Chapter 2 (V1.1 17.05.11)
(Willow and Tara's Dorm Room)
Buffy groaned as she slowly woke up to find the sun in her eyes. Blinking she quickly got up and stretched as her back felt twisted from sleeping in the chair. Noting it was a new day she moved to the bed where Willow remained curled up. She had a fitful sleep but she quickly awoke when Buffy began to shake her. "I think we better head to the magic shop to check on Tara and Xander," Buffy told her doing her best to sound sympathetic.
"You're right. I just hope one day they can forgive me," Willow said, already accepting that there would be a huge argument and she would accept the blame placed on her.
Getting up she followed Buffy out of the room taking note of the fact the shield keeping them inside had vanished. Clearly the Goddess had lifted it, but she doubted her punishment was over.
Xander awoke to feel a soft weight on his chest, opening his eyes he quickly noted Tara was still laying on top of him, naked as the day she was born. Two things hit him like a ton of bricks, one was the fact he was totally in love with her and second they had to get back into their clothes before someone like Giles found them like this. Shaking her a little she slowly opened her eyes before noting who she was sleeping on. Smiling as she saw it was Xander, the man she loved, she quickly captured his lips in a scorching kiss.
Xander let this go on for a few minutes before he stopped it. "As much as I would love to continue this Tara, we have to get dressed before Giles and the others turn up and find us like this," he told her regretfully and she smiled ruefully at him in return before getting off him. Feeling peaceful in each other's presence they quietly got dressed. Sometimes they ended up watching the other before they finally managed to finish. A few seconds later they heard Giles' key hit the door, Tara noted the shop smelled of sex and quickly cast a spell to disperse it and remove the small puddle of cum on the floor. Giles entered to find Tara and Xander standing by the counter. Frowning a bit he quickly noted they were cuddled up against each other.
"Xander, Tara," he said. "What do you think you are doing?" he inquired, but before either could answer him, Buffy and Willow rushed into shop only to come to a dead stop as they noted the cuddling pair.
"Oh god no," Willow moaned as she saw proof that the love/lust spell had indeed hit Xander and Tara.
"Buffy, what is going on?" Giles demanded to know as he turned to them after hearing Willow's moan. "We have a bit of a problem Giles," Buffy admitted as she helped Willow to the table and sit down.
Giles and the others quickly joined them, although Tara chose to curl up in Xander's lap. This of course raised more questions in Giles' mind and they did not make him feel good. In fact his first thought was Xander had been messing with magic again, but the look in Willow's eyes told him differently.
"What happened?" he asked, just resisting to let out a sigh, but he removed his glasses and polished them as he usually did before facing a difficult problem.
"It seems Willow had a huge argument with Tara and Xander yesterday morning and it left a lot of bitterness and anger between all three. Willow decided to solve the problem with magic," Buffy explained after exchanging a quick look with Willow who nodded miserably in response. "She was trying to cast a spell that would not only wipe the argument from their minds, it would create a replacement memory of them sharing a good day together," she continued.
"Good lord," Giles said, his jaw dropping as he took that it in. "Willow I am very disappointed in you. I thought you had more control and wisdom than this," he all but growled turning to the red head who shivered at his tone. "I did not think for one second you would do such a thing," he added.
"Giles she got it wrong, somehow the page she was on turned over and she ended up casting a far different spell," Buffy cut in, before he could go on. "She didn't bother to check that she had the right spell and so she ended up casting a love/lust spell on Xander and Tara instead," she informed him, before nodding at the cuddling couple, who just kissed each other in response.
"Oh shit," Giles couldn't help but mutter as he began to understand the full situation. "We tried to quickly come here to stop them from doing anything, but a magical shield snapped into place and kept us at the dorm all night," Buffy went on.
"The Goddess decided to punish me for my arrogance," Willow muttered with a devastated look on her face. "As well as she should," a new voice said and they turned to find five people standing behind them, even though they had not heard anyone come into the store. "Mr. Giles, my name is Leo Wyatt and this is my wife Piper Halliwell and her sisters Prue, Phoebe and Paige," the lone male introduced himself and the others.
"My word, Giles spluttered as he realized who was in front of him. "The Charmed Ones, what...what are you doing here?" he finally managed to ask. "We have been sent to ensure the last bit of Willow's punishment from the Goddess will be handed out," Leo answered. "The love Xander and Tara now feel for one another is real. It can't be changed or reversed so don't bother to try," he explained. "I'm also to tell you that Tara is now pregnant with Alexander's child," he added with a smile that was shared by the sisters.
Tara gasped once at learning the Charmed Ones stood before her and then again as she heard she was pregnant. She wrapped herself around Xander in a deep loving hug at this news. Giles spluttered as he tried to find a response, whilst Buffy stared wide eyed at the newcomers, as for Willow she closed her eyes in pain as she heard this bit of news and knew she had lost Tara forever in the romantic sense.
"So in their mind they've always been in love?" Buffy asked. "I thought magic couldn't create love," she added as she frowned in thought. "It can't," Prue answered. "Magic cannot create love, only lust, but what the Goddess did was far beyond magic Miss Summers," she added. "She is older than beings such as the Elders and Powers that Be, her powers are beyond anything we are familiar with," she continued.
"Only Leo probably has any real idea of how her powers work and he will not tell us," Phoebe put in with a small glare, before smiling at her brother in law. "Some things are supposed to remain a mystery Phoebe," Leo responded with a grin of his own. "I've told you this many times before, all that is important to understand here and now is that this is all a part of her plan and it cannot be altered," he warned them.
"We understand," Giles responded, finally finding his voice again before glancing at Willow. "You said something about another punishment?" he added, turning things back to Leo's original statement.
"I am afraid so. To make sure the lesson sticks we are going to bind Miss Rosenberg's power for a year or two," Leo answered and his expression showed he did not exactly like this, but would still carry out his orders.
"Don't you think she has been punished enough?" Buffy argued angrily at this news.
"Miss Summers, you have missed what Miss Rosenberg truly tried to do last night," Piper cut in, before anyone else could say anything. "The spell she originally tried to cast was akin to mind rape. It broke every bond of friendship and trust that exist," she explained, pacing a little as she did so.
This made Buffy pale before she glanced at Willow again who curled up tighter into a ball as best as she could. She felt ashamed of herself as someone said that word. Last night she had been able to ignore it or push it to one side, her arrogance and pride had blinded her to what she was actually doing.
"Had the Goddess not stopped it and changed the spell, it would have ripped the memory of the argument from their minds and added the new one without any real care and could have caused them brain damage," Prue picked up, where Piper had left off. "It was rape of the most darkest intent and before you ask what the Goddess allowed to happen was different in that she allowed two people in love to express that love in its strongest form and from that union conceive a child," she continued, knowing someone would argue that point.
“Plus before the spell hit them they were given the choice and they could have refused her plan, but they saw the necessity of her plan,” she continued. “By following her plan they may help avert the end of the world in the future, it has also spared Tara from a fate she did not deserve,” she added.
“Tara was going to die?” Willow gasped in horror.
“She was but anymore, and you have them to thank for not going insane due to her death and being a position to destroy the world by the end of this year,” Paige told them, making them all look horrified.
“Good Lord,” Giles gasped, as he realised the full extent of his failure in teaching Willow how to control her powers.
“They saw the bigger picture and trusted in the Goddess and the Creator. They chose to allow her plan to make them fall in love to happen,” Paige went on. “They chose to accept the fact that they would end up raising a child. One raised in the love the Goddess brought out in them, she will have a great impact in the future, just as Piper and Leo’s son Wyatt will have,” she told them.
"But yesterday, Xander and Tara did not love each other," Buffy couldn't stop herself from arguing. "Yes we did," both Tara and Xander shot back with a mild glare, having stayed quite through most of the conversation, but could not stop themselves from responding to Buffy's comment.
"From their perspective Miss Summers," Paige spoke up, "they have been in love for years. In a sense their reality was changed just as reality was changed when the monks sent the key to you as your sister Dawn," she informed them. "You will just have to accept this, all of you," she stated.
"We will," Dawn's quite voice caused all of them to turn to find the younger Summers sister standing behind them, having clearly been listening for some time. "It might take some time for some of us, but we will come to accept this. Xander and Tara are happy, especially about having a child together so who are we to rain on their happiness?" she went on, as she moved to join them at the table only pausing to hug Tara and Xander as she did so. "If the Goddess believes this is a good thing and it also teaches Willow proper control and responsibility for her magic, then we must accept it," she finished as she sat down.
"We were told you were a smart kid," Phoebe said with a grin, liking the girl's attitude. "Miss Rosenberg, do you understand why this happening?" she inquired, turning serious and facing the red head.
"I do," Willow responded meekly, uncurling and forcing herself to stand up. She had brought this on herself and had no one else but herself to blame. "I accept the responsibility and blame for what I did. I will also accept the punishment the Goddess has declared I deserve," she added.
"Acceptance is the first step in earning redemption for yourself, Willow," Piper told her. "This will be an unpleasant experience for you. The next year or two will be hard, but it is the only path open to you to keep your magic," she pointed out. "We're sorry," she added a second later, not liking this any more than Leo did.
"We best get on with this, Wyatt will be wondering where we are," Leo said. "Sheila said she could only babysit for two hours before she had to go to work," he reminded them.
"You are right Leo. Paige, draw the protective circle and pentagram," Prue ordered, taking charge of things. "Leo, go and get the Book of Shadows. Piper, light the candles and place them around the circle," she went on. "Phoebe, prepare the supplies," she finished.
Each sister nodded and began to carry out their duties. Prue accepted the book from Leo and quickly located the binding spell they would use for this casting. Once Paige was done she moved Willow into the centre of the circle. Giving the red head a sad smile she moved to her eldest sister's side, joined a second later by Piper and Phoebe.
"Wait a second, if you bind Willow's power we lose a powerful asset in the fight to keep the Hellmouth shut," Buffy spoke up. "She has a point," Xander agreed reluctantly. "If things get dicey we could need the extra power," he pointed out.
"How come you are not more angry by what has happened to you?" Buffy asked, surprised by his agreement with her. "I'm angry. Willow tried to wipe my memory of something that happened Buffy, but I'm not willing to lose her as a friend because of it. Granted we will never have the friendship we used to have not now, she has destroyed what we had and it might take me a while to talk with her again," Xander answered. "She has lost Tara, she is losing her magic and if I was to stop being friends with her as well, it may be to much for her to bear," he told her. "She will need support to get through all this, we can rebuild the trust that has been lost in all this, but in the end I have gained something from her error," he stated.
"And what is that?" Giles found himself asking. "A real future, a family of my own I know I will always stick close to and defend to my last breath," Xander replied, as Tara smiled at him.
"I agree with Xander. She has broken our trust, but it can be rebuilt, but it will never be as it once was, never as deep or true," Tara spoke up. "She has paid a heavy price for her actions, but I think she has also learned a lesson she will never forget," she went on, leaning her head on Xander's shoulder. "The next two years will not be easy, but as long we stick together I think we will find our way. She made a mistake and paid for it, but she is one of us and if it is one thing we do well it is forgive one another," she stated with a small smile.
"To answer your question Buffy, if you need the help you can call on us to aid you," Prue cut in, knowing their time here was growing short. "But only call us if you really need the help, we have our own war to fight and we are needed in San Francisco," she reminded them.
"Whatever aid you can give us Miss Halliwell will be greatly appreciated," Tara responded, while Buffy nodded her head in agreement. Xander was impressed by their offer to help and Giles was somewhat surprised by this turn of events.
Never in his life had he expected to encounter the fabled Charmed Ones, especially not as a way of punishing one of his children. He was very disappointed in Willow, but he knew he was partly to blame. He should have taken a more active role in ensuring Willow stayed on the right path, but instead he had taken his eye off the ball and allowed her to run head long down the same path he himself had done in his youth. He watched as the sisters began a chant and the power that began to flow through the shop was unlike anything he had ever felt before. It confirmed what he had heard about the Charmed Ones.
Xander held Tara close to him, both were sadly watching as Willow began to have her magic bound. Xander's anger at her try to erase their memory was strong, but as he had told Buffy he was not willing to lose her as a friend. They would have to start from scratch and rebuild their friendship and trust again, but as he had said to Buffy it would never be what it once was. His main focus was now on Tara and their unborn child. The magic the Goddess had wrought on them ensured that neither he nor Tara focused much on the fact that their love had come into being by her hand. In their minds they had been in love for years, and that was the way they liked to think.
Tara was of a similar mind to Xander's, one of her hands rested against him, while the other was on her stomach. The idea that she was pregnant was an amazing one. She swore to her mother's spirit and the Goddess who had granted her this great gift that she would be the best mother she could be. Sighing she snuggled closer to Xander.
Dawn leaned against Buffy and watched the binding of Willow's power. It shouldn't have come to this, but it had and now they would all have to deal with the consequences. The idea of Xander and Tara having a child together appealed to her. She had always felt they had good chemistry even though there had never been any romantic feelings between them before last night. Buffy sadly watched the spell come to its end and could see that Willow was now showing the effects on having her power bound. She was shaking and holding herself. She was crying badly and seemed to want to curl up into a ball again. Buffy felt sad for her friend, but she couldn't help but think that maybe this would ensure the red head would never misuse her power again. This was the way it had to be.
The spell finally finished and the Halliwell sisters collapsed back into a chair, clearly the binding spell took a lot out of them. The candles they had used had gone out as the spell finished and now Willow stood alone in the circle, doing her best to stay standing. Prue pushed herself back to her feet and broke the circle which allowed Willow to leave it. The red head stumbled into Buffy's arm as she broke down entirely. Buffy did her best to comfort her. Dawn moved away and went to Xander and Tara's side. The two brought her into a comforting hug, sensing her unease with the red head.
"I am sorry it came to this Willow, but if you can prove you have learned real control and responsibility in the next year or two your power will be restored to you," Leo told them, his sad expression still on his face as he watched the red head break down.
"And if she doesn't?" Buffy inquired. "Then it will never be given back to her," Leo answered bluntly with a shake of his head. "Hopefully that will not be the case," he stated.
"We will try and help her learn some of the important things she seems to lack when we visit you," Prue told them. "It might take time, but if she is willing to listen and learn then I am confident she will earn her power back," she added in a hopeful tone.
"May I learn from you as well?" Tara asked, with a slight stutter returning. "It would be a great honor to learn from the Charmed Ones," she added with a soft smile.
Prue exchanged looks with her sisters and then Leo who all nodded their heads in agreement. They could all see that Tara was a far more responsible witch and with Willow no longer able to do magic they might need Tara to pick up the slack, especially if they could not come to their aid. "Very well Tara. We will train you both," Prue finally said with a smile, which Tara quickly returned.
"Thank you," was all Tara could say, unable to believe she would be able to learn at the hands of the Charmed Ones themselves.
"We have to go now, as my son is probably giving Sheila a headache. Here is our contact information Mr Giles," Piper said. "If you need real aid or just need to ask for some information please don't hesitate to call," she told him, before she joined her sisters.
Prue held onto the book as they each took a hold of Leo and they began to orb out. This had not been a pleasant experience for them, but maybe they had gained new allies and in time maybe some friends as well. Xander and the others watched them orb out, before they turned to see Buffy still doing her best to comfort Willow. Giles removed his glasses and let out a sigh and truly wished Joyce was still alive, as she would know best how to handle Willow now.