A/N- I was looking over my stories and saw that I haven't updated this in over 2 years!! Holy Crap! I am SO sorry. Life has been busy, but DAMN! Here's a chapter...please, don't kill me:)
Kennedy whirled around and headed back to her packing. After seeing Willow break down in Tara's arms, she knew what she had to do. A part of her had hoped that what she and Willow had was real, that it would endure, and another part of her knew that she was in no way able to compare to what her Willow and Tara had. Stuffing handfuls of clothes into a duffel bag, she furiously wiped the tears from her eyes and turned, coming face to face with Buffy. “Excuse me please.” She said quietly, not looking the blonde in the eyes.
Buffy just folded her arms and walked into the room shaking her head. “Kennedy, I need to speak with you.”
Kennedy turned and looked at Buffy, who was looking out the bedroom window. “I thought you were drilling the potentials?” Kennedy asked.
“Faith has them…poor bastards.” Buffy smirked. “That means I can talk to you and the girls aren’t neglected. Close the door, please, this is private.”
Kennedy rolled her eyes and closed the door then went and flopped down on the bed, looking at Buffy as the Slayer moved around the room.
“I have a problem and I can’t go to Giles, Xander, Dawnie…especially not to Will’s.” Buffy started. “It’s Tara.”
Kennedy furrowed her brow. “According to everyone I’ve talked to, Tara is like the second coming. She can do no wrong.” She said contemptuously.
Buffy nodded. “She was. She was great. Loving, kind, beautiful, always willing to help and listen to anyone who needed a friend.” Buffy sighed, shaking her head sadly. “But Tara Maclay is dead. We all saw it. We buried the body, and we mourned her death.”
Kennedy stood now. “You don’t think that’s Tara?”
Buffy shook her head. “I believe it’s Tara’s body. I believe that it’s very distracting, convenient and way to much to hope for that she turns up now, when we need her strength more than ever. I mean, look at Willow! She’s our most powerful weapon against the first and the way she is now, she couldn’t light a candle if she needed to.” Buffy sighed. “She shows up out of the blue, saying she’s immortal. In the world we live in where friends and loved ones are dying every day, she makes the claim that she is now immune to this slight problem. And the whole thing with strangers showing up, swinging swords and Tara being hunted? It’s all very dangerous and more than a little unnerving that we now can’t tell the enemies from the allies.”
Kennedy cocked her head to the side. Tara had said that she can feel when another immortal is near, and that the fights have to be done one-on-one. And from the stories Kennedy had heard, Tara wasn’t the strongest link in physical prowess. “So what do you want me to do?” she asked.
Buffy bit her lip. “Find this Jensen guy. See what his story is. All we have to go on is the fact that he shows up, he and Tara start clashing swords and he leaves. He knows Tara, and me, and I’m sure he will know Willow or any of the scoobies. You, though, are someone Tara doesn’t know. Plus, it gives you a perfect cover. I mean, you were gonna bolt, right?” she said, gesturing towards Kennedy’s bag. “We can say you stormed off and you can find this guy and let me know if he is really an enemy or not.” Buffy rubbed her forehead. “There’s a big, two story about four blocks from here, 2025 Rovello, do you think you can find it?” she asked.
“Stay there, but try to keep the lights out at night. I’ll let Spike know that you are staying there so he can sweep a few times at night. If the guy is a big bad, we’ll deal…if not, then I really feel sorry for Tara.” She said.
Kennedy nodded. “I’ll head there now. You want me to call you if I find anything?”
Buffy shook her head. “No. I’ll come and see you on patrol. That way I won’t be getting mysterious phone calls in the middle of the night.”
Kennedy stood and grabbed her bag. “You’ll tell them I took off, then?”
Buffy nodded. “I’ll take care of everything.”
Kennedy smiled. “Thanks, Buffy. I’ll see you later tonight.” She said as she headed out the bedroom door and down the stairs.
“Yes…you will.” Buffy narrowed her gaze and smiled evilly, folding into herself and disappearing in a flash of light.
Tara ducked under the sword that was swung over her head and got a knee to the chin for her effort, followed by a boot to the stomach and her legs swept from under her. Falling on her back, she felt the cold steel of a blade pressed against her throat.
“You’re dead.” Faith said, moving the sword and reaching down to help Tara up.
Tara decided to ask Faith to help her train. First off, she was a slayer. Second, she didn’t really know Tara that well and vice-versa. Buffy would hold back, afraid of hurting Tara. Faith…Tara knew about Faith’s past. She knew that Faith would go at her full force with every move, save the beheading ones. That’s what Tara needed. That is what Tara wanted. Duncan had been training her hard for a year, now, and Tara appreciated it. But she could also tell that he held back. All the dirty moves, the in your face, need to win moves that Tara would need to survive. She thought if Duncan could get away with it, he would have had her shipped off to a monastery in Tibet to live out the remainder of time on Holy Ground.
“You keep hesitating.” Faith said. “My sword was sailing over your head, so my body was wide open. You should have thrust upwards from your crouched position.” The dark slayer gave her analysis of the fight.
“Faith. I will get better from a wound like that. You’ll just be dead.” Tara said, wiping the blood from her face. Her nose had already stopped bleeding.
“Well naturally, I don’t mean to actually skewer me. Just touching my stomach with your sword lets me know you have a win.” Faith said, taking a drink from the water bottle.
“I appreciate you doing this for me.” Tara said, smiling softly.
Faith shrugged. “No big. Gets me a couple of hours away from the brats.”
Tara grinned. “That bad?”
Faith rolled her eyes. “I swear I was never 15.” She groaned.
Tara picked up her things and fell into step beside Faith as they headed back to the house. They tried a lesson in the back yard, but between Willow, Dawn and a couple of the potentials nearly having heart attacks when they saw Faith really attacking Tara, she felt it was best if they practiced without an audience. They had been coming here for almost a week now. “So. I heard that you were in jail.” Tara grinned. “Does the real thing live up to the movies?”
Faith shot Tara a look. “Wow. You kiss Red with that mouth?”
Tara shrugged. “Think of the things I have done to Willow with ‘This mouth’ and tell me you’re shocked.” Tara raised an eyebrow.
“Wow.” Faith actually stopped. “That was TMI for even me.” She grinned. “I think we’re gonna get along just fine.”
Tara opened her mouth to reply when she suddenly felt a buzzing in the back of her skull. She came to a dead stop and grabbed her sword, scanning the area around her.
“What’s up?” Faith asked, all business now and holding her own weapon ready.
“I feel someone else.” Tara whispered.
“Got a direction or is it just another feeling?” Faith asked.
Tara shrugged. “I’m still kinda new at this.”
Suddenly, a shot rang out in the empty streets. Followed by another and another. Red patches blossomed on Tara’s shirt as she jerked three times and fell to the ground.
“TARA!” Faith screamed, spinning to face the man who was holding a revolver on the blonde.
He smirked and dropped the gun. “Leave, now.” He snarled. “This does not concern you.”
Faith felt her rage build as it had never done before. She unsheathed her short sword and spun it. “Beheading, right?” she snarled. “I can do that.” She charged the man.
Jensen swung his own rapier, expecting to easily parry the swing made by the brunette. He was not, however, expecting the force behind the blow. He barely stepped aside as his arm went a little numb from the force. The immortal narrowed his gaze and decided that if he was to live, he couldn’t hold back.
Faith kicked out as Jensen stepped to the side and was rewarded with a satisfying crack as her foot caught the immortals thigh. Jensen dropped to one knee. Faith swung again, and Jensen managed to just barely parry again.
His leg was broken and he knew fear as Faith swung again. The blows were coming so fast he, in all of his five hundred years, could barely knock them aside. His arm was completely numb now and his three hundred year old rapier was a mangled, twisted mass in his hands.
Faith grabbed Jensen’s wrist as he raised the sword again and squeezed. She felt bones snapping and watched as the sword fell from his useless hand.
Jensen felt cold fear running through him and was about to beg for his life when the brunette spun in a complete circle. Jensen suddenly couldn’t talk.
Faith watched with pure hate in her eyes as a thin red line appeared on Jensen’s neck and his head tumbled from his body. Faith turned and ran over to Tara’s body, dropping to her knees and cradling the blondes head in her lap. She felt tears running down her face and a deep sadness for the woman she barely knew. She never saw the white mist rising from Jensen’s headless body, or saw it swirling around, seeking the immortal essence nearby to merge with.
Tara’s eyes shot open and she gasped deeply, looking frantically around her. She remembered pain exploding in her back and chest, then nothing. “F-Faith.” She sputtered, coughing up blood as her body healed.
Faith was sobbing. “Please. God, please hang on!” Faith cried, mistaking Tara’s revival as the wiccas dying gasps.
“Faith. Move. Now!” Tara coughed, shoving the dark slayer as hard as she could. Faith didn’t budge.
“Tara. I’m not leaving you, I swear, I’ll stay.” Faith replied, smoothing the blonde locks from Tara’s eyes.
“No, behind you. Move or you’ll die!” Tara extended a hand and felt the magic surging through her. Faith flew away from the wicca as lightning began flashing around her, striking Tara, the pavement around her, the street lamps and even dancing dangerously close to Faith herself.
Tara felt the quickening pour into her, seeing everything Jensen ever saw. She suddenly knew everything Jensen knew and felt the knowledge incorporated into her own mind. She felt herself being pulled from the ground, the energy swirling around her and the lightning striking her, dancing over her skin and all of the pain that came with it. It was her first quickening and she couldn’t say she liked it very much.
Faith watched in horrid fascination as the mist and lightning swirled around Tara in a maelstrom of energy, making the blonde float in the air. She felt helpless to do anything when suddenly she was jerked back by a pair of strong hands. She turned and stared into Buffy’s very concerned and angry eyes.
0====(================> 0====(================>Buffy’s House-a few moments ago
Buffy and Duncan sat on the porch, an uneasy silence between them. She wasn’t sure if she trusted him and he felt the same. Immortals didn’t generally go around announcing their presence to everyone for obvious reasons. But the group Tara had introduced them to was taking everything remarkably well.
Duncan chuckled, thinking about Tara’s insistence that there were weirder things than friends coming back from the dead in Sunnydale.
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “What’s so funny?”
“Just something Tara said.” Duncan shrugged. “She said that you, of everyone here, would be the least freaked out about her.”
Buffy smirked. Having been dead…twice…she did possess a unique perspective to Tara’s condition. “Yeah, well.” She smiled. “Death. Been there, done that.”
“You lead an interesting life.” Duncan said. “You know, I think I may have actually met a Slayer one.” He said.
Buffy raised an eyebrow. “Really? Where was that?”
“I was in France in 1734.” Duncan started when suddenly he went rigid. “Oh God no.” he said softly, staring down the road.
Buffy turned, expecting to see a horrible vision. “What? What is…” she stopped as a lightning storm started about three blocks away. It lit up the area, but it was not coming down from the sky, and it was very localized. “Is that what I think it is?”
Duncan nodded, gripping the railing. “An immortal just lost their head.” He muttered.
Buffy was sprinting across the lawn, headed for the storm before she even registered it. She felt her heart pounding and preyed that Tara was alright. She poured on a boost of speed as she thought of finding a headless Tara. ‘Not again.’ Buffy thought. ‘We can’t lose her again!’
Duncan watched as Buffy ran and followed a few seconds behind her. He didn’t want to get near the Quickening until after the effects were over, but he wanted to know if Tara was alright as well. Buffy was much faster than him and he came upon the scene just as the Quickening was dying. He saw Buffy pulling Faith away from Tara, who was gently floating back to the ground.
Buffy turned to Faith, whose eyes were wide with fear and worry but Buffy didn’t think it was towards her. “Faith.” Buffy tried talking to Faith. The dark slayer didn’t respond. “Faith!” Buffy yelled.
Duncan ran over to Tara and saw the blood covering her clothes. He knew she would be fine since her head was still attached but it was Tara’s first Quickening. Unfortunately, they never got any easier. He scooped the blonde up in his arms and turned to head over to Buffy and Faith when he saw a sight that stopped him dead in his tracks.
Buffy turned and looked at Duncan, cradling Tara and staring down the block. She turned to see Willow, standing in the middle of the street. The redhead was breathing rapidly and sparks were dancing down her arms and jumping off of her fingertips, grounding on the pavement. She looked nearly frenzied with panic and Buffy saw why. Tara had been shot. “Oh hell.” Buffy muttered, suddenly very worried.