A sign with three stripes was the only distinguishing mark in the alley. “Uh, Lois?” asked Tara nervously. “Are you sure this is the right place?”
Lois Lane just smiled and pulled her friend through the door into the club. The music at Trinity was laid back, the couches were comfortable, the crowd was intellectual and the cocktails were overpriced. “Isn’t this place great?” she asked.
Tara nodded, wide-eyed. Compared to the bronze, which was noisy and filled with high-school students, Trinity was…something else.
The two ordered cocktails and took a seat by a Chinese silk print. Suddenly, Lois realised that she didn’t really know Tara very well and they might not have much to talk about. Turning to her new friend, she realised that the Witch had just come to the same realisation.
“H…have you been fighting evil long?” asked Tara.
Lois smiled. “Since Faith and I became roommates.” There was an awkward pause the Lois said, “What’s the deal with Fairies?”
“You…you know that I’m a witch right?”
Lane nodded. “The mojo you pulled in Smallville kind of gave you away.”
Tara wondered if Lois were making fun of her but when she looked up the reporter was smiling amiably. “I can see auras.”
“That’s how you knew Faith was in B’s body that night you met?” interrupted Lois, wishing she had brought something to write on. But even her smallest notebook wouldn’t fit in the ridiculously tiny purse she carried.
Tara nodded and shifted uncomfortably in her seat. A friendly chat had somehow turned into an interview. She knew that Lois wasn’t doing it deliberately, it was just the way she was. “I could see their auras,” began Tara again, “so I knew there were Fairies in the rose garden when I first arrived three days ago.”
Lois Lane squinted hard, trying to imagine what a Fairy aura would look like. She couldn’t so instead she asked, “Can all witches see auras, or is it a special gift?”
Tara’s face began to crumple into tears and Lois realised what she’d done. Faith had made her promise that she wouldn’t bring up Willow under any circumstances. Even though it was her choice to end things and move away, Tara was taking the break-up hard. Sighing, Lois put her arm around her new friend and let her cry.
“So Wes,” began Faith hesitantly after dinner as they sat on a bench in the park.
“Faith I…” began Wesley at the same moment.
They both laughed nervously. “You go first,” insisted the Slayer, staring intently at her Watcher.
Wes reached over and took Faith’s hand in both of his. “We’ve grown…closer recently.” If Faith had been a blushing type of girl she would have blushed at the look Wes was giving her. “I know that you’ve had difficulties with relationships in the past and I don’t want to scare you but I thought this would work better if I were here full time.”
Faith’s eyes widened. Did he mean ‘this’ as in Watcher/Slayer or ‘this’ as in lovers? Her mind was spinning so fast she almost missed what he said next. “Huh?”
“I’ve bought a flat. Here, in Metropolis.” Wesley watched her face carefully, waiting for some sort of reaction.
Faith’s phone chose that moment to ring shrilly. She muttered an apology to Wes and pulled in out of her pocket. “Hello?”
The voice on the other end of the line was soft, hesitant. “Faith, is that you?”
“Yeah. It’s Faith. Who’s this?” Faith was annoyed at the interruption and her voice showed it, her Boston accent coming out in her irritation.
Half an hour earlier Buffy and Amanda were sparring in the training room behind the Magic Box. “Good, Amanda,” said Buffy, calling a halt. “I think you can begin patrolling with me next week.”
Amanda smiled. On her first meeting with Dawn’s family and friends she’d assumed that they were a bunch of weirdos. This first impression had been confirmed by her trip to Kansas, but it turned out they were her kind of weird.
The phone began to ring. “Giles!” screeched Buffy. “Phone!”
One hand to his head in an attempt to stop the echo of his Slayer’s shrill voice, Giles emerged from the office. “Magic Box…he’s what?…well, I can see that but a Watcher should be with his Slayer…it’s a different situation…yes, I’ll let her know. Goodbye.”
Giles almost slammed down the phone before taking off his glasses and polishing them furiously.
“Who was that?” asked Willow, coming down from the mezzanine where the powerful spell books were kept.
Giles jumped. He hadn’t known she was up there. But he should have. Since Tara went to Kansas, leaving Willow only a note, she’d been spending a lot of time up there. Too much, thought Giles. “That was Angel,” replied the Watcher with a grimace. “It seems that Wesley too has decided to make his move to Kansas permanent.”
“What do you mean ‘too’?” asked Willow. “Tara’s coming back, she just needed a break.” She looked at Amanda who looked away and then at Buffy who shook her head slowly.
“What did the letter say?” asked Buffy. “The one that Tara sent with Amanda?”
“She didn’t mean it,” insisted Willow desperately. “She’s coming back.”
Buffy reached out toward her friend but flinched away when a spark of raw magic shocked her. Willow had erected a shield without thinking. Pity she couldn’t shield her heart, thought Giles.
“Honey,” said Buffy softly, “she’s not coming back.”
Sparks flew, forcing everyone in the shop to close their eyes. The bell jingled, announcing the arrival of Xander. “She’s not coming back,” repeated Willow in tears. Ignoring the shield, Xander embraced his friend.
Willow calmed almost immediately and reined in her magic. Trying to take her mind off her loss, she turned to Giles. “What did Angel want?”
“Apart from letting us know that Wesley has moved to Metropolis to be with Faith, he wondered if we might be able to help him. With Wesley gone he needs some assistance with research and some minor spells.” He turned to Willow. “He thought that you might be able to go to Los Angeles.”
Willow sank into a nearby chair. Why not go to LA, she thought, there’s nothing for me here. Reaching for her cell phone, she dialled Faith’s number.
A/N: sorry this one wasn’t really happy, next one will be better…