Bound -- Ch. 3-4 by Lisa Countryman

| Ch 1-2 | Ch 3-4 | Ch 5-6 | Ch. 7-8 | Ch 9-10 | Ch 11-12 |

 

CHAPTER THREE

Tara and the others went to Buffy�s house. It was an administrative holiday at Dawn�s school, so the youngest Scoobie was home and feeling rather bored. The youngest Summers sister was excited to see her two favorite Wiccans, but when she saw Kelly Larson she turned into a typical screaming teenager.

"Buffy, that�s Kelly Larson!" Dawn backed into the house and pointed. "Kelly Larson, the model and you are hanging out with her. When did you get so cool?"

"I�m not hanging out with her." Buffy rolled her eyes and motioned Kelly inside. "Get in here before the neighbors see you and my front yard looks like a Britney Spears concert."

"She�s no Britney Spears." Willow scowled as she watched Dawn gush all over Tara�s exgirlfriend. "And she isn�t even that famous."

"Willow, you are my everything," Tara whispered in her lover�s ear.

"Yeah?" Willow turned and smiled at Tara. "I�m not famous," she pointed out.

"You�re better than famous." Tara smirked and then leaned in and kissed her partner�s earlobe. "You�re Willow. That�s so much better than famous."

Willow smiled happily. She looked over as Buffy and Dawn were dragging Kelly into the kitchen while talking about eyeshadow. "Wanna� go upstairs and be naughty?" Willow asked with a giggle.

"We�ll have to hurry." Tara�s eyes sparkled as she tugged her lover toward the stairs.

"Not that naughty." Willow blushed. "I just meant we could, you know, kiss."

"Kissing is a good start." Tara smiled seductively. She glanced up the stairs and waggled her eyebrows.

"Okay, but if we get caught, it�s your fault." Willow broke out of Tara�s grasp and sprinted up the stairs. They had found a very secluded linen closet that was the perfect spot to get away for a few minutes. Apparently Tara wanted to test just how long they could stay out of sight before anyone noticed.

*****

Buffy had gone searching for Willow and Tara after they had been missing for about twenty minutes. She had a pretty good idea where to find them, since she had caught them making out in the linen closet on both Christmas and News Years, but she had not expected to find them quite so involved. The Slayer had no idea Tara was a junior exhibitionist, and she decided she would tease the blonde Wiccan for some time with her newly acquired information.

�Who knew Tara would have a black silk bra?� Buffy thought as she quickly backed out of the linen closet. �And who knew Willow would wear it on her head?� She giggled and leaned against the door waiting for her embarrassed friends to come out of the closet, so to speak.

Willow came out of the linen closet first, still adjusting the buttons on her sweater.

"Get all those buttons lined up correctly?" Buffy asked innocently.

"Buffy!" Willow almost jumped back into the linen closet on top of Tara.

"That would be me." Buffy smiled brightly. "Hey, where�s your pretty black silk hat?"

Willow blushed bright crimson.

"I�m wearing it," Tara said wickedly. "Though I decided it worked better as a bra."

"No doubt," Buffy agreed. She leaned around Willow and studied Tara�s chest.

"Hey!" Willow stepped in front of the Slayer and blocked her view.

"Just checking." Buffy raised her hands in surrender. "Not like I�m staking a claim or anything." She raised an eyebrow as she looked into Willow�s eyes. "I think that�s what you were doing earlier."

"She doesn�t have to," Tara said as she took Willow�s hand and yanked her past Buffy. "She knows I�m hers."

"Yeah!" Willow said as she followed along behind her lover.

"Good comeback, Will. Guess all the blood hasn�t returned to your brain yet." Buffy snickered and followed the two witches downstairs.

Dawn was completely captivated by Kelly. The spokesmodel spent the afternoon sharing makeup tips with the young teen and by lunchtime, Dawn thought Kelly could walk on water.

"Pizza!" Dawn yelled as Buffy came back into the kitchen. "We ordered pizza, and I thought all models just ate carrot sticks." She pointed at Kelly. "She ordered three large pizzas. Three!"

"She�ll eat two of them." Tara giggled as she went to the refrigerator and grabbed two sodas.

"Hey! I�ll only eat one," Kelly said with an indignant glare. "But it�s nice to know you remembered my appetite."

Willow watched her lover�s playful banter and felt something in her stomach turn to ice. Tara was being her normal, friendly self, but Kelly�s eyes held more than platonic intent. Willow kept catching a glimpse of a predatory look in the model�s eyes, and Willow didn�t like it.

"Here you go, love." Tara leaned against the counter with her side pressing against Willow. She handed her lover a soda and smiled. "Thank you for understanding," Tara whispered. "I know this is hard."

"She was in trouble." Willow shrugged and tried to push down her suspicions. Buffy was a good judge of character and she didn�t seem to suspect Kelly.

"Hello? Anyone home?" The front door opened with a bang. Xander came bounding into the house. "Hey, there, Buffy, Willow�Wha� Who? You?" Xander point at Kelly.

"Is there food? Because I am starving." Anya shoved her way into the kitchen and stared at Kelly. "You�re that magazine woman. Xander, you lied. You said no one looks like that without airbrushing."

"Anya, Xander, this is Kelly Larson." Buffy smiled as she watched Xander trying to roll his tongue back into his mouth.

"Wha� Ho� Me Xander." He reached out and limply shook Kelly�s hand.

"Demon, that�s what she is." Anya glared at the beautiful woman.

"You all know about demons?" Kelly turned and looked at Tara. "How did you find these people?"

"Know about them?" Anya rolled her eyes and moved around Kelly like she was sizing up a gladiator in the arena. The beautiful stranger had made Xander turn all non-speaky, and only Anya was supposed to do that. "We kill demons. Even pretty ones." She crossed her arms over her chest. "So stay away from Xander. He�s mine." She grabbed Xander and yanked him next to her side.

"Me Xander." He nodded his head and tried to smile charmingly. He was partially successful; at least he didn�t drool.

"Down, Anya," Buffy said with a giggle. "She doesn�t like guys."

"You didn�t conjure some lesbian sucubus did you?" Anya glared at Willow. "Or is she a sexbot." She looked back at Kelly. "Oh yeah, that ass is plastic. And there�s no way those are real." She poked Kelly�s breast. "Nice craftsmanship. Bouncy."

"Hey!" Kelly covered her chest and backed away. "Who is this lunatic?"

"That�s Anya," Tara said as she bit her lip.

"And she�s our lunatic," Willow said protectively. �This must be bad if I�m defending Anya.�

"Willow�s defending me?" Anya looked at the redhead and then back to Kelly. "Oh, you�re after Tara." She folded her arms over her chest. "Well, hands off, sexbot! Tara is Willow�s." She nodded her head and then smiled at Willow in a show of solidarity.

"You made a Kelly Larson lesbian sexbot?" Xander�s eyes glazed over as he looked at Willow with a leer of respect. "For Tara? Willow, you�re the best girlfriend ever!"

"She�s not a sexbot!" Buffy tossed her arms into the air.

"Um, what is a sexbot?" Kelly asked.

"You do not want to know!" Willow and Tara said in unison.

"And I would never make one for Tara, ever!" Willow added. She looked over at her lover and was happy to see Tara nodding in agreement.

"There�s no way she�s real." Anya waved her hand at Kelly and went to the cupboard for a glass.

"She is real." Tara cleared her throat. "Kelly is an old friend of mine."

"They grow �em like this back home?" Xander ran his eyes up and down Kelly�s body and licked his lips. "No wonder you never went for the guys of the male persuasion."

"Hey!" Willow glared at Xander. "We grow �em just fine in Sunnydale."

"Xander, you made her get all butch and possessive," Anya said. She gave Willow an appreciative once over. "It�s a good look for you. Very lesbian!" She smiled brightly.

"You know, I�m gonna� go check for the pizza guy," Dawn said as she hurried out of the room.

Kelly looked around the room and nodded.

"So, how did you get that magazine face?" Anya asked. "Did you sell your soul?"

Everyone in the room rolled their eyes and groaned, except for Anya; she leaned forward as if she was ready to take notes.

"Pizza�s here," Dawn yelled from the other room.

"I�ll get that." Kelly grabbed her purse and hurried out of the room.

"She�s evil," Anya said casually.

"She is not," Tara insisted. "I�ve known her since I was a baby. She�s good. No evil in her."

"Known her?" Xander asked. His eyes glazed over again. "Oh, please tell me you knew her in that secret two girls doing spells way."

"Xander!" Willow hit him on the arm. "Shut up."

"Oh, she does know her that way," Anya said sagely. "Well, keep an eye on Tara. That woman is pure evil. No one looks that good without having some evil."

"Anya, stop it." Tara crossed her arms over her chest.

"Oh, sure, like you�d know evil." Anya rolled her eyes and nodded at Tara. "You�re karmic slate is pristine. I�ve never seen someone as genuinely good as you are." The former demon managed to make the compliment sound like the worst insult imaginable.

"The rest of us are good," Buffy whined.

"And�and� I am not� a karmic slate thing," Tara insisted.

"Tara, you would turn the other cheek even after you ran out of cheeks." Anya looked into the living room where Kelly was opening the boxes of pizza. "And that one will wear out all your cheeks."

"Well, she did cheat on you," Willow whispered.

Anya spun and slowly studied Tara. "Cheated?" She stepped closer. "So when did this happen, and why is she here now?"

"And this is your business�how?" Buffy asked pointedly.

"Go slay something." Anya waved her hand dismissively at Buffy. "I�m the vengeance expert here, and I smell a rat." She looked back toward the beautiful model. "An entirely too perfect and bouncy rat."

"Anya, she needed my help." Tara tilted her head to one side. "I couldn�t turn my back on her." She looked over at Willow and smiled. "And Willow understands."

Willow shrugged. She was actually beginning to think Anya sounded like she knew what she was talking about.

"Fine, but don�t come crying to me when this whole thing goes to hell." Anya spun and walked away. She paused in the doorway and looked over her shoulder. "And in Sunnydale�that isn�t just an expression."

They ate lunch without any catfights, which was better than Buffy had expected, but she was relieved when Xander said he had to go back to work. That meant he would drop Anya off at the magic shop. Unfortunately, Anya had other ideas.

Kelly offered to do the few dishes. She was up to her elbows in soap when Tara came into the room.

"You didn�t have to do that," Tara said with a shy smile.

"Hey, I had to do something." Kelly cleared her throat. "That Anya was looking to burn me at the stake." She took her hands out of the water and dried them.

"That�s just Anya." Tara smiled and began putting the dishes away. "Besides, we don�t burn witches."

"I can�t believe you guys kill demons." Kelly carefully went to her purse and took out a small relic. It was an ancient coin and she used it to cast small spells. She kept it out of Tara�s view and squeezed it tightly.

"Yeah, well, it�s not so bad." Tara shrugged. "Especially since I found out that I�m not a demon." She smiled and her entire face lit up. "I was so relieved, Kelly."

"I�ll bet." She nodded toward the sink. "Can you see if my ring slipped off in the water?" She watched as Tara slid her hand around under the warm bubbles. "I know you used to have nightmares about becoming a monster."

Tara nodded with a shiver. Her biggest fear growing up had been that she would take on her demonic form and then hurt someone. "Ouch!" Tara yanked back her hand.

"Are you okay?" Kelly grabbed a white handkerchief from her purse and pulled Tara�s hand into hers. "You nicked it." She dabbed the blood away.

"There was a knife in there," Tara said sheepishly. "I should have asked."

"I feel awful," Kelly said as she cradled Tara�s hand and squeezed the blood onto the handkerchief. "I must have missed it." She dabbed the blood. "I think it�ll be okay."

"Hey, Tara, did you see my--" Willow stared by the two women at the sink. "What happened?" she rushed to Tara�s side.

"She nicked her finger on a knife," Kelly said as she quickly stepped out of the way.

"It�s fine." Tara rolled her eyes.

"Fine? Cut is not fine, baby." Willow turned the injured digit over in her hands. "See? There�s a little speck of blood." Willow kissed the speck, keeping it pressed to her lips and as she looked into Tara�s slate blue eyes. "Better?" she whispered as she kissed the finger several more times.

Tara nodded and gave her lover a sensual half grin. Her eyes lidded as she watched Willow continue to kiss her finger.

Kelly tucked the handkerchief into her purse and went into the other room. Her plan was working perfectly.

*****

Anya surprised the others when she decided to stay at Buffy�s house. She didn�t trust Kelly, and she intended to keep her eye on the model.

"Tara okay?" Kelly asked when Willow came onto the front porch.

"She�s fine." Willow blushed. "I worry about her." She looked out onto the street at the passing cars.

"I�m glad you worry about her." Kelly smiled over at the redhead. "She needs someone to look out for her. Her family sure didn�t."

"Tara can take care of herself," Willow said as she leaned against the house. "I just like doing things for her."

"Of course she can," Kelly said quickly. "I just meant� it�s good you two have each other."

Willow nodded and twisted her head as two little girls on rollerblades skated by on the street. She smiled at the laughing children.

"I�m sorry about last night," Kelly said as she looked through the window at Tara. The blonde was sitting at the kitchen table helping Dawn fold the laundry. "I had no idea our dreams would mingle."

"Well, you didn�t know it would happen," Willow said diplomatically. "It�s not like you could stop it."

"Well, Tara and I could do an astral severing," Kelly suggested quietly. "I mean, we probably should have done one when we broke up, but I guess we just figured things were pretty messed up with us and that our connection would just break on its own." She bit her lip and looked at the ground. "I guess we�re more connected than we knew."

"Well, how would you do the spell?" Willow�s own insecurities were surfacing. She didn�t like the idea of Kelly sharing such an intimate thing with Tara. If a simple spell could sever the bond, then Willow was all for it.

"It�s pretty easy." Kelly shrugged. "Like a cord cutting, but we�d have to make sure not to completely sever our friendship." She looked up at Willow. "I mean�if that�s okay with you." She sighed and shook her head. "Tara�s been my best friend since I was a baby, but I guess I don�t deserve her after what I did."

"Well�" Willow didn�t really know what to say. She was still angry with Kelly for hurting Tara.

"I mean, we never should have become lovers," Kelly whispered. "I guess we both knew it, but we were young."

"So, can you do the cord cutting thing without� you know, losing all your friendship?" Willow knew that despite Kelly�s betrayal, she was Tara�s oldest friend, and she had been casting spells with Tara since birth.

"Yeah." Kelly looked up into Willow�s eyes. "But� are you sure?"

Willow nodded with a sweet smile. She trusted Tara.

"Thank you," Kelly said sincerely. She watched Willow go back into the house and smiled. �Gothca!� she thought as she let out a contented sigh.

*****

"You�re sure?" Tara asked. She looked into Willow�s eyes and ran her hand through her lover�s bangs.

"Sure I�m sure." She frowned. "Shouldn�t I be sure?"

Tara smiled demurely.

"What does this spell involve?" She cupped Tara�s chin in her hand. "It�s not a� well� a you know�" She raised her eyebrows meaningfully. She looked across the room at her friends. "It�s not a flaming �O� spell is it?" Willow�s eyes narrowed.

"No!" Tara giggled. She hugged Willow and kissed her soundly. "Those spells are just for you, baby."

"Well, good." Willow smirked smugly. She let out a slow sigh and she considered what the spell might include. "Tell me about the spell."

"It�s very simple," Tara assured her lover. "We have to tie our sacred measures in slipknot, and then we say a few incantations and untie them."

"Okay, you tie your witchy rope belts." Willow nodded. "I can deal with that." She continued nodding. "Incantations� okay, so a few witchy words. Got it." She kissed Tara�s hand. "Then you untie the witchy rope belts. I can deal with that."

Tara smiled and took Willow�s face in her hands and locked eyes with her.

"I can deal," Willow repeated grumpily. She smiled when she saw the devotion in Tara�s eyes. "I can deal. Promise."

Tara nodded. She leaned down and pressed her lips to Willow�s.

"Yep. Dealing." Willow had a goofy grin and felt her pulse quicken. "So� does this really have to be a private ritual?"

"Yes, baby." Tara rolled her eyes. "I wish you could be there, but the severing of sacred bonds has to be a closed ritual."

"And I supposed me standing outside the door wouldn�t count?"

Tara quirked her brow at her lover.

"Okay, so that idea was not exactly brilliant," Willow agreed. "Outside the building?" she suggested.

"Willow�"

"Okay, I�ll just be waiting here until you two come back from the dorm." Willow bit her lips. "Maybe I could wait at the edge of the quad? I wouldn�t want anyone sneaking up on the dormitory, now would I?"

Tara cleared her throat.

"Okay, geeze, you don�t have rant and rave," Willow said. She smiled. "So there was no ranting, and no raving, but there was some disapproving throat clearing. I heard it."

"It won�t take long, Willow." Tara leaned forward and kissed her lover. "Then no one will accidentally wander into my dreams except you."

"You are my dream, Tara." Willow smiled and hugged Tara, content in her lover�s arms.

*****

Tara went back to her dorm to meet Kelly for the ritual. She was nervous. She had known Kelly all her life, and cutting their magical bonds was a huge step that could not be taken back. She knocked lightly on the door and heard Kelly invite her inside.

"Hey," Tara said nervously. She looked around the room and then went to the bed and sat. "Did you have any trouble finding the spell?"

"No, it was right in the back." The beautiful model pointed at the leather bound volume of spells.

Tara looked over at Kelly�s book of Shadows. "Your mom�s book?" Tara eyes widened.

Kelly nodded. She lifted the book and nodded for Tara to come into the circle she had already cast on the floor. "Sit," she whispered.

Tara did as she was told and looked up at her oldest friend. "This just severs our magic, right?" Tara didn�t have many friends and didn�t want to lose Kelly.

Kelly nodded and tied their sacred measures around their hands. The sacred measure was a witch�s most private and powerful tool. It was a length of cord that was knotted to mark a witch�s height, the measure of her chest, and the measure of her head. It was used to measure sacred circles, and as a tie for a witch�s cloak. It was one of the few sacred tools that were actually anointed with a Wiccan�s blood, and the very personal nature of the tool made it powerful.

Kelly dipped her black athame into the chalice beside Tara and lifted the dagger to the blonde�s forehead and drew a small Chinese symbol.

Tara�s brow furrowed. She had read about cord cutting ceremonies, and this didn�t look like the ones she was familiar with. "Kelly?"

"Shh�" Kelly pressed her finger over Tara�s lips. She bent down and lifted the chalice and offered it to Tara.

Tara looked into Kelly�s eyes and saw only caring. She recognized the beverage. It was mead, honey wine, and more importantly, she knew this woman, and so she drank the offered mead.

"Shi-tien yen-wang," Kelly whispered.

Tara�s eyes widened. She recognized the name of the underworld gods from Chinese mythology, but she couldn�t imagine why her friend would invoke them. They were the ones who decided the fate of humans after death. The ten underworld gods doled out punishment, and when the punishment was complete, they set in motion the Wheel of Transmigration.

"What did you--" Tara�s eyes rolled back into her head and she fell to the floor.

"Sleep." Kelly leaned down Tara�s forehead. She picked up the chalice and looked into the mixture. It was a potion that mimicked �the Brew of Oblivion,� a magical drink given to souls to wipe their memories before they reenter the karmic cycle. She smiled and dabbed her finger with the brew and pressed her dampened thumb over each of Tara�s eyes. "It�s done, my beautiful Tari."

*****

"Okay, just so I�m clear on this�you let Tara leave with the sexbot?" Anya glared at Willow. She was sitting on Buffy�s couch and looking at Willow like the redhead was severely mentally challenged.

"She is not a robot," Buffy pointed out.

"And Tara trusts her," Willow said defensively. "I can�t very well tell Tara who she can do spells with, now can I?" She frowned and looked over at Buffy. "Can I?"

"No," Buffy said firmly.

"The hell you can�t," Anya said. "Would you let her do another �spell� with Glory?" Anya stood and paced. "We all know how well that whole thing turned out what with Tara being a houseplant for a week and Buffy being dead for even longer."

"Kelly isn�t Glory!" Dawn said. "Kelly�s nice. She�s very nice." She looked over at Willow and cringed. "She�s not Willow-nice, but still, she�s not Glory-evil." Dawn rested her hands on her hips. "And I should know. I was held captive, remember?"

"Okay, so the exgirlfriend isn�t �quite� Glory evil," Anya conceded. "But I saw the way she was ogling Tara. If Xander ogled Tara like that, well, I�d just take him home and�and� well, it wouldn�t be pretty�and it might even involve bunnies!"

"What? No disemboweling?" Buffy asked sarcastically.

"Well, he won�t be much use to me that way, now would he?" Anya sighed and went to phone. "Besides, as a future husband, Xander�s worth more tortured than disemboweled." She picked up the phone and dialed.

"Buffy, I really want to trust Tara�s judgment, but well, Anya is the resident expert when it comes to scorned exlovers." Willow squirmed and bit her lip.

"Okay, so as much I as want to let Tara take care of herself�" Buffy looked toward the door.

"Giles?" Anya said into the phone. "Get over to Buffy�s right now. Tara�s been kidnapped by an evil sexbot."

"She�s not a sexbot!" Willow and Buffy yelled in unison.

"Whatever, just get over here," Anya said impatiently. "Uh, huh." Her eyes widened. "You did? Giles, that�s positively sneaky!" She frowned. "Well, no. No� Why aren�t you driving over here right now?"

"What?" Willow asked. She wrapped her arms over her chest and looked at Buffy, and then back at Anya.

"Hang up the phone and get over here," Anya said as she slammed the phone down. "I warned you."

"What?" Willow moved closer to Anya. "And what was that with sneaky Giles? Why is Giles being sneaky?"

"Because he was smart enough to not trust the sexbot." Anya smiled smugly. She waved her hand in the air. "Yeah, whatever�she�s not a sexbot, but whatever she is� she�s up to no good."

"Less gloating, more telling us what the hell you�re talking about." Buffy was not in the mood for the former demon�s petty �I-told-you-so� lecture.

"When Giles was at the dorm earlier, he thought something might be up," Anya said. "He snuck into the bathroom and dug through the thrash and found a broken spell charm."

"Well, why didn�t he tell us?" Willow yelled. "There was a charm and he didn�t tell us?"

"He wasn�t sure it even was a charm," Anya said with a sigh. "It looked like a plain glass bottle."

"So how do we know it isn�t just a plain glass bottle?" Dawn asked. "Everyone is in such a hurry to say Kelly�s evil. I think she�s nice."

"Yes, but you�re a teenager," Anya pointed out. "You like rock music and heavy metal and you probably like those horrible teen movies about sex with pies."

"Missing the point here." Willow stomped her foot. "What did Giles find out about the glass bottle that may or may not have been a charm?"

"Well it took Giles this long to run his tests." Anya sighed and looked over at Dawn. "You teenagers. You�re worse than most demons."

"Hey!" Dawn scowled. "You know, Buffy�s twenty. She�s only not been a teenager for a few months! And if you don�t count the time she was dead, it�s even less time."

"What did Giles find out?" Willow yelled.

"Try the decaf," Anya said as she slowly turned and studied the agitated redhead. "Giles found a demonic summoning potion. Well, what was left of it."

"In the dorm bathroom?" Buffy asked. "Okay, why would there be a demonic whatcha-ma-call-it there?"

"To unleash Tara�s demon." Willow sat on the couch and rubbed her temples.

"Tara doesn�t have a demon," Dawn pointed out.

"But until this morning, Kelly didn�t know that." Buffy looked toward the front door wishing that Giles would hurry. She turned toward Anya. "What happens if you summon a demon and someone doesn�t have one?"

"Well, that�s just not a good idea," Anya said as she shivered. "Bad idea. Really bad idea."

"What happens?" Willow said angrily.

"It�ll kill you if you don�t break the spell." Anya paced. "In the short term�it makes you sick as a dog."

"I�m going to kill her," Willow whispered.

"Why would she do that?" Dawn asked.

"If Willow didn�t know about Tara�s supposed demon side� and then it came roaring out�" Buffy let out a sigh. "It would� at the very least� scare Willow off."

"And depending on the demon, Tara coulda� had Willow for lunch," Anya added. "And not the fun lesbian kind."

Buffy cleared her throat and nodded toward Dawn.

"Oh�well that�s just grown up talk." Anya smiled. "Why don�t you run outside and see if the ice cream man is coming. I think I hear the off key music."

"That�s Giles." Dawn rolled her eyes. "And that�s not ice cream music, that�s Jefferson Airplane."

"I don�t care about the stupid music!" Willow was beyond angry. She bolted for the door at a dead run. "That woman has Tara and you�re all arguing about music." She ripped the door open and sprinted for the car.

"You know, I did warn you all about this woman." Anya sighed and headed for the door.

"We should hurry." Buffy told the former demon.

"Wait for me!" Dawn ran after the others.

"You are so not coming." Buffy pointed at the couch. "Stay!"

"Buffy!" Dawn stomped her foot and glared at the Slayer.

"No, Dawn." Buffy shook her head. "I underestimated this bitch once. I don�t want you there in case she�s stronger than we know."

Dawn nodded and waved Buffy toward the door. She wanted to go, but she could see the fear in her sister�s eyes. "Go," she said quietly.

Buffy waved and then spun and ran after Willow.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

Tara whimpered as she struggled to wake up. She smiled when she felt the warm body under her shift. She could almost smell Kelly�s lilac soap and the sandalwood shampoo she used. The blonde Wiccan frowned and hoped she wouldn�t wake up. Tara had spent months dreaming of being in Kelly�s arm, and every morning she would wake up alone and missing her exlover. She sighed and ran her hand over the dream body under her. The dream body was moving, breathing, and warm�too warm.

Slate blue eyes slowly opened and Tara Maclay realized she was not dreaming. She was sleeping draped over Kelly.

"Hey, sleepyhead," Kelly said with a loving smile. "You had me really worried, Tari." She rolled over and tried to kiss Tara but the blonde sat up and looked around the small dorm room.

"What are you doing here?" Tara demanded. She looked down at the bed and saw that both she and Kelly were in tee shirts and their underwear. "How did you get in here?"

"Tara, you�re scaring me." Kelly sat up and moved closer to the frightened blonde. "Sweetie, it�s me, Kelly."

"I know who you are." Tara yanked the blanket off of the bed and covered her chest. "What are you doing here?" She pointed at the painted walls. "And what happened to my dorm room?"

"What�s the last thing you remember, sweetie?" Kelly slowly stood and picked up Tara�s shorts and tossed them to her.

"S-stop calling me that!" Tara took the shorts and stepped into them.

"Tara, I�m scared, sweetie." Kelly edged closer.

"When did you get scared? And why aren�t you off crying on Claire�s shoulder?" Tara was panicking as she studied the room. Only a few things in the room were even vaguely familiar.

"Claire?" Kelly�s eyes widened and then she covered her face with both hands and began to cry. She looked up after a second and bit her lip. "Tara, I left Claire three years ago, sweetie."

"Three years?" Tara backed up until she bumped into the desk and she shook her head. She turned and saw a calendar on the wall and her head swam. The year read 2001.

"The spell," Kelly whispered as she went over to the bed and sat.

"What spell?" Tara leaned forward. Part of her was in heaven seeing her exlover. She had lain awake every night since Kelly left praying to the goddess for her lover to come back, but now that it had apparently happened, Tara was confused. She had lost three years.

"Tara, you had your twentieth birthday six months ago." Kelly covered her eyes and sobbed.

"Twenty?" Tara felt her chest constrict. "But I � I� Kelly?" Tara rushed forward and paused a few inches from the dark haired beauty.

"We did it," Kelly said sadly. "We removed your demon side." She nodded toward the circle of sand on the floor. "Last night." She stood and took Tara by the shoulders. "Tara, we�ve been together for the last three years. I left Claire, honey. Last night we did the spell, and I was so afraid something like this would happen."

"Like what?" Tara leaned closer to her former lover.

"When we took the demon from you, it took your memory too." Kelly pulled Tara to her. "I�m so sorry. The text said if your demon side was too mature you could lose some memories, but we had to."

"I was a demon?" Tara asked. She pulled back. "And you stayed?" Tears welled up in her eyes.

"Of course I stayed," Kelly said. "And you were only� like that a few nights a month."

"No." Tara shook her head. "No, this isn�t right." Something in her heart told her this woman was not her lover anymore. There was a distance that she couldn�t place, but she knew it wasn�t right.

"Tara, I spent the last three years trying to show you how sorry I am." Kelly smiled sadly and shook her head. "I guess I can�t expect you to forgive me twice." She looked into Tara�s eyes. "Even if you can�t forgive me, you have to come with me, leave Sunnydale."

"Why?" Tara asked. The last thing she remembered was leaving for college at UC Sunnydale.

"Sweetie, I tried to control the� the beast." Kelly looked away. "I swear." She sniffled.

"What are you talking about?" Fear gripped Tara�s soul.

"I� it was too strong." Kelly backed up and then eased up her blouse revealing an angry red scar with three huge claw marks cutting across her belly. "It�you got loose."

"I hurt you?" Tara burst into tears and she fell to her knees and kissed Kelly�s injury. "I�m so sorry. Please forgive me." It was her worst fear come to fruition. She had become a demon and hurt someone she loved.

"I already did, sweetie." Kelly lifted Tara into her arms. "We have to leave before they find us."

"Who?" Tara asked. She wrapped her arms around Kelly and clung to her.

"The demon hunters," Kelly said quietly. "Sweetie, I�m so sorry."

"B-but�y-you said I�m not a demon anymore." Tara�s voice cracked.

"At night, on full moons, you�d change." Kelly ran her hand through her hair. "Last month, you�you got loose. I tried to stop you."

"But I did that to you?" Tara rested her hand on Kelly�s tummy.

Kelly nodded.

"What else?" Tara asked.

"A witch, she hunts demons," Kelly said as she wiped tears out of her eyes. "She�ll say anything, do anything to get you."

"Can�t we tell her I�m cured?" Tara asked uncertainly.

"It won�t matter." Kelly nodded toward the closet. "We need to leave. Tara, you�you killed her lover."

Tara�s legs gave out and she fell to the bed shaking her head.

"I�m sorry." Kelly tugged on Tara�s hand. "We have to leave. The witch and her friends are smart. They�ll trick you. She wants you dead, sweetie."

"If I killed her lover, m-maybe I s-should be." Tears streamed down Tara�s cheeks.

"No," Kelly insisted. "You couldn�t control it." She yanked the blonde to her feet. "We�ll go back to LA. I have money, lots, and we can hide."

Tara nodded and let the black haired witch guide her to the dresser where they began packing as quickly as possible.

*****

Giles floored the gas pedal and maneuvered his red sportscar through the midday traffic. For once he was glad that he had chosen a vehicle with speed instead of reasonable gas mileage. He had tested the glass vial from Tara�s dorm expecting it to be nothing, or perhaps some acne cure. He had been shocked when the enchanted oil he was using to test it in had changed to black. Now he felt responsible for leaving Tara with the young witch. It didn�t matter that Tara had dated the young woman, Giles should have known better. He cringed when he thought about how trusting Tara was with everyone, especially people she cared for.

"Hurry up." Willow leaned out the door of the car. Her seatbeat lay unused at her hips, unheard of for the safety conscious young woman. "If she hurts Tara, it�s all my fault."

"We won�t let her hurt Tara," Buffy promised.

Anya bit her lip and watched the buildings zipping past. She knew Giles couldn�t drive fast enough to get there before the dark haired witch began her plan. She gripped the back of the seat as they rounded a corner a bit too quickly.

"Killing us won�t save her," Anya commented angrily. "Have you considered that by the time we get there, whatever she has planned may already�well� be done?"

"That�s not an option," Willow said as she saw the dormitory in the distance.

"Okay, why are the police here?" Buffy stood up in the back seat. She looked like a centurion arriving in her red chariot. She watched as several officers milled around in front of Tara�s dorm building.

"She hurt Tara!" Willow leaped from the car as Giles pulled up to the curb. She hit the ground running, or rather stumbling across the grass. "Buffy, she hurt Tara!"

"Buffy, stop her," Giles ordered. He threw the car into park and opened the door.

"I warned them," Anya said. "I said this would go to hell, and it did." She watched as Willow ran for the main entrance. A tall, muscular cop blocked her path and then motioned for her to step to the side of the building.

"Willow Rosenberg?" the officer asked. He nodded toward his partner.

"Yes, what is it?" Willow looked back at Buffy and then she gave the officer her complete attention.

"I need you to come with me." He motioned toward his car.

"Is Tara okay?" Willow asked.

"Why would you ask that?" The officer guided Willow into the front seat of his cruiser. "Is someone going to hurt Ms. Maclay?"

"How do you know Tara�s last name?" Buffy asked. She glared at the officer.

"I�ll ask the questions." He stood and eyed the Slayer warily. "Who are you?"

"Is Tara Maclay all right?" Buffy asked pointedly.

"I will ask the questions," the officer glanced over his shoulder when the door to the building opened. His radio squawked and he grabbed the microphone. "Suspects in custody. Begin transport."

"Suspects? What suspects?" Willow tried to stand but the officer shoved her into the seat.

"Get your hands off her!" Buffy tossed him across the hood. "Come on, we are so outa� here."

"Freeze," another officer said. He had his gun trained on Willow. "We don�t take kindly to celebrity stalkers around here."

"What?" Willow looked toward the building and saw Tara and Kelly coming out of the building. They had a police escort surrounding them. "Tara!" Willow tried to get past the officer but he clicked the hammer back and she froze. "Okay, I am gonna� just stop moving now."

"Look, just stay back." He nodded to Buffy and the Slayer backed over to Willow. "You fans can get pretty excited, but Miss Larson is just here to see her friend."

"We don�t want to see Miss Larson," Willow said through clenched teeth. "I�m here to see Tara Maclay, my girlfriend."

The officer�s eyes widened as he looked over at the other cop.

"Right," said the second cop. "Your girlfriend." He smirked and looked over at the building.

Willow narrowed her eyes and looked at the main entrance. She saw Tara clinging to Kelly, and then Willow�s heart threatened to stop. Kelly leaned down and kissed Tara, on the lips. Tara didn�t pull away; in fact, she leaned into the embrace.

"Buffy?" Willow looked over at her friend.

"Oh shit," Buffy said under her breath. She looked over at Giles. He and Anya were holding back and hadn�t encountered the police yet. She nodded toward the building and he began making his way over to Tara.

"Right this way, Miss Larson," Detective Ellis said as he guided the supermodel through the small crowd.

"Easy, Sweetie," Kelly said as she led Tara through the curious flock of students. She kissed the blonde and leaned into her body.

Tara burrowed into Kelly�s chest. She was still off balance, and still trying to make sense of everything going on around her. One thing was certain, Kelly was a famous model. Students were calling out Kelly�s name and begging for autographs and asking her to pose.

"Tara!" Giles yelled from the crowd. He glared at Kelly. "You, you monster, you won�t get away with this!" Two officers pushed the Englishman back.

"He called me a monster." Tara cringed as she leaned into Kelly. She looked at the man and saw fear, concern, and hatred aimed at her and Kelly.

"He�s one of them," Kelly whispered as she hurried Tara toward a waiting car.

Tara looked back at the man in tweed and her heart broke. He looked like a sweet and kind man. His pain was her fault. She had killed his friend. She shivered even as Kelly slammed the door shut behind them.

"How did I do it?" Tara asked as she looked out the darkened window. She could see the man running along next to the car. He looked very determined. "How did I kill her?" Tara asked in a hollow tone.

"Slashed her," Kelly said quietly. "Her lover watched." She nodded out the window as they drove past a patrol car.

Tara looked out and saw a beautiful redhead. The lithe woman was hysterical, and a short blonde was holding her back as she clawed to get past the police. Tara pressed her hand to the glass and felt her heart lurch. Just seeing the redhead touched something deep inside Tara. She could read the woman�s lips. She was screaming �Tara� over and over.

"What�s her name?" Tara turned and studied Kelly. "That willowy one with red hair?" She turned and stared out the window. "She looks so sad," she whispered.

"That�s the witch," Kelly said. She sighed, relieved to know the glass partition was keeping their conversation private. "She�ll do anything to get revenge."

"What�s her name?" Tara asked harshly.

"Willow," Kelly said as she looked down at the carpet.

"I should talk to her," Tara whispered. She wanted to ease the pain in the redhead�s green eyes. They seemed to call out to Tara.

"She said she�d kill you," Kelly said as she looked out the other window. "And me."

"Why?" Tara demanded. "Why would she hurt you?"

"I let you escape," Kelly whispered.

Tara leaned her head onto Kelly�s lap and cried. She felt like she was floating through space with nothing to tether her to the Earth, and no matter how much Kelly said she loved her or stroked her hair, Tara didn�t feel grounded. She thought about the redhead, and Tara felt tears fill her eyes. The young woman must have loved her partner a great deal to still be in such raw, unbridled pain after a month of grieving. Her ache was fresh in her green eyes and all Tara wanted to do was find some way to make the pain go away.

"It�ll be okay," Kelly promised. She ran her fingers through Tara�s hair and smiled sadly. She hated hurting Tara, but it really was the only way. It would be better for everyone in the long run.

*****

Buffy struggled to keep a grip on her best friend. Willow was beyond hysterical.

"Tara!" Willow thrashed in Buffy�s arms. "Tara!" her voice cracked as she screamed and fought to break loose. "No!" She kicked and bucked, tossing the Slayer into the side of the patrol car. "Tara!"

The officers stepped back and let the young blonde deal with her fanatical friend. Miss Larson and her lover were gone now and the crying coed would have to deal with her imaginary heartache on her own.

"No!" Willow screamed like a caged animal as Buffy carried the redhead away from the street. "Tara!" She clawed at Buffy�s back but her friend wouldn�t let her down. "Tara!" she yelled even as the limo disappeared around the corner. She struggled as Buffy tried to put Willow into Giles� car. "No," she sobbed.

"She had no idea who we were," Anya said quietly. "My god, she was terrified. I�ve seen that look on men I came to kill, and she was giving us that look."

"We have to go after them, Giles," Buffy whispered. She couldn�t get Willow to sit in the seat so the Slayer scooped her crying friend into her arms and stepped into the back seat. "Go!" Buffy ordered.

"Buffy, the authorities are� well, they seem to have been alerted to our presence." Giles nodded toward a patrol car parked across the street. The officers inside seemed to be watching Willow.

"I don�t care," Willow said as she glared the police. "I don�t care! Fascists supermodel puppets!" she bellowed at the patrol car. She turned to Giles. "Go after her."

Buffy stared at Willow. The petite witch was giving the officers a world class evil eye. "Um, Willow, not really helping our whole �we are not stalkers� sanity case here."

"Giles, what would happen if I used the �Darkest Magicks� on people?" Willow asked as the Watcher pulled onto the main street.

"Don�t even say that in jest," he said as he swerved into his lane.

Anya swallowed hard as she and Buffy locked eyes. She and the Slayer knew Willow was not kidding.

*****

Tara insisted on staying in Sunnydale at least one more night. Kelly wanted to go directly to LA, but she wasn�t going to get into a fight with Tara over one night. The model used her connections to get them one of the two penthouses at the Sunnydale Hilton.

"Those people." Tara stumbled over to the couch and slumped into the soft cushions. "I hurt them so much."

"It wasn�t you, Tara." Kelly sat beside the blonde and held out a glass of soda. "It was the demon and it�s gone forever. You don�t have to feel guilty for that. It wasn�t you." She hoped she could convince Tara to let go of the guilt, but she hadn�t counted on Tara�s immense anguish. Kelly hadn�t expected Tara to feel responsible for something she had no control over.

"That woman," Tara whispered. "Willow. Her pain, it was like a razor. It cuts with just a glance."

"Tara, sweetie, you have to let it go." She pulled the blonde to her feet. "Forget the stuff you can�t control and try to remember our love."

"Willow�s pain seems more real than our love." Tara pulled away and walked over to the small balcony. "I feel how much she hurts," Tara whispered. "Is that because I caused it?"

"Forget about her!" Kelly threw her glass across the room and it shattered against the wall. Dark amber soda splattered on the white tile and dripped silently along the pristine surface. "Damn it! I�m here with you. I love you. She wants to kill you, Tara!"

Tara swallowed and turned to face Kelly. She looked at the broken glass and her eyes hardened. "Don�t yell at me." She nodded toward the glass. "And if you ever throw something at me again, I�ll walk out that door and deal with that witch and her friends. At least I know what they�ll do to me."

"I�m sorry," Kelly said as she ran to Tara�s side. "I wasn�t throwing it at you."

Tara�s eyes didn�t soften.

"Sweetie, I�m just scared and this whole thing is freaking me out." Kelly burst into tears. "These people want to kill us. Both of us."

Guilt made Tara relent. She hated that her demon side and taken a life, and worse, it was putting Kelly in danger. "It�s okay." She pulled Kelly into her arms and kissed her temple. "Shh."

"I can�t wait to go back to LA," Kelly whispered. She relaxed into Tara�s arms and sighed. "I�ve missed you," she whispered.

"Missed?" Tara pulled back. "You said we�ve been together for three years."

"We have," Kelly stalled. She reached down and rubbed the scar on her belly, once more glad that she had the foresight to magically create the wound. "But�" she looked up into Tara�s eyes. "You� haven�t been yourself."

"What do you mean?" Tara�s heart pounded and could feel her hands start to shake.

"Nothing." Kelly shook her head and walked away.

"No, what are you talking about?" Tara followed Kelly as she wandered onto the balcony.

"You� well�" Kelly shook her head. "I can�t." She pushed past Tara and ran into the master bedroom and flopped onto the bed. She buried her face into a pillow, but not before checking to make sure Tara was following.

Tara knelt beside the bed and rubbed Kelly�s back. She leaned over and kissed the crying woman�s shoulder. "Please tell me."

"I can�t." Kelly turned and looked up into Tara�s eyes. "Please don�t make me," she begged.

Tara nodded and crawled onto the bed next to the dark-haired woman. She held her, and for each tear Kelly shed, Tara wept ten. She still felt distant, but she also felt a burden of responsibility for Kelly�s safety. She relaxed into the woman, but she realized something in her had died. Maybe it was lost with her demon side, Tara didn�t know, all she knew was that it was gone. Tara didn�t have the fire for Kelly she once had. She loved her, but it wasn�t a burning need. It was a non-physical emotion, and Tara wondered if she had lost that ability. She remembered Willow. Perhaps taking Willow�s lover required an equal loss for Tara. She took the stunning redhead�s heart, so it was only fitting that Tara lose hers.

Kelly held onto Tara and felt the blonde reconnecting with her. Her plan was perfect. An unknown fear was far worse than anything Kelly could have come up with. Tara would supply her own worst nightmare, and that fear would keep the blonde in line. Claire had taught Kelly well. Kelly smiled and wondered if she should send her ex-agent a thank you card. She almost wished she hadn�t fired her. She had no way of knowing that her careful plan had unraveled the moment Tara saw the pain in Willow�s eyes.

*****

Willow was torn in more directions than even her ability to muli-task could handle. She needed to be on the computer looking for Kelly�s hotel reservations, she needed to be finding a spell to give Kelly a healthy dose of pain, and she needed to be physically searching the streets for any sign of Tara. Willow settled for hacking into the registry of the local hotels.

"Any luck?" Xander handed Willow a mocha.

"If by luck you mean � there is absolutely no sign of Tara or that skank Kelly,� then yes." Willow took a drink of the hot beverage, but her right hand never left the mouse as she scrolled through the hotel directory.

"I told you she was evil!" Anya stared down at the magical items Giles had retrieved from Tara�s room. "She�s channeling not one, not two, but at least three majorly nasty demon groups with these spells."

"Why can�t the hotels have central booking? Willow asked as she studied the screen in front of her. "I�ve hacked into three hotel servers already."

"What kind of demons?" Giles moved closer. He didn�t understand Willow�s infernal machine, but he knew demons.

"Well, a Hindu rakshasa demon." Anya pointed at a black lotus design on a small candle. "That�s the symbol for Klesha, the Indian demon who channels passion." She pointed at an intricate carving on the candle. "That is a family blood bond symbol with the demon Kasdeya. She�s a fallen angel who taught humans how to channel demons to hurt humans. If she�s using that symbol, she has very old ties with Kasdeya."

"Tara said her mother stopped casting spells with Mrs. Larson because of her family�s ancient ties," Willow said. She looked over at Giles. "Bad ties," she clarified.

Giles nodded grimly.

"Anything else?" Willow asked.

"Oh, there�s just tons of demonic fun here," Anya said sarcastically. She pointed at a small Chinese coin. "That one. Well, that scares the pants right offa me� and not in a good way� not at all."

"What is it?" Willow gave Anya her attention.

"It�s a coin for all ten of the Chinese underworld gods. They handle the Wheel of Transmigration." Anya pushed the coin away. "That�s Shien-tien, he turns the Wheel."

"Transmigration?" Willow jumped to her feet. "Those transmigration guys� they make you forget stuff!"

"Well, duh," Anya said. "Think of the mess reincarnation would be if everyone remembered everything." She rolled her eyes. "Talk about useless information overload!"

"The Brew of Oblivion." Giles came closer and his face paled.

"I had some of that," Buffy said as she came into the room. "Turned me into cave-Slayer."

"That was just enchanted beer," Giles corrected. "The Brew of Oblivion removes all knowledge of past lives."

"Sounds like the stuff I drank, all right." Buffy sat next to Willow and squeezed her leg.

Willow smiled, though her heart hadn�t stopped aching since she had seen Tara taken away.

"Can we send Tara to detox for this nasty oblivious brew?" Xander leaned over Anya�s shoulder.

"Brew of Oblivion," Giles said with a sigh. "And I have no idea." He looked over at the exdemon. "Anya?"

"Oh, now you want to get my input." Anya stood and stalked away. "When the evil sexbot was here no one wanted to hear a word I said." She spun and shook her finger at Buffy. "This is your fault. You�re the Slayer. You�re supposed to look out for people." She pointed at Willow. "Willow was too busy trying not to hurt Tara�s feelings. And what did it get her? The Brew of Oblivion. I rest my case. Tact is not only boring�it�s dangerous!"

"Can we counteract the Brew?" Giles asked. He found that it was often best to just let Anya rant and ignore her comments. She got her say, and he didn�t have to try to wade through her soliloquies about human weakness.

"Depends," Anya said as she flopped onto the couch.

"On what?" Willow turned and faced Anya.

"On whether or not Tara and that Kelly woman have done the deed. If they have, her memories are gone for good." Anya stared at Willow as the witch�s face went from red to stark white. "Hey, I used one of your silly euphemisms. Don�t look at me like that. I didn�t just blurt out �depends on whether or not they�re having hot steamy sex right now.� I was being tactful."

Willow trembled. The lithe redhead looked like she was going to pass out.

"Oh, come on," Anya said as she rolled her eyes. "The ex-girlfriend wiped Tara�s memory of you and was kissing her in the parking lot. What did you think she had planned?"

Willow leapt to her feet and ran to the ladder at the back of the shop. She climbed the rungs as her heart pounded. Once she got to the top of the landing she went to the bookshelf and tossed the extra books out of her way until she found what she was looking for. �Darkest Magicks.� She flipped through the pages until she found what she wanted. She climbed back down to the ground floor and spun to go get the herbs she needed and ran into Giles� chest.

"No," he said as he rested his hand over the open book pages.

"Let me pass," Willow ordered. Her eyes shifted to coal black.

"You�ll not use that book again while I still draw breath." He pulled the text but the small redhead held firm.

Willow�s hands shook. She considered stopping his breath but she couldn�t bring herself to injure him.

"No, Willow." Giles held his hands in place even as Willow used her mind to yank at his wrist to pull him free.

"She has her." Willow�s voice echoed in the small space.

"And I have you," he whispered. He tossed the book aside and gathered Willow into his arms. "Shh," he murmured when her tears flowed freely.

"Giles," she sobbed. "Please help me." She clawed at his chest and let out a primal wail.

"I will," he promised. "We will." He ran his hand down her back and looked toward the back of the shop at Buffy. The Slayer paused and then went back to work on the computer with Anya. "Tara needs you at your best," he said. "Certainly not at your darkest." He walked toward the others and settled her into place at his side. "She needs you on the computer. Lord knows, we�re lost without you on that hellish web net."

"There!" Buffy pointed at the screen. "We should have known she�d be at the Hilton." She frowned. "It won�t tell me which room. Stupid computers. Can�t even stake �em. Well, not without Willow getting all mad."

"Xander, you never take me to the Hilton," Anya complained.

Willow broke away from Giles and ran to the computer. She dug through the files, bypassing codes until she had the entire system laid bare. "They�re in one of the penthouses," Willow said. "Let�s go."

"I�m all for the storming of the gates, but how are we supposed to get into the penthouse?" Buffy bit her lip.

"How about a pass key to the gates?" Willow asked she allowed a real smile to ghost her lips.

"I like it." Buffy rested her hand on Willow�s shoulder.

"Buffy, how are your repelling skills?" Giles pushed his glasses high onto his nose.

"As in�repel hordes of vampires? Great." Buffy looked up at him with a furrowed brow. "As in repel down a huge building in the middle of town with high winds like that oh-so-not-real-Dark-Angel-skank on Fox? Not so great, but�" She looked over at Willow. "I am willing even if only slightly able."

"Get Spike to help," Anya suggested.

"Because vampires are really good climbers?" Xander asked.

"No, because if Buffy screws it up and he falls, he�ll just be kinda' flat, but still choc full o� smart ass remarks." Anya smiled. "Vampires bounce, well sort of. They splat but they heal up real nice."

"She does have a point," Giles said. "A sick, perverted and twisted point, but a point none the less."

"Fine." Buffy nodded toward the door. "We�ll grab Spike and use him for a nice swingy counterweight." She took Willow�s hand. "Let�s go get your honey."

Willow stood and walked hand in hand out of the door with Buffy. She felt Giles move up alongside her on the other side and glanced over in time to see him tucking a pair of brass knuckles into his jacket pocket. She wondered if they were for some security guard or for Kelly. Some wicked part of Willow really hoped they were for Kelly. That same wicked part hoped she got to see Giles use them.

Continue to Chapters 5-6

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