Return to All Our Masks Chapter Ten

All Our Masks

Author: Jacks aka WiccanHandprintz
Rating: PG-13, might change later
Disclaimer: Neither Willow, nor Tara, nor anybody else recognizable from the Buffyverse belong to me. The story itself has a good helping of angst in the beginning and will have some action of both the dangerous weaponry and the gay lovin' kinds.
Feedback: YES, please!


"Jesus Christ, Wills, you wanna tell me what the hell is going on?!" Xander's voice, usually so easygoing and light, was thin with worry. Willow's hand flew to her mouth, her cheeks flushing with surprise and guilt.

"Shit, Xand, I'm sorry. I completely forgot to... Oh, goddess, you must hate me right now." There was a long silence, and Willow could hear the soft, measured clicking sound of the FBI phone tap in the background.

"Well, I don't know," Xander replied at last, sounding much more in control. "You haven't called me in two days, and when I drove by the place on my way downtown this afternoon, there were some majorly suspicious cars just hanging around outside. Are you being really unprofessionally stalked, or something?" She laughed a little, and heard him catch his breath in surprise at the sound.

"No, I... Well, it's- I don't know if I'm allowed to talk to you, actually."

"...if you're allowed? Willow, what's going on?" She sighed, the amusement fading.

"The people outside are with the FBI, Xand. I've got to stay inside for a while, but it's ok. Tara's here, too."

"Tara? Wait, the cleaning girl?" He snorted disbelievingly. "You're telling me that you're locked in your own house with someone you barely know and you're ok with this? That's-" Then, Xander broke off sharply, and swallowed. "FBI? Is this... Shit, Willow."

"Raimey's out."

"How?" Now, Xander's voice was deadly calm. Willow let out a breath, closing her eyes.

"I don't know. They don't know. But they're watching the house just in case."

"When did he escape?"

"A few days ago. He could be anywhere."

"I'm calling Buffy." Willow's eyes flew open, and she threw out a hand as if he could see her.

"No! Xander, no. There's nothing you can do, and there's nothing she can do, either. The cops are here, and-"

"And a fat lot of good they did you three years ago," Xander interrupted furiously. "The only reason that bastard didn't finish the job was because Buffy was coming to pick you up for lunch and when she saw how trashed your office was, she followed the GPS in your cell phone!"

"I know," Willow said in a low voice, turning to press her forehead against one of the kitchen cabinets. She placed the hand that she'd flung out against the wood beside her head, long fingers splayed near the handle. "But that was then, and this is now. Buffy was lucky. I was lucky. Dragging her all the way across the country just so-"

"It wouldn't be dragging, Wills," Xander said, more gently now. "She loves you. I love you. Like we're just gonna leave you to the wolves now?"

"I'm hardly being 'left to the wolves', Xander. FBI, remember? Just because they weren't the first ones on the scene that day doesn't mean we shouldn't trust them. I mean, come on. Have you seen Silence Of The Lambs?" This made him laugh, and Willow was glad of it. The tension waned.

"You just like that movie because of Jodie Foster."

"Well, what can I say? Jodie's a fox. 'Specially with a gun."

"Aren't you all Wicca-y? No violence and all that?"

"I didn't say anything about firing the gun," Willow modified primly.

"Right. Well." He paused. "You... you sound good, Will." She smiled to herself, just a little. Straightening away from the cabinet, Willow turned around to see Tara tiptoeing through the doorframe, dirty rag in hand.

"Thanks. I am... better," she said finally, biting her lip. "Surprisingly enough."

"And this whole Tara thing is ok? No wigging out?"

"No," Willow replied slowly, silently pointing at the drawer beneath the sink as Tara mouthed the words 'laundry detergent'. The blond knelt, opened the drawer, pulled out the box, and quirked her brow at Willow. Laundry detergent in the kitchen? The shorter woman shrugged, and then tilted her head back towards the telephone. "No, I think it's going to be ok, actually."

"Ok. Ok, good. Uh, I... They're taping this conversation, right?"

"Sure are."

"Yeah, I thought I heard some weird tapping noises. Well. I'll let you go now, I guess, but I'm not going far. And if you need anything- if anything happens-"

"You'll be the first."

After he hung up, Xander stared at the phone for a moment. His brow furrowed, head wavering from side to side. Confusion, relief, fear and determination fought it out inside his skull.

Then, mouth tightening, he reached for the base of the telephone and started dialing.

"Yeah, Buff? We have a problem."

Sitting down for tea. They were sitting down for tea.

Somehow, this concept struck Tara as highly amusing, in a surreal sort of way. They'd had meals together, sure, and coffee and hot chocolate... But tea? Tea was different. Tea was homey, and if you did it more than once, then it was both scheduled and homey, which was just... Different.

And kinda nice.

"So," she said after a beat, careful to keep her eyes on her mug. "Silence Of The Lambs, huh?" Willow, sitting across the table from her as always, coughed.

"Well, yeah." She smiled sheepishly, and Tara mentally catalogued that smile with an unexpected greed.

"Too scary for me," Tara offered. "L-lecter always m-m-made me cringe."

"Oh, I love him," Willow told her, still looking sheepish. Her eyes, though, were bright. "Well. Maybe 'love' isn't the right word. But... he's so interesting. Psychologically, I mean." Tara nodded. Then, with a half-shrug that she was trying very hard to keep from looking self-conscious, she spoke again.

"The only thing that g-got me through it was J-jodie Foster. She's-"

"-such a babe," Willow finished for her. Their eyes met.

"I'm s-sorry for listening in on y-your conversation," Tara said quickly, uncomfortable with the silence, "b-but I only heard that last b-b-bit." She ducked her head, furious with her tongue for refusing to let the words come smoothly.

"It's ok," Willow reassured her quietly, uncertainly. "I mean," she continued with a small chuckle, "it's true."

"Yeah. D-did you see Flight Plan?" The redhead scoffed.

"Netflix, as soon as it was out." Tara grinned, unable to help herself. I'm talking to Willow Rosenberg about girls. I'm talking about girls with Willow Rosenberg. Willow and I are talking about Jodie frigging Foster.

Wait. Wait, Tara, calm down. It's not like you're flirting with her or-

"The Brave One is coming out soon," Tara said, interrupting her own brain. "We could order that a-and watch it here."

...ok, you're so flirting with her.

"Maybe," Willow replied, taking another sip of her Tazo. Then, she looked at Tara again, and smiled.

Continue to All Our Masks Chapter Twelve

Return to Story Archive
Return to Main Page