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

General Chat  || Kitten  || WaV  || Pens  || Mi2  || GMP  || TiE  || FAQ  || Feed - The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe

All times are UTC - 8 hours



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Fic: No Matter Where You Go....
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 2:52 pm 
Okay, since this is a rather "spicy" fic (It's rated NC-17), I've decided to just post the link to it. It is currently available for reading at Wiccan Ways... which is where the link is generated from.



Hope you like it... it is really freaking long. Oh, and I wrote it, um...like in January of this year, before I even knew this board (and most of the other fic archives) existed...



Enjoy! Cheers!



www.slashaholics.org/wicc...n_nomatter



DarkWiccan



ATTENTION!! Disregard everything that I said above and just scroll down a few posts to read the fic in its entirety. Thank you and have a nice day :grin :grin

"Promise me you'll never be linear." "On my trout."

Edited by: DarkWiccan at: 4/25/02 11:28:54 pm


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fic: No Matter Where You Go....
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 3:03 pm 
Okay...I tried the link, and it didn't work. I need my NC-17 fix! :D ::waits politely and quietly with hands folded in lap::



Edit: Okay...the link worked. I've actually read this fic before. I loved it the first time. :) Well done!

-----------


"I'm a blood sucking fiend. Look at my outfit!"- Willow in Doppelgangland



"Bloodsuckers. They kill by sucking blood. Take it easy, Joan." Anya in Tabula Rasa


Edited by: JennY at: 4/18/02 3:59:59 pm


Top
  
 
 Post subject: dw
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 4:32 pm 
nc-17 is allowed on this board :D



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Here's the link!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2002 4:50 pm 
Try this...



No Matter Where You Go




----------
No metaphors...just fucking.



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Here's the link!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2002 10:16 pm 
I read this story all in one sitting last night, but I did not get a chance to comment because it was so late. I just wanted to tell you it is magnificent. I loved that Tara has Willow's baby, but it was kind if angsty. I guess it would be boring if things went well all of the time. It tells the reader that there can be problems anywhere. There is no place completely safe. I hope you write more stories like these.

Tara: My heart doesn't stutter.

Tara: Willow, I got so lost.
Willow: I found you. I will always find you.


Willow: Hi, um Tara. I was wondering maybe you want to go out some time for coffee? food? Kisses and gay love?



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Here's the link!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2002 7:35 am 
Can I just say WOOOOOOOW

What a story! Incredible! And what an eye for details....especially about the pregnancy.

It was great that Tara and Willow got a baby by them selves (you know without any help from the male outside ;) )



I hope you keep writing stories like this :)



Miriam

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

'I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad..it's depressing' - Tara



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Here's the link!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2002 12:05 pm 
Oh I read this before and it was fantastic. And yes NC-17 is allowed :) just mark it as such!

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

"Everything is turning out so dark..."

"No, it's okay. Lost is good. Willow and I always know how to find each other!"



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Thank you!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 3:30 pm 
You Kittens are so kind. :rollin g :rollin g :rollin g :rollin g Thanks so much for your kind words. Sorry it took me so long to post this thank you note, but I've been insanely busy with RL.



I am currently toying around with the idea of a sequel to this fic... But I don't know yet.



I'm a professional writer and I've just been commissioned to write a web cartoon series... so my W/T fic time has just had a major chunk taken out of it.



But who knows! Where there's a "Will" there's a way, right? (Oh my god, what a horrible pun.... sorry)



Cheers

DarkWiccan



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Can't get this
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 3:42 pm 
Tried the past two links but no go. Ca you e-mail it to me or post you fic here. With all that is going on and about to happen I really need my NC-17, please, pretty please.







Yea baby, I'm back


When did you know your girlfriend was tinkerbell


I maybe loves bitch but atleast I'm (wo)man enough to admit it



Top
  
 
 Post subject: WiccanWays Server is Down...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 3:51 pm 
Well, I just spoke to Lanie at Wiccan Ways and her server is temporarily down.:(



I'm at my office right now and not privy to my W/T fic file (which is on my puter at home).



When I get home tonight I will copy and paste the entire fic into a post and get it on the board. :)



Thanks for your patience...



Cheers

DarkWiccan



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: WiccanWays Server is Down...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 9:43 pm 
Just wanted to say I read this story on Wiccan Ways awhile ago, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable story. Willow and Tara becoming parents, the angst surrounding the baby, the sensual sex scenes, Xander and Anya trying to get married for the whatever time (and finally when the ceremony is going on Tara's water breaks), and etc made this fic an enjoyable ride from start to finish. Also if you do decide to write a sequel to this story, I would love to read it!

Edited by: VampNo12  at: 4/25/02 9:44:41 pm


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: WiccanWays Server is Down...
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 11:06 pm 
I am having technical difficulties at home.. I will post the fic to the site in the morning.



Night All.



Cheers

DarkWiccan

"Promise me you'll never be linear." "On my trout."



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Here it is!!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 11:11 pm 
No Matter Where You Go…



By



DarkWiccan



With A Mucho Grande Assist From the Very Talented:



Harrison





Disclaimers: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all characters associated with the show are owned by Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy and their affiliates. If they belonged to me, none of the horrors of season six would ever have happened, and Willow and Tara would be on their honeymoon by now. But they don’t, so for now I borrow and kindly ask the big, scary corporate lawyer-guy to look the other way.



Email: Etrnloptimist79@cs.com



Feedback: Yes, please. But I have a Fire Extinguisher to put out all flames.



Distribution: Sure, just ask me



Spoilers: Um... yeah…Everything to Date



Rating: NC-17



Pairing: W/T



Big, Big Thanks: If it weren’t for this guy, this fic would be PG-13 at best. Harrison, you did a wonderful job constructing six very tender and powerful love scenes. Thank you so much. To our readers, if you like what you read, please make sure you let Harrison know too. His email is: Brandon234@worldnet.att.net



Summary: You can take the girls away from the Hellmouth… But will the Hellmouth stay away from the girls?



Note: Set three years in the future under the assumption that Willow and Tara get back together at the end of season six… and stay that way. This was written before the season 6 “wedding” episode also under the assumption that Xander and Anya do not successfully tie the knot. This is a long one, folks.







Sunnydale, California 2005



Willow burst through the front door of the Summers’ home and quickly made her way up the stairs to her and Tara’s room at the end of the hall. She paused before the closed door and took a moment to calm herself before knocking lightly.



“Tara”, she said softly, “Can I come in?”



“Yeah”, came the tense reply.



She turned the knob and entered the room to find Tara standing by the far window nervously biting her fingernails.



“Did you get it?” The blonde asked.



“Yeah”, Willow answered, producing a small brown paper bag in her right hand.



“Was it expensive?”



“A little. It doesn’t matter.”



Neither one of them moved, an uncomfortable silence followed.



“Are you nervous”, Willow asked finally.



“Yes”, Tara breathed, “You?”



“Terrified.”



“Why?” The blonde uttered, a sudden fear forming in her belly.



“Because two weeks ago when we did the… what we did….” The redhead tried to explain, “It had been so long since I’d done any magick and… well, except for the bonding spell at our wedding last year, which was so beautiful and perfect, but with this… I’m… I…uh…”



“What?” Tara needed to know.



“I’m afraid it didn’t work.”



“Well, we can find out”, Tara assured, trying unsuccessfully to hide her own jitters, “right now.”



“Yeah”, Willow echoed, “right now.”



Tara closed the distance between her and her wife. “So, I kind of need… the thing.”



“Oh! Right. The thing”, Willow said, holding out the brown bag. Tara took it with trepidation, holding it between her hands, staring at the brown paper as though she could see through it to what lay inside.



“I guess I should um…” Tara began.



“Yeah”, Willow gulped.



Again, neither of them moved.



“Willow…?”



“Yes?” Willow squeaked.



“Come with me”, Tara entreated.



“Of course”, the redhead agreed, nodding vigorously.



Tara led Willow to the adjoining room. Sitting down, the blonde opened the brown bag revealing the small, rectangular box inside. She carefully broke open the seal on the box and removed the object that had been encased within it. She handed the empty bag and box to Willow, who quickly set them aside.



“Do you know how to use it”, Willow asked.



“Well, it seems pretty self-explanatory”, responded Tara, “How long does it take to work?”



“The box said a minute.”



“Okay”, Tara stated, taking a few breaths to try and calm herself. “Willow?” She said after a moment, her voice anxious.



“Yeah, Baby?” Answered the redhead, her blood pressure jumping up another notch.



“I can’t… um… I can’t… I’m too scared to… relax enough”, Tara explained.



“Oh”, Willow replied, “You want me to massage your shoulders or something?”



“No. Just… hold my hand. Please?”



“Of course”, said Willow, taking Tara’s free hand, “You sure you can use that thing one-handed?”



“I’ll manage.” Tara took a few more deep, calming breaths, focusing on the warmth and support of Willow’s hand in hers, and finally got her body to respond.



After a moment she held the object up to Willow. “Here”, she said, “You hold it. I’m too nervous to look.”



“Okay”, said the redhead, taking it, “sixty seconds on the cl…. Oh my God.”



“What?” Yelped Tara her heart leaping into her mouth.



“Baby…” Willow trailed off, staring in disbelief at what she held in her hand.



“What? Will, you’re scaring me.”



“Baby”, Willow began again, her vocal chords threatening to revolt against the tension in her throat, “Baby, you’re having my baby, Baby!”



“Wha! I am?” Tara cried out, rising from the toilet and pulling up her panties, while trying to get a look at the test in Willow’s hand.



“It was instantaneous. I mean, you handed it to me and ‘Blam!’, there it was… a plus sign!” Willow babbled, handing the stick back to the blonde.



Tara stared at it, the edge of her mouth forming into a broad grin, she looked back at Willow, her eyes sparkling, “I’m really pregnant?”



“You really are”, Willow smiled back.



“With your baby”, the blonde continued.



“Uh-huh. It worked. It really worked. The spell. I was so scared that it wouldn’t… Oh, Baby, I love you so much”, Willow giggled, taking her lover into her arms and holding her tightly. The redhead’s laughs quickly turned into tears of joy and she gleefully kissed all over Tara’s neck and face before settling on her lips and tasting them deeply.



“I love you too, Darling”, Tara responded between kisses, her eyes tearing up as well, “So, so very much.”



The couple continued to hold and savor each other, silence and contentment falling over them. Willow slowly slid down to her knees, lifting Tara’s blouse above the waistline of her skirt, and wrapping her arms around the blonde’s hips. She gently pressed her lips to her wife’s belly, then she turned her head and placed her cheek where her lips had been, sighing contentedly. A peaceful smile graced Tara’s lips, and she softly ran her fingers through Willow’s hair.



“I hope she has your eyes”, said Willow.



“I hope she has your hair”, Tara answered.



Willow rose and took Tara’s hand, leading her back to the bedroom, and the bed. Sitting down, she pulled Tara to her, urging her to sit on her lap. Tara complied, and draped her arms around Willow’s shoulders, leaning in to kiss her again.



Willow savored the taste of her wife’s lips and tongue. She brought her hand up and gently caressed Tara’s face, continuing the deep exploration of her wife’s mouth. She shivered as she felt Tara’s tongue slide against hers, a low moan escaping from her throat. She felt her body begin to lubricate itself, her mind filled with visions of her Tara, naked, pregnant. Willow suddenly felt an aching need to be as close to her wife as she could. She would have crawled inside Tara’s skin if it were physically possible. Instead, she settled for wrapping her arms around the blonde and squeezing gently.



Tara, still deeply immersed in the passionate embrace, placed a cool hand, palm down, to Willow’s chest. She smiled, feeling her wife’s heart as it pounded from beneath the warm flesh. Tara was in awe, her brain slowly processing the fact that she was actually going to have a child with the hauntingly beautiful woman inside her mouth. Tara’s heart ached with want. She feared she’d never be able to get close enough to her wife. Never. She slid her hands down Willow’s back, fingers caressing through the thin T-shirt.



“Mmm, Baby?” Willow whispered, reluctantly pulling out of the kiss.



“Yes?” Tara breathed, opening her eyes slightly.



“Could we lay down?” Willow smiled lovingly. Tara nodded her head sweetly and matched the smile, blue eyes burning with passion. The women repositioned themselves, both climbing on to the bed, Tara lay on her back while Willow spooned her side, head resting on her arm. She draped her other arm over Tara’s stomach, fingers creeping southward, gently pulling up Tara’s shirt as they went. She let her hand rest once she hit the softness of Tara’s exposed belly. Willow’s chest burned as she realized her baby was growing inside that very stomach, this very moment. Her heart welled, threatening to burst, her cheeks flushed bright pink. At this very moment Willow would have laid down and died for Tara if she were asked to.



Tara giggled slightly as cool fingers met her warm skin, her eyes growing soft, beckoning her love near. Willow recognized those eyes, drawing her head in closer she dribbled soft light kisses on the blonde’s tender lips, fingers traveling south again. Tara parted her legs exposing the warmth between them, hoping to draw attention to Willow’s fingers. Willow was acutely aware of that warmth but she didn’t hasten her journey. No she wanted to revel in this, she wanted to memorize every detail of this moment. She stopped her hand, sensing Tara’s secret spot radiating beneath the skirt. She deepened her kiss, pulling out slightly to linger before drawing back in, a smile creasing her lips.



Tara moaned softly and let herself relax. Enjoying the sensitivity of the kiss, enjoying the languid dance her tongue performed as the wetness grew between her legs. After a few moments though she succumbed to her need and drew out of the kiss.



“Willow.”



“Mmmhmm.” Willow moaned in acknowledgment, leaning in for another kiss, her hand drawing up Tara’s skirt. Tara shuddered feeling the air brush over her bare legs. Her breath caught as Willow’s hand cupped her soft mound, fingers massaging through her cotton panties. Tara rolled her hips slightly, she rose up a bit, letting her body respond to her wife’s ministrations. She moaned in Willow’s mouth, vocalizing her need to be touched. Willow knew the signs, she had traveled this road many times over and yet today it was all somehow different. Today she felt worship towards her wife’s pregnant body. An entire life was built out of love, their love, and today that life became Willow’s second number one priority.



Willow broke the kiss and slid down to the edge of the bed. She stood and leaned forward gripping Tara’s panties with her hands, she drew them off, letting them fall to the floor. On hands and knees she crept up between her lover’s legs, lowering herself down. She traced a light finger around a fleshy thigh, dipping her head to kiss the imaginary circle she drew. She felt Tara’s hand come to rest on the back of her head, gently urging it forward, into the golden nest of soft pubic hair. Willow responded and brushed her lips over the swelling mass of curls, she leaned in and dropped a few languid thrusts with her tongue, smiling as Tara’s body responded with goose bumps. She drew up her hands and parted the lips that kept her from her wife’s most private area. Her eyes grew wide as the site unfolded before her, a trickle of juice escaped from Tara’s opening. Willow dipped her head and licked it away before it could hit the sheets. This caused quite an uproar from within Tara as she flinched with pleasure. Willow took note and centered her tongue at Tara’s opening. She pressed her face in without regard to oxygen then slowly she opened her mouth and released her tongue, thrusting it up inside. Tara’s breathing became erratic; Willow was inside her, just the thought made her begin to quiver.



“Oh… God...Willow…” Tara guided her beloved’s head up to her clit, which was now pulsating with ache. Willow took the flesh into her mouth and gently massaged it with her tongue. She flicked the very tip, trying to draw out sensations as long as possible. Tara lay still, except for her chest, which rose and fell in a timely manner. Her breathing was shallow, erratic, lingering in the air. Willow licked gently, barely moving her head, centering on one thing only.



Tara curled her toes and tried to control the small quakes forming in her legs but it was all too overpowering. She arched her back and prepared to let her muscles relax, releasing her orgasm.



“Right theeeere…” Tara’s command turned into a long drawn out moan. Her body went limp as she accepted the pleasure, reveling in it. Willow stopped her movement, letting her wife ride out the moment. After a few moments Tara had calmed down, Willow withdrew her head and sat up, smiling with love.



“Come here.” Tara beckoned with half heavy but clearly satiated eyes. Willow rose up on her knees and gripped the edge of her shirt, lifting it off. She quickly moved her hands down to her jeans and unbuttoned them. Taking note, Tara began to disrobe as well. Within a few moments the girls rested comfortably naked next to each other. Tara spooned Willow’s side pressing her ear into the redhead’s chest. She closed her eyes and smiled in euphoria.



“What is it, Baby?” Willow asked softly, sensing the blonde was deep in thought.



“It’s your heartbeat…I can hear it.” Tara fell silent again, tuning her ears to the gentle thumping beneath Willow’s breastbone.



“Well, that’s a good thing.” Willow chuckled softly. Tara smiled sweetly.



“Yes, it is, Love.”



Both women drifted off to sleep, each dreaming about the wonderful thing their lives had in store.



*******



Ring.



Ring.



Ring.



Ring. The sound of the phone finally roused Willow from her sleep. She lazily reached for the lamp on the bedside table, careful not to dislodge her still sleeping wife from on top of her chest. Clicking the light on, she squinted her eyes blearily and glanced at the clock before answering the phone. 1:04am.



“Hello?” She said in a thick and hushed voice.



“Will?”



“Buffy?” Willow responded, becoming more awake.



“Yeah. Did I wake you?”



“It’s okay. What’s up?”



“Who is it”, Tara asked sleepily, slowly waking up as well.



“Buffy”, Willow whispered.



“I need you and Tara to get down to the shop A.S.A.P.”, Buffy continued.



“What’s wrong?”



“We have a slight situation. I need your guys’ help.”



“Okay, just um… give us a couple minutes to wake up and get dressed. We’ll be down there. Do you need anything from the house?” Willow offered.



“Um, no, that’s okay. We’ll see you when you get here.”



“Kay. Bye.” Willow hung up the phone.



“What’s going on”, Tara inquired.



“They need us down at the shop. Something’s going on.”



“Guess we’d better get going”, commented the blonde.



They both gingerly pulled apart from each other and got out of the bed. Willow went into the bathroom to freshen up, while Tara pulled some clothes from the closet. Pulling on another of her skirts and blouses, she headed to the bathroom with a pair of jeans and green sweater for Willow. She leaned against the doorway of the room, watching her still-naked lover brush her teeth. She caught Willow’s gaze in the mirror and chuckled lightly.



“What?” Asked Willow, her mouth foamy with toothpaste.



“It’s a good thing we’re used to this.” She said.



“Hmm?” Willow answered, returning to her brushing.



“Being woken up at all hours”, Tara explained. Willow’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. “Because we’re really going to need the stamina in a few months”, the blonde continued, “Only instead of it being for demons and monsters, it will be for feedings and colic.”



Willow smiled broadly and quickly rinsed out her mouth before spinning around and grabbing Tara in a deep and passionate embrace.



“I love you”, she said after they had finally broken apart.



“Mmmm”, Tara sighed, “You too.”



“We should tell Buffy”, Willow grinned.



“We should definitely tell Buffy”, Tara agreed, smiling in return. “Here, put these on. We should tell Buffy, but somehow I think the impact of the moment would be lost if you were all naked.”



“Awe, c’mon, Baby”, Willow teased, “Where’s your sense of adventure?”



Tara gave Willow a playful swat. Willow laughed and took the clothes that her wife had chosen for her, quickly putting them on while Tara took her turn in the bathroom.



That done, the couple then left the house, heading for the Magic Box.



*******



The shop bell rang overhead as Willow and Tara arrived finding the rest of the Scoobies already hard at work at the research table.



“Will. Tara. Good, you’re here”, said Buffy, rising to greet them.



“We came as fast as we could”, explained Tara.



“What’s all the hub-bub, bub?” Asked Willow, playfully.



“This”, stated the slayer, holding up a picture of a rather menacing-looking demon, complete with horns, fangs, claws, and a nasty slime factor as well.



“Eew.”



“I ran into this beauty contest reject just after sundown”, Buffy explained, “It gave me a serious run for my money. For a second there, I almost thought…”



“But”, said Tara, “You slayed it right? No more demon?”



“No.” Buffy said, almost coldly, though her anger clearly was not directed at Tara, but at herself. “No, I didn’t. That’s the problem. I couldn’t slay him.”



“You couldn’t slay him?” Willow was now bordering on confused, “You mean you couldn’t get close enough?”



“No.” Came the answer again.



“It seems this demon has a lot in common with how the Mayor was before the ascension”, Xander stated from his place at the table.



“You mean he’s… it’s… impervious?” Willow concluded. Tara took her hand and scooted close enough so that their bodies touched.



“How do you know”, Tara asked.



“Because I cut his head off, and it didn’t do anything”, Buffy leveled.



“Are you sure you didn’t miss”, offered Willow.



“Will, I felt my sword connect with his flesh, go through his spine and come out the other side. And, instead of dying, all he did was laugh as I watched his head reattach itself.”



“Whoa.” It was all the redhead could manage to say.



“Do you know what it is”, Tara queried.



“Diabolus Pestis Univerisitas”, Anya answered, getting up from the table to join them. “The Demon of Absolute Destruction.”



“That doesn’t sound happy”, commented Willow, holding Tara’s hand a little more tightly. “What does it want?”



“It wants to open the Hellmouth”, Buffy said, lowering her gaze to the floor.



“Not again”, the redhead sighed. “Things have been so nice and quiet. Nothing but vampires and the occasional slayer friendly, easy kill demon types. What happened?”



“Just that. It was quiet…too quiet”, Xander commented wryly.



“How do you know it wants to open the Hellmouth?” Tara asked.



“I swung by Willy’s a little while ago. Apparently our new bad was there last week, bragging about how he was going to open the Hellmouth and take over the world”, Buffy explained.



“So, how do we stop him”, queried Willow.



“We were able to get in touch with Giles in England”, said Xander, signaling the group back over to the table. They all crowded around the young man as he held up a piece of paper, “He sent us this fax of an incantation that’s supposed to banish this demon back to the boiling, flamey hell from which he came.”



Tara took the text and examined it closely, Willow read along over her wife’s shoulder. It was in Latin, and, given what it was meant to accomplish, was extraordinarily short.



“Actually this is two spells”, Tara clarified, “One is for binding, and the other is for exorcising.”



“Exercising?” Buffy said, confounded, “Like aerobics? We make the demon do aerobics back to Hell? Come to think of it, that would be worth seeing.”



“No, Buffy”, chuckled Willow, “not exercising, ex-OR-cising. It’s for banishing an evil presence or entity. Like in the movie. You know, the one with the little girl and the projectile vomiting?”



“Exactly why I don’t mix slayer duties with Buffy movie night”, Buffy quipped. “What do you think, Tara? Will it work?”



“Um… Well, I think so…But, I… oh, wait”, Tara said as something on the paper caught her eye. “That’s weird.”



“What”, Willow asked.



“Well it says here that in order for the second incantation, the exorcism, to work, the exorcist has to be in physical contact with the demon itself. They have to be touching”, Tara explained.



“Isn’t that what the binding thing is for”, commented Xander, “So that it will hold still long enough to make it go ‘poof’?”



“That would also explain why the spell is so short”, said Willow.



“No kidding”, sighed Tara, “It also says that the second incantation must be spoken within eight heartbeats of the binding being cast.”



“What is that ‘clock time’?” Asked Xander



“About 7 seconds”, answered Anya. Xander nodded.



“Not much time”, stated Buffy. She looked Tara in the eye, “Can you do it?”



“Me”, Tara squeaked.



“Her?” Willow echoed, “No, no, no. Too dangerous, way too dangerous, I don’t think so.”



“Willow”, Buffy reasoned, “Giles said that it had to be an experienced and powerful witch. Tara’s our only option. From what we’ve been able to put together, this thing is going to try to open the Hellmouth on the night of the Quickening Moon when the Full Moon reaches it’s apex. We can’t allow this to happen.”



“Well, you’re just going to have to find some other witch, because you aren’t using mine”, Willow said, stepping protectively in front of her wife, “You don’t underst…”



“Willow”, Tara interrupted, “We don’t have a choice.”



“What do you mean, yes we do”, Willow pleaded, “There are tons of witches in Sunnydale… I think.”



“No we don’t, and no there aren’t. Not as experienced as I am. Will, the Quickening Moon is tonight. We only have an hour before it reaches its apex. If we want to stop the Hellmouth from opening, we have to go now.” Tara leveled firmly.



“Hold it”, said Buffy, “The Quickening Moon is tonight? In an hour?!? That’s it, we’re heading out!”



“No!” Yelled Willow, “Wait. I-I need to talk to Tara alone for a minute. In the back. Now.”



Buffy nodded, and Willow led Tara into the training room, shutting the door behind them.



“Let me do it”, stated the redhead.



“What? No! You can’t, Willow. It’s been too long, it’s not safe.”



“Exactly”, Willow countered, “It’s not safe. For you, for me, or the b… for the three of us.”



Tara lowered her gaze, “That’s not what I meant, Will. This is heavy magic. Not dark, necessarily, but, big. It’s not that I don’t think you couldn’t handle it as far as a potential relapse goes, but… If there isn’t enough power behind this spell when it’s cast, and this demon succeeds in opening the Hellmouth, there won’t be a three of us.”



“You think I’m too weak”, Willow asked softly, dumbfounded.



“You’re out of practice, Will…”



“Tara, not two weeks ago, we cast a spell and made a life out of our love. If that isn’t power, then I don’t know what is.”



“That was the two of us working together. This is strictly a solo number”, Tara said, trying to be as gentle as possible. “We can’t take the risk.” She paused a moment before continuing, “Willow, I love you. Let’s just get passed this. We’ll go. I’ll bind this thing. I’ll exorcise it. And we’ll go home to our bed. And we’ll sleep and be safe. The three of us.”



“We should tell Buffy that you’re pregnant.”



“After.”



“No. Now! She has to know how much we have at stake. It’s not fair to us, and it’s not fair to her if she doesn’t know”, Willow leveled, tears beginning to well in her eyes.



There was a sudden knocking on the door that caused both women to jump.



“Guys”, Buffy called from the other side, “Kind of running short on time here.”



Tara looked her wife directly in the eye, making it clear that what she was about to say was the final word, and that she would brook no argument. “We tell Buffy after.” With that Tara opened the training room door and re-entered the shop. Willow stayed frozen for a moment before lifting her feet and following.



*******



The group approached the now barren lot that had once been Sunnydale High School. The only way to get to the Hellmouth now was via a sewer pipe that could be reached through a manhole in the middle of the street. Once uncovered, the Scooby gang descended into the murky depths below. Buffy and Tara were in the lead, followed closely by Anya, with Xander and Willow bringing up the rear. The redhead rubbed her forehead nervously, unable to hide the daunting fear that had crept into her belly and invaded her body. Xander noticed his best friend’s sudden attack of nerves and spoke up.



“Hey, Will, you okay there? By the way you were shaking I’d say that you had either O.D.’d on the mochas, or were scared out of your mind.”



“Um, the second one”, she admitted.



“Why?”, asked the young man, “Compared to some of the other baddies we’ve taken care of, this is a quick fix. We go. We banish. We go home.”



“That’s what Tara said”, Willow sighed.



“So why the worries”, Xander asked.



“I asked Tara to let me do it. She wouldn’t let me.”



“Will, you are a little rusty, and with everything that happened…”



“That’s not the point”, she interrupted.



“Then what is? Will, What’s going on?”



She couldn’t take it, someone had to know before it was too late. “About two weeks ago Tara and I…”



“Okay, guys. Game faces”, Buffy announced from the head of the group.



“Here we go”, Xander said, handing Willow a battle-axe. “You ready?”



“I’m always ready to protect what’s mine”, she answered, determinedly.



“Alright”, Buffy began, “I’ll try to keep this thing on the defensive. The rest of you keep Tara safe until I can get the demon close enough for her to cast the binding spell and have enough time to get to it and perform the exorcism. Everybody set? Let’s go.”



They silently entered the cavern of the Hellmouth and saw the destruction demon kneeling before the hellish fissure. It was in deep concentration, chanting methodically and occasionally tossing some sort of powder into the hole, resulting in small displays of multi-colored sparks.



“Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to play with fireworks”, Buffy asked matter-of-factly.



The demon leapt to its feet and ran toward the slayer ready to attack. It lunged at Buffy, wrapping its weight around her and knocking both of them to the floor. Buffy easily kicked it off and countered by throwing a full roundhouse kick at the monster’s face. The creature spun around at the impact, but quickly recovered and bared his claws, swiping at Buffy’s chest. The slayer handily deflected the blow and, unsheathing her broadsword from the baldric she was wearing on her back, swept up with the blade and severed the demon’s arm off at the shoulder. Or so she would have liked, but as in her previous battle, the creature only laughed as the torn skin mended like new.



“Tickles.” He said in a disgusting and guttural voice.



“Wow”, said Xander from the sidelines, “That’s not good.”



“How much time do we have”, Anya asked.



“Not much”, Tara answered, “Buffy needs to get the demon closer to me now.”



“Can’t you cast the binding spell from here”, inquired Willow.



“Not and be able to get to that thing in time to cast it out”, Tara explained.



“Buffy! You have to get it closer!” Called Xander.



The demon looked to see where the voice had come from and started to charge. Buffy was on its tail quickly, leaping onto its back to slow it down. She tried wrapping her arm around its neck to choke it, but the monster wasn’t phased.



“Tara! Now!” Buffy exclaimed.



“You have to let go of it or the binding will effect you too!” Tara yelled back.



Buffy let go of the demon’s neck and swept it off of its feet, causing it to the hit the ground hard on its back.



Tara stepped forward to cast, but Buffy was still in the way.



“Buffy! Move!”



Buffy hesitated a millisecond too long, and the demon took the opportunity and kipped back up to a standing position, striking the slayer across the face and sending her up through the air to the opposite side the cavern. Unexpectedly, the monster took off in chase of where Buffy had landed, rather than going after Tara and the rest.



“He’s getting too far away”, Tara cried in frustration. “There’s no time. I have to bind it from here and hope that I get there in time to do the rest.”



“You can’t make it”, Willow interceded.



“Not if I keep stalling”, Tara replied. She stepped in front of the others, raised her hand and chanted:



*Envicio Vobis Quo Te Consto, Pes Pides Agito Infitialis Magis!*



The creature stopped dead in its tracks, unable to move. Tara took off at a fast sprint to reach the monster in time. No time for hesitation, she placed her hand on the back of the demon’s shoulder and began to incant:



*Unde Te Antea Advendio Immundis Diabolis Rursus Ignis!*



Just as she reached the final word of the exorcism, the demon became unbound and he swung his fist angrily backward, connecting with Tara’s stomach and sending her flying in reverse, crashing into a pile of rubble.



“Tara!” Willow screamed, racing to her wife’s side.



The creature began to pursue, but suddenly it grasped its head as if in terrible pain. It fell to the ground and began to convulse violently before dematerializing in a brilliant flash of hot, red light.



“Tara…Tara… please… wake up, Baby”, Willow pleaded with her unconscious lover.



The others quickly made it over to the couple.



“Oh, God, Will”, Buffy said, approaching, “Is she…?”



“She’s breathing”, Willow answered between sobs, “But we have to get her to the hospital now!”



“I have a cell phone”, Anya piped up. Everyone looked at her sideways. “Well, I figured one of us should start carrying one around considering all the emergencies we get ourselves into.”



“Hon, stop talking and start dialing”, Xander commented.



“We need to get her above ground”, Buffy stated, “Do you think it’s safe to move her.”



“I don’t know”, Willow cried, her entire body shaking.



“Well, we’re going to have to take the chance. I’ll carry her”, the slayer continued, removing her baldric and sword and setting them on the ground, knowing she would have to leave them behind or face too many questions. “But I’m not sure how to get her up through the manhole.”



“I think I might be able to levitate her”, Willow offered.



“Are you sure?”



“Yes.”



“Let’s go.”



Buffy gingerly lifted the unconscious woman into her arms and the group hastily made their way back from where they came. Arriving at the bottom of the manhole, the slayer delicately lay Tara back down on the ground. Xander and Anya climbed out of the hole, prepared to catch the wiccan when she emerged from below.



“She’s all yours, Will”, Buffy said, stepping back.



“Actually…could you hold her upright?” Willow asked, still trembling, “That way she’ll fit through the, uh…”



“Right”, nodded Buffy. Again she lifted Tara up to her feet, the girl’s head lolling forward onto her chest.



Willow concentrated as hard as she could at raising her beloved up off of the ground. After what seemed like an eternity, she finally succeeded in levitating Tara up through the manhole. Xander grasped her and laid her down on her back as Willow and Buffy arrived at street level. Willow immediately knelt down next to Tara, holding her limp hand and caressing her face.



“Ambulance is on its way” Anya announced, hanging up her phone.



“What did you say”, asked Buffy.



“Gang.”



“Fine.” Buffy turned her attention to her best friend, “Will? Are you okay…”



“Don’t”, Willow cut her off, “Just don’t. You don’t know. You don’t know.”



“Don’t know what?” Buffy asked, but her inquiries were stopped short by the sound the ambulance approaching.



The large vehicle pulled to a stop and the two technicians hopped out, rushing to Tara’s side.



“What happened”, asked the first EMT, kneeling down.



“Gang.” Buffy answered.



“Was this girl alone”, asked the second, coming over from the back of the van with supplies.



“No”, said Willow, “We were with her.”



The first EMT glanced at all of them before continuing. “Well, aside from this other girl here”, he said, indicating Buffy, “How come the rest of you don’t look roughed up?”



“Looks like a possible concussion”, the second technician said to the first, “minor abrasions about the face and neck. BP 120/70.”



“Good, that’s good”, responded the EMT, “That’s normal blood pressure. It’s a good sign.” Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. “Now, back to my question. Why aren’t the rest of you hurt?”



“We don’t have time for this”, Willow muttered, “She needs to get to the hospital.”



“And that’s where we’re gonna take her right now”, he responded. “Paul, get the gurney. Let’s get her to Sunnydale General. Does one of you want to ride?”



“Me”, Willow answered, her voice shallow.



“Are you family? Her sister?”



“She’s my wife. Plus I have power of attorney. I have a legal right.”



Paul returned with the gurney. “Ray, you want head or feet?”



“Head”, Ray responded, “But, I need to put the neck brace on her first.”



Ray carefully put the brace on Tara’s neck, and he and Paul expertly lifted her onto the gurney. They wheeled it over to the ambulance and loaded it in. Willow followed.



“Will, we’ll meet you at the hospital”, Buffy called after. The redhead only nodded mutely.



“Does your wife have any known allergies”, asked Paul.



“Shrimp”, Willow answered, her voice now only a hollow echo of her despair.



“Does she suffer from any serious medical conditions?”



“No, but… she’s pregnant”, Willow said as the doors to the ambulance closed behind her, sealing her and Tara inside. The van quickly took off, lights flashing.



The remaining group stood staring at the now distant lights, dumbstruck.



“Did you hear that”, asked Xander, confused, “Did Willow just say that Tara is pregnant?”



“Is that possible”, queried Anya.



“Oh God.” Buffy gasped. “Oh God. We have to get to the hospital now. Now!”



“Car’s at the Magic Box”, Xander explained.



“Then we run back to the Magic Box”, Buffy stated.



The three of them took off in a dead heat.



*******

TBC...



"Promise me you'll never be linear." "On my trout."



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Here it is!! Pt 2!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 11:15 pm 
When they arrived at the hospital, Buffy and the gang found Willow sitting in the waiting room, her head in her hands. Buffy slowly approached her best friend.



“Will? Will, are you… is she okay?”



“She’s in X-ray”, Willow answered, her voice empty and tired from crying, “I was afraid of the radiation hurting the… , but the doctor said that they had to make sure that she doesn’t have any swelling on brain. He said that it should be okay.”



“Is she still… I mean… is she?”



“Don’t know yet. They called our OB to come down and check her out. But, she hasn’t gotten here yet.”



“Will, I’m so sor…”



“Don’t”, Willow interjected, “It wa… It was her choice. She didn’t want to tell you. She didn’t want you to worry. We saved the world again, that’s all that really matters, right?”



“Will…”



“Ms. Rosenberg?”



They all looked up to see the ER Doctor entering the waiting area.



“Mrs. Rosenberg-Maclay”, Willow corrected, standing.



“Of course, I’m sorry.” The doctor apologized. “We got the tests back…”, he paused, unsure whether or not to continue in front of the present company.



“It’s okay, they’re family”, Willow stated.



“We got the tests back”, he began again, “Do you want the good news or the mediocre news?”



“Mediocre news?” Willow asked, unsure what that meant.



“Well, it’s not necessarily bad news, but it’s not necessarily good news, it sort of falls in the middle.” The doctor explained, “You want that or the good news first?”



“Good news.”



“The good news is the X-rays came back fairly clear. There was some slight trauma to the occipital lobe, which is conducive to a mild concussion. You will also be happy to know that, according to the initial blood tests, Tara is still pregnant.”



Willow raised her eyes in surprise to meet the doctor’s. The doctor smiled a congenial smile and paused before continuing.



“Now, the mediocre news. I’d like to keep Tara overnight for observation. I want to make sure that the trauma to her system didn’t cause enough of a shock to ultimately induce a miscarriage. Also, the fact that she hasn’t woken up yet has me a little concerned, although I am fairly confident that she should come around in the next few hours, I still want to keep an eye on her. I was finally able to get a hold of your OB/GYN, Dr. Gulliver, and she is currently on her way. A routine pelvic exam should determine whether or not there is any damage to the uterus and she can discuss with you any extra precautions or steps that should be taken. Otherwise, I’ve sent Tara to a private room and taken the liberty of setting up an extra bed in there, I’m assuming you’d like to stay the night. The, uh, desk nurse has your insurance information?”



“Yes.” Willow answered automatically, there was so much information to take in, her mind was racing a mile a minute to catch up to it.



“If you have any questions my name is Dr. Meyers, I will be on duty for the next few hours. Tara is in room 382, you can go on up and see her if you’d like.”



“Yes, thank you, Doctor”, Willow said, nodding her head. Dr. Meyers smiled and stepped away down the hall.



“Well, that’s good news”, Buffy said, moving up beside her friend. “Right? Will?”



“Willow?” asked Xander, “You okay?”



“I have to go…” She trailed off.



“Of course”, agreed Buffy, “We’ll be right…”



“Go home”, Willow interrupted. “We’ll be okay.”



“Are you sure?”



“Just…go.” Willow turned and headed for the elevator, disappearing inside of it.



“Wow”, commented Anya.



“Yeah”, Xander agreed.



“This isn’t good”, stated Buffy.



“The only other time I’ve ever seen her like this was after you…” Xander let the sentence hang.



“Died”, Anya finished.



“Anya”, Xander chided.



“What? You seemed to be having trouble completing the statement”, she explained, “I was helping.”



“Guys, she came close to losing everything tonight. No wonder she’s freaked. I would be too”, said Buffy.



“What do you think we should do?” Asked Xander.



“We should go home like she asked”, Buffy leveled, “and then come back in the morning.”



Xander and Anya nodded in agreement, and the trio left the ER.



*******



In room 382, Willow stood at her wife’s bedside, holding her hand and stroking her hair. Despite her loving ministrations, her eyes did not look upon the woman before her, rather they stared off into space, dead and hollow. Never again, she thought over and over, Never again…



“Willow?”



The redhead blinked, life suddenly filling her eyes again as she looked down to see Tara gazing back up at her.



“Baby?” Willow asked. Tara nodded. “Oh, God, Baby, I was so scared.” She leaned down and kissed the blonde on the forehead.



“What happened?”



“That damn… thing… hit you. Hard. Sent you flying… you hit your head pretty bad. The Doctor says that you have a concussion.”



“Is it gone now? The demon. Did I banish it?”



“Yeah, Baby, it’s gone”, assured Willow.



“Are you mad?” Tara asked, reaching up to touch her lover’s cheek.



Willow leaned into the caress and took Tara’s hand in her own, holding it there. “Yeah”, she admitted, “A little. Not as much as I was. But, you’re okay, and that’s all that matters.” She kissed the inside of Tara’s palm and moved both of their hands back down to the bed.



“Willow”, Tara said, suddenly tensing, “Is… am I… are all ‘three of us’ okay?”



“So far”, answered the redhead.



There were two swift knocks on the door and Dr. Gulliver, an attractive woman in her late-thirties, entered the room.



“Hello”, she said smiling as she approached the bed. “I’m sorry it took me so long. Traffic was horrible on the 405. I was in Long Beach staying at my sister-in-law’s.”



“Sorry”, apologized Willow.



“Don’t be, I can’t stand her”, Dr. Gulliver ensured. “So, Tara, what’s going on?”



“Um, I had an accident”, she answered.



“She was attacked”, Willow corrected.



“Yes, Dr. Meyers filled me in. What I meant was, pregnant? I didn’t even know you girls were trying. I’m feeling a little left out here. I could have recommended some excellent fertility clinics or sperm banks. Although it seems you two had someone picked out already.”



“It’s a long story”, smiled Willow out of fatigue.



“It always is”, Dr. Gulliver smiled back. “Well, let’s make sure that everything is all right, okay?”



The girls nodded in agreement.



“Obstetrics already has a room set up for us. I’ll just get a nurse to come in with a wheelchair and I’ll meet you both there”, said the doctor, as she left the room and headed for the nurses’ station. A few moments later a jolly-looking African-American nurse entered the room with a wheelchair.



“Hi, Girls”, she said happily, “I’m Nurse Kendra. Somebody order a taxi?”



Tara raised her hand shyly.



“Well, okay, let’s get goin’, fare’s ticking away.” Kendra moved the chair over to the bedside and helped Tara get into it.



The girls made their way down the hall, to the elevator, and up to the fourth floor with Kendra gleefully yapping the entire way. It was a welcome break from the intense seriousness of their surroundings and situation.



“So when my son came out to me, at first I was like, ‘Oh, Lord, No!’, but then I met his boyfriend…and Mm Mm Mm!, Honey! I tell you. What a fine looking man! I thought to myself, ‘Self, if your son being gay means that you get all the eye-candy you can eat, it is a blessing in disguise!’ So now I go to all the Pride Festivals and everything and just have a grand old time. You two ever been to one of those festivals?”



“No”, answered Tara, trying not to laugh.



“We’ve never really had the time”, Willow said, also trying to disguise her impending giggle fit.



“Well, I’ll be honest with you, the women there aren’t usually as beautiful as you two. They all into that ‘butch and femme’ nonsense. Now, I ask you, maybe you know, what on Earth could possess a girl in her right mind to go and shave off all her hair and put holes in her face? I mean you look at some of these girls and you can tell that they were attractive at one time, but now they got all that metal sticking out of their face every which way and their hair is all cut short and sometimes they dye it funny colors and shi… I mean, stuff. Now, I ask you… is that attractive to you? You think that looks good?”



“Well…” They answered in unison.



“See? That’s my point. Just who are they trying to lure in looking all Hellraiser? I mean, look at you two. You two are a nice pretty couple. Go together like bread on butter. The day I see a beautiful girl like one of you dating one of them metal-heads is the day I retire, for I will have seen everything. Well, here’s your stop.” She said, wheeling Tara into the exam room with Willow in tow, “I hope I didn’t talk your ears off. I have a tendency to carry on. Most folks don’t mind it but there are some who are just anti-social.”



“It was a lot of fun”, said Tara, “Thanks, Kendra.”



“Absolutely”, Kendra smiled, “And don’t you worry, Honey, everything’s gonna be fine. You’ll see.”



“Thanks”, Willow replied, taking Tara’s hand.



Kendra nodded and left the room, closing the door behind her.



“There you two are”, said Dr. Gulliver, entering, “I was beginning to wonder if you got lost. Tara, go ahead and hop up on the table.”



Willow helped Tara up and onto the pink, vinyl exam table. The sanitary paper crackled under the blonde’s weight as she sat on the end with her legs dangling over the edge. Dr. Gulliver pulled out the stirrups and shifted them into position.



“Lie back for me please”, she instructed. Tara did so, and took Willow’s hand. She hated the idea of anyone other than Willow having such intimate contact with her, but she knew that it was necessary. The doctor took a folded cloth from off one of the room’s counters, and draped it across Tara’s lower half, covering her from the waist all the way down past her feet which still hung over the edge of the table. “Lift your feet up into the stirrups. That’s it. Scootch down for me a little?” Tara complied and grimaced at the sharp sound of the paper shifting beneath her. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine herself anywhere but there, gripping Willow’s hand more tightly. Willow responded by using her free hand to caress Tara’s cheek and forehead. Dr. Gulliver put on her gloves and folded back the draping to begin her examination; Tara gulped nervously. “I’ll try to make this as quick as possible”, the doctor soothed. “This is probably going to feel a little cold”, she warned. Tara tensed as she felt the speculum enter her. It was cold, hard and slightly painful. She let out a small whimper. “Tara, I need you to relax. Try to relax.”



“Listen to my voice”, Willow whispered, “concentrate on me. I’m right here, Baby.”



Tara relaxed a little at the sound of Willow’s voice. Willow lent down and kissed her wife on the cheek, then rested her forehead on Tara’s, sighing softly.



“Good”, the doctor encouraged, noting Tara’s slight release, “that’s good.” She removed the speculum and continued to the next part of her examination. Tara jumped a mile when she felt Dr. Gulliver’s gloved fingers enter her, probing. “It’s alright. I’m just checking to make sure that everything is intact. I can’t necessarily tell that just by looking. It will be over in two seconds. I promise.”



“It’s okay, Baby”, Willow calmed.



“Okay”, said Dr. Gulliver, lowering the sheet. “You can go ahead and remove your feet from the stirrups and scoot back up onto the table. I need you to stay lying down though.”



Tara obeyed while the doctor stood up and removed her gloves, tossing them in the biohazard bin. She made a couple of notes on Tara’s chart, and then returned to the girl’s side. She gently began massaging all around Tara’s belly, at one point causing the girl to inhale sharply. “That hurt?”



“It’s a little tender”, Tara answered, “I got hit in the stomach.”



“Okay”, stated the doctor, stepping back, “You can go ahead and sit up now. Um, everything looks fine. You’re very lucky given how new this pregnancy is that a trauma like yours didn’t cause you to abort. I’d say that once Dr. Meyers is satisfied with the bump on your head, you can go home. I would like to go ahead and set an appointment for you to come in on, uh, Monday or Tuesday, so that we can get you started on prenatal care. At this point, given the blow you received to your stomach, I’m going to suggest that we label this a ‘high-risk’ pregnancy, uh, simply because this event could cause problems later on, and I would like to continue to monitor your progress. I strongly encourage that for the next two weeks you take it very easy. No sports, or any kind of strenuous activity, um, no heavy lifting, just lots of bed rest and TLC. I’m pretty sure Willow can handle that. Right?”



Willow nodded energetically.



“I thought so”, chuckled Dr. Gulliver, “Well, let me get Kendra to take you back down to your room. Call my office and make that appointment, and I’ll see you on Monday. You girls sleep well.”



The doctor smiled and left, leaving the two girls alone in the room. Tara couldn’t take it anymore, and she finally let the tears flow that she had been holding back. Willow quickly took her into her arms and began massaging her back with soothing strokes.



“Tara? Baby? It’s okay, everything’s going to be alright. Dr. Gulliver said so.”



“It’s not that”, Tara blubbered, “Well, it is that, because I’m just so relieved but…I just hate those exams and I hate being here and I hate that it’s my fault. I promised you that nothing bad would happen and… and…because of me we almost lost…”



“But we didn’t. Tara, calm down. Honey. Please. It’s over. We move on, okay?” Willow paused listening to her own words. “We move on.”



*******



“Morning guys”, said Buffy as she, Xander and Anya entered Tara’s hospital room, arms full of flowers and stuffed toys. “How is everybody?”



“Fine”, said Willow, from where she was seated on the edge of Tara’s bed.



“Hey, Tara, how’s the head”, asked Xander, setting down a bouquet of flowers.



“It hurts”, she replied, grimacing slightly.



“Well, Giles still has you beat for highest number of head injuries, so you’re going to have to work a lot harder if you plan on taking his title”, the young man joked.



“Here”, said Anya, thrusting a small teddy bear into the wiccan’s arms, “I understand that it is customary to give these to expectant mothers. Congratulations.”



“Thanks”, Tara smiled, holding the bear close.



“So, everything’s…okay”, Buffy queried hesitantly.



“Yeah”, Willow sighed with relief.



“Good…”



“So, if you don’t mind me asking”, said Xander, “How?”



“Xander, I’m sure it’s a long story”, interjected Buffy.



“Spell”, Willow answered simply.



“Apparently, not that long”, Buffy stood corrected.



“Wow. So it really is yours and Tara’s”, Xander inquired.



“Yeah”, said Tara, blushing and looking into Willow’s eyes, “It really is.”



“Well, congratulations… ‘Dad’”, he smiled, producing a chocolate cigar and handing it to the redhead. Willow took it and smiled gratefully.



“When can you come home?” Asked Buffy.



“Today, most likely.” Willow explained, “Dr. Meyers just needs to do some simple eye/hand coordination and motor skills tests, and we’re good to go.”



“Well, I think this can be chalked up as one of the shortest Scooby hospital stays on record”, Xander quipped.



“Tara, I need to talk to Buffy outside for a minute. Will you be okay in here?” Willow asked.



“Oh, um, yeah…sure”, Tara replied, her brow furrowing in confusion.



“Don’t worry, Willow. An and I will keep her company, won’t we, An”, Xander asked, turning to his eternal fiancée.



“So, are you prepared for the excruciating pain of childbirth?” Anya asked Tara seriously.



“We’ll be back as soon as we can”, Willow quickly promised. Tara nodded nervously.



Willow led Buffy out of the room and down the hall.



“What’s up, Will?” Buffy asked.



“Let’s walk”, Willow stated.



“We are walking.”



“Well, yeah, I mean, why stop? Walking is good. It’s easy and good for you. And it can be fun, too. There are some people who walk for a living. Like mailmen, only without the guns. Did you know that there are walking races…?”



“Willow, you’re babbling”, Buffy said, stopping her friend, “What’s wrong?”



“Sorry. I-I’m a little nervous and my brain’s kind of fried”, Willow explained, “I didn’t sleep all night. I kept trying to come up with the best way to say this… and even though I came up with this really great speech in my head, I kind of just forgot it all in the last ten seconds…”



“Just say it”, Buffy encouraged, “It’s okay. We’ll get through it. Is something wrong with Tara?”



“No, no… Tara’s fine…” Willow breathed, “It’s me.”



“What!? Something’s wrong with you? Will, what? Are you okay?”



“Buffy, six years ago I made a promise to you.” Willow began, “I promised that I’d stand by you. That the fight you fight is a good one, and that I wanted in… But… Now, I feel like I’m about to betray you because… I don’t think I can do it anymore.”



“You want out?” Buffy asked, her eyes sad.



“Tara doesn’t know this, but I got a job offer from a software company up in Seattle. They want me to write code for them. It’s a solid job. 100k a year salary, benefits to start immediately upon hire; I could make my own hours and even work from home, and Tara and I would be set.”



“Well, if you can work from home, doesn’t that mean you could do it from here?”



“Yeah, but…” Willow sighed, trying to find the words, “What happened last night really scared me. More than I’ve ever been scared before in my life. And given all of the things that we have faced in the past nine years, that’s saying a lot. I almost lost her, Buffy. I almost lost her…and I almost lost… That can’t happen again. Never, ever again. I’m sorry, but, if Tara agrees then I’m moving us to Seattle.”



“When would you be going”, Buffy questioned, trying to remain neutral, yet supportive.



“Um, probably not until after the baby is born”, Willow stated, “Dr. Gulliver said that because of…what happened… Tara’s is now a high-risk pregnancy. I don’t want to take a chance putting her through a stressful move. So, I’m going to ask Kristal Graphics if I can work from down here for a while…”



“Kristal Graphics is the… company?”



“Yeah. Buffy, I’m truly sorry. I feel so horrible about this…”



“Will, stop. It’s okay”, said Buffy, “You have a right to protect your family. You have a right to your own life. If you have this opportunity, then take it. The only person who is stuck here in Sunnydale is me. It’s my job to stay behind, not yours.”



“I’m sorry…”



“Stop apologizing!” Buffy chided playfully, “I’m not angry. I totally understand. I won’t say your leaving doesn’t upset me or that I won’t miss you terribly, but you have to do what you have to do. Whatever is right. Tara is your wife, she’s… God, Will, she’s having your baby, and because of me, because of what I do, you almost lost them both. What kind of a friend am I to put you through that?”



“Buffy…wha… no… I never meant that. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had. What I mean is that I have to get away from the Hellmouth, not from you. I love you.”



“I love you too, Willow. Which is why I want you to go”, stated the slayer.



“Buffy, don’t. I know what you’re trying to do.” Willow countered, “You’re trying to ease my conscience by making it seem like it’s not my decision. But it is. It’s my and Tara’s decision, not yours. Once I talk to her, we’ll figure things out and go from there. But either way, whether we leave Sunnydale or not… I’m not fighting anymore, and neither is Tara. Research, maybe, but no more fights. And nothing that could put us in any kind of danger.”



“Okay”, Buffy agreed. “We should get back.”



“Yeah…Anya must have Tara scared out of her wits by now. I gotta do some damage control.”



The two women got back to Tara’s room in time to catch Dr. Meyers on his way out.



“Ah, Mrs. Rosenberg-Maclay”, he said, “I’ve just seen your, er, wife and she looks fine. She responded perfectly to every test. You can take her home whenever you’d like.”



“Great”, responded Willow, “If she’s up for it we’ll be leaving now.”



“I’ll just get the paperwork”, Dr. Meyers stated, and he headed toward the nurses’ station.



“Hey, Baby”, Willow started as she and Buffy re-entered the room, “You up to…” The sight of Xander and Anya sitting on the now empty bed stopped her in her tracks. “Where?”



“She’s changing in the bathroom”, explained Xander.



“Hi”, Tara said, emerging fully clothed.



“Hey”, Willow answered, “So, is this some kind of subtle message saying that you’re ready to go?”



“Nah”, Tara shook her head, then smirked.



*******



It had been five weeks. Five weeks since their run in at the Hellmouth. Tara was doing well, dealing with the occasional morning sickness and fatigue, but otherwise fine. And Willow was getting antsy, very, very antsy. Out of fear of endangering the pregnancy, Willow had refrained from making love to her wife, and the lack of this particular form of intimacy was starting to take its toll. Of course they snuggled, and cuddled, and kissed, and cooed, and told each other how much they loved the other one, but not even this was sufficient anymore. As a result, Willow had become a bit of a short fuse with everyone, except Tara, naturally. No need to cause her wife stress by making her aware of her withdrawal from her primal urges. So Willow unwillingly took out her pent up frustration on her friends, co-workers, that barista at the Espresso Pump and, in fact, anyone who looked at her sideways, or who she perceived had looked at her sideways. In other words… everyone else.



Truth be told, Tara was getting to her rope’s end as well, and she was not unaware of Willow’s rising blood pressure. But, dealing with the hormonal changes to her body that the pregnancy induced, it was slightly easier to ignore the ache between her legs. But only slightly. The two of them had, on more then one occasion, started to take a petting session to a more erotic level. But each time, Willow cut them off, painfully separating from her wife to take a cold shower and, sometimes, sleep on the couch. Tara found this agonizing and difficult to bear. She was reminded of one of her mother’s favorite sayings, “A task left unfinished is often worse than one that is unbegun.” The blonde wiccan could definitely vouch for that.



In the meantime, in order to distract themselves from their mutual despair, they discussed the possibility of leaving Sunnydale. At this point, Willow had already made an arrangement with Kristal Graphics Software to start working from her computer there at home, and she was in the process of resigning from her position at the small web design firm she had been working for locally. The couple still left up in the air whether or not they would ultimately make the move to Seattle. It was a big decision and a hard one, and neither one of them was ready to make it just yet.



This particular day Tara had an appointment with Dr. Gulliver. Willow had left work early to take her wife to the clinic. Both women were nervous and excited, because today they got to see their child on ultrasound for the first time. Normally an ultrasound isn’t necessary until between the 16th and 20th weeks of pregnancy, but given that Tara’s was a high-risk situation, the procedure could be performed as early as seven weeks and naturally Dr. Gulliver wanted to take every precaution.



“Hi, Tara, Willow”, said Mary, the Dr. Gulliver’s receptionist. “How are you two, or should I say three, doing?”



“Fine, thanks, Mary”, answered Tara, signing in.



“She’ll be with you in just a few minutes”, Mary said, referring to the doctor, “She’s just finishing up with another patient.”



“Thanks”, said Willow as the two of them sat down and started browsing through year old copies of Parenthood Magazine.



The door to Dr. Gulliver’s office opened, and a pregnant woman, looking to be in her fifth month or so, came out followed by the doctor herself.



“Just try to keep your feet elevated as often as you can, and it should cause the swelling around your ankles to go down”, the doctor explained as she showed her patient to the door. “Tell Barry I said, ‘Hi’. Drive safely now… Willow? Tara? You girls ready?” The women nodded. “Come on in.”



The couple entered the office and Dr. Gulliver shut the door behind them.



“So, Tara, how are you feeling”, the doctor asked.



“Good.” Came the short reply.



“Okay, um, how’s the morning sickness?”



“Getting better. I only get it once or twice a week and it has been passing pretty quickly”, Tara explained.



“Good, that’s good. The prenatal vitamins working out for you okay?”



“Yeah, great. I haven’t been getting quite as tired and… I feel like my body is adapting to everything a little faster.”



“Excellent”, commented Dr. Gulliver. “Well, you ready to see your baby?”



Tara and Willow smiled broadly and shook their heads, “Yes.”



“Alright”, said the doctor, moving to pull over the large piece of equipment that was the sonogram. “Go ahead and lie back and raise your shirt up to just above your belly button.”



Tara complied and nervously took Willow’s hand.



“It’s okay, I’m here”, the redhead soothed, “she’s gonna be beautiful and perfect, you’ll see.”



Dr. Gulliver turned the machine on and picked up a tube of lubricant jelly, turning back to Tara. “I’m just gonna scoot your skirt down a little bit, okay?” She did so, revealing the lower half of Tara’s belly below her navel. “This should be room temperature”, she said, squeezing some of the jelly on to the blonde’s skin, who flinched slightly, “Or it might be a little cold, sorry.”



“It’s okay”, Tara replied.



“Alright, let’s take a look.” Dr. Gulliver picked up the sensor and placed it in the jelly on Tara’s belly and moved it around slowly. After a few seconds, a fuzzy black and white image appeared on screen. At first nothing was clearly visible or easily made out, until she moved the sensor a little more to the right revealing a tiny, distinct shape inside Tara’s uterus. “There it is”, the doctor smiled. Willow brought her free hand up to her mouth in shock, her eyes bugging out of her skull, she glanced down at Tara and saw that the sight on the small screen also captivated her. “I see a little face with two eyes”, said Dr. Gulliver, “I see two arms and two legs and I see ten fingers and ten toes. I see a perfectly developed seven-week fetus. What do you think?”



“Oh my God”, said Willow, her eyes tearing up, “she’s so beautiful. Baby, she’s so beautiful. I love you so much.” The redhead leaned down and kissed her wife full on the lips. Tara couldn’t help but respond, the wonder of the moment too overpowering to ignore, her body quickly answering Willow’s heated attention. If Dr. Gulliver hadn’t already had her back turned to the couple staring at the monitor, she would have averted her eyes. But as it was, she was so engrossed in the sonogram, searching Tara’s belly for any signs of latent trauma, that she didn’t even notice that the girls’ kissing had become decidedly more intense. Or that Willow’s hand had automatically begun to creep down the front of Tara’s body, in search of its favorite place. No, Dr. Gulliver didn’t notice anything until Willow’s hand collided with her own on its trip southward.



Willow jerked back and stood up quickly, her entire face flushing redder than her hair. Tara also blushed, horrifyingly embarrassed at what had almost happened. Dr. Gulliver turned around, confused, “Willow, did you want to try?”



“Oh”, replied Willow, relaxing a little, “Um, can I?”



“Sure, just give me your hand.”



Willow reached out and Dr. Gulliver took her hand and placed it on the sensor. She carefully guided Willow so that the young woman could get a feel for how to best manipulate the cabled object. “Make you sure keep it in constant motion, otherwise the pulses of heat the equipment is sending out to bounce off the fetus to create the image could cause damage to the placenta.”



“Maybe you should keep doing it”, Willow said, trying to hand the sensor back.



“No, you’re doing fine, Willow. I’m keeping an eye on everything. Go ahead and take a look around.” The doctor assured.



Willow nervously complied and moved the sensor around Tara’s belly, finding the tiny human inside. “Wow, look at her move. She’s really alive in there.” Willow looked down and smiled at her wife, who smiled blissfully in return. Satisfied, the redhead handed the sensor back to Dr. Gulliver, who took it, wiped it off and placed it back in its holster. Picking up another paper towel, she wiped Tara’s stomach clean of the lubricant jelly. “You can go ahead and sit up now”, she said, turning and pressing a button next to the display monitor, causing the last image on screen to print.



Tara lowered her shirt and sat up, Willow moved back over to her side to take her hand.



“Here you go”, said Dr. Gulliver, handing the two girls the print out, “You can stick that on your fridge.”



“Look, Tara”, said Willow gleefully, “Our daughter’s first photo.”



“Technically a baby’s ultimate sex can’t be determined until the 17th or 18th weeks of pregnancy…” The doctor began.



“It’s a girl”, Tara guaranteed, “We just…just kind of know.”



“You could be right”, agreed Dr. Gulliver, “I just hope you won’t be disappointed if it turns out otherwise.”



Willow and Tara grinned at each other knowingly.



“Okay”, said the doctor, continuing, “Everything looks good. Really good. Depending on how things go the next couple of visits, I may just be inclined to take you off high-risk status. But we’ll have to see. Um, basically just keep doing what you’re doing. Try to stay away from caffeine, avoid alcohol completely. I know we’ve talked about this before, but this is the little speech I give all my expectant mothers every visit. Um, eat lots of greens, try to have a salad with every meal. Drink lots of milk, eating bananas is good, oranges, lots of vitamin C… and don’t overwork yourself. I’ll go ahead and have Mary set another appointment for you in two weeks. Other than that, any questions?”



“Everything’s normal”, Willow inquired, needing to hear it again.



“Absolutely, perfectly, normal.” Dr. Gulliver assured.



“Um”, Tara began shakily, “I have a kind of a…um… embarrassing question.”



“Tara, I guarantee what ever you have to ask me I’ve heard a thousand times. It takes a lot to shock me anymore.”



“Um…well… ever since the…hospital… Willow and I have been afraid to…uh…to…”



“Have sex?” The doctor finished.



“Yeah”, Willow answered, feeling the blood rushing to her cheeks.



“That’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s a very normal question. And I’d say, provided you two don’t over do it, you’re not swinging from the chandeliers, it’s perfectly all right. But, take it easy to start, okay?”



“Oh yes”, Tara replied, her voice a little more husky than she would have liked. Willow only nodded.



“Alright, then. Any other questions?”



They both shook their heads, “no”.



“Then I guess I’ll see you in two weeks”, said Dr. Gulliver, moving to show them out. The couple made a hasty exit. Dr. Gulliver only smiled and chuckled to herself as she turned to talk to Mary, “Set an appointment for Tara Rosenberg-Maclay, two weeks from today.”



“Yes, Doctor.”



“When’s my next appointment?”



“Uh, three o’clock. Those two sure did leave in a hurry. Everything okay?”



“Yes”, the doctor grinned, shaking her head at the impetuosity of love, returning to her office, “Yes it is.”



*******



Buffy sat reclining on the couch watching re-runs of “Mash” on TV. She heard the front door open and turned around just in time to catch Willow and Tara making a fast break for the stairs.



“Hey, guys”, she called, causing them to stop in their tracks, “Everything go okay at the Doctor’s?”



“Yeah, great”, Willow replied, trying to sound plucky enough to hide her frustration with being stopped a hair’s breadth short of their destination.



“Dr. Gulliver says that everything is coming along perfectly”, Tara explained quickly, also wanting this perfunctory conversation to end.



“Did you do the ultrasound”, Buffy asked.



“Yeah”, answered the redhead, “We even got a picture, which we’ll show you later, because right now we…”



“Oooo…show me now, show me now”, Buffy giggled, rushing over to the two girls, “I wanna see my goddaughter.”



“Here”, Tara said, thrusting the photo into the slayer’s hands, “You can look at it as long as you want. Just stick it on the fridge when you’re done.”



“Yeah”, Willow agreed, “Cuz Tara and I need to take care of some things upstairs. Now.”

With that Willow took her wife’s hand and they swiftly ran up the stairs and to their room.



Buffy stared after them for a moment, confused by their behavior, before turning her attention to the picture in her hand, “Aaaawwwweeee.”



*******



The women rushed through the doorway to the sanctuary of their bedroom, Willow slamming the door shut behind them. Tara began to undress herself, ripping her shirt over her head and flinging it across the room in anticipation, kicking her sandals off at the same time. Her hands swiftly moved down unbuttoning her skirt, she wiggled a bit letting it drop to the floor, and kicked it aside. Willow stood in awe and watched as her wife’s clothing came off in a hurry. She giggled as Tara, having laced her panties around one foot, gave a soft kick and the garment flew up at Willow’s face. She reached out her hand and grabbed the slightly damp underwear before it could reach its target. Tara’s bra came cruising by a few seconds later, Willow ducked slightly as it soared over her head and landed on the desk.



Now completely nude, Tara turned her attention to the small redhead who stood silently, green eyes wide as they cascaded up and down Tara's body. She approached, a loving smile entreating her lips; she reached out to draw Willow closer sensing a bit of apprehension from her wife. Willow's body froze as Tara slipped her arms around her waist, Tara drew her head back in confusion.



"What’s wrong, Baby?" She asked, voice soft. Willow dropped her eyes and

pushed Tara back a bit.



"Nothing...I just...Oh God, Tara your body." Willow dropped to her knees and

pressed her ear against Tara's stomach, her hands gently gripping Tara’s hips. “There’s a life inside you…a real life a-and soon it’ll become our life.” Willow’s eyes filled with tears, her heart pounded against her chest.



“I know, Baby, it’s amazing isn’t it?” Tara smiled and ran her hands through the flaming red hair, gently pushing Willow’s head into her stomach. Willow shut her eyes, letting her hands roam to Tara’s backside, she trailed her fingers lightly down Tara’s behind.



“Yeah…amazing...” Willow breathed pulling her head back a bit, eyes roaming hungrily to Tara’s golden palace, a devilish smile cursed her lips. She leaned in and buried her face in the damp curls, drawing in a deep breath. Tara slightly wavered at the feel of Willow’s face pushing into her center. She drew a heavy, lust filled breath and tightened her grip on Willow’s head, her legs began to shake as Willow’s heated breath brushed over her dampening pubic hair.



“Wil…Willow, we should lay down.” Tara struggled to keep her composure as an intense ache grew between her legs, she feared she might buckle. Willow quickly stopped caressing her wife and looked up, worried.



“Are you Ok? Did I do something wrong? Is it the baby? Am I going to fast? I should slow down, the Doctor said to take it slow.” Willow stammered nervously.



“Everything’s fine.” Tara smiled softly. “I just want to get comfortable.”



Willow rose to her feet eagerly. Tara gripped the edge of Willow’s shirt and yanked it up and over her head, tossing it to the floor. With her left hand Tara cupped Willow’s right breast, inching closer to her wife, she ran her thumb along the peak of Willow’s nipple. With her right hand she tugged at the button on Willow’s jeans indicating she wanted them off. Willow took the hint and popped the button open, hooking her thumbs around the waistline she forced her tight jeans down. Tara smiled in ecstasy as her lover’s pale body stood alert in front of her. She tightened her grip on Willow’s nipple, gently rolling it between her thumb and index finger. Willow swallowed her breath, her hands felt shaky, her skin flushed with warmth. Her heart was very sensitive toward her wife, Tara had suddenly become a vision of angelic beauty, like a Sapphic goddess only to be handled with utmost care and respect.



Willow placed her hands on Tara’s shoulders gently pushing her back until she reached the bed. Tara, feeling her calves touch the comforter, sat down, then lay back. Willow carefully crawled over her lover settling down just to the side of her. Tara settled herself into the bed turning to face Willow. They smiled at each other. Tara raised her eyebrows expectantly, eager to get back to their interrupted playtime. Willow reached out and brushed a golden lock of hair from her wife’s forehead, her smile grew with love.



“Are you OK?” Tara grinned after a few moments of silent eye contact.



“Yeah, I’m fine, Why?” Willow asked her voice in a daze.



“Willow?” Tara raised a curious eyebrow. “You can touch me. You’re not going to hurt anything.”



Willow nodded her head, guilty.



“I..I know.” She leaned closer to Tara’s mouth. “You’re just so..”



Tara leaned forward and met Willow’s lips. They melted into each other, hands roaming everywhere. Willow trailed her fingers down her wife’s smooth shoulder, to her chest and in between her breasts. They settled around her belly button, circling it a few times. Tara brought one of her hands up and met the soft skin of Willow’s fingers. Gently she picked up the redhead’s hand, moving it down between her legs.



“Touch me.” She whispered, closing her large blue eyes.



Willow quickly moved herself to the end of the bed, stopping to trail kisses down the length of Tara’s calf. She placed herself between her wife’s legs, gently parting them with tender hands. Planting a few kisses on the firm, tan thigh just to the side of her head, Willow adjusted her hands and parted the damp curls in front of her, exposing the soft, pink, fleshy core of Tara. Willow leaned in closer, her breath beginning to wash over Tara’s center. She reached out her tongue, barely making contact with the tip of Tara’s little hood. She felt skin jump beneath her. Willow reached out her thumb and index finger, pinching the tip of where her tongue had just graced. Tara cried out.



“What is it, Baby??” Willow jumped



“Noth…Nothing. Please, Willow just…don’t stop…” Tara tried to compose her voice, she felt as if she were about to explode, her hormones were overtaking every part of her.



Willow dipped her head in again, sensing Tara’s urgency, she drew the little hood into her mouth and suckled it gently. Tara’s leg muscles tensed, and she let her head roll to the side, her chest beginning to rise and fall in steady rhythm. Willow continued her ministrations for a moment, slightly pulling her head back each time she drew more of Tara into her mouth. Tara opened her eyes slightly and suddenly felt empty as her gaze traveled to the ceiling. She momentarily forgot about her hormones, missing warm emerald eyes.



“Wi…Willow…I need you here… up here…” Breathless, Tara managed to find her voice.



“There?” Willow pulled out of her wife and glanced up with broken eyes. Afraid she wasn’t pleasing Tara.



“Yes, here…” Tara’s voice tinged with annoyance at the question. She needed action. Willow crawled up and over the blonde lowering down but not placing her full weight against her wife. Tara wrapped her arms around Willow’s body, squeezing her down so their bodies met and Willow’s arms gave out, causing her to relax down on top of her beloved.



“Willow, please? I’m not going to break. Just…make love to me.” Tara’s eyes grew heavy with ache and need. Willow nodded and slipped her hand between Tara’s legs, her fingers quickly finding Tara’s knob. She rubbed it gently at first and then harder as Tara rose to meet her touch. Willow’s fingers dripped with Tara’s sweet nectar; she dropped her lips, pressing them against the heat of Tara’s neck. Tara moaned softly, letting her fingers trail down to Willow’s hips. She sat up a little and moved her hand lower, tracing lightly over her lover’s ass and between her legs. Willow shuddered as Tara’s fingers explored the hot folds of her center. Together the two women pressed into each other, each getting lost in their own sensations. Willow became more forceful in her touches while Tara slowed hers to meet the sensitive emotional state her wife was feeling. Their lovemaking was silent except for a few small moans every now and then. After a few minutes Willow felt Tara begin to shake beneath her.



“OH…”



Tara cried out and bit down on Willow’s shoulder. The powerful feeling of finally releasing caused her to hands to tense as she drove her fingers up inside Willow wildly.



“Tara…” Willow arched up, neck muscles straining, as her center exploded with hot juice. Both women relaxed their hands and remained clinging to each other, riding out the intense waves of passion.



Willow let her body relax and scooted down, resting her head on Tara’s stomach. She felt Tara’s fingers begin to lightly run through her hair; she turned her head and planted a single, tender kiss on the smooth flesh of Tara’s belly.



“Hello there, little one.” She whispered to her unborn daughter. Tara smiled as she watched her wife rest on her stomach.



“I love you, Willow.”



“Love you, Baby.”



*******



Willow and Tara lay in bed, holding each other thoughtfully. They had made love for hours, reclaiming the intimacy that they had briefly lost. Willow buried her nose in her wife’s hair, breathing in her scent, Hmmm, she thought, Tea Tree, I love it when she uses the Tea Tree. She nuzzled the top of Tara’s head a moment longer, before placing a kiss where her nose had been, and turning and resting her cheek there, sighed a sigh full of contentment.



“What are you thinking about?” Asked Tara as she listened to Willow’s heartbeat through her chest.



“Names”, Willow answered. “What are you thinking about?”



“Peanut butter.” Both girls snickered. “And names too.”



“Come up with any that you like”, inquired the redhead.



“Yeah… you?”



“Yeah… What’s yours”, asked Willow.



“You first”, countered Tara.



“No fair”, Willow mock-whined, “Okay… on the count of three… ready? One…two…three.”



“Emily”, they said in unison.



Willow gasped. “You were thinking the same name I was thinking! We were thinking the same name!”



“Of course we were”, Tara smiled coyly, “We made her.”



Willow lifted up her wife’s chin and kissed her deeply, passionately, feeling the familiar ache in her chest begin to throb as the place between her legs became wet again. She started to shift her position to her side, facing Tara, and pulling the blonde into her. But then Tara broke the kiss and reluctantly pushed her away.



“Tara?”



“I’m sorry… I’m…”, Tara began, “You’re going to think this is silly.”



“What? What’s the matter?” Willow was now worried she had done something wrong.



“Oh nothing, what you were doing was very, very right”, ensured Tara, dropping her voice to a seductive tone, “I just really… really… want…”



“Yeah”, said Willow raising her eyebrows in anticipation.



“A peanut butter sandwich.”



“Oh.” Willow commented, her disappointment showing. Then her eyes lit up again, “You mean like a ‘sexy’ peanut butter sandwich?”



“I was thinking more of the regular”, Tara replied, seeing her wife’s face fall again. “But, we could compensate for the ‘non-sexiness” of the sandwich after I finish eating it”, she offered.



“Weeellll”, Willow said, pretending to take it into serious consideration before responding with a plucky, “Okay.” She hopped out of the bed and threw on a tank top and a pair of pajama bottoms. “Be right back.”



“Thanks, Darling.”



“You want a glass of milk, too?”



“That sounds great, thank you.”



Willow smiled at Tara before opening the bedroom door and closing it behind her.



The house was dark and silent. Buffy had long since gone on patrol and Dawn had chosen to go to Cancun for spring break rather than come home to visit from college at UCLA. Willow padded down the stairs in her bare feet and made her way to the kitchen.



She paused before opening the refrigerator to admire the printout of Tara’s ultrasound. Buffy had posted little sticky notes saying, “Buffy’s goddaughter!” with arrows pointing to the picture. Willow grinned and picked a pen up off the counter and added, “Baby Emily”. That done, she sighed happily, and set about to making Tara’s sandwich.



A few minutes later and Willow emerged from the kitchen triumphant. Sandwich in one hand, glass of milk in the other. As she passed by the front door she paused, stopped by the sound of scuffling on the front lawn. Warily, she looked out the peephole of the front door just in time to see a scaly, blue demon flying toward it. She dropped the glass of milk and ducked out of the way as the door came crashing in and the demon rolled to a stop at the base of the stairs. Buffy quickly followed after it and the two continued their fight in the foyer with Willow hiding against the wall in the dining room. Tara peaked her head out around the corner of the stairs to see what was going on just as the creature attempted to bolt up them. Tara screamed as Buffy yelled, “Tara, get back!” The blonde didn’t need to be told twice. The slayer grabbed the demon and hurled it backward causing it to lose its footing and break its neck on one of the stairs.



“Oh great”, Buffy muttered to herself after a moment, “This is the non-evaporating kind. I have to bury this one? That just makes my night.”



“Is it dead”, called Tara from the upstairs hall.



“Yes, and decidedly un-poofy.”



The wiccan crept back down the stairs, carefully avoiding the dead body at the bottom.



“Is Willow okay”, she asked, glancing around. “Where is Willow?”



“She’s not with you”, questioned the slayer, concerned.



“She came down here to make me a sandwich”, Tara explained, heading for the kitchen, looking inside. “She’s not in there.”



“Tara”, said Buffy, getting her attention.



Tara turned around and saw Willow sitting on the floor in the far corner of the dining room, clutching her knees, staring at the floor, her eyes dead, her jaw clenched, mangled sandwich in hand.



“Willow?”, Tara said, crossing to her wife, “Honey? Sweetie, are you okay?”



“No.”



“Did the demon hit you? Did it hurt you?”, she asked, checking Willow for any signs of injury. Willow muttered something inaudible.



“What, Honey?”



Willow stood and tossed the sandwich on the dinner table.



“That’s it”, she said, firmly, “That. Is. It.”



“What’s it, Will”, Buffy asked.



“Buffy, I’m sorry, but once the baby is born, Tara and I are moving to Seattle.” Willow stated. Tara remained silent. “And in the meantime”, the redhead continued, “I think it would be best if we moved into an apartment. It just isn’t safe here.”



Buffy started to protest “Willow, I know this looks bad…”



“Buffy, I can’t live like this”, Willow interrupted. “I can’t live in fear everyday that something is going to happen to Tara or to me… And I won’t. Home is supposed to be your own private fortress. Somewhere you are always safe. Here I don’t feel that way, not anymore.”



“Tara”, Buffy entreated.



“As much as I’d hate leaving here”, Tara began, “Willow does have a point, Buffy.”



“Okay”, the slayer sighed. “I understand. I told Will back at the hospital that I’d understand… and I do. It hurts. But, I do. I’m, um, I’m gonna go take a shower and go to bed.”



“Buffy…”



“No, it’s fine… I just, uh, want to get this demon stink out of my hair. I’ll see you guys in the morning.” She turned and went up the stairs to her room.



“Willow”, Tara prodded gently, “Are you sure this is what you want to do?”



“Yes”, she replied, then, after a pause, “and no.”



*******



“How did you two get so much stuff?” Xander groaned as he set another box down inside of Willow and Tara’s new apartment.



It had taken the two women six weeks to finally find an apartment that they could both agree on. With Willow’s income, cost was not an issue, so the argument came down to style, size and the basic necessities. They had ultimately decided on a three-bedroom apartment located in the same building as Xander and Anya’s. It was furnished and quite spacious, with vault ceilings, a fireplace, and two bathrooms. Willow was planning on making one bedroom into her office and the other was, of course, for the baby when it came.



“Well, living together and being married tends to cause you to acquire”, Willow explained as she followed him in carrying a small plastic tub of files.



“No kidding”, he said, “I thought you guys would at least have half as many clothes. Considering you’re both women and can share. I mean, Anya and I can’t do that. Well, not without the risk of people questioning certain things about my character.”



“Not to mention the fact that you do not look flattering in pumps”, Willow replied.



Buffy arrived with her arms stacked full with two boxes and several duffle bags. Dropping them carefully, if a bit unceremoniously, on the floor. Pausing to catch her breath, more for dramatic effect than anything else, she turned and faced the other two.



“Well”, she said, “That’s the last of it.”



“Where’s Tara”, asked Willow.



“She’s on her way”, Buffy explained, “She stopped down the hall to talk to your new neighbors.”



“Hey”, Tara said walking in the door. Now nearing the beginning of her second trimester, the blonde’s body was starting to show evidence of the pregnancy. Her belly had begun to swell slightly, barely visible at a glance, but evident enough that she was already having to increase her skirt and pant size. Willow was of course aware of every change, and it excited her tremendously.



“Hey, Baby”, the redhead said, crossing to her love and placing a light kiss on her lips. “You meet the neighbors?”



“Yeah”, she replied, “they’re really nice. Their names are John and Tina. He’s a lawyer and she’s studying to be an accountant. They just got married two weeks ago.”



“Wow”, Willow responded, “That’s great. Did you, uh, tell them about us?”



“Um, not so much”, Tara answered honestly.



“Well, what did you tell them”, Willow asked, her tone slightly peeved.



“Nothing.”



“Nothing? Are you ashamed of us?”



“And that’s our cue to go”, Xander interrupted, “Will, Tara, great place. Let An and I know when you get settled in. Buffy?”



“Right behind you”, said the slayer, following him out and shutting the door behind her.



“It honestly never came up, Willow.” Tara explained, “Besides, other than knowing what they do for a living and the fact that they’re newly weds I don’t know anything about them. I mean, for all we know, they could be demons… or worse, Republicans.”



Willow couldn’t help but laugh at that. The tension now relieved, the two of them set about to unpacking their boxes.



“So, what did you tell them”, Willow asked again, this time out of genuine curiosity.



“The conversation was pretty one-sided. I bumped into them in the hall coming up after Buffy and introduced myself and apologized if we were making too much noise moving in. They said that they had just moved in a couple of weeks ago and didn’t mind. I said something like, ‘Oh, really?’ and they said that yeah, they had just gotten married after postponing for like a year until John passed the bar and…”



“Alright, I get it”, Willow interceded, “They were too caught up in themselves to notice anything.”



“Who can blame them”, Tara smiled, opening a box and pulling out a stack of clothes,

“Willow, they just got married. I remember what you and I were like those first few weeks after our wedding. I think a bomb could have gone off outside our window and we wouldn’t have heard it.”



“Only because you made so much noise”, Willow countered playfully, raising an eyebrow.



“Well, I had good competition”, Tara answered, lowering her voice seductively.



“Is that a challenge?” Inquired Willow, setting aside the picture frames she had unpacked.



“Maybe…” Tara grinned coyly, taking a step toward her wife.



“We don’t know how thin the walls are”, the redhead pointed out, also closing her and Tara’s distance.



“Let’s find out.”



*******



“And then Xander actually had the audacity to suggest that we elope in Vegas”, Anya exclaimed, tossing another envelope aside.



“But, Anya…”Tara began, shifting a little on the couch, now seven months along, her round belly had begun too take its toll on her low back.



“So of course I said, ‘Look, I’ve waited over 1100 years to find the right man, and that man is you and what good is it to marry you if I can’t do it in a big white dress in front of a big group of people so that everyone will see how important this is.’” Continued Anya, unaware of her friend’s interception, “I mean, you and Willow had a huge wedding with a cake and a reception…”



“Anya!” Tara finally had to raise her voice to get the other woman’s attention. It worked. “First of all, you may recall, that the people in attendance at our wedding were you, Xander, Dawn, Buffy and Mr. Giles. The cake was a single-layer that we bought off-the-shelf at Vons, and the reception consisted of us going back to Buffy’s house and drinking Kool-Aid out of plastic cups. What I’m saying is it doesn’t matter how extravagant the ceremony is, as long as there is love and commitment behind it. Secondly, Xander may have a point about eloping. Every time you two try to have a formal ceremony, something goes horribly wrong. Let’s not forget what happened the first time. You can always elope and then have the ceremony after. At least that way you’ll finally be married.”



“I want the plumes”, Anya whined.



“You’ll get the plumes… eventually”, Tara offered, “You just have to get married first.”



“But, I already purchased the invitations”, she pointed out.



“I know”, sighed Tara ruefully, staring at the 300 pieces of parchment littering her and Willow’s coffee table.



“They’ve got the date on them…”



“Meaning you and Xander have two months left in which to elope. Plenty of time, especially considering that eloping is generally spontaneous in nature.” Tara suddenly lowered her voice to a more serious tone, “Anya, just do it. Or some people might start thinking that this ‘big, extravagant wedding’ obsession is just an excuse not to get married.”



“People are really thinking that?” Anya asked, worried.



“It’s been three years.” Tara leveled, “Something’s got to give eventually.”



Anya grew silent for a moment, considering what Tara had said. She opened her mouth to speak again, but was interrupted by the sound of Willow coming in the front door. The redhead looked around a moment, and then spied her sweetheart on the couch. Willow went over and, setting down a brown paper bag filled with groceries, sat down next to her wife, kissing her gently.



“Hi, Baby”, she said after they broke apart.



“Mmmm. Hi”, Tara sighed.



Willow then lent down and kissed Tara’s belly, “Hi, my little Emily.”



“Oof”, Tara said, responding to a sharp kick, “She says, ‘Hi.’”



“She did? Where?” Willow asked excitedly.



“Here”, Tara said, taking Willow’s hand and placing it on her belly, a little right of center. Willow felt a tiny “thwump” against her palm. The redhead’s eyes grew wide as saucers, her jaw dropped and the corners of her mouth curved into a smile, revealing her excitement.



“I never get tired of that”, she said.



“Well, she’s not getting you from the inside.”



“You okay, Baby?” Willow asked out of concern.



“Yeah, just… My back is really hurting today”, Tara admitted, wincing a little as she tried to adjust again.



“You want me to massage it for you?”



“That would be great”, the blonde sighed with relief, “But, first. Did you get the, uh…?”



“Yep”, Willow replied, reaching for the grocery bag, pulling out two items. “Buttermilk and sliced cucumbers. Honey…”



“I know, I know.” Tara apologized, “I can’t help it. It’s these damn cravings. Buttermilk and cucumbers just sound so… good.”



“Well”, continued Willow, “I’m just grateful that you wanted the sliced cucumbers because I don’t think I could have handled the visual alternative.”



Tara laughed and playfully swatted Willow’s shoulder. Willow giggled too and snuggled up a little closer to her wife.



“So, what are you two girls up two?” Willow asked.



“Addressing invitations”, Anya answered.



“Oh”, said Willow, picking up one of the invites, “You and Xander are getting married… again.”



“Well, you know what they say…” Anya began.



“If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving isn’t for you?” Willow offered.



“No”, Anya replied, piffled, “Fifth time’s the charm.”



“Third.” Said Tara.



“What?”



“Third time’s the charm, Anya”, Tara clarified, “not fifth.”



“Third?”



“Yeah”, chipped in Willow, “you and Xander ran out of charms two weddings ago.”



“Well, you two don’t have to come if you don’t want to”, Anya sniped, picking up another envelope and scribbling an address on it.



“Oh, no, Anya”, soothed Willow, “Don’t get us wrong. Tara and I will always come to all your weddings… It would just be nice if, for once, there actually was one.”



“Yeah…” Tara agreed.



“That’s it”, Anya said, sweeping her arm across the coffee table knocking all of the invitations into a cardboard file box, “I don’t need to be mocked.”



“Anya…” Tara tried to speak.



“No”, she cut her off, “Just because your first wedding went off without a hitch… Xander and I love each other.”



“Anya”, Willow entreated, “We aren’t saying that you don’t.”



“We’re just saying that maybe, after this many tries, something is trying to tell you that you’re not meant to have a big, flashy ceremony”, appealed Tara.



“I don’t have to listen to this.” Grumbled Anya, rising, box in hand, “I’m taking my invitations and going home where I can fill them out in peace.”



“Anya, you don’t have to leave”, calmed Tara.



“No. I will not be butt of anyone’s joke”, she replied, making for the door, then pausing after opening it, her tone unchanging, “Call me when you want to go over the plans for the baby shower.” With that she was gone.



“Oops”, said Tara.



“Tara, she’ll be fine”, answered Willow, “She’s just being stubborn. I mean, underneath it all, you know that she’s got to be way more frustrated than any of us that she and Xander have never successfully gotten through their wedding…er, ings.”



“I guess…”



“Now”, announced Willow, changing the subject, “What would you like first? The strange, craving-induced food combination, or the massage?”



“At first I was leaning toward the food”, Tara admitted, “But, now I’m seriously thinking massage.”



“Well, M’lady, your personal masseuse has arrived”, the redhead smiled warmly, standing and offering her hands to her wife. Tara accepted them and Willow helped pull the blonde up to a standing position. Guiding her into the bedroom, Willow then assisted Tara down onto the bed so that she lay on her right side. To lie down on the left could potentially impair the baby’s heart. Willow crawled up behind her love, spooning her for a moment, kissing her shoulder and then backing up a bit to begin gently massaging her back.



Tara smiled and closed her eyes, letting herself relax. Willow’s motions were slow and deliberate, taking great care in her touches. Every push, every gentle knead was laid out with grace as Willow reveled in the feel of her wife’s body. She could feel heat rising to her fingertips through Tara’s white blouse. She wished she could do more to ease Tara’s ache but she also knew it was only a matter of time until the product of their love would make her way into this world and all would be worth it. She rested her hands a moment, palms down, still. The room was silent except for Tara’s steady breathing.



Tara moved her head slightly, curious as to the sudden break of movement. Willow smiled and leaned closer, pressing her forehead against the soft shoulder in front of her. She lingered for a moment before pressing her lips to the flesh beneath them. Willow scooted closer, relaxing into Tara’s body. She rose up on her elbow and dipped her head down, drawing in the scent of Tara’s shampoo, her lips lightly brushing over the rim of her wife’s ear. Pausing for a moment to take a small bit into her lips, tugging gently.



She ran her hand seductively along Tara’s shoulder line and down her arm. Rising up a little she continued her journey, hand coming to rest upon a soft, swollen breast. She traced the nipple gently with a finger, coaxing soft moans from the blonde’s slightly parted lips. Willow slid as close as she could, pressing her hips forward. Tara shuddered and smiled. Reaching her hand back she grabbed a fistful of Willow’s jeans and clenched her fists. She felt mild sensations begin to grow between her legs. Her skin flushed soft pink, body temperature rising.



Willow also felt her body begin to lubricate itself. She continued her journey down the blonde’s quivering body. Stopping for a moment, Willow pressed her palm onto Tara’s belly, checking to see if her daughter was awake. When she felt no movement she smiled at the thought that her baby was resting peacefully and she had Momma all to herself. She couldn’t help but laugh a little, excited.



“She’s asleep...” Willow whispered, almost afraid to make any noise.



“I know.” Tara smiled.



“Wanna?” Willow’s breath grew heavy with lust.



“Wanna.” Tara shook her head in certainty, closing her eyes in sweet surrender.



Willow shifted and dropped her hand to her wife’s thigh, she began to caress, gently inching up Tara’s skirt. Her fingers worked swiftly, since Tara had reached her third trimester, her sexual peaks called for immediate satisfaction; Willow had grown accustomed to reading the signs, just like any other. Her ears turned toward the sound of her wife’s shallow breath. She drew her hand down Tara’s leg, stopping mid thigh and sliding down. She rested her hand for a moment before gently pulling away. Rolling over slightly to grab two pillows from behind her. Willow sat up and turned back to her wife, she slid her hand between Tara’s thighs, lifting one up. Tara helped and parted her legs. Willow placed the pillows down and propped them up so that


Top
  
 
 Post subject: Here it is!! Pt 3!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 11:18 pm 
In the hospital waiting room, Buffy held her best friend close, rocking her gently. Willow was a complete wreck. Her eyes red and swollen from what had seemed like hours of crying, and still she had not stopped. Xander and Anya looked on, holding each other’s hand and waiting for any kind of news.



Finally, Dr. Gulliver appeared from down the hall, and approached the somber group. Willow stood, tried to collect herself and met the doctor half way into the room.



Dr. Gulliver wasted no time in giving her diagnosis. “Tara is suffering from a condition called Marginal Placental Abruption, or Abruptio Placentae. What this means is that a small portion of the placenta has separated from the uterine wall…”



“It’s my fault”, Willow cried, breaking down again, “I did it. Oh, God… It’s my fault…”



“Willow…” The doctor began.



“It’s my fault…”



“Willow!” Dr. Gulliver snapped, getting the young woman’s attention, “I need you to calm down. You won’t be any good to Tara like this. You have to pull yourself together and be strong.” She paused a moment, letting Willow stifle her tears. “Alright, now, tell me why you think it’s your fault.”



“Her back was hurting…”Willow started, her throat choking up again.



“Breathe”, the doctor reminded firmly, but calmly.



Willow took a breath and continued, “So I was giving her a massage… and then we started to make love… and she cried out… and there was blood on my hand and it’s my fault!” Willow had begun to lose it again.



“Willow. Stop.” Dr. Gulliver ordered. “Listen to me. The back pain was a symptom of the abruption. The bleeding? Another symptom. It had already begun to occur when you and Tara started… doing what you were doing. The fact that you two were in intimate contact is most likely the reason that we were able to catch it in time.”



“In time?” Willow sniffled.



“That’s right”, the doctor stated, “The abruption occurred to the anterior portion of the uterus near the bladder. Most likely as a result of the injury Tara received during the first two weeks of her pregnancy. This is why I never took Tara off of high-risk, in case something like this happened. I'm going to keep her in the hospital under observation for the next couple of days.



“When she gets home, bed rest, lots of bed rest. For the next two weeks Tara should not get out of bed except to bathe or use the bathroom. After that, she should refrain from any sort of activity that would keep her on her feet for long periods of time. Of course, absolutely no heavy lifting whatsoever. I’m going to prescribe Tara a stool softener to make bowel movements easier and put less stress on her abdominal wall muscles.



“When you arrived here in the ambulance, Tara had already started having contractions. Currently, I have her on an I.V. drip of Tocolytics, and this has been successful in stopping her from going into labor prematurely. If she starts to have contractions again once she’s home, get her right back to the hospital.



“I know that you’re upset and frightened, but this was a very minor abruption. With bed rest, everything should be fine.” Willow nodded mutely, her breathing still shallow, but slowly returning to normal. “But, I’m going to tell you right now”, Dr. Gulliver continued, lowering her voice, “No more sex. Alright?” Again, Willow nodded. “She’s in room 112. She’s been asking for you.” Dr. Gulliver reached out and squeezed Willow’s upper arm as a sign of support. She smiled softly and then turned, leaving the group in the waiting room.



Silence followed.



“Will?” Buffy finally spoke up, “Do you want us to go or stay?”



“I don’t know”, the redhead answered.



“Well, we’ll wait here for you until you tell us different”, the slayer offered.



“I’m gonna go check on Tara”, Willow said, moving for the door.



“We’ll be here”, Xander replied.



*******



Willow peered in to her wife’s hospital room. Tara lay quietly, staring at the ceiling overhead. A loose fitting belt with a small metal disc was wrapped around her belly, monitoring the baby’s heartbeat. The sound played through a small piece of equipment next to a tiny T.V. screen showing methodical green blips. Willow stepped inside the room slowly. Tara turned her head and saw her, calling to her with her eyes. Willow walked over to the bedside, taking her wife’s hand, careful not to disturb the I.V. needle that was there.



“Hey, Baby”, Willow said softly, kissing Tara on the forehead. “How are you feeling?”



“I’ve been lying here listening to her heartbeat”, she whispered, “It’s so strong.”



“Strong like an Amazon”, Willow replied, smiling sadly.



“Oh, Willow, I’m so sorry”, Tara said, starting to cry.



“Sh. Sh. Sh, Baby. It’s okay. I spoke to Dr. Gulliver and she said that everything’s fine”, Willow ensured, running her fingers through Tara’s hair. “You’re fine. The baby’s fine. It’s not your fault. It’s because of that demon hitting you seven months ago. You didn’t do anything wrong. We didn’t do anything wrong.”



“What happened?”



“Um, well, the…placenta…kind of pulled away from the inside of your uterus.” Tara’s eyes shot wide as baseballs, fear washed over her face, stealing its color. “But”, Willow continued quickly, “It’s okay, because Dr. Gulliver said that it was only a little bit, and as long as you stay calm and stay in bed for the next couple of weeks, everything should be alright.”



“Willow?”



“Yeah, Baby?”



“C-could you hold me? P-please?” Tara stuttered, shutting her eyes at the sound. She hadn’t stuttered in years, it betrayed how truly terrified she was.



Willow nodded her head sweetly, and placed another kiss on Tara’s forehead before walking around to the other side of the bed, so as not to disturb the I.V. drip, and carefully crawled up next to Tara, resting her head on her shoulder and spooning her side.



“This okay?” The redhead asked.



“MmmHmm”, Tara replied, calmed by the contact.



“When we get home”, Willow confided, her voice hushed, “I’m gonna take such good care of you. I’m gonna make you all your favorite foods, and bring you breakfast in bed. Well, breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed. And I’m going to get you whatever books you want to read, or even read them to you if you’d like…” Tara smiled and chuckled quietly. “And I’m going to bathe you… and dress you…”



“And love me?” Tara asked.



“Of course I’ll love you, Baby”, Willow answered, her voice still low, “But, I can’t make love to you…Doctor’s orders…



“Oh…”



“But I will. After Emily’s born, when you’re ready again… I will. And it will be perfect. Like always.”



“I love you, Willow.”



“I love you, too. My wife, my life, my Tara.”



*******



Willow took one last look in the mirror, checking her hair and re-applying her lipstick. “Are you sure you want to do this?” She called over her shoulder into the bedroom.



“We promised we’d be there”, Tara replied.



“We’d be there if you were feeling up to it”, Willow clarified, coming into the bedroom where Tara was adjusting her pale yellow maternity dress. “You sure you’re up to it?”



“Willow, it’s just a bit of indigestion, I promise”, Tara sighed, “I can tell.”



Willow looked at Tara, sizing her up, trying to see if she was telling the truth. “They’ll understand if we’re not there.”



“Willow, you’re starting to upset me”, Tara leveled, her tone even, “I would tell you if there was a problem. We promised Xander and Anya we’d be there. And I don’t want to miss it if they actually make it to the vows this time.”



The redhead’s eyes dropped to the floor, slightly hurt by Tara’s brisk response, but still understanding her wife’s point of view.



“Sweetie”, Tara entreated, stepping forward and taking Willow’s hand, “You will be the first person to know if something doesn’t feel right. You know that.”



“I know. I’m just nervous”, admitted Willow, “I mean, your due date was four days ago, and given the… problem… we had a couple months ago… I assumed she’d be here by now.”



“She will come when she’s ready. She’s just taking her time. It’ll be okay. Let’s just go or we’re going to be late.”



Willow took in a deep breath and let it out. She was still nervous. “Okay”, she said finally, “Let’s go.”



The taxi was waiting for them outside, and it carried the two women over to the small chapel Anya had selected this time, dropping them off in front.



Holding hands, they entered the sanctuary where they were greeted by Buffy and Dawn.



“So you two got stuck with usher duties this time, eh?” Willow teased playfully.



“And bridesmaids too, I see”, Tara commented, “Why do those dresses look familiar?”



“Same ones from the second wedding”, Dawn grumbled, tugging at the pink taffeta. “You are so lucky you’re not allowed to stand for long periods of time.”



“Dawn”, Buffy warned, “Be gracious.”



“Sorry”, the younger Summers apologized. “Ahem. Bride or Groom?”



This proved to be a more difficult question than intended. Willow and Tara huddled up.



“Where did we sit last time?” Asked the blonde.



“Um, Bride, I think”, Willow answered. “Or was that the third wedding?”



“I’m not sure”, Tara replied. Then turned to the Summers women, “Do either of you have a coin?”



“I’ve got a better idea”, Willow interjected, “Surprise us.”



“Right this way”, sounded Buffy, leading the pair to sit in the Groom’s section. “All comfy?” she asked. “Good. See you both at the reception… if we make it that far.” The slayer turned and headed back to the chapel entrance.



Willow and Tara surveyed the room.



“Less people than the second”, Tara noted.



“True, but more people than the fourth”, Willow apprised.



“Hmm”, Tara agreed.



After a moment the chapel doors closed, only to be opened a second later as the “Wedding March” began. Anya appeared in the doorway, escorted by Giles, who appeared as chipper as he could, considering this was his fifth attempt at giving Anya away. Anya wore a Victorian style wedding dress that, despite her best intentions, caused her to look like a bit of a meringue. Nevertheless, she smiled a great smile of happiness and anticipation as she approached the altar. Buffy and Dawn, who tried their best to look as happy and as grateful to be there as possible, followed her.



Xander watched his fiancée grow near; his expression could be called nothing other than pensive, as if he expected the roof to cave in at any moment. Which, incidentally, is what happened at their third attempted wedding.



Anya arrived safely, and Giles stepped aside, sitting in the first pew. Buffy and Dawn found their places by the altar. The minister stepped forward and began his sermon, unaware that the entire wedding party and most of the guests, were mouthing it along with him in perfect synchronicity.



“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to witness the joining of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony…” He droned on the familiar passage, with everyone working very hard at appearing interested. “If there is any man or woman…”



Suddenly, Tara grabbed Willow’s hand and squeezed hard.



“Tara?” Willow looked at her wife, wide-eyed.



“She’s coming”, Tara answered, nervously.



“Speak now, or forever hold your peace…”



“You’ve got to be kidding!” Willow barked at the top of her lungs. The entire chapel turned and looked at the two women, including Xander and Anya, who stared on in confusion. “That you’d ask such a silly question”, Willow tried to cover, “I mean, look at those two. They’re made for each other. So, go ahead and finish the…thing… the…just… get to the ‘I do’s’!” This seemed to satisfy everyone. Willow turned her attention back to Tara. “You said you were fine”, she whispered.



“I was”, Tara replied, “Until about two minutes ago. But, it’s okay. We have plenty of time as long as my water doesn’t… Oh God.”



“We’ve got to get out of here!” Willow exclaimed, trying to keep her voice low.



“We can’t”, said Tara, “We’ll disrupt the wedding. Anya would be furious.”



“She’ll get over it. They’ll have another one.”



“What’s going on”, whispered Giles, having snuck away from his position to check on the girls.



“My water just broke”, explained Tara.



“Dear Lord, are you alright?”



“We have to get to the hospital”, said Willow.



“Of course”, the watcher agreed, “But…”



“Do you Alexander Lavelle Harris, take this woman, to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold, in sickness and in health…”



“Willow”, said Tara, “It’s alright, they’re almost to the end. I think I can hold on till the end.”



“Do you really think so?” asked Willow.



“I do”, Tara and Xander said at the same time.



“The contractions are still pretty far apart”, Tara rationalized, “As long as something unexpected doesn’t happen…”



“As in ‘other than this’?” Willow questioned sardonically.



“Exactly my point”, stated Tara, “What else could go wrong?”



“Anya has asked that she be allowed to read her own vows to express her love and devotion to Xander”, announced the minister, “Anya?”



Willow and Tara watched in horror as the Bride presented eight typewritten pages, front and back, and prepared to read.



“We’re going”, they said in unison. Giles and Willow helped Tara to stand. Giles removed his coat and held it up behind the blonde’s backside to cover the wet stain caused by her water breaking. The three of them carefully, and quietly, made for the door.



“Hey”, called Anya, “Where are you going? I’m getting married up here!”



“Well, we’re having a baby down here”, answered Willow, a little more venom then she would have liked. She softened her tone, “Anya, please, don’t stop. Finish your vows. Get to the end. But Tara and I have to get to the hospital now!”



“Oh, well, um, go. By all means”, Anya complied, “Last thing we need is all that blood and viscera in the wedding chapel.”



“Thanks for understanding”, Willow said, unable to hide the sarcasm in her voice.



She and Giles led Tara out of the chapel and to his rental car. They looked up to see Buffy and Dawn swiftly running after them.



“What are you doing?” asked Willow, helping Tara into the car. “What about the wedding?”



“Xander convinced Anya to ditch the novel and just say ‘I do’”, Buffy explained. “They’re just finishing up. What are you waiting for?! We’ll meet you at the hospital. Go!”



Willow nodded and hopped in the car, shutting the door as Giles peeled out. Dawn and Buffy turned around to see Xander and Anya emerging from the chapel, triumphant. The two girls ran over and tossed a few handfuls of rice at them before shoving them in the limo and jumping in after them.



“To the hospital!” Buffy ordered the limo driver.



“Hospital?” squawked Anya. “What about the reception.”



“An, Honey?” Xander pleaded, “Tara is having her and Willow’s baby. I’m not missing that so that I can listen to a Barry Manilow cover band play ‘Mandy’.”



“What about all the guests?” His new wife asked.



“I don’t care what they listen to”, he answered. “Driver! Hospital!”



By the time the group arrived at the hospital, Giles informed them that Tara had already been moved to a private room. The gang made their way to the maternity ward, getting more than their fair share of strange looks.



“They’re in here”, Giles gestured. They peeked in the doorway, seeking entrance.



“Hey, guys”, said Willow, looking up from the bedside, “Uh, come on in.”



“Tara, how you feeling”, asked Xander.



“Pain about every ten minutes”, the blonde answered honestly, looking only slightly haggard.



“You look great”, he replied, smiling warmly.



She started to smile back, but then winced and squeezed Willow’s hand tightly.



“Another one?” Willow asked. Tara nodded, her eyes still shut in pain. “Breathe, Baby. Don’t forget to breathe. Like we learned at class, remember?” Tara acknowledged Willow’s words and began slowly breathing in and out, trying to relax through the pain.



Everyone else stood by awkwardly looking on. Finally the contraction passed, and the tension in the room lifted.



“So, Xander, Anya, finally made it through this time”, queried Willow.



“Yes”, Anya responded, “Although for a second there I thought it might be back to the drawing board.”



“Sorry”, apologized Tara.



“Are you kidding”, said Xander, “This is a good thing! Now I’ll never be able to forget our anniversary!”



Everyone began to laugh.



“Excuse me”, said Dr. Gulliver, squeezing through the crowd at the door. “Dressed kind of formally for a delivery room, aren’t we?”



“Xander and Anya just got married”, Willow explained, “We were sort of at their wedding when…”



“I see”, said the doctor, pausing to glance at the paper tape coming out of the machine monitoring Tara’s contractions. “Congratulations.” She said to the newlyweds, looking up. They smiled in acknowledgement. “Now, you all might want to look away as I am about to get up close and personal with your friend, Tara, here.” She announced, snapping on a pair of gloves.



“Oh”, said Giles, “Well, um, yes, we’ll just retire to the waiting room for now. Willow? Let us know if you need anything.”



“Thanks”, answered the redhead. The group quickly filed out of the room.



Dr. Gulliver walked around to the opposite side of the bed from Willow and lifted up the end of the bed sheet. “Lift your knees up for me, please. Good.” She reached in and explored Tara’s vaginal canal with her gloved fingers. “Okay”, she said, pulling out, “Looks like you’re at about seven centimeters. Your last two contractions were only five minutes apart, so we’re getting there. It still may be a while, though. Tara, have you given anymore thought to the epidural?”



“I don’t want it”, Tara replied.



“Are you sure”, the doctor checked, “Because pretty soon we’ll be at the point of no return and I can’t help you then.”



“I’m sure.”



“Alright. I’ll be back to check on you again in a little while. Call the nurse if there’s a problem.”



“We will”, assured Willow. Dr. Gulliver nodded and left the pair alone. “You doing okay, Baby”, asked the redhead.



“MmHm”, Tara answered.



“You need anything? You want some more ice?”



“That would be nice.”



Willow smiled and handed her wife the small cup of ice chips they had been provided. Tara took it and pulled a small piece into her mouth, sucking on it slowly.



*******



“What is taking so long”, asked Anya, pacing anxiously.



“Labor is a long thing, Honey”, Xander tried to explain.



“But why? Why is it so long? I don’t understand.”



“I don’t understand how you can be 1100 years old and not know the facts of life”, said Dawn.



“That’s exactly why she doesn’t understand it, Dawnie”, stated Buffy, “She was an immortal, she didn’t have to worry about the ‘facts of life’.”



“I am standing right here. You don’t have to talk about me as if I’m not”, Anya sniped, then softened, “But, thanks for the assist.”



“Anytime”, sighed Buffy.



“Anya”, Giles picked up, “Tara’s body is under an immense amount of stress. She’s trying to coax a very large object out of a very small space. Naturally, it’s going to be quite time consuming.”



“I understand that”, Anya replied, “but it’s been two hours!”



“And it may be several more”, continued the watcher, “All we can do is just sit here, patiently, and wait for any news.”



Anya stopped her pacing and sat down in a huff, “Fine.”



*******



“Okay, Tara”, said the doctor, coaching, “Just a couple more. Ready? Now, Push!”



Tara bore down, pushing as hard as she could. Willow continued to hold her hand, offering words of love and support.



“And…relax”, ordered Dr. Gulliver, “Okay, Tara, the head’s almost out. I really need you to push hard on this next one, okay?”



Tara shook her head, “O.K.” She looked over to her wife, “Willow, it hurts.”



“Okay, Baby”, Willow answered, placing her free hand on Tara’s forehead and chanting, Opera Curto.



The pained crease on Tara’s brow relaxed, and she breathed slightly easier, the pain lessening.



“What did you say?” Asked the doctor.



“Oh”, said Willow, “It’s just a support phrase we came up with in Lamaze class.”



“It sounded Latin… ‘Lessen Pain’, right?”



“Uh, yeah…”



“Cool”, Dr. Gulliver said matter-of-factly, “Okay, here we go. And…push!”



Again Tara pushed down as hard as she could.



“Her head’s out, Baby”, Willow exclaimed, “I can see her head!”



“Keep pushing, let’s see if we can get the rest of her”, Dr. Gulliver encouraged.



“Push, Tara, push!” Willow cheered, “You’re doing so good.”



Suddenly, they heard the sound of their baby crying. Dr. Gulliver quickly suctioned the mucus out of the infant’s nose and mouth, and placed the baby on Tara’s chest. The child was instantly quieted.



“Baby girl”, the doctor announced, wiping the newborn clean of the white vernix coating its body.



Willow looked on, her eyes wide, unable to move in the magnitude of the moment. Tara gazed serenely upon her child, caressing her face, memorizing every detail. The infant looked up at her mother with wide and curious eyes. Finally, Willow drummed up the courage and stepped forward, leaning down toward her new daughter, “Hello, Emily”, she said, taking a tiny hand in her own, the teeny fist curling around her index finger. Willow cracked a grin wide enough to engulf her whole head. She looked up into Tara’s eyes and kissed her exhausted wife on the forehead, “She’s beautiful, Baby. Just like you.”



“Look, Willow, she’s got your hair”, Tara said, referring to the thin tuft of auburn hair on Emily’s head.



“And your eyes”, Willow commented softly.



“Willow, would you like to cut the cord”, asked Dr. Gulliver, holding out a pair of surgical sheers.



The redhead looked to her wife for assurance. Tara smiled, “Yes.”



Dr. Gulliver placed a clamp near the base of the cord at the baby’s stomach. She handed Willow the sheers, and guided the young woman’s hand down to just above the clamp. Willow nervously clipped through, severing the cord.



A nurse came over and gently helped Tara wrap Emily in a small blanket. Then placed matching I.D. bracelets on Tara’s wrist and Emily’s ankle.



“I know the last thing you want to do is let her go”, Dr. Gulliver stated, “But we need to take her to the nursery so that we can measure and weigh her, and run a couple of other standard tests. She’ll be fine, and we’ll get her back to you as soon as possible, okay?”



Tara let out a small whimper at the prospect of letting go of her baby, but relented and allowed the nurse to take Emily and place her in a small, plastic bassinet. Emily started to protest immediately, kicking and wailing, wanting the safety of her mother’s arms. The sound caused both Tara and Willow’s hearts to break as they watched their daughter get wheeled out of the room.



“Strong lungs”, Dr. Gulliver commented, “Good sign. You two have a healthy little girl, there.” Willow and Tara smiled, warmed by Dr. Gulliver’s words. “Alright, now, we’ve got a little bit of time before you deliver the afterbirth. Willow, you might want to take this opportunity to tell your friends the good news. Take them to the nursery while Tara and I finish things up here. Okay?”



Again Willow looked to Tara for permission. The blonde nodded her assent.



“I’ll be right back”, Willow assured, lightly kissing her on the lips, “I love you.” Tara smiled as Willow left the room.



*******



The group lay about the waiting room waiting for any news. Xander and Anya were stretched out on the couch, Buffy and Dawn curled up in adjoining chairs and Giles leaned against the wall, reading an ancient magazine. He paused from his reading to look up for a moment, relaxing his eyes, and seeing Willow nearing them from down the hall.



“It’s Willow”, he announced, causing everyone to jump to full alertness.



The redhead approached her friends, eyes gleaming, grinning from ear to ear. “She’s here”, she announced, “Tara’s fine. Baby’s fine.”



Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Buffy reached out and hugged her friend furiously. “Oh, Will, that is so wonderful! I’m so happy for you!”



Everyone took turns hugging and congratulating their friend.



“Can we see her”, asked Dawn, “The baby?”



“Sure”, Willow replied, leading the gang out of the waiting room, “they just took her to the nursery.”



They arrived at the nursery just in time to see Willow and Tara’s baby placed in the front row.



“There she is”, pointed Willow excitedly, “that’s her!”



Everyone looked through the glass bay windows and let out a collective, “Awe.”



Emily wiggled and fidgeted in her bassinet, kicking her legs out and waving her tiny fists. A small cardboard placard on the front of the bassinet read:



EMILY ANNE ROSENBERG-MACLAY

Weight: 7 lbs 9 oz. Length: 18.2 inches



“Willow, she’s beautiful”, said Buffy in wonderment.



“She’s so little”, said Dawn, “Look at how tiny.”



“It truly is a miracle, Willow”, said Giles, “Congratulations.”



“Thanks, Giles”, Willow replied, beaming.



“So, Will”, began Xander, “How does it feel to be the proud papa?”



“More wonderful and terrifying than I could ever have imagined”, she answered, a sudden wave of realization washing over her that, along with Tara, this child was now her number one priority, and she would lay down her life to keep them safe.



*******



“Thanks for letting us stay the night, Buffy”, said Willow, entering the Summers’ home lugging with her two suitcases, an overnight bag, and a stroller.



“No, problem, Willow”, stated Buffy, “I’ve missed having you guys around. Um, do you need any help with that?”



“I’m okay”, Willow replied, setting down her load inside the living room. “Having a baby makes you an expert at carrying many objects at once.”



“I see that”, the slayer concurred.



“Provided they have handles”, the redhead added.



“I see that too.”



Tara entered the familiar home carrying the now barely two-month old Emily in her arms, and a diaper bag slung over her shoulder.



“Willow, could you?” She appealed, indicating the bag. Willow carefully relieved her wife of her burden, and set the bag with the rest on the floor. “Thank you.”



“What time is your train tomorrow”, Buffy asked.



“Eleven A.M.” Willow answered. “The movers finally left for Seattle today around one. So we went and hung out with Xander and Anya for a while before we came over here. It was our last chance to see them before we leave, since they both have to work tomorrow.”



“I hope that Emily doesn’t wake you up too much tonight”, said Tara, sitting down on the couch. “She might be a little cranky being in a new place.”



“I don’t mind”, Buffy smiled, sitting next to her, softly caressing the sleeping babe’s red hair. “I’m gonna miss you guys”, she said with a sniffle.



“We’ll miss you too, Buffy”, Tara said sincerely. Willow moved and sat down on the armrest of the couch, next to Tara, resting her hand on the wiccan’s shoulder.



“You understand why we have to go, right, Buff?” Willow inquired.



“I understand”, answered Buffy, “The Hellmouth is no place to raise a family. I just…”



“Yes”, asked Tara.



“I just wish… things were different.”



“So do we.” Willow stated, her voice hushed. Tara nodded.



“Well”, said Buffy, standing, “I’m gonna go to bed, see you guys in the morning.”



“Night, Buffy”, said Willow.



“Night, Buffy”, echoed Tara.



The two women sat in the silence of the living room for a moment. Taking the time to look around and remember all the memories they had made there. Finally, Willow stood, and let out a great sigh, which turned into a yawn, which turned into a stretch.



“We should probably get to bed too”, pointed Tara.



“Yeah”, Willow agreed, “do you need me to hold her while you stand?”



“Yes, please”, acknowledged Tara. Willow lent down and lifted her daughter into her arms.



“We just need the diaper and overnight bags, right”, Tara queried.



“Yeah”, confirmed Willow.



“Well, I can carry those if you want to carry her upstairs.”



“Probably a good idea”, Willow concurred, “She might wake up if we keep going back and forth.”



“Yeah.”



Tara lifted the two bags and followed Willow up the stairs to their old room.



*******



Emily had, in fact, started crying in the middle of the night. But Buffy didn’t care. She couldn’t sleep anyway. The slayer listened as she heard the master bedroom door open, and the sound of padded feet, along with Emily’s crying, go passed her door. One of the girls was carrying the distressed infant downstairs.



Probably so she doesn’t disturb me, Buffy thought wryly, I should go down and tell them it’s all right.



Buffy pulled herself out of bed and walked quietly to her door and down the hall. By the time she got to the bend in the stairs however, the baby had stopped crying, and Buffy heard the sound of Tara’s voice, singing softly. The slayer crept down the stairs and peered around, her sharp senses telling her that the sound was coming from the dining room. She carefully looked around the corner of the archway, keeping herself hidden in the shadows, and saw a sight that nearly took her breath away.



Tara, wearing a soft, satin, light-salmon colored nightgown, was resting in one of the dining room chairs, leaning back enough so that she could rock it gently. One of her breasts was exposed, and Emily was suckling on it methodically. Tara caressed her daughter’s head and face singing to her tenderly:



Baby mine, don’t you cry,

Baby mine, dry your eyes,

Hold your head close to my heart

Never to part, Baby of mine



From your head to your toes

You’re not much, goodness knows

But you’re so precious to me

Cute as can be, Baby of mine…



In the darkness, Buffy turned away from the darling sight and leaned against the wall of the archway for support. God, Willow, she thought, You are so lucky. You have everything I never will. Buffy reached up and stopped a tear from cascading down her cheek. Deciding she needed a glass of water, Buffy turned the corner into the dining room.



“Buffy”, Tara said, slightly startled, but careful not to disturb the child in her arms. She quickly covered Emily’s head and her breast with a cloth she had resting on her shoulder. “Did we wake you?”



“No”, Buffy answered, “I couldn’t sleep. I was just coming down to get a glass of water. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to…”



“It’s fine”, assured Tara, “I actually came downstairs so not to bother Willow. Neither one of us have been sleeping too much lately, but, her especially. She’s really torn up about this move.”



“Tara”, said Buffy, “not that I’m the most impartial of judges, but… do you really think you should go?”



“We talked about it for a long time last night”, Tara began, “Actually, we fought.”



“You fought?”



“Yeah. It was kind of funny because we were both arguing the same thing. ‘We should go because’…” Tara chuckled. After a pause she continued, “We were trying to convince ourselves that this is for the best. For us both and for Emily. Willow and I have seen too many good people die here. Especially Willow. And she’s terrified of losing me, or losing Emily. But what scares her most is the thought of Emily and I losing her. It scares me too. Ultimately that’s the driving force behind why we have to go, and why we didn’t change our minds last night… when we came so close.”



“I understand”, said Buffy, “Really I do. And I know that this is way harder on you guys than it is on me, but… Do you think you’ll ever come back?”



“I don’t know”, Tara answered honestly, “I really don’t. If I did, I’d tell you.”



“I know”, Buffy sighed, then turned her attention to the babe in Tara’s arms. “Is she asleep?”



Tara lifted up the cloth a little to check. “Yeah.”



“Well, I’m going to go into the kitchen to get a glass of water, so you can, um…”



“Thanks.” Tara smiled, her cheeks flushing slightly.



Buffy rose and left the room. Tara gently removed her breast from Emily’s mouth, and tucked it back into her nightgown. Also rising, she poked her head into the kitchen to say goodnight, and went back upstairs to bed.



*******



Seattle was definitely nothing like Sunnydale. While Sunnydale was what Xander once described as “A one Starbucks town.” Seattle was the Starbucks town. The sprawling metropolis was a little overwhelming at first to the two young girls. Upon arriving in the train station, they quickly made their way to the taxi stand and directed the driver to their hotel downtown, seeking refuge in their room for the remainder of the day.



The next day only Willow ventured out, catching a cab to the realtor’s office she had spoken so often with online while still in Sunnydale. From there, she and her real estate agent, Sharon, drove out to the neighborhood known simply as Magnolia, an affluent residential neighborhood just west of Queen Anne Hill, one of Seattle’s most prestigious and wealthy districts. After months of cyber-walkthroughs and negotiations, Sharon had convinced Willow to purchase a modest, two-story house located in the heart of Magnolia, near Discovery Park. Arriving at what was to be her and Tara’s new address, 4219 W. Grover St, Willow could be nothing less than pleased. It was an attractive white house with blue trim, a decent front yard and a generous backyard with trees and a tire swing. The interior was nicely preserved, with Navajo-white walls and rich rose hardwood flooring.



The only downside was the commute. On days when Willow might be needed in the downtown office, it was a good twelve minutes… by car. The redhead would have to purchase a vehicle if she ever planned on venturing out of her own neighborhood. Sharon was kind enough to recommend several dealerships, and Willow added them to her “things to do” list.



After Sharon dropped Willow off back at her hotel, the young woman hurried back to her room, pausing only to kiss Tara and Emily, “hello”, before immediately jumping on the phone and starting to make arrangements with the moving company, power company, gas company, phone company, and water company. She hoped to have her little family moved into their new home by the end of the week. Being the over-achiever that she was, she succeeded above and beyond, and they were settled in, in two days.



*******



It had finally happened. Two weeks after arriving in Seattle, the adrenaline rush that Willow had been surviving on ran out. Tara had walked into the room the redhead had selected to be her office, and found her wife asleep, face-first, on her laptop keyboard. Tara was not surprised or alarmed; rather she had been expecting this to happen. Tara took advantage of her newly acquired upper body strength (from constantly carrying Emily), and Willow’s naturally light weight, and lifted the exhausted woman into her arms. Willow instinctively wrapped her arms around the blonde’s neck.



Tara carried her lover all the way upstairs, and carefully laid her down in their bed, gently removing her shoes and pants, and tucking her in. This is where Willow stayed for two days, rising only to go to the bathroom or drink up some hot broth that Tara had prepared for her to keep her from getting too weak or too hungry. Finally, on the morning of the third day, Willow rose and went downstairs, finding her wife and daughter in the kitchen. Tara was making breakfast. Pancakes.



“Hey, sleepy-head”, Tara greeted playfully, “Funny shapes or rounds?”



Willow smiled and walked up behind the blonde, embracing her from behind and kissing the base of her neck. “Mmmm…. Funny shapes.”



“Did you sleep well?”



“Yeah…thanks…. Sorry.”



Tara turned around in the embrace to face the redhead, “Willow, darling, you’ve been running yourself ragged. It’s no wonder your body finally called a ‘time-out’. I was starting to wonder if you’d ever stop racing.” She paused and glanced over to Emily, who was sitting in her carrier on top of the kitchen table, kicking out her legs and flexing her hands. “She missed you…”



Willow smiled and kissed Tara lightly on the lips before crossing over to the baby, sitting next to her, and playfully tickling her neck and tummy. Emily’s eyes brightened and she smiled a great toothless grin and giggled and wiggled in her seat. “I missed you too, little one”, she said, leaning down and kissing her daughter on the head.



Tara joined the others at the table with two plates of expertly made “funny shape” pancakes. Willow quickly dug in, feeling like she could eat an entire breakfast buffet. Tara chuckled as she watched her wife devour her plate.



“Hungry?”



“Juft a liffle”, Willow replied, mouth full.



“Here”, said Tara, still laughing, “Let me get you something to wash that down.” She rose and retrieved a small glass from the cupboard. Crossing to the refrigerator, she opened the milk, and poured some into the cup, carrying it back over Willow.



“Thanfs.” Willow said gratefully, gulping some down immediately.



“Slow down, Sweetie”, cautioned Tara, “You don’t want to upset your stomach.”



Willow complied and lessened her pace. “Sorry, just… hungry…”



“I know…”



“I should go hop on the computer. Kris is probably wondering what part of the Earth I fell off of.”



“Actually”, said Tara, “I already called her and told her you haven’t been feeling well. She said that as long as you’re able to get the new, uh, ‘sequence variance’ in by Friday, everything’s fine.”



“Oh, well that’s easy”, Willow sighed in relief, “You know, we are so lucky, Kris has got to be the most understanding CEO in the world. I mean, here she is, owner of a multi-million dollar company, and she still makes it a point to get to know all of her employees, even if she’s never seen them in person. You know, I should really go down there and introduce myself. Maybe I could just deliver the new sequence in person.”



“Sounds like a good idea”, Tara agreed, standing and placing both of their plates in the sink. Turning on the faucet, she rinsed them off and placed them in the washer.



*******



Kristal Graphics was located in a luxury high-rise office building downtown. After driving around for what seemed like hours trying to find a parking space, Willow finally brought her gold, ’04 Ford Taurus to a stop.



Once inside the building, Willow easily navigated her way to the 14th floor, which Kristal Graphics entirely occupied.



“Um, hi, I’m Willow Rosenberg-Maclay”, she introduced herself to the receptionist, “Is Kristal Loggarth around?”



“Oh!”, exclaimed the woman behind the desk, causing Willow to jump slightly. “Willow! We’ve heard so many good things about you. Kris will be so excited to know that you’re here. Just have a seat, I’ll call her right down.”



“Thanks”, said Willow, sitting down and glancing over a copy of PC World Magazine. She didn’t have to wait very long.



“Willow, it is such a pleasure to finally meet you face to face”, said Kristal as she entered the lobby. She was an attractive woman with brunette hair and deep green eyes. She looked to be in her mid to late thirties, and was dressed casually in khaki pants and a light colored turtleneck and sweater.



“It’s nice to meet you too”, said Willow, extending her hand. Kristal took it at shook it warmly.



“Come with me to my office”, Kristal invited.



“Of course”, Willow nodded.



Kristal led the redhead back to her office, allowing them a moment to settle in, before picking up the conversation. “How are Tara and the baby”, she asked.



“Oh, they’re, uh, doing great. Thanks for asking”, Willow replied.



“Settling in okay?”



“Yeah. I, uh, have the new sequence for you…”



“Great, just leave it with Lucy when you go”, said Kristal.



“Lucy?”



“Reception”, the brunette clarified, “She’ll get it to where it belongs. So, the baby is all right? Not suffering any after effects of the, um, problem you had mentioned a few months ago?”



“No”, answered Willow, grinning, “She’s great. Perfectly healthy. I have to admit that Tara and I were a little worried about that, but, she’s fine.” She paused a moment, dropping to a more serious tone, “I just wanted to come down and thank you for being so patient with me the last few months. I know my work fell a little bit behind with…”



“Willow, don’t worry about it”, assured Kris, “Here at Kristal Graphics, family always comes first. It’s our number one policy, Family before Company. Although, I kind of consider the company to be like my family.” She smiled. Willow smiled back. “Well, what’s say I give you the nickel tour?”



Willow nodded amiably and rose to follow her tour guide.



*******



“And then she was like, ‘family always comes first’. She was great, Tara, and so nice”, Willow spoke animatedly, as she prepared for bed, relaying her story of the day’s events. “It’s almost too good to be true.” She finished putting on her pajamas and crawled into bed, snuggling up next to her sweetheart. “Emily get to sleep okay?”



“Yeah”, answered Tara, rolling over and spooning Willow’s side. “Out like a light. Oh, Will, I’m so happy everything is working out so well.”



“Mmm”, Willow sighed, resting her cheek on top of Tara’s head. “Me too.”



“I’d have to say that this is cause for… celebration”, said Tara, lowering her tone seductively, and dropping a strategically placed kiss on Willow’s collarbone.



The redhead’s eyes shot wide open, “You mean?”



“I mean… okay?”



“Oh yes… But, are you sure? That you’re ready?”



“If I had a candle I’d be blowing it out”, Tara replied, playfully tasting Willow’s neck.



Willow raised an eyebrow in amusement, her skin flushed as the cool air mixed with traces of Tara’s saliva, sending chills down her spine. She brought her hand up and ran her fingers through Tara’s silky, blonde hair. Smiling as she watched the blonde’s head move around slowly.



Tara continued her tender journey, exploring Willow’s collarbone with her tongue. She placed her hand on top of Willow’s stomach, resting for a moment, feeling her wife’s steady breathing. Slowly she let her hand fall to a bit of exposed flesh between Willow’s pajama bottoms and her loose tank top. She traced it with her fingers, lightly, barely making contact. She suddenly stopped her oral caresses and brought her head up, lips locking tightly on Willow’s. They drank from each other for what seemed like an eternity. Tara turned her head slightly to the side, probing deeper into Willow’s mouth. Her efforts were matched as she felt Willow’s tongue slide against hers, beckoning for a dance. Both women tensed in the seriousness of the moment, as each concentrated on the other. Eyes closed, heads shifting from side to side, lips and tongues immersed in their languid dance. Arousal struck both as the tension from the past four months of imposed celibacy manifested itself.



They finally parted, stealing a few soft pecks before breaking contact. Willow smiled with love as she raised her hand to cup her beautiful wife’s cheek. Her emerald eyes illuminated in the moonlight, she lost herself in a sea of blue. Tara gently brushed away a few locks of flaming red hair from Willow’s forehead. They smiled at each other in silence, eyes dancing with happiness. Willow gently rubbed her wife’s smooth cheek with her thumb. She wrapped her other arm around the blonde’s body and squeezed, leaning in and pressing her lips to Tara’s forehead.



Tara rolled over a bit and slid her leg between Willow’s thighs, bringing her knee up to make contact with the warm center of her wife. She rolled her hips around as she pressed into Willow’s thigh, lowering her head to taste the extremely delicate skin below the redhead’s ear lobe. Willow rolled her head to the side, allowing Tara full access. Her hands began to tenderly caress Tara’s body, sliding the fabric of Tara’s silk nightgown between her fingers. She rolled her hips in sync with her wife’s, drawing out extremely pleasurable effects, as she rocked herself gently against Tara’s knee. Completely lost in the moment Willow began to sit up, forcing Tara back. In one swift movement Willow wrapped her arms around the blonde and reversed their positions, legs still between each other, lips still pressed tightly. She broke the kiss momentarily and sat up yanking her tank top over her head, tossing it to the side casually. Willow dropped her gaze and tugged gently at Tara’s nightgown. Tara rose up as Willow slipped the garment up and over her body, discarding it to the side as well. Willow placed her hands on either side of her wife and bent down, catching a few light kisses before lowering south to the smooth flesh of Tara’s chest.



Tara closed her legs around Willows thigh and squeezed gently, lightly rubbing up and down. Willow dribbled kisses down between Tara’s breasts, carefully deciding which route she should take first. She decided to trail down and left, her tongue grazing that soft valley nestled under Tara’s breast, causing the blonde to shut her eyes and moan softly.



Willow’s mouth crept steadily up before settling down upon a swollen nipple. She enclosed her mouth around it and suckled gently, drawing out some of the sweet milk filling Tara’s breast. She moaned as the precious liquid met her tongue. Tara’s breath caught as her wife touched her breasts in ways she was lately unaccustomed to. She tensed for a brief moment but then relaxed, trusting Willow to take care of her.



Willow resumed her journey downward, enjoying the extra bit of weight that remained on her wife’s stomach from her pregnancy. She pecked tenderly at the warm flesh with her lips. Tara smiled and watched Willow deliver her delicate caresses. She reached her hand down and placed it on the back of Willow’s head, drawing the emerald eyes up to her own.



“Come here.” Tara breathed, her eyes filling with lust. Willow smiled and crawled back up to her wife, who gently placed her hands upon Willow’s shoulders and rolled them back to their original position. Willow’s eyes widened briefly in surprise as she found herself entangled with Tara’s tongue, probing deeply inside her mouth. They kissed until Tara felt that Willow was thoroughly aroused. Breaking the kiss gently she moved her head to the side, hot breath splashing into Willow’s ear.



“Tonight is yours, my love.” She said in a husky voice. Since she had been pregnant Tara often found herself on the receiving end of their lovemaking but tonight she wanted to make it all up to her wife. Willow smiled lovingly and bit down on her lower lip, feeling the wetness between her legs beginning to swell. Tara moved her hand down between Willow’s legs, gently placing her fingers on Willow’s outer lips and beginning to massage softly, drawing out a series of moans from the redhead. Tara began to scoot herself down, trailing kisses around Willow’s flat stomach, her gentle massage becoming deeper and more languid. She smiled as Willow parted her legs, arching upward, begging for more contact. Tara took the hint and probed deeper still, penetrating past the sweet outer lips. Her touches were playful and melodic, fingers exploring the juicy vulva, engaged in a rhythmic dance.



Tara sat up for a moment and repositioned herself down between Willow’s legs. Her mouth watered at the site of the damp, copper curls that lay before her. With her left hand she gently parted the outer lips and dipped her head in, tongue barely grazing the tip of Willow’s little hood. Willow’s reaction was instant, leg muscles tensing, hips rolling slightly. Tara began a sequence of oral caresses, which were always guaranteed to bring her wife up and over the edge. She enclosed her mouth around the small hood and suckled it gently, then placed her index finger in front of Willow’s vaginal opening, sliding in her fingertip as she circled around a few times. After a few more minutes of tender ministrations Tara finally let her finger enter her wife completely, curving upward as she felt around for the rough spot located on the upper wall.



Willow flinched as the blonde’s finger made contact with her G-spot. She quickly threw her arms up over her head, clasping the bed frame with all her strength. Powerful surges coursed through her veins, her heart began to race, her breathing increasing with every tender touch. She held the bed frame so tightly her knuckles turned white, arm muscles slightly bulging, defining themselves under smooth, pale flesh. She arched her hips up more and pushed herself into Tara’s face. Her chest began to heave, her skin flushed bright pink, tiny beads of sweat forming on her forehead as she concentrated. Her orgasm was building quickly, forcing her toes to curl and her calf muscles to flex.



“Oh, God, Tara…” Willow tried to form a sentence between ragged breaths but she was unsuccessful. Tara’s finger kept massaging the inner walls of Willow’s vagina as she used her other hand to pull back the tiny hood exposing the center of her wife’s pleasure. Gently, very gently, she touched her tongue to Willow’s clit, eliciting a series of small whimpers, followed by long, drawn out moans.



“Yes…yes…yes” Willow felt herself arrive to the peak of climax but quickly shifted her focus. “No…no...no...”



“No?” Tara asked drawing her head back a bit, eyebrows furrowed in confusion.



“No…Baby…Ours….” Willow tried to calm herself, afraid she would peak before she could say what she wanted to.



“Ours?” Tara repeated softly, still confused.



“Tonight is ours…not mine...ours…I want to…at the same time…”



“Oh!” Tara said, suddenly realizing what her lover was trying to say. She gently drew her hand out of Willow’s quivering body and crawled up and over the redhead, lowering herself down. They kissed deeply for a few minutes before Willow slid her hand underneath and in-between Tara’s legs. Driven by passion she wasted no time in finding the fleshy knob and rolled it gently between her fingers. Tara bucked at the touch and let her own hand return to the soft wetness of her wife. Together they melted into a slow rhythm. Willow pressed her face into the soft shoulder that tensed before her. Tara nuzzled into Willow’s soft neck, gently biting down as she felt her own orgasm build. A thin sheen of sweat formed between the two heated bodies as the women rocked against each other in gentle stride.



“Will-O...” Tara tensed and cried out as she felt warm juice explode from within her center.



“Oh… God… Tara…” Willow followed a moment later, almost losing consciousness.



They clung together tightly for a few moments, waiting for the spasms to calm from within themselves and each other. Tara relaxed her body, exhausted, spent. She drew her hand out from Willow’s soft valley and rolled off to the side a bit, resting her head on her wife’s shoulder. They lay quietly together before Willow broke the silence.



“Was it good for you?” Willow mused. Both women giggled and relaxed, enjoying each other completely.



“I love you, Darling.” Tara spoke soft, placing a tender kiss on her wife’s shoulder.



“I love you too, Baby.” Willow smiled wondering if her life could get anymore perfect then it was right now. Her smile broadened into a grin as Tara’s hand crept seductively down her stomach. She chuckled lightly to herself, knowing this night was far from over.



*******



The next day, Willow arrived downtown with what could only be described as a shit-eating grin on her face. Despite her mini-meltdown a couple of days before, things were working out better than she ever could have imagined. She walked, no, strutted down the sidewalk as she approached her office building, allowing the cool, clean air and crisp, blue sky to envelope her senses. As far as she was concerned, all was right with the world.



“Willow!”



She stopped, and listened.



“Willow!”



She turned toward what sounded like a man’s voice calling her name. Looking behind her, she saw a young man in a business suit, carrying a briefcase, jogging toward her. As he neared, she was able to make out that it was John, her former neighbor from Sunnydale.



“I thought it was you”, he said, coming to a stop in front of her. “I’d recognize that hair anywhere.”



“John, just when I was starting to think it wasn’t such a small world after all.” Willow replied, slightly confused, “Wow, it’s, uh, nice to see you. What are you doing here?”



“I live here”, John explained, “Tina got a job accounting for a company here, and I was just hired by a local firm.”



“That’s great. How long ago?”



“Around three months.”



“Wow”, said the redhead, “I feel awful, I didn’t even notice you guys had moved. Some neighbor I was.”



“Don’t worry about it”, John responded, “It was a pretty quiet move. Since the apartment was furnished, all we had to pack was our clothes and a few knick-knacks.”



“Oh.”



“So, what are you doing out here”, queried John, “Business trip?”



“Um, no actually”, answered Willow, “Same as you. Got a job and followed it up here.”



“Weird”, said John, “When did you get here?”



“Two weeks ago.”



“You guys settled in okay? Tara’s with you, right?”



“Of course”, Willow ensured, “We bought a nice little house over on the west side.”



“Really, what part”, John asked.



“Uh, Magnolia, near Discovery Park on Grover St”, Willow explained.



“You’re kidding”, gasped John.



“Um, no.”



“Tina and I are on Ruffner, one block over!”



“Whoa, that’s… weird.”



“Isn’t it though?” John agreed, “So, how’s Tara doing?”



“She’s doing great”, Willow replied, her eyes narrowing slightly.



“And Emily?”



“Doing good, too.”



“Excellent”, said John. “Listen, I’ve got to run. Here’s my card, give me a call sometime. We should all get together now that we’re practically neighbors… again.”



“Sure”, answered Willow, “See you, um, later.” She watched after him as he disappeared into the crowded street. Glancing down at his card, she read:



JOHN D MASON, ESQ.

Criminal Defense



Law Offices of Masters,

Adams, and Walsh

(425) 555-7814



Not finding anything particularly interesting about it, she tucked it in her satchel and resumed her walk to work.



Arriving at the lobby, she found the reception desk unmanned. Lucy must be on break, she thought to herself. Finding her way down the hall she neared Kris’s office. She was about to knock when she heard her new boss’ raised voice filtering through the door. She paused to listen.



“Well, it’s about time”, she heard Kristal say angrily, “It only took you how long to make the contact…? Right, well we don’t have that kind of time to spare. How close are you to getting the item…? Well, that’s no good to me. I need it now… Listen to yourself, how difficult can it be…? Stop making excuses and just get it. This conversation is over.”



Willow jumped as she heard the phone slam down onto its cradle. She was tentatively raising her fist to knock on the door when it suddenly swung open causing her to leap back and let out a small cry.



“Ah!”



“Willow”, said Kris, just as shocked, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you... I thought you were working at home today.”



“I am”, replied Willow, “I mean, I was. I just stopped by to drop off the new equations. I was going to leave them with Lucy but, she’s not there…”



“It’s her lunch hour”, the CEO explained, “I can take them.”



“Oh”, Willow said, digging in to her bag and pulling out a zip disk. “Here you go. Man, that must be some program you’re developing. Those equations are almost identical to the ones used for mapping spatial anomalies.”



“They’re for an astronomy program for kids.”



“Oh, I didn’t know. If you want I can go back through and simplify them”, Willow offered.



“Not necessary”, the brunette answered. “Uh, listen, Willow, now is not a very good time. If you want you can email me any questions you might have, but right now I’m kind of heading out the door.”



“Sure, sorry to bother you.”



“It’s no bother”, assured Kris. “I’ll catch up with you later, okay?” She said as she started down the hall.



“Uh, yeah.”



“Oh”, she remembered, stopping, “Before I forget, we haven’t issued the memo yet, but… The annual employee/spouse Valentine’s Day dinner is coming up soon. This year we’re having at the Palisade, in your neck of the woods. You should come, bring Tara, and Emily too. How are they, by the way?”



“Great”, said Willow, “Same as yesterday.”



“Excellent. Have a safe drive home.”



“Thanks”, Willow responded, her gaze narrowing again as she watched Kris walk away. She stood alone in the hall for a moment, collecting her thoughts, before turning around and heading home.



*******



Willow couldn’t help it. She was curious by nature. As soon as she got home, she headed straight to her office and hopped online running searches to find out everything she could about Kristal Graphics and its affiliates. There was something strange going on, she could smell it, like any good Scooby would.



But, then again, I could be wrong, she thought as she neared her fourth hour of research with nothing to show for it. Her eyes now sore from staring at the monitor for too long, she clicked off the screen and went to find Tara.



She found her in the family room, reclined in an easy chair, watching the Discovery Channel and breast-feeding Emily. Willow schlumphed down into the couch, rubbing her eyes.



“What’s on?” She asked.



“Bunnies”, Tara answered.



“Oooo, cute.” Willow commented. “Is she hungry tonight?” She asked, referring to her daughter.



“You’d think she hadn’t eaten in days”, replied Tara, “She already dried up the other one.”



“Wow, that really sucks.”



“Do I even need to mention how awful that joke was?”



“No”, Willow conceded.



“Did you find anything out?” Tara asked.



“Uh-uh”, Willow said, throwing her hands in the air, “From what I can tell, Kristal Graphics is your typical software company. Nothing strange or out of the ordinary.”



“Willow, that’s a good thing”, Tara noted, “Not something to get upset about. You don’t want to find anything strange or out of the ordinary. Not to sound harsh, but, this isn’t Sunnydale.”



“I know, Baby”, Willow replied, “But it’s just weird, I don’t know how else to describe it. I mean, bumping into John and then, the… vibe… I got from Kristal was just…odd. I mean ODD. There was some definite odd vibe-age going on.”



“Can you describe this ‘vibe-age’?” Tara inquired.



“Well, first there was the phone call, which was strange”, Willow began, “Then, the whole awkward conversation in the hallway. And why is everyone always asking how you and Emily are?”



“Probably because I’m your wife and she’s your daughter, and it’s the polite thing to do”, Tara offered.



“But, we never got this much attention in Sunnydale”, Willow countered, “My old boss didn’t even know I was gay.”



“Willow, we’re living in Seattle now. This is a very progressive city with a large gay community. It’s normal here, it’s accepted. It’s not Sunnydale.”



“You keep saying that”, sighed Willow.



“Only because it’s true”, Tara stated. “Darling, I know you miss Buffy and Xander and Anya and… everyone. But, stop looking for fires to put out when there’s not even smoke. You’re going to run yourself into the ground.”



“There’s just one thing that keeps bugging me.” Willow leveled.



“What’s that?” Asked Tara, prepared to explain it away.



“John.” Willow recounted, “He said that he and Tina moved up here three months ago. Yet, he asked about Emily. Emily is only two and a half months old. I don’t remember sending them an announcement, did you ever tell Tina or John Emily’s name?”



“Um, I might have”, said Tara, “I honestly don’t remember. It was kind of a crazy time. I only really ever saw either of them when I was coming and going from the apartment. We weren’t exactly the most sociable neighbors. I’m sure they knew I was pregnant, kind of hard to miss.”



“Yes, but, did you tell them her name?”



“I don’t know”, she admitted.



“I smell smoke.”



*******



TBC...



"Promise me you'll never be linear." "On my trout."



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Here it is!! Pt 4!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2002 11:21 pm 
C’mon, Buffy, be home, Willow thought to herself as she listened to the phone ring on the other end of the line. Dammit, she privately swore as she heard the answering machine pick up.



“Hi, you’ve reached the Summers residence. Please leave…Dawn, quit it…Please leave your name, num… Cut it out, Dawn….your name, number and a short message and we’ll get back to you…Dawn, I mean it!… (Beep).”



“Buffy, it’s Willow. Listen, it’s really important that you call me as soon as you get this message. There’s some stuff I nee…”



“Hello? Will?”, said Buffy, picking up.



“Buffy?”



“Yeah, what’s up?”



“Um, I just need to know”, Willow began, “Has there been any stuff going on down there lately? Like, heavy evil?”



“No”, Buffy replied, “I mean, it’s been kind of slow, but not in a ‘something’s about to go down’ kind of way. Why?”



“There’s just some strange stuff going on up here and I was wondering if you may have heard anything through the Hellmouth Grapevine. Is there any new news?”



“Why? What’s happening?” Buffy asked.



“Don’t know yet.” Said Willow, “That’s the problem, that’s why I was checking in with you.”



“Um, well, I did kill a Fyarl demon the other night”, Buffy recalled, “He kept saying that I’d be sorry when the goat-wranglers arrived. Whatever that means.”



“Goat-wranglers?”



“Yeah… It sounded kind of ominous in a demon rodeo from hell kind of way.”



“Goat-wranglers.” Willow repeated, just to make sure.



“Or something that sounded a lot like ‘goat-wranglers’…” Buffy offered, “Goath Raggles… or Gothrongler… or something.”



“That doesn’t sound too…”



“Oh!” Interrupted Buffy, “Gothragl! That’s it.”



“Gothragl?” Willow asked.



“Yeah…” Buffy was positive.



“Do you know how to spell it?”



“Will, think about how much work it took for me just to say it.” Buffy noted.



“You have a point there”, Willow agreed. “Well, it sounds Norse, so that will help a little in trying to figure out the spelling.”



“So, Willow, what is going on up there?” Buffy asked again.



“Just a bunch of coincidences that I have a strange feeling aren’t really”, Willow explained, “Right now, it’s all kind of vague.”



“Yeah, I got that”, commented the slayer.



“I’ll let you know if I find anything conclusive”, Willow ensured.



“Please do… So, how’re Tara and Emily doing?”



“You are the first person who can ask me that and it doesn’t bother me”, said Willow.



“What?”



“Long story… They’re fine. Great actually.”



“Good, I’m glad to hear that”, Buffy said sincerely. “I miss you guys. We all do.”



“We miss you too, Buffy”, Willow replied sadly.



“I hate to, but I’ve got to go… it’s about that time of day.”



“Patrol?”



“Yup.”



“Well, stake a vamp for me”, Willow asked playfully, her tone still tinged with sadness.



“I will”, Buffy guaranteed, “I’ll even fit you into a pun somewhere.”



Willow chuckled lightly, “Thanks. Love you.”



“You too. Take care.”



“I will. Bye.”



“Buh-bye.”



Willow’s eyes closed tightly, stifling home-sick tears, as she heard the lonely “click-tone” on the other end of the line. She set her phone back in its cradle and collected her thoughts. She grabbed a piece of paper from her printer and a pen and starting writing out possible spellings of the name Buffy had given her. After she had about ten different possibilities, she hopped on-line and started running a search.



*******



“Willow?” Tara called softly to her wife, “Willow? Baby? Baby, Darling?”



“Tara! The frogs!” Willow cried out, jumping to full alertness.



“No frogs, Willow”, Tara soothed, “Just me.”



“What happened”, Willow asked, blinking her eyes to clear them of fog.



“You fell asleep in the office again”, Tara explained.



“Oh.”



“What’s ‘Gothragl, the Summoner’?”



“Huh? Oh! My search must have completed”, Willow stated, turning her attention back to her computer, “Let’s see, no matches except for this spelling. It automatically brought up this web page.”



“In the time of ancient kings”, Tara read, “was born a demon out of pain: Gothragl, the Summoner. Having lost his heart to a human maid with whom he could not lie, he now walks the Earth, seeking his vengeance in the end times.”



“End times”, repeated Willow. “End times, why doesn’t that sound right?”



“Because it’s plural”, said Tara, “there can only be one end time.”



“Unless it means multiple dimensions”, offered Willow.



“No, because the end time means the end to all existence. Period.” Countered Tara, “To pluralize it… oh…”



“What?”



“It is plural.”



“But, you just said it couldn’t be” said Willow, now confused.



“Willow, think about how many religions there are”, Tara began, “Each one has its own end time prophecy…”



“So what you’re saying”, Willow surmised, “Is that this Gothragl is going to try and summon every end time prophecy in order to ‘make’ existence, because he couldn’t be with his girlfriend?”



“Pretty much.”



“Typical.”



“What else does the website say”, Tara asked.



“Um…” Willow replied, scrolling down, “It, uh, lists out what this Big Bad will do in order to beginning the summoning.”



“Which is?”



“Uh… Sacrifice the human child born of pure love, the next of the chosen.” Willow read, “You don’t think like, ‘slayer’ chosen, do you?”



“I don’t know”, admitted Tara, “Probably. It’s the only one that makes sense.”



“What do you mean?”



“Well, there are several categories of chosen ones”, explained Tara. “There are the white-lighters. But you have to die in order to become one. So it doesn’t make much sense to sacrifice someone that is already dead.”



“True”, Willow agreed.



“Then there are the Charmed Ones… But they are always sisters and always exist in threes. This ritual suggests a single sacrifice and not a triple.”



“MmmHmm.”



“And then there are the Oracles, which are almost always demon-y types”, Tara continued. “The slayer is the only one that is guaranteed human every single time.”



“And guaranteed to be a child”, Willow added. “At least when they’re initially called.”



“Right.”



“There’s got to be a way to find out who the next one is”, Willow puzzled, “After Faith I mean. There has to be a way. Maybe I could hack the Council’s files again…”



“Honey”, Tara finally asked, “What is this all about?”



“Oh, just, uh… a lead that Buffy gave me to look into”, Willow answered, fibbing only slightly, “I should probably get this information back to her.”



“I agree”, said Tara, “But only after you go to bed and lie down for a little while. You’ve been working too hard again. You need to rest.”



“Alright”, Willow sighed, rising from her desk, stretching out to get rid of some of the stiffness. “Come with me?” she entreated coyly, raising her left eyebrow.



“That isn’t resting”, Tara chided playfully. Willow’s face fell. “Maybe later”, she offered.



“Okay”, said Willow softly. She leaned in and kissed Tara quickly on the lips. “See you later.” Tara smiled demurely and watched her wife go, leaving the office and heading up the stairs. She stood alone in the office a moment, and sighed. My love, will you ever truly allow yourself to rest, she thought, I fear not.



*******



It had been another two weeks, and Willow had had no luck turning up any new information. She and Tara had bumped into Tina and John a few times since her first encounter, and they were always cordial, but not even Tara could deny the strange tension in the air. Still, they had nothing to connect anyone to anything conclusively, and it began to appear that the lead that Buffy had given them was a dead end.



At any rate, any time that Willow didn’t spend working on projects for Kristal Graphics, she spent researching, deducing and as Faith once said, “Nancy Drew-ing”, trying to find anything that could explain the strange coincidences that had been stacking up.



Tonight, however, the couple was afforded a break. It was the night of the employee/spouse Valentine’s Day dinner, and after much discussion, Willow and Tara had finally decided to go. If nothing else but to be politically correct.



“I just wish we could have gotten a sitter”, said Willow, sitting on the edge of the bed as she watched Tara get ready in the bathroom. “I just feel weird about taking her.”



“Darling, we don’t know anyone who could have baby-sat”, Tara rationalized. “We haven’t exactly been making a plethora of new friends since we moved here. It’s the price we pay for keeping to ourselves.”



“I know”, sighed Willow, “you’re right. Besides, I wouldn’t feel comfortable about leaving her with someone else, either.”



“See? So there really isn’t a choice.”



“We could stay home”, Willow offered.



“Willow, we’ve been over this already”, Tara leveled, “We should at least go and make an appearance. It’s the polite thing to do… Have you seen my earrings?”



“Which ones?”



“The studs.”



“Oh, um… check the dresser”, Willow suggested. “So we can just go and then leave, right?”



“Sure, if that’s what you want to… do…”, said Tara, coming out of the bathroom and turning toward the dresser, stopping short as she saw the sight before her.



A handsome bouquet of one dozen roses was arranged in a stylish vase on the top of the dresser. Tara looked to Willow in disbelief. Willow only smiled and said, “Read the card.” Tara complied and lifted the small card out of the bouquet, reading:



I thought you could use something

to go with the earrings…



Happy Valentine’s Day

I love you, Baby… Will



Tara looked down and saw something glisten within the bouquet. Her eyes grew wide as she reached in and removed a beautiful diamond-studded necklace with gold trim. Willow rose and embraced her wife from behind as Tara continued to marvel at the gift.



“Do you like it?” The redhead asked, resting her chin on Tara’s shoulder.



“Oh, Will, it’s beautiful”, Tara gasped.



“Put it on”, Willow smiled.



“Help me?”



Willow grinned and took the necklace from Tara’s hand, wrapping it around her neck and closing the clasp in the back. Tara admired its reflection in the mirror. But suddenly her face fell slightly, and she turned to face Willow in the embrace.



“But, I… I didn’t get you anything”, Tara apologized.



“Yes you did”, Willow stated.



“I did?”



“Yeah. You gave me you… and you gave me Emily. You’ve given me everything.”



A tear rolled down Tara’s cheek as she feverishly took the redhead’s mouth into her own in a deep, and passionate kiss, resting her forehead against Willow’s when they finally broke apart.



“You’re going to ruin my make-up, aren’t you”, Tara asked playfully.



“I was thinking about it”, Willow replied coyly, pulling Tara to the bed.



“We’re going to be late…”



“I don’t care…”



“Kiss me”, Tara demanded.



“Anything”, Willow replied.



The women embraced for what seemed to be an eternity, only breaking apart for air when necessary. Tara gently pushed Willow into a sitting position on the edge of the bed, taking a few steps back to admire her wife’s beauty and to savor the romantic feeling that lingered in the air. Teasingly, she brought one hand behind her back and lowered the zipper of her hunter green dress, letting it slip off her smooth shoulders and fall to the floor. Willow’s eyes grew wide, slowly traveling up her wife’s body, pausing briefly to admire the shapely legs, the softness of her stomach. Willow swallowed her breath, her pulse quickening.



“Tara…” she whispered. No matter how many times she had seen Tara’s naked form it never ceased to amaze and excite her.



“Shh.” Tara soothed, stepping forward to stand between Willow’s parted legs. She lightly ran her fingers over Willow’s shoulders, resting them at the base of the redhead’s neck, pulling her closer. Willow leaned in and drew in a deep breath; she could smell the faint scent of rose oil emanating from her wife’s tender flesh. Willow’s hands traveled up Tara’s back slowly, almost teasingly, unclasping the silk bra and letting it fall to the floor, forgotten. She smiled as two perfectly round, full breasts stood alert in front of her.



Tara gently straddled Willow, climbing up on to her lap causing them both to fall back on the bed. A soft moan escaped Willow’s lips as Tara began to move her hips steadily, rhythmically, grinding down with gentle force. She placed her hands on the small of Tara’s back reveling in the feel of her movements, wetness growing between her legs. Tara raised herself up to a sitting position, continuing her rhythm, she arched her back, breasts straining outward, arousal growing with each gentle grind. Her moans heightening to meet those of her entranced wife. They continued this way for a few moments, each lost in their own sensations.



Willow whimpered in protest as she felt Tara’s body begin to pull away. Tara climbed off her wife and stood, once again, on the floor. “Not yet, Love.” She whispered, gripping her damp cotton panties and lowering them to the floor. She turned her attention to Willow’s trembling body, making short work of removing her clothing, carelessly tossing it to the side. Pausing for a moment to gaze in awe at Willow’s body, Tara climbed back up on the bed spooning her wife’s side. She let her hand fall down to nestle between the hot folds of Willow’s sex, eliciting a low, guttural moan from the redhead. Tara’s finger immediately found that special ridge, teasing for a few moments before initializing a tender assault that was ensured to cause her wife instantaneous loss of control. It took just a few tender caresses and Tara knew her Willow was already surrendering to the primal urges pulsating through her clit.



“Oh…Baby…” Willow’s muscles contracted involuntarily as wave after wave of passion washed over her body. She surrendered to her orgasm, drifting higher and higher into the realm of carnal knowledge.



“Yes, Baby, Yes.” Tara’s voice weaved an invisible cord around Willow’s soul, keeping her grounded in her physical body, sensing her astral self was about to plunge over into the cliffs of oblivion. After a few tense moments, Willow’s body finally relaxed, sated. Silence.



“Tara…that was…” Willow started, breathless.



“What, Will? Tell me.” Tara gently smoothed her wife’s auburn tresses.



“I don’t know...it, it felt like I was about to leave my body…everything was all intense and...”



“I know, Darling, I felt it. I always feel it.” Tara smiled warmly, her hand gently sliding up Willow’s stomach, stopping to caress the heated flesh.



A coy smile played at the corners of Willow’s mouth as she gently pushed Tara back, rolling over to spoon her side. She dipped her head down capturing the blonde’s lips, tasting her deeply, softly moaning as she felt Tara’s nails rake heavily down her back... After a few tender moments she broke the kiss and scooted herself down, settling in-between her wife’s warm, moist center. Tara’s breath quickened in anticipation as Willow hesitated between her legs.



“I love you, Baby.” Willow breathed, pressing her face into the soft curls of Tara’s pubic hair.



“You...too.” Tara flinched, her head rolling back as Willow’s mouth took possession over the core of her entire being. A myriad of sensations pulsed through Tara’s lower extremities, her concentration faltered at the mercy of Willow’s tongue.



Willow’s hands traveled up her wife’s trembling body, soothing the damp flesh as Tara writhed beneath her. Tara’s cries of ecstasy were music to Willow’s ears. Each note ascending a little higher then the last, and then quickly dropping down into a low baritone before rising up again. It was a song Willow knew by heart, one she would never tire of hearing. Tara’s legs began to shake as her release came with one final desperate cry before she rose up, arching her back.



“Oh, God, Willow…” Tara’s cries rose and fell with the intensity of her orgasm. After a few calming moments she relaxed back on to the bed, breathless, exhausted. Willow departed from her warm shelter and crawled back up to meet her lover’s extended arms. She nuzzled her face into the tender flesh of Tara’s neck, auburn tresses falling lightly over her wife’s chest.



“You sure you don’t wanna…I mean, we could stay home…” Willow smiled innocently. Tara turned her head to the side, resting her cheek on Willow’s head. But before she could respond Emily’s cries penetrated the air.



“Nope, not this time. Miss Emily is waiting to greet her public.” Tara laughed softly as she wiggled her way out from underneath Willow’s tender embrace.



Willow groaned as she watched Tara quickly redress and then start down the hall to check on the baby. Slowly she pulled herself off the bed and gathered up her clothes hesitantly, not wanting to leave the warm shelter of her family’s home.



*******



The Palisade restaurant is one of the finest dining experiences in all of Seattle. It boasts a spectacular view both inside and out. The reception area is spacious with plant-life and a whispering brook flowing within. Koi curiously peek up, while guests cross the interior bridge on the way to being seated in the lap of luxury.



The expansive view is mostly at the waterfront level. In the evening, patrons can see the lights of planes taking off and landing at the airport, and the twinkles abound from the panoramic view of Alki Beach, West Seattle, and downtown. The normally busy harbor

appears tranquil from this viewpoint. It is truly a place to see and be seen.



Willow and Tara arrived at the restaurant fashionably late. Tara held Emily closely in her arms, while Willow toted her carrier and had slung over her shoulder a small leather backpack which held several diapers, a box of wipes, a small container of baby powder, a small blanket and two bottles of breast milk that Tara had prepared earlier.



After speaking with the maitre’d and informing him that they were with Kristal Graphics, he led them back to a small banquet room that had been elegantly decorated to match the holiday. Tables for two filled the room, each dressed with a pristine white table cloth, a small blooming rose in a slender vase and a single white candle. At the far end of the room a stage was set up and a small jazz band was playing softly. The maitre’d sat them at a table near the center of the already crowded room, and graciously supplied an extra chair so that the young women could place Emily’s carrier on it. Leaving them with two menus especially prepared for the event, he recommended the wood-fired salmon, then excused himself and returned to his post.



Tara carefully placed her daughter in the carrier, rocking it slightly to keep her from getting upset with the change in location. Willow read over the menu:



Kristal Graphics Welcomes You

And Wishes You and Your Loved One(s)

A Very Happy Valentine’s Day!



Tonight’s Hostess:

Kristal Graphics Founder and CEO



Kristal Loggarth



This evening’s menu:



Whatever you desire!

Compliments of Kristal Graphics



Enjoy!



“Whatever I desire”, said Willow, “I wonder if I could get a cheeseburger…”



“Willow”, Tara scolded playfully.



“What?” Willow smiled innocently. “What are you getting?”



“Well, definitely not the shrimp”, Tara stated matter-of-factly. “The salmon sounded good.”



“Hmm.” Willow nodded, glancing around the room. Someone caught her eye. “Oh my God.”



“What?” Tara inquired.



“You’ve got to be kidding me”, Willow continued to stare.



“Honey, what?”



Willow turned back to her wife. “Tina and John are here.”



“What? Where?” Tara exclaimed.



“Over there”, said Willow, nudging her head in the direction. Tara casually looked over and, sure enough, the couple sat not eight tables away from them. They appeared to be in quiet conversation.



“I thought you said that John worked for a law firm?” Tara asked, looking back at Willow.



“He does”, stated the redhead, “At least, I think he does… maybe it’s Tina. He said she got a job accounting for a local company, but didn’t say which one…”



“What should we do? Should we talk to them?”



“I don’t know”, Willow leveled. “I can’t shake this feeling that something’s not right.”



“Good Evening, Ladies”, announced the waiter as he arrived at the table, “My name is Mark and I will be your server this evening. Can I interest you in a glass of champagne or perhaps a white wine?”



“Uh, no, thanks… thank you”, replied Willow, trying to collect her thoughts.



“In that case, can I get you anything to drink?” He continued.



“Milk please”, said Tara.



“Uh, soda…Sprite, I guess”, responded Willow, still distracted.



“Alright”, he said, writing the orders down on his notepad, “I’ll be right back with your drinks. Please take a moment to go over the menu.”



After Mark had moved to the next table, Willow turned back to Tara. “We should leave”, she said urgently.



“What? Willow, we just got here.”



“I know, but something’s not right”, stated the redhead.



“I know”, Tara agreed, “I feel it too. But, I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring attention to ourselves by walking out.”



“What should we do?” asked Willow.



“Let’s try to get through dinner and then leave”, Tara suggested.



“I don’t know if I can wait that long”, Willow replied anxiously.



“We’ll just have to try”, Tara sighed.



“Here you go”, said Mark, returning with their drink order. “Have you come to a decision regarding dinner?”



“We’ll, um, both have the salmon”, answered Willow.



“Excellent choice”, said Mark, noting it down. “Once again, my name is Mark, and I’ll be checking with you through out the evening, just let me know if you need anything.”



“Thank you”, they said in unison. Once again, he left the girls alone.



“Dinner then home”, Willow stated firmly. Tara nodded in agreement.



A short while later, dinner was served, and the women did their best to eat as quickly as possible, while looking nonchalant at the same time. During the entire meal, Willow kept one eyeball on John and Tina’s table, making sure they didn’t do anything particularly strange or out of the ordinary.



Tara was just finishing her plate when Kristal approached their table.



“Willow”, she said warmly, “I’m so glad you made it. I didn’t see you come in.”



“Hi, Kris”, Willow said, almost weakly.



There was a slight pause before Kris prompted Willow with, “Aren’t you going to introduce me to the lovely woman seated across from you?”



“OH…uh…sorry, where are my manners”, Willow stammered. “Kris this is my wife Tara and our daughter Emily.”



“It is a pleasure to finally meet you in person”, Kris smiled genially, taking Tara’s hand in her own and shaking it.



“Thank you.” Tara said, reclaiming her hand.



“You have a beautiful daughter, there”, commented Kristal. “It’s amazing Willow, she looks so much like you. If I thought it were possible I’d even say you were the father”, she joked, laughing lightly.



Willow mock-laughed, “Ha..haha.. yeah, well you know… Tara and I spent a lot of time going through those, um, catalogues and… stuff.” Tara smiled shyly.



“Did you enjoy the dinner?” asked the brunette, changing the subject.



“Yes”, said Tara, “It was lovely, thank you.”



“My pleasure. You are staying for dessert, of course.”



“Actually”, Willow admitted, “We were just leaving.”



“Oh, really”, said Kristal, her tone saddening, “Why?”



“It’s past Emily’s bedtime”, Tara explained, “We should get her home.”



“Of course”, Kris agreed, “She is your number one priority after all. But, can I persuade you two to stay at least through the presentation for ‘Employee of the Year’?”



“There’s a presentation?” Willow asked.



“Oh yes”, answered Kristal, “We kind of, uh, combined the Valentine’s Dinner with the annual employee banquet. Kill two birds with one stone.”



“Oh.” The redhead replied simply.



“Will you stay?”



“We’ll have to see how Emily’s doing”, Tara answered.



“Good enough”, Kristal smiled. “Well, I’d better get over to the stage, I’m almost on.” She excused herself from the two girl’s table and walked away.



“She seems nice”, commented Tara.



“Well, she must be lacking in ‘vibes’ tonight”, Willow replied, glancing around the room again. “Tara?”



“Yes?”



“They’re gone.”



“Who’s gone”, Tara asked.



“John and Tina… they’re gone”, Willow stated, “Where did they go?” Tara looked over to the now vacant table.



“Maybe they went home”, the blonde offered.



“Maybe… I don’t know…”



Just then Emily started crying and fidgeting. Tara lifted her up into her arms, feeling her diaper. “She needs a change”, Tara sighed.



“Do you need me to?”



“I can do it”, Tara said, standing, “Could you hand me the bag?”



“Sure”, Willow said, holding it out. “Wait a minute”, she paused, opening the front pocket and pulling out a pen, then handing the whole thing to Tara. “Hurry back.”



“I will. As soon as she’s changed, let’s go”, declared Tara. Willow nodded vehemently in agreement. Tara turned and made her way to the restroom.



Willow nervously began scribbling on the photo-copied menu, trying to figure out John and Tina’s connection to… whatever it was that was making her feel so uncomfortable.



“Ladies and gentlemen”, the lead saxophonist of the jazz band said into the microphone, “Employees of Kristal Graphics and your loved ones, it is my pleasure to introduce your hostess for the evening, Kristal Graphics founder and CEO, Kristal Loggarth!”



Willow paid no attention to the activity on stage, or the applause going up around her. She was too intensely focused on the piece of paper in front of her.



“Thank you”, said Kristal, taking over the mike, “Hello, everyone. Wow, it’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year, isn’t it?” Applause. “I just want to take a moment to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day.” Applause. “As you know, Valentine’s Day is usually a pretty lonely day for me. Here I am, the only single one here… Again.” Light chuckling. “But, who knows? Maybe next year. Or maybe even this year, right?” Laughter and applause. “But, in the meantime, I always know that I have my family at Kristal Graphics that I can depend on. Because we all know our number one policy…”



“Family before Company”, the crowd responded, then applauded and cheered.



Willow was oblivious.



“I remember when I started this ‘family’ six years ago…” Kristal continued on.



Willow stayed focused on her work. By now the type-written words on the menu had disappeared behind Willow’s wild handwriting. She set down her pen in frustration, still not sure what the connection to anything was. Then, something caught her eye. In the middle of the menu she had scribbled the name, Gothragl, with a great question mark next to it. But, it wasn’t the demon name that had caught her attention, it was Kristal’s.



Gothragl… Loggarth…, she thought to herself, slowly, Gothragl…Loggarth…. Her eyes grew wide at the sudden revelation she had made. Oh my God… Tara!



“I know she’s only been with us for a short time”, Kris continued, “But as anyone in the code writing and sequencing department can tell you, her work has been nothing less than phenomenal. Kristal Graphics employees, I give you Kristal Graphics Employee of the Year, Willow Rosenberg-Maclay!”



Willow leapt out of her seat, grabbing Emily’s carrier, with the full intention of racing to the find Tara in the bathroom. But a bright spotlight suddenly shown in her eyes, catching her off guard and blinding her momentarily. All around her, people were congratulating her and trying to shake her hand. She had know idea what was going on, her only thought was, Tara…



In the bathroom, Tara had just finished changing Emily’s diaper. She was in the process of repacking the backpack when the restroom door opened, and someone walked in.



“Tara”, said Tina, looking surprised, “Fancy running in to you here…”



“Tina”, Tara replied, instinctually stepping in front of her daughter on the changing table. “What are you doing here?”



“My company is hosting a Valentine’s Day dinner. You?”



“Same. Kristal Graphics, right?” Tara posed.



“Yeah”, answered Tina, still playing at innocence, “I didn’t know you worked for them.”



“Willow does”, said Tara, her tone now beginning to even.



“Oh.” Tina turned her attention to the baby Tara was protecting. “Is that Emily?”



“Yes.”



“Isn’t she precious”, Tina complimented. “Changing her?”



“Just finished. In fact I was on my way out the door, as soon as I finish packing up”, Tara replied, turning her back to Tina and trying to finish loading up the bag.



“Here, let me help you”, said Tina, stepping forward.



“No! I mean, no thanks, I’ve got it”, Tara said, blocking her.



“It’s no bother”, Tina ensured, pushing past Tara and scooping the babe up into her arms. “I’ll just hold her while you put the blanket away, see?”



Tara’s heart leapt into her throat. “Tina”, she said evenly, “Give her back to me.”



“Oh, it’s alright, she’s fine”, Tina replied. Emily started to cry.



“Tina, I’d really appreciate it if you gave her back to me.”



“I’m sorry, Tara”, Tina said stepping back toward the door, “But I really can’t do that.”



“Tina, Please”, Tara pleaded, her composure starting to break.



“I’m sorry”, Tina apologized again. “Gothragl needs her now.” Tina swiftly turned and went through the door.



“No!” Tara screamed, chasing after her. Outside the door strong hands stopped her suddenly. Looking up, she saw who had her and her heart shattered.



“Hello, Tara”, said John. “Time for bed.” He placed an ether soaked rag over her nose and mouth, knocking her unconscious.



Back in the banquet hall, Willow was desperately trying to make her way through the crowd, getting stopped at every turn by someone trying to coax her onto the stage.



“No”, she said, struggling to get by, “I have to get to my wife!”



“Willow”, Kristal called from the stage, “Come on up and get your award.”



“No!”, she yelled back, “I know who you are!” She turned and shoved her way through the last few people blocking her exit and raced around to the restroom, finding Tara on the floor.



“Oh, God”, Willow cried, dropping the carrier and falling to her knees, “Tara? Tara, please… speak to me… Please!”



Tara fluttered her eyes open weakly, looking up at her lover. “Willow”, she said, starting to cry, “They took her….”



“We’ll get her back”, Willow vowed firmly, tears cascading down her face. “We will get her back.”



*******



Willow and Tara raced to their car and peeled out of the Palisade’s parking lot.



“Do you know where they took her?” Willow asked, as she sped through the streets.



“N-No, I d-didn’t see”, Tara replied, her stammer returned, unable to stop the blinding tears in her eyes.



“Well, we’ll figure it out”, Willow answered, determined. Anger was the only thing keeping her from falling apart completely. It sharpened her senses and gave her purpose.



“We h-have to go the p-police”, Tara managed to say.



“No time.”



“But…”



“Tara, Baby, think about it”, Willow leveled, “If we go to the police, we spend the next three or four hours being questioned, going in circles, with them treating us like suspects. We lose too much time that way. Time we could have used finding Emily. Besides, we have something that Kris doesn’t know we have.”



“Kris? But, it was J-John and Tina who…”



“I know”, Willow responded, “They work for Kris. Honey, Kris is Gothragl.”



“What?” Tara yelped. “How do you know?”



“I figured it out while you were in the bathroom”, explained Willow, “This entire night has been one giant misdirection so that she could get her hands on Emily.”



“What is it that we have?” Tara asked, suddenly finding herself more able to focus. “Do we know how to stop her?”



“Not yet”, admitted Willow, “But we will. What we have is information. Kris knows that I know who she is, but she doesn’t know how much I know after that. She doesn’t know that we know what she plans on using Emily for. She doesn’t know that we have the means to find a way to stop her. And that gives us the advantage.”



“Willow”, Tara spoke up, “If Kris is Gothragl, and she plans on using Emily to summon the end times… you know what that means…”



“I know”, Willow sighed, “We’ll deal with that later. Right now, we focus on getting her back.”



Willow brought the car to a screeching halt in front of their home. The two women jumped out and sprinted inside.



“Call Buffy, see if she’s found out anything more about Gothragl, I’m going to hop online and start going over the information we already have. See if I can figure out where they’ve taken her”, the redhead ordered, running for the office. Tara nodded in compliance and went for the phone.



Willow dove onto the computer, and quickly began pulling up all the files she had ever worked on for Kristal Graphics, scanning them for any hidden information that might be relevant to Gothragl’s ultimate plan. She also started an online search for any mythical or historical information relating to the summoner demon hoping to find something that might indicate how to stop it or destroy it.



Tara came into the office, phone to her ear, talking to Buffy animatedly. She tapped Willow on the shoulder and handed her the phone.



“Buffy?”



“Will”, Buffy replied, “Oh, Will, I’m so sorry…”



“Skip it”, Willow interrupted, “Don’t have time… Have you found anything new?”



“Yes”, Buffy confirmed. Willow’s heart began to race even faster with hope. “Turns out Anya knows loads about this Gothragl character. Apparently she’s bumped into him a few times…”



“Him?” Willow interjected, “Buffy, Gothragl’s a woman.”



“Gothragl’s a shape-shifter”, the slayer clarified. “Kind of like praying mantis lady from tenth grade, only no one has ever seen him in his true form.”



“Buffy, does Anya know how to stop him?” Willow asked, her tone becoming more serious.



“Yes.”



Willow’s eye grew wide with anticipation. “What? How?”



“Gothragl has to return to his natural form in order to start the summoning.” Buffy explained, “Once he does that, all you have to do is cut off his true head.”



“That’s it?” Willow had to be sure.



“That’s it.”



“Good”, Willow stated, her voice deepening with determination.



“Will, I can hop on a plane”, Buffy offered, “I can be there. You don’t have to do this alone.”



“Buffy, we don’t have time. I don’t know when this bastard plans on trying to start everything. If you want to try to get here, that’s fine. But the second I figure out where he’s taken Emily, I’m going after him.”



“I understand”, responded Buffy, “just… be careful.”



“I will be.”



“Good luck.”



Willow hung up the phone. “Okay”, she said to Tara, “We know how to stop him, now we just have to find out where he is.”



“Do you have any idea”, Tara asked desperately.



“There’s got to be something in one of these files”, Willow answered. “I just have to figure out which one.”



“Can you?”



“Just give me a minute, Baby”, Willow replied. Her eyes were wide as they frantically scanned the data of every file as fast as she could. Looking for something, anything that might clue them in to where the demon had taken their daughter. “Wait!” She announced after what seemed like ages, “I think I’ve got something.”



Tara stepped forward, grasping Willow’s shoulder. “What?”



“Why didn’t I notice it before…”



“Willow, please, say it…”



“The equations”, Willow began talking a mile a minute, typing frantically on the keyboard, “the one’s I had been working on, the one’s I gave Kris the day I first bumped into John. I thought it was weird that they all seemed to be geared toward calculating an exact location in space. But now it makes sense. Gothragl needs a point in space where an anomaly would be causing a weakening in the fabric between worlds in order to summon several of the end time prophecies into being. Yes! I have coordinates… on X, Y and Z axis… now I just need to punch these into the online global positioning system to find out where this location is…” She typed in the information and waited. “C’mon, c’mon! COME ON, DAMMIT!”



“Willow”, Tara pleaded, “Please, don’t lose it. I need you to stay with me. Please…”



“I’m sorry, Baby. Tara, I’m…” Willow apologized, then stopped, “Wait, here we go. Oh, well that was obvious…”



“What? Where are they?”



“Where would you go if you were going to summon the heavens to fall?” Willow questioned, matter-of-factly. “Probably as close to them as you could get.”



“The Space Needle”, Tara surmised.



“Let’s go”, Willow said, standing.



“Wait, what about Buffy”, Tara asked.



“She’ll never make it in time”, Willow replied, “we have to go now.”



“But we don’t have any weapons.”



“Yes, we do”, Willow stated. “My mind, your magick, plus the box of goodies Buffy gave me before we left.”



“Buffy gave you weapons?” Tara inquired, “I didn’t know that.”



“I never thought we’d have to use them”, Willow responded, walking over to a built-in wall cabinet and opening it to reveal a double-edged hand and a half sword, a battle-axe, a couple of knives, several stakes, and a few bottles of holy water. “What do you want?”



“Knives”, Tara answered. Willow handed them to her.



“And I’ll take the axe. Let’s go get our daughter.”



*******



The Seattle Space Needle lies in the heart of downtown. At over 605 feet tall, the mammoth piece of architecture is recognized as one of the world’s most famous landmarks. But tonight, rather than symbolizing American ingenuity and creativity, it stood looming ominously before the two girls and represented only fear and potential tragedy.



By the time Willow and Tara had arrived, the attraction had already been closed for over and hour. A full moon hung low in the sky, giving it a deep orange glow, and setting the final backdrop for the intense scene that was to follow.



Willow managed to bypass the main entrance’s security code by hacking into an access panel outside. Once inside they were faced with a difficult decision.



“Elevator or stairs”, Willow asked.



“Elevator’s faster”, Tara said.



“True, but with the stairs they won’t know we’re coming”, Willow pointed out, “And they could trap us in the elevator car.”



“What should we do?”



“Um… can you float us up the stairwell?” Willow inquired.



“I don’t know”, Tara replied, “That’s way up there. We’ve never gone any higher than a few feet.”



“Can you do it?” Willow asked again, when Tara didn’t have an answer, she tried, “Could you do it if I helped?”



“Willow, no dark magick.”



“That’s not what I meant.” The redhead clarified, “I meant just you and me, focusing together… could we do it?”



“I don’t know”, Tara admitted, “We could try.”



“Let’s go.”



Willow led Tara to the stairs access. They paused to look up the enormous staircase, realizing just how far up they had to go.



“Why do I suddenly feel like I’m in an M.C. Escher painting?” Willow quipped, nervously. “Ready?” she asked, turning to face her wife.



“Ready.”



They wrapped their arms around each other in a warm embrace, closing their eyes and concentrating only on the closeness of themselves. Slowly, almost hesitantly at first, they felt their feet relax as they began to rise up off the ground. They sensed their continued ascent as they rose higher and higher. But, a little before they had reached the halfway mark, around 300 feet up, they stalled out.



“What happened”, asked Willow, looking around.



“Out of gas”, Tara offered.



“We have to keep going.” Stated the redhead.



“I know”, agreed Tara, “but how?”



“I’m not su…” Willow suddenly gripped the blonde more tightly. “Tara, we’re starting to fall.”



“I know”, she replied, her voice catching in her throat.



“Kiss me”, Willow ordered.



“What?” Tara was confused.



“Just…kiss me.”



Tara obeyed and took Willow’s mouth in her own. The redhead responded, kissing back passionately. The wiccan’s lips parted, letting her wife inside. Tongues slid over one another, wrestling. Both women started to become aroused, which cause them to arise (literally) and they managed to float the rest of the way to the top of the stairwell, landing safely in front of the door to the observation deck.



The lovers gently broke apart, breathing heavily and looking into each other’s eyes.



“Good call”, said Tara, breathless.



“Thanks”, Willow replied, “It just kind of came to me.” They regarded each other a moment longer, before the mood became serious again. “Here we go.” Tara nodded, and Willow slowly opened the door, peering into the darkness beyond.



Willow led the way, battle ready, as Tara followed closely behind. They found another short staircase, leading up to the roof, and they climbed the stairs as quickly and silently as possible. They arrived at the rooftop door, and paused a moment to listen to the activity going on outside. They could hear Emily crying, wailing desperately, and the sound caused both women’s hearts to fall into their stomachs.



“We have to get out there”, Tara cried, almost trying to push past Willow to get to the door.



“Wait”, Willow said, stopping her, “Baby, just wait a minute… listen…”



They both trained their ears on the door, and found they were able to make out a conversation underneath Emily’s cries.



“Can’t you get her to stop that incessant wailing?” A voice that sounded like Kris’ demanded.



“We’ve tried everything”, a male voice, John’s, replied.



“She wants her mother”, Tina explained.



“It doesn’t matter”, Kris bit out, “In a few moments she won’t have a mother anymore. Give her to me.”



“No.” answered John firmly.



“What?”, Kris growled. “You dare to refute me?!”



“We want what you promised us”, Tina declared. “We want our reward.”



“Oh yes”, said Kristal, “The simple matter of compensation. Well, I will give you both your reward once you have turned over that which I am rewarding you for. Give. Me. The. Child.”



“Willow…” Tara pleaded anxiously.



Willow nodded and yanked open the door, charging through. “I’ve got a better idea”, she said, addressing Tina and John, who were just about to hand the baby to Kristal, “Why don’t you give her to me?”



“Kill her”, Kristal ordered calmly.



John charged and Tina stepped aside, still holding the child in her arms. Tara stayed hidden behind the stairwell door, watching Tina, and waiting for her opportunity to move. John dove onto Willow, knocking them both to the ground and causing the redhead to drop the battle-axe next to her head. John wrapped his hands around the young girl’s neck, intent on squeezing the life out of her. Willow reached up with her hands, clawing it his face, cutting into his skin, causing him to bleed… Willow blinked, causing him to bleed blue blood!



“You’re not human”, she stated, straining to speak through John’s strangulations.



“No, I’m not”, he replied, almost proudly.



“Good for me”, Willow growled. Suddenly John’s eyes shot wide open in pain, he looked down to his left side, surprised to see Willow’s axe stuck half-way through his torso. He rolled off of the redhead and fell to the side, dead. “Bad for you.” The redhead finished, returning to her feet and removing the axe from John’s side.



“The child!” Kristal demanded of Tina. The woman hesitantly handed Emily over to the brunette, who took the baby roughly into her arms, inspiring a new stream of wails and screams. “Augh! It would be worth killing this thing just to silence it!”



“You let her go!” Tara cried, coming out from her place of hiding. “She is not a thing! She is our child! We love her!”



“Oh look”, Kristal sighed, apparently bored with the situation, “the whole family has arrived. How quaint. Well, let me tell you a little something about love…”



“Save it, Gothragl!” Willow yelled, “We know your stupid sob story! And you know what?! Been there! Done that! It’s happened to us all! And just because you can’t get over it, doesn’t mean that you have the right to take the whole world down with you!”



“You mock my pain!?” Kristal howled, infuriated.



“Yes, as matter of fact, I do”, Willow admitted. “Now give her back to us.”



“You’re too late”, Kristal replied pompously, “The time for the summoning has come.”



“No!” Tara cried out.



She and Willow watched helplessly as Kristal’s shape began to bend and twist, morphing into a large, green lizard-like monster with five heads.



Five heads?!, Willow thought frantically, Which one is the right one? Which one to I cut off?



Gothragl raised the screaming infant up to the sky. “I call upon the end times of ‘Revelations’, the apocalypse, I summon Cthulu to this place of death…”



“Willow”, Tara gasped, powerless to move.



“The knives!” Willow directed. Tara nodded and drew the two knives from her belt as Willow started to charge the demon, battle-axe raised and ready to strike. Tina ran forward, meaning to stop the redhead. But Willow, so intent and focused on her target, merely tossed the woman aside with such force that Tina flew over the side of the tower, falling to her death. Meanwhile Tara gently tossed the blades into the air, holding them there with her mind, pausing only a split second before propelling them magickly and at lightening speed toward Gothragl’s chest, where they imbedded into what should have been his heart.



The demon staggered only slightly, regaining his composure and laughing menacingly, “Fools”, it said, its voice echoing like four, “You cannot strike a thing through the heart when it does not have one.”



“No”, said Willow, arriving in front the creature, “But you can kill almost anything by cutting off its head.”



Gothragl was suitably amused. “Go ahead”, he laughed, “Take your pick.”



“Thanks”, said Willow, “That’s awful cordial of you.” She reared back and struck the axe blade through the second-to-last head on her right.



Gothragl wavered, his remaining four heads looking down on Willow in surprise. The mouths opened trying to speak, but no sound came out. Eight eyes rolled back into their corresponding skulls, and the demon fell backwards off the tower, dropping Emily. Willow dove, catching her child safely in her arms. Taking a moment to steel herself, she quickly carried Emily back over to Tara, holding her closely and cooing softly to try and calm the distressed child.



“How did you know”, asked Tara, taking Emily into her arms, causing the babe to quiet almost instantly. “How did you know which one was the right head?”



“At first I wasn’t sure”, Willow admitted, “But then, I just cut off the only one that wasn’t talking.”



Tara laughed and cried at the same time, kissing Willow furiously, and then swiftly returning her attention to the child in her arms. “Baby, you’re safe now”, she wept, caressing Emily’s head and face, “You’re safe…”



Willow gently put her arm around her wife, holding her close and urging her to the door. “Let’s go home”, she said softly. Tara nodded in agreement, and allowed herself to lean into Willow’s embrace as they left the rooftop of The Space Needle, not once looking back.



*******



Willow looked up to see Tara enter the bedroom from the hall.



“Is she asleep?” She asked.



“MmHm”, Tara nodded. “Right away. She was exhausted.”



“Tara, we have to talk”, Willow stated.



“I know”, Tara replied. Willow leaned up against the dresser as Tara sat down on the bed. They both remained silent for a long moment.



“It’s not fair”, Willow finally spoke up.



“What isn’t?” Tara asked.



“Emily will never be able to choose what she wants to be”, Willow clarified, “Her path is set… She’s the next slayer.”



“I know”, Tara said again, simply.



“It’s not the life I wanted for our daughter, Tara”, Willow continued. “It’s not a life I would want for anyone… even Buffy.”



“How… How will we know when she’s called”, Tara questioned softly.



“When Faith dies.”



“But, Faith’s in jail, right? For killing that man.”



“Yes”, Willow answered simply.



“Well, as long as she’s in there she’s… I mean, she can take care of herself, right?” Willow remained silent. “Maybe it will never even happen”, Tara offered.



The redhead looked her wife in the eye. “Tara”, she said, “What are the odds of us being that lucky…”



“I don’t know”, the blonde admitted, “I guess that’s why they’re called odds.”



Willow couldn’t help but laugh at that a little. “God”, she said, sighing into the air, “It’s like, no matter where you go… there you are…”



“Will”, Tara continued, “What are we going to do?”



Willow thought to herself for a few moments before posing, “The way I see it we have two choices… We can either stay here in Seattle and live in a state of denial so that when she’s called she’s completely unprepared… or…”



“We go home to Sunnydale”, Tara presumed.



“Where she can learn from the best”, Willow finished. “And maybe, just maybe, she’ll still have a chance…”



“To be whatever she wants to be”, Tara said, completing the thought.



Willow smiled sadly at her wife. Tara stood and crossed over to her, wrapping her arms around her in a tender embrace. They kissed deeply for a few moments before Tara pulled slightly away.



“She’ll be okay”, she soothed. Willow nodded, her gaze low. “Hey”, Tara continued, getting Willow to look up into her eyes, “She’s strong.”



“Strong like an Amazon?” Willow asked, smiling softly.



“Strong like an Amazon”, Tara confirmed.



They continued to hold each other for a long time, each lost in their own fears, hands caressing softly. Willow tightened her embrace, desperately trying to find solace, hot tears welling up in her eyes. She buried her face in the soft flesh of her wife’s neck and sighed heavily. Tara tightened her grip in response, continuing to stroke her wife’s back, her own heart aching.



“Shhh, darling.” She soothed, trying to ease Willow’s anxiety. Tara pulled away slightly, taking her wife’s hand, she led her across the room to the bed. With benevolent touches, Tara untied the knot of her wife’s robe and slipped it off, leaning forward to place a few kisses on the Willow’s collarbone, removing her own robe in the process.



Willow teetered a bit, the close contact stirring heated sensations from deep within. Unable to hold herself up any longer, she fell onto the bed with a soft thump, weighted with worry and defeat. Tara flicked the light switch off and crawled into bed, drawing the covers up, she settled down nuzzling sweetly into her wife’s neck. They rested against each other in silence until a muffled cry came over the baby monitor, interrupting the tranquility. Both women turned their ears toward the sound, waiting to see if the small fussy cries would escalate, ready to bring comfort to their daughter if warranted. The cries softened and faded out, a sure sign Emily had relented to sleep once again. Willow smiled to herself, realizing that no matter what the future held, her baby was safe right now.



“We can do this.” Willow stated her thoughts aloud, reassuring herself.



“Yeah.” Tara lifted her head and gently cupped Willow’s cheek, stroking it with her thumb. She drew the redhead closer, lips converging into a slow, languid dance, savoring the taste of one another. Willow shuddered as she felt her wife’s thigh move between her legs, awakening her body to life. She raised her hips, high-wrought emotions compelling her to action. Tara responded by quickening the pace of the kiss, beginning to rock back and fourth, carefully, tenderly.



After a few delicate moments they parted, heated breath washing over each other’s lips. Tara lowered her head and nibbled at the silky skin of Willow’s neck and chest, pressing the full weight of her thigh into Willow’s center. She lowered her hand to Willow’s stomach and rested it, continuing her compassionate rocking motions.



Willow closed her eyes in surrender, she wrapped her arms around the blonde, squeezing gently. There, in the silent dark of night, they took comfort in each other. Hands and lips caressing softly, they melted into each other wholly, taking shelter, giving of themselves completely.



*******



Three months later, Willow, Tara and Emily arrived back home in Sunnydale. The entire Scooby gang, including Giles who had flown over from England just for the occasion, met them at the train station.



Both girls were happy to be home, and they accepted their friends’ warm hugs and welcome home’s with grateful smiles and tears. But no one could shake the melancholy haze that clouded the entire group with the knowledge that little Emily’s fate had already been chosen.



Willow and Tara moved back in with Buffy, reclaiming their old room and converting Dawn’s now often unused room into a nursery for their baby.



The years passed by quickly and suddenly Emily was four years old. One day, she brought a note home from her preschool teacher requesting a conference. Concerned, both women took the day off from work to attend.



They arrived at the school early, and met with the teacher, Ms. Pendergast, before class.



“Thank you for responding so quickly”, Ms. Pendergast said, inviting the two of them to sit.



“We’re both very concerned to know if Emily is causing some sort of problem in the classroom”, Willow explained.



“I wouldn’t call it a problem so much as a very active imagine”, the teacher stated.



“When has an imagination ever been a bad thing in a young child”, Tara questioned.



“Oh, hardly ever”, said Ms. Pendergast, “We encourage our students to be very creative. It’s just that… sometimes a child’s imagination gets away from them and they start to believe things that aren’t necessarily true. Like the bogeyman for example.”



Tara and Willow shared a quick glance.



“Last week”, Emily’s teacher continued, “We were playing a game called ‘What I Want to Be…’ The children were supposed to come up with the various jobs or careers they would like to do when they grow-up…”



“Yes”, said Willow, urging the woman to continue.



“Well, it’s really rather strange”, Ms. Pendergast began again, “When I asked Emily what she wanted to be, she said that she ‘wanted to be a slayer and kill vampires like her Godmommy’. Now, that just doesn’t sound like a healthy fantasy to me. Does it you?”



Willow and Tara only smiled and looked at each other, joining hands, and trying very hard not to laugh.



“She can be”, Willow began.



“Whatever she wants to be”, Tara finished.





End.







"Promise me you'll never be linear." "On my trout."



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fic: No Matter Where You Go....
PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2002 9:53 am 
Thats just begging for a sequal.

'It's good to be a chicken casserole'-Sass, answering darkness

'My heart is cleverer then I and it knows what to do.'-MC Legends of the Kiss



Top
  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fic: No Matter Where You Go....
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:56 am 
Offline
2. Floating Rose
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 08, 2005 3:56 am
Posts: 27
Location: Netherlands
I really was blown away by this fic! It all just fit together, and allthough it was a long read, it didn't get boring anywhere. I also loved the idea that their child would be the next Slayer (and I liked the end, that that was what Emily really wanted to be!).

Great job!!

_________________
When things fall apart, you put them back together. Not give up.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fic: No Matter Where You Go....
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:28 pm 
Offline
2. Floating Rose
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 10:27 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Ohio
Just wanted to say LOVED the fic snd all your others. You are very talented. I guess the apple doesn't fall to far form the Benson tree. Good luck in all you do. :pride

_________________
Tara~ I'm cured I want the boys!
Willow~ Do I have to fight to keep you? Cuz I'm not large with the butch.
Once More With Feeling


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fic: No Matter Where You Go....
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 11:49 am 
Offline
5. Willowhand
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2006 6:14 am
Posts: 253
Location: in her heavenly dreams
Love it! love the way will changes "buffys gooddaugther" for "Baby Emily" Dont know why but I feel it funny. And the end is awsome!!! Love it!

_________________
Do I act like the big knowledge woman?

Brianna: I will never regret!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fic: No Matter Where You Go....
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:08 pm 
Offline
1. Blessed Wannabe
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 7:22 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Currently restrained by faries.
There seems to be a large (important looking) piece of the story missing...
Please help!

_________________
In a May 28th 2003 news story, a spokesperson for a child advocacy group offered this advice to prevent children from dying of heatstroke because they have been left in a hot car:
"Put a briefcase or something important in the back seat so you will remember that your child is in the car."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Fic: No Matter Where You Go....
PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 7:18 am 
Offline
3. Flaming O
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:22 am
Posts: 110
Location: The Netherlands
this was a great story. The final battle could have been longer,but otherwise i really enjoyed this fic. Amazing details btw.

_________________
***I will make me a cabin at your gate and call upon my soul within the house... I rush into the secret house. Rage More***


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

W/T Love 24/7 since July 2000
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group