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

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 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER ELEVEN - 10/13/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:38 am 
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23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
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Because Kajun begs so sweetly... here is part 11 a few hours (a day really!) early.


Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter Eleven
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: Buffy seeks out Tara and finds out about what she thinks Diana is. Willow returns in the next part.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: Ooh, this was a long one. Long enough I had to split it up. Once again, I just enjoy playing with other people knowing Tara before and better than Willow. And I think it’s quite natural that they’d wonder about her, given that she had the Gem (even if she gave it up without being asked.)
This part see’s the introduction of a phrase that you will see over and over and over… I didn’t deliberately plan it that way, it just happened, but in the end I added it as a theme. You’ll know it when you’ve seen it a few times.
Finally, one of the benefits of redraft is that you can go back, reading afresh, and pick up on things you pushed in previous parts… So here, I was able to go back to the rumour that Willow started about Parker – and Buffy – that may now have gotten a little out of control. Just for laughs…
Thanks to: After several years of giving thanks to various people for lots of things, doing it in every part has led me to some quite bizarre sets of thanks, nothing to do with the story in itself, but that just make my life easier while I’m writing or posting. Now, I’m going to lightly chastise someone instead. I mean, I like word processors, I couldn’t write the way I do without them (I tried to write in my teens on paper but just went back and back over the same page and had to re-write it for every correction because I am so anal about that), but really… Word just breaks at about 400,000 words and a thousand pages. Don’t they realise big fanfic is out there? So thanks for the word processor, let’s just have more capacity please!



“Oh, hi.”

Tara looked up from her books, meeting the face of the girl – the Slayer - she’d given the ring to. It was the first time she’d seen her in the last week – or was it two - since all that had happened.

Troubling weeks no matter how many of them.

“H-Hi, it’s Buffy right?” She looked around. “You were – you were saying ‘hi’ to me, right?”

No one else seemed to be around, but it seemed best to check.

“Oh, sure. Everyone knows Buffy. Everyone’s heard something about Buffy. What have you heard, by the way?”

“J-just your name,” Tara said, confused not only by her sudden appearance but by how this conversation had started out. “You told me, when we met. Should I have heard anything else? I’m sorry if I didn’t – don’t know…”

Okay, she did know that Buffy was the near mythical Slayer and the more she looked into, well, everything mystical the more often a reference to that figure cropped up. The Slayer, like the creatures that she hunted, seemed to be drawn to places like Sunnydale.

It was a chicken and egg thing, she was sure. And even if Buffy sounded surprised to see her, it was easy to think that maybe it wasn’t all that accidental. Did a Slayer really get taken by surprise?

Buffy shook her head. “No. No. There’s nothing else to hear. Nothing at all. And if you do hear something, maybe involving a boy or… well, just know that rumours are rarely true and definitely not true if itching or… anything else like that comes up. Itches. Rashes. Discharge -

“In fact, it’s best if you don’t listen to rumours at all. If you did though… don’t pass it on. Especially not to any cute boys.”

Not knowing any cute boys except by passing them in hallways, she thought that was an easy promise to make. “I promise. No cute boys.” But… what was it she might here? Because it seemed kind of… eww.

Buffy seemed relieved by her promise. “I was hoping to see you again, figured that if you’d been in the library once then you might show up here again.”

“I come here nearly every day,” Tara said. “It’s… the library.” Where else was she supposed to get all the books she needed for her courses and papers?

More to the point where did Buffy get the books she needed?

“Well, what do you know? I guess it takes all sorts. But I wanted to see you so I could thank you, really. I don’t think I did that before. And you were nice when I was a bit… well, I was down. Not rundown and definitely not suffering from anything physical – and I didn’t need medication. For anything. But I was down and you were nice and… you gave me a one of a kind ring that’s pretty special to look after.”

“It-it’s not actually,” Tara said. She’d been looking into it, even after Diana had told her about it.

“Not what?”

“Not actually a one of a kind,” she explained. “Or maybe it is now, but there are lots of references to rings and gems like that, if you know where to look.”

“You don’t know someone called Giles do you? Ex-librarian?” Buffy asked, looking suspicious.

“I d-don’t think so. I think I’d remember.”

“Good. So you… do you know what the ring is? Was? You know about the ring?”

“Rings,” Tara said again, emphasising the plural. “They’re the tears of dying Dryads, caught in the sunlight they set like amber but as hard as diamond. What people did with those later, that’s what gave them the names that they got. Gem of Amara. Ring of the Summer Herald, that sort of thing.”

“Okay, I feel like we’re in the right sort of place to have things explained to me. You wouldn’t believe how big a chunk of my life that is. But… what’s a Dryad? And do you mind if I sit down?”

“We’re not really supposed to talk in here,” Tara said, looking around in case anyone was already bothered.

“Nyah,” Buffy waved her concern off and took a seat anyway.

“But it’s a library…”

“Like I said, I’ve spent more time in libraries than most people, though… not for the same reasons and if I learned one thing it’s that the librarian’s bark is - almost always - worse than his bite.”

Tara wanted to protest further, but what could she do against such a well-constructed argument? Up to now though it hadn’t usually been a problem for her to get people not to talk in her presence. Or just to go away…

What she didn’t really need now was to be questioned about the ring. Looked like it was going to happen though. And that would lead to questions about…

The Goddess.

She hadn’t seen Diana in more than a week, not since the revelation. She’d spent most of that time going about her daily business, studying, looking after her room and things, hanging out with Annie… And every waking moment that wasn’t otherwise occupied wondering about – or researching – the implications of what she’d found out.

There was – as best as she could tell – an ancient Goddess right here in Sunnydale.

And she was leading their Wicca Group.

What was up with that? It definitely hadn’t been part of USC’s college prospectus.

“So, I’m not good with subtle and so I’ll just dive right in. Where’d you get the ring?” Buffy asked.

In a moment of panic, Tara actually considered telling the unvarnished truth. But that’d make her sound like a crazy person or – worse – send the Slayer after the Goddess. Who knew how that would turn out? And was it really so bad to have a Goddess here in Sunnydale? Always assuming that was what Diana really was?

Just because she said she was didn’t make it necessarily so. But then, as Daddy had always said, ‘if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck then sometimes… it’s just a duck.’ He’d been talking about something else, but the point was probably still valid.

Artemis might have been her name, but Diana was easier to live with these days… And the Goddess was right, there had been plenty of names for her through the ages. Until – not that long ago – a fragment of the nascent Wicca movement had constructed itself around her name.

Dianic Wiccanism.

It wasn’t what was practised here at UC Sunnydale, but was the combination of this place and that factor what had drawn her to them? Surely it couldn’t have been belief though because most of the people who had turned up to those early meetings just… well, they hadn’t. She couldn’t believe the previous year had been any different either.

Those girls – and they’d largely been girls – had been there for other reasons. Or was it just that if enough people voiced devotion – even if they didn’t feel it – this was what happened? A Goddess showed up.

The sources – such as they were – conflicted and, being a college library, most of them cast gods – any gods – as little more than myths anyway.

So, really, the ring wasn’t at the forefront of her mind right now. That was officially someone else’s problem.

Not that she could say that to the Slayer.

“There was a v-vampire - ”

“Tall? Blonde hair with a lot of product? Looked like he’d dipped his head in a vat of peroxide too many times?” Buffy asked.

“His name was Sp-Spike,” Tara said, trying to be helpful. “You knew him then?”

“Well enough that I can appreciate him being forcibly put in the past tense.”

“Shhhhh.” The hiss of the dreaded librarian. Tara really didn’t want to test his bite – no matter what Buffy said - and lowered her voice even further.

“Did you know him before he was - ”

“Oh, God no! How old do you think I am?”

“Not that old, I guess,” she said and it seemed to mollify the Slayer. Stupid… no girl over the age of seventeen probably wanted to be thought older than she was. Except if she was trying to order a drink.

What Buffy had said though. ‘God’… Most people, maybe including her, believe in another God. If Diana was real, if she really was the Goddess… what does that mean for everyone else and their beliefs? Might it not turn into an enormous clash? Wars had been fought over much, much less and – reading between the lines – deities hadn’t been immune to fighting amongst themselves either.

In fact they’d seemed to spend most of their time doing just that… The Whole Greek pantheon, later co-opted and renamed by the Romans for political reasons, had come from the Gods who’d turned on their own parents. They’d warred with the Titans and struck them down… And that was before they even started on each other.

Belief in the Goddess had been a nebulous concept for her until now. It wasn’t that’s she didn’t believe, because she had, but the Goddess had never been personified. She’d just been… everywhere. All around them. Plants, animals… nature and the world as a whole. It was the essence of her beliefs and what Momma had taught her. More like Gaia than Diana, really.

But Momma had never expected her little girl to be on first name terms with the Goddess herself.

If that was what was happening. Was that easier to believe? Did she want to believe it on some level? If so… why the doubts?

“He’d been around a while then?” she asked, returning to the conversation about the vampire rather than the one she was having in her head.

“More than a hundred years,” Buffy said. “The last two or three of those being a complete pain in my neck. Pain in the neck, get it?”

“Huh?”

“Vampires, they bite… Never mind. So you got it from him. Did you kill him?”

Buffy had sort of sidled up to that last part, the question. Slipped it in there.

“Not me,” Tara admitted. It was opening up a clear line of enquiry, but… what was she supposed to do? Take credit for something she hadn’t done? It seemed more dangerous to falsely claim to kill vampires than to admit that she’d had no idea if she could even try to do that.

“But you were there?”

She nodded.

“And you took the ring?”

“Yes.”

“Pardon?”

“Yes,” Tara said, a little louder. The librarian seemed to have moved on even if Buffy hadn’t been bothered about him. Talking – loudly at least – in libraries was something you just didn’t do.

“And then you brought it to me, so who told you…?”

“I saw you, from a distance. That night, I mean. You arrived at the crypt just after we – I left. I hope you don’t think I did this – I mean, I’m not much of a fighter. Definitely not when it comes to vampires and things like that – I wouldn’t know where to start. I tried to do self-defence once and… I hurt someone.”

“That can be the idea,” Buffy pointed out.

“She was just watching at the side,” Tara said. “I was supposed to hurt the dummy. There was flailing and… it wasn’t very pretty. They asked me not to come back again until I learned to be coordinated.”

“Sounds like someone I know,” Buffy said, smiling. “She calls herself kind of a spaz. Do you want some pointers on how to kill a vampire?”

This was the Slayer after all, but… “Actually, no,” Tara said. “I… kind of like the idea of not having to do that.” Wasn’t that what Buffy was for? Her purpose? I slay vampires therefore I am?

“This is Sunnydale,” Buffy said with a shrug. “We’re pretty much ground zero for everything that goes bump in the night. In fact, we put the bump into that saying. Without this place there would be no bumping in the night. Wait… Okay, sounded… just wrong. But it’s this place, let’s just leave it at that.”

Tara smiled too. Looked like someone else managed to talk herself into knots from time to time. It was reassuring to know that the super strong, super dextrous girl with the long, beautiful hair wasn’t actually perfect. She talked in libraries too.

“So I have to ask,” Buffy continued. “Wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t. Who did kill Spike? Not that I mind because it’s always a good thing when someone like that is turned to a fine powder, but if it wasn’t you…”

Ah. That. Of course it had been inevitable after she’d given Buffy that opening. And what happened when she answered it?

What happened if she didn’t? What was Buffy going to do, slay her?

One day, maybe… but not just yet. She had at least another birthday before that became an issue. At least she hoped so…

“I-I didn’t even see the ring or know what it was. Not until she told me.”

“Who?”

“Diana.”

“Diana?” Buffy shook her head as if she’d been expecting to hear some other name. “Who’s Diana?”

Diana

“I know, I heard you but - I’m sorry, Diana who? Am I supposed to know her?”

Well, she hadn’t considered it either when she’d heard the name, not even when she saw some of the evidence. It wasn’t a simple thing, even in a world of vampires, demons and things that went bump in the night to accept that a Goddess might be walking the earth. Right here amongst them.

The Diana,” she said. “The famous one.”

“Diane Sawyer? No. She’s – You mean the Princess? She’s ghost?”

“N-no…” How did she put this? How did she start that off? Maybe just keep it simple. “The Goddess.”

It was a relief actually, not to be the only one who knew. It meant she could sigh, some tension left her and she waited for Buffy to come up with the plan that would assure them both that Diana was who she said she was and – more importantly – that she really did have good things in mind. Because whether the Goddess was who Tara thought she was – or not – that didn’t mean she was a good thing. Did it?

All through history people had done both good and bad things in the name of religion – better or worse than the tenets of their faiths. She didn’t suppose for a minute that the Goddess she believed in was the same as the woman who ran the Wicca Group. Because… running a Wicca Group hadn’t ever been part of the Goddess-deal she’d been taught about.

She was already noticing lots of divergence and differences between what she might have expected and the real thing. Over the years she, Momma and everyone else had more than idealised the Goddess, they’d turned her from a person into a concept. Mixed her up with the whole natural world.

The real thing was impatient, didn’t suffer fools – or vampires - and seemed more concerned with ensuring that everything fitted the order that she believed was right than empowering anyone to do things for themselves.

It wasn’t that Diana was a disappointment as such. But she was definitely different and that had led Tara to stay away from her last week. Time to think, an opportunity to do so outside of the woman’s influence… The Goddess’ influence.

“Goddess?”

“Y-Yes.”

“As in God?”

“Yes.”

“You seriously expect me to believe that Spike was killed by God?”

“No, the Goddess. Diana. She was called Artemis by the Greeks.”

“Artawhosisnow?”

“Artemis.”

“So who called her Diana?” Buffy asked.

“The Romans, it’s interesting – actually – the Romans were - ”

“No offence, Lara, but I can get the history lesson from my friends. More than one of them. You’re really sitting there and telling me that there’s a Goddess in town and she killed Spike?”

Tara nodded. “It’s Tara, actually, but don’t worry, everyone gets it wrong.” You can call me Lara if you like.

“Oh. I’m sorry. Look, well, I won’t get it wrong again. Tara-not-Lara. So this Goddess did him in then?”

She nodded.

“Well, get out of here!”

“Y-you believe me?”

Buffy nodded. “I believe that you believe it, whether I believe that your belief is enough for everyone else to believe… Wait, hold on. I’m doing a Willow. Look, if you believe it that’s cool – everyone gets to believe in whatever they choose. Me… I don’t believe in much when it comes to God, Gods or Goddesses. It’s like they said in that movie, whoever is supposed to be in control, they’re like an absentee landlord.”

She must’ve missed that cinematic experience, she supposed, but she took the point anyway.

“I always believed – do you mind me explaining?” Not everyone wanted to hear from her.

“Go right ahead, I’m experience at that – listening.”

Oh… strange thing to say. She took a breath and focused on getting her words out. “I always believed that the Goddess had been real, but like a lot of people it’s the ideals that matter. In Wicca - ”

“You’re a witch?”

“I’m a Wiccan,” Tara corrected. Who is also a witch…

“Isn’t that like, all women who don’t eat meat or shave their legs?” Buffy wondered.

She pressed her calves together beneath her skirt and found that, yes, she was a touch stubbly at the moment. But only since she’d never had much cause – either relationship or fashion based – to be strict about that. She shifted - uncomfortable to prove the assumption - but then ploughed onwards. “I enjoy a steak. But in Wicca, the Goddess is an ideal of our own empowerment. For some that’s about what you might call witchcraft but really it’s more about ritual magic. For others it’s the sisterhood.”

“Uh-uh. With you so far. Sisterhood. Empowerment.”

Tara could tell what she was thinking.

“Female power isn’t the same as… well, it’s not the same as being a lesbian,” she pointed out. She was quite content with her sexuality but she’d have to admit that since Momma died the other side of that statement had been lacking. “And Wicca isn’t an exclusively female thing anyway. Mostly, but not exclusively. There’s no reason it needs to be.”

“There are brothers in the sisterhood?”

“Umm, yeah.”

“And now this Goddess of yours is here…?”

“You don’t believe me?”

“I believe you, Tara,” Buffy said. “See – I got your name right. That’s how much I believe.You look honest, you don’t look insane and the ring bought you a lot of credit. I thanked you for that right? It’s going to do a lot of good for a friend of mine, but I’ve seen too much to think that some woman who walks up and claims to be a Roman Goddess is going to be the real thing. Most likely she’s running some sort of scam.”

“She has power,” Tara said. “I’ve seen it.”

“My friend can make a pencil spin in the air,” Buffy said, “Without touching it, I mean. It’s easy to be impressed by something like this.”

Tara clamped her mouth shut, mostly because she couldn’t prove what she was saying, but more because there was one, very good, reason that she didn’t want to admit what she knew about real power and why vampires and witches and demons didn’t shock her like they would most people.

If she didn’t – totally – trust the woman who now claimed to be the Goddess that she’d always been taught to revere the example of, well that meant she couldn’t just trust the Slayer either. Someone who might easily be sworn to do something about… Well, someone like her.

It sounded like the sort of thing a Slayer would be sworn to. Killing demons.

No one must know Tara, you know how they’ll treat you if they do.

But there had always been rumours about their family, more than a few whispers that had ascribed religious significance to the problem. Or at least religious fears.

Witches hadn’t just been hunted down in New England and the fear remained amongst those who practised that those days could come again… The tyranny of the intolerant.

Maybe in California, maybe here in Sunnydale, a girl could spin a pencil with just the power of her mind, but where she came from… that was something you kept to yourself and hid away in your room like your guiltiest secret. The only time you brought the magic out was around someone you could trust implicitly or when the need was really great and there was just no other way to do something really important and selfless.

That was what they said, that most of the women who’d been burned and persecuted hadn’t even been witches at all. Just people who knew to use the environment to heal or perhaps knew how to make the wrong enemies. In her cruder moments, Momma had suggested that as most were women there were a good portion of them who’d probably refused to open their legs. Either at all or to certain, powerful men.

The men and women who’d really had the power though… they’d gone underground quick enough or simply stopped practising.

Only letting their daughters in on the secret and then telling them not to show the world what they were unless the need was great. And why daughters? Why not sons?

Well, just look at Donny…

“Whoever this woman is, Tara,” Buffy said. “I don’t think she’s what she says she is. I’ve been wrong, I’ve been wrong plenty of times about what I know. But I’m usually right about what I feel… At least until a few days ago. Point is, if she’s a Goddess I’ll eat my shoe.”

“Wh-what is she then?”

“A demon perhaps?” Buffy suggested. Looking around for effect. “They can look like anything you know? Even a Goddess. Or… maybe us. There could be a demon in here right now and I wouldn’t necessarily have a clue.”

Tara tried very hard to keep her face neutral, not to either freeze up nor to run away. “There are sp-spells that can track a demon.”

“Really?” Buffy asked. “Wow. That could’ve made things so much easier the last few years. What was up with Will not knowing that?”

“It’s not something you just know,” Tara said. “A lot of what we used to know was lost… handed down from person to person, not in books.”

“I guess. Slayer lore too. There’s all this stuff I’m supposed to know, but I just lost it. Seemed easier somehow to hit, kick and stab things and then worry about the rest later.”

Tara smiled, using it to hide her concern. The conversation had taken a turn she’d vaguely feared but hadn’t thought would come about. That’d been short-sighted, obviously. It was like Daddy said, she always had to be on her guard. Especially when he wasn’t here to look out for her.

“You know, Tara, if this Goddess of yours is causing trouble then… might be I have to do something about it.”

“I-I think that if she’s causing trouble then you can probably rule out her being what I think she is.”

“I’m glad we understand each other.”

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

_________________
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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER ELEVEN - 10/13/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:37 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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Oh me, oh my!

Lol @ brothers in the sisterhood :) !

I really like the idea of Tara and Buffy getting to know each other first. Buffy has mentioned Willow several times during their conversation. I wonder how much Tara will already know about Willow when they FINALLY meet.

It's tough when mere mortals don't live up to our expectations. So, it must super-suck when your Goddess falls short of the mark. I'm glad Tara told Buffy what SHE believes to be the truth about Diana. And, it's far from surprising that Buffy thinks otherwise. Hopefully, Lady Tarzan won't have to kick her arse all over Sunnydale to make her a believer.

Great update, Katharyn. The humor was on point *especially Buffy's worries about her fabled STD*.

More, more, more :banana .


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER ELEVEN - 10/13/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 6:19 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Katharyn, Thanks for the early update! Tara sure was trying not to reveal what she knows about Lady Tarzan but Buffy kept prying bits and pieces out of her until there wasn’t a choice. Even with all Buffy’s experience slaying and researching demons, pop culture is still foremost in her thoughts. Yes Buffy.. Diane Sawyer killed Spike and mutilated my "favorite" unicorn lover… totally logical conclusion to draw. Hilarious!

Arg. Tara still has a long, long way to go. Thinking it’s okay for Buffy to continue calling her Lara? Little things like that are heartbreaking. Thankfully, Buffy finally got it right. But.. will she remember Tara’s correct name once she’s left the library?

I’m looking forward to several meetings. Willow and Tara, naturally. :D Lady Tarzan VS Buffy. The Slayer will be probably be super jealous of Diana’s always perfect, even during/after a successful hunt/kill, outfit. That fact alone may be enough to convince Buffy the woman is a Goddess. LOL . Willow face to face with Diana. Will she sense great power like Tara does? :)

Buffy may not believe Diana is the real deal but will Giles be so quick to dismiss the possibility? Oh.. now I’m wondering if Anya has ever met the Goddess. If not, she’s bound to have a gory tale or two from the gossip files of her Vengeance Demon days.

Great Update.. need I ask? I will anyway.. MORE!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER ELEVEN - 10/13/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:15 pm 
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23. Volumey Text

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You know, I'm not sure how I feel about 'Lady Tarzan' as a nickname. It's not exactly what I had in mind, but then that's the difference between what I write and then you read. There's always a difference :kgeek

Grimm - Brothers in the Sisterhood... yeah. See, I've gone to some pains to include guys in there and for one very good reason. This isn't a 'lesbian thing' however much other people assume it is. Not all witches are lesbians and even more so not all lesbians are witches... Point being, it's not a 'sexual' or 'sexuality' thing that makes this group. Because if it was then I'd have flirting with the edge of TKB rules (if you included Tara in that). So... easy way, keep saying over and over that a) Tara's not into her and that even if other people are it's not a lesbian thing. Even make a joke about it, which works better :)

I have been quite careful with the Buffy and Tara conversations not to give too much away, or at least not in a way that is identifiable as Willow. I don't think Tara's actually paying all that much attention, her mind and her worries are elsewhere. And it's not like Buffy's saying, 'hey, Lara, there's this really cute redhead I can hook you up with.' (Now that would have got her attention!)

Maybe she'd remember down the line... but Buffy's not really priming her for Willow.

The whole 'not what I expected' thing about Diana will go on for a long time. We're still looking at it where I am currently redrafting (up at part 50+ for NMR) and will go further than that. However, when it comes to Tara, she's really not had Buffy's experiences with supernatural things. She's HEARD about them, but not actually come face to face with them. Hush will still be a big deal for her. Different perspective.

The STD... I need to resurrect that somewhere in the future. 'Oh, you're Buffy. I heard...'

Thanks for being first :)

Kajun - I just like you to beg, but if you do it too often it loses it's effect. Like the boy who cried wolf. (On the other hand I always preferred a version of another story, about the finger in the dyke... except that doesn't work until I substitute a girl and... Willow moment.)

Diane Sawyer was actually a very late addition to that scene... I had originally just left it with the Princess, but I thought that was a little too on the nose really, so I looked around for another person with the name (at least partly)

Umm, unicorns... Hmm. You know what they say about unicorns and girls who like them...

Buffy will no longer get Tara's name wrong... (Other people might!)

Some of the meetings that you refer to will certainly be 'events' in the story and receive the focus they deserve (T/W!!) but I think, pretty much, all of those things will happen. So I hope they will satisfy you.

Interesting question you ask about Giles. I'm not sure I've really given him a position. I thought I had, but perhaps I left him sceptically open minded. I think all the scoobs will start from the position 'Nah' and gradually work their way to 'well, this is Sunnydale' and then realise that's not enough. Could be real, could be false BECAUSE it's Sunnydale LOL

And very interesting what you say about Anya... *scurries*

Thanks so much for your support

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER ELEVEN - 10/13/12
PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:21 pm 
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Oh, how I miss early half of the series Buffy. Angst moppet Buffy is not for me. Talk to people and be fair Buffy is my Buffy.

I like that when she says she won't forget Tara's name again, I really feel like she means it. You have no idea how much I miss seeing this Buffy, the sincere earnest one. Like, no idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER ELEVEN - 10/13/12
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:57 am 
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Yeah, Faolan there's definitely something to be said for a Buffy that isn't just looking to be abused and unhappy to even be alive. Just one more reason why there's literally NO redeeming feature to season sux for me. None. Nada. (Don't tell me about musical numbers concerned with breaking the girls apart either!)

Off my soapbox though... Yes, I wanted to get back to that Buffy. She is a little self-involved sometimes, but she thinks she's the star of the show, so that's natural. Just because she's wrong... ;)

And no, she's on team 'her name is Tara' now. She'll correct other people :)

Thanks

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER TWELVE - 10/16/12
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter Twelve
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: Buffy reports back to Giles and Willow on the possibility of a Goddess in Sunnydale. But Willow has other things on her mind.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: So it’s taken a few parts to get there, but we’re bringing in the thoughts and feelings from canon that Willow was going through as Oz pulled away from her. I did promise…
Funnily enough, I just finished the redraft on a segment of New Moon Rising where Willow has just announced ‘it’s complicated’ as I prepared this to post. Some of that has bled over into this part.
And, I suspect, if this was entirely my own story and you’d never seen BTVS, you might think later that the ending of this chapter was clever foreshadowing. Instead it’s just foreshadowing, without the clever part 
Thanks to: I want to give a shout out to whoever and wherever the ‘golf ball through a garden hose’ thing came from. Can anyone tell me without the power of Google? Perhaps I’m in the wrong crowd for that kind of question. LOL.



“So I said, if she’s a Goddess, I’ll eat my shoe,” Buffy said.

“A reasonable wager,” Giles said. “But a shoe?”

“Slayer jaws,” Buffy said. “I can do things with my mouth – no, wait… that’s one of those things I shouldn’t be saying. Will, why aren’t you stopping me?”

“Willow, you do seem distracted?” Giles asked.

“A Goddess. A bet. Buffy might be left with one shoe, indigestion and with Slayer strength she can suck a golf ball through a garden hose.” No one needed to tell her where the conversation had been going, even though she’d been thinking about other things.

“Willow!” Buffy objected, shocked at her.

“Sorry. No, I’m not distracted. Present and correct. Unlike a certain someone.” It was a lie, of course, but she was deflecting. Maybe the garden hose had been a step too far for deflection.

“Xander’s working in a bar so he can buy me pretty things,” Buffy said, revealing a hitherto unknown talent for mimicry of Anya.

“Ah, yes, love’s young dream,” Giles said, clearly not impressed by it either. “But you really do seem rather distracted Willow. Is there something wrong?”

Now there was a sixty-four million dollar question. Was there something wrong? Was there something wrong or was there just something wrong with her? Was she being paranoid? Had love’s young dream worn off either her or her boyfriend?

“I’m fine.”

“So what were we saying?” Buffy asked. “No mention of golf balls. And especially not hoses. Like my reputation’s not bad enough already. Really, where were we?”

“Yadda. Goddess killed Spike. Yadda, yadda. Girl in library told you everything. Yadda, witchcraft. Yadda, bet a shoe she isn’t a Goddess. Umm… no hoses.”

“I think you missed a yadda,” Giles said. “Which I assume are my contributions?”

“It’s not my fault,” Willow said. “I’m biologically pre-determined to hear higher pitches more clearly, so that I can detect a crying baby in my sleep.”

“You weren’t asleep,” Buffy pointed out.

“And you don’t have children,” Giles added. “You don’t even have any siblings.”

No… sleep was going to be a distant thing all night long. Again. Listening to Buffy snoring… It wasn’t what was keeping her awake, just a consequence. And after a while, yeah, it began to grate.

“Are you sure you’re alright, Will?”

Buffy knew her too well, of course, to miss the signs – whatever they were. “Tell you later,” she said. Maybe Buffy could talk her out of her paranoia?

“So, if we can get back to the point…?” Giles suggested. He wasn’t unsympathetic, but like most men he wanted a definite problem he could help fix rather than just ‘I’m down’ or ‘I’m worried.’ He wanted to take her denial at face value and move on.

“Fine. Buffy’s heard there’s a Goddess in town. Sounds kind of unlikely,” Willow said.

“Downright nutty,” Buffy said. “That’s why I offered up a shoe.”

“Now, let’s not go too far,” Giles said. “This Lara - ”

“Her name’s Tara, Giles,” Buffy said, “With a T. I kind of got it wrong before.”

“And there’s a name of power,” Willow commented. “If she’s a witch and her mother named her Tara… she had a lot of confidence in what her abilities would be.”

“That’s rather good, Willow, I had no idea you were so well read on the subject,” Giles interjected.

Even vaguely academic praise didn’t help much at the moment.

“I’m not just about the magic,” she said, shrugging.

“And Tara’s mother could easily just have, you know, just liked the name. Or it could’ve been passed down. How do you think I ended up being ‘Buffy’? There’s been an Elizabeth in my family for as long as anyone can remember. Which, you know, isn’t that long… but there has been.”

“Buffy makes an interesting point though,” Giles said.

“I do?”

“In your own way, as usual.”

“Well, yay me.”

“The point, of course, is that like names, power can be handed down through the generations. Though wild talent can always flourish, much as a child may turn out ginger even though none of her relatives have shown any disposition to it…” He paused, looking at Willow.

“You’ve seen my Mom, right?” Willow reminded him.

“Oh. Once or twice, yes. Anyway, power can spring up from nowhere, call it talent if you will. But there’s considerable evidence to suggest that it also moves through bloodlines and unlike ordinary traits is diluted less… It’s conceivable that this Tara gained her talent in the womb.”

“I saw what you did there,” Buffy said. “Conceivable? Womb?”

Giles for confused for a second or two and then caught on, beaming. “Yes, that’s really rather good, isn’t it? So, anyway, the girl might well have some considerable power.”

“I hate to break this to you, I don’t think there’s a problem with Tara,” Buffy said. “She gave me the Gem of Amara and she did that by tracking me down. Definitely not something a bad guy – or girl – would do. And I haven’t seen either a gingerbread house or a really big oven so I think we can rule out bad-witch in her case. Or even – did I say she was a witch? It’s the whole Goddess part I’m more concerned with.”

“It’s natural,” Willow said. “To focus on what’s right in front of you…”

Like Oz. Like Oz’s fascination with a certain person who unfortunately didn’t look like her name because who would’ve found a foot fungus, or virus or whatever it was – perhaps she needed to be better read on the subject - as appealing or fascinating as he obviously found the girl?

“Yes, quite. Buffy’s right though. If there’s something styling itself as a Goddess in town then we face three distinct and unpalatable possibilities.” He pointed to Buffy first, turning it into a pop-quiz. He knew Buffy hated it when he did that, but it was easier when she went first and had all the options available to her.

Buffy considered. “One – she’s a fraud and tricked these girls into believing her. Motive unknown, but likely not to be great because, why would you pick witches?”

“On behalf of my interest, I say ‘hey!’” Willow told her.

“Present company accepted. But come on, this is Sunnydale.”

“Two?” Giles asked, looking at Willow.

“I don’t know, I guess that she’s benign in some way but still not a real Goddess. Trickery or exaggeration still isn’t a slay-worthy crime. If it was no one would get a job and there are really more important things for me – us – us all to worry about.”

“Yes… quite. The third option,” Giles said while Buffy mouthed ‘we’ll talk’ at her, “is simply that she may very well be what she claims. There’s plenty of scope for it when one considers that one only requires some magical talent and immortality to have achieved that sort of notoriety back in those ancient days of myth and legend.”

“Only…” Willow said. “So you think the Greek pantheon were… what, demons?”

“Quite possibly. Or people who found the keys to eternal life without the damnation associated with a vampire. What is a Goddess anyway? Diana herself is associated, most notably, with the hunt. But also with animals and – to a lesser extent – nature as a whole. Though that’s more of an invention on behalf of modern Wicca though. The rebuilding of her cult, after a fashion, is a fascinating exercise in construction of a religion around something that appears to legitimise it. That was back in the fifties.”

“When you were young?”

“Quite…”

“Here’s a possibility though,” Willow said. Mostly this was because it was the one thing that had been missed out. There were four options, not three. “What if she’s for real. What if all of those Gods were… what if Zeus is up there now tossing thunderbolts while Poseidon sinks ships and this Diana… what does she do?”

“She’s the goddess of hunters, animals, virgins and childbirth.”

“Say what now? How do those two fit together?” Buffy asked.

“Perhaps because she doesn’t abandon the virgins after… well, after they aren’t virgins anymore,” Willow suggested. That could be how she was associated, now, with women more generally?

And at least this Goddess wasn’t anything to do with slutty singers. Slutadite or something like that… Virgin was sounding pretty good right now.

“No, I’m sorry. There’s no world in which being the Goddess of virgins and childbirth actually makes any sense,” Buffy said.

“Not from a modern perspective,” Giles said, “but I’m sure it made a certain amount of sense to those who gave her the responsibilities. Goddess of the Hunt hardly fits any better when you think about it now.”

“Perhaps not,” Buffy said. “But I can kind of get with that one. It might make her my Goddess right? I hunt and there’ve always been Slayers…”

“Yes, I suppose it might,” Giles admitted. “But the question remains what do we do about it?” Giles asked, “though I might as well be talking to myself.”

“No. I’m listening,” Buffy said.

“I hear you,” Willow said, “since you’re talking about me. Look… I don’t know, we don’t know what’s going, we don’t know whether this is a Goddess, a demon or a trickster. We don’t know whether she’s doing good or… something else. We don’t know if this Tara is delusional or making her up anyway. And even if she’s real, we have no idea what to actually do about it. Fair summary?”

“Fair,” Giles agreed.

“So… I don’t know, why don’t we find out?”

“What did you have in mind, Will?”

“Infiltration?”

“Seriously?”

“I was reading,” she said, dragging her mind away from where her mind was taking her – probably unfairly. “There’s this thing called ‘reconnaissance’.”

“Uhuh,” Buffy said. “That sounds crazy difficult to spell. And foreign.”

“Yeah. Well, during this, reconnaissance, people about to go into battle might stop first and try and figure out what they were facing. Crazy, I know and not how we operate but... armies all around the world swear by it.”

Buffy grinned and played along. “Sounds like something Wesley might’ve come up with, but in my own defence I’ve stopped and thought about things more often than… I don’t know… More often than Faith?”

“There are flies that have stopped and thought about things longer than Faith,” Willow pointed out.

There, see… another slut. Verruca and Faith, they had the same vibe about them. Yes, that was definitely who the girl reminded her of. Faith… And look how that had turned out. They’d never gotten along and then Faith had killed someone, turned evil and – perhaps fittingly – gone to work for a man who wanted to turn himself into a giant phallic symbol.

At least Verruca was a singer, not a Slayer. Any danger she presented was to her relationship with Oz.

Thinking of which… Shit.

“Look, I’d do it. The reconnaissance. But… I don’t want to right now.”

“You don’t want to?” Buffy asked, surprised.

Yes, usually she’d have come up with a better reason.

“You’re not alright, are you?” Giles asked, seeing at least that much.

“She’s no immediate threat, whatever she is. I… I have some stuff I want to deal with first.”

“What makes you think that you’re the one who gets to do the recce?” Buffy asked.

“Umm, because this girl Tara already knows you and I bet the Goddess – or whatever she is – does too. You’re famous in certain circles. Me… I’m just me.” Not a singer or anything. “More to the point, I don’t think you have the talent or the patience to convince the Wicca Group that you want to be a member.”

“I’m all about female empowerment,” Buffy said. “Look at me. I am woman. Hear me roar.”

“You have no patience or aptitude for magic – I’m sorry but you don’t. Remember the pencil? Remember your failure with the pencil? And you don’t believe in the tenets of what they’re going to be talking about either,” Willow pointed out.

“And you do? You’re Jewish!”

“I’ve read about it, I have some feeling for where the religion may have come from,” Willow said, “in the longer term, not when it was reinvented this century. And you know… I’m not exactly strict about my Jewish heritage.”

“Willow loves her sausage,” Buffy conceded, then thought about it. “That probably didn’t sound like I meant it to either, but you deserved it for the garden hose thing.”

Ignoring where Buffy had gone with that, she could at least respond to the literal part of it. “The pork content of most of the sausages I’ve ever eaten is probably low enough not to even count.”

“True,” Buffy said. “But I think you have to be vegetarian to hang out there. I hear most of them aren’t big fans of meat. If you know what I mean.”

“Now that’s a little unfair,” Giles interjected, missing the point. “Vegetarianism is a perfectly valid lifestyle choice if accompanied by the correct supplements or if it’s sufficiently varied.”

“And where’d you read that?”

“I’ve been known to look, from time to time, at the magazines that one finds in waiting rooms. When I forget to take something more stimulating.”

“Uh-huh… and vegetarianism the only thing you’re reading about in those women’s magazines?” Buffy asked while Willow noticed him blushing.

“Getting back to the point,” she said. “If anyone’s going to infiltrate them and reconnoitre then it’s going to have to be me. Who else are we going to ask? Xander?”

“Absolutely not,” Giles answered a little too quickly. “Though there is always Anya. You’d have thought that having been a subject of some worship herself in the past she might - ”

“Too straight,” Buffy said.

“I always found her to be quite… loose. Not at all a stickler for the rules, once she was no longer a vengeance demon, of course.”

“Not that kind of straight.”

Willow, having let it slide a few times now, had to say something this time. Even though Buffy was dead right, you didn’t want to send Anya into the midst of a bunch of wannabe witches and a potential Goddess. No way and no how, Jose. “Sounding kinda straight yourself there, Buffy. Why’d you keep coming back to that?”

“I don’t know,” Buffy said, giving every appearance that she’d just noticed her own behaviour now she’d been called on it. “It’s just one of those things, she wouldn’t fit in there. All she can talk about to us is sex with Xander and I don’t get the impression that she’s bi…”

“What about me?” Willow said. “Just because I had a kinky doppelganger I’m more suited?”

“No, but - ”

“But what I’m wondering more is why you keep returning to the sexuality of these girls? What do you even care?”

“I don’t.”

“So?”

Buffy hesitated and Willow could tell she was deep in thought, there were tell-tale signs. “I don’t know. Maybe I’m just… well, stereotypes are stereotypes. Witches. Lesbians. Dancing around fires – often naked. Just seems to all hang together.”

“Actually - ” Giles started but stopped when Willow held up a finger. “It can wait.”

“Well, lesbian vampires has been out there practically forever, what about that? Just how many of those have you met?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t stop to ask. I just slay and go.”

“But surely if the stereotype was true they’d be more about getting into your pants than your neck,” Willow said. “So… how many have you met?”

“One… maybe. I figure Drusilla might have gone both ways.”

Willow had to concede that did seem likely if only because the vampire was such a mystery. But… “Two, actually. Cos, we knew one for sure.”

In a vision of an alternative universe, the only glimpse she’d seen herself as a skanky, leather clad vampire ho with boobs. Oh, and a weird liking for herself – if not necessarily for girls more widely. In what universe that was supposed to have become a reality?

If only that slutty singer could’ve been a lesbian. Then there’d have been an entirely separate half of the population she could’ve made eyes at… The worst thing wasn’t so much that Oz was looking. He was a guy that was to be expected – and he was better than some – but that Verruca made no secret of the fact that she was welcoming of it. She wanted to be looked at.

That was why she was a singer, no doubt. So all eyes were on her… including Oz’s.

“My point,” she said, reinvigorated by that thought, “was that you can’t just assume that what you think you know actually is. We’ve all made mistakes like that.”

And I hope I’m making one. I hope that my paranoia is just that. I hope that the slut’s got a boyfriend and just likes to flirt and be looked at. I hope that the way she looks at me isn’t as competition but rather how everyone used to look at me. I don’t mind contempt so long as she keeps her hands to herself.

Most of all though, I hope that what it’s not
her that makes a choice, that Oz proves he’s better than I’m giving him credit for in my fears.

“You’re right, you’re right. But we’re both hot girls of the world,” Buffy said. “Wanna bet that whoever goes can get hit on?”

She smiled, appreciating the joke there. “You going to bet your other shoe? Well, of course we’d get hit on. But… if anyone’s doing this, it’s me. Just not right now. Give me a little while?”

“Okay… But if you end up in some girl’s bed, I’m not going to be the one to tell Oz.”

“If I end up in some girl’s bed then Oz won’t be in the picture anymore,” Willow quipped.

Which brought her right back to what she was afraid of.

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

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER TWELVE - 10/16/12
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:49 pm 
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The dialogue fairy has struck again! Even on the show, they talked like people their age, but you've taken it a step beyond. 'Sucking' jokes are just a bit behind dick jokes in the pantheon of funny, which lasts between the ages of 12 to 45, depending on gender.

Poor bb Willow. Don't get down on your Oz troubles. Soon you'll meet the sweetest hottie with curves and the nicest boobs and who'll get you and is also 200% better in bed than him.

lol, see I like to pretend this is not happening simultaneously as Sidestep. Sidestep is over. So I like to imagine that just as these two are finding one another, the other W/T are already old and gaying it up. An endless cycle, new beginnings and all that.

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER TWELVE - 10/16/12
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:05 am 
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Hi Faolan - thanks very much :)

The dialogue is easily my favourite part of the writing, which may surprise people because I'm so overly verbose about what's in their heads too! The head stuff though, that's me rebelling against literature analysis where you try to interpret what the author meant. No. I'll tell you. (But then you clever sods interpret anyway and come up with better stuff than I ever intended!)

Anyway, the dialogue is the fun part and so it has to be right. As I think I said though, it's usually the third pass (day of posting) before it gets into it's final form and picks up many of the things people seem to like. Guess that means I'm not spontaneous. Or that I should read 'aloud' earlier... It's that which makes it work better, for me. Saying it.

I'm afraid, with Anya around there will be quite a few hetero-smutty jokes going on through this story. At least until... no, I can't say.

And yeah, Willow will meet Tara soon enough. After that... well, NMR is still going in part 55 (which I redrafted today which was soooo much fun to do) so... yeah, things will still go slow. :) Hey, it's me!

I like your interpretation of the many worlds theory. Yeah, that is true. The exception though is that canon never happened. Pr at least everyone went home when Buffy died and left well enough alone.

Thank you so much :)

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER TWELVE - 10/16/12
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:09 am 
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Katharyn, Buffy actually made a point.. uh oh.. is there an apocalypse on the horizon? LOL. Okay Buffy.. prepare to open wide. LOL. Willow doesn’t know, yet, that she is right on target. Whatever reason for the name choice, Tara has power.

Poor Willow. The Scoobies don’t get why a vamp would turn bubble-head, and I don’t get why a wolf would turn Verucca --instead of just mauling her into tiny pieces. Then you have the wannabes with their attraction to Diana, yet Tara, who is definitely gay, is simply not “feeling” it. Power yes, physical attraction no. It will be interesting to see how the group reacts to Willow.

I fear Willow and Diana will be butting heads in short order. She’s already suspicious of the Goddess and may have an effective resolve face but her game face is needed here. It better be up to the task for this particular recon mission! Note to Willow: Don’t offend the huntress least you end up target on your back bigger than the one the fungus-girl placed there. Yikes!

It’s funny that Willow defends Wicca against stereotypes then announces, “..of course we’d get hit on..” I actually know a male witch: author M.R. Sellars. Interestingly, his publishing company is called WillowTree Press and.. I met him at a New Age Shop AKA Magic Shop owned by a woman named Tara. Giles’ pronunciation though. No kidding. The shop, in my hometown, was closed up a few years ago, much to my dismay. Anyhoo..

:D More please…


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER TWELVE - 10/16/12
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:06 pm 
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Poor Willster.

She saw the Veruca thing coming a mile away. Yet, she still wanted to believe. Can't say I'm sad about the upcoming doom and gloom. I don't have anything against the little fella. It's just Willow and Tara....no other ships are accepted in my world.

Can't wait until Willow decides to infiltrate the Land of Lesbians. She's in for a ......SURPRISE....or, maybe not. Based on her past banter on the subject, she seems open to suggestion..lol

I liked Giles' approach to the Diana situation. He didn't accept it as gospel. But, he didn't flat out reject the idea either.

We are making progress....SLOWLY. Daily updates would get us there faster :grin .....It was worth a try....lol

Ps. Sucking a basketball thru a straw would be WAY more impressive!....

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER TWELVE - 10/16/12
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:37 am 
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Kajun - Like Faolan said, this is a Buffy that's more like a best friend and not an albatross... So, yeah, she can sometimes make a well considered point (even if it was accidental). Truth be told though, I have no idea if 'Tara' is a name of power. Willow might well have been pulling that out of her ass (I know I was!)

Interesting thing about Veruca... Didn't she have control of her transformation? Not as much as Oz in the daytime (though that wasn't really control) but she pretty much chose to do it when she was with Willow right? It wasn't just good timing? Or am I mixed up... So, maybe she's from a long family of werewolves. I mean... bitch :)

One thing about your feedback, you come out with the interesting guesses I can't really respond to. Some I can't even tease on :) But, yes, Willow and Diana will meet and sooner than later.

I think the 'getting hit on' thing is more about them and they're attractiveness to anyone than about the girls at the group, actually. Considering what we know and looking at a pre-spike-boink Buffy? Yeah, evidence here suggests maybe she's right (Willow for sure!)

Hee. Thanks

Can't post more yet, by the way, I've been working on New Moon Rising redraft and the rescue of Oz. Needless to say it's different. And it's FUN. Least for me... ;) Still need to prep the next part. back to that in a moment.

Grimm - Heya! Part of why Willow gets it so early is actually a product of writing fanfic here. While in canon that realisation was there, it's useful - especially from a FAQ PoV - to make Willow aware much earlier. I have no issue with that, I think it's realistic. But that's one way the nature of the readership and the place can affect the telling of the story. Otherwise she'd probably have been more 'what's wrong' than 'that bitch is wrong'

Is Willow open to suggestion as you put it? Interesting question. Makes you wonder whether it took a Tara or it just took a girl? I like to think it took a Tara to show her the way.

Giles is - in this - the voice of the writer. Stop. Remember that the characters sometimes don't know shit. In fact, sometimes all the characters know is how they feel about each other. They. Can. Be. Wrong.

Course they can also be right :)

Daily updates? Unlikely to get to that, takes me too long to prep to post AND write other things/redraft. BUT... I might speed to every other day once I have redrafted the vast majority (i.e. I am past part 100)

Basketball?

Eeesh.

Thanks so much

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER TWELVE - 10/16/12
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:31 pm 
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I agree having Buffy interact with Tara before Willows knows her is unique and fun. Big hand for the banter between Buffy and Willow.


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER TWELVE - 10/16/12
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:03 pm 
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[b]mochavamp[\b] - well thank you very much. The banter is just so much fun, I get sucked into it and push it further and further. Lots more of that coming, wait till we get Anya in the mix :)

Thanks again
Katharyn

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 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:09 am 
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Since I won't have much time in the morning to post... here it is now.


Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter Thirteen
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: Willow’s worries about her relationship with Oz are discussed with Buffy, while Tara has her own discussion with Diana.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: A slightly shorter part, but ending on a cliff-hanger for the purposes of encouraging speculation! Sometimes the scenes just have to be strung together in a certain way. Interestingly this is the final part where I did not write these notes during the first draft process, to remind myself what I was thinking when I was writing. Well, okay, I found that interesting. So my wisdom will be four months older from the next part onwards LOL
And yes, I believe I am deliberately misspelling Veruca/Verruca… She’s not worth looking up in canon, but the thing on your feet is a great substitute.
Thanks to: My girl…



“Willow, come on! It’s Oz.”

“So I’m being paranoid now?” She was hopeful, she’d really like to be paranoid right now. Paranoid, jealous girlfriend was way, way better than a shrewd judge of character.

At least this time it was.

“I didn’t say that. But… it’s Oz. The only time he’s chased any tail, well it’s been his own.” Buffy winced at her own joke when it didn’t really go down that well.

Sorry, but she couldn’t do the dutiful best friend thing right now and chuckle appreciatively. Everything had to come the other way. For once, she was the one who needed to talk. For once she was the one with the drama. The one who needed the shoulder to cry on about a boyfriend.

On the positive side, Oz didn’t look like threatening to end the world.

It just felt that way.

“You didn’t see the way he looked at her, Buffy.”

They were hanging out in their room, the distance between them shrinking even as that beyond Oz and her had increased. Maybe moving in with Buffy had been behind the chasm that was opening up with her boyfriend?

It was tougher than ever for them to be together, alone. Mostly because she knew Buffy was coming back here and didn’t need to be reminded about… well, anything. She had enough baggage of her own.

And she’d never really felt welcome going over to the house that Oz shared with the rest of the band.

It was their place. Man cave with musical instruments and even though Oz had his own room, she... She loved the guys in the band to death, they were all like brothers to her. Well, brothers in law from out of town. But they were all pulling Oz in a different direction.

Oz was the only one actually in college and they were working on their break-out, away at gigs… That Halloween party had been the first and only time she’d heard them play in Sunnydale since classes had started. It was… he’d been pulling away from her even before Miss Slutty-Gravel-Voice-Foot-Fungus had shown up.

Someone who shared his interests…

“I’m an anchor,” she moaned.

“I always went with rock, Will,” Buffy said. “You’re like a rock to me, but anchor’s good too. Anchor’s catch on rocks, I guess. You know I never really thought about it. What happens if there’s no rocks when you – never mind.”

“No, Buffy, I’m holding him back.”

“What?”

“Him… Dingoes. All of them. He doesn’t want to be in college, he wants to be out there with them, forging a career doing what he loves. Ask him what he wants to be, did you ever do that?”

“A multi-millionaire werewolf?” Buffy guessed.

“Yes!”

“Wow, yay me. But… why can’t that be with you?”

“He doesn’t need college to do that. He’s good, they’re really good and… if they didn’t have ties here then they’d go. I know they would. And it might be the best thing for them. For all of them.”

“But he’ll have a college degree to fall back on,” Buffy said. “If he stays.”

“That’s what his mother said,” Willow said. “That’s what I said. Is that what I am? Am I like his mother? Cautious? Am I over-cautious? You’d tell me if I was holding him back, right?”

“Whoa, Will. Just wait a moment. Let’s just hold up a second there.”

“You don’t know how to answer that do you?” Willow guessed, sniffing. That was Buffy’s usual delaying tactic, giving herself a moment to think or maybe hoping that the question would go away all together. She’d done it to a teacher in High School once too.

“I… didn’t. But now I do. When did this become about you, Will?”

“He’s my - ”

“No,” Buffy corrected. “When did it become something you were doing? He’s the one sniffing around this girl.”

“Slut,” Willow said. “We’re calling her a slut. It’s a rule I just made up.”

“Okay, he’s the one sniffing around this slut,” Buffy agreed easily enough.

“Maybe he wants someone slutty!” Maybe that was it. She’d never been slutty-Willow. Not even that Halloween with the ghost-slut outfit. Maybe she should’ve been…

“Or maybe he’s just a guy and he’s seen something in the toyshop that he likes the look of. Maybe he’s not listening when his mother tells him he can’t have that because he already has a toy…”

“So I’m a toy now?” Willow asked.

“No - but…”

“So I’m am his mother?” She already asked that and Buffy had dodged the question. Now she was saying -

“No! Look, bad metaphor. But you guys were great. Are great. Present tense. Still great. I mean… you stuck together through everything that happened to us – well, nearly all of it. You got back together after… well… Xander.”

“So… you’re saying I owe him one?” Willow sniffed again, wiping the back of her hand under her runny nose. She hadn’t thought of that side of it. Maybe she did…

“Yes – I mean… No!”

She looked at Buffy, awaiting clarification. “Nothing happened between me and Xander. Nothing but… feelings. I mean, emotional feelings not feeling feelings – I mean, not much with the feeling-feelings. There was… we didn’t…”

“Will,” Buffy said. “I don’t want to know. I seriously don’t. But I wasn’t saying that you owed him a chance to stray. Maybe though… Maybe you do owe him some trust. Come on… it’s Oz!”

It was a thought, she supposed. Oz had come back to her after… He’d accepted Xander still being in their lives as a friend, he’d even fought alongside them when the Mayor had gotten all snaky and when some people might’ve pushed their rival under a convenient vampire. Not Oz though because Oz was solid, he was dependable and… He was sniffing around this girl. Buffy had said it herself.

You couldn’t stop a dog sniffing though could you? Maybe Buffy had it right this time. Maybe she owed her boyfriend some trust. Maybe she owed him more than that. It was Oz.

Maybe she needed to stop listening to the worst part of herself and to pay attention to the one that celebrated what they had as a couple in a relationship. But.. hadn’t she been worried about that for longer than the band-camp slut had been around?

“You’re right,” Willow said. “It is Oz. And… he’s my Oz.”

“He is your Oz.”

“And that… well, that bitch is… she’s not me.”

“Absolutely not you. I’d have noticed.”

“It’s me he wants.”

“Hell, yeah.”

“I have to claim my man.”

“Tell it, sister!”

“Buffy… Do you think - ? We’re probably lapsing into parody here?”

“I’m not sure what you mean by that,” her friend said. “But I know it’s a good, a very good, sign when you can realise and be concerned about it.”

When Buffy hugged her it was powerful, it was secure. You knew that she might not be a genius, and she’d made more than her own share of mistakes – especially about (almost) men - but you felt safe when you were hugged by her.

“It’s a full moon coming up,” Willow said. “I know exactly where he’ll be, I don’t have to worry about him during that time and – I can be the super-supportive girlfriend - ”

“Which you are.”

“Which I am. The one who knows his deep, dark secrets and helps him restrain himself several days a month.”

“Sounds just like the tonic that any relationship needs,” Buffy said.

“Darn tootin.”

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

“What is it?” Tara asked, looking up at the sky.

“The sky here is poisoned. It is consumed like a sickness,” Diana replied.

They were out, it was evening and Wicca Group had just finished. Once again the numbers were up, word was out and – for whatever reason – more and more people were coming to the meetings.

It wasn’t like they were ‘doing’ anything much that should be pulling people in, you certainly couldn’t recognise a spell or a ritual in amongst what Diana was leading them through.

But you left there… alert and alive. Empowered, but in a different way to what most people would assume. This wasn’t a sisterhood or an assertion of womanhood. Occasionally you heard the other’s talking about it, asking each other what they thought. No one could really explain anything apart from how they felt.

She knew that she was. More complex and less insidious than what you might have thought. This was no ‘narcaotic’ effect. It was simple… calm. Momma had taught her several techniques to calm herself, positing that one day they’d be needed – without actually spelling it out. Tara had known just what she meant though. These last few meetings it had been happening on a much larger scale.

A collective.

She’d heard one of the others compare the effect to a yoga or Pilates class but… better and kind of for the mind. Tara had never been to either of those – fearing the lycra even as she thought she might appreciate the sights on offer thanks to the same frabric – but she knew the theory. And it was what she thought they might’ve felt like.

A delicious exhaustion that – actually – gave you energy. Like the best stretch after a long sleep. Or… like a cat, extending from the tip of its fore claws to the end of its tail, arching its back. Stroke down those curves as it did and you could feel the energy there.

When you emerged from one of those sessions with Diana you felt… alive. Ready for anything. And more and more people had heard about it. More people with some hint of talent too, they were the ones who got most from it.

Best of all, no one had even mentioned bake sales and fundraising. Not even once.

Without a decision being made or a word being said, Diana was unequivocally the leader of the group now and the thrum of power that surged through the collective when they were practising those skills told her that there was a real use of magic there, even if it wasn’t doing anything. More like opening a door to the outside and feeling the warm summer air beyond, without stepping out.

Motives? She could only guess. But so far as everyone else was concerned, this was just Diana. Not the Goddess personified, just a woman… but not quite a woman either.

If she had to guess – and that was all she had - then she thought that Diana was building up their awareness, starting with their inner-awareness. Understanding the reality of the world under the technology and the layers placed on it by modernity might come later.

And then?

She had no idea. She was excited. And she was afraid to ask too.

That hadn’t been behind her question though.

“Pollution?” Tara said. “You can’t get away from it here. Back home - ”

“Nations have burned before my eyes, Tara. But this light… The stars themselves are swamped by its perniciousness.”

“I guess,” she said, even though she wasn’t sure what perniciousness meant. Not exactly. It was true that out in the back of beyond where she’d been raised, you’d always been able to see the stars – at least when there was no cloud cover. You could even make out colours, when you looked on the right night. Here… everything was bathed in an orange light even though there were no really big cities anywhere close by.

But, as a Goddess, couldn’t Diana just change something? Go somewhere?

What were the limitations on her? What power did she have? What did being a Goddess require? What did it mean?

“My name has fallen from your lips,” Diana said after they’d walked a little further. Both the dogs, Jupiter and Callisto, were friendly with her now, they’d done this often enough that both animals had accepted her. Jupiter was still the one who greeted her most fervently though, almost knocking her over if he jumped up at her – well able to put his paws on her shoulders and go nose to nose. His sister was more patient, calm and controlled but no less welcoming.

“Y-yes,” Tara admitted. She’d seen people try to lie to Diana before.

“Who?”

“Buffy. Buffy, you know, the Slayer who came after the ring?”

“And you gave it to her?”

“She had it given to someone else, someone who needed it,” Tara admitted, realising that might not be what Diana had intended, but it was done now and she hadn’t said not to, had she? She’d even suggested it could be sold, which surely would have been even worse so this should be fine. Right?

“Good, I would not have it in your possession,” Diana said. “Danger follows the tears of the dryad and I would not have you endangered, Tara.”

“Thank you,” Tara said, relieved. Annoying her Goddess was now something she generally hoped to avoid. Even if Diana wasn’t really the Goddess. The jury was still out on that one.

“What else was said?”

They were still walking, half away across the campus from where they’d started out. Nowhere near where she was going to get back to her dorm. Perhaps she was about to find out where Diana went when she wasn’t… leading a Wicca Group?

The more she thought about it, the more incongruous it seemed. It was an awful lot of attention that they were being given, here in Sunnydale, if this really was a Goddess. What was the purpose behind it? Or was Diana so alien, so different, that guessing her purpose would always be just be a losing proposition?

“I – I told her who you were,” Tara said.

“Yes… I know.”

How? How had she known? What possible way… Except, she was the Goddess. Perhaps the question that should be asked was ‘how could she not have known’?”

“Did I do something wrong?” Tara asked.

Diana said nothing initially, head lifted slightly. And then changed the subject. “The moon will be full on the morrow.”

“Yes.” What did that have to do with it? It could be auspicious for some rituals, of course, and reputedly linked to some mental conditions – it was where ‘lunatic’ came from of course - but…?

“Worry not, Tara. Had I not wished you to speak of me I would’ve forbidden it.”

“F-forbidden?”

“You might not speak of anything which I forbid,” Diana said, sounding quite casual about it. “However as my Priestess…”

“P-Priestess?”

“I will not be here forever,” she said. “Someone must lead when I move on. Perhaps you will serve”

“You-you’re leaving?”

Diana was sensing the air again, not quite sniffing but not exactly not sniffing either. “No… not yet. But there’s a hunt to be had here… On the morrow.”

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

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:49 am 
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Dibs.
Tara's a priestess??? That's new and mildly awesome.
Aww is poor Will gonna find Oz and the Slut together? hope not :( Don't like sad Willow :( Oh but one step closer to Willow/Tara goodness


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:10 pm 
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A hunt on the full moon? Oh noes! I actually love Oz as a character, so long as he isn't with Willow, so I hope he doesn't get all poodle'd up again.

The series always tried to walk the line between modern and mystic, but in that sense, fell a bit short. Not very mystic at all. But you? You're succeeding.

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:14 am 
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Katharyn, HaHa.. I noticed that we (you, me and Grimm) had three different spellings for the fungus girl. The substitute is more fitting!

I so love supportive Buffy. It’s good that she’s advising Willow trust Oz and to have faith in their relationship because, at this point, there’s no hard evidence to suggest the wolf-boy needs to be neutered. Although.. gotta agree with Wilster.. Buffy would be less inclined to jump on the trust train if she’d seen the bitch and dog leering at each other. When the time comes though, no doubt Buffy will be first in line with the snips. Unless.. Diana beats her to it.

The Goddess asks Tara questions she already knows the answers to. Hmm.. I suppose if she didn’t prompt Tara to speak, the shy girl probably wouldn’t say much of anything. Is this Diana’s unique way of helping Tara feel comfortable communicating with people in preparation for becoming her Priestess?

About Tara becoming her Priestess: 1) How would such a high placement in the magic/Wicca world affect her inevitable upcoming relationship with Willow? 2) Not loving this chick controlling what Tara can and cannot talk about. She took Tara under her wing and so far has been supportive in the decisions Tara has made, building trust between them. Now there is an implication of unpleasant consequences if Tara doesn’t tow her line. That’s got to up the wary factor. Tara doesn't need yet another threat of doom hanging over her head. GRR.

I suspect Willow is going to get sidetracked during her recon mission and not be available to cage the puppy in time resulting in badness. Am I right? Am I? It’s okay if I’m not.. just hurry up and post! The suspense is killing me! :grin


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:35 pm 
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Hey all, thank you so much :)

Gnomegirly - Hi and well done on dibs :) I think I should point out that Diana said Tara could be a priestess. Not that she already was. Though your assumption raises an interesting point in that being a priestess would have been something you were born to in some places.

Rest assured any priestess status will not require ongoing purity... LOL

I'm afraid sad Willow is one thing we have to go through to get to Tara and Willow. After all I wouldn't want to have Willow being the one who was cheating... So, yes, the Oz thing has to end.

Thank you.

Faolan - Why yes, a hunt on the full moon. Yeah, I know that Oz turns for a day either side of full moon, but that was a little clunky to put into speech, so 'full moon' is good enough :)

I hope you're not pulling for ongoing 'mystic' as we're going to get into T/W focus all too soon LOL.

Thanks :)

Kajun - Word says one thing. The script another. My internal writer said 'go with the fungus' which makes me feel like Terry Pratchett.

I did like that 'sticking up for the relationship' Buffy and I think she still existed in S4. Being as people like Spike are off the scene, maybe she'll hold onto it in this fic too. Neutering? That's... descriptive. Well done. Maybe you should write those sections LOL.

Interesting poser you throw up about Diana talking to Tara and asking her to speak etc. I hadn't put it together in those terms, but its certainly a reading that stands up. Makes me seem clever so... SURE!

Your questions... Okay. 1) Nothing is getting in the way of the girls except events and themselves. No rules or regulations. 2) I wouldn't get too worried about Diana saying stuff like that to Tara. I think that is just how Diana is... and actually, you will note that she didn't object to it. She was just aware it had happened. Almost like she hears her own name, wherever it is spoken. Yes, there was a slight threat behind it all I suppose, but Tara probably doesn't know anything Diana would object to.

Willow's recon mission... she won't get around to it for a while. Not until Hush. They meet in Hush, so until events move along to that... no wicca group recon.

Other things first...

I hope to put up another part tomorrow. Which would be like 2 in 4 days... so stop complaining! Some threads wait for months!

Thanks to you too.

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:43 am 
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Hey Katharyn, I didn't have time to read the last chapters until now, and before I could catch up I stumbled over this little bit in a response to me:

Quote:
There's a lot I'm doing with certain other scoobs I would not choose to,


So I have to ask you now, if you plan to bloodily and painfully slaughter, maim or torture one or even a couple of Scoobies, please tell me now so I can stop reading before I'm too much pulled into this story!
Because I'm a very sensitive kitten and not able to stomach that stuff (that's the reason I never read the sidestep chronicles). I can only manage a certain amount of angst if there's a happyend in store for all scoobies, not only W/T (like in the fics "Answering Darkness" or "The Wish of three Hearts"). I can (barely and with many tears, but still) stand a quick death for one scoobie in the end of a story, a sacrifice for the greater good, but no detailed description of the dying itself.

I COULD NOT bare to read a genius writer like you describe the agony of Buffy or any other Scoobie beeing ripped apart by giant dogs, slaughtered by Diana ore something like this.
So if you think now "what a weakling!" I don't blame you. But please do me a favor and warn me to stay away from your story if you think it will be too much for this weakling.

For my one safety I won't go on reading until I have your answer.

Please don't take this the wrong way, I really love what you wrote so far, but I want to be able to sleep undisturbed in the future, too...


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 7:17 am 
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Hey willsredemption - I think you may be taking what I said a little out of context. To be specific I have very little time in canon, for characters that ignored Tara's death or made everything better with a crayon (I hear) As such I wasn't actually looking forwards to writing them as I had been avoiding them in Sidestep for years. What you would see in my later comments was that I commented on having more fun writing them than I expected.

I'm not going to sit here and give everything away now, but equally that is not what youre asking. What I will say is that this story broadly follows canon to the end of S5 when it will end. You could read between the lines that good characters will - broadly - be around at least as long as they were in canon if the canon storey needed the to be. Spike is an obvious exception, but I'm not going to apologise for that one! This isn't Sidestep. The body count is lower and the point is very different. But I'm not going to give everything away to reassure you. Except to say that the ones who have most to fear are definitely the bad guys and girls.

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:42 am 
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Thank you very much for your answer. Now that I'm assured that I probably won't need a therapist in the end, I'll try to catch up on the chapters I missed tomorrow.


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 1:25 pm 
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Tara the Priestess....AWESOME.


Hmmmm, maybe Artemis will rid Sunnydale of Veruca the " Slut " before she corners Willow in the Chem Lab....maybe even before Willow walks in after Veruca and Dog-boy do the dirty deed?

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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 8:25 pm 
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That, Grimmy would be question for the very next part, which will be up in the next few hours...

*makes notes about what everyone seems to like*

Thanks!

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER FOURTEEN - 10/21/12
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:58 pm 
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Title: Tara and Willow – Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda – Chapter Fourteen
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but Season 4 and Season 5 of BTVS.
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Summary: Willow discovers what Verruca is while Tara has a much easier time of things.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: We’ve been fairly zipping through the season up to now, picking up major events and leaving out others. Once the girls get together that will be much less the case and stuff will slow down so we can take our time and enjoy the goodness.
I had already established Annie earlier on, but I have a tendency to sometimes forget about characters I create and leave them in limbo. Also, as I said before, I never liked the idea that Tara had spent weeks and months at college essentially friendless. It’s never stated, but somehow becomes assumed so I choose to think she has friends and at least one good one, but it’s not the kind of friend that she’s looking for in Willow. *cough* It comes back to what they see in each other when they look across that circle in Hush.
Also I wanted to put Tara firmly somewhere else while the preceding events in the Willow scene were unfolding.
I realised fairly late on that this part kind of resembles another part you will see some time in the future (or at least some events and descriptions) but I figure if I had forgotten then so might you… 
Thanks to: Running out of people/new reasons to thank, I’ll occasionally dip into music which is a big part of writing for me. The right music just makes the words flow and what's ‘right’ changes from day to day and depending on the content of the scene. Today… Pink because… well, it’s Pink!



She’s a werewolf.

The reality and implications of that simple truth tore at Willow, hitting her everywhere. In the head. In the heart. In the gut where Verruca had driven her fist, laughing as she did.

It was so obvious really and she’d missed it because she’d never considered, for a moment, that this… bitch, had anything that she didn’t. The opposite should’ve been true.

She had Oz, after all. Which was what counted.

Crawling along the floor where Verruca had left her, Willow tried to escape. Tried to get to the supposed safety of the door, away from here. She knew very well – too well – that once Verruca had changed her chances would be in the range between slim and none. And ‘slim’ was definitely on the other side of that door – and preferably several more - while ‘none’ was being in here with her.

That Verruca was changing said a lot about her. She didn’t need to change just to hurt her. She was choosing to, to finish what she’d started. Totally. Deliberately taking things that far.

She wants to kill me.

Confronting the ‘girl’, just as dusk fell and the moon rose… The full moon. That was all kinds of stupid when your boyfriend was a werewolf. She wouldn’t have been any of those kinds of stupid if only she’d understood the truth. If she survived this then - new rule – she was staying in on the full moon. No matter what.

Crawling away, she was afraid but… not just of what would happen to her. Oz had been with the bitch last night… He’d only come back to her in the morning. Willow often stayed at his place around the full moon, it did him good to have something to come back to… It reminded him he was human – most of the time. But this time he’d come back to her fresh from…

The thought might’ve made her retch, but she was already heaving where Verruca had punched her her in the stomach.

There was no one who could help her now, Buffy was… elsewhere. Oz was going to be subject to the same drives as Verruca was once the moon was in the sky. By now he’d have locked himself in his cage… If he hadn’t then she’d be in as much danger from him as Verruca.

I don’t’ want to die here. I don’t want to be killed by her.

I don’t want to die.


But unless she got out of the door that was exactly what was going to happen. Oz himself would rip her throat out once he’d changed, he wouldn’t even remember her - wouldn’t remember it in the morning. He wasn’t coming to help her…

And Verruca had… cause.

“Please…” the half-girl rasped, midway through her change now, but then what she said next took away the slim possibility that she was actually asking for help. “Please… run.”

There wasn’t anything to say, she just had to get out of the room. Once Verruca was the wolf then her instincts would take over. She’d lose the ability to hate, to seek revenge or to follow someone for any other reason than to… eat them. That was what they were talking about here, not chew toy time. They were talking about being eaten, organs removed as Oz had occasionally left deer and other large animals.

Messy.

What would they put on her headstone?

‘Willow Rosenberg – Daughter and friend. She was eviscerated by a slutty singer’?

It was less ambiguous than ‘She was eaten by a girl’ which might give those who came to see her grave the wrong idea entirely…

Okay, I’m hysterical. I’m giving up if I’m thinking like that and I’m not giving up.

Forcing herself to her feet, Willow spun around just as Verruca entered the most painful part of the transformation, but unlike Oz the girl seemed to be relishing it as she jerked and writhed. The eyes that were by now part wolf fixed on her. Did she really have more control of the beast than Oz had managed?

If so, she’d let it loose. She wouldn’t even try to keep it restrained. Verruca wasn’t conflicted about what she was like Oz.

Either in her sluttiness or her lycanthropy.

Struggling and spitting, she pushed the door closed behind her. As she did she just heard the last few words that Verruca would manage before her vocal cords became something else. Oz never got past anguished cries when… “Now he’s… mine.”

And after last night, after all the times before that when these two had looked at each other… like dogs coming into heat, she wasn’t sure whether to cut the bitches eyes out with a rusty fork or to just let her have him. And that was a decision for another time. Right now she just had to get away from here, get more lockable doors between them. A chase across open ground would only favour the wolf.

The sounds of paws and claws on the linoleum in the rehearsal hall where she’d found Verruca told her that there was no more time. No time even to look for something to seal the door shut. Instead of that she just ran. Behind her the doors burst open, almost torn off their hinges by the sound. And then the werewolf bitch was after her.

Willow groped for something, anything that she could do. Some power, some magic that she’d picked up along the line to get her through this. Something that could summon help – help that could help, not some security guard Verruca would chew up and spit out… Anything… but…

There was nothing. Everything she knew required rituals or preparation or was just refusing to come to her as she ran down the same hallways that she’d stalked through to get here. Rehearsing what she’d say, searing words and threats burning in her mind after she found…

The scratches and the bite marks she’d found on Oz hadn’t been human passion, but animal… He’d spent last night, all night, with the bitch… Running, caged… who knew about that? But one thing wasn’t in question… Fucking.

If it’d just been the animal maybe she could’ve forgiven him in time because – he couldn’t control it. No matter how – eww. But he was drawn to her as a man to a woman too and that… she couldn’t forget.

Her pain was keeping the calm she needed away just as much as the panic was.

So this how it was going to end? Hunted down and eaten by the bitch that had stolen her Oz?

She could feel the werewolf behind her, hear the breath and feel it hot and fetid against her neck… Smelling like she’d already eaten raw meat… Then she was swatted down to the ground with one paw stroke. Willow rolled and came up running, showing more coordination than her phys-ed teachers would’ve ever have given her credit for. Thank goodness she’d put these shoes on and she had grip on the linoleum.

And then she realised. It wasn’t some great, athletic feat. It was the werewolf… It could have her any time it wanted, but… it was playing with her.

Fine, whatever, let it… This wasn’t the time for wounded pride. It’s games would keep her alive longer, give her chance to find something, someone – and now she wasn’t intending to be picky about the help. But the building was unaccountably empty. Why was it empty?

Maybe Verruca had been here last month too and… one way or another no one was coming back? Maybe she’d killed them?

It was Sunnydale, even that could go practically unreported.

This time Verruca took her down by catching her trailing leg mid-stride and then circled her, herding her and pushing her back into a corner… Pack behaviour without a pack. Was that what she wanted Oz for? Were they going to be wolves together and raise little puppies?

NO. My last thought will NOT be about what happens when two werewolves get it on.

But was that what Oz wanted at some, primitive, level too? It was basic instinct…

Stop. It.

The werewolf bitch was prowling up and down before her, keeping her where she was and Willow had to think that she was in some sort of control. Did a dog or a wolf do this? Did it delay the inevitable?

Was she waiting for something?

Was she waiting for… Oz?

Was he the strange one because he couldn’t control himself when he changed?

Did Verruca want her own boyfriend to kill her?

No.

She was caught here, in the corner, wielding her book bag and laptop case like shield and club. Maybe that was what the werewolf was wary of.

If she’s wary then she’s part way to being afraid. Which is unexpected…

Unexpected…


She jumped forwards, screaming at the top of her lungs. “Get away from me you drooling, hairy slut!” At the same time she made herself as big as she could – which wasn’t exactly ‘very’ – and waved the bags towards the orange furred creature.

“Yeah! That’s right! I’m not just going to roll over. I’m going to hurt you if you come at me. You know what, I think I prefer you this way and… damn, that is an ugly ass pelt you’ve got there. I used to know someone who’d take it from you and wear it like a cape.”

Every time she threw an insult she charged at the werewolf, made it jump back a couple of steps, but the last time the creature put itself through contortions, twisting and snapping at the back of her leg as she charged.

Willow felt the teeth closing on her and – thankfully – it was only her jeans that were caught, ripping… Even if she lived, once she was bitten then she’d become one of them. That was what had happened to Oz. What must’ve happened to Verruca too, she supposed…

She only felt sorry for one of them.

It’d been too close though. Not just the effect of the bite if she lived cos, let’s face it, Verruca wanted her dead. She wouldn’t turn into a werewolf if she’d been disembowelled and eaten first.

Bright side? Not very…

And why, when she was shouting and screaming was no one coming…?

Of course, this was still Sunnydale. Natural selection mitigated against people who reacted in a helpful way to shouts and screams outside of the football stadium environment.

Verruca made to snap at her one more time and this time she went on the counterattack, smacking her laptop bag into the werewolf’s snout – full on and as hard as she could, hoping not to damage the contents.

Okay, it wasn’t Slayer power but there was a satisfying yelp all the same.

One that only became less satisfying when she realised she hadn’t been the cause.

There was an arrow sticking out of Verruca’s hind-quarter.

Buffy?

No…

Willow looked back down the hallway to a female form, standing in place with a bow in hand, another arrow already strung. No one she knew… but she could guess given the ye olde type clothing and the ornate – not at all modern – styling of the bow.

Artemis? That Goddess of the Hunt they’d been talking about?

Or at least someone who fancied herself with that title… Someone who could also use a bow, that was what counted right now. And she – being very close to her target – hoped she could do it very well.

Verruca’s whines were quickly muted as the werewolf twisted further round on herself than anyone who was human most of the month had any business being able to, snapping the arrow between her teeth. Willow knew that without silver tips those arrows wouldn’t ultimately do anything but annoy her.

Right now though, she was very glad of the annoyance though.

Teeth bared, Verruca growled and then started to charge at the person who’d interrupted her fun.

There were three more arrows lodged in her before she’d covered half the distance and the archer seemed utterly unconcerned as the werewolf just continued to plough on towards her. Momentum, pain and rage converging to overcome the inconvenience of the wounds she was receiving.

“Look out!” Willow called as Verruca got close enough to consider springing. At that point five, six or even seven arrows peppered her front half judging by the number of times the woman had drawn and loosed her arrows. So fast… Whatever she was, she was good.

Verruca sprang and the woman dropped low and bending in ways that no one who wasn’t a yoga instructor should’ve been able to, so that the werewolf was sailing over her, trying to correct its flight to get at her but gravity and momentum were natural laws that still applied to the supernatural.

Meanwhile the woman had pulled a glistening blade and sliced along Verruca’s belly while the werewolf flew over her and even at this distance Willow could see that it had bitten deep enough to have opened her up.

Again, if it wasn’t silver then the effect would last just minutes but… for now Verruca was in terrible pain and totally off her game. She landed in more of a heap than as a predator in its element. Turned on the woman that had hurt her, snarled and then… ran away.

Springing through the window and out into the world…

Willow met the eyes of the woman who’d undeniably saved her. They were so very green and she recognised the exhilaration there. Buffy, occasionally, might look like that – but this was more reminiscent of that crazy Slayer, Faith.

Triumph. Elation.

The promise of a chase…

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

Tara looked out of the window and saw… well, she saw nothing she really wanted to admit to seeing in ‘normal’ company.

No matter what else, her friend Annie was firmly of the world that she believed she inhabited and… werewolves running past the hall, that was something that she definitely didn’t want to have to be the one to explain to her.

Nor the Goddess springing easily over the low bushes in its wake, bow in hand.

Where were the dogs then?

This was the hunt that Diana had referred to last night?

It did bother her, since she knew that – most of the time – those werewolves were people but… if they were hurting people then, what did you do about that? And this was a college campus, they were savage animals… The public did have to be protecte or else people would get killed – or they’d be overrun with werewolves within a year.

Daddy had never weighed in on werewolves, but she’d heard his views on capital punishment often enough. It was one of the few things that got him really agitated in politics.

At some point, the state has to take a stand against people who’d hurt and kill other people.

It was something he believed very passionately and was completely consistent with how he’d had to treat Momma and how, one day, he’d have to handle her. He wouldn’t let her hurt anyone else… and that was a good thing, even if it meant she was restricted.

Worse though, with a werewolf, if it didn’t kill you then it was going to change you… make you into one of them and so on and so on… Letting them do what they wanted three days a month was -

“Uh, hello, Tara?”

“Sorry,” she said, turning back to Annie. “D-did you say something?”

“Only that I think the garlic bread’s burning?”

Tara, who had the over mitt in her hands, peered into the oven. “It-It’s not burned. It’s just… browned.”

“How about we get it out then?” Annie teased.

Tara grinned, this was something she was familiar with. She’d been cooking most of her life, even before Momma got sick. After that, well she’d been making most of the meals when Dad was working. The only reason she’d worked behind the counter at the diner rather than in the kitchen was that she preferred to see the satisfaction people might get from her cooking.

That and the simple fact they’d had a cook already. She’d helped out though, from time to time, usually on a late shift.

She threw the mitt at Annie who caught it quite deftly. “You get it.”

“Um, bold, Maclay. Couple of weeks ago you’d have run to do it yourself just because I said so.”

Tara rolled her eyes, but Annie wasn’t really wrong. This was what she did, she was nervous around new people and when she got to know them – if they liked her – then things got easier.

And Annie was nice. They were very different people, but somehow they just… worked. Annie was more outgoing, not at all domesticated and couldn’t stop talking. Also she’d demonstrated through tales of hook-ups since arriving here that she was resolutely straight.

Not that Tara had been looking at her that way, or even wondering about it until she realised just how bad they’d have been together if they had been able to get together. Things that, in a friend, were easy to tolerate – and even appreciate – would be absolutely different in a girlfriend.

Or so she imagined when she thought about the imaginary girlfriends who never looked like Annie.

So – since they were friends and could stand each other - she cooked for them most nights and, in return, Annie was like the bridge to the other people in the dorm for her. So she was getting along well with most of them too. A few were even becoming her friends in their own right.

And that was all a new experience. High School hadn’t been exactly filled with friendships – even if she hadn’t been the total outcast. Mostly she’d been anonymous and under the radar. She couldn’t have been an outcast because that implied people knew and realised she was there. Which most people hadn’t.

“One day,” Annie continued. “You might even sass me back.”

“I don’t do sass,” Tara told her. She and Donny had had the sass removed at a very young age.

“We’ll see,” Annie stepped back from the blast of heat when she opened the oven. “One day we’ll get you a girlfriend and see if that sass’ you up.”

“W-why would I sass a girlfriend?” Tara asked, blushing madly. Annie made no secret of the fact that she was going to find her a girlfriend. Some day. The challenge, the other girl said, was for Tara to find herself one before she did it for her and then she’d just have to live with the decision.

“No, the question is why wouldn’t you. I expect you to sass all through the night. People will be banging on the wall complaining about all the sassing you two will be doing.”

Obviously then she found she was blushing even more, probably the colour of the arrabiata that she was cooking up. That was one of things that Annie did that might’ve driven her wild if they’d been closer than friends. She so regularly changed the meaning of perfectly obvious words to suit her conversation.

What she hadn’t said – but Annie probably knew - was that, at this point in her life, she’d have swooned just for a kiss. A proper kiss. The rest, whatever you wanted to call it, was a whole other level. Sassing indeed…

“That’s just… kind of unnecessary,” she said.

“Ooh, retort. I really am making progress with you aren’t I?”

And yeah, that was probably true.

“So… Cos I want to be able to tell the difference when you have sauce around your mouth, I’ll change the subject. Did you hear about that frat house they found with the stuff in it?” Annie asked.

She nodded, mixing the pasta into the sauce.

“Turns out there were things from people who’d gone missing years ago in there… No one can find whose been staying there though.”

“Seems like that’s a good thing,” Tara said, unsure whether that was the Slayer’s work or Diana’s. Could be either, she supposed. Either way, she stood by her statement. All good. Very good.

“You won’t hear me arguing, but that’s the sort of thing they don’t put in the brochure when you’re making an application to come here,” Annie said, accepting her bowl with a thankful smile.

“I know.”

“Okay, so did you know this.? I heard that Sunnydale – the whole area, not the college, is like missing person capital of the western world.”

Tara didn’t say anything. She hadn’t actually been aware of that statistic prior to coming here – like Annie said though, that wasn’t the kind of thing that any college was going to admit to in the literature.

On the other hand she knew why it was too and had sat and put the numbers – high as they were – into context. The good news was that it wasn’t because there were kidnappers, sex criminals and murderers running around. Mostly she tended to think they’d have been some of the first victims of what actually was running around.

Tended to think? Liked to think was more like it.

Because she’d been raised her whole life understanding certain basic precautions to keep out of the way of everything else. Fortunately – and because Montana was Montana – most of it had stayed strictly theoretical and rural until now…

“Aren’t you going to say anything?”

“Why?” Tara asked, curious about what was expected from her.

“I’d just have thought you’d be more worried and oh, my God, this is just delicious.”

“Thank you.” Tara smiled. It was that moment of happiness that she enjoyed so much, that made it worthwhile.

“How in the world do you get tomato’s to taste this good? I was watching, there’s nothing much in here but tomato and pasta.”

“That’d be the herbs.”

“Well, you know your herbs girl. Even the garlic bread’s sooo good.”

“You made that,” Tara pointed out. Annie had mixed the garlic with the butter, cut the bread and smeared the former on the latter. Under instruction, but it’d still seemed like one additional step to culinary independence.

“I know, come on, throw me a bone here.”

“It’s delicious,” Tara said. “Best I ever tasted.”

“Thanks,” Annie said. “Now, just why do you show more reaction to compliments about the food – which are well deserved – than you do when I tell you that we’re living in murder capital USA?”

“Y-you said missing person capital.”

“Well, if they’re not showing up then… you gotta figure… So come on, why are you so cool about it? It freaked me out for a whole night till I figured that the odds of it being me or anyone I knew were still kind of low.”

“M-mathematics comes into its own for you.”

“That’s right,” Annie said, “my parents really aren’t wasting their money. But what makes you so cool about it?”

Tara shook her head. “I r-really don’t do cool”

“I don’t know,” Annie said. “You’re rocking that look, I haven’t decided what look it actually is yet but you are rocking it.”

Unable to help herself, especially since Annie had shown over the last few weeks that she was definitely willing to tell her when she was committing fashion suicide, Tara felt quite pleased about that. As her friend had said it wasn’t that she didn’t have the clothes, just that she’d tended to put them together into ensembles that really didn’t work for her.

“I-I’m not trying to.”

“Which is when you do your best work – but stop dodging the question, girl.”

Okay, fine…

“Fine. See, even when it’s missing person capital, it’s still better than Montana,” Tara tried.

It certainly wasn’t a lie, but it was dodging telling the truth. It felt like the same thing, but what was she supposed to say to her friend? ‘There’s a werewolf running past our window, I’m what you’d call a witch, one day I’ll be a demon and there’s a Goddess running around campus too. Yes, one of the Greek ones’?

Really? She was supposed to say that?

And people wondered why she wasn’t so confident when she opened her mouth? Saying stuff when you knew too much was so hard.

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

_________________
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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER THIRTEEN - 10/18/12
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:20 am 
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5. Willowhand
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:09 pm
Posts: 301
Topics: 6
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Mmm, love a good werewolf fight, m'am! All grr and yelp and ouch!

I'm insanely curious as to how all these crazy kids and their crazy lives all start to come together. I'm starting to feel like Anne is less likely to die now, but of course you're only so kind xD

Also, I don't think I've ever seen the word 'slut' used so often on the KB before lol

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"If I can't be a good example, might as well be a horrible warning."

"Friendship is obviously magic. Love is a sorta super strong friendship. We gay people love so hard we broke 'Social Norm'. Ergo, we gay people are ultra-strong wizards."


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER FOURTEEN - 10/21/12
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 1:31 am 
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23. Volumey Text

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Posts: 3794
Topics: 5
I'm sure you can imagine where there might be another werewolf fight, Faolan - i.e. the place that reads a little similar LOL

The word 'slut' is going to get even more common, at least for a short period in a little while. I am sure you can imagine why that might be too... :)

And of course there's no reason we shouldn't use 'slut' after one person's 'slut' is another person's 'empowered woman in charge of her sexuality.' Generally though, we all turn words into positives and negatives... It's easier when someone is a bad guy. Or bad girl in this case.

Thanks :)

Katharyn

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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER FOURTEEN - 10/21/12
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:07 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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So, somebody finally found the dearly departed Sunday's stash house?...lol

I loved how Diana shot dozens of arrows into Veruca's sluty hind parts. I hope she hit a bullseye :grin !

I have to laugh at Tara's situation. I couldn't imagine what is would be like to have to keep a straight face after seeing a shoe-less Goddess chasing a fricking Werewolf :laugh .

So, is Willow a believer now?

Ps. I have been in a Pink haze for the last week myself. Funhouse, Fuckin Perfect, Raise your Glass, Like a pill and Glitter in the air have been in heavy rotation.

More, more, moooooore :banana .


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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER FOURTEEN - 10/21/12
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:31 am 
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23. Volumey Text

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Sunday's stash is just one of those things you'd expect to show up some time, Grimm .

Diana really wasn't aiming all that much, at least not with THAT in mind! This was just another chance to show she's good with a bow ;)

I was hoping to make more comedy out of Tara seeing Diana in the chase, but short of Diana killing her right there, what could I do to prolong it without making her seem either cruel or incompetent. Neither of which is really funny. So it is what it is :)

Willow believing? She'll have better reasons for her choice later!

As for Pink... She rocks :)

Thanks

Katharyn

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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
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 Post subject: Re: Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda - CHAPTER FOURTEEN - 10/21/12
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:30 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Katharyn, Note to self: don’t read update immediately after three cups of coffee. This one gave my heart a dangerously hard work-out. YIKES! You know it’s good writing when you completely forget that a character will definitely survive being attacked by an evil slut-wolf and start praying for a miracle. I’m actually glad it was Artemis and not Buffy to save the day. Now the hairy fungus will know what it feels like to be turned into a toy. I’m guessing her new found knowledge of what real terror is will continue through the night until the Huntress gets bored and finally goes for the kill. Hooray! One down, one to go. I don’t really want to see Oz stalked and killed.. just gone.

Love the friendship between Tara and Annie. If Tara confided in her about the Hellmouth and all things Wicca, Annie would most likely believe her. Perhaps she already knows but is playing it close to the vest just like Tara? Knowing what’s really going on doesn’t mean a willingness to get involved. When it comes right down to it, Tara only needs one person to trust, and share completely, all her deepest secrets with –Willow. But.. the good friendships for living a healthy life, are necessary too. Anyhoo..

I’m digging your version much, much more than canon. :) AWESOME!!!


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