Chapter 38: An Old Story
Chapter 38: An Old Story
A/N: Exposition chapter, no dialogue. Had to make a small adjustment in chapter 10 to keep the story correct. Consider yourselves ret-conned.
To the reviewers: I apologize for not answering you, but the reply button on fanfiction.net isn’t working. I’ll trying to send a private message for those of you who have that feature enabled. Just know that I greatly appreciate your continued interest in the story.
Warning: I don’t know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way.
Challenge: #4472 ‘Bunny is my what?’
Thanks to my betas: zigpal, Chrislover and AshDawnSoulmates.
Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. NCIS characters belong to Donald Bellisario, Don McGill and CBS Paramount Television. Jack Ryan and his friends belongs to Tom Clancy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.Posted as a thank you for all the kind reviews and continued interest!
Council headquarters, England
While she packed, Tara thought back to when it all fell apart. Maybe when Willow did the Tabula Rasa spell and they all lost their memories? After all, that was the final straw for Tara; why she broke up with her ginger girlfriend for good. After a couple more seconds of considering it, that wasn’t the problem, though.
The problem was bringing Buffy back from the dead.
Oh, if you wanted to get technical about it, there were older actions Willow did that flouted the Wiccan Rede, but resurrecting Buffy disrupted the cosmic balance. So that was the decision Tara figured was the turning point.~*~*~*~*~Two+ years previous…
When Dawnie tried to bring her mother back, Tara went into a rant about accepting the circle of life that lasted for over an hour, so Willow had known that she – Tara – would never have gone along with the resurrection spell, even if Buffy died a mystical death. That was why she hid the spell from her lover and asked the others – Xander, Anya and Spike – to do the same.
Tara guessed that she must have found out about it at some point, though, because why else would Willow have done a forgetting spell on her? She wouldn’t have known about it, except a college friend witnessed a fight between the two girls on campus and asked Tara a couple days later if they had patched things up yet. Since she had no idea what he was talking about, Tara grew suspicious and went searching through her possessions. It wasn’t until she looked under her pillow that she found the Lethe’s Bramble.
Going to confront her lover, Tara found out that the others had done the resurrection spell without her and Giles. As much as she wanted to get her anger at being the victim of Willow’s magick out, she thought that helping Buffy readjust to living was far more important.
While she never told Willow that she knew about the forgetting spell, Tara was cold towards her lover…almost arctic. It took a couple weeks for Willow to figure out it wasn’t just a matter of helping Buffy, who seemed way more depressed than somebody rescued from hell should have been. Their confrontation was postponed again by the singing demon, Sweet, but in the aftermath, Tara finally yelled that she knew Willow had violated her mind and she wasn’t sure she could trust the redhead not to do it again.
Willow promised to give up magick for a week to prove her love for Tara was stronger than her need for magick.
The next day, they were gathered in the Magic Box for an announcement Giles had that concerned all of them. He was taking Buffy away to England so she could recuperate away from the Hellmouth and slaying. Spike could handle those for a little bit, and if they needed more help, they could call Angel’s group in LA. As a last resort, they could try to get Faith out of prison if the situation needed a Slayer. Hopefully, it wouldn’t get to that point before Buffy felt recovered enough to come back, though.
Then they all fainted from the spell.
Once the spell was broken, Tara realized that Willow didn’t
care more about her than magick – or her willpower to stop wasn’t strong enough – so Tara packed up her things from Buffy’s house and moved out.
When Buffy and Giles came back the next spring, they learned about the trouble the Trio caused Sunnydale during their absence. Well, they found out there was trouble, then went about trying to discover who was behind it. They saw Jonathan acting kinda squirrelly, and decided to follow him back to a van Buffy remembered from those first days after her resurrection. Eventually, they found the Trio’s hideout.
Sneaking in after the van left with all three of the criminal ‘masterminds’ in it, the Slayer and Watcher discovered the plans to rob an armored car using orbs of strength. They discussed it with the Scoobies and decided they needed a magical back-up in case Warren was too strong for Buffy to handle.
Of course Willow volunteered immediately, but since she had refused to go to the coven so they could teach her to use magick responsibly, both Buffy and Giles said no. While Tara didn’t have the practical experience with spells like this that Willow did, they knew she had the foundational part from her mother down pat. Rather than make Buffy stronger, Tara thought it would be better to provide her with magical armor instead. It would absorb the impact of Warren’s blows, which would give Buffy the opportunity to get close enough to destroy the orbs.
The plan worked perfectly, until he and Andrew escaped using jet packs, leaving Jonathan behind to be arrested by the police. He spilled his guts about everything, including the murder of Warren’s ex-girlfriend, Katrina. As incompetent as the Sunnydale police could be, they still put out an APB on the other two immediately.
Andrew was caught the next day while shopping at the comic book store. He thought that getting the new issues as soon as they came out was more important than evading capture.
A couple days later, Willow was over at Buffy’s house to apologize…well, for everything, and to tell them that she wanted to give the coven a chance. Just as the girls hugged, Warren showed up with a gun.
While he was ranting about Buffy ruining his plans, she searched for a weapon to use against him. He was too far away to hit with her hands or feet, and if she bent down to pick anything up, he would probably shoot her. That left trying to kick something at him. It was risky, so she made sure that Willow was safely behind her first.
Warren’s shot was simultaneous with her kick. With her leg extended, the bullet passed through the fleshy part of her thigh and struck Willow in the chest as she dove to the ground for cover.
A police officer was driving by, heard the gunshot and came racing to the scene – after calling for back up, of course. He was new to the force, so he was better than the old timers left over from the Mayor’s days. When Warren shot at the officer instead of dropping the gun as ordered, the officer showed why he graduated top in his class for marksmanship. A double tap to the head, followed by another one to the heart, and Warren’s criminal career was over for good. It might have been overkill, but the officer had been warned that things were harder to kill in Sunnydale.
Once he secured the suspect’s weapon, he ran to the yard that the suspect came out of earlier. There he found two young women who had been shot. One was losing blood far too quickly, so he tied a tourniquet around her leg, and the other was already dead. From what he could see, the bullet hit her directly in the heart; she wouldn’t have survived, even if she were in the hospital when it happened.~~~~~~
Tara raced to the hospital when she heard that Buffy had been shot. While she didn’t want to interfere with the natural order of things, she did offer a prayer to Airmid, the goddess of healing. If it was the goddess’ will that Buffy survive, then she would survive. Apart from that, Tara wouldn’t use any magick to compel the issue.
While they were waiting for news about Buffy’s surgery, the police came by to ask why Warren Mears would target Buffy and Willow. His question shocked them because they hadn’t heard about Willow’s death yet. Apparently the living got quicker processing than the dead. He explained that scene suggested that Buffy was trying to protect Willow, but she hadn’t counted on a through-and-through bullet hitting her friend. At least the officer could assure them that Willow hadn’t suffered; he found that out from the EMTs in case anyone asked.
Half an hour after the officer spilled the beans, Xander got a call from the morgue since he was listed as Willow’s first emergency contact. Anya insisted that she was Xander’s; Giles was Anya’s – because they were business partners; Buffy was Giles’; Tara was Buffy’s; Willow was Tara’s. Then the others were listed in a similar order so they all were on each other’s contact lists.
They set it up that way so nobody was left uncovered in the case of two or more people being injured or killed at the same time. If all six of them were dead or in the hospital, then Cordy and Wes would be notified in LA. It wasn’t out of spite that Angel and Spike were left off the contact sheet; it was a matter of convenience. If a body needed to be claimed during the day, it was too suspicious to have somebody who couldn’t make it.
This was the first time the system was tested, and sadly, it worked perfectly.
As luck would have it, Willow’s parents were in town when Xander called to give them the news. Despite them not being close to her, they insisted on having a Jewish burial…including the time constraint. The ME did not feel an autopsy was necessary after she did a preliminary check of Willow’s body, which made the Rosenbergs grateful.
Buffy wanted to go to the funeral, but since she flatlined on the operating table as they tried to repair the damaged done by the bullet, the doctors refused to let her leave until the danger time had passed. It wasn’t as if she could tell them that she healed fast, either. Anya provided a compromise, though. She had a cellphone on speakerphone so Buffy could hear the service.
It was two weeks after Willow’s death that Anya asked Tara and Buffy for a slumber party at the Summers home. They thought she was having trouble knowing how to help a grieving Xander, but she held out the paper bag with the reason. Inside were pregnancy tests of every brand at the drug store. Anya thought it was a girl thing to have other women around for moral support, and neither Buffy or Tara had the heart to tell her that most women usually let the father-to-be part of it.
When Anya shared the news with her husband the next day, she vowed that if it was a girl, they could name her after Willow if he wanted. Even though, she and Willow had their fights – usually over Xander – Anya knew how important his childhood friend was to him, and if naming their daughter after her made him happy, then Anya was alright with it.~*~*~*~*~Current day…
Grabbing her bags, Tara took one last look around for anything critical she might have missed. When she didn’t find anything, she walked to Giles’ office to say goodbye. Part of her was happy to see Buffy and the others again – despite the circumstances – but the other part worried about seeing Oz again. Would he blame her for Willow’s death? If she hadn’t broken up with Willow, would that have changed things at all?
She knew that Willow didn’t blame her. How did she know? Willow came back afterwards to say goodbye and to explain what she was doing after her death.
Apparently Willow upset the Angel of Death when she brought Buffy back. To make amends, she would have to work for him, reaping souls. She would have to do that one day for every day that Buffy was dead: 147. When that time had passed, she would be allowed to move onto her afterlife.
When she said her goodbyes to the Council members with Giles, Tara opened the portal and stepped through. The first person she saw was Oz, but behind him, she saw Buffy leaning against the wall. Tara felt a weight lift from her shoulders when he said her name without any anger.
A/N: This is the Angel of Death from Charmed’verse ‘cause I like that one for a cross with BtVS.
A/N2: Next…The supernatural problem in LA.