DISCLAIMER: BTVS is the property of Mutant Enemy and Twentieth Century Fox.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
PAIRING: Willow/Tara

Love Through Touch
By Nyka

Part 6

Buffy and Willow pulled into the seldom used driveway in front of her house and rushed to get out. They were at the front door by the time Buffy realized she needed to turn on the car alarm.

"Tara?" Willow called upon entering the house.

"Upstairs baby" Tara's voice came.

Willow rushed up the stairs with the Slayer on her heels.

"Are you guys" Buffy rushed into Willow and Tara's room steps after the Wiccan "...Okay"

Dawn was standing before the bed dressed in clothes so new the tags were still on them. She modeled before the two women on the bed.

"Do you like my outfit Buffy?" Dawn asked twirling in a quick circle showing off the leather holding the legs of the jeans together.

"Yeah I like. It's definately you" Buffy assured her sister. She turned to face the two women on the bed and glowered "You should've been home hours ago. But no you can't listen to me. You go shopping?"

Tara and Hyatt cringed at the tone.

"We had weapons" Hyatt began to explain "And crosses-"

"Tara isn't a trained fighter" Buffy yelled over Hyatt explanation.

"I am. Besides neither is Willow and she's with you all the time" Hyatt pointed out trying desperately not to feel guilty.

"Willow was safe in the Magic Box with Anya and you two were out gallavanting around the mall without a care in the world" Buffy spoke loudly and with her hands "Willow was worried."

"I was worried? But Buffy you were-" Willow started.

"I was out patroling and I killed 6 vamps, count them six, in one hour" Buffy cut Willow off "It's not safe out there. I don't want you guys hurt"

"We brought you something" Tara said softly.

"Oh really" Buffy perked up.

Hyatt leaned over the edge of the bed facing away from Buffy and pulled up another shopping bag "For you"

"Oooh" Buffy dug through the multitude of clothes in the bag.

"Does this mean we're forgiven?" Hyatt was hopeful.

"No but your gettin' there" Buffy pulled on a leather jacket identical to the one destroyed.

"What did you get me? Did ya get me anything?" Willow asked hugging Tara on the bed before climbing in her lap.

"Yup" Tara and Hyatt both pulled out bags and handed them to Willow "Apparently your the same size as me so I just got everything I liked" Hyatt blushed "We can share and switch I guess"

"It's cool" Willow pulled out a peasant blouse she'd been eying for weeks "Oh my goddess, I wanted this so badly"

Tara mouthed 'told you' to Hyatt.

"Tara told me we have the same sense of style" Hyatt pulled the last two bags out from behind the bed "These are Tara's, but I had to twist her arm to get her to get them"

"I already have enough" Tara insisted blushing.

"Oh honey never look a gift horse in the mouth" Willow instructed.

"Yeah it might kiss you" Buffy said pulling more outfits much to her liking from the bag "I could kiss that damn horse right about now"

"You could?" Willow and Tara sounded hopeful.

"Yeah if I wasn't so mad at her" Buffy growled.

"But you can't be mad Buffy" Dawn rushed to Hyatt's rescue "She was late because she wanted to surprise you"

"Yeah" Tara agreed "She came bearing gifts"

Buffy sighed deeply "What do you think Willow?"

"I think we should give her another chance. I mean Tara's safe, she got you a new jacket" Willow took a long breath "And you like her too much to throttle her"

"You would remind me of that" Buffy muttered "You're getting off easy this time Hyatt" she growled "But next time"

"You'll spank me for breaking curfew?" Hyatt helped.

"Yeah" Buffy nodded.

"Careful I might like it" Hyatt said sexily.

"Oh god" Buffy groaned.

"Are you g-going h-home tonight?" Tara asked when they all headed down stairs for some 'girlie movie time' as Buffy put it.

"And get my head chewed off?" Hyatt scoffed "I might as well stay out all night and make it worth the beatin' I'm gonna get"

"You might as well" Tara nodded towards Buffy and Willow "They w-won't mind you staying. In fact I don't think they ever want you to leave"

"We're watching 'Reality Bites" Willow argued with the Slayer.

"No we're watching 'The Deep End of the Ocean' we can watch the other one next" Buffy grabbed her tape and headed for the VCR.

"Why don't we ask Tara and Hyatt?" Willow pouted "Since we can't be fair and choose"

"Okay fine. Which do we watch first?" Buffy held up both movies.

Tara and Hyatt looked at each other then at the collection of movies on the table. They both reached for the same tape.

"Rainbow Brite" they said in unison.

Willow collasped on the couch groaning. Buffy eyed them both "Is there any way I can change your mind?"

Tara giggled and nudged Hyatt. "No" Hyatt whispered laughing. "Why not" Tara urged. "It's weird" Hyatt giggled "Chicken" Tara taunted. Hyatt stuck out her tongue.

"I got the popcorn" Dawn said exiting the kitchen "What are we watching?"

"We don't know" Buffy rolled her eyes "We can't decide on what to watch. The Giggle Bunnies over there" she motioned towards the two giggling young women "want to watch Rainbow Brite. Willow wants Reality Bites, and I wanna watch The Deep End of the Ocean"

"Oh. That would be trouble" Dawn agreed.

"Giggle Bunnies?" Hyatt managed to choke out between giggling.

Tara snorted softly and blushed.

"Ok fine, how 'bout we watch whatever's on the TV" Willow said turning on the set.

They all turned and cringed.

"Deep Space Nine? It was the worst Trek show ever" Tara joined Willow on the couch.

"I preferred Voyager" Hyatt sighed and slid on the couch next to Tara.

Dawn took the chair next to the couch while Buffy slid onto the end next to Hyatt.

"Yeah. Seven of Nine was yummy" Willow sighed.

"B'Elanna was so hotter than Seven of Nine" Buffy pointed out.

"Yeah she was" Hyatt agreed "Seven had nice legs but B'Elanna had the butt, the walk, and the attitude"

"You liked her attitude?" Willow chuckled.

"Yeah. But not her love interest. The Helmrat? Please" Hyatt rolled her eyes "Strong women are sexy"

"So are quiet ones" Tara added snuggling into Willow's side.

"Yeah. Smart chicks are sexy too" Buffy said pinching Hyatt's jumpstarts.

Hyatt squealed and curled towards Buffy pressing her back against Tara bringing her and Willow closer together.

"I wonder how far down those spots go" Dawn said to no one inparticular.

"All the way down" Tara said gravely serious "And I mean all the way"

"And how do you know this?" Buffy said laughing.

"Fanfiction" Tara smiled knowingly.

"It's an addiction" Hyatt said melodramatically.

"Oh. You guys are so cute. It's like having two Tara's" Dawn surprised everyone.

"Nuh uh. I'm shorter than Tara" Hyatt argued.

"But just as sweet" Buffy pinched Hyatt's cheeks and hugged her.

Willow and Tara watched the exchange for a few moments, before exhanging knowing looks.

They never did watch the movies.

Willow snuggled into Tara later the night. They lay in their bed, Tara was running her fingers through her girl friends fiery locks and thanking whatever gods that were listening, for letting her find her.

"I can't believe they're in the same bed" Willow whispered.

"They're not doing anything" Tara whispered with a laugh.

"So. Buffy is in the same bed with another girl" Willow pointed out.

"She's slept in the same bed as you" Tara countered.

"Buffy was never attracted to me" Willow strechted.

"Are you sure?" Tara asked quietly "The way she looked at you-" her voice trailed off.

"Buffy only ever looked at me as a friend" Willow said panicking "Didn't she?"

"Sometimes, it was in her eyes" Tara said sadly "I used to wonder when she was gonna take you back from me"

"Oh no Tara- honey- I love you" Willow started kissing Tara from her brow to her heart.

"I know that now" Tara smiled as Willow continued to worship her skin with light kisses "But now I want Buffy to have someone to love like I do"

"Yeah. Dawn was right when she said they're cute together" Willow stopped her kisses.

"I don't think they even realize what it is that's between them" Tara said softly "Buffy's so caught up with slaying and Hyatt-"

"What about Hyatt?" Willow asked when Tara didn't finished after a few moments.

"Hyatt has family trouble" Tara sighed.

"Family trouble like you had?" Willow asked hoping she was wrong.

"Something like that" Tara said softly "She's getting out. She's stronger than she seems"

"She's sweet. I hope she knows she's welcome here" Willow turned into Tara's body burying her nose between the other womans neck and shoulder.

"She knows" Tara assured her "But now. How do we get the slayer to realize she's in love with our new friend"

"I have the greatest plan" Willow sat up. Planning was something she was good at.

They shadows moved quickly across the yard, engulfing everything in it's path in the suffocating abyss of it's mass. It crept towards the front stairs of the house and froze in it's tracks. It throbbed and grew as it attempted to mount the stairs. Slowly it backed away and tried again from several directions.

Through out the night the shadow attempted enter the shelter of the front porch and the back porch. It slightered further away and became weaker as the sun rose.

The slayer and her family slept unaware that there was an attempted attack on them. Or that they were somehow protected.

"Dammit" the woman kicked over the golden chalice "What the hell is keeping me from entering the house and doing away with the Slayer"

"Perhaps the same reason that we can't retrieve our car" the minion said never raising her eyes from the floor.

"What kind of protection would keep the rightful owner from retrieving stolen property?" she paced the tomb growling lowly.

"I don't believe it's a protection spell. It's possible it might actually be a person" the minion sat up halfway. She bent over her kneeling knees and began to draw a sign in the accumulated dirt.

"A person? Like a knight? Or perhaps a key?" She stopped pacing and stood silently behind the kneeling woman.

"I'm not sure" the dirt began to sift, like sand on a beach and the sign changed. It began as a complex geometric design and morphed into a swirling henna "It appears elemental. It could be a key" the minion's voice took on an amazed quality.

"The word on the street is: The key to hell resides in the home of the slayer. Protected and untouchable. Now more than ever" she paced again, the shadows she wore in lue of clothing swirling behind her in a non-existent breeze. An action telling of her mood.

"It is quite possible" the minion hunched over again, limp as a rag doll.

"Then we'll get rid of it" she swarmed -there was really no other word for the action- and gathered her shadow into the large throne "Before she or it knows what I am or how to stop me"

Part 7

Willow stretched her legs out behind her. She lay on her stomach diagonally on the bed with her head resting on Tara's belly. Still asleep, Willow hugged herself closer to the warm body, smacked her lips and went on dreaming.

Tara however was awake. She smiled down at the usual movements Willow made in the normal processes of waking up. She gave the red head another 15 minutes before she started coming out of her sleep cycle. Her attention turned from her soulmate when she heard movement in the hall.

Buffy crossed through the hallway visible to Tara through their open door. She stopped and waved when she saw the shy Wiccan was awake, she entered slowly unsure if she'd be welcome with Willow still in such a vulnerable state.

Tara waved her over smiling when even the minute movement her body made disturbed Willow enough for the woman to lift her head and rest it against her breasts.

"Does she always do that?" Buffy whispered.

Willow rubbed her nose into Tara's soft breasts and murmured in her sleep.

"Yeah. All the time. I think I'm just part of the pillow collection right now" Tara joked as she lovingly stroked the red head the rested just beneath her chin. She noticed Hyatt in the doorway and waved her in as well.

"Oh I didn't mean to wake you up" Buffy apologized when she saw her temporary roomie.

"Oh I'm a light sleeper. I wake up when my cat farts" Hyatt leaned on the bed next to Tara. She glanced over at the still sleeping Willow "She sleeps like a child"

"With her whole heart" Tara agreed softly. She continued to stroke Willow's hair helping the woman awake just a bit faster.

"So, your Willow's pillow" Buffy chuckled "Does she drool on ya to?"

"Sometimes. But I'll never tell her" Tara whispered conspiritally "And neither will either of you"

"My lips are sealed" Hyatt prosmised miming a zipper over her lips.

"Such a shame" Buffy deadpanned licking her lips "You have such a pretty mouth"

Tara's brow shot up in surprise. Hyatt just took it in stride.

"You keep saying stuff like that and I'll begin to think you like me" Hyatt winked at the Slayer "But if you take off your clothes, I'll know you like me"

Buffy blushed at the look the other girl shot her. Tara giggled which brought Willow completely awake.

"What you started the party without me?" the sleepy wiccan joked when she saw them all in the room.

"Yeah we figured you'd join us sooner or later" Hyatt yawned " Whoa 'scuse me"

"It appears you joined us sooner rather than later" Buffy climbed onto the other side of the bed so that Willow was between her and Tara.

"Careful, she hogs all the covers" Hyatt stage whispered to Tara.

"And she kicks" Willow chimed in.

"I do not" Buffy agrued. She then rolled over and stole the blankets.

"See I told you" Hyatt pointed to the bundle Buffy had rolled herself into.

"Shut up. You cuddle" Buffy's muffled retort came from beneath the sheets.

"I-I I th-thought c-cuddling was a good th-thing" Tara said through a muffled laugh.

"So did I" Willow poked the blanket "Don't you like cuddles"

"And Snuggles" Tara chimed in.

"What about Spooning?" Hyatt chimed in.

"I love Spooning" Willow giggled wrapping herself even tighter around Tara.

"Cuddles are good, Snuggles are better, but I don't believe I've been spooned" Buffy's head emerged she eyed the wiccans "Nice legs"

Willow and Tara both looked down at their legs. They were bare and the t-shirt's that they'd worn to sleep in were riding high on their thighs.

"I wasn't gonna say anything" Hyatt smile devilishly.

"Next time I won't" Buffy conceded.

Tara was blushing and pulling her shirt down as far as it would go. Willow merely sat there looking from Buffy to Hyatt than back again.

"A couple of Voyeur's huh" Willow released Tara's hand and sat up indian style.

"I think you just showed Buffy whether or not your a natural red head" Hyatt remarked when she saw the Slayers eyes widden.

Willow looked down at herself then up a Buffy "Oh my god" She curled herself into a tight ball on her side.

Hyatt met Tara's laughing eyes with her own.

"I think we should go now Buffy" Hyatt grabbed the stunned Slayer and pulled her out of the room.

When they reached the bottom of the stairs Hyatt started laughing hysterically "You should see the look on your face"

"I..she...whoa" Buffy took a deep breath and swallowed "Oh she'd definately a natural red head"

Hyatt couldn't help it. She hit the floor laughing.

"I wanna die" Willow moaned into the pillow she was attempting to suffocate herself with.

"Aw honey it's not so bad" Tara rubbed her back.

"She saw....she saw........me" Willow started sobbing.

"Well I'm sure you made atleast one of her dreams come true" Tara joked hoping to bring Willow out of her misery.

"I doubt Buffy wanted to see my....my...." Willow was stumped for a proper term that wouldn't embarass her.

"Womanhood?" Tara offered.

"Yeah my......that" Willow slowly released the pillow and faced her soul mate "I don't think I can face her"

"Sweetie it was just a little piece of you. I'm sure you two have seen each other naked before" Tara reassured her.

"Actually, no" Willow admitted /But not for lack of trying/ she added silently in her head.

"Oh well, consider this deepening your friendship" Tara tried.

"Friendship doesn't include...that" Willow whined "Maybe we can act like it never happened"

"Our friendship includes that" Tara pointed out.

"But our friendship is slightly different than mine and Buffy's" Willow whined.

"Your telling me the entire time you've known Buffy you've never thought about her lips?" Tara asked. She placed her hand on Willows belly and began to stroke it through the t-shirt.

"Which set?" Willow asked distracted by Tara's touch on her belly. In the one moment she gave herself away "Oh Fuck"

"Exactly" Tara said "I was attracted to her to, once I realized it wasn't the real her I met the first time. She's a lovable gal" Tara tickled around Willow's belly button. She knew her lover enjoyed that.

Willow nodded her agreement "I love her. But I'm in love with you. There's a difference"

"I know" Tara said. She bent over Willow and pressed a soft sweet kiss to her lips "I love her too, but I'm in love with you"

"But the fact remains, she saw me" Willow said refusing to let it go.

"She saw part of you" Tara argued gently "But I've seen all of you. Which embarrasses you more?"

The other woman didn't have the chance to answer, they were kissing to deeply.

Not much later Dawn wandered down stairs, awakened by the volume of the Wiccans.

"We need thicker walls" she complained as she took a seat next to Buffy.

The slayer nodded. She'd barely touched her cereal, something that Dawn took immediate advantage of.

"Hey" Buffy grumped "That was so mine"

"Well it was getting soggy. It's gross soggy" Dawn said around a mouthful of sugary goodness.

"Feels like mud going down" Hyatt agreed.

"Does it feel like mud coming out?" Buffy said hoping to ruin a few appetites.

It worked. Both Hyatt and Dawn pushed their bowls away.

There was a thump from above then complete silence.

"I think they're done" Dawn said hopefully.

"Maybe they just fell out of the bed" Buffy chuckled.

"Like a cold floor would stop them? They sounded like they were running hot" Hyatt remarked. She grabbed her keys off the counter.

"Your leaving?" Dawn squeaked "Buffy make her stay"

"Yeah Hyatt stay" Buffy asked trying not to sound needy "You don't have to go yet"

"You don't have to go at all" Dawn chimed.

"Actually I do. My father's probably already blew a gasket" Hyatt backed towards the front door.

"Well leave something here so I'll know your coming back" Dawn demanded.

Hyatt stopped moving. She met Buffy's eyes and they both turned to her sister. "What" they said in unison.

"I want you to come back" Dawn stated "If you leave something here you have to come back for it"

"My clothes are upstairs" Hyatt pointed out.

"Where upstairs" Dawn demanded.

"In Buffy's closet" Hyatt said slowly. She began to back up again.

"I know. I'll go with you. I'll tell your dad that I wouldn't let you leave last night because I didn't think you'd be safe out there by yourself" Buffy followed Hyatt towards the door.

"You really don't need to" Hyatt assured her. She opened the door behind her back and tried to step through.

Buffy grabbed her arm before she could clear the threshold "I wanna go with"

"Buffy-" Hyatt tried to beg off.

"I want to make sure you get home safe. And without getting into trouble" Buffy stepped closer to her to whisper "I don't want him yelling at you"

"It's my fault I should've called or something last night" Hyatt whispered back.

"But I just want-" Buffy stopped herself "If you don't let me go with you I'll just follow"

"Follow me how? I know you can't run as fast as my car" Hyatt said grapsing the slayers arms.

The contact sent a sizzle of pure energy through the both of them.

"I have my own car" Buffy said smiling widely.

"When did you get a car?" Dawn asked breaking into the conversation.

"Last night. I killed the vamps that owned it. The thing's so new it still had that paper thingie on the window" Buffy pointed in the direction of the shiny Toyota.

"And it's blood red" Hyatt observed.

"Hey I didn't pick the color, but I killed the vamps who did" Buffy shrugged.

"Whoa. Free car" Dawn remarked as she stared in wonder at the vehicle.

"All Willow has to do is the hacker thing, and we're set" Buffy rubbed her hands together "So am I riding or following?"

"You can ride" Hyatt conceded "You can let go now. I promise I won't run"

Buffy realized she had yet to release Hyatt's arms "I think I'll walk you to the car" she used any excuse not to let the other woman go.

Hyatt shrugged and turned around, Buffy held onto one of her arms and escorted her to the drivers door. She helped Hyatt into the car and took the keys.

"I do need the keys to start the car so I can drive it" Hyatt pointed out when the slayer shut the door.

"I'm just making sure you don't pull off without me" Buffy climbed into the passenger seat and gave the keys back.

"Thanks" Hyatt started the car and pulled off. She gazed at the red Toyota for a few moments. Something in her memory twitched but she shrugged it off. She was more worried about the coming confrontation with her father.

It began to rain when she left the street Buffy lived on. "So, I cuddle huh?" Buffy broke the silence.

Hyatt chuckled "Yeah, and you have really cold toes"

Buffy pouted "Do not"

"Do too" Hyatt argued.

Buffy stuck out her tongue.

"Keep that thing in your mouth or it's going into mine" Hyatt teased.

"I-" Buffy blushed.

Hyatt looked at the slayer and chuckled.

"What's so funny?" Buffy asked corssing her arms.

"I was wondering how long it would take you to realize your still in your pyjamas" Hyatt deadpanned.

Buffy looked down at herself "Oops"

"There's a jumpsuit on the back seat" Hyatt thumbed behind her "It's about your color"

Buffy climbed over the seat "Don't look"

"Aww come on" Hyatt teased looking at her through the rearview mirror.

"Keep your eyes on the road" Buffy pulled the shirt over her head.

Hyatt whistled "Oh what big........muscles you have"

Buffy groaned.

Part 8

Dawn wandered back upstairs. The sounds had stopped over 30 minutes before and she was curious as to what was taking them so long to leave the room.

She knocked on the closed door "Willow? Tara? You guys ok in there?"

Willow opened the door immediately "Yeah Dawnie we're fine" She stepped away offering the teen admitance.

Dawn entered and looked around. The sheets were on the floor and Tara was currently rushing to pick them up "Hi Dawnie"

"Did we wake you with all the noise?" Willow asked. She crossed to the vanity and sat down running a silver brush through her hair.

"Yeah. And the hysterical laughter from Hyatt helped" Dawn leaned on the vanity next to Willow "I was actually wondering about something"

"What Dawnie" Tara sat on the now made bed brushing her hair from her eyes with her fingers.

"I was wondering if you could tell me what exactly you have planned for my sister and Hyatt" Dawn said outright "I want in, if it includes Hyatt staying around for a while"

"Oh it does" Tara said "We don't want her to leave either"

"Anyone who can rattle Buffy enough to pin her willingly to a mat for eight seconds, is great in my book" Willow babbled.

"She's a likable person" Tara concluded "She reminds me of Buffy that way"

"That's funny, she reminds me of you" Dawn crossed to her other favorite Wiccan.

"She reminds you of me how?" Tara scrunched up her face in what Willow affectionately called her 'you lost me' face.

"Well, she's really giving. She had presents for me before I even met her. Then she's humble" Dawn ticked off on her fingers.

"Yeah, she is like you that way. She's also really sincere" Willow nodded "And she has great taste in clothes"

"She has your taste in clothes" Dawn pointed out "But she's kinda like Buffy too"

"Yeah. She's brave" Tara sighed.

"And strong" Willow added.

"But-" Dawn started to say, then stopped herself.

"But what Dawnie" Willow asked when she noticed the sad look on Dawn's face.

"Yeah Dawn you can tell us" Tara wrapped an arm around the teen. Willow joined them on the bed and held Dawn's free hand.

"I think she's scared. She didn't seem like she wanted to go home this morning" Dawn said finding something on the floor amazingly interesting.

"Like she's afraid of her family?" Tara asked.

"She reminds me of you that way too" Dawn conceded.

"Well were her family too" Willow said with resolve "She and Tara are like best friends. So that makes them sisters in my book"

"Yeah" Dawn agreed feeling up about it "And Tara's family, and we look out for family"

"So we'll look out for her" Willow finished.

"Did you say she left this morning?" Tara cut in worried.

"Yeah. Buffy went with her" Dawn leaned into Tara "I felt better when I knew Buffy would be there"

"So do I" Tara agreed "Now that that's............ well......... that. What ya say we have breakfast?"

"I'm all for breakfast" Willow said standing and pulling Dawn up so fast she hopped.

"Buffy kinda ruined my appetite for cereal" Dawn cringed at the memory.

"So that means....Waffles!" Willow pumped the air with a fist.

"You don't know how to make Waffles" Tara pointed out.

"You do" Willow and Dawn put on puppy faces. They tried to look as pathetic and hungry as possible.

Tara whined in her throat "Okay okay. Waffles it is"

Dawn and Willow high fived and danced a jig all the way into the kitchen.

Hyatt took a deep breath as she killed the ignition in the car.

"You act like this is gonna kill you" Buffy remarked as they climbed from the car.

"You don't know my dad" Hyatt said.

"Where did all this rain come from. I thought it never rained in sunny Sunnydale" Buffy remarked as they left the garage.

"It usually doesn't" Hyatt frowned "You think this is foreshadowing something?"

"It if is it can't be good" Buffy huddled up next to Hyatt "Make a run for it on three?"

Hyatt smiled "Three!" and took off leaving one startled slayer.

Buffy wasted no time catching up. They reached the side door seconds behind each other.

"Okay I'll admit your fast. But I almost had you there for a minute" Buffy laughed.

"Your still too slow" Hyatt sighed "Now for hell" she ran her finger over the fron lock. Buffy heard eight small clicks in the inner chambers before the door actually opened.

"Remind me to call you if I ever lose my key's" she joked hoping to take Hyatt's mind off of whatever was bothering her.

"If you forget your keys I'm pretty sure you'd forget to call me" Hyatt teased. She pushed open the door to the kitchen and entered the house, with Buffy only steps behind her.

"So now you decide to come home" Hyatt's mother's voice came flatly "You don't bother to call, only that little brat knows where you are"

"She's not a brat" Hyatt sighed "I was with Buffy"

"Yeah" buffy chimed in ever faithful.

"The feisty one? Well your father is in the other room" she waved towards the exit in the kitchen that led to teh rec room.

"Is Hyatt here Iraina?" a deep voice bellowed from the next room "If she is send her in here"

Hyatt sighed and entered the next room. Buffy stayed and eyed the woman lounging before her.

"So Becky is it?" she said delibrately trying to push the slayer.

"Yeah. Becky Summers at your service" Buffy smiled at the woman.

"I thought your name was Buffy?" Iraina said tilting her head at the confident young woman.

"So did I" Buffy said simply.

"Was she with you all night?" Iraina questioned.

Buffy decided she really didn't like this woman "Yup. All night, she never left my sight"

"Pity" Iraina said "It just isn't her day"

"You ungrateful little -" the mans voice was drowned out by a resounding smack.

Hyatt stumbled back into the room holding her head. Her entire body was shaking.

"I want you out" he bellowed "Take your demon bitch friend, that abomination you call a child, and whatever else your cursed hands have touched"

He reached out and grapsed the bare skin revealed on Hyatt's upper arm. He shook her violently for long moments before Buffy reacted.

The slayer reacted when the shock of the situation wore off. She grabbed the man by his wrists deaening his arms and pulled hin off his daughter "Don't ever touch her" she pushed him away, slightly harder than she really needed to. Not that she minded when he hit the wall and left a slight dent where his body impacted.

"Get it and get out" he growled.

Hyatt was immediately in motion, with Buffy close on her heels.

"Mmmmm waffles" Dawn moaned digging into her third helping.

Tara sat back amazed at how much food the thin teen had eaten "Dawnie honey, w-where are you putting a-all the food?"

"My dad used to say I had a hollow leg" Dawn deadpanned.

Willow choked and orange juice came out of her nose.

Tara coughed to cover a chuckle.

Willow wiped her nose with the edge of her t-shirt.

"Boogey juice" Dawn pointed to the spray Willow had shot onto the table.

Tara couldn't help it, she laughed until tears streamed down her face.

Willow sniffed a few times through her sore nose "It wasn't that funny"

"I know" Tara said between breaths "But she said boogey juice" Tara then burst into peals of laughter.

Willow considered for a few moments, she didn't see the hilarity "I don't get it Tara"

Dawn also looked at her questioningly.

"Oh sorry" Tara attempted to calm herself "It's a thing with Hyatt"

"Oh" Willow said slowly "So you and Hyatt have a 'thing' now"

"She....it was........oh you had to be there" Tara tried to explain.

Willow merely nodded. She turned to Dawn, but the girl just shrugged and kept on eating.

"Has it ever rained before in Sunnydale?" Tara asked quietly.

"No it's always Sunny in Sunndale" Willow said honestly.

"It's raining now" Tara pointed out.

"This cannot be good" Willow muttered, whishing beyond wishing that she was wrong.

Part 9

"My goddess, Summers you drive like a spaz"

Buffy glared into the rearview mirror "Okay are you 4 or 14?"

"I'm 4..and I'd like to live to see 5 lady. So.....drive slower?" Star demanded from the back seat "Hello that was a stop sign"

Buffy growled "I totally paused"

"You don't pause at a stop sign. YOU STOP" Star reasoned.

"Ok your not gonna live to get out of this car if you don't shut up" Buffy yelled at the exuberant little girl.

"Did you hear that Hyatt? She threatened my life" Star asked the silent woman in the front seat.

Hyatt hadn't said anything since Buffy had dragged her out of the house. She was in shock. Her father had beaten her and thrown her out, buffy in return had roughed him up a bit also. 'Get that abomination you call a child and get out' rang inside her head. It broke her heart that he felt that way. It didn't seem to phase Star.

"I think she's in shock" Buffy said when the childs face dropped "She probably can't hear you"

"Cuz she's got all that yelling in her head?" Star asked with insight no 4 year old should have.

"Your not like any 4 year old I've ever met" Buffy remarked. She pulled into her own driveway behind her new red car.

"Oh red. Is that yours?" Star bounced in the back seat.

"Yeah" buffy got out of the car and hepled Star from the back "Go knock on the door. Willow should be home" she directed wanting to get teh child out of the rain.

Star did as she was told. Something that rarely happened.

Buffy crossed to the other side pulled out Hyatt's door. She was worried when Hyatt didn't seem to notice she was there.

"Hey, you okay?" Buffy asked in a small voice.

Hyatt looked at her for the first time in what felt like hours "You kicked his ass"

Buffy burst out laughing. It was said with a straight face but a voice full of wonder.

"No one deserves to be hit" Buffy said when she calmed down "Ask Tara she knows"

"I know" Hyatt smiled and got out of the car herself, she lost her balance as a wave of dizziness overtook her "He wasn't very happy when he grabbed me" she muttered before collapsing.

Buffy caught her before she could hit the wet pavement. The rain fell on her closed eyes looking like tear or perhaps mixing with them.

Willow and Tara ran outside. Willow was holding a thick blanket and Tara a large Umbrella.

"W-what happened" Tara stuttered when she saw Hyatt unconscious in the slayers arms.

"I think her dad was mad when he grabbed her. Unless the whole 'shake the hell out of her' thing he did was fake" she said cradling her closer. She accpted teh blanket from Willow and wrapped Hyatt in it. The girl was shivering from some unknown chill.

"She said anger burns" Tara spoke so softly the slayer could barely hear her "It must of been painful"

"Oh my god I forgot about that" Buffy said and rushed into the house.

Tara was close on her heels.

Willow stayed outside and began to take things out of the car. She wasn't overly fond of Hyatt. The young woman was beginning to step on her toes where Tara was concerned. Willow was jealous that they had a thing, just between the two of them. Tara had never had something special that didn't include her before, but then again Tara had never had a friend like Hyatt before. They were two of a kind, yet different in ways that made them stronger. Willow shook off her jealousy for a moment, they were good for each other. And Tara could use a friend. She entered the house long minutes later with the few cases she'd taken from the car.

"Honey your soaked" Tara said rising from the edge of the couch. She was perched there at Hyatt's feet, while Buffy was at the other end stroking the wet hair off the woman's face.

"Just getting the stuff out" Willow said without any other excuse.

"Thanks Will, I forgot about those" Buffy didn't even look up when she said this. Her eyes remained trained on the woman below her.

"Is she gonna be okay" Willow asked as she and Tara retired to the kitchen leaving the slayer alone with Hyatt.

"We hope so" Tara said sadly.

"Rock covers paper, I win" Star exclaimed.

"I don't like this game" Dawn grumped, she hadn't won at all "I think your cheating"

"I don't cheat, I kick butt" Star smirked.

"Whatever" Dawn rolled her eyes at the little girl. Usually she'd be mad at getting stuck babysitting, but this was actually fun "So do you have special powers?"

"Me? I can make things.." Star trailed off when Tara entered the room "Tara bear" she flew into the Wiccan's arms.

"H-hi sweetie" Tara hugged the child to her savoring the warmth of the tiny body "How ya feelin'?"

"I beat Dawn at Paper, Rock Scissors" Star said proudly.

"I still think you cheated" Dawn mumbled.

Star stuck out her tongue.

"Hey none of that" Tara admonished the little girl.

"Is she gonna be alright?" Dawn asked softly. Buffy's new 'friend' was someone she'd grown fond of rather quickly. The clothes had helped alot.

"I don't know" Tara sighed and sat down.

"He's mean" Star said crossing her arms and pouting "He would grab her and shake her all the time, then she'd sleep. Fatima would have to wake her up"

"The' Fatima?" Tara asked. She was curious about the Assamite "What would Fatima do to wake her up?"

"She just touched her" Star shrugged "Sometimes Lucita would do it"

"Hey, what's the boogey?" Willow asked entering the dining room.

"She said boogey" Star giggled.

"Ok what's with this boogey thing" Willow frowned.

"Long story" Tara chuckled "I'll fill you in later. Tell us more about Fatima?"

"What do you want to know?" Star got out of her chair and climbed in Tara's lap.

"Did you all train with her?" Willow asked "Hyatt said she and her sisters did"

"Well you can't actually 'train' train with her until your 7" Star explained "First she teaches you concentration and blanace. Then Focus"

"Sounds like hard work" Dawn remarked.

"I guess" Star shrugged "I just started on focus, we didin't train much. Hyatt trained everyday"

"She did?" Willow asked "Did you ever watch her?"

"All the time" Star said nodding "Fatima would train her last, so they could take longer. Lucita taught Fatima how to harness the power around her, taking strength from nature. Fatima taught Hyatt"

"Is she a witch?" Willow asked "Because witch's are trained for that to"

"I don't know. She doesn't cast spells. She does have this psy-psychic thing she does" Star stumbled over the word "It's like she talks to people in her head"

"Like a mental telephone" Dawn asked.

"Yeah" Star agreed.

'That might be why Buffy had so little trouble reaching her' Willow thought.

'Maybe that's why the Astrial energy affected them so much' Tara though when she picked up on Willows.

"Do you have any chocolate?" Star asked playing with Tara's fingers.

"Sure" Willow went into the kitchen.

"It's raining, it's pouring, the shadows are soaring" Drusilla danced to the music only she could hear.

"I'm telling you Mistress, she's insane" the minion said shaking her head.

"The answer is in her head. We just have to find the meaning of her words" the Vampire sat back in her chair. She watched Drusilla rock herself as she chanted rhymes that meant nothing, and everything.

"Two little witches went to hell, the slayer and the chosen went to, one little slayer fell harder, and she'll bring the light to you" Drusilla drone and began pacing again.

"She'll bring the light to me?" the vampire sat up in her throne, the shadows she wore seethed and settled.

"She'll bring the light to you, and the fire to" Drusilla rhymed tilted her head every which way.

"But doesn't fire bring light?" the minion asked, she thought Drusilla had it backyard.

"Fire and light, fire and light, together they'll fight" Drusilla began to dance with an imaginary partner "Turn and burn, turna nd burn, whever there's fire the light will burn"

"The light will burn" the vampire said making a fist and smiling showing sharp fangs.

Buffy brushed the dried hari from Hyatt's forehead and prayed that she'd wake up soon.

"Come on Hyatt open your eyes" she whispered "I really need you to open your eyes"

"She'll come back when she's ready" Willow said coming up behind her.

Buffy jumped, she hadn't heard her friend enter "I hope she's ready soon"

"You can't rush these things" Willow said sitting down on the couch near Hyatt's hip.

"Why do I think you're not talking about her waking up" Buffy said with a smile in her voice.

"Because if Tara were unconscious, I'd be right where you are, saying the same things" Willow smiled at Buffy.

"So this is love" Buffy said softly.

"The worry, the joy, eventually the sex" Willow said straitfaced.

"Willow! My god girl what's gotten into you" Buffy laughed smiling in delight for the first time in hours.

"Oh just channeling Anya for a moment there" Willow joked. She fished Hyatt's hand out of the blanket. Turning it palm up she fitting her own hand . Willow sent a subtle surge of energy through her palm to Hyatt's.

"What does that do" Buffy wondered aloud.

"Call it incentive to wake up" Willow said off-handedly, smiling when she saw Buffy's confusion.

Buffy didn't have a clue that she was channeling her feelings outward. Her emotions tied in strongly with her mystical nature causing her to send them out to anyone who could read her aura. Like Willow.

Willow had simply taken what she'd learned from Buffy's aura and sent it to Hyatt in the form of an Astial dream. She'd wake up knowing the slayer had fallen in love with her.

"Buffy. Good luck" Willow said rising from the couch. She settled Hyatt's hand over Buffy's arm, making sure their skin was touching.

"Good luck? For what Will?" Buffy asked truly confused by her friend.

"Good luck, in love" Willow left Buffy alone with her thoughts.

Buffy only left to patrol, and only briefly. There was no Vampire acitivity so she went home. If the night was a few shades darker in the shadows, she didn't notice.

When she arrived home, Tara was sitting on the couch with Hyatt's head in her lap speaking softly to her. She watched them for a few minutes. In the few days they'd known each other, the two had grown close.

Tara pushed Hyatt's loose hair gently behind her ear and whispered something to her. She placed two fingers on each temple and did something much like Willow had don't earlier in the day. Silver tendrils of evergy passed from her fingers and into Hyatt's head.

"More incentive to wake up?" Buffy made herself known.

Tara looked up guiltily for a moment "Y-yeah. I didn't hear you come in. Nothing on patrol?"

"Nope, not a snitch" Buffy sat on the floor and took Hyatt's hand in her's "I hope your incentive wakes her up"

"So do I" Tara said honestly, she didn't like seeing her friend hurt.

"What is your incentive anyway?" Buffy asked when Tara rose to leave.

"Good dreams" Tara said simply and headed upstairs "Night Buffy"

"Night" Buffy whispered.

Sometime that night, the hand Buffy held tightened around her's. Their joined hand were brought up to soft lips and kissed.

Buffy didn't stir, content with the matters at hand.

Part 10

Spike watch from the shadows. Something he was good at. He knew who the girl was now. That blasted 'favored' ancestor of the Assassin. He could see her from his seat on the top basement step.

She was lying on the couch holding the sleeping slayers hand. Something Buffy would never allow him to do. But something she allowed this 'freak' to do.

Spike knew he was a demon. It ws plain and simple. Vampires kill people. The didn't give life. But one had given her life. A life her felt she didn't deserve, and certainly not with the slayer.

He moved stealthily towards them. Buffy was exhausted and didn't stir at all. Hyatt however was awake, a bit disoriented, but she was cognitive.

She turned her head slowly and stared at Spike as he advanced on her.

"Well quasi-demon I see you've weaseled your way into the Scooby gang" he sneered at her. His voice was so low Buffy didn't even hear it. But he knew Hyatt could.

"I'm not a demon" Hyatt said simply. She didn't know what the vampire had planeed but she knew she wouldn't like it.

"I said quasi, don't you know what that means?" Spike swaggerd up to her, keeping his foot falls light enough that teh slayer didn't feel the subtle vibrations they made. Something which took great concentration.

"I'm not half demon either. It was a gift of life. Not unlife" Hyatt said softly. Buffy stirred slightly, but slept on.

"You should be dead. You're cursed fair" Spike moved to like a cig. It flew out of his hand and disappeared into oblivion "So your a little witchy too eh?"

"And your a little dead" Hyatt said firming her mind. She began to concentrate on the cold form of the vampire, hoping to feel his movements before he made them.

"Yeah, but when this is all over, I'll still have the slayer" Spike said cockily.

"You, and Buffy?" Hyatt chuckled "You wouldn't have a chance even if you weren't dead. She's a few rungs higher than those cockroaches of women that your prefer. Way out of your league" Hyatt continued.

"Shut up" Spike said growing angry.

"You'll never have a chance. You don't measure up to what she want's or needs. Your so low even the insane don't want you" Hyatt said bitterly "The Seeker would rather be alone than with you, and you think you could possibly land-" her words were cut off.

Spike leapt onto her, uncaring that her roused the slayer in the process.

When his cold hands contacted Hyatt's skin she screamed as if the hounds of hell where tearing the very skin from her body.

Buffy reacted quickly and violently. She grabbed Spike and pulled him off Hyatt's weakly struggling form. She threw the Vampire across the room and back into the basement before following him.

He landed awkwardly on the stairs, his neck at an unnatural angle. But he got up and kept moving. He fled the stairs, Buffy only a few steps behind him.

Willow and Tara had been awakened by the screaming and ran down the stairs at a breakneck speed.

Tara stopped to help Hyatt who continued to scream in pain. Willow moved on to teh basment where she could hear sounds of a struggle. She moved to step down into the darkness but Tara's worried voice stopped her.

"Her hearts beating to fast" Tara said panicking. She could barely be heard over the screams. When they stopped abruptly she truly panicked. Atleast when Hyatt was screaming she knew the girl was breathing. Now she just lay slumped against Tara, as if there was no life left in her.

"Oh my god she's barely breathing Willow, get Buffy here now" Tara commanded in a voice the redhead had never heard. It was hard and full of authority.

"Buffy" Willow flew down the stairs screaming "Hyatt needs you"

There was a crash and a pained yell, Buffy appeared before her seconds later.

"What? What's wrong Willow" Buffy had never heard that tone in her friends voice before.

"She stopped breathing" Dawn's voice set both women into motion.

Buffy made it to the couch before Willow even cleared the 3 feet of hall between the two rooms.

Buffy took Hyatt from Tara's arms ignoring the Wiccan's anguished cries.

"Hyatt" she gathered the girl closer to her "Sweetie please wake up" Buffy pushed the limply held head onto her shoulder and brushed away the hair that had been full and rich when she'd falling asleep. It was now limp and dull "Honey you have to open your eyes" Buffy's eyes filled with tears "Please?"

There was no response.

"She can't be dead" Dawn whined collasping on the floor "We just got her. She can't leave us now. Not so soon"

Buffy wiped her own tears with her free hand "This is all Spikes fault. I'll kill him for this" her voice broke on the last word. She buried her tear stained face in the hollow between Hyatts shoulder and neck.

Hyatt gasped. She took her first breath in long minutes.

Buffy jerked back and realized her mistake. She scooped Hyatt closer and rushed up the stairs leaving her bewildered sister and friends far behind.

She stumbled into her bedroom and laid Hyatt on her bed. The woman was breathing, barely. The small amounts of air she was taking in wouldn't sustain her long. Buffy began to strip.

Willow rushed in and saw the slayer was undressing "Buffy what?"

"Her skin. I have to touch her skin" Buffy said gasping.

"Oh my god" Willow said when she realized the slayer was right. Love brings life.

Buffy discarded the last of her clothing and started on Hyatt's. The loose shirt was merely torn away, the pants pulled down and off. She scooped her back into her arms.

Willow got the picture and pulled the blankets down.

Buffy settle Hyatt gently in the sheets and got in with her, spooning her from behind.

Willow was quick to hide their nakedness.

After long moments Hyatt began to take longer full breaths. Buffy relaxed a little, but didn't loosen the hold she had.

"It worked" Willow said in wonder after a few minutes.

The pallor of Hyatt's skin had improved, the breaths didn't seem labored anymore. She seemed to be at rest.

"I hate him for this" Buffy growled.

"No Buffy. Remember? Rage?" Willow said worriedly.

"Oh no." Buffy panicked thinkg she might have inadvertently hurt Hyatt because she was angry with Spike.

But the girl slept on comfortably.

"I guess it isn't misdirected" buffy said slowly.

"Or you love her too much for it to harm her" Willow guessed.

"I'll ask her about it when she wakes up" Buffy said "I think we should let her sleep now. She's been through alot"

Willow smiled and quietly backed out of the room closing the door.

She didn't see Star scurry back into Dawns room.

Tara and Dawn were slowly coming up the steps.

"Why did Buffy do that?" Dawn half whined.

"She knew what to do" Willow said trying to reassure Dawn.

"Is Hyatt ok then?' Dawn wiped her nose on her sleeve.

"Well know when she wakes up" Tara said rubbing the teens back.

'If she wakes up' she thought to herself.

"Oh no" Drusilla's sad tone immediately brought all attention to her "The light's gettin' dim. Fire's weakened. It's cold" she sat and began to rock herself.

"What? No" the shadows seethed.

"They have to build the fire up again. They need wood. Perhaps a 'spike' will do?" Drusilla picked up the mangled corpse of a cat and began to play patty-cake with it "Run, Spike, run" she chanted "Or the firefly will burn you"

Part 11

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