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...Good Book, Part 11

Happy Little Minion's Playground

It All Started With a Good Book

 

By

 

Happy Little Minion

J

Full disclaimer in Part1. 
 

A/N & Thank you: The use of Radclyffe’s name and the titles of her books, along with character names and references are used with permission.  Thank you, Rad!  For those who haven’t read her books, please check out her website at; www.Radfic.com or www.BoldStrokesBooks.com  You won’t be sorry, and I highly recommend all her books!  ; ) 

 

Part 11

“Why me?”  Tara tilted her head as her eyes drilled into Willow. 

 

“What?”  Willow looked confused by the question. 

 

“When Oz came back, why did you choose me over him?”  Tara posed the question calmly. 

 

Cami glanced to her side as she caught movement, the gamblers moving closer to the action as they whispered back and forth. 

 

“I…”  Willow frowned as a crease formed between her brows.  “What do you mean?” 

 

“It was a simple question, Willow.  Why did you choose me?”  Tara brushed her fingers over the Slayer’s side holding her in place, quickly glancing her way to give her a reassuring smile when she felt Buffy start to ease away from her. 

 

“I… well…”  Willow frowned.  “You… we…”  Blowing out a breath Willow shook her head, not being able to figure out where Tara was going with this and not knowing how to answer her. 

 

Tara waved off the question with an answer of her own.  “Because you loved me would have been a good answer.” 

 

“But, I…”  Willow’s shoulders slumped as Tara waved her off again. 

 

“No, Willow.”  Tara shook her head.  “It was always about the power.  That damned sidekick inferiority complex that you have.” 

 

“I don’t… that’s not…”  Willow huffed as she got angry with Tara throwing that in her face. 

 

“Yes, it is.”  Both Tara and Buffy answered at the same time, receiving a glare from Willow as she stomped her foot. 

 

“That’s not true!”  Willow’s eyes bounced back and forth between all the people standing there. 

 

“Here’s what I think.”  Tara waved a hand at Willow affectively muting her, wanting to say her peace without interruption.  She was sick and tired of all the half-truths, outright lies, and excuses Willow seemed to have for everything, and it was her turn to set a few records straight. 

 

Willow opened her mouth to say something, frowning when nothing came out.  Eyes opening wide in shock as she realized Tara had done something to her before the anger took over again, crossing her arms and tapping a foot as she glared at the Wiccan trying to figure out how to undo the spell. 

 

“It’ll be easier this way.”  Tara smiled calmly at her ex-girlfriend before she became serious again. 

 

Buffy laughed softly at the redhead’s predicament, thoroughly amused with the way the Wiccan was handling problem people tonight. 

 

“When we met you could barely float a pencil.”  Tara tilted her head as she gazed at Willow.  “Did you really think it was you that moved the soda machine that night?”  Tara was gratified to see the redhead’s eyes open wide again, brows rising in surprise as they did.  “You could barely get it to wiggle.  Did you think that it was you that suddenly moved it across the floor to block the door?”  Tara chuckled softly and shook her head.  “Get real, Willow.  It was me, but I let you think that it was you.” 

 

“Whoa!”  Amy swayed on her feet as she reached out to keep her balance. 

 

Tara quickly turned her head, reaching out to grab Amy’s arm, Cami putting a hand on the woman’s back to steady her as well as all eyes went to Amy.  “Sorry, that was too much all at once.  And I should have warned you.”  Tara smiled apologetically at the woman as she slowed the flow of magic going into the woman.  “Better?” 

 

Amy nodded as she gripped Tara’s arm.  “Yeah, and a warning would have been good.  Power rush.”  She nodded, shaking her head to clear it as she got her legs to work again before she smiled.  “I’m good.”  She released Tara’s arm as the rush passed, nodding thanks to Cami. 

 

Willow suddenly paled, a hand going to her stomach as she felt the nausea start, much like she’d felt when she’d first arrived at the Bronze, though not knowing why, she hadn’t done any magic since. 

 

Buffy sensed the movement of Willow and turned her head, frowning for a moment as she watched her.  Her eyes then traveled back between Tara and Amy, as she figured out what Tara had meant by ‘borrowing power’ and Amy’s ‘power rush’ comments.  The Wiccan was taking back what Willow had taken from them.  She laughed softly causing them to look at her, shrugging, she smiled.  “What goes around, comes around.” 

 

Tara nodded, smiling as she pulled Buffy close again, all eyes turning back to the redhead. 

 

Tara took in Willow for a moment before she picked up where she’d left off.  “You know, I’m surprised.  How the hell you ever succeeded in giving Angel back his soul is beyond me.”  Tara shook her head, turning to whisper an apology to Buffy as she felt the woman flinch.  “I’m sorry.”  She kissed the Slayer’s temple. 

 

Buffy shook her head slightly.  “No.  That was just a bad time all around, and I was thinking of all the ways that could have gone wrong.”  She frowned.  “Or worse than it did, anyway.”  She shook her head again before giving Tara a small smile to say she was good, before resting her head on Tara’s shoulder. 

 

Tara kissed the top of Buffy’s head as she played her fingers over her side.  “I’m still sorry for bringing it up, Sweetie.”  She brought her hand up to gently rub Buffy’s arm as the Slayer turned into her side and wrapped her other arm across Tara’s waist. 

 

Buffy nodded.  “I know you have a point to make.”  She gave Tara a gentle squeeze. 

 

“I do.”  Tara sighed and turned back to Willow after another kiss to Buffy’s forehead.  “I’d be willing to bet…”  She stopped and looked down at Buffy when she snorted softly. 

 

Buffy laughed softly as she lifted her head and looked at the gamblers. 

 

Tara turned her head and rolled her eyes at the two grinning woman who’d been betting all night, shaking her head with a smile before turning back to Willow.  “Try that again.  More than likely the Powers That Be had a hand in that, or my guess is you wouldn’t have been able to accomplish it.  You should thank Mr. Giles, you know.  Goddess knows you probably sucked him dry in the process.”  She chuckled softly as Buffy shivered. 

 

“Eew!  I didn’t need that picture in my head.”  Buffy grumbled softly, smiling as the Wiccan laughed. 

 

“You’re like a sponge, Willow.  Sucking up all the magical powers you can get, and it’s all because you can’t stand the thought of being the sidekick.”  Tara shook her head sadly as she knocked Willow down another peg.  “Did you know I was there for the enjoining spell?” 

 

Willow’s eyes opened wide as she shook her head, opening her mouth to protest, but nothing came out. 

 

“I was there.”  Tara nodded slightly.  “I was outside, but I was still there to control the spell.  Mr. Giles thanked me afterwards, having felt me there.  Did you feel me?”  Tara sighed as Willow shook her head.  “I didn’t think so, not back then, anyway.  But I wouldn’t risk your friends lives, even back then when you’d barely let me meet them.  Though that wasn’t actually your doing, now was it.” 

 

Buffy gave her a squeeze, not believing that Willow had kept Tara a secret for so long before the body switch with Faith brought their friendship to light.  Then another thought hit her.  “Was that why you were in my dream?”  She shivered and mumbled.  “Along with that creepy cheese guy.”  She shivered again, still not knowing where the hell he’d come from. 

 

“Mmm.  Maybe.”  Tara smiled down at the Slayer on her shoulder.  “I think I was featured in everyone’s dream that night.”  She kissed Buffy’s forehead.  “And I can’t even hazard a guess as to the cheese guy.”  She chuckled softly and kissed Buffy’s forehead again. 

 

“Huh.”  Buffy grunted softly.  “I don’t think anyone has a clue about him.”  She shrugged.  “Must have been a Hellmouth addition, wouldn’t be the first time.” 

 

Tara smiled and rested her cheek against the top of Buffy’s head as they turned their attention back to Willow. 

 

“I was more than willing to let you take what you needed.”  Tara shook her head sadly where it rested.  “But you were never happy with it.  Once you’d gained some control over the power, and things began to work the way they should, you always had to try and outdo yourself, or me.  You always had to make it bigger and better.”  Tara leaned against Buffy as she felt her eyes welling with tears.  “For love, I let you be in the spotlight where you needed to be.”  She turned apologetic eyes to Amy as she reached out to squeeze the woman’s forearm, a tear trailing over her lashes to drop on her cheek and trail down to her jaw.  “I’m so sorry.”  If it hadn’t been for her fear of upsetting, or possibly losing Willow before they had a chance to take their friendship further, Amy would have been back long ago. 

 

Amy covered Tara’s hand, gently squeezing as she nodded in understanding.  “It’s okay.  I got myself into that predicament, I’m just glad to be back now.”  She gently squeezed the hand again.

 

“That still doesn’t make it right.”  Tara bit her lip as she swallowed hard, blinking back her tears willing them not to fall. 

 

“It’s not your fault, Tara.”  Amy gave her a sad smile as she reached up and wiped away the tear that hung perilously off Tara’s jaw.  “Stop blaming yourself.” 

 

“It’s what she does best.”  Buffy sadly smiled as Tara leaned heavily against her. 

 

Nodding her head as she rested it against Buffy’s again and wrapped her arm around her.  “Not anymore.”  She whispered on a hitched breath as she closed her eyes to stop the tears. 

 

“Good.”  Buffy tilted her head to kiss Tara’s temple, whispering softly as she slid around in front of her.  “Though an endearing quality, I kinda like the kickass option more.” 

 

Tara chuckled softly and hugged Buffy tightly, that had been what she needed to keep the tears at bay.  “Good to know.”  She brought a hand up to wipe the moisture from her eyes.  “Just remember you said that when I have to kick your ass, Tough Stuff.” 

 

“Duly noted.”  Buffy smiled as Tara opened her eyes and kissed her. 

 

“Thank you.”  Tara whispered as she leaned her forehead against Buffy’s for a moment, gathering herself again.  Taking a deep breath she turned back to Willow as she blew it out slowly. 

 

Buffy stayed in front of Tara, turning as the Wiccan did. 

 

Willow looked warily at Tara, wondering what the woman had in store for her next.  She’d felt each blow to her achievements like a fist to the chest, old insecurities starting to gnaw at her once again, and she wasn’t done with her yet.  Willow swallowed the bile rising with that thought. 

 

“I thought the worst thing that could happen to me… aside from losing my mom, that is… was when Glory took my mind.”  Tara shook her head sadly, the hurt showing in her eyes as she looked at Willow.  “I was so wrong.  What you did to me was even worse, and you still don’t realize that, Willow.”  Tara felt some of her anger come back as she watched the denial appear in Willow’s eyes.  “You turned me into some thing no better than what the Buffybot was to Spike.”  She felt Buffy tense beside her as Willow flinched.  Hugging the Slayer as her hand moved in gentle circles on her back, her eyes remaining on Willow.  “What you got was someone who thought you’d hung the moon, and used me for your own gratification when I was under your control.” 

 

A low growl came from the Slayer as she turned in Tara’s arms to snarl at Willow. 

 

Tara chuckled mirthlessly as she shook her head, her hand unconsciously shifting beneath the Slayer’s halter to play her fingers over her abdomen as she kept her close.  “You know, that was the only time you showed any initiative or imagination in the bedroom, and you still couldn’t bring yourself to…”  Tara blushed as she realized what she had been about to say before she stopped her self.  “And it was all because of a singing and dancing demon.”  She couldn’t look at Buffy as she felt her face heat up even more, removing her hands from beneath the halter as the Slayer turned in her arms and raised a brow.  “Goddess, I’m glad I figured out what you were doing before too long.”  She’d pieced it together after a comment by Dawn about them not fighting anymore. 

 

Amy nodded, having vague memories of the two women from her time in their bedroom as seen through the bars of her cage.  “Ain’t that the truth!”  Amy mumbled unknowingly as her eyes lost focus and she thought back to that time, unaware of Tara, Buffy, and Cami turning to look at her.  “I tried giving her pointers, but would she listen to me?  Noooo!” 

 

Tara’s eyes widened with the realization that they’d had a voyeur watching them during their relationship, what blush had left her suddenly coming back. 

 

“Dive, Willow, dive!”  Amy continued to mumble as she shook her head at not being able to help the women.  “Made me glad I was flexible enough to lick those hard to reach places.”  She sighed and shook her head.  “Gods, I’m gonna miss that.”  She blinked and came back to the present when Tara started to laugh, eyes widening as she looked around and found the three women staring at her.  Seeing the amusement and red face of the Wiccan, Amy’s own face flushed.  “Umm…  Oops!  Mental note, Amy; when talking to yourself, do it silently, you’re not a rat anymore and people can understand you now.” 

 

“Amy, as embarrassing as this conversation is, let me just add to it by saying that I envied you that feat.”  Tara winked at the woman and started laughing again. 

 

“Oh yeah, definitely gonna miss it.”  Amy nodded and started laughing herself. 

 

“Damn!”  Cami picked up another drink and tossed it back.  “Now I’m envious.”  She mumbled as the rest continued to laugh. 

 

Buffy snorted softly as she turned to see the horrified look on Willow’s face, bringing everyone’s eyes to her, and in turn to Willow. 

 

Amy smiled widely and shrugged. 

 

Tara chuckled softly and somewhat shrugged herself.  “It’s too late to go back and toss a towel over her cage now.” 

 

“I’m just glad she’s still not in it.”  Buffy wiggled her brows as Tara lifted a brow when she turned amused eyes on her with a crooked smile. 

 

Amy leaned in and whispered.  “I could probably pick up some pointers from you two.” 

 

“God, I hope she’s right!”  Buffy smiled at Tara as her hand crept up her side. 

 

Tara laughed softly and stopped Buffy’s hand as it neared her breast.  “That doesn’t mean we have to show her right now, Tough Stuff.”  Tara winked and leaned in to kiss her. 

 

“Damn!”  Buffy sighed as she smiled and leaned into the Wiccan, resting her head on her shoulder and mumbling.  “There’s always something interrupting.” 

 

“Thank God!”  Cami tossed in as she looked around the crowded club, starting to wonder why they were paying the band to play tonight, most eyes were looking in their direction.  “Should just put you two up on the damn stage and get it over with.” 

 

Buffy laughed as she turned her head to grin at Cami.  “Jealous?” 

 

Cami smiled and nodded.  “Big time!” 

 

“I think one voyeur was enough for me, thank you very much.”  Tara winked at Amy as she swatted a hand out to lightly smack the waitress. 

 

“Just trying to be helpful.”  Cami grinned at the couple. 

 

Buffy snorted softly and smirked at Cami.  “Remember what happened to the last guy that tried to be helpful?”  All eyes went to the spot that Spike had been laying on the floor before being removed by the bouncers. 

 

“Point taken.”  Cami mumbled and picked up another shot. 

 

Buffy and Tara laughed softly before sighing and turning back to Willow as they leaned into one another. 

 

“You had it all, Willow.”  Tara looked sadly at her ex-girlfriend deciding to wrap this up.  “You finally had what you’d wanted all along.  Standing atop a mausoleum and directing everyone.  You were finally in charge, the Boss and not the Sidekick.  But that still wasn’t enough for you, was it?”  Tara’s arms tightened around the Slayer.  “The one person you most wanted to impress wasn’t there to see your reign of power.” 

 

Buffy whimpered softly as Willow’s eyes flicked quickly to her before looking away. 

 

“It must have bugged the hell out of you when you brought her back and she wasn’t the least bit impressed at all.  In fact, she resented the hell out of all of us for what you’d done in your zeal to no longer be taken as a sidekick.  And I can’t blame her for doing so.”  Tara smiled sadly as she turned her head to kiss the Slayer’s forehead, leaning her own against Buffy’s as she turned back to Willow.  “Every action has a consequence, Willow.  But you never cared about the consequences, just yourself and the power.” 

 

Buffy shivered slightly as she closed her eyes and leaned heavily into the Wiccan, pressing her face into Tara’s neck. 

 

Tara kissed Buffy’s temple as she hugged her close, fingers gently rubbing on her sides.  “You’re starting to look a little green, Wil.  In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m taking back what is mine.  And Amy is getting back what belongs to her.  You’ll be lucky if you can go back to floating a pencil again.  Because without all the borrowed power you’ve been sucking from any one and every thing magical, you’ll be where you were when I met you.  It’s over, and you’ll no longer be able to hurt the ones that love you.  Go home, Willow, you’re about to crash big time.”  With a wave of her hand, Willow was gone. 

 

Buffy shivered at the burst of power she felt, the low buzz she had been getting slowly fading out as Tara ended the spells.  “Damn, I didn’t even get to hit her!”  Buffy grumbled as she looked up at Tara. 

 

“I’ll second that.  Slap the bitch silly!”  Cami growled softly as she nodded in Buffy’s direction, royally pissed off at the redhead for what she’d done to everyone. 

 

Tara chuckled softly and kissed Buffy.  “I’m sure you will.  She’s going to be upset when she wakes up and has no powers anymore.  She’ll be scheming to try to get back at us.” 

 

“Some things never change.”  Buffy smiled and softly kissed the Wiccan.  “Are you okay?” 

 

Tara chuckled and leaned her forehead against Buffy’s as she ran her hands up and down her back.  “I’m on a bit of a power rush at the moment, but…”  She sighed and closed her eyes for a moment as she searched her feeling.  “Yes, I am.”  She sighed and opened her eyes, smiling at the Slayer as she softly kissed her.  “I feel like a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  I know I’ll probably have some regrets tomorrow, but I’m glad it’s finally over with and I can move on.”  Tara turned her head to include Amy.  “We all can.” 

 

“I’ll drink to that.”  Amy lifted her bottle as Cami held out the tray.  “To the future!” 

 

They all saluted and tossed back their respective drinks. 

 

“Order us a slow one, Cami.  I wanna dance.”  Tara smiled as she stepped back and hooked a finger in the waist of the Slayer’s leather pants, leading her to the dance floor. 

 

Buffy chuckled softly and made no attempt to stop the Wiccan as she dutifully followed. 

 

Cami smiled and raised a hand in the air as she turned to the bar, signaling Michael to do his part.  She’d be busy later, filling him in on all that had happened tonight. 

 

Amy smiled as she watched Tara and Buffy.  “I haven’t danced in ages.”  She was quickly surrounded by the two placing bets on who’d get to dance with her first. 

 

Cami growled softly as she heard the approach of the two women, turning to glare at them.  “Enough already!”  She smiled as they shut their mouths.  “And just out of curiosity, who won?”  She laughed softly as both of their eyes quickly turned to the dance floor. 

 

“I was betting on Buffy.”  Sandi sighed. 

 

“And I was betting on you.”  Sue turned back to smile at Amy. 

 

Cami laughed and grinned at the two.  “That means Tara won.  Don’t forget to pay up.”  Then she narrowed her eyes.  “On all bets!” 

 

“But…”  They both stopped their protest as Cami held up a hand. 

 

“The bets were whoever wins.  Next time, be more specific.”  Cami winked at them. 

 

They looked at each other in silent communication before shrugging, Sue pulling out her cell phone and hitting the speed dial.  “Bring in the cases.” 

 

“Done!”  Sandi winked at Cami.  “Now, for you…”  She trailed off with a smile as she and Sue turned their attention to Amy. 

 

Cami groaned softly as they each stepped to a side of Amy.  Grabbing the nearly empty bottle from the smiling ex-rat, Cami gave them a warning.  “Behave, or…”  She trailed off as she looked to the couple on the dance floor, grinning as she turned twinkling eyes back on them. 

 

They both looked from Cami to the dance floor and back again, looked at one another, and then at the amused dark blonde between them.  Sighing they turned back to Cami and nodded. 

 

“Best behavior.”  Sandi nodded. 

 

“Promise.”  Sue added as she crossed her heart. 

 

“Good!”  Cami smiled at Amy and winked.  “I’ll be watching.  Have fun!”  She grinned and spun on her heel, heading towards the bar and Michael. 

 

“You heard her.  Shall we?”  Amy smiled and held out both arms, which were taken by the smiling two. 

 

~HLM~

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