Author: Ghost of Eternity
Tara sat on her bedroll and watched as Giles helped himself to some tea that had been put on over the fire. He had removed his cape and boots, revealing red silk stockings. He was a strange man, yet he seemed very fatherly and kind. He could be irritated too, as Tara noted that he cursed under his breath when he saw that they had not put on his favorite kind of tea.
Finally sitting beside her, Giles sipped his tea and smiled, "Where should I start? Ah yes, at the beginning, I imagine. Well, Tara, you see, I have a brother named Ethan. He practices black magicks, and is always looking at some way to defeat me.
"One day, a group of young people were in the forest, this forest, as a matter of fact, looking for a place to stay. Now, in order to understand why Ethan cursed them, you have to know that the kind of black magicks he practices involve human sacrifice, and no one other than the sorcerer performing the spell can witness it, otherwise the spell does not happen.
"Now, these young people had been expelled from their village for being 'different" as the village elders had put it, so they were trying to find somewhere to stay when they stumbled upon my brother preparing to perform a spell with a human sacrifice. They watched in horror as someone who was actually from their own village bled to death on the altar.
"When the spell upon completion hadn't worked, my brother suspected that someone was watching him. He discovered them and cursed them, saying that they were doomed to walk the earth as animals for the rest of their lives, and their souls when they died would neither go to heaven or hell, but to be stuck in limbo.
"They came to me, and I was able to reverse the spell only to the effect that they would return to their human form at night. I couldn't, however, reverse the effect it had on their souls. They can't go to heaven or hell because they carry the souls of animals.
"So you see, Tara, Willow, Xander, Anya, Buffy and Dawn are doomed to never have completion at the end of their lives when they die. I've tried everything. In fact, that was the reason Willow went into the village that day, to see if someone could help them."
Giles finished his narrative and gazed into the coals of the fire as he drank his tea. Tara sat and tried to take it all in.
Their souls can't go anywhere? That's horrible. Poor Dawnie. poor all of them. And Willow... goddess, especially Willow.
A tear slipped down her face as she imagined what it must feel like knowing that when you died you couldn't go anywhere.
Wait a second... maybe I can help. Her mother had taught her a little magicks. She'd never really thought about it, but perhaps...
"Yes?" he asked, turning around and facing her.
"I'd like to h-help."
"H-help... Willow and the others."
Giles smiled, "Well, the offer is polite, Tara, but I don't think-"
Giles smiled even wider at the blonde, "Since there is obviously no way of talking you out of it..."
The blonde blushed and looked down, her hair hiding her face as Giles continued, "You'll have to be careful though. Once my brother finds out that you know, he'll probably try to curse you as well."
Tara nodded nervously. The man grinned and finished off his tea, then stood and put his boots and cape back on, "They should be back soon. Tell Willow that I want to speak with her after supper. Goodbye Tara."
And with a swirl of his cape he was gone.
Willow sat on the bank and watched as Anya, Xander and Dawn played in the water. Dawn was jumping from rock to rock, trying to keep her tail dry (not really succeeding; that was kind of the point), while Xander and Anya swam around.
Buffy sat next to her and watched Dawn, ready to jump in the moment Dawn fell into the water. Willow sighed and put her head on her front legs, <Tara wasn't really supposed to see that.>
Buffy turned, <We didn't know she was going to follow us. You were planning to tell her sooner or later, right?>
<What?!> The fox said angrily.
<Well, I thought-> the unicorn began, but Buffy cut her off, <Willow, she was going to find out eventually.>
<I just didn't want to put her in danger, all right,> Willow snapped, <Ethan could hurt her, and I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if she was.>
Buffy sighed, sat up and scratched behind her ear with her hind foot, <Oh, I get it.>
<Oh WHAT do you get?> Willow huffed.
Buffy smirked; <You're in love with Tara!>
Willow sat up, <What? Don't be ridiculous.>
<I'm not being ridiculous; I'm just stating the truth. You're in love with her, I can see it.>
<Ok,> Willow said, as she stood up and walked toward the water, <How can you tell I'm "in love" as you say it, with Tara?>
<Well, for one, you can't stop staring at her during dinner. Another thing, when you guys talk, you're constantly touching her. Putting your hand on her leg, holding her hand, stroking hair away from her eyes... I could you go on, ya know.> Buffy said as Willow finished drinking and looked at her.
<Ok, ok, say I am in love with her. Can you see the two of us in a relationship? I mean, the whole thing I do in the morning... I don't think that could really work. But, Buffy, I'm not in love with her.> Willow said as she sat back down.
Buffy shook her head, <Denial. Well, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go take a swim.> She stood up and walked to the water. She turned around, <Will, if you are in love with her, you should tell her.>
Buffy waded into the water, <Hey, Dawn, don't do that! Dawn, are you listening to me? >
Willow lay down and sighed. Buffy's just being a pain. I am not in love with Tara. Although, how could you not be in love with her? She's such a sweet person. Not only that, she's beautiful. Nice hair, gorgeous eyes, fantastic skin, and such kissable lips... wait a minute, kissable? Where'd that come from?
She started in realization. I... I am in love with Tara.
Willow couldn't help but smile inwardly as she said it out loud to herself; <I love Tara. >
She liked the sound of that, and she said it again, <I'm in love with Tara.> Again.
<I'm in love with Tara!>
Even louder, <I love Tara!>
Willow stood up and began prancing around happily singing, <I'm in love with Tara, I'm in love with Tara, and I'm in love with Tara->
<Good for you Willow, but can we go back home? It's almost evening.>
Willow whirled around and saw Buffy, Xander, Anya and Dawn standing there.
<Heh, let's go home guys.> She said, embarrassed.
<As long as you stop singing.> Anya said as she hopped up onto a rock, then put her paws around Willow's horn. Willow picked her up and put her on her back, <Anya, do want to walk home?>
<Then shut up.>