara R. Maclay

Age: 28

Admitted: October 8, 1996

Scheduled Release: October, 2011




Doctor Rosenberg frowned. Although it was common knowledge that some patients, those who show signs of improving, were often released, their specific date of discharge was never classified. Why on earth would there be a release date when it was clear that Tara Maclay showed no signs of improvement? It wasn’t completely rare that some Doctors set estimated times of recovery, but the years listed were too precise. Fifteen years. The young woman was scheduled to live fifteen years behind the padded walls of Pines View, having already served eight. The red-haired doctor shook her head. Psychiatric hospitals were not prisons, although they were alike on some levels, and Tara was not “serving time.”



There were reasons for Ms. Maclay’s admission. Willow put aside her scrutiny of the reason behind her patient’s date of discharge, and read over the terms regarding subject 45's entry into Pines View.



October 10, 1996:

No improvement. Patient often unresponsive and/or overly hostile.



October 11, 1996:

Patient shows signs of hysteria, sudden weight loss, fatigue
.



The next few entries were extremely alike and vague in detail. Skimming through the next couple of pages, Willow had yet to find any clues as why the patient was admitted. Beside her laptop, her pager buzzed and vibrated across her desk. Saving her notes, the redhead dialed the unidentified number and waited for the other line to pick up.



“Hello?” A crisp voice answered, obviously female and very young. Well, younger than Willow was anyway.



“Did someone page a Doctor Rosenberg from this number?” Willow heard the sound of muted voices.



“One moment.” Before Willow could ask who the number belonged to, a new voice came over the receiver.



“Rosenberg?”



“Doctor Rosenberg.” The young woman corrected. The owner of the new voice was older, male and held a slight accent. “How may I help you...,” she waited, but didn’t receive a name. Instead the older man went straight to the point.



“It is my understanding that you’ve recently visited Tara Maclay, a patient at Pines View Psychiatric Hospital. Is this correct?” His tone was clear and his words seemed carefully chosen.



“That is correct,” Willow detected something in his voice, but couldn’t place it.



“Are you Ms. Maclay’s assigned Psychiatrist?”



Suspicion. That’s what she sensed. “I don’t believe that is any of your business.” She answered, suddenly uncomfortable and defensive. “Who is this calling?”



“Merely a mutual friend, Ms. Rosenberg. Thank you for your time.” A steady dial tone rang in Willow’s ear before she closed her cellphone.



Bewildered, Willow redialed the number, blocking out her own telephone number in the process. The phone rang several times before cutting off. No voice mail or answering machine. She nipped on her phone’s plastic antenna, adding to the other teeth marks on the surface.



“Is there anything you won’t chew?” Leaning against the doorframe, Robin smiled at her roommate.



“Bad habit. I do it when I’m thinking,” Willow shrugged although she knew that Robin was already aware of her pattern.



“What are you working on?” Curious, yet unprying eyes glanced toward Willow’s laptop.



“My new case. My only case.” Willow answered, ruefully.



Knowing all too well about doctor/patient privilege, Robin didn’t probe further. “I’m about to go out for a few hours. Need anything?” After taking her friend’s request, the dark-haired woman smiled and left.



Alone once again, the doctor settled back into her chair and typed a command to get her computer out of standby mode. She flipped through the file on her desk and stopped at the patient’s history. The summary was brief. Second child to Donald and Elizabeth Maclay. Older brother, Donald Maclay Jr., also of the same parentage. No prior history of mental illness within immediate family. Mother deceased. Father and brother reside outside of Portland, Oregon. Contact information...



“Undisclosed.” Willow muttered. The file simply ended without a word about Donald Maclay Sr. or his son’s background, nothing other than the city they lived in. Reaching another dead end, the doctor closed the folder, saved her notes, and turned off her laptop with a low murmur of disappointment.



The reading glasses she often forgot to wear stooped low on the bridge of her nose. Vagueness, dead-ends and unidentified callers. There was obviously more to this case than a single woman wasting away less than thirty miles outside of Seattle. What she didn’t understand was why there wasn’t more information given about Tara Maclay’s condition. No specific diagnosis or forms of treatment listed. Nothing. Her notes revealed that her current patient’s previous doctor transferred out of state and his or her information was listed as private.



So who was responsible for Ms. Maclay’s care. Her recovery. People cannot just stick other human beings into an institution and forget about them. Or can they? If a hospital’s funding lessened over the years, it was easy to forget. To let people drift through the system until they are merely ghosts with assigned numbers.



It was plain to see that not many people knew about her patient. And those who did know, were either unlisted, uncaring, or cryptic. She thought about the call she received a little under an hour ago, and tried the number again. The result was the same, and subconsciously she wondered how the caller came across her pager number or how he knew she was at the hospital. Both were easily explainable. Willow was required to sign in whenever she visited a patient, no matter the hospital, and her pager number was readily available to anyone who has ever visited her website.



So far, Willow Rosenberg’s night had been full of questions. Some she could answer and others that left blanks and pointed to more questions. She rubbed some of the tension from her brow as the tiredness began to seep in and an hour later, she headed to bed.



~~



“We’ve been having some problems with the power unit,” a female nurse explained as she manually unlocked the normally automatic security door. “I guess that storm’s closer than we thought,” she chuckled and Willow offered a smile.



Wearing a light gray suit and lavender blouse, Dr. Rosenberg glided through the colorless hall alongside the chatting nurse.



“... but they never get it right,” the woman finished criticizing the television meteorologist. When they arrived outside the door, the nurse peeked through the glass and frowned.



“What?” Willow asked, noticing the strange expression.



“She’s gone.” Alarmed, the nurse yelled down the hall as she struggled to unlock the door.



“What?” The doctor repeated, panicking as she pressed her face close to the glass. The section of the room opposite the door was empty other than a mattress.



Two guards rushed down the hall while the door clicked open. Willow was the first to push her way through, scanning every inch of the room. Her face relaxed and she sighed in relief when she saw the figure pressed into the corner where she had sat the day before. Recognizing the event as a false alarm, the guards returned to their positions.



“Three years and I’ve never seen her move from that corner,” the confused nurse shook her head. “I’m very sorry for alarming you,” she apologized and moved to leave the room.



“Wait,” Willow glanced over toward the still body before turning back to the nurse. “You don’t have cameras in the rooms?” It was the first time she noticed the bare corners of the ceiling.



“Only at the checkpoint,” the nurse gestured back down the hall, “there are only two cameras on this floor. But there are no cameras in the rooms. The administrators thought it would give some of the patients a sense of privacy. Ha,” she snorted and excused herself.



Willow set her shoulder bag down and closed the door. “Hello, again.” Her friendly tone was meant to break some of the tension. “You gave us quite the scare,” the doctor smiled and rubbed her damp hands down her thighs.



Cradling her knees with pale arms, Tara remained quiet as the doctor continued.



“Do you remember me, Tara?” Willow asked in her normal volume then repeated the question a little lower, almost as a whisper. The blonde patient mumbled incoherently but her head turned a fraction toward the other woman. Suspicions confirmed, she continued speaking in a low tone. “I’m here to help you.” The doctor carefully lowered herself until she was sitting on her knees and looking across to Tara. “Do you want to be helped, Tara, because I want to help you.”



Willow knew that she was repeating herself, but she wanted to see if Tara understood was she was saying. She was hoping for more than simple head movement, but was happy to get even the smallest response.



“How about we start with something small. How’s that?” Most of her colleagues would frown upon personal interaction with patients, that is, sharing personal information. But Willow saw nothing wrong with stepping outside of normal doctor/patient communication.



“Well,” she started casually, “My first name is Willow, and I’m from a small town in California. So small, in fact, that it’s not even listed on the map. For years, I had to take the bus to the next county for school, which I hated because all the wealthier kids would make fun of my clothes. You’re from a small town, too, aren’t you, Tara?” She quietly regarded the blonde before continuing.



“I’m the only child, which has its perks, but growing up was sometimes lonely. Are you ever lonely?” She chose to ask a question after each sentence to possibly coax her patient out of quietness. “Well, luckily, I had my pet fish to keep me company. They weren’t much fun to play with, but I loved looking at them. Such pretty colors, Tara. I bet you like colors, don’t you?”



The doctor noticed that Tara’s shoulders seemed to slowly lose some of its tension. Voices could be heard in the hallway as the room became silent. Willow was usually the farthest person from being patient, but somehow she didn’t mind waiting.



Unfortunately, instead of Tara’s voice, the click of the door broke the silence. A middle-aged man entered carrying an oversized coat and plastic slippers.



“Oh,” he paused, clearly surprised, “I didn’t know she had a visitor.” His eyes instantly scanned the doctor’s temporary pass. “I could come back.” The orderly prepared to leave but stopped when Willow spoke.



“No, wait. Where were you going to take her?” Seeing the items within his arms, she curiously regarded the man.



“We usually take each patient out to the courtyard before dinner. Give them some fresh air, that sort of thing.” Willow glanced from the man over to Tara who had shifted a little from the wall.



“Every day?”



“Yes, ma’am.” The orderly nodded.



Looking back to her patient, the doctor nibbled on her lips. “Does she go... willingly?” A reddish-brown eyebrow rose when she glanced over her shoulder.



“Yes,” the response was brisk and slightly defensive.



Satisfied, Willow focused her attention on the blonde woman before her. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay Tara?” Unrushed, the doctor whispered another “goodbye” and exited into the hall. Moments later, the orderly and Tara emerged.



The blonde looked heartbreakingly pitiful in the oversized coat and floppy shoes. Her slender frame barely held the heavy material of the jacket.



Willow managed a smile and turned to leave, walking quickly down the main corridor. She resisted the urge to turn back several times and on the third time, finally looked back. What she saw stopped her mid-step and she would’ve stumbled if it hadn’t been for the person who bumped into her going the other way.



Tara’s eyes were trained on her, clearly visible despite the hair surrounding them on both sides. Unlike the patients she often oversaw as an intern, the blonde’s eyes weren’t unfocused. In fact, the doctor was startled by the clarity. She had expected to see wildness or eyes devoid of any life and completely lost.



Taking a second to make sure Tara was ready, the orderly ushered her down a side hallway, leaving Willow where she stood.



It was almost, well, almost as if an ordinary person had been staring back at her. The thought both puzzled and amazed her. Yes, there was definitely more to this case that met the eye, and Willow was determined to find out what it was.









Edited by: onyxsundrops at: 8/25/04 5:23 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 5:47 pm 
This is wonderful, I am completely sucked in! More please!!



:peace

-pipsberg



"We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep - it's as simple and ordinary as that."

Michael Cunningham, The Hours



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 5:50 pm 
Well Yvonne, first and foremost, you've got me thoroughly intrigued. I'm anxious to know what has happened to Tara - but also very thankful that Willow is on a mission to help her.



Yesterday when I read the first chapter I was apprehensive about Willow being a doctor and Tara a patient. Particularly since this is a story on Pens and that always means Willow and Tara will end up together (which is a good thing, mind you :p ) but um, isn't there some sort of a rule (unwritten or not) that states doctors shouldn't get involved with their patients?



That said, I'm heavily invested to see how you will solve that. And how you will introduce us to Tara. She seems so lost right now.



Your writing is wonderful and you build suspension and mystery with every word. I hope you see this through to the end :) - I know *knocks on wood* I will be there for the entire ride.

x Tinna Karen



"You're not gonna jokey-rhyme your way outta this one." - Willow in Pangs



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 6:41 pm 
Hmmm... and the plot thickens. For some reason, I suspect that Tara's father and brother have something to do with her being in the institution. Maybe saying when Tara lost her mother, she lost her mind so they would not have to deal with her. So many possibilities as to why she may be there. I cannot wait to how this all turns out. More soon!



~Mikaelah

That'll teach me to challenge her. ~Tara ... ~Something New by Ophelia11



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:08 pm 
Wow, this is really different, but I like different, so yay for this story! haha

Really though, I think this is going to be a really great story and I like how you're building things already :) So I hope there's an update soon!



Lata

Ashleigh

"...A-and I'm gonna make it up to you. Starting right now."

(Starts to smile)"Right now?"



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:14 pm 
Oh my god...The way you write is amazing. Everything is so descriptive. WOW!!! Great job, can't wait for the next update.

~Jamie

It hurts because you love me. -CE



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:32 pm 
wow....yet another wonderful update...i just love the way youre setting this story up...it definately peaks my interest...now what im wondering is 1) whats up with taras information...or lack thereof 2) is she faking the whole thing to maybe avoid her dad and brother?? cuz im thinking they had to have some involvement with her being locked up.



anyways....keep up the great work!



~mel:kdevil

'The Cat in the Hat' is fine, just not during sex.--Alyson Hannigan



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:50 pm 
That was great.





More soon, please.





brittney







"Arn't you going to tell mo to 'break a leg'?"

"Break 'em both." Amber Benson as Cheyenne in The Crush



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 7:51 pm 
I was so excited to see another chapter added to this story. Instead of answers, there seem to be more questions though. Tara's release date is a very interesting detail and I am very eager to find out more about how Tara ended up in the hospital in the first place. Another great chapter. Keep up the great work!



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:21 am 
Hmmm...Definently More Going On....Brilliant! I Am So Into This Story And Excited To Find Out Whats Gonna Hapen Next So Puleeaassee........ Update Soon? :flirt

D2D





Dreams To Dream In The Dark Of The Night, When The World Goes Wrong, I Can Still Make It Right...- Dreams To Dream



Oh Now I Can Be Nurse Willow, Tara's Gonna Love That! - Willow In Chaos Bleeds



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:02 am 
Very mysterious, I'm hooked :) Tara has clarity within her, yet I don't get the impression that she's 'just' faking her condition - she's in some sort of very difficult situation, coping as best she can. I wonder what's going on inside her mind? I'm thinking it's some sort of defensive behaviour, but I can't figure out the details. It seems like she's decided she can trust Willow to let her see something she keeps hidden from others. But why does she hide, and who from?



And yeah, I can see the doctor-patient relationship being a problem. But - I may be wrong - I'm under the impression that it only applies as long as they are doctor and patient. If Willow isn't Tara's doctor at some point in the future, there's no problem. But right now, it seems like Tara desperately needs Willow's doctor-y attention. As Willow's feelings develop, the crisis might be for her to convince herself that she *can* remain professional towards Tara, in spite of her feelings. After all, imagine how horrified Willow would be at the idea that she'd used her position of authority to encourage Tara's feelings for her. Yet I can't see her stepping back and leaving Tara's care in someone else's hands - it'll be a tricky, difficult situation for her.

Chris Cook

Through the Looking-glass

A Willow and Tara for every world.



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:15 am 
This is so great. I love it. :heart . I love the way Tara is written and the way Willow is responding to her, I hope Tara can trust her enough to open up. Love Sam xx

"Sometimes things happen between people that you don't really expect. And sometimes the things that are important are the ones that seem the weirdest or the most wrong. And those are the ones that change your life." - Jessie Sammler (Evan Rachel Wood)



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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 11:09 am 
I think Tara might be faking, as well...:hmm

I really like this story, altough it gives me the creeps. When Tara stared at Willow *shudder*

but please continue! I need my daily shudders :lol

Can`t we not suck anymore?! Ellen DeGeneres

Edited by: effrena at: 8/26/04 11:10 am


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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:07 pm 
Sorry, no update tonight. But I’ll have one soon. Anyway, thanks to everyone for reading/replying.



Pipsberg: Hey, thank you for reading. I hope you continue to enjoy the story.



TinnaKaren: I understand your apprehension about the doctor/patient angle of the story and yes, I believe there are rules against that sort of personal involvement. With this story, it’ll basically just be that. Patient/Doctor. (At least for the time being). Feelings will evolve as time goes on, but right now the relationship is strictly professional in Willow’s mind. As for Tara, I’ll try to get into her mind in the next update although it might be a bit choppy. Thanks for reading, and I also hope that you’re there for the entire ride.



Mikaelah Braenna: Hmm, Tara’s brother and father being involved? I’m that obvious, aren’t I? The father/brother angle is important but I don’t think it’s what you’re thinking. (Or so I hope not). Thanks.



VixenyTarasHot: Thank you for the comments.



CEsgirls13: Thanks a bunch for reading.



Alysagoddess85: 1.) The questions about Tara’s information will be answered soon. 2.) Is she faking it? Well, I can’t answer that, but it’ll also be resolved soon. Thanks.



Amazonaa: Hey, thank you for reading.



Ophelia11: There’s a huge question mark behind Tara’s release date (both because of the number of years, and because it exists in the first place.) You’ll find out how Tara ended up in the institution later in the story. Thank you.



DreamsToDream: Hi, thank you for the comments. I’m happy to know that you like it.



Artemis: Hey, in the next update I was going to possibly get into Tara’s mind, although I’m not sure on how deep I should go, because I don’t want to give too much away. As for the doctor/patient relationships, as I’ve said to TinnaKaren- it’ll be professional for now. However, there will be a point in the story where Willow might have to back away (or feel that she needs to) in order to not play on Tara’s vulnerability or state of mind. Thank you for reading.



Sam Darls: Hi, thank you Sam.



Effrena: Whether Tara is faking or not will be resolved later. Also, I wasn’t going for the shudder factor, but I’m glad you got your fix for the day. If all goes well, I think you’ll continue to get the creeps as the story goes on.



Thanks again.



Yvonne:peace





Edited by: onyxsundrops at: 8/26/04 3:12 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Caged Angels
PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 12:46 pm 
Hooookay so i'm abit late on the whole response thing, but this truly is a great fic so far, it has my undivided attention. *sits obediently*



Ciao for now,



Stace xXx

"Left to the sight of the sky, in your arms I'm defined" -Juneau



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