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

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 Post subject: Wilderness (2/22/20)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:34 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 160
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Love letter to the Kitten board: I have been on and off this board for about 20 years, mostly as a lurker until the last few years. It has been a haven, not only for a place to honor two characters that have obviously deeply moved us, but as a place where kindness and talent constantly lives. I used to be embarrassed to admit that I read fanfic, the writers here have shown me how foolish that is- there is a treasure of exquisite story telling here and I am so grateful for those gifts. Thank you to mods past and present for keeping this space alive

TITLE: Wilderness
Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG13 for now
Disclaimer: Characters from BTVS are not mine, nor is any dialogue taken from the show. The rest is.
Spoilers: Begins after Tabula Rasa. Up through mid season 6, will update if that changes
Feedback: PLEASE!! I am new at this. This is my first fanfiction (other drabbles were written as part of this) and my first attempt at long-form fictional writing. Comment, construct, query!!!

Notes: I have about 40,000 words typed for this story so far and am only about halfway done (yikes). I am not sure why I felt the need to take on an epic tale- but the themes in here are ones I have been aching to explore for years, I hope they come through.

This story will have ANGST, it starts in an angsty place on the show- set directly after the events of Tabula Rasa- but my goal is to show a journey of healing and self-awareness. That said, themes of trauma are present- I will put content warnings as needed or requested. Also, both girls are in a bad place in the beginning and not their best selves, It will get better.

The title was inspired by Brene Brown, it doesn't have any relation to the comic of that name expect the main characters

Big huge sloppy thank you to Zooey's bridge (Rachel) for beta'ing and being a rock star of support and encouragement!!! Have you read Lotus??? If not, go now and read it- it's brilliant.




WILDERNESS



“Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. And I will choose how the story ends.”- Brené Brown



CHAPTER ONE : Endings

Tara’s mind had forgotten how to connect thoughts. Words were futile and the surging emotions were too tangled and twisted to make sense. Her body had served as communicator; it’s language the silent and steady flow of tears as she packed; the near collapse of sorrow as Dawn slammed the door behind her, leaving Tara standing on the front porch alone, shut out; the shaking that rocked her bones as she rode in the backseat of the cab; the trembling of her fingers as she slid the keycard into the motel room’s front door; the numb heaviness in her eyes as she stared.

She had done it. She had left Willow. She had walked away from the person who felt like home. Willow had been her world, Willow’s love and friendship a constant and comforting eddy. That eddy had been swallowed by a maelstrom.

Tara used a tissue to wipe at the streaked mirror in the cheap motel room. Her single box of belongings was placed on a faded wooden side table. She sat at the mirror, trying to undo the series of small ponytails Dawn had given her just this morning. They’d been quirky and cute, and now they made Tara want to scream. There were too many and she just wanted them out.

She pulled impatiently at the tiny yellow rubber bands, their maddening resistance corroding Tara’s attempt to hold herself together. With each painful snap of a band, she felt her anger surge. Betrayal sickened her as hair was torn from its constraints, leaving stolen strands wrapped around the rubber. Each tug was a reminder of the gnawing ache, echoed in her belly. She pulled frantically, her heartbeat matching in a desperate pace as she tried to get through it all.

Every muscle in Tara’s body tensed and trembled as anger and sorrow warred for dominance, demanding release. She clutched at a particularly stubborn tangle, shoving her fingers forcefully through the mass to pull it loose, only managing to tighten the knot at the end and send pain into her scalp. Body on overload, she shot out of the chair. Her hand grasped the water glass beside her and Tara pulled her taut, shaking arm back into a throwing position. “Fuck!” She wanted to throw it, needed to somehow free the emotions raging within her but she couldn’t go through with it and she hated herself for always holding back. Why couldn’t she let go? Shakily, she set the glass back on the table, telling herself she didn’t want to cause a scene, didn’t want the cranky man at the front desk banging on the door. Tara squeezed and pulled at her hands, her body at a breaking point. It began as a low keen, pouring from the place within that is deep and primal. A soul’s lament. Her knee buckled and harsh sobs assaulted her body. Tara lurched herself at the bed, curling herself into the tightest ball she could as the force of her weeping overrode breath and Tara found herself panting as waves of betrayal, grief, and heartbreak overtook her.

The violent release ebbed and Tara sat up and wiped a hand across her tear streaked cheeks. She used the bathroom sink to fill a glass with water, uncaring about the smudges on the glass, and sat back down in the chair in front of the clouded mirror. There, she resumed undoing her hair. A small, pained smile barely touched her lips as she thought of how proud Dawn had been when she’d finished them. And now, every band that was stripped away felt bittersweet. Every loosened strand changed her from the woman who had left just hours ago. Life had changed and every new thing moved her farther away from Willow.

Tara struggled to pull a nightshirt over her head, exhaustion making her clumsy. Gathering a flat pillow and the top layer of a suspiciously brown bed covering she curled into herself at the foot of the bed. She reached lazily for the remote and turned on the TV, looking for something to hold her attention enough to zone out on, to let her mind rest for a moment. Finally settling on a rerun of Friends, she was out within minutes.

The next morning, it had taken every bit of energy Tara could gather to get dressed, not even able to shower, and make her way to UC Sunnydale. She had slept in spurts, waking with a sudden jerk every two or three hours, snippets of dreams staying with her only momentarily. Each time she opened her eyes, the loss was an immediate, tight, and nauseating throb in her abdomen. Tears exhausted her into the next few hours of sleep.

Check-out was at eleven, which meant if Tara wanted to get to the University Housing Department she had to be on the way to their office by 7:30. She wanted to be able to store her things and not lug them with her. Tara rolled over with as little effort as possible to check the alarm clock; forty minutes to try and rest her swollen, tired eyes just a little more.

Thoughts of an alarm clock startled her as she realized that she no longer had one, it had been left with Willow in the room. It was inane and replaceable and left her feeling wounded and bruised. Tears of resignation stung bitterly as they dropped onto her cheeks, slipping over the slope of her nose and melting into the bedspread. She watched the water as it was absorbed into the fabric, thinking of all the things she would need now, now that it was just her again. No more ‘we’.




CHAPTER TWO : The Morning After

Willow’s head was pounding. Blurry green eyes opened and scanned the room, squinting at the faint morning light seeping through the gap in the curtains. With a groan, she laid her arm across her eyes, trying to come to terms with the fact that she was now awake. There was no hesitation of thought, none of that wonderful amnesia that sometimes hovers in the liminal state between sleep and wakefulness. The truth was stark and immediately present- Tara was gone. Her love had packed a box and walked out on her last night, leaving a sobbing Willow tucked into herself on the bathroom floor. Willow winced as she relived it all, her chest tightening as an imaginary fist clutched her breath away.
After the gang had all returned from the Magic Box, and to their own identities, Willow had headed straight for the bathroom. She hadn’t even tried to talk to Tara on the way back, not after seeing the stricken look on Tara’s face. Her beautiful blue eyes were so pained with heartbreak, with betrayal, again; and Willow knew there was nothing she could say.

She had felt like a ghost walking home, keeping a good distance behind the rest of the group. The way they all looked at her, they were so disappointed. They didn’t understand. Why didn’t any of them understand? She had had to make things right, she had screwed up by bringing Buffy back, by erasing the fight she had with Tara, so it was up to her to fix it. Things were going so wrong, after she had tried so hard. It was her mess and she was making things better. She had to fix them.

And now it was worse. Because Xander had stepped on the crystal, breaking the spell. Ok, she had thought, so the spell hadn’t gone right and they would all have probably been vampire food before too long. But, tears flooded her eyes, Tara had still wanted me then, when we didn’t know each other. And now, now that she did know her, Tara had left. Yes, Willow knew she had screwed up, but no one had complained when she was kicking vampire ass left and right when Buffy had been gone. Much. Besides, who else could have, would have, taken up that mantle? Only Willow, and Spike when he was around, stood a chance of keeping this town together.

Willow hadn’t brought Buffy back because she couldn’t handle the slaying, even if that was the excuse she gave to everyone. In truth, she liked being the big gun; she was good at being the big gun. It was stressful for sure, but she was truly confident in herself, for the first time in her life. It was just others who couldn’t handle what sweet little dog geyser Willow Rosenberg had become. Did they wanted to keep her like that, meek and insecure and dependent on them? She couldn’t, wouldn’t, go there again.

No, it wasn’t that at all. She simply missed her best friend. And if she had known? If she had known that Buffy was in heaven and at peace? In her deepest confessions, Willow might admit she still may have brought Buffy back.

Pushing the covers aside, Willow forced her body off the bed. With leaden feet she walked down the stairs, so slowly time wavered, and she continued toward the kitchen for some coffee. Her usually active mind was paused in an echoing numbness. Just get through the day, she urged herself.

As soon as there was enough coffee to pour, she reached out and took the pot from its burner, habitually knowing the flow from the machine would pause. She stood, frozen, fingers curled around the handle, her eyes glazed into a lost stare.

The sound of a startled voice brought her back to the present. Turning she watched Dawn rush across the room and flip the switch on the coffee maker. “What happened?” Dawn stood away from the pool of hot brown liquid now spreading across the kitchen tile. “Willow, are you ok?”

With a blink, Willow realized she had let the coffee brew out of the top of the maker, unable to go anywhere but up as the water kept pouring into the basket. “I, um, I guess I spaced out there for a minute.” Willow continued as she waved her hand over the mess, brown evaporating into the air, "You know me and my brain, always ticking. Well, I guess my heart is ticking, which is a good thing, you know, because the ticking means, yay, I’m alive.” The babble was forced, and both parties knew it.

Dawn watched in growing horror as the soaked coffee filter floated across the kitchen, and a magically opened cabinet revealed the trashcan where the filter was dropped. She looked back at Willow who was now sipping at her coffee as she continued her babble.

“Why do they say the brain’s ticking when it’s really transmitting electrochemical signals? I guess that’s not as catchy or easy to say.” Willow ended in a small grin that was not reflected in her eyes.

“I would have helped you clean that up,” Dawn stated, a look of concern shifting across her features.

The sigh was frustration and disappointment, the tone colder “Are you going to start in on me too?”

“What? No, I just-“The teen stepped back twice, putting distance between them.

“You just think I am overusing the magic, right?” Willow fired without hesitation, defensive anger driving her.

Dawn’s voice was direct but soft, “Are you?”

“Why don’t you ask Tara?” The words flew out, bitter and hurtful, and both girls stared in shock. The fact that she had said them made Willow sick. Tears immediately flooded her eyes as she turned to leave. She pushed against the swinging kitchen door and realized that she had never hated herself more than at this moment.

“Do you care that she’s gone?” It wasn’t an accusation. It was an honest question and it hit Willow all the harder for it, freezing her movement. A moment went by as each woman’s breath caught in trepidation. Then, Willow faced Dawn, her features still. She said no words, but the sorrow revealed in her eyes was so deep, it could never have been communicated. Willow quickly shadowed the truth in her gaze before tearing it away from Dawn and disappeared up the stairs. Dawn wrapped her arm around herself as she heard the bedroom door close.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Last edited by shirrey on Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:46 pm 
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Dibs!! It's here, it's here! C'mon everyone, get in on this good fic!

Admission time: I was so excited to see Wilderness posted on AO3, I completely missed the Brene Brown quote that opens the story and gosh, it just took my breath away. I'm sad to admit I'd never heard of her before, but am now eagerly looking forward to learning about her. Thanks, google!


Quote:
"That eddy had been swallowed by a maelstrom."

An apt metaphor for how the ocean contains multitudes, as do people, and relationships and actions can change for the better or worse. The sea can be a haven that cradles the shore or a stormy nightmare that pulls and drowns without any thought to others' well being. A fit parallel to Willow and her actions on the others, but especially Tara.

The rubber band thing in the hair is still so good

Code:
"Each time she opened her eyes, the loss was an immediate, tight, and nauseating throb in her abdomen."

This would happen to me upon first consciousness, even before my eyes would open. I knew I was awake based on the tumult in my stomach. Anxiety is the worst.

Willow and Dawn lashing out and trading barbes in the kitchen over the same hurt but from completely opposite sides. Ugh, everyone is so broken. Looking forward to the long road of fixing it :)

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 2:41 am 
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5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
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Very promising start in one of the angstiest moments of season 6. My heart ached for Tara and Willow both.

Quote:
Thoughts of an alarm clock startled her as she realized that she no longer had one, it had been left with Willow in the room. It was inane and replaceable and left her feeling wounded and bruised. Tears of resignation stung bitterly as they dropped onto her cheeks, slipping over the slope of her nose and melting into the bedspread. She watched the water as it was absorbed into the fabric, thinking of all the things she would need now, now that it was just her again. No more ‘we’.

Very powerful passage!
(Just one tiny criticism: how could Tara know in the passage before that she had "forty minutes to…", if there wasn't an alarm clock to check?)

Quote:
In truth, she liked being the big gun; she was good at being the big gun. It was stressful for sure, but she was truly confident in herself, for the first time in her life. It was just others who couldn’t handle what sweet little dog geyser Willow Rosenberg had become. They wanted to keep her like that, meek and insecure and dependent on them. She couldn’t, wouldn’t, go there again.

This is just so sad. I understand the feeling behind it but there is also an alarming sign of warped perception bordering on paranoia (fearing that "They" - meaning all the Scoobies - want to dominate / control her).

Quote:
And if she had known? If she had known that Buffy was in heaven and at peace? In her deepest confessions, Willow might admit she still may have brought Buffy back.

I can't blame her for that. If I had lost a loved one and had the ability to "bring her back", I couldn't guarantee I would have acted differently. In Willow's defence: I'm sure she felt that if she had been killed and had to leave Tara and the rest of her chosen family behind, she wouldn't have truly felt at peace even in heaven but would have wanted to go back to them. She probably didn't know of / understand the latent death wish Buffy had.

Quote:
“I would have helped you clean that up,” Dawn stated, a look of concern shifting across her features.

The sigh was frustration and disappointment, the tone colder “Are you going to start in on me too?”

“What? No, I just-“The teen stepped back twice, putting distance between them.

“You just think I am overusing the magic, right?” Willow fired without hesitation, defensive anger driving her.

I always felt that was a problem, everyone kept telling Willow she shouldn't use magic in "everyday life" but noone gave a proper reason for it. So Willow felt unjustifiedly chastised and therefore got defiant and wasn't open for discussion about her magic-use anymore when it really counted. In the Harry Potter-verse all adult witches and wizards use magic for everyday-chores (housework etc.) without any problems resulting from that. If it's different in the Buffyverse, where are the magic-books that say so and what reasons do they give? If Giles and / or Tara had shown Willow those books things would have probably turned out much differently.
I guess Willow also thought the more she practiced "useful" magic the better she would get which might help in dire situations.
Then there is the fact that Buffy had her superpowers all the time and of course used them in everyday live as well (heavy-lifting etc.) and none of the scoobies would have thought to reproach her for that (as long as other people weren't around to get suspicious). So I understand that Willow felt it to be unfair that all the others demanded from her to use magic only "in case of emergency".


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:59 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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YAY! A new story,...If I may, I want to echo what you said in your intro: I am forever thankful to the moderators and whoever helps them that this board is still up and available. Thank You and Blessings
SO,...very good start, can't wait to see where it goes. Very well written, also, and I am jealous! I've been trying my hand at writing since my recent retirement (I was laid-off, actually and decided to not look for work anymore!).
Keep it up and I WILL be along for the ride.

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[font=][font=]Strength in our arms, truth on our tongue, clarity in our heart[/font][/font]


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:47 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Zooeys_bridge (I FINALLY spelled it correctly!):

Quote:
Dibs!! It's here, it's here! C'mon everyone, get in on this good fic!


you are the best!! :dumbo

Quote:
Admission time: I was so excited to see Wilderness posted on AO3, I completely missed the Brene Brown quote that opens the story and gosh, it just took my breath away. I'm sad to admit I'd never heard of her before, but am now eagerly looking forward to learning about her. Thanks, google!


Brene Brown is brilliant and changing the world

Quote:
Anxiety is the worst.
it really really is

Quote:
Willow and Dawn lashing out and trading barbes in the kitchen over the same hurt but from completely opposite sides. Ugh, everyone is so broken.


the two women who love Tara the most- both their hearts are broken. it makes me sad and I wrote it lol

Thanks so much Rachel!!

Will's redemption:

Quote:
Very promising start in one of the angstiest moments of season 6. My heart ached for Tara and Willow both.


Thank you so much!

Quote:
Very powerful passage!


I think its always those little things that break us the hardest- the things we don't see coming

Quote:
(Just one tiny criticism: how could Tara know in the passage before that she had "forty minutes to…", if there wasn't an alarm clock to check?)


Tara is in the motel room, so there is a clock in there to check, she doesn't have one of her own for when she checks out

Quote:
This is just so sad. I understand the feeling behind it but there is also an alarming sign of warped perception bordering on paranoia (fearing that "They" - meaning all the Scoobies - want to dominate / control her).


I think Willow in this space is all but unable to self-reflect (for definite reasons) and she is reaching out for anything outside of herself for why things are falling apart. That said, I definitely thought on what you said and agree that Willow may wonder about it but most likely wouldn't just go to believing it's true that they wanted to keep her meek. I tweaked it a bit to reflect that. Thanks for pointing it out :)

Quote:
I can't blame her for that. If I had lost a loved one and had the ability to "bring her back", I couldn't guarantee I would have acted differently. In Willow's defence: I'm sure she felt that if she had been killed and had to leave Tara and the rest of her chosen family behind, she wouldn't have truly felt at peace even in heaven but would have wanted to go back to them. She probably didn't know of / understand the latent death wish Buffy had.


this comment is so apropos of your screen name :) and you definitely do not have to defend Willow to me, I don't think she thought everything through and she would still have been choosing for Buffy, which is not ok- but I honestly couldn't guarantee I wouldn't have brought her back too - it's a complicated situation

Quote:
everyone kept telling Willow she shouldn't use magic in "everyday life" but noone gave a proper reason for it.


well, Tara did... although.... this is absolutely an area I will cover so I won't say too much more yet

Quote:
So I understand that Willow felt it to be unfair that all the others demanded from her to use magic only "in case of emergency"


yep, Willow has a point- it was unfair. It's going to be rough for Willow for a bit- it's where she is at this point on the show- but know that I love her

Thanks for the great feedback!!

MotherD:

Quote:
If I may, I want to echo what you said in your intro:


Echo away!

Quote:
SO,...very good start, can't wait to see where it goes. Very well written, also, and I am jealous! I've been trying my hand at writing since my recent retirement (I was laid-off, actually and decided to not look for work anymore!).
Keep it up and I WILL be along for the ride.


Thank you so much!! Congrats on retiring!! I never thought I could write (still have doubts sometimes) just plug at it! The best advice I have ever heard is 'write a shitty first draft'

I am glad you are here for the ride!!





WILDERNESS

Ch 3: Rubble

All aforementioned disclaimers apply.
NOTE: CW for mention of deceased parent.


I stuttered, Tara thought, shaking her head at herself as she left the building with a set of keys in her hand. I haven’t stuttered like that since Dad… With a shudder she shut the thought down.

She had gotten up to go appeal to the university housing committee, prepared to beg if necessary, for a dorm room, somewhere of her own to stay. It turned out four students had suddenly disappeared just last week, and there was a single available. One really disturbing point for living on a Hellmouth, she thought, her chest heavy and tight as she walked through the campus.
Feeling exhausted and barely able to breathe, let alone beg, Tara had stumbled through her plea. “Um, I n-n-need a place to s-stay. Are there a-any d-dorms avail-available?” The looks she had gotten then, an infuriating and humiliating mix of pity and aversion at her affliction. Looks she hadn’t seen in nearly two years. A week ago, she would have said something about those looks. A week ago, she wouldn’t have stuttered.

She thought she was stronger now. She had stood there, saying the words as best she could as she felt the weight of her new reality. Living alone, in the dorms again. A portion of her mind and all of her heart cried out for Willow. Her Willow. Willow’s love and acceptance had given her the strength to believe in who Willow saw, to believe that Willow’s Tara could be the true Tara. To speak knowing that someone would care about what she had to say, the stutter not even an afterthought.

And the Scoobies, they treated her as if what she was saying was worth listening to. At least after a while they did. Willow had always looked so proud when Tara offered a new view on a situation, or imparted some before unknown knowledge about whatever beast, demon, or mythic rites they were dealing with.

Everything had changed with Willow. She was no longer the girl who walked through the world, furled like a tight fern bud, her shoulders curved forward; arms securely tucked protecting her vulnerable heart. An ever-present veil of hair. Her own personal energy subconsciously reduced to a speck, keeping her hidden from the eyes of the world. Protecting herself.

Tara was aware enough to know that these actions were a product of decades of lessons, often harsh and humiliating, of how to protect herself. But meeting Willow, loving and being loved by Willow, had unfurled her, and Tara had bloomed. And now, one night without Willow, and Tara felt seventeen again. The thing was it wasn’t just losing Willow, leaving Willow. When Tara realized what Willow had done, something had cracked, exhuming pains left buried.

That night, like too many nights in Tara’s recent history, had delivered an overflow of emotions to untangle. They had just learned that Buffy had been in heaven, that they had taken her away from paradise. Everyone was devastated, but Willow was inconsolable. Tara felt it too, the horror, the guilt; and perhaps because she too needed comfort, she laid in bed with Willow wrapped around her, the betrayal she’d discovered just hours before pushed to the side and labeled ‘less important’. Again. But in Tara’s core, Willow’s actions had terrified her and that feeling had lingered and shaped everything that came after.

Walking the long way back to the motel, to clear her head and, truthfully, to avoid running into someone she knew, Tara felt like she was in a daze. Her world had been turned upside down abruptly, like an undiscerning older brother, flipping his toddler sister by her heels. She was lost and she was scared. She felt seventeen.

She stopped on the way into a drug store for an alarm clock, some deodorant, and some cherry popsicles. Finally reaching her destination, Tara gathered her box of belongings, most still packed away, and checked out.

She treated herself to a cab back to Dormer Hall, not because she felt like she deserved it, but because she didn’t care about spending the little money she had. It’s not like she’d be using it to eat anytime soon. Thinking of food made her abdomen seize and forced a shaft of air that stuck in a ball at the base of her throat. The only thing she could possibly fathom were the popsicles, her mother had always given her one when she was sick; it had made her feel better then. She wished she could talk to her mom. Tara was thankful the cab driver wasn’t chatty as she stared out of the dirt splattered window, focusing on nothing.

She fumbled for her keys, not wanting to set down- and pick up- her belongings again, and opened the door to the dorm her grants paid for, thankful that one had been available. She had wanted to hold on to her old dorm. “Just in case” she had said to Willow, uncertain that her place at the Summers’ house would be permanent. In the end, she had acquiesced to the barely concealed terror in Willow’s voice when she had questioned Tara’s need for the room. Large green eyes had silently pleaded for reassurance- of her, them; and Tara knew she would give up the space for Willow. Now, Tara couldn’t help but wonder if she had somehow known she’d need it.

Tara took in her new home; the empty walls a blank canvas- echoing loneliness. She unpacked her single box, determined to make things as normal, as comforting as they could be, to deafen the starkness with blankets and color. It was worse than the motel room- at least that had a TV to try and block out the thoughts. But she would make it hers.
She had taken one sheet, her star-covered blanket, and her pillow with her; these went onto the bed first. She placed her books on the pine desk that was included with the lightly furnished room. Her shoulders tightened as she set a few candles and placed crystals next to them. Clothes were folded reverently and placed in thin drawers. With careful hands, she placed the picture of her mom, bright and beautiful, on the nightstand.

Tara hadn’t brought a picture of Willow, or herself and Willow, with her. She couldn’t see that face right now, that beautiful, adoring, deceitful face. She missed that face already.
With nothing left to do, she sat on the edge of her newly adorned bed. Hands grasped in a ball, resting in her lap, she stared at the blank wall in front of her. A sudden force of sobs ripped through her, making her feel dizzy with lack of air; spinning, wild thoughts adding to her internal chaos. She lay down and curled up on the left side, knees tucked into her chin, blanket pulled tight, swaddling her in stars, and wept until the thoughts eased and she was captured by sleep.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Last edited by shirrey on Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:52 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer
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Dibs again!


Augh, Tara reflecting upon how far down she's gone with the stutter. Us knowing the fact that she's still opening her mouth to speak speaks to how much strength she truly has.


Quote:
Now, Tara couldn’t help but wonder if she had somehow known she’d need it.

Oof. That hits. And hurts. I wonder too, if somewhere deep down, Tara had thought she might. That something might go wrong. I'm sure at first it came from a lack of self-worth, which is heartbreaking on its own, but then the sneaking subconscious suspicion that Willow's attitude towards magic would prove unhealthy.

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:28 am 
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5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 272
Poor Tara! My heart again ached for her!

Quote:
A portion of her mind and all of her heart cried out for Willow. Her Willow. Willow’s love and acceptance had given her the strength to believe in who Willow saw, to believe that Willow’s Tara could be the true Tara. To speak knowing that someone would care about what she had to say, the stutter not even an afterthought.

That felt like equal parts :cry and :flower.

Quote:
She was no longer the girl who walked through the world, furled like a tight fern bud, her shoulders curved forward; arms securely tucked protecting her vulnerable heart.

But meeting Willow, loving and being loved by Willow, had unfurled her, and Tara had bloomed.

Beautiful imagery!

Quote:
She had wanted to hold on to her old dorm. “Just in case” she had said to Willow, uncertain that her place at the Summers’ house would be permanent. In the end, she had acquiesced to the barely concealed terror in Willow’s voice when she had questioned Tara’s need for the room. Large green eyes had silently pleaded for reassurance- of her, them; and Tara knew she would give up the space for Willow.

I'm wondering what Tara meant with "Just in case" - Willow obviously read out of it "Just in case our relationship won't last" and therefore panicked. And although Tara did "give up the space for Willow" afterwards, the seed of doubt (Tara doesn't believe in us, Tara already planned for a breakup) had already been sown in Willow's mind, probably influencing her later behaviour at least subconsciously.


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:07 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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I'm really digging this story and Tara's perspective on the breakup. Can't wait for the next chapter.

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Alyson, oh, Alyson why don´t you join my band? So you could play the flute like this one time in band camp.
I Am Forever / A Special Christmas of Sorts / Maybe It's Just Me / Honeysuckle Rose /Blackouts and Breakthroughs / When Love Arrives


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:32 pm 
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1. Blessed Wannabe

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I have been craving a new fic that fills in the spaces between what happened. Willow and Tara's story, to me, is an old house that I love dearly. It's filled with memories that are wonderful and some that are painful. When someone strips it down to its foundation and builds their own structure you can still feel and appreciate what was there and fill the house with new and wonderful memories.

The start of this story (and the little teaser you posted) are amazing and I can't wait to continue on this new adventure you are sending us on.


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:54 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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Hi Shirrey-

Geat start! I'm really looking forward to reading your take of those months after Tabula Rasa, especially from Tara's POV. One of my biggest gripes after that episode was, Where the hell is Tara? So, I'm glad to see that you're giving it the life it deserves. Can't wait for more!

_________________
Shelby - Racing The Rain (IN PROGRESS) / Baby Makes Three (IN PROGRESS) / The Santa Line / Everything She Does...Is Beautiful / Calfornia Grass

"Transform your pain. Release your past. And ... uh ... get over it."
~Willow, Where The Wild Things Are


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:42 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Zooeys_bridge
Quote:
Augh, Tara reflecting upon how far down she's gone with the stutter. Us knowing the fact that she's still opening her mouth to speak speaks to how much strength she truly has.


so true, she is in heartbreak land where everything seems like its falling apart- even her. but she is- and always has been- strong (like an Amazon)

silly sidenote: I teach and one of my students was having a hard time and really likes sharks- so I drew him a picture of a megalodon and wrote 'strong like a megalodon' on it :laugh

Quote:
Oof. That hits. And hurts. I wonder too, if somewhere deep down, Tara had thought she might. That something might go wrong. I'm sure at first it came from a lack of self-worth, which is heartbreaking on its own, but then the sneaking subconscious suspicion that Willow's attitude towards magic would prove unhealthy.


I definitely think both, at least in hindsight

Thanks my wonderful beta!!

Will's redemption

thank you so much!

Quote:
I'm wondering what Tara meant with "Just in case" - Willow obviously read out of it "Just in case our relationship won't last" and therefore panicked. And although Tara did "give up the space for Willow" afterwards, the seed of doubt (Tara doesn't believe in us, Tara already planned for a breakup) had already been sown in Willow's mind, probably influencing her later behaviour at least subconsciously.


this made me think, a lot. which is awesome- thank you! I meant it to be somewhat open ended- they aren't communicating as well as they should- and that can definitely make for some insecure feelings.

Thank you for commenting!!

mmmh-Hot-Sauce

Hi! and thank you!!

oliviam32


Quote:
I have been craving a new fic that fills in the spaces between what happened. Willow and Tara's story, to me, is an old house that I love dearly. It's filled with memories that are wonderful and some that are painful. When someone strips it down to its foundation and builds their own structure you can still feel and appreciate what was there and fill the house with new and wonderful memories.

The start of this story (and the little teaser you posted) are amazing and I can't wait to continue on this new adventure you are sending us on



Wow- thank you so much!! The metaphor of their story being an old house is gorgeous- and I really appreciate the kind words. I live in PDX too, hi neighbor!

Finey_McFine

Hello!!


Quote:
Geat start! I'm really looking forward to reading your take of those months after Tabula Rasa, especially from Tara's POV. One of my biggest gripes after that episode was, Where the hell is Tara? So, I'm glad to see that you're giving it the life it deserves. Can't wait for more!


definitely one of my biggest gripes as well- there is no way that Tara wouldn't have been strongly affected by their break up and how it came about no matter how strong she is (hence this story lol)

Thank you so much!! It's really cool seeing a name I have seen here for years - and whose stories I have so enjoyed- commenting on one of my stories. Hooray!!



Wilderness

Author: shirrey (Beth)
Feedback: YES PLEASE!! It really does mean a lot!
Rating: a touch of naughty

Notes: The story from here on will be canon adjacent and then veer off, I played with the timing of events that happened in the series (more so in later posts). I love both Willow and Tara and I will abide by Kitten rules- it's still angsty though


Ch 4: This Will Work

Willow was curled into her bed, the blanket pulled over her head keeping the world away. She reached under her pillow, pulling an off white nightgown up to her chest, clutching it protectively. It had been a gift from Tara to Willow, a gift for no reason but that Tara had liked it for her love. It was early on in their relationship, and Willow thought of how shy Tara had been when Willow opened the gift bag, how deeply crimson Tara’s cheeks flushed when the intimate garment was removed. Willow had worn it for a week until it became too chilly for night dresses. Over the next month Tara had learned that her Willow was a pajamas kind of girl, and had purchased a cute set of matching top and bottoms with penguins ice skating their way across the thick blue fabric.

Hiding her hands behind her back, Tara approached the bed where Willow lay watching with her head propped in her hand. With a shy smile and knowing eyes, Tara brought her hands forward displaying the fuzzy sleep set neatly folded and tied with a ribbon, “This is a replacement gift.”

With a slight frown of concern, Willow spoke as she sat upright, “Oh baby, I love the nightgown, it’s just brrr cold at night,” Willow gave a mock shiver for emphasis.

Tara sat next to her on the bed, placing the new pajamas in her lap, “Darling, I love you for trying to spare my feelings, but it was wrong for you.” Tara hurried forward, knowing Willow was about to protest, “I had only known you for a little while then, now I know you better. And I want you as you are, no pretense, not even jammie pretense.” Tara’s warm smile was adorably crooked as she placed the gift into Willow’s hand.

Caressing the soft fleece with her fingertips, Willow felt a peacefulness settle in, the type that comes from being known and cherished for it. Tara knew her so well. “Thanks, Baby. But you should keep the nightgown.”

Tara rolled her eyes good naturedly, “Will, you’re much smaller than me, it would be like a tank top on me.” Willow met dancing blue eyes with her slightly darkening greens and with a small smirk wagged her eyebrows comically. Tara giggled and lightly slapped her girlfriend’s arm; at the same time pressing her body against Willows. She smiled, and admired her love through a heavy lidded gaze, “Vixen”

“I’m only a little smaller than you,” Willow smiled, “Well except here,” the backs of small fingers caressed the sides of Tara’s breasts. The smile slipped into a naughty grin.

“And,” she continued, “the thought of you in that nightie, just a little too tight, just snug enough here…” Willow's hands drifted forward as her thumbs lightly caressed Tara’s tightening nipples.


Willow remembered how her love’s breath had caught, how her eyes had darkened and her voice grew husky, “I’ll go put it on.”

It had remained Willow’s favorite nightgown.

Willow pulled the garment to her nose, inhaling Tara’s scent deeply as her body started to tremble with sorrow. Shaking the thoughts out, Willow forced a deep inhale to ease her weeping. The pain was too much, and Willow was determined to make it go away. She tried to convince herself that Tara would be back. That she would come around, understand.

Willow deeply regretted hurting her love, but it’d been a mistake. The spell wasn’t supposed to have gone that way. Tara had just been scared; Tara was always scared of big magic. But Willow wasn’t. And as much as she loved Tara, she didn’t want to be afraid of this power she had, power she wielded with intelligence and cunning. Willow believed herself smart and responsible enough to know how to use the magic wisely. The big gun, remember? So she would give Tara space and welcome her back with open arms when she came around. It hurt, no, it tortured, seeing Tara leave. God, that look in her eyes.

But maybe, Willow considered, it was good to take some space. For the first time in her life, Willow felt important, needed. Necessary. So why is Tara holding me back? Why doesn’t she see that I am finally powerful enough to be useful? That I like being able to do things, help, fix things? That’s what a Scooby does.

As if solidifying her identity, Willow reached under the bed and pulled out a large tome titled Transmutation, Shapeshifting, and Other Forms of Metamorphosis. It was a title she had ‘borrowed’ from the Magic Box, picked up during the Halloween rush and stowed away into her book bag. It was one of those books, Willow thought with a roll of her eyes; kept away from prying amateur eyes. She was no amateur, not anymore; no matter what Giles had so hurtfully called her. Realizing that she no longer needed to hide the book, Willow let a small but satisfied grin cross her lips as she mentally decided where on the bookcase it would live.

The spells were intense and involved and they fascinated the witch. Her mind churned with ideas for adapting, strengthening, and focusing each one she read. A small scratch and an even smaller squeak pulled Willow away from her studies. With a start she realized she hadn’t fed Amy in over a day. Leaping off the bed, she pulled the rat food from atop her dresser and poured some into Amy’s bowl. The rat squeaked furiously as she dug her nose in before the food was done pouring, small pellets burying the whiskered nose.
“Guess you were hungry, huh? Sorry I forgot you, it’s been a really crazy few, well, weeks really. And not even Hellmouth crazy really, just people-drama crazy. Sometimes I envy you being a rat, you little shapeshifter-“

Willow froze. She pulled the spell book from her bed and flipped to the desired section looking for the undo part of transmutation. Apparently, people weren’t too concerned about changing things back, because, nothing. Willow’s eyes widened as she reached the final page of the chapter, with a note to check the addendum at the back of the book for variations and reparations. Finding the needed pages, Willow looked at Amy with a wide smile. “This will work.”

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Last edited by shirrey on Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:44 am 
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5. Willowhand

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Dibs! :whip
I loved the first flashback to happier times.
Quote:
“Darling, I love you for trying to spare my feelings, but it was wrong for you.” Tara hurried forward, knowing Willow was about to protest, “I had only known you for a little while then, now I know you better. And I want you as you are, no pretense, not even jammie pretense.” Tara’s warm smile was adorably crooked as she placed the gift into Willow’s hand.

Caressing the soft fleece with her fingertips, Willow felt a peacefulness settle in, the type that comes from being known and cherished for it. Tara knew her so well.

Awww! :flower

Quote:
Tara had just been scared; Tara was always scared of big magic. But Willow wasn’t. And as much as she loved Tara, she didn’t want to be afraid of this power she had, power she wielded with intelligence and cunning. Willow believed herself smart and responsible enough to know how to use the magic wisely. The big gun, remember? So she would give Tara space and welcome her back with open arms when she came around. It hurt, no, it tortured, seeing Tara leave. God, that look in her eyes.

But maybe, Willow considered, it was good to take some space. For the first time in her life, Willow felt important, needed. Necessary. So why is Tara holding me back? Why doesn’t she see that I am finally powerful enough to be useful? That I like being able to do things, help, fix things? That’s what a Scooby does.

This is so sad! Obviously Willow still hasn't realized that she has a problem when it comes to her magic use… On the other hand she is somewhat right that being afraid of her powers and stopping to use them isn't a solution either. I think the problem is that Willow had and still has no guidance in learning magic. Tara might have tried to teach her what she knows but let's face it, she is hardly an expert either (considering that her only teacher was her mother who obviously believed that she and her daughter were demons). When Willow was at the coven in England in Season 7 I always thought: Great, why didn't Giles bring her there before she tried to end the world?! I'm sure she would love to learn from experienced witches, she always was a diligent student after all.


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:10 am 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Will's redemption

Quote:
When Willow was at the coven in England in Season 7 I always thought: Great, why didn't Giles bring her there before she tried to end the world?! I'm sure she would love to learn from experienced witches, she always was a diligent student after all.


yep, this 100% I think by season 6 Willow was clinging to arrogance about her craft (not totally unfairly, she does kick ass) but before that, hell yes she would have jumped at the opportunity- like why not between graduation and college? it would have so good for her.

Thank you so much for leaving feedback!




Wilderness

Rating: PG-13

Notes: This is very much a last minute addition that kind of got away from me and ended up being longer and later than I wanted. It has not been beta'd so all mistakes are mine alone. I hope you enjoy it :)


Ch 4A: Branwen

Freshman Year: Sometime between Goodbye Iowa and This Year's Girl


Tara chewed at the ends of her fingernails watching the clock tick into another moment of the nauseating guilt and worry that had plagued her since Willow’s abrupt departure yesterday. The inability to act upset her more, because Tara knew she could make this right. She could and should call Willow, leave a message if necessary, tell her the truth, offer to do the spell again with promises of fidelity. But the terror stayed her hands.

Willow had come to Tara for help, had needed her help to find and stop a monster and Tara had done a terrible thing. She lied to Willow, purposefully, when she sabotaged the locator spell. And now the monster- No Tara demanded of herself, Name it. It was a demon, like she was a demon, because what other than a demon would have been so full of deceit and selfishness. The demon had murdered a child and it could still be loose, could be killing more children and she was so afraid of its likeness that she had essentially set it free. She had its blood on her hands. She couldn’t cry, she was wound too tight for tears, but an internal wail of self-loathing tore at her as she waited for Willow’s return.

Sabotaging the spell had been a desperate reaction, Tara didn’t think she would ever plan such a selfish move, but did that make it better? What if the demon inside her was what had reacted in haste? She always thought things through, but this time she acted impulsively, on instinct- and she had chosen to deceive. And if the demon controlled her instincts, she was already gone. The thought sickened her and she pushed back. She had panicked and made a rash and poor decision but it was a human mistake. Right?

Things had been going so well with Willow. They had become impossibly close, forming a fast and intimate friendship unlike Tara had ever experienced. There was something powerful between them that, now that it had been found, felt essential. Willow was as necessary as food and water and everything else Maslow placed at the bottom of his triangle. Magically they had a connection that was rare and intense but it didn’t compare to the bond they had formed as friends. Tara adored Willow completely, in a way that went swept up their friendship and kept diving deeper. And sometimes, when Tara was feeling very brave, she might even admit that she thought Willow adored her too. Willow was her instinct, Tara recognized that now, and the love she felt for Willow could not be sourced from any demon. Terror of losing a piece of her life force had caused Tara to hide, to be deceitful. She couldn’t bear any possibility of losing Willow when just thinking it tore her heart apart. It didn’t make her actions any better.

As she sat with eyes closed, Tara called out to her Goddess, asking for a path to self-forgiveness, if only for a respite from the paralyzing shame so she could fix things. Breathing in the earthy scent of the sandalwood incense burning on the window sill, she felt the warm honey touch of the Goddess. In the benevolence of that touch, Tara forgave herself a little with a fervent vow to never deceive Willow like that again, not when others’ lives were on the line. Tears fell in parallel tracks as she thought about what that meant. If the demon hadn’t been found, she would have to try the spell again and if she was exposed she would lose everything. Please don’t let it come to that, she pleaded, implored, and then with a broken sigh relinquished her fate to the Universe. Thanking her Goddesses, she opened her eyes and checked the time again.

It was Wednesday and she and Willow had an informal standing study date after Willow’s last class - which should have ended twenty minutes ago. Shaking away the urge to bite her nails again, Tara stood and smoothed out her long deep red skirt, trailing embroidered spirals with the now jagged nails. She stood on the precipice between hope and sorrow. But she could do nothing right now but wait and the surrender grounded her. Turning slowly, she looked at her room with keen blue eyes, taking in every detail in a panoramic view. It was the here and now. It was the moment before.

A steady knock startled Tara and she placed her fingers on her heart soothing the quick pace as she opened the door. On the other side of the threshold was Willow, shifting her weight from heel to toe in a giddy bounce and Tara couldn’t help but smile at the kinetic wiggling of Willow’s clasped fingers. Tara’s heart fluttered then pounded heavily, trying to assimilate to the rapidity of discordant emotions cycling through her. And then Willows face was alight with joy; she was smiling widely and her eyes danced as green met blue, “Hey.” Tara’s heart stilled, and then it sang.

“Hey Willow,” cheeks flushed with pink, Tara ducked her head shyly and opened the door wider to allow Willow entrance. Tara flicked her eyes up to Willow’s happy face, “Any, um luck, f-finding the demon?” This was the question she had been dreading because the answer meant everything. But Willow seemed joyful, and she was looking at Tara that way again- the way Willow had looked at her often since the night of the Doll’s eye crystal, the look that made Tara believe. And right now Tara felt what she always felt around Willow- safe.

Dropping her bag to the floor and moving to the bed, Willow’s happy face fell into a confused frown, “Well, yes and no. Turns out it wasn’t a demon… er, well, not only a demon- I mean parts were demon. I mean, not that I saw parts! No, no parts for me,” Willow’s hands were flapping in the air until she lowered them with a smile that was somehow both sheepish and flirty. Tara bit her lower lip crookedly to prevent sighing with desire. “Let me start over,” Willow continued with a pleased tiny grin having noticed Tara’s reaction. Willow noticed everything about Tara, unable to do anything but drink in every sight, smell, touch of the beautiful woman before her, and still Willow wanted more, which meant babbling as her nervous system turned inside out, “Turns out Professor Walsh was playing Frankenstein and made herself her very own pet demon-slash-human-slash-cyborg monster that is now on the loose. It’s what killed Walsh and what killed that little boy. Don’t people ever read the classics? I mean hello, do any creatures made from hodgepodge parts in a secret lab ever turn out not a big lumbering force of death and dismemberment?”

Tara blinked and opened then closed her mouth. She furrowed her brow trying to pick through the jumble that came out of Willow’s mouth. The important bits were: demon still out there. Even behind the curtain of hair that now fell over her face, Tara couldn’t hide the guilt that was turning slowly into a sorrowful regret, “S-so, the spell would h-have helped?”
The room narrowed to only Tara in her shame and Willow almost shuddered from the sudden pressure in her chest. She moved her hands into Tara’s, squeezed them once and waited for Tara to meet her gaze. When blue eyes rose, Willow held them in green, letting the moment communicate the trust and love they had not yet spoken of. Willow tugged gently until Tara sat next to her on the mattress. Neither woman let go of their clasped hands. Evened voice, Willow continued still watching Tara carefully, protectively, “It’s unclear. But Buffy found the monster-robot-guy thingy earlier. She’s knows what she’s looking for now.”

“Oh, good,” Tara’s relief was audible.

“So the spell going wrong doesn’t matter,” Squeezing Tara’s hands again, Willow shook them playfully up and down, the action conveying that all was okay and earning a wide smile and a small giggle from Tara. Eyes met again. Okay? asked green. Okay, answered blue. And fingers relaxed and played delicately together. “But, this thing is strong and really dangerous,” Willow’s voice was hushed, its cadence dancing with the caresses of their hands, “I mean, it’s always dangerous, and a little scary, but this is bigger… like Danger Will Robinson dangerous.”

Unstoppable laughter burst through Tara’s smile – wide and delirious. And Willow had to laugh with her, Tara’s mirth undeniable, “What?”

“Oh- it’s just so close to your own name, you know,” in mock seriousness, Tara was all pinched brow and pursed lips, her voice deep and dramatic, “Danger Will Rosenberg.” And god, she is the cutest, Willow thought as she looked with unsheltered veneration at this girl who was the most precious thing on earth. Tara swallowed thickly awash in their connection.
Silence sat heavy and meaningful until it became too much. With a final squeeze of their joined fingers, Willow pulled her hand back and cleared her throat, “So, I just wanted to let you know- it’s all with the good now.”

“Oh, th-thank you. Do you um, have to go? I mean, help with the-” Tara trailed off unsure how to describe what the Scoobies were dealing with and unwilling to finish the question that might mean Willow not staying. Besides, Tara didn’t want Willow in danger- ever if possible.

“No!... I mean, um, no,” Willow blushed at her own exuberance but didn’t regret the feeling; she wanted to stay with Tara, exuberantly. Forever if possible. “I’m free. I mean, if you are- um, free? We could hang out?” This was how it had been with them for the past few weeks, a constant swinging pendulum between deep comfort and uncertain anticipation. This powerful thing between them was in an awkward adolescence, nervous and a bit naïve but growing into its full identity with both impatience and anxiousness of what came next.

Squirming happily where she sat, Tara nodded, her wild grin returning. The demon had been found and Willow was here. And then…

“So, why do think the spell didn’t work?” Willow rolled onto stomach, lying diagonally on Tara’s bed, settling in as she had done almost every night these past few weeks. And Tara was back to being torn by her emotions, the ease with which Willow fit in her space made her soar, but she didn’t want to talk about the spell, afraid of the promise she had made to be honest.

“Oh, um,” Tara shrugged, her gaze fixed on the floor, “S-sometimes they just don’t.” This was honesty-lite and Tara knew it, but the fear seized her again and she hoped it was honest enough.

“But there has to be a reason,” from anyone else, it might have seemed like an inquisition, but Willow was just being Willow- insatiable in her curiosity and relentless in her hunt for answers, “You were kind of worried about Thespia, do you think it really was over our heads?” Willow frowned adorably and muttered to herself before shaking her head, “’Over our heads’ is a weird phrase.”

“Well, um, maybe,” Tara hedged, this was a different truth and it felt important too, “I mean, I usually try to, you know, create a re-relationship with a goddess before I call her.”

“What do you mean?” And Willow’s question was why this truth was important. They had learned their magic so differently, Willow and Tara. Through her mother, Tara learned history and folklore, practiced and honed her craft meticulously. She had power, more than even she allowed herself to believe, but it was tempered by respect and fear. The respect was wise, magic was a living force that abhorred entrapment and misuse; but the fear was borne out of her father’s harsh words and lessons. Magic didn’t feel evil to Tara but it carried with it the threat of repercussions from a man, and his son, who believed it was. This was another story Tara hadn’t shared, the lessons and the demon. The lessons for the demon.

Willow’s power was deep and natural and raw, but unschooled. She had learned from necessity and a need for defense. But together, they grew. Tara teaching Willow prudence and lore and Willow gifting Tara with permission to play and explore, to know her own power. And so, Tara shared, laying on her side and facing Willow, “Well, it’s like- you need a favor- you could ask a complete stranger and they might agree but you are much more likely to get a yes, and be able to trust that yes, from someone you know better- have a relationship with.”

“Huh, I guess I always thought the gods just did god things, like bring on a famine or create a rainstorm- I didn’t think they cared much about us lowly humans except for liking to watch us get on our knees for them.” A sensual smile shifted across Tara’s full lips as her head swam with images of sinking to her own knees, ready to worship Willow’s body. Familiar nerves pulsed, and Tara squeezed her legs together as her face flushed hotly. Having studied beautiful blonde for weeks, Willow recognized the smile, well, the smile plus the flush, and knew Tara would stutter and fidget for a few minutes afterwards. In these moments, there was always a warm tremble in the air. Heat excited energy and Willow so fervently hoped that Tara was feeling the same heat that Willow felt move into her core. Every day, she was convinced a little more.

Nervous fingers pulled at a thread in the bedspread beneath them as Tara spoke breathily, “I-I think, I m-m-mean I’m n-not an expert.” Pleased with her observational skills, and very turned on, Willow placed her own fingers over Tara’s fidgeting ones, waiting for Tara to still and meet Willow’s gaze before nodding to go on. “They n-need us too in a way because we are part of the creation, part of the worlds? And we can act as their, um…”

“Foot-soldiers?”

“You’ve been hanging out with Riley too much,” Tara laughed, knowing that the Scoobies had been on recent lock-down because of Riley and the Initiative. It had been meant as a joke- a rib that said ‘Look how well I know you’ but Willow frowned and Tara lost her smile, “What is it?”

Hand still on Tara’s, Willow linked their fingers together. They were always doing that these days, “Oh, just Riley’s kind of um, out of it, the Initiative has been feeding him some kind of government-special uber-steroid- and he’s in withdrawal. Plus he pushed me.”

Untangling her fingers without thought, Tara’s hand cupped Willow’s cheek, concern etched in her eyes, “He pushed you?” The room became a sanctuary and Willow was willing to be pushed down by very large strung out soldiers every day if it meant Tara would touch her like this. Her cheek warmed as she leaned into Tara’s soft hand, “Yeah, but hey, seasoned monster fighter here. I’m good.” The room was hushed now, the atmosphere palpable and sacred.

Tara’s thumb ran smoothly along Willow’s cheekbone, “You sure?” Wordlessly, Willow nodded, something was happening between them. Right now. The moment lingered, both women terrified to let go, terrified of how much they wanted to. Willow filled the charged moment with words because this was how Willow worked- she babbled to fill voids, uncomfortable in the absence of action, afraid the absence would become permanent. She was unaware of the why, but the compulsion still drove her, “Do you have a goddess?” As she spoke, she realized the moment wasn’t broken, the air still hummed with the promise of them. Because it wasn’t just a moment, it was a movement.

Tara blinked and smiled mischievously, feeling free and bold in this sanctuary of their making, “Well, not like in a pet way or anything,” she lowered her hand reluctantly but didn’t pull it away, instead resting it over Willow’s arm.

Grasping Tara’s hand again, Willow rolled her eyes playfully in response, “I mean one that you have a relationship with?” Collapsing her bent arm, Willow laid her head down. Tara mirrored the pose, fingers still playing together.

“There are a few, my mother worked with Brigit a lot, and she would ask for Caireen to look over me- when I had nightmares and stuff.” Tara’s features shadowed. It was only a flicker, but Willow noticed and squeezed their fingers together once again. A wave of protectiveness washed into every detail of Willow’s being. She absorbed the wave and it became a part of her. A bright glow replaced Tara’s shadow. Willow mirrored her smile.

“Wow, that’s so cool. I mean not the nightmare ‘cause those are never fun but the goddess thing. I’m not familiar with Caireen.”

“She’s a protector of children, kind of a mother goddess.”

“So those are you’re…,” nose crinkling cutely, Willow searched for the right words, “Um, your closest goddesses?”

Adorable, Tara thought as she inched closer to the other woman without thought. But adorable was just the tip of the Willow iceberg. Beautiful and brilliant, kind, funny, sweet, sexy, powerful… I adore everything about her. Noticing their proximity, Tara almost shifted back, but Willow’s eyes were shining with an intense joy, curiosity and contentment and longing written in the soul looking through green eyes. Tara’s relationship with her personal goddess was something she had only shared with her mother, treasured as something of her own and unwilling to invite in other’s opinions or interpretation of what she knew was divine. But Tara wanted Willow to know her, because Willow was also divine- in her own human way. Fingers played again as Tara shared, voice soft in the narrow space between them, “I have always felt close to Branwen- do you know her?”

“Welsh goddess of love and beauty?” Perfect, Willow thought dreamily, perfectly Tara. Their words were barely above a whisper now.

Tara smiled shyly, of course Willow knew, “Right. She had a hard life you know, but she remained full of love and light- she helps when you are in a hard situation, especially at h-home.” Teetering on a topic she didn’t want follow, Tara focused on other aspects of Branwen, “But mostly, she helps empathic souls. I‘ve, I mean I don’t mean this in a bragging way, but I have always kind of felt really empathic- it can get overwhelming. Branwen helps with that.” This wasn’t dishonesty, not this time, Tara did want Willow to know her, but the air was electric and the little world they had created together was too precious to be broken by sad childhood memories.

“Wow, again. You are empathic- I mean, you radiate empathy… and love, and sweetness, and all that,” elfin lips curved into a self-conscious smile, “But I guess I can see how that could be overwhelming- Buffy one time got poisoned by a demon and could hear people’s thoughts- I don’t think she felt what they were feeling but she could hear it and it definitely overwhelmed her.”

Tara’s face softened as she listened, “Oh, poor Buffy.”

“You know you are the first person who didn’t reply with ‘that’s so cool- I wanna read others’ minds.”

Shifting up slightly in surprise, Tara spoke with passion, “No! N-never. Our minds are the one true place where we should be safe. No matter what else happens, if we have our own minds we are still free- still ourselves.” Tara seemed startled by her own words and she picked at Willow’s fingers, “Sorry.”

“For what?”

“That was cheesy.”

“It was profound,” Willow said, the simple, earnest words strengthening Tara like resin. And Willow’s adoring look that made Tara blush and dip her head, fingers dancing again. This, Willow thought overjoyed by Tara’s reaction, overjoyed that she, Willow Rosenberg, could make this wonderful, amazing girl feel proud and bashful all at once. This is what I want to be doing for the rest of life. Nudging their hands playfully, Willow flirted, “So, what goddess do you think would be for me?” This was one of Tara’s brave moments, she nudged back.

“Mmm…” hooded eyes fluttered, the blue darkened like twilight, “Maybe Athena, but …”

“But what?” Heat excites energy. The air grew warm and thick and Willow she might pass out as she tried to find breath. It was a beautiful.

“But… I can’t think of a single goddess that incorporates all of you- I m-mean you might have to find a few.”

Willow’s heart flipped and danced, this was the inexorable movement of them, and Willow wanted more, “Well if Branwen is love and beauty, she is definitely the right fit for you.”

They were flirting, brazenly, and Tara was standing in a lighting storm. She bit her lower lip demurely and Willow swallowed audibly, “Really it’s more the empathic part.”

Heart pounding wildly and nervously licking her lips, Willow spoke slowly and so softly, “So, can you feel me?” She shifted just an inch closer to Tara’s warming body. Heat excites energy. “I mean, how I’m feeling?”

Tara matched Willow’s move and she could feel Willow’s breath, warm and sweet on her lips. Her eyes blinked heavily and Tara wondered if she might faint, “I’m scared to trust it.” And then Willow’s hand cupped her cheek and their eyes met, deep forest green and twilight blue incandescent in the storm.

“Trust it.”

Lightning struck as their lips met, each slow brush an exaltation. The rain steadied, and it bathed them anew.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Last edited by shirrey on Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:41 pm 
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10. Troll Hammer

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I'm enjoying this, good description of the process of breaking up. One quick comment on the flashback (I'll have more in-depth comments later) I assume this is 1- their first kiss 2- they really have never actually, despite its being obvious to both of them, talked about anything sexual or romantic a this point. (I would never dare try to describe this deeper emotional material; I felt I was daring more than I should when I ficced a first kiss for them myself.)

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Snapshots:http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10210 a Love Story
____________________________________________________________
Kim: (breaks off the kissing) I l... (Sue stops her with a hand)
Sue: We don't talk about things like that right after, you know that, no saying those things in The Moment.
Kim: (moves the hand aside) Screw The Moment. I *love* you.


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:43 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light

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Great story, I don't know how I missed it. You captured the "does she feel the way I feel" gist really well. I agree with others, they did not flesh out what Tara was doing when she left Willow. I am looking forward to going on this ride with you. Thanks for writing.

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:09 am 
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5. Willowhand

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Very sweet flashback!
These are my favourite parts:
Quote:
And god, she is the cutest, Willow thought as she looked with unsheltered veneration at this girl who was the most precious thing on earth.

and kind of a mirror image in Tara's thoughts:
Quote:
Adorable, Tara thought as she inched closer to the other woman without thought. But adorable was just the tip of the Willow iceberg. Beautiful and brilliant, kind, funny, sweet, sexy, powerful… I adore everything about her.

Quote:
This was how it had been with them for the past few weeks, a constant swinging pendulum between deep comfort and uncertain anticipation. This powerful thing between them was in an awkward adolescence, nervous and a bit naïve but growing into its full identity with both impatience and anxiousness of what came next.

What a wonderful image!
Quote:
A wave of protectiveness washed into every detail of Willow’s being. She absorbed the wave and it became a part of her.

I still think that Willow's desperate need to protect Tara from more harm and to not fail her again like when she couldn't save her from Glory was the motivation for Willow to use more and more powerful magic after the end of Season 5. So her intent was good but sadly she overused and let herself get corrupted by the powers she invoked.

Quote:
This, Willow thought overjoyed by Tara’s reaction, overjoyed that she, Willow Rosenberg, could make this wonderful, amazing girl feel proud and bashful all at once. This is what I want to be doing for the rest of life.

Awww! :flower Such a sweet thought.

And then there are the bittersweet things for us readers who know about their breakup:
Quote:
And right now Tara felt what she always felt around Willow- safe.

So sad that Tara is going to loose this feeling of safety around Willow! :cry
Quote:
Our minds are the one true place where we should be safe. No matter what else happens, if we have our own minds we are still free- still ourselves.”

This illuminates why Tara is so utterly crushed by the knowledge that Willow tinkered with her memory.
On the other hand I will never forget the spell Tara did on Willow and all the other Scoobies in the canon-episode "Family" - magically hindering them from seeing any demonic aspects in anyone they encounter to prevent them from feeling scared, repulsed etc. by her after her "transformation" into a demon was also a crass manipulation of the mind (apart from beeing tremendously stupid considering Tara's knowledge that not only Buffy but all the scoobies fight demons almost daily).


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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:34 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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Chapter 4A: WOW! Just WOW! I love the 'flash-backs' in W/T fics because we get all the things Joss & co. were afraid to give us. This was beautiful. Thank you & keep it coming.
Blessings

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2020 8:38 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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DaddyCatALSO: I am glad you are enjoying it- thank you!

Quote:
One quick comment on the flashback (I'll have more in-depth comments later) I assume this is 1- their first kiss 2- they really have never actually, despite its being obvious to both of them, talked about anything sexual or romantic a this point.


I am gonna confess and say I didn't really pre-plan any of this but yes, you are right on both parts, I think sometimes that happens, like you know and they know and you think they know and they think you know but no one is saying anything and it just happens (wow, I must be channeling Willow here)

Quote:
(I would never dare try to describe this deeper emotional material; I felt I was daring more than I should when I ficced a first kiss for them myself.)


I guess I dare because I love deep diving into emotions- I can only hope to convey them well enough here

Thanks for feedbacking!!


taranwillow4ever: thanks for your comments and for reading!!!

Will's redemption:

Quote:
I still think that Willow's desperate need to protect Tara from more harm and to not fail her again like when she couldn't save her from Glory was the motivation for Willow to use more and more powerful magic after the end of Season 5. So her intent was good but sadly she overused and let herself get corrupted by the powers she invoked.


I totally agree, and the more I write and think about her story in S 5/6 the more I see how much was riding on her shoulders- a lot of it was self-inflicted but not all of it and the girl has been through terror after terror- but the need for control/ power (for understandable reasons) overcame her good senses for a while there

Quote:
This illuminates why Tara is so utterly crushed by the knowledge that Willow tinkered with her memory.


yes, exactly- the timing is a little sad though, because at this time she still believes the demon lies, she doesn't know that she has been gaslighted for most of her young life, but even still, in her mind she can think about magic and girls and things she can never dare to say aloud let alone act on without punishment- she can be herself, know herself, in her own mind and no one should be able to take that

Quote:
On the other hand I will never forget the spell Tara did on Willow and all the other Scoobies in the canon-episode "Family" - magically hindering them from seeing any demonic aspects in anyone they encounter to prevent them from feeling scared, repulsed etc. by her after her "transformation" into a demon was also a crass manipulation of the mind (apart from beeing tremendously stupid considering Tara's knowledge that not only Buffy but all the scoobies fight demons almost daily).


I see this totally differently. I believe that Tara had only intended the spell to mask the demon inside her, not any others. Tara is clearly shocked and horrified when she realizes that she has cloaked other demons and she immediately undoes it, even though she still believes she is a demon and that her cover will be blown. And Willow even says the spell went wrong. Was it totally unselfish? No. But faced with the fear of Willow's rejection and being forced to go back to an abusive family who showed up out of nowhere threatening (in Donny's case literally) to take her away, I forgive her. Plus she apologizes and offers to go and never does it again. Again, it's not Tara's best moment but I really love it because it shows her fallibility, and her ability to accept the blame, apologize, and grow from her mistakes.

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments!!!


MotherD

Quote:
WOW! Just WOW!
:blush :blush :blush this made me shimmy all giddy like- thank you so much!!

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 Post subject: Re: Wilderness
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:05 pm 
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Location: Pacific Northwest
Wilderness
Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG13 for now
Disclaimer: Characters from BTVS are not mine, nor is any dialogue taken from the show. The rest is.
Distribution: Ask first please
Spoilers: Begins after Tabula Rasa. Up through mid season 6, will update if that changes
Feedback: PLEASE!! I am new at this. This is my first fanfiction (other drabbles were written as part of this) and my first attempt at long-form fictional writing. Comment, construct, query!!!
Angst rating: One of those higher numbers

Thanks as always to Zooeys_bridge for being my beta and for her ever-present encouragement and inspiration









Ch 5: Light

Before her stretched a picturesque view of goldenrod flowers, their faces turned toward the sun as they swayed in the cool breeze, singing in celebration of their vitality. Tara knew the highway was behind her, it had to be, but as she stood at the overlook, she knew the journey opened in the valley below. Then Tara was no longer looking below. She was there in the valley, a part of the meadow , amorphous and vibrant among the flowers. She swayed as they swayed, she turned as they turned. When each petal began to uncurl itself, revealing and exposing each carpel to bask more fully in the light and warmth, Tara smiled – she was growing too. Tara sighed. The golden flowers sighed.

A shadow swept across the landscape, drawing Tara’s eyes upward. Beneath her, around her stomata shuddered and choked. A feminine hand clawed around the dreamscape sun, splaying delicate fingers on either side then pushing into the star opening cuts and gashes from which anguished light poured, disappearing into the sudden night. The flowers stood open-faced, withering in fading sun, petals dropping away as they were robbed of the turning seasons; robbed of a slow, natural death and plunged into decay. Tara’s lungs seized as the flowers died; she choked and gasped as she was wrung out, her essence rapidly squeezed from her shell.


Twisted in bed sheets and drenched in sweat, Tara flew into an upright position. Fear flooded her vision in a terrifying white haze blinding her in the darkness. Panicked, Tara shifted violently to the left, attempting to free herself from the force that held her. She darted her head around frantically, eyes wide and unfocused, unable to make sense of what contained her. She kicked and swatted and pushed and finally with one final tug Tara broke free of the sheets’ confinement, using her feet to push the assailant to the foot of her bed and shoving herself in the corner where her bed lay. She felt aloft, ungrounded, unsure of where or when she was. Tucking legs and arms close to her chest, Tara tracked the room with wide unfocused eyes half expecting to find she was in her childhood bedroom. “Goddess, keep me safe,” she hissed as she rocked in a tight ball of limbs. “Goddess, keep me safe, keep me safe, keep me safe,” over again and again until her voice soothed into a whisper. Until her vision cleared and her breathing slowed. She was in the dorm and safe.

Standing on shaky legs, she pulled a sweatshirt from the back of her chair and over her head, then made her way into the hall and the shared bathrooms to splash her face with water.
As the cold water lifted the last of the fog, Tara turned her gaze upward to meet the mirror. Tired blue eyes, underlined with deep purplish crescents reflected back at her. The haunted stories in that stare made her turn away. Just a nightmare, Tara girl, she reassured herself, but knew that sleep was lost for the night.

Returning to her dorm, she stumbled through the semi-darkness, campus lighting casting a bluish-gray hue into the night. She took her throw from the bed and sat on the floor, resting her back against the bedside. She missed her old tub chair. She missed her fairy lights and Willow’s scent in the room.

Turning her gaze out the window, she hoped to find solace in the stars, blinking and alive in the night sky. Breathing rhythmically, Tara tried to still her thoughts, but insistent images of suffocating in a dark grip flooded her mind. Tara finally relented to dissecting the nightmare. There were things that puzzled her- it was a dream after all- like where she had been and why the highway was mentioned in her dream thoughts. And the hands- so familiar in beautiful and terrifying ways as they seemed to shift ownership, two sets of hands that had been inside her head- one taking and one giving- only to take again.

It had been fueled and shaped by other forces, but in the end it was Willow who darkened the world, starving Tara flowers that had basked in her light. Light that had, when they met, sprouted had been just a seed buried under the dirt and too afraid to face the wind on her own. Warmth that had comforted her until she wore her colors, her fragrance, her sexuality, with ease. Under Willow’s sun, she bloomed. And now Willow’s sun was gone. No, it was eclipsed. Tara knew Willow would emerge from her self-imposed darkness. She just didn’t know if she, Tara, would be able to sustain herself under those rays anymore.

On that perfect day in the park Tara had sung the truth to Willow. She had bathed in Willow’s light. She had let it open her petals. And once accepted, it reached into the deepest caverns of her psyche and chased the shadows away. It had been so welcome, so lovely and constant and right. Even in her most insecure moments when she wasn’t sure she deserved it, Tara felt the love in that light. She had never prepared herself for its loss.

Picking at the stars on her throw, she took in the stars in the sky as if the tangible connection could anchor them together; keep her alive with their radiance. Radiant light that, in reality, had already been snuffed out. But they were here for her now, and Tara would honor them.

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You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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