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I didn't want to see her tonight. It was too soon.  I had spent most of today trying to understand what was going on inside of my head. I knew I wanted her, but I mean, come on, what else was new. Wanting someone was okay. I could fuck them and then move on. But not B. There was something more I wanted from her, something more I always wanted. It wasn't just her body, it wasn't just the physical. There was something else I wanted from her. And that just scared the hell out of me. I did not want to be feeling this way.

So I went out to patrol, and of course she found me. We just seemed to meet in the middle of the cemetery, walked right up to each other. And that was where we were. Standing here, staring.

God she looked so good tonight.

Loose skirt, high leather boots, and tight top. I felt my jaw clench as I roamed my eyes over her body. I knew I could pull her against, me, taste the gum she was absently popping in her mouth. She wouldn't stop me that was clear. But it wouldn't be enough. It would break my heart again.

"Hi." She said softly.

"Hey." I looked down at my boots, noticing a few new scuffs. I'd have to buff those out later. "Dawn doing alright?" I offered. If we had to do this talking thing, I wanted to talk about anything other than what had happened last night.

"Same Dawn. Wanted to come out on patrol."

"So where is she?" I asked.

"Home. I said no." Buffy caught my dancing eyes, and held them. "I was hoping to find you."

"Oh." I felt a ripple through my stomach, overriding the butterflies that settled when she looked at me. A Vampire. THANK GOD.  "You feel that?"

"Yeah, but it's a young one." She acknowledged.



She stood beside a tree about two hundred yards away from them, twirling a bit of hair between her fingers. Things were so much better now. She could feel the low humming of the power coming off of the two Slayers as they stood talking. Before she was turned, Jane could feel the power of the Slayer in an embrace, in a hand clutching at her. But this? She grinned. This was exquisite.

Look at them. A trick of the eyes. Seeming so normal, so frail. But so strong, so angry. All a trick. She sang in her mind. Her Sire had warned her not to approach the Slayers, that she was not strong enough yet. But soon she would be. Soon. And Jane had vowed to have both of them, either with her forever, or dead.



"Should we go over and check it out?" Faith asked. But Buffy didn't want to move, she wanted to stay here and get Faith to talk to her. To talk about them. Faith had effectively maneuvered around talking about them this morning, and Buffy had let her, but she needed to talk now.

"Naw. Feel it? They're leaving."

"I would. Two Slayers? Don't want to fuck with that."

Buffy grinned at the pride she heard in Faith's voice. She took a step closer and moved to set her hand on Faith's arm.

"Faith," She said softly. The girl backed away, and all Buffy was given was her fingertips brushing down her strong forearm.

"I, I," Faith stammered and looked behind her.

Nothing there to help you, Faith.

"We need to talk."

"NO.WE.DON'T." Faith said loudly. "See you later B." She turned on the heel of her boots and quickly walked away.

"Please don't go." Buffy whispered sadly.



What is wrong with me? B wants me, that is clear, but why does she want me? God should it even matter? I mean this is Buffy Summers!

She could lie on the ground and order me to make her come and I should do it in a heartbeat. That was what people did when she offered herself. You took the offer.

I stomped away, wondering for the thousandth time that day what was wrong with me, and why I was holding back.



"Giles is really gone this time, yes?"

"Yes, An, he is gone. Um, why the sudden interest in Giles?" Xander asked, rolling to his side. He looked over at the demon, the demon he loved, as she lay on his bed, the sheet just barely covering her naked breasts. They had just spent an hour relearning the others body, and were both thinking, looking at the ceiling. He was wondering how he had gotten so lucky that she still loved him, wondering when would be a good time for him to ask her to move back in. Maybe it was too soon. Maybe she was nervous, that was why she was wondering about Giles.

"Oh, sorry. I know it was inappropriate for the setting, and the whole, no talking about other people while naked rule." She sighed. "I was thinking about my day, putting every memory in the right place, and I was stuck on him."

"Stuck on Giles huh?"

"No. Not like that. Its just, I was getting used to owning the shop, and he came back, and well then the shop was destroyed, and I wasn't-" She rolled over and looked at him. "Xander do you love me?"

"What? Of course I do. I never stopped."

"You know that you hurt me. I mean really really hurt me."

"I know, Anya, and I will do anything to make it up to you."

She snorted, rolling onto her back again. "I doubt that."

"But, I"

"Please. I wanted to get married, I wanted to spend the rest of the mortal life I had with you. You didn't. You left."

"I was afraid of turning into my parents, of being so unhappy, making you unhappy." He sighed.

"How can you think like that? I mean, going through life worrying about what you might or might not do." He felt her take his hand, and Xander took that as a good sign. "Loving someone is about taking that risk, about being with them through what happens. About not being afraid of what might happen years from now, but looking forward to being there, regardless. So I have to wonder, if you really did love me."

"I don't know how many times I can say that I am sorry." He squeezed her hand.

"I don't want sorrys, and I don't want promises, not anymore."

"What do you want?" He turned looking at her profile. She would always be the most beautiful woman in the world to him. Nervously he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

"Let's take it day by day. That's all I can do." She sighed.

"Thank you." He leaned forward and kissed her cheek, before sliding his arm under her pillow, pulling her close.



"You still love her, don't you?"

I snapped my neck, turning to stare at Red. We were sitting on the couch in the apartment, me sipping a beer, her drinking tea. I had come over, hoping to put enough distance between me and B, at least until I sorted my head out. I had thought it was weird, to be sitting there just talking about Tara, and about magic with Red. I mean, never in a million years did I ever think I would have her as a friend. But there we were. And then she drops that bombshell of a question on me. "You don't know what you are talking about."

"I think I do. I know something is going on. They way she is looking at you, and I know I caught you looking at her too."

"I am not." I sneered.

"You are. I know about the smoochies." She said softly, and I rolled my eyes. Of course.

"So what?" I snapped.

"So what is your problem?" Willow asked, turning to really face me.

"My problem is she fucking broke my heart." I growled, and drained the rest of the beer, setting the bottle on the coffee table. I did not want to talk about this.

"Why didn't you fight for her though? I never understood that. Don't give me that look. I knew you were into her, why do you think I was so jealous? It was like everything was moving on fine between you two, and then everything just blew up." She knew? Well I guess me drawing hearts on the window wasn't the most discreet thing I had done.

"Something almost happened." I ran my hand over my face. I was going to tell her this? God. "Almost, but Angel showed up, and then we went out slaying, and then I stabbed Allan." I sighed. "No time to fight for her. And if she didn't want me for being a girl then she sure as shit wouldn't want me being a killer."

"But she wants you now."

"Right." I scoffed.

"If I am right, and she does, Faith, what is stopping you?"

Oh, if you only knew Red. If you only knew how disastrous my experience with women was.

<I woke to fingers running ever so softly over my face and neck. Whispering touches moving from my jaw over my chin, down over the top of my chest. Even slightly awake I was aching to feel those fingers on my lips, feel the fingers move down to pinch my nipples, but they teased and danced away.

Slowly I opened my eyes. "Morning"

"God you are beautiful." The fingers kept dancing over my flushed skin.

"Sorry I slept late." I pushed back the blankets, but was held down by the fingers, moving over the length of my stomach that was exposed between panties and my tank top.

It had been a crazy night, meeting on the corner, just a block away from my apartment, making the agreement, and then coming up here, to this room. It was cheap, but that was okay. Last night, when I touched her, when I felt her body sweating and twitching underneath mine, there had been nothing else in the world. Just her, just the fact that she was a woman, and so perfect. It was completely new, and just seemed better than anything I had ever felt before.

"So soft."

The fingers moved down and cupped my sex, which was soaking, and aching. My legs opened automatically and the fingers now moved in a circular rhythm over my clit. God that felt good. Her other hand pushed up my tank top, revealing rock hard nipples, and her lips came down.

"I just want to bite." She hissed before doing just that.

I moaned, arching into the mouth and hands, wanting nothing more than to feel hot flesh on mine, to feel the closeness of another body. It seemed like I had been waiting my whole life for this.

"Please, " I moaned, and pushed down the panties myself. The fingers continued their low rolling over my clit, rubbing not to hard, not to soft, not to slow not to fast, just enough to not be enough, and keep me on the brink. I felt stuck. Rolling my hips trying for more pressure, but my core ached. "Please." I moaned again, "Please go inside."

The hand pulled away, the lips pulled away from my breasts. "You take too long to come. And my arm hurts." She said, rolling off the bed, walking away and slamming the bathroom door. I closed my eyes, feeling my heart thundering in my chest, wondering what I had done wrong, what had I said wrong. I replayed all of it, the waking up, the just letting my body move on it's own. Was it my fault that after years of shutting down emotionally, only concerned with getting whomever I was with off fast so I could be gone, turned into neglect? That my body took forever to climax with another person? It must be.

I felt a tear straining at the corner of my eye, wanting to escape, but blinked it back. I cried for no one. And she certainly didn't cry for a fucking trick.

I rolled off of the bed, pulling up the blankets, habitually straightening them. Then I dressed, hearing the shower on in the other room. On came the jeans, and the boots. I found my jacket on the other side of the bed, and pulled it on. She had left a fifty on the dresser, and I picked it up as I walked past, heading out the door.>

No, Red didn't need the details. It was just a trick, and it had been a long time ago in Boston.

"I was with a woman, once." I said, swallowing thickly, the memory having tightened my throat. Red sat up, attentive. "It didn't go well at all. Actually." I laughed of my nervousness "It was a disaster.  But I thought with B it would have been perfect." I locked eyes with Red, "But it wasn't. It was even worse."



It was quiet in the kitchen. Willow looked at Faith, who was sitting on the counter, with a hand full of M&Ms, studying them before tossing them in her mouth. A smiled curled on her lips. She noticed Buffy looking through some paperwork that the School Board had sent over to her. It was amazing, that Buffy Summers was now the librarian of Sunnydale High School. Willow noticed was Buffy looking up to catch glimpses of Faith. Playing matchmaker would be a snap, the redhead thought. After talking last night, even though Faith had left out a lot of details, it became clear to Willow that the only thing holding Faith back was fear; fear of rejection, fear of being hurt again.

"Faith?" Willow asked, and the brunette snapped her head up, quirking an eyebrow. "Weren't you going to pick up Dawn for patrol?"

"Right. It is that time, isn't it." Faith hopped down from the counter. "Um, B, are you still sure this is okay?"

"More than okay. If you can handle her, then please, by all means." Buffy smiled.

"Okay. I'll bring her home after about one or so." Faith said, walking towards the back door. "See ya." The door slammed behind her. Willow looked up, catching a lazy smile on the blonde's lips.

Buffy really likes her! I knew it!

Grinning Willow asked, "Hey Buffy have you ever noticed how Faith eats M&Ms?"

"What?" Buffy asked dreamily.

"You know, she eats all the brown, then red, then-"

"Yellow and then blue, leaving the green for last." Buffy said, and then turned to Willow, blushing. "Uh, yeah. I noticed."

"I think it is kind of cute." Willow smiled.

"Don't let Faith hear you say that." Buffy leaned forward. "But you are right, it is cute."



"Do you like Faith?"

"Of course."

"No, Buffy. I am serious, I mean as in like, like."

"God, are we in High School again?" Buffy laughed, but then her smile fell. "I really, I mean. Wills there is something there, something inside of her that I am drawn too. But she refuses to talk to me about us, about anything the past two days."

"She is scared." Willow confessed.

"Why?" Buffy set down her pen and looked at her best friend, honestly hoping for the answer.

"Buffy you broke her heart. That isn't something she can just forget."

"I know." Buffy sighed. "I don't know how to get through to her. It's like I can tell that she wants to me just as much as I want to be with her, but she is stopping herself."

"She is."



They were walking through Restfield Cemetery. Dawn had been so excited, to be able to patrol with Faith. But they had been walking for hours. Faith walked around a lot more than Buffy. Her feet were tried from standing all day at her retail job at the tee shirt store in the mall, plus Faith had said less than five words in the past two hours. She was brooding and it was driving Dawn crazy.

"Ugh!" Dawn threw her hands in the air. "So what is your problem?"

"What?" Faith asked, stopping.

"Buffy was crying half the night."

"And that is my fault?" Faith asked, setting her hands on her hips.

"She was sobbing your name, so yeah, it's your fault. Don't you love her anymore?"

"Ack." Faith choked.



She didn't want to stay home, waiting for Faith to come back with Dawn. She was fidgeting. She had decided to go out and patrol. Just a little action to take the edge off, and she had found it a block away from her house.

A huge scaly demon was chocking a young high school kid a few doors down from the bar. The demon was talking in some weird language.

"Hey, I think you were looking for me." Buffy tapped the demon on the shoulder.

"No, want him."

"Well I was looking for you, big guy." She grinned punching him square in the face.



"Um, Dawn." Faith tried to speak, but was still red from choking on shock. "What in the world makes you think that?"

"It is so obvious that you had it for her when you first came to town. I mean, in all reality I wasn't here, but the memories I have, of sitting on the stairs and watching you two sitting on the couch, you holding her hand sometimes. You think the monks would have made those memories up? Don't think so." Dawn poked her finger into Faith's chest. "So what is the deal? You love her and then you don't? You can just turn it on and off?"

"Don't you want her to get back with Spike?" Faith asked, squinting.

"If you weren't around, sure. Spike has always been my replacement Faith. The leather, the bad attitude but the softy just underneath. I mean, come on! He is so you, well, without the erm, breasts. I mean. Totally different, you guys are totally different." Dawn stammered stepping back.

"Listen, Kiddo. Things with me and B are," Faith stopped.

"Are?" Dawn pressed.

"Behind you. Two of them. Let's play." Faith grinned and rushed past Dawn, who scowled, that they had been interrupted.



She tasted so good. That was all that Jane could think as she lapped again at the throbbing center before her. Cold thighs rubbed against her cheeks as she moved her entire head over and over her Sire's clit. They had been doing this for hours. Jane feasting on her, not wanting to leave the fount she found here. As her teeth pinched the hard bundle of nerves the woman below her howled, coming hard. Smiling Jane lifted her head up and looked into the deep eyes that were boring down on her.

"You are quite good at that." Her Sire appraised.

"Lots of practice." Jane licked her lips.

"I can see that." She smiled, and patted the bed next to her. Jane crawled up the body and lay down, resting her cheek on her Sire's shoulder. "And what, sweet Jane, can I ever do to repay you for tonight?"

"Help me get the Slayers." Jane replied without a seconds thought.

"Oh, that is a given."

Jane thought, running her fingers over the rich brown skin. What did she want besides that? She was immortal, she was strong. She was safe.

"Tell me your name?"

"Ah." The woman sighed. "You can call me Veronica." She kissed the top of Jane's head. "You my dear are my first child, and I must say, I am pleased." She pulled Jane into her arms. "So pleased that we are going to get the slayers."



"Thank you, Slayer." The boy said, rubbing his neck. "He was going to kill me."

Buffy looked down at the quickly disappearing blue sludge that was the demon. She loved the ones that decomposed on their own, less work. She turned to the boy, just realizing what he said. "Yeah, well. Don't know what you meant by a Slayer." Buffy tried to play it off.

"My kind knows all about you." He smiled standing.

"Your kind?"

"I am an EEEEAWAAAAAAAAKJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJDSEEEEEEEEEE." His mouth opened and instead of words it was a high pitch screeching noise. Buffy felt like her ears were going to bleed. She clamped her hand over his mouth, silencing him.

"Okay that is not ever going to happen again. Slayer hearing, and that HURTS." She groaned.

"Sorry." He smiled. "But you saved me, and my kind repay our debts."

"No, that's okay." She backed away.

"I must. I will grant you a wish. You may take it with you, and use it when you want." He smiled.

"I may be a Slayer, but I make some mistakes, what if I screw up my wish?" She asked honestly, recalling the many screwy wishes she had lived through.

"Ah, a safety word. Of course. You will wish your wish, and if you ever want to take it back, just say ‘Big Red'."

"Big Red? You are kidding right?"

"No. I like Big Red gum, and I am giving you the wish, so the safety word is Big Red."

"What happens if I say the safety word?"

"Everything goes back to where it was right when you made the wish."



"Dawn, don't!" I called out. After finding a freshly risen vamp, I had shown off a bit, and vaulted over one of the tombstones. Easy as pie for me, but I had been doing it for years. I was stupid. I should have known that Dawn would try it herself. And there she was, arms down, body coming up, and I knew. I watched unable to move my eyes away, but feeling in my gut what was coming, the way she was falling, how she was going to land. Her right leg went forward, but only from below the knee. The sound of the bone cracking echoed through the night and over rode all the sound from the rest of the world. I felt my stomach lurch, the leg bent wrong. The crack echoed in my ears. God that was terrible.



Buffy came out of the room, having watched them wrapping the cast on her sister's leg. The pain was gone, due to the heavy use of morphine, and Dawn was babbling to the young intern.  She eased the door closed behind her, looking up to see Faith pacing in the waiting room. Her head snapped up, and they walked towards each other, standing just slightly down an adjacent hall.

"Sorry B, I never meant for her to get hurt. I should have been watching." Faith breathed out, her eyes round with apology.

"No it isn't your fault. It was an accident." Buffy said. She knew her sister was showing off, it had been no ones fault.

"But, I should have been-"

"Faith, no, it is okay." Buffy said, cupping Faith's neck in her hand and rising her face up to bring their lips together. Buffy was tired of waiting, of wondering what Faith was feeling. She pressed harder against the lips, and they opened against her. Buffy slipped her tongue into Faith's mouth, searching, as she moved her other hand to Faith's waist. A deep moan came from the taller Slayer, and Buffy felt her feet leave the ground as Faith's arms encircled her waist and pulled their bodies together forcefully. Faith was kissing her back, and Buffy could feel it everywhere. Even her toes were tingling. The passion flowed between them, and the kiss became even more forceful, deep and hungry. The Slayers forgot the entire world for a second in that kiss. There was only the taste of them. Buffy felt like she could kiss Faith all night, forever even. Her feet touched the ground again, and Buffy felt Faith's tongue pull at her top lip, gently feeling the inside of her mouth. Then Buffy felt it. Not the desire, that was clear, but the feelings, the emotions that Faith had been keeping locked inside of her. Buffy's eyes felt like they rolled back into her head. Faith wrenched her lips away, and Buffy groaned, opening her eyes.

"I can't." She stuttered, and then ran away. Buffy watched her go, and noticed Willow standing in the corner. Her best friends hand was at her throat, and her eyes shimmered with concern.

Buffy wanted to follow, wanted to beat some sense into the other Slayer if that was what it took. She looked back at the closed door. She couldn't leave. She had to stay for Dawn.



She was just sitting. That was it. Sitting. Ankles crossed over her bare toes that were painted a deep bruising red, legs covered loosely in off white flannel pants, white tank top that was thinned from years of washing. Elbows on her knees, palms up to cup her cheeks, her blonde hair slightly messed, framing her face. Her hazel eyes would occasionally blink as she watched Kiddo hobbling on her cast, moving in the kitchen, making breakfast for the two of them. She was just sitting, and I was standing, outside, looking in through the open screen door, feeling how hot it was going to be later in the day, because already the sun on my back was scorching. I was going to step inside, about five minutes ago, but seeing her, sitting, I froze.

I had been fighting it; I had been being really good about keeping any emotion locked away. But walking up the back steps, looking inside and seeing her, I was clearly not paying attention. Because looking at Buffy Summers I felt smacked dumb by love. I was in love with her.

It wasn't supposed to happen, and it certainly wasn't supposed to just appear. Love did nothing but hurt. Sure it felt like my heart was going to smash through my chest, dropping on the warping back porch boards. But if it did she could easily step on it. That was the whole problem, she would hurt me again, and I was freaking out about that. About her having that amount of power, to cut me with a look, or worse, no look.

Her head came up off of her hands, and she looked through the screen to see me standing there. Slowly a smile appeared on her lips, and she sat straighter. It was like she was moving in slow motion, through water, something like that. She unfolded from the chair and took the seven steps from the chair to the door.  B stood on the other side, looking through the rusted screen looking at me as intently as I was looking at her.

What was she thinking? What was she feeling? I'd give anything to be able to get inside of that head of hers.



She was shimmering. That was Buffy's thought as she stood looking through the screen door. The morning sun shinning behind her, setting off highlights in her hair. She looked different during the day, she always had. At night she slinked through the blackness, blending in with the shadows, in her leather. But during the day lately she looked so different, softer, if that was possible for Faith to look soft. Today she wore black jeans, not so tight; they hung low on her hips. A rust colored tank top. Her arms hung at her sides, but as she closed her right hand into a loose fist, the muscles of her forearm jerked, and rippled.

Buffy wanted to step through the door and envelope Faith in her arms. She could feel something to happening, she wasn't sure what it was, but she could feel it. Buffy raised her hand, setting it on the grime covered metal mesh, looking intently at Faith. She let everything she felt inside when thought about Faith bubble to the surface, the feeling of safety, of oneness she felt when they slayed together.

Buffy set her palm on the screen and held her breath.

Slowly, Faith raised her hand, and set their palms together.

Buffy could feel the tingle running up an down her body, the hairs on the back of her neck raise, as Faith looked at her, as she felt the warmth of the hand on hers.

With a piercing glance, Buffy tried to make it clear, her emotions, where she stood. She wanted Faith to be part of her life, and more than just a friend, more than another slayer.

A gentle turn of the right corner of her lip, an almost smile. That was what Faith gave to her. Slowly the hand dropped, Faith turned, and began walking away. She moved slowly, over the dead grass. Buffy could hear it snapping under the boots as she moved. She wanted to call out, ask Faith to stop, not to go. But she knew better. This was all up to Faith now. It was her choice if she wanted to be with Buffy. They all told her this. After what she did to Faith, she didn't blame her.

She would just wait.



Two months later

"Just call me Jesus." Xander quipped as he sat beside Buffy on the front steps of Holburn's house. She turned to look at him.

"Not amused." She groaned.

"What? Carpenter-"


"Right, sorry. Inappropriate humor better saved for when working with other grunting meat eating and sweaty men." Buffy raised her eyebrow. "Can we just rewind time, let's say five minutes?"

"Deal." She smiled. "So how is it going?"

"Almost done. You should have seen the look on Faith's face when she saw the-" Xander stopped, noticing the color drop from Buffy's cheeks. He had screwed up again, and he knew it. There was a specific rule, no one mentioned either Slayer to the other. It had been like that for two months. It was personally driving him a little wacky.

"The what, Xander?"

"Um, Sorry? What was I prattling on about?"

"Faith." She sighed.

"Nope, no talking about Faith. Why would I? Hardly see her." He shrugged. But he did see her. She loved what they had done with the training room, and now that they were almost finished with her apartment upstairs, well, Xander Harris had never seen her look so happy. But that was definitely something he would never say in the company of Buffy, not now that they were playing the whole North and South thing. Why couldn't the two of them just talk?


"Yeah. Heard she was going to patrol early tonight, just after sunset." Xander threw out there, knowing he might have caused something, but didn't care. Faith had helped him get back with Anya. Even though she scared the hell out of him, he figured Faith deserved a chance with Buffy.

"Oh?" Buffy asked. Xander grinned. Got her, hook line and sinker.



She had spent the day with Faith, helping out at St. Michael's. It was amazing to watch Faith as she moved around the kitchen like she owned the place. That she seemed to just know where everything was and how everything worked. Willow was no cook, that was for sure. But watching Faith, she made it all seem simple. Sure, Willow had been just a little nervous when Faith picked up a large chef's knife and twirled it in her fingers as she walked to the large chopping block. Faith knew how to handle knives, that was for sure. Willow's nervousness had subsided after Faith slaughtered five large onions in minutes, making delicate, small pieces. Doubly amazed that Faith did not shed one tear.

It had been Faith who brought up Tara that afternoon, as the two of them sat on the back steps of the rectory. Willow keeping Faith company as she smoked, and the dark hair girl brought up Tara.

<"How did you know you loved her?" Faith asked.

"I just did." Willow shrugged. "I think I always did, but I was scared, you know her being this sexy female witch, and I so did not understand why I wanted to touch her all the time." Willow laughed. Faith was still waiting for an answer though; Willow knew that she just wouldn't as again. "I don't know Faith. It was just this feeling. When I would see her my stomach would flop. When I would think about her, about maybe I would get to run into her on campus or something, I'd get all nervous and sweaty. But I think I really knew when we did the spell, to find out what was wrong with Buffy, you know when you were in her body."

"Yeah, I vaguely remember that." Faith laughed.

"Right. We were doing this spell, and I had to completely trust her. It was a powerful spell, with all the sweating and panting."

Faith grinned.

"Mind. Gutter. You." She pushed Faith's shoulder. "I looked into her eyes, I took her hand and I knew. I could feel it. I wanted to be with her, be near her, for the rest of my life."

"I am sorry Willow. That she was taken from you. She really loved you. Even after she left you, um, she still talked about how much she loved you."

"Thank you, Faith.">

Willow kneeled in front of the granite marker, setting some daisies down beside her. She had picked them while strolling through the Meadows earlier, when she made the decision that it was time to come.

She had been under her parents guard when Tara was laid to rest, so she had not yet been here. After Faith took her to Buffy, she just hadn't been ready. It wasn't a matter of Willow being in denial, she knew her Tara was gone. She just wasn't sure if she was ready to go look at a cold piece of stone and think of it as Tara. Tara was sunshine and warm breezes. She always would be.

The pain of losing her, for the second time truly was unbearable to Willow. She had never given up hope that they were going to get back together after Tara left. Willow knew now that she had always handled the magic wrong, and handled Tara wrong. It wasn't that Tara was jealous of the power Willow had, it was that Tara could see what Willow couldn't or wouldn't. That the magic was using her, and not the other way around. Only now could Willow understand that Tara just wanted what was best for Willow, wanting her to understand the very basic concepts of magic, and balance. She had gotten so powerful, so fast, that she lost the line between right and wrong, between patience and foolhardy rushing in.

This was Willow Rosenberg, school nerd, wearing funky stripes and corduroy. But when magic and Tara came into her life, she felt like she could become anyone she wanted. She could become someone powerful enough that people would pay attention that they would no longer make fun.

Before, Willow tried to place the blame of her introduction into the black arts on Glory. Why else would she have gone from making flowers float, and pencils twirl to snakes and flying daggers if not for a fucked up Hell God who dared to touch her Tara. Yet, over the coarse of a few months it had dawned on Willow, that it was all her fault. Yes it was true that Glory had sucked her Everything' s mind, reducing her to a lost, delirious shell. The action she took against Glory, that was all her. Tara would never have expected her to retaliate, but Willow had been enraged that something, someone dared to take away HER lover. None of it was about Tara, about getting even. It was about Glory taking Tara's mind away from Willow. Her time and strength would have been better served in looking for a spell, looking for a way to bring Tara back, but her first priority had been to attack.

There was a darkness in her that she had never fully acknowledged, nor accepted. It was there, had always been. Was it a product of her up bringing? Having controlling parents whom in effect where never there? Was it a product of being ridiculed her entire youth, by the likes of Cordelia Chase and her lambs? Or was it simply something that was inherently inside of her. A darkness, an anger, a thirst for revenge? The black magic found it's home inside of her, because she wanted it. She wanted the absolute power. And she never stopped to listen to Tara, or anyone else when they tried to tell her that it wasn't Willow who was powerful, who was in control. It was the magic.

It had taken her killing Warren, torturing him with the slow entrance of the bullet from Buffy's chest, basking in the delight of his pain, that made her see that something was terribly wrong. Even feeling detached from her own humanity, smirking as sweat rolled from his face, as the pain dilated his pupils, Willow felt that what she was doing was wrong. So she ended it swiftly, horribly wrenching his flesh from his body.  If she had wanted to merely kill Warren, as punishment for taking her Tara, she could have done a spell and he would have been dead. She didn't need to play with him in the woods. That was for the pleasure of the dark magic. That was when Willow knew that she had lost everything.

But by some miracle she had been given another chance. A chance to live again, to do something good. The remains of the black magic were gone from her body, and now she could only feel the slight presence of what she always had. A touch of white magic, a touch of the gift. She knew she could couple that with knowledge to help fight the good fight. Willow would be a powerful witch, not a vessel for uncontainable magics.

"Hey baby." She traced engraving on the stone, thoughtfully. "I know you aren't mad that I haven't come to see you yet, but I want to say that I am sorry, just the same." Willow sat back on her heels, looking over the surroundings. The lone willow tree in this cemetery was just a few yards off. Buffy had thought of getting this plot from Tara, it was the closest one to the tree. "Buffy picked out a nice spot for you. Close enough to see the tree, but not so close that we have to come and clean you off every day. Pesky birds. Oh not that I wouldn't want to come every day, it is just that," Willow stopped and set her hands on the warm grass. "You know what I mean." She sighed.  "I love you so much, Tara. I didn't want to come here, I didn't want to see. I was hoping, you know that you would come back to me, like you did before. But I know you can't come back from this, no matter how much I want you to." She lifted one of the flowers, rolling the soft petal gently between her thumb and forefinger. "You would tell me that it was your time if you could. That's what Faith said. Sure I wanted to turn her into a snake for saying it. Oh, and no, I didn't. Turn her into a snake I mean. She made a good point. That you were happy when it happened, and that really is the best time to go, happy, full of life and love, and in the middle of things. Those were probably the best days of my life. Basking in your love again. Being near you. I've never been happier. You can't see my resolve face, but it is on." She pointed to the look. "Tara, I will never not love you, and I hope I can be with you again someday. I'll do my best, to end up wherever you are."  Willow's smile fell, and she felt a wave of tears, and she didn't care. Because the tears were okay, they were simply an expression of how she was feeling. "The best thing I ever did, in my whole life, was to let myself love you. Even though I was scared, and uncertain, I took the leap.  It was the best decision of my life."



Buffy saw her first, walking slowly through the cemetery. She knew it was now or never. She was tired of playing the avoidance game, she wanted to lay all of her cards on the table and just tell Faith what she was feeling, and then force Faith to make a decision. She walked over to the other Slayer, who froze in her tracks.

"B." She said softly.

"I want to be with you." Buffy said firmly. Okay no small talk, just jump straight in.

"I can't B." Faith said sadly, looking down at her hands.

"You can't or you won't, F?" She snapped.

"I waited for you, did you know that? Back then? I have never waited for anyone else."

"Well stop waiting," Buffy replied.

"You think it is that easy? Do you know how much it hurt, that you would rather be with Angel than me?" Faith glared at her.

"But, I," Buffy started, but was cut off.

"He was dead, and cold. I wasn't. You – ah fuck it B." She threw her hands up in defeat.

"No!" Buffy actually stomped her foot to the ground.

"I can't do this. Do you know how scared I am? How much you hurt me? I never opened up to anyone, I knew better. I did it any way though, for you. Goddamnit B I told you I loved you, and you let me walk away." Buffy noticed Faith's eyes glistening, but knew she wouldn't cry. Faith was always too proud to cry. Why couldn't Faith see that Buffy knew she made the wrong choice, and that if she could-

"Well you know what, Faith? I wish I could do it all over again! Starting on that night!"


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