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

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 Post subject: ...
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2002 7:28 pm 
my darling this is brilliant. just loving and awaiting the updates.



I like the buffy/angel dashing mysterious person helping out and i lol when willow did the twirl with her cloak. i love them casting together to bring out the sun when willow's in such a dark state still. but she's coming out of it, right?! lol. precious willowy thoughts make up for all her badassedness. as if that's a word.



tara thinking of the reasons behionds will's mystery and how sad the last thought is the right one. interesting that giles didn't menitone the last time this happened was due to an eclipse, he's still the same old giles right? Wonder how giles will take it once willow is incorporated into a conversation by tara and amy = poo. i cant wait to find out what is up with everyone, how willow became what she's become and i think i have an idea what may happen int he end re: the info we talked about. but i could be totally off. hehe, as usual.



hugs!



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 Post subject: Re: ...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 1:00 am 
Great update!!! :clap

Amy again`?!

Tara thinking that Willow might be the redhead from her dreams.....



Stef :p



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 Post subject: Re: ...
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 4:21 am 
Somehow she knew deep inside that she could trust Willow with anything. Love how instead of questioning this innate trust, Tara just accepts it.



I had been wondering who the person with power enough to cause an eclipse was. Bloody Amy!



Adding up the total of a love that's true, multiply life by the power of two
Indigo Girls



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 5 - Shadows of the Heart
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 5:33 am 
Heh, as I've always said; it is a mistake to let Amy Madison walk around. The girl is desperate for attention and intends to use any and all power she can find to get it. The good news is that she needs that 'heart' crystal for it, so get that away from her and she can be send back to being a rat... :<.



Tara has two options when speaking to Giles; she can say she managed to break the weatherspell by herself or tell him about Willow. Don't know what would shock him more :D (ok, probably the second one)



Now what was Willow doing with that ritual except getting more power ? Opening another hellmouth, what for ? Granted, it is a huge powersource but not one easily tapped I think. This was interesting too: " but she resisted the urge to pull for more, knowing that it would kill them", at least she's not totally evil there.



I was actually a bit afraid for Tara when she tried to counter that weather-spell all alone. She might hurt herself taking on such heavy stuff on her level. I liked Willow being all protective about Tara when she awoke, her world is pretty much centered around her isn't it ? :D



Still wondering why Tara didn't lower Willow's hood so she could see her face before saying she trusted her. Ok, I'll admit... I *want* her to see at least the red hair :) (preferably not the dark eyes though)



Bwah, off to work now....



Grimmy

"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 5 - Shadows of the Heart
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 7:06 am 
Quote:
Still wondering why Tara didn't lower Willow's hood so she could see her face before saying she trusted her. Ok, I'll admit... I *want* her to see at least the red hair (preferably not the dark eyes though)




I want that too... but what if she has *that* black hair now?? :shock



I like my Willow red and green. ;)





Sheila



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 5 - Shadows of the Heart
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 4:06 pm 


Heh, good question that... oh DarkMagicWillow....yooohooo :clap ... got a question here !! What color IS her hair ??



It wasn't pretty shiny black hair either, more like dead black (hair is already dead so that sounds dumb but you'll get the idea). When does the hair go black anyway, it didn't turn black in _Tough Love_.



Red & Green is indeed the preferred Willow color, though I don't mind if she goes black for a short time to defend herself (or turn Amy into a rat). 15+ years is kinda overdoing it though.. :D



Another I thought about, how does Willow's age-stop-spell work ? What happens when she cancels it ? Wouldn't be good if she suddenly aged 20 years or so... yeah, the things I worry about :D



Grimmy

"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine



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 Post subject: Chapter 5 replies
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 8:24 pm 
Thank you, kittens, for the wonderful feedback.



Chapter 6, "Face to Face," on Monday.



Leatherqueen: Our least favorite rat is back. I hadn't thought of it quite that way, but there is a sweetness underlying the darkness here in these early chapters. Oh, and thanks for the reminder.



ruby: Thanks!



Rane: You're always so sweet. Thank you for the compliments. Whether or not badassedness is a word, I like it and it does fit Willow here.



He's the same old Giles; maybe he forgot about the eclipse as he's getting older? Okay, maybe it's me that's getting older and forgetting...



I'm not sure that you could figure out why I asked you what I asked you yet as I haven't even hinted at it yet, but maybe. Of course, if you're not confused yet, the previous sentence should get you the rest of the way there. (-;



deixs: Thanks and yes, Amy's still trouble.



mollyig: Thanks. I love Tara's intuitive understanding of her feelings too, and wish I had that myself as I overanalyze everything like the Willowy type I am.



Poor Amy, no one's happy to see her. (-;



Grimlock: The ritual was just to get more power. She didn't want to be exhausted and powerless when she stepped through the Hellmouth so she used the power of the dark adepts to do the opening instead of using her own. As for what she was doing there, you'll have to keep reading.



Tara is her world. As for what Willow looks like, take a look at the title of the next chapter. You'll get to see her soon, but her hair was red in chapter 1 and I'll confess I didn't like the DMW look from the end of season 6. I never figured out why she suddenly changed so much, especially since she didn't change back when she ran out of power temporarily.



I think halting aging works by maintaining homeostasis more effectively than we can naturally, rather than storing up the years in some magical place, so there would not be any immediate aging; of course, that could lead to the opposite problem of Tara aging while Willow doesn't.



sheila wt: I like my Willow that way too, but she's been in the darkness a long time. Things will get better.

--

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



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 5 - Shadows of the Heart
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2002 9:09 pm 
Great update...

I enjoyed the spell between Willow and Tara. So many emotions, and so much power.

And of course, Amy :smash

:grin , BV

"In front of total strangers won't you kiss me, Flowers for no reason but you miss me - OOH, I wanna be in love"

Melissa Etheridge-Skin



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 Post subject: Haircolor and DMW
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2002 7:04 am 
I think DMW was made to look as different from Willow as possible, including the horribly black hair. I suspect that was done to make it easier to blame DMW as a seperate person (i.e. not Willow). Much the same reason as for the addiction.



Something like "wanting to have your cake and eat it" comes to mind. As far as the Willow arc in season6 is concerned I think the writers chickened out on us. Probably were afraid recovering from a more believable DMW would be difficult.



Willow's biggest enabler (from the Tears in heaven thread:) ) would be Joss by the way, he introduced a God as enemy in season5... kinda hard to top that so everybody had to go down in power. Besides that, having a sidekick more powerfull then the hero, naaaahh. (Yes, I have evil thoughts... I know this)



Even though I've only read a few chapters of this story so far it seems to be more like realWillow then the weirdness they did in season6. It never ceases to amaze me that ME took the route they did with Willow in season6.



Besides, I want to see Willow come to terms with Dark Magic herself. They even cheated us out of the recovery scenes with the Coven in England, grmbl. Lotsa cheating went on :)



Here endeth today's rambling.



Grimmy

"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine



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 Post subject: Feedback - The Dark Rose
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2002 7:14 am 
Hey



I just wanted to add my applause. :clap You have me hooked and early enough that I can actually give feedback for a change!



First, I love the details in the first chapter: the descriptions of the storm, the fortress, the lack of mortar between the stones. I liked how DMW, an abbreviation which is amusing me quite a bit right now (hehe), gave the lead dark monk a chance before killing him. She's not evil just like S6 DMW wasn't evil - to me. That Willow just "hurt" so much that it was impossible for me to accept her as the BB. Ahem, enough said there, I think.



Second thing, this Tara's memory of Giles meeting her for the first time, that he thought he'd seen a ghost. How hard this entire situation must be for him, and it's going to get a lot worse ... for all of them.



Next, I love how you're weaving Willow's past life with Tara Maclay into the dreams of this Tara. Very cool and doubtless will be helpful for her once Willow reveals her identity. But I'm patient here. Really.



Willow's visit to the grave for the first time in 19 years has a particular resonance for me, especially given the utter stupidity of S7. Here it works, it makes sense. I like it. I also like Tara's initial shock at seeing her first name on the tombstone.



Finally, I think I've mentioned in feedback on my own fic that I like loops, that I like having a motif recur again and again tying things together. So this: Willow being the darkness, waking up in darkness, wielding darkness, and worrying how her darkness will affect this Tara's brightness - this really works for me.



Thanks for this story.



Ciao, Melissa



(edited because I really shouldn't write without a beta)

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




I brought marshmallows!

Edited by: Triscuit7 at: 11/16/02 6:17:45 am


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 Post subject: More Chapter 5 replies
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2002 2:28 pm 
barnabasvamp: Thanks. I'm glad the feelings behind the spell came through.



Grimlock: I agree, they tried to do things the easy way instead of a believable or realistic way. The whole addiction story was just stupid as was Joss's assertion that Tara had to die to make Willow dark. I can't understand why they did it the way they did in season 6 either. As I promised earlier, there won't be any of that type of silly instant problem/solution stuff in this story.



Triscuit7: Thanks! I love Roman stonework and had what I imagined the Porta Nigra in Trier to be like when it was complete in mind when I wrote that description. Yes, Willow's not completely dark, but it's not safe to step between her and Tara. Things will get interesting once Giles discovers that Willow is in town. It's good to be patient though as Willow's not the type to give up all her secrets at once.



I wrote the grave scene back in June, but it felt all the more important after getting virtually no closure in season 7. I'm glad that it resonated with you. As for loops, I've tried to take advantage of having a complete first draft to work some motifs more deeply into the story from the beginning than I had initially. Thanks for reading deeply.

--

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



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 Post subject: Re: More Chapter 5 replies
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 8:24 am 
Just caught up with this and boy, you've got me dangling on the hook like a trout, I'm telling ya.



You've portrayed the connection between Willow and Tara so well. It's unmistakable, but at the same time indefininable. And still Tara just accepts it, despite how little she knows about this mysterious stranger.



The little Willowisms that are starting to creep in are wonderful. It's very important to have those, I think, and you do it very well. The integration between the Willow of old and the Willow of now is seemless. The glimpses of the Will from 19 years ago are adorable, and a nice reminder of the person she was, and hopes to be again.



Thanks for this :)

Bite me, Harris



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 Post subject: Re: More Chapter 5 replies
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 8:39 am 
I like what Melissa said about "loops" and motifs: images or concepts that tie a chapter together, and I think that writing ahead and revising multiple times did allow you to do more with that. Darkness is an important motif for this chapter but for the whole story; still, now, just thinking about Willow during those 19 years makes my stomach flip.



And I even know some of what went on then. But I'm not saying. :grin



But this is a particularly important moment for W and T this chapter; I loved Tara's wondering if it was love at first spell, coupled with Willow's sense of loss at Tara not having their shared memories of their other first spell in the laundry room.



The way you change perspective frequently--moving from Tara to Willow and back again--really helps these scenes to unfold with a kind of fullness, I think. This is a shared story--it is equally Willow's story and Tara's story--and I think that your shifts in perspective really underscore or emphasize the conneection that heightens throughout.



Great stuff.

"And I'm eating this banana. Lunchtime be damned!" -- Willow in "Doppelgangland



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 Post subject: Re: More Chapter 5 replies
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 12:54 pm 
BoredNow99: Thanks so much. I'm glad I got you hooked and that their connection is so tangible for you. Balancing the two Willows feels like walking on a very thin line so I'm happy to hear that it's working for you.



Tulipp: Are you enjoying teasing my readers? (-; Don't worry, I have surprises for you too in the upcoming final drafts. I was a little worried that I might be switching viewpoints too rapidly; thanks for letting me know that works for you.



The story really is about both of them.



That's something I didn't realize when I started with my initial flash of vision about DMW, but Tara snuck in there when I wasn't looking and let me know that this story was about her too then showed me what parts of my heart fit her character. I think that's clearest in this coming chapter. I hope you like it.



Next chapter in a couple of minutes...

--

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

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 11/18/02 9:59:50 pm


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 Post subject: Chapter 6: Face to Face
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 12:57 pm 
Title: The Dark Rose - Chapter 6 (Face to Face)

Author: Dark Magic Willow

Email: darkmagickwillow@yahoo.com

Rating: R, mostly for violence, no explicit sex

Pairing: W/T

Spoilers: All episodes through the end of season 6 though this story takes

place 18-19 years after the end of season 6.

Feedback: Yes! Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Summary: Tara sees Willow face to face for the first time.

Magic Note: Magic, even dark magic, is not addictive in my universe, so there

are no withdrawal symptoms and no dark magic dealers. Here Rack was a dark

magic teacher who used his students, not a dealer. However, you can use too

much magic and you can be corrupted by the power it gives you.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the copyrights or anything else

associated with BtVS. All rights lie with the production company,

writers etc.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Amanda and Juli as always.





The Dark Rose

Chapter 6: Face to Face








As Tara walked through the graveyard, looking for the crypt where Willow had said to meet her, she paused a moment and looked up at the stars. Despite all her late nights, she rarely took time to look up at the glory of the night sky, and even tonight she was too distracted to appreciate it. She wondered again if she should be doing this. It was the first time that she had sought Willow out.



She continued walking, glancing from side to side at the names on the crypts which she'd never paid attention to before, as she thought about Willow. Whatever her reservations were about Willow, she had to balance them against the fact that Willow had saved them all yesterday. Tara hadn't mentioned that fact to Giles. He seemed to realize that she was hiding something, but from his comments he seemed to be worried about her using dark magic. She had quickly assured him that she would never use dark magic. She had learned too much of its dangers from her mother to even think about that.



What she had done was cast a spell with Willow.



That she had to do again. The sense of connection that they had shared was incredible. Perhaps they could try a spell tonight when there weren't any vampires to distract them. She liked patrolling with Spirit and felt a sense of accomplishment at keeping people safe, but she didn't feel the thrill of pursuit and battle that Spirit did. She would be happier if she didn't have to deal with vampires, but she had the power to stop them and that gave her a responsibility that she couldn't shirk.



Thinking about that, she felt guilty about telling Spirit that she had to leave early tonight, but they hadn't seen a single vampire on patrol. The events of yesterday must have dramatically reduced the vampire population of Sunnydale. It wasn't like she patrolled with Spirit every night either. She didn't have the vampire slayer's ability to survive on only a couple hours of sleep a night. There was no way that she could make it through university without getting a full night's sleep occasionally.



Finding herself walking through a dense cluster of crypts and mausoleums, Tara looked up to get her bearings and spotted Willow sitting on top of the crypt with her legs dangling over the side. Willow gave Tara a cheerful little wave that seemed surreal coming from the black cloaked figure. Willow's slender appearance and cheerful attitude made her look for a moment like an ordinary girl waiting for a friend.



Maybe that's exactly what she was, Tara thought hopefully. Not that Willow was ordinary. She was definitely extraordinary, but perhaps she was like Tara, an otherwise normal girl looking for a friend. Admittedly, Willow had a flair for the dramatic with her black leathers and cloak, whereas Tara was more into peasant blouses and long skirts, at least when she wasn't patrolling, but that didn't mean they were that different from each other.



Willow fidgeted nervously as she watched Tara come closer. She wasn't sure if she was ready for this. However, if they were really going to talk, she should let Tara see her face. It wasn't like Tara would recognize her no matter how much Willow wanted her to, but hiding her identity had become a deeply ingrained habit for Willow.



Tara wondered why Willow appeared nervous. She had seen Willow remain perfectly calm in dire situations which this situation clearly didn't qualify as. Could Willow be more apprehensive about this meeting than she was? Then all her thoughts were forgotten as Willow threw her hood back.



The cold brilliance of the half moon illuminated the beauty of her elfin features. In contrast to her porcelain skin, her red hair tumbled out of her hood like a river of fire as it fell to her waist in loose waves. Tara held her breath as she stood motionless, gazing up at Willow.



She knew that face.



She had seen it night after night in her dreams. Even though she couldn't see the green eyes that she knew were hidden behind Willow's sunglasses--why was she wearing sunglasses at night?--there could only be one conclusion.



Willow was the girl of her dreams.



Entranced, Tara stood perfectly still as she looked up at Willow. She was afraid to speak or move as if in doing so she would break the spell of the moment, causing her to awaken and find all of this a dream. Finally though, she had to expel the breath she was holding. As she consciously inhaled deeply, she had to accept in this essential rhythm of life that this was real. Willow was the girl from her dreams. She was real.



Cocking her head as she looked down at Tara, Willow regarded Tara's motionless form, her lips quirking into a tiny smile. She wasn't sure what the cause of Tara's hesitancy was, but she thought that she saw a glimpse of recognition in Tara's eyes. She had wished so many times to see some sign of recognition that she couldn't quite believe that she was seeing it now. As she looked searchingly into the deep blue sea of Tara's eyes, she felt her chest tighten as she wanted so strongly to have Tara back in her life. It was a desire so deep and intense that it made her bones ache with want.



With tremendous effort, Willow pushed her desires away and reminded herself to stay calm. She had to move slowly, like a person coaxing a bird to eat from her hand. Even if there was some recognition, Tara wasn't ready for the intensity of Willow's feelings for her. Willow had to move just as slowly as she had when the two of them had first come together.



Willow stood up and leaned precariously over the edge of the crypt, extending her arm in invitation.



Tara gave Willow a crooked smile as she took Willow's hand in hers, then gasped in surprise as Willow effortlessly pulled her to the top of the crypt. For just a moment, she found herself near Willow, close enough to kiss those soft lips if she dared. Then Willow stepped back and the moment was gone. They sat down beside each other, dangling their legs over the side of the marble building. There was an unspoken agreement between them not to mention that they were still holding hands.



As they sat together in the silence of the night, Tara kept giving Willow oblique glances. Every time she looked over, she saw the face from her dreams, but Willow certainly didn't dress like that girl. Not that how she dressed mattered to Tara, but why was she different? Why was she wearing sunglasses?



There was a sadness in Willow's face that hadn't been there in her dreams. Maybe they were a promise of the future, of what would happen once they were together. She wished that she could mention them to Willow, but she didn't know how Willow would react. Her story would sound strange to say the least. Once they were together like she hoped they would be, she could tell Willow safely.



"That spell was amazing, wasn't it?" Tara asked nervously. She gave Willow an awkward smile, wishing that she had found a better way to begin the conversation.



"It was," Willow said amiably, giving Tara a reassuring smile. It didn't matter how the conversation began, though Willow knew she had to be careful to steer Tara away from certain topics that she wasn't ready to discuss yet, like why she was in Sunnydale. "How long have you been practicing?"



"Always," Tara said. "I mean, since I um, was little, my mom used to ... she um." Tara furrowed her brow and paused a second before continuing. "She had a lot of power, like you." The pain of her loss was still there when she thought about her mother, but it was easier talking about her with Willow than it was with anyone else.



"You have a lot of power," Willow said, squeezing Tara's hand for emphasis. "I was there, remember? I felt it."



"Oh, I'm not," Tara said, ducking her head and letting her hair fall forward to hide her face. "I don't have much in the way of power really. I'm definitely nothing special."



"No, you are!" Willow said, her voice gentle but firm. As she said those words, she remembered hearing Tara say them to her so long ago and realized that she was now taking Tara's part in this conversation. The discussion had been going just like it had the night after they had first met, but now she found herself saying one of Tara's lines, not because she planned to, but because she had to. Tara was special and she should know that.



It seemed like she really was getting a second chance with Tara. This couldn't be a coincidence. The repetition of this conversation had to be a sign that they had a second chance at life and love together, even if she was the only one who realized that it was the second time.



Or was she? Was the repetition of their initial conversation a sign of Tara's memories of the past returning, of her soul surfacing to find Willow? She had read much about reincarnation since finding Tara again, but the books had given her more questions than answers.



"Well, I thought we made a pretty good team," Tara said, avoiding accepting or denying Willow's assertion. "Who taught you?" Tara asked, pushing her hair back.



"A friend," Willow answered after a short pause. She made an equivocal motion with her hand. "Well, I learned a lot from a few people," she said, not mentioning that Tara herself had been the most important of those people. Her other, later teachers weren't people she wanted to mention to Tara. "But mostly I learned from books. I'll have to show you my library sometime ... well, once it gets here."



"Oh, I'd love that," Tara said enthusiastically. Mr. Giles had many books, but she never got enough time to peruse them as he insisted on supervising her whenever she looked at the magic books. "Where do you live?"



Willow pointed one hand towards the other side of the cemetery. "Just across the street from the cemetery over there," she said. It was ironic living in Angel's old mansion, but if it had worked as a hideout for him, it should work for her too. She liked having so much space as well. She didn't want to see anyone in Sunnydale except for Tara. Who was there for her to see anyway? The members of the Scooby Gang had left town after Buffy's death, though Giles had returned even though there was no longer a Watcher's Council to send him.



"One of those big mansions?" Tara asked, her eyes wide with surprise. "Do you live with your parents?"



Willow gave a short humorless laugh at the thought of living with her parents, wherever they might be. "No, not with my parents," she said. "The houses there are actually quite cheap, being close to the cemetery."



"That makes sense in Sunnydale," Tara acknowledged. "But why did you laugh about living with your parents?"



"I only talked with my mother a couple of times in high school and I don't remember the last time I talked with my father," Willow said bitterly, surprised at how such old wounds could still hurt. Her knuckles whitened as she squeezed the hand that wasn't holding Tara's into a tight fist. "They probably haven't even noticed yet that I left home. I wish I'd had a mother like yours."



"I-" Tara began, wanting to comfort Willow, but as she thought about her mother the weight of that grief came crashing down on her with the force of a tidal wave. Her face crumpled and she bent over, hugging her arms around herself, straining to hold the ocean of grief inside. She wished so much to have her mother back. She'd even tried dark magic to bring her back. Her resistance shattered as she thought how she'd betrayed her mother's trust in doing that. Unable to hold back the tide of grief, she began sobbing raggedly.



Tara was surprised when she felt Willow pull her into her lap. She tried to move away, but Willow pulled her close with gentle insistence. Willow cradled her in her arms as she sobbed, whispering soft reassurances to her.



The sound of Tara's sobs wrenched Willow's heart. She couldn't bear to see Tara in such distress, yet there was little she could do other than hold her. No spell could heal this pain.



Surrendering her fears about how all this looked to Willow, Tara buried her face in Willow's cloak. In the safety of Willow's embrace, she released all the tears that she'd held back since her mother's death. She needed this so much. There been no one else to share them with until now. As she cried harder, she felt Willow's hand moving in gentle circles on her back. She couldn't hear what Willow was saying over her sobs, but the compassionate, reassuring, and even loving tones of her voice registered clearly.



She shivered with cold as she sobbed and felt Willow wrap her cloak around her in response, holding her even closer. It was so much more than Tara expected so soon, but it was precisely what she needed and wanted, this closeness.



As she protectively wrapped Tara in the soft folds of her cloak, Willow quickly surveyed the graveyard, watching for vampires. If anyone had been there to look at the fierce protectiveness of her face, they would have had no doubt of the depth of her feelings for Tara. She looked like a lioness guarding her only cub.



She pressed Tara's shivering form as close as she could to her body, trying to communicate the warmth inside her. Once Tara's shivering began to lessen, she tenderly brushed the tears away from her cheek and kissed her forehead.



Finally Tara ran out of tears, the ocean of grief drained for now. Her eyes were sore and red. She clung to Willow, exhausted, but warm and protected. Willow held her and softly rocked her, telling her over and over that it would be okay. Tara wished she could stay here forever.



Tara's body felt so right as Willow held her close. There was no awkwardness between them here, only need and compassion and the unspoken beginnings of love. Tara's soft weight in her arms was a gift she had almost lost hope of ever receiving again. She didn't want to ever let her go.



A long time after the she'd heard the last of Tara's sobs, Willow tenderly stroked her cheek and asked "Finished?"



Tara nodded reluctantly, unwilling to give up Willow's embrace so quickly.



"Want to talk about it?" Willow asked. When Tara didn't say anything immediately, Willow continued, "If you don't want to, I understand, but I-" She paused, her mouth drawn with sadness. "Well, I've lost someone very important to me too. I mean, it's different for everyone ..."



"I do want to talk about it," Tara interrupted, her voice hoarse from crying. She was surprised at the depths of sadness on Willow's face. Was that why Willow hid her face? Who had she lost?



"So tell me," Willow insisted gently, trying to distract Tara from Willow's own loss which would be so hard to explain to this young woman.



Tara told her about her mother, how she had first learned of her illness, how she had taken care of her at home, and how helpless she had felt when they had finally taken her to the hospital. She told Willow how guilty she'd felt going off to university, but her mother had insisted that she not wait. Then she talked about how devastated she had been when she had learned that her mother had died. Finally she told her about the funeral and how afterwards she started taking long walks at night to escape the feelings.



"That's how I met Spirit and through her Mr. Giles," Tara said. With a little smile she continued, "And then you. Maybe vampires aren't so bad after all."



"Maybe not," Willow agreed, smiling wryly at Tara. She looked up at the starry sky. The moon had set, leaving them alone with each other under the light of the stars. "It's getting late. Could I walk you home?"



"Of course," Tara whispered.



As they walked out of the graveyard, somehow her hand found Willow's again and clasped it. Willow didn't say anything, but Tara felt Willow's fingers interlace with hers.

--

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

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 11/19/02 2:36:18 pm


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 Post subject: re: update
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 2:42 pm 
They switched places. I really like how this is going. Just how they connect. Especially how Tara recognized her adn let herself be comforted by Willow.



Thank you so much for the update!

-Will



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 6: Face to Face
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 3:13 pm 
Oh I like this story!! I love how Tara acted to Willow even though she didn't know her that well. Your update was great and I can't wait for your next one!!



=LeiLa=







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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 6: Face to Face
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 3:37 pm 
I'm so loving this fic! :bounce

Who wouldn't want to give Willow & Tara a second chance?

The way you write their thoughts, their conversation, their reactions to each other, it's just perfect. And, oh so beautiful! :clap



I just can't wait for more...

Sheila



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 6: Face to Face
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 5:57 pm 
ooww... I liked the turn-around of the _Hush_ conversation :D Could well imagine Willow waving to Tara, she does cheery waving very well. Willow is adorable, nice she still is even after 19 years. Years which must have been hard on her and left her with some not-so-nice memories.



Sunglasses, heh... easier then contacts I'll grant you that. But slightly more obvious as well. I do wonder why hiding her identity has become such a habit for Willow. (she seems fairly easy to recognize in that cloak she wears anyway)



Willow living in Angel's mansion, the irony...:) That mansion seems to remain available for who-ever wants to crash there for all eternity or something, heh. Bad place to sell I bet.



Poor Tara finally being able to grieve for her mother :cry , good thing she did though. It's not as if Willow would think less of her just for considering using dark magic to get her mother back, heh. For some reason I don't think Tara will want to read all that many books from Willow's library. Interesting that Giles now insists on supervising whoever reads his magic books.... better late than never I guess.



About the previous chapter (sorry, forgot:) ), I did wonder about Tara noticing Willow using dark magic (probably) when she helped her with that weather problem. If she did notice it, she never said so.



Quote:


there was no longer a Watcher's Council to send him




If I read that correctly the CoW has ceased to exist ? Such a shame.... not. Might be interesting to know how that happened. I wont mourn their demise though, heh.



Grimmy



"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 6: Face to Face
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 9:21 pm 
Wonderful update. Sorry I'm late to the party, DMW, but I just wanted to let you know how much I'm enjoying the story. I love the ambiguity of this plot mixed with the familiar narrative, and think you do a terrific job writing an older, wiser Willow.

Wow, that was so close to being empowering. --"Same Time, Same Place"



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 6: Face to Face
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 11:54 pm 
Finally caught up. Sorry for the delay.



I really like how, as much as Willow wants her Tara back, she won’t hurt the Tara that is there. And how Tara suspected that Willow was in her dreams even though she couldn’t see her face.



This last chapter was amazing. I’m glad that Willow was able to see some sort of recognition in Tara’s eyes. She needs that. And Tara’s comment about her living with her parents solidifies in my mind how much Willow’s features haven’t changed. As I think I mentioned before, it’s as if she stopped living the day Tara died.



I like how you’ve switched their roles around, more so that you use Willow’s internal reflection to know that.



This is truly an amazing story.



--celia



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



"That was just rude. Now I forget what I was saying."



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 6: Face to Face
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2002 10:08 am 
I love this chapter: Willow making herself vulnerable to Tara by lowering her hood, Tara making the connection between Willow and the "girl of her dreams"; the two of them holding hands and sitting quietly, aware of and caught up in this connection; and yes, the way that their time together is still awash with loss, both Tara's loss of her mother and Willow's loss of Tara.



I agree that you write the older, wiser Willow beautifully; it's not just the physical details of sunglasses and leather, but the "short humorless laugh" and the way she takes on the role of caregiver and comforter so easily, so necessarily.



The image of their fingers interlacing at the end is so full of love and hope.



And, for you, my dear dear DMW, I timed this post for you. A little troll hammer gift. Just imagine me pounding my troll hammer like a gavel and saying "DMW! DMW!' DMW!"



"And I'm eating this banana. Lunchtime be damned!" -- Willow in "Doppelgangland



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 Post subject: Chapter 6 replies
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2002 10:24 am 
Good morning, kittens. Thanks for all the lovely feedback.



Chapter 7, "She is the Darkness" on Thursday.



Edited because Tulipp slipped in and posted while I was writing this, though I'm not sure how I missed hearing that loud TrollHammer!



willntlover: Thanks. I'm glad you liked the switch ...



mollyig: Younger Willow keeps coming through, but there always seems to be another layer of the current Willow to hide her.



As for the Watcher's Council, all will be revealed in time.



Leila: I'm happy that you delurked for my story. Welcome to Pens.



sheila wt: Thanks so much for all the kind words.



Grimlock72: We'll see a bit of why Willow might want to hide her identity in a few chapters. As for Tara, she hasn't seen Willow use dark magic yet. I'm of the view that you can draw from either source and Willow chose to use light magic with Tara. We'll see more of my thoughts about that in the next couple of chapters.



The CoW (what a great acronym) is gone, and we will see what happened in a few chapters.



ruby: You're not very late; we're less than a 1/4 of the way through the story. I'm happy you like the intertwining of the season 4ish plot as Willow and Tara get to know each other with the post-season 6 plot of Willow's grief. Thanks.



tiredsoul: Good to see you back, Celia. Thank you so much for your feedback. You're very right about Willow's life having stopped that day; it really did except for the spells, and well, there's more to magic than artifacts, books, and incantations.



Tulipp: Thanks so much for the TrollHammer! You've got me smiling on this grey, rainy morning.



I realized in this part that Tara did have a connection with Willow that she didn't realize in the loss of her mother, but despite their growing connection it's still too early for Willow to share her so difficult to explain grief over her loss with Tara even though Tara senses that there's something there hidden behind dark glasses.



Thanks for your and ruby's compliments about my older, wiser Willow. I'm glad you found the final image hopeful. I'll confess that it's one of my favorites...and they'll need the hope in the darkness to come.

--

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

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 11/19/02 9:33:07 am


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 6 replies
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:07 pm 
I really liked this chapter, and how Willow was able to comfort Tara when she really needed it.

Will be very interesting to see how Willow explains her loss.

BV

"In front of total strangers won't you kiss me, Flowers for no reason but you miss me - OOH, I wanna be in love"

Melissa Etheridge-Skin



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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 6 replies
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 1:45 pm 
Oh DMW, I loved this part so very much.



The connection between Willow and Tara is so wonderful, it just feels so right and you write it beautifully. Again the little nuances of Willow's younger self peek through almost tantalisingly, but - like Juli and Ruby already said - they're wrapped up in this very vivid image of an older, time-worn Willow.



You got me. Hook, line and sinker, baby :)

Bite me, Harris



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 Post subject: MORE please!
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 6:25 pm 
DMW~



HEY! Just got a chance to read your fic! I love it! It's soo different and I love the descriptions on how Willow and Tara both feel. I LOVE THIS! :clap I can't wait for more udpates!



Please update soon!



THANKS~

~NICKOLE~

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

"The only thing Willow was ever good for...the only thing..I had going for me...were the moments...just..moments, when Tara would look at me..and I was wonderful."-DMW



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 Post subject: More Chapter 6 replies
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 11:05 pm 
A goodnight to all the kittens up this late.



barnabasvamp: Yes, Willow is there for Tara even if she can't let Tara be there for her yet.



BoredNow99: Thanks! I'm glad you liked their connection in this chapter. I was so worried about getting that right. I'll do my best to keep you hooked.



SilverWingedNemesis: Thanks so much. Your impatience will be rewarded tomorrow with a new chapter. (-; I like your sig quote; it's very poignant and one of the few good lines out of those episodes.



Thank you all so much for reading this!

--

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

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 11/20/02 10:27:39 pm


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 Post subject: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 11:35 am 
Title: The Dark Rose - Chapter 7 (She is the Darkness)

Author: Dark Magic Willow

Email: darkmagickwillow@yahoo.com

Rating: R, mostly for violence, no explicit sex

Pairing: W/T

Spoilers: All episodes through the end of season 6 though this story takes

place 18-19 years after the end of season 6.

Feedback: Yes! Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Summary: Tara discovers another side of Willow.

Magic Note: Magic, even dark magic, is not addictive in my universe, so there

are no withdrawal symptoms and no dark magic dealers. Here Rack was a dark

magic teacher who used his students, not a dealer. However, you can use too

much magic and you can be corrupted by the power it gives you.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the copyrights or anything else

associated with BtVS. All rights lie with the production company,

writer etc.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Amanda and Juli for being patient with

all three "final" drafts of this chapter that I sent them.





The Dark Rose

Chapter 7: She is the Darkness








Willow was lying on top of Tara on the cold floor of the sewer. The dank sewer

and the vampire that had been chasing them didn't matter. Nothing mattered but

the blue eyes she was looking into. They were about to kiss. Then she heard

the sound of the crystal being smashed.



Tara shoved Willow away as her memories returned with the breaking of the

spell, the spell that Willow had cast. Willow saw the expression of pain and

sorrow on her lover's face and knew with the return of her own memories that it

was her fault. Tara knew that Willow had tried to change her again with magic,

breaking the promise that she had made just this morning.



If only she hadn't cast the
tabula rasa spell, but she had been so

afraid that if they argued, Tara would leave her. Somehow deep down she had

always been afraid of that. Their first argument had been the end of

the world--Tara had gone to the fair without her and Glory had sucked her mind.

She just couldn't bear to have another one as she was so afraid something

terrible would happen again.



Magic had seemed like a perfect solution--it worked for everything else in her

life, didn't it? Now, nothing was working. Her fear had cost her the very

thing she was desperately trying to keep.



Their surroundings shifted and they were no longer in the sewers beneath the

magic shop. They were in their room, but Tara was packing her clothes and it

wasn't going to be their room any more. Willow pleaded with her, but Tara

couldn't trust her now.



As Tara left, Willow slumped down against the wall, her eyes downcast. She was

lost in despair, completely out of ideas to bring Tara back. Magic had failed

her, but it was all she had left, wasn't it? She looked around the room, hers

alone now, and it seemed empty, bereft of all that had given it love and

meaning. They had been so happy here all summer even with the burden of

Buffy's death and now she had nothing left.



Willow felt the scene shifting again and fought against what she knew was next,

what always happened next in her nightmare. She didn't want to see Tara in

this room again because she knew what would happen. It would be better if she

didn't come back as long as she avoided what happened this day. But she

couldn't stop the dream.



Now Tara was standing before her again, smiling, beautiful in her long-sleeved

blue shirt and jeans. Her hair was long again, framing that wonderful smile.

Willow tried to shout, to warn Tara to get away from the window, but she

couldn't speak, couldn't move. She was trapped in that fatal moment of time.

The sound of gunshots rang from the yard below. Then that small hole appeared

in Tara's chest and she said the same two words she always did as the blood

splattered Willow's white shirt.





Willow screamed, "Noooo!" as she bolted awake. She paused a moment, panting

and sweating from the exertion of attempting to warn Tara in her dream, and

looked around the room. It was trashed, as always, the bedside table in

splinters and her cheap alarm clocked smashed into tiny fragments. Her

leathers were unharmed because of their layers of protective enchantments

though they were scattered around the room. Even if she couldn't move or speak

in her dream, her mind could wreck the room in an attempt to do the impossible

by changing the past. She'd learned to not keep anything of value in her

bedroom long ago.



She sighed, her breathing gradually slowing. Willow had had the nightmare so

many times, but this was the first time since she had returned to Sunnydale.

They seemed worse here though. Angelus's mansion had seemed like the perfect

place for her to stay in Sunnydale, but in the middle of the night it felt far

too big and echoingly empty, haunted by the ghosts of her past.



The nightmares had begun the night she left Sunnydale, and she hadn't had a

week without them since. She had tried staying awake with the assistance of

magic, but even so she couldn't stay up forever and when she went to sleep; the

nightmares were all the more intense as if making up for lost time. Maybe it

was the events of yesterday. The weather spell had scared her; someone who

could do that was not a run of the mill master vampire.



Willow reminded herself that she was seeing Tara tonight, that Tara was alive

and well. Her breathing finally returned to its normal rhythm. What she

hadn't been able to accomplish, fate had. They had a second chance at life and

love and this time Willow promised herself, she was going to do everything

right.



* * * * * *




Tara found Willow sitting on top of the same crypt as the previous night,

moonlight reflecting off her copper tresses as she turned her head towards

Tara. Her eyes were still hidden behind the polarized lenses of her

sunglasses. Tara decided that she could accept sunglasses after dark as a

quirky trait. She felt so happy when she was near Willow. A little quirkiness

was not a problem.



Once Tara was settled at the top, she asked Willow, "Do you come up here for

the view?"



"The view is great for spotting vampires and demons," Willow answered. "One

summer, I..." She trailed off, wondering how much to tell Tara about their

past life.



Tara cocked her head, looking for Willow to finish her sentence. "One summer

you did what?" she finally asked. She hoped Willow would be willing to trust

her, to let her into the world hidden behind those glasses. They had

experienced so much in a few short moments together, but Willow was still a

mystery to her.



Willow thought for a moment and decided that this story was probably safe for

Tara to hear. "My friends and I patrolled like you do with Spirit except we

didn't have a vampire slayer," she said. "I coordinated everything from the

top of one of the crypts so that we attacked the vampires with surprise on our

side instead of theirs which helped us follow our mission statement."



"You had a mission statement?" Tara asked with a laugh. "What was it?" Tara

amusedly thought for a moment about telling Mr. Giles that they needed a

mission statement. She didn't think he would be too keen on that idea. Mr.

Giles was always kind but he was also deadly serious when it came to the

slaying.



"The most important part was 'Don't get killed'," Willow said. She almost

smiled but remembered that someone had been killed, more than one person if she

counted Buffy. She wondered for the first time in years whether her other

friends were still alive. They had been so close at one time.



"That's an important part of the mission," Tara said gravely after noticing the

seriousness with which Willow finished her statement. Then she had a thought,

"Wait a minute, wouldn't the vampires hear you?"



Willow shook her head, answering distractedly, "No, I spoke to my friends in

their minds so they couldn't hear. I could hear their answers when they

thought back to me, but they had a difficult time with the whole

non-vocalization concept." She was still musing about the past when Tara

interrupted her thoughts again.



"Oh," Tara said. "That's a good idea, but I don't know how to do that." She

wondered how it would feel to have someone speak in your mind. Would they

experience the same connection they felt while casting?



Willow's thoughts returned to the present. "I could show you now," she

offered. "If you're interested."



"You could?" Tara said with a look of surprise. "Wouldn't it take a lot of

practice?"



"No," Willow said. "I would have to enter your mind and show you how it feels

to speak mentally. That would get you around the difficult part--learning to

use a part of your mind that you've never used before. It takes many attempts

for most people to find their way to that part of the mind, but if I show it to

you directly then you'll be over the big hurdle immediately." She paused a

moment before continuing, "That's the good part. There are some drawbacks. I

won't be able to read any of your deep feelings or memories, but anything on

the surface of your mind would be exposed. If you decide to do this, you'll

need to clear your mind of anything you don't want me to see."



Tara was excited by the chance to work magic with Willow again. She only half

listened to Willow's warnings, remembering instead how Willow had wrapped her

in her cloak and held her close last night. She could trust Willow. "Let's do

it," Tara said.



"First, let's do a simple test to be sure you can hear me," Willow said then

thought to Tara, Can you hear me?



Willow's mental contact was gentle, the words feeling like a soft whisper in

Tara's mind. Behind the simple question, Tara felt a surprising amount of

warmth and affection with undertones of complex emotions that she couldn't

quite read. As Tara started to tune into those deeper feelings, she suddenly

realized that she needed to answer Willow and thought back to her, Yes, I

can hear you.
.



"Good," Willow said audibly. "I can hear your thoughts too. Now you need to

clear your mind. When you're ready, tell me, and I'll go into your mind and

show you how to project as well as receive thoughts." She thought how Tara's

mind felt so much like that of the Tara she remembered but more innocent. This

Tara hadn't had an abusive family to drive her to hide herself so deeply from

the world. She hadn't had years on the Hellmouth ... and she hadn't had

Willow. Willow suddenly wondered if she had a right to trouble such a good and

innocent spirit with her company.



Willow watched as Tara closed her eyes and let her thoughts go with practiced

ease. As she gazed into the serenity of Tara's face, Willow thought about how

beautiful she was, and started to raise a hand to tenderly caress the softness

of Tara's cheek before being startled by Tara's "I'm ready." She quickly

pulled her hand away, hoping that Tara wouldn't notice.



She reached into Tara's mind, finding it open and receptive to her. Willow

thought to Tara, I'm here. Feel carefully what I'm doing now then try to do

the same thing yourself.




Tara felt an odd sensation in her head, like a tickling in a place that she had

never been aware of until now. She tried finding that part of her mind,

feeling like a blind person in her own head. Finally, she thought she had it

and tried to think back to Willow, Can you hear this?



Yes, you're good, Willow thought back with surprise. I thought we'd

have to try this a couple of times.




It's because you're a good teacher!, Tara thought happily back to

Willow, elated with her success.



Forgetting that she was still in Tara's mind, Willow wondered if that was the

reason or whether the soul could remember how to do magic from a past life.

People frequently pursued the same careers and hobbies as they had in past

lives, often with more skill than would be expected from someone learning for

the first time. Perhaps it was the same with magic.



I don't know, Tara responded to Willow's unspoken thoughts. Why did

that thought come to mind?




I forgot I was still here, Willow thought, feeling embarrassed. I

was wondering how you were able to learn to mindspeak so quickly. Let me

withdraw from your mind before we share too much.




Okay, Tara responded, her disappointment coming through clearly over

their mental link.



Willow gently withdrew from Tara's mind, mourning the loss of the intimate

contact, but knowing that it was for the best. "Don't be disappointed," she

said. "Direct mental contact may seem to be the easy way to get to know

someone, but it's best to do it the normal way."



Willow knew from hard experience that magic was not the way to solve problems

in a relationship, but that didn't make the thought of sharing her memories of

their past together any less tempting. It wouldn't work though. Even if Tara

had all of Willow's memories of Tara, she wouldn't have her own memories of

being Tara in the past. It wasn't the same, and it would be so confusing for

her.



"That's what I was taught, but it seems so much better," Tara said. "I mean,

you can't lie when you mindspeak, right?" She wanted this contact with Willow

so badly. Why couldn't it be this easy?



"That's true, but there's more to truth than not lying," Willow said. She

understood her words all too well as she had to avoid telling Tara the whole

truth in every conversation that they had. She felt guilty, but what other

choice did she have? "You can't lie, but you learn things about the other

person without the context that makes them meaningful. If you don't have a

strong basis for a relationship to begin with, you're likely to end up more

confused than enlightened if you engage in too much mental contact."



Willow completely understood the temptation that Tara was experiencing to

create a relationship too quickly as she felt it herself. She had spent 19

years waiting to have Tara back, but every minute they spent talking but not

yet really together felt just as long as that entire span. It took all her

strength to resist that temptation. She had to do everything right this time.

There wouldn't be a third chance. She hoped Tara would understand.



Tara thought for a moment then nodded as she understood what Willow was saying.

"That makes sense," she said. "And thank you." She smiled at Willow as she

changed subjects, returning to the first part of their conversation by asking,

"So you used to live in Sunnydale?"



Willow carefully watched Tara's face and saw that she did understand. She

sighed inwardly, glad that she hadn't hurt Tara, then answered Tara's question,

"I did."



"Why did you leave?" Tara asked.



Willow knew that this could be a dangerous line of questioning, especially as

she had discovered that Giles was the new slayer's watcher. She couldn't lie

to Tara, but she could evade the question. She gestured around her, "You spend

your nights in a cemetery hunting vampires and you have to ask me that?"



Tara smiled wryly. "There are some disadvantages," she admitted. "But then

why did you return?"



"I came here to find someone," Willow answered evasively. That much was the

truth, but she couldn't admit to Tara who she had come to find.



"Have you found them?" Tara asked.



Willow couldn't just answer "Yes, I found you." Anyway, she'd never expected

to find this Tara. "I'm getting closer," Willow said. "But not yet." As she

said it, she realized that was the precise truth--she was getting closer to

Tara but she was still a long way from the relationship they'd once had.

Willow attempted to turn the conversation away from her quest by asking, "What

brought you to Sunnydale?"



"I'm an art student at the university," Tara said. She wanted to know more

about who Willow was looking for and why, but she respected Willow's desire to

not go into more detail.



"So the Hellmouth came as a surprise?" Willow asked.



"It did," Tara said, unsurprised that someone like Willow knew about the

Hellmouth. "Like I mentioned last night, I was out walking one night when I

met my first vampire. I was able to distract it with a light spell but I still

might have been in trouble if Spirit hadn't come along and staked it."



"That's a little better than my first experience with a vampire," Willow

confessed. "I was still in high school and hadn't discovered magic yet." She

shook her head, "I was so young and stupid. I thought I was being adventurous,

meeting a new boy and taking a shortcut through the graveyard."



Tara's face fell at Willow's mention of a boy. "Then what happened?" Tara

asked, trying to cover her disappointment.



"That's when Bu..." Willow trailed off, unable to say Buffy's name. She paused

for a moment before continuing. "The vampire slayer came along and saved me"

she finished.



Tara wondered how much darkness Willow had seen and about what had been so

terrible that she had decided to hide her face from the world, but she knew she

couldn't ask Willow those questions. Not yet, at least. Willow was right.

You had to become friends step by step even if the slowness of the pace was

frustrating.



She also wondered what name Willow had been about to say. Buffy had been Mr.

Giles's previous slayer. Could Willow have known her? But that would mean

that Willow was much older than herself, and she certainly didn't look like she

was.



Willow cocked her head at the distant but approaching sound of rumbling

engines. She stood up, looking in the direction that the rumble was coming

from.



Tara was surprised at Willow's sudden motion, but then heard the sound

approaching them too. She stood up quickly and asked, "What is it?"



"Bikers, probably demons," Willow answered. As she finished, the first two

demons drove into view on their motorcycles. She remembered the last time that

she'd met such demons. It had been the night she brought Buffy back from the

dead and she remembered what they'd said to her and Tara. This time she wasn't

going to run from them. They were going to run from her, that is, if any of

them lived long enough.



"Too many demons," Tara said in a worried tone as more continued driving into

view. Willow put her hand on Tara's shoulder, urging her down, as the two

demons in the front of the pack pointed at the two of them standing atop the

crypt.



"Get down behind me, Tara!" Willow shouted as she extended her arms, preparing

her first spell. Hatred and anger surged through her, pulling in dark magic

from the cemetery around them. How could these creatures dare to threaten them

again?



Tara watched in shock as streams of intertwined black and silver energies

erupted from Willow's extended hands and struck the two lead bikers, smashing

them off their bikes into the ground where their smoking bodies lay unmoving.

Then she finally had the presence of mind to kneel behind Willow so she was no

longer presenting an exposed target to the oncoming demon horde.



Willow felt the familiar rush of dark power flowing through her. It was so

easy to call on the darkness here. The nights of Sunnydale were filled with

unnatural creatures causing pain and death, each act of harm swelling the

already powerful streams of dark magicks that flowed from the Hellmouth. But

this time the thrill of destroying her opponents with her magic was muted by

her recent experience of casting a spell with Tara.



There was no more time to reflect on her feelings as the remaining demons

continued to race towards them, ignoring their fallen comrades. She began her

next spell, chanting:

"Nightcrawler,

deep dweller,

rise and feed,

fill your need,

come and devour,

my foes this hour."


As she finished the chanting, dozens of foot-thick black tentacles erupted from

the ground in the middle of the demon gang. The rubbery tentacles easily

yanked demons off their motorcycles, holding them fast with their huge suckers.

The forest of thrashing tentacles disrupted their advance towards Willow and

Tara. Some more fortunate demons on the edge of the spell weren't affected,

but only three of the monsters were still approaching Willow.



The Hellmouth shone like a dark moon to her black eyes as she drew from the

endless streams of dark magicks that escaped from it even in its currently

closed condition. Green and silvery rivulets of light magicks glowed softly

to her eyes as well, but few of those streams flowed through the cemetery and

those that did were weak indeed compared to the many torrents of darkness that

screamed with destructive power.



Willow drew on every stream of power that she could reach, uncaring whether

they were dark or light. Evil voices whispered in Willow's mind from behind

the seal that held the Hellmouth closed, urging her to accept their power to

destroy her enemies, to kill everyone she hated. They couldn't come through on

their own, but if she called on them, they would use her as a gateway into this

world.



Willow had listened to them once and accepted their dark gifts. She had almost

destroyed the world in doing so. She wouldn't use their power again, but they

always called to her when she summoned the dark magicks with as much as anger

and hatred as she felt now. Willow ignored their entreaties, knowing she

didn't need their help with its hidden price. She could command enough power

of her own to destroy these demons. Anyway, when she wanted something from a

dark force, she used coercion rather than bargaining.



Tara was aghast at the dark power Willow exhibited. She had tried dark magic

herself once and the consequences had been horrifying, but that was nothing

compared the magicks Willow was effortlessly invoking now. There was no sign

of the ordinary girl she'd seen atop the crypt earlier this evening. Instead,

there was a terrifyingly powerful dark witch who was destroying a horde of

demons with appalling ease. She watched, unable to turn away, as the slimy,

black tentacles constricted their prey, cracking bones as they crushed

the life out of the hapless demons.



Willow brought her left hand in to her chest, clenching her hand into a fist,

as she threw her right hand forward, spreading her fingers open in a violent

motion. The demon on her left clutched its chest with both hands and fell to

the ground, while the one on the right collapsed immediately as its head

exploded open in a fountain of gore. Only the middle demon was left. As it

began to flee, Willow hacked her hand savagely across her body, ripping its

chest open as if it had been slashed by a huge blade. It fell to its knees and

expired messily.



She hated them and knew that her hatred was righteous. The demons deserved to

die for threatening Tara again, but where there had only been a relentless

determination to restore Tara, sustained by a memory of love and a deep reserve

of anger and hate, softer feelings were emerging and she no longer had such a

great need to destroy. As Willow reflected on her feelings, black tentacles

greedily pulled their howling prey under the ground where the Nightcrawler's

hideous subterranean mouth waited to consume them. Willow sighed and surveyed

the cemetery for more targets. However she felt, she had to destroy them.



Tara clutched her stomach with one hand while she watched the carnage. There

had to be a better solution than this, but the terrible thing was that it was

working--the few demons who weren't caught already dead or captured by the

horrible tentacles were fleeing now.



Willow raised an arm and blasted one fleeing demon with a searing bolt of

mottled silver and black power, then turned to destroy another when she felt

Tara's hand pulling at her other arm. She turned to see Tara who was looking

at her like she'd turned into a demon herself. Willow suddenly realized what a

mistake she had made. Tara had never seen her like this, in this life or

before, but what else could she have done?



"Stop!" Tara shouted, pulling at Willow's arm. "Just stop it!"



Accepting Tara's request with the sick feeling that it was too late to remedy

the situation, Willow made oddly smooth waving gestures with her other arm and

chanted:

"Nightcrawler,

dark power,

descend and sleep,

dormant and deep."


The terrible black tentacles obediently slithered under the ground, pulling the

remaining demonic corpses down with them and leaving the cemetery almost

undisturbed except for what looked like a terrible traffic accident involving

several dozen motorcycles.



"Are you okay?" Willow asked, turning back to Tara.



"Am I okay?" Tara almost screamed at Willow. "You just destroyed them like

they were nothing."



"They were demons, Tara," Willow said, her voice too calm as her body filled

with the cold fear that Tara would leave her over what had just happened. "What

should I have done?" There wasn't any alternative to killing them, was there?



"You shouldn't have used dark magic," Tara said. "We could have done

something."



"Not fast enough," Willow said, shaking her head. "I've seen these creatures

at work before. The Nightcrawler is horrifying and dangerous, but it's also

fast and deadly." Despite her words, doubts assailed her. Was Tara right,

could they have worked together to stop the demons?



"What about the lightning and the thing with your arm?" Tara said, mimicking

the chopping motion Willow had made with her arm to slice open a demon.



"Energy control and telekinesis aren't dark in themselves. I was trying to

protect us," Willow said. "Believe me, you don't want to know what they would

have done to us if they had caught us."



"But isn't using magic to kill still dark?" Tara challenged her.



"Yes, it is," Willow admitted unwillingly. "Even when you use your mind to

stake a vampire, there's a little bit of darkness in that act. Killing can

change you, even when you're killing a creature of unredeemable evil. You have

to be strong to resist that."



Tara felt sudden doubts about her own use of magic. Was it right to use it to

destroy vampires? She pushed her doubts down, reminding herself that she

wasn't the one who had just destroyed a gang of demons with dark magic, and

challenged Willow again, "Are you that strong?"



Willow looked down, thinking for a moment, and finally said, "No."



Tara's anger evaporated as she heard Willow's answer. It wasn't at all what

she had expected to hear. "I'm sorry," she said. "I shouldn't be attacking

you. I..."



"No, I'm the one who should be sorry," Willow interrupted. "I should have

found another way to stop them than the Nightcrawler spell. I was just too

afraid to do anything less."



Tara's eyes widened in surprise at Willow's admission. "You were scared? But

why?" she asked.



"For you," Willow answered softly.



* * * * * *




Tara turned over again, rearranging her pillow in an attempt to be more

comfortable so she could finally get to sleep. Willow had insisted on walking

her home, saying that more demons might be around. They hadn't talked much on

the way to Tara's dorm as they both reflected on the events of the evening.



Everything had been wonderful last night until the demons came. Willow had

destroyed them, sending dark lightning from her fingertips like it was the most

natural thing in the world and bringing up that horrible creature from beneath

the ground. She had never imagined such terrible power in a real person.

Willow tonight had been like a dark figure out of legend.



Then Willow said that she had done that because she was afraid for Tara. She

had tried dark magic herself once when she was in extremis so how could she

blame Willow? But no one attained the level of proficiency Willow demonstrated

last night without a great deal of practice. This clearly was not the first

time Willow had used dark magic. What was she to think? Her mother had taught

her that dark magic was evil, but she'd been less clear on why it was wrong.

How could Willow be evil when Tara felt so drawn to her? She had even dreamed

about her before she met her.



It was like there were two Willows. There was the shy gentle girl from her

dreams who worked magic with her and talked to her like they were two normal

girls, and there was the dark witch she'd met tonight who she suspected reveled

in destroying those demons. Which was the real Willow? Could she accept a

friend like that dark witch, even one who used that power for her?



Actually, it was worse if all that had been done for her because that made her

somehow responsible. Willow's mind had been full of such warmth and affection

for her, and she had had a glimpse of what she thought was more than simple

affection under the surface. Could someone who felt that way be truly dark?



She suspected that Willow was right about needing to do something quickly with

the demons. Tara knew she didn't have the power to stop that many demons at

once, and she and Willow couldn't have outrun their motorcycles. Even if they

could have escaped, a gang of demons like that could have destroyed the town.

Somebody had to stop them before they hurt innocent people. Why did it bother

her that Willow was the person who stopped them?



Tara wasn't envious of Willow's ability to do magic. She liked helping Spirit

do her job, but she wasn't interested in becoming a master of combat magic.

She wanted the feeling of joining her magic with a partner, but was Willow the

right partner for her? Despite all that had happened tonight, she was still

drawn to Willow. The way they had meshed to bring the sunlight had been

amazingly wonderful. How could it work like that if Willow was all wrong for

her?



Tara sighed as she rearranged her pillow again, still trying to make it more

comfortable. She didn't think she was going to get much sleep tonight and she

doubted whether she'd find any easy answers to her questions.

--

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

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 11/21/02 6:17:07 pm


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 12:30 pm 
Heh... I had to grin at Willow destroying her bedroom in her sleep, sorry. She must have used up a lot of alarm-clocks by now :D The source of the nightmare is bad of course, I can very well imagine how Willow feels when she wants to scream out to Tara to get out of the way...:(



The dark magic, well that was to be expected. Willow being near Tara and both being in Sunnydale, an attack is pretty much a given then.. though I have to wonder what would have happened if Willow wouldn't have been anywhere near Sunnydale.



That Willow would defend Tara using any magic she has available requires no further explanation, Willow is kinda protective of Tara :) . Besides, it was inevitable that Tara would eventually find out about the dark magic anyway. At least this was for a good cause, and yes I think that does factor into it. No-one is smacking Willow down for being powerfull thank god, I'm easy to please see ? I also liked how much wiser/older Willow seems to be now, she needed that.



I'm wondering if this "Willow had listened to them once and accepted their dark gifts. She had almost destroyed the world in doing so." refers to an event before oldTara's funeral or after it. We'll probably get to that later I guess ? Same goes for what bad experience Tara had with dark magic, we know she tried to help her mother but what were the results (besides 'not good') ??



Hmmm....using coercion on dark forces... sounds rather risky, then again Willow has around 20 years experience. That nightcrawler probably wont mind much since he got lotsa free food tonight :) .



Tara turning over in her bed, all confused, awww....:) She was dissappointed when Willow mentioned the male vamp too, little does she know that was 25 years ago. I'm still wondering what Tara's lastname is... yes yes... I'll wait :)



Grimmy

"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine

Edited by: Grimlock72 at: 11/21/02 11:32:24 am


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 Post subject: Re: Chapter 7: She is the Darkness
PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 1:26 pm 
Tara's enthusiasm to learn magic from Willow reminded me a little of young Willow's excitement of learning.



Willow was right. You had to become friends step by step even if the slowness of the pace was frustrating. I like how both bemoan the necessity of this even though they accept it.



Willow's gentle instructions to Tara about how to mindspeak were such a marked contrast to the angry, magic-wielding witch, no wonder Tara questions Which was the real Willow?



I really like how you structured this episode. Starting with Willow being torn from a nightmare-filled sleep and ending with a querying Tara struggling to sleep.

Adding up the total of a love that's true, multiply life by the power of two
Indigo Girls

Edited by: mollyig  at: 11/21/02 12:27:58 pm


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