The appointment with Riley was set for 9 a.m. sharp. Ravensbruck was another 15 kilometers from Furstenberg. As Xander drove, he rubbed tired eyes and wished for more coffee. Willow sat quietly beside him, facing forward, her face set in deep concentration. Anya was back at the inn. They'd agreed to catch up with her after Willow finished her meetings today. The camera case lay between them on the seat.
"Not looking forward to seeing Tara's soldier-boy?"
Willow shot him an angry look. "He's not her...her boy-toy, or whatever."
"Fine. Her fiancÚ. You gotta be a little weirded out to see him. I mean when was the last time you saw him?"
"I prefer to think of him as more of an abstraction than as an actual person," Willow lightly quipped. But Xander knew that tone.
"Fine," Xander smirked, though not unkindly. He patted her hand where it lay on the seat between them and kept his eyes on the road. The Riley thing was just a distraction. He knew she was scared about much more than that.
The road to Ravensbruck was lovely. The place lay at the edge of a beautiful blue lake. On one side of the lake, the lovely Medieval town of Furstenburg. On the other, this. So much beauty for a place that hung so heavy with hardship. As they approached, Willow felt the heaviness turn to dread and tighten around her heart. There was tall stone fencing with electrified razor wire. Ahead was a guard station.
Xander was a soldier. But these soldiers, of course, were far different: helmeted, bearing heavy rifles over their shoulders and stern-faced. At the gates before them was a truck that appeared to be carrying a large number of women, all dressed in street clothes, looking strangely out of place in a military truck. They were coming to this place new, just like Willow was. Only Willow held a credential that gave her the amazing fortune to merely visit here today. She strained her gaze through the windshield to try to catch the faces of the women visible at the end of the truck-as if she wanted to remember them free, to take that memory with her so that when their neighbors had long forgotten them (or conveniently chosen to forget about them), that Willow would not. She caught the eye of a young woman, blond, barely more than a teenager. She could have been Buffy's sister. The girl stared back at her warily a moment and then turned away. After another moment, the gate swung open and the truck drove through delivering its passengers to their destination. The gate was shut again, and two rifled guards resumed their post before it.
Willow leaned far back in her seat as if her body were magnetically repelled by the place. Xander rubbed her hand again, and she was grateful to have him here. He was her tether to reality.
"Don't let go," she whispered.
"Just let me get us past the guard," he gently replied. And then their car came to a stop at the small station house. A helmeted soldier leaned down to the car window, which Xander quickly unrolled.
"I have Wilma Hermann from The People's Press here to meet with Captain Riley Finn. He should be expecting her for a 9 a.m. appointment."
The guard wordlessly checked his wristwatch and then consulted a clipboard. "Your papers, please."
Willow handed Xander hers and watched him hand them to the guard. It was the first time in the war that she'd been asked for papers, and, thankfully, she had them. She smiled at Xander, who nodded a silent "you're welcome." The soldier leaned down so he could match Willow's face to her picture I.D. Without comment, he rose and handed the papers back to Xander.
"My instructions are to take Miss Hermann inside, but I'm afraid you'll need to stay out here."
Willow's heart started to pound. Xander leaned out of the window. "I was instructed to escort Miss Hermann on her mission here. My understanding of the assignment is that I go wherever she goes. She's in my charge, and her editor will give me Hell if I don't follow his instructions."
The soldier shook his head. "Just Miss Hermann. Those are my orders."
Xander turned unhappily to Willow. "I'm sorry, Wilma. I'll be back here at the gate at 5 waiting for you. If you need me sooner, call the inn. I can be back here in 10 minutes."
"It's ok. I'll be ok. I'll call you." Willow was shaken by the change in plans. She'd really counted on having Xander with her. She composed herself quickly and grabbed her camera, giving her friend a quick grin. "Wish me luck."
"You've got plenty of that, my dear," he chuckled as she climbed out of the car. She stood watching as he turned the car around and headed back down the country road toward town. She watched until he disappeared from sight and stood watching a bit longer as she comprehended the fact that she was on her own and about to enter prison. In the meantime, the soldiers had pulled up their own car and gestured for her to get in.
"Welcome to Ravensbruck, Miss Hermann," the soldier said as he drove her through gates that closed firmly behind them. A chill ran down her spine.
Inside she got her first glimpse of the place. Far back from the drive sat two rows of low-slung barracks. The compound was devoid of trees. The sun reflected from the pale, stark walls, making Willow squint.
What the hell was she doing here?
"Wilma, it's good to see you again."
Riley Finn was fresh-scrubbed as ever and grinning. Willow tried to ignore the haunted look that encircled him. At least he looked healthy. She shook his hand.
"Have you seen Tara lately?" he asked her, casually, as he fetched her a cup of coffee.
Willow shook her head. "Not since she left Berlin." She wasn't sure how much Tara or her brother might have said about why Tara left Berlin, so she kept her answer simple. "You?"
She watched his jaw muscle tighten, but he turned to her with a smile anyway. "A month ago. Out at her family's farm. She was good," he said offhandedly.
Willow could not believe how jealous she felt. Tara hadn't mentioned in her letters or on the phone that Riley had visited her. Did they sleep together? Was that why she hid the fact from Willow? She felt her cheeks flush and then noticed Riley's were flushing, too.
"I'd suggested to Tara that you and I join her after you're done with your interviews here. You know just take an extra day or two...But..."
Willow reddened and cut him off. Visiting Tara with Riley there was the last thing she wanted to do. "No," she blurted and then realized she'd sounded like an ass. "I mean, I promised my editor I'd get back to Berlin right away. And Xander has to get back too."
"Xander?" Riley asked with a big grin. "He came with you? But of course he would. I should have noticed the ring."
Willow looked self-consciously at the ring on her hand and found herself twisting it nervously. She didn't know what to say. "Uh. Yeah. A lot of things have changed." The words sounded lame even to her own ears, but Riley seemed to nod, thoughtfully. His jaw tightened again, and then he raised a coffee cup to her.
"Well. Where shall we begin? It's not everyday the Party newspaper sends a reporter to visit us."
Willow snapped into full Wilma Hermann mode. "I'm writing a piece to give the Germans faith and reassurance in the humaneness of the military's treatment of prisoners."
Riley just about spit his coffee across the desk at her. He laughed. Until he noticed Willow wasn't laughing with him. "Sorry," he said. "It's just that you're going to need to do some serious creative writing to make that story work. I don't mean to sound jaded." A beat, and then: "Ok, I am jaded. But this is a prison. It's not a summer camp."
Willow frowned. "I'm not expecting a summer camp. No one is. It's just that word is getting around that there are hundreds of thousands of prisoners scattered in the concentration camps. The people need a piece that will lessen their guilt and anxiety. I don't care what you show me. But that's the piece I intend to write for The People's Press."
He regarded her carefully. "I knew when I met you that you were a Good German. I think we're very lucky to have you working for the newspaper. And thank you for selecting me as your interview subject."
She couldn't help but smile at his sincere enthusiasm. "It's pretty intimidating coming someplace like this. I could only do it if I had someone I knew as my guide."
"I'm more than happy to help." He took another sip of coffee. "But I'm afraid you're going to see some things that are upsetting. I can help you make sense of them if you'd like. Maybe together we can craft your story."
Willow nodded. It felt like she should bridle at such a suggestion of censorship. But then she worked for a propaganda newspaper anyway. Of course she'd play along. "Great. Where do we start?"
They started at the beginning. With a brief tutorial on the history and situation analysis of the camp. Riley was candid because he knew Willow story would end up positive no matter what he said. "Ravensbruck was built to hold 5,000 prisoners. Right now we have about 40,000, give or take."
Willow tried to hide her shock. "That's got to be quite a burden. How do you manage?"
"It's not comfortable in the barracks. And we have a problem with illnesses running rampant from time to time. But we've beefed up the staffing here. I was brought on two months ago to help manage things. I've added 20 staff since then, but it's hard to keep up. We've just added another 10,000 prisoners. They just keep coming. It looks like we may be getting another 10,000 in the next two weeks."
"From Poland?" Willow asked.
"About half the women here are from Poland. Another quarter or so are Germans and the other quarter are Russians."
He pulled out a stack of colored fabric patches and placed them on the desk before her. "This is our system for keeping the ladies organized. They can find people like themselves, and we know a bit about who we're dealing with."
"Tell me," Willow asked. She pulled out her camera and shot a couple of photos of Riley showing her the various patches.
"The letters signify what country they come from. Red triangles are for political prisoners. Green is for common criminals. Yellow triangles are for Jews. Black triangles are for asocials-Gypsies, prostitutes, homosexuals..."
Willow blanched at that. If she were imprisoned here, she'd be marked twice. Or maybe even three times. And with a wince, she realized that Tara could be imprisoned here as a black-triangle-wearing "asocial," too. Here was yet another way she put Tara at risk. Anya was right last night: Willow was far from harmless.
"A lot of the Jews here are being shipped out to Poland, to Auschwitz. The government wants Germany to be rid of the Jews, and I guess that goes for the ones in prison here, too."
The whisperings around the newsroom were that Auschwitz was one of the Reich's "death camps"-set up to dispose of prisoners as their numbers grow too quickly to manage. Riley seemed to confirm that fact in his next sentence:
"Auschwitz is a pretty terrible place. There are so many people there. Too many to take care of. I wouldn't wish that place on anyone. Regardless of who they are or what they've done."
"Who are the women who are here, really? I- I saw a transport truck carrying women here today. They- they looked so young. How could they even be political enemies?"
Riley eyed her carefully. "Kind of gets at you, doesn't it? The unfairness."
Willow couldn't help but nod.
He exhaled heavily. "I don't know why they were arrested. We don't get a lot of information. And our orders are simply to keep them here. But I wonder things like that myself sometimes. I mean, how could I not?"
And with that, Willow saw the haunted look settle about him again.
"I was happy to come here because I thought it meant that I wouldn't have to continue to see the terrible things I'd seen on the Russian Front. But now I've come to think that the things I see here are even worse."
"How do you do it?" Willow asked, her voice a choked whisper.
He smiled tightly. "You have to depersonalize your job. People have numbers instead of names. You don't get to know any of them. They're inventory." He shrugged. "And you drink a lot. It helps."
Willow didn't think there was enough vodka in all of Poland to help enough.
The camp was a chilling place, on one hand comprising so many of the mundane details of regular life-and then on the other feeling entirely alien. As they rounded the barracks on Willow's photo tour, she got her first glimpse of prisoners at work. A crew of about 250 uniformed women were digging long trenches at a distance of about 50 meters from where Willow and Riley stood.
"What are they doing?" Willow asked, certain she probably knew the grotesque answer, but she asked anyway. She lifted her camera to her eye, focused and snapped some shots.
Riley shuffled his feet in the grass. "Drainage ditches," he said. When Willow met his eyes in suspicion, he nodded at her notebook. "That's what I said. Write it down." Willow took her pen and jotted down the silly words.
She decided to let that pass. "So you said there are about 40,000 women here? What tasks have you got others doing?"
Riley took her to a machine shop. They stepped inside from the glaring sun and cool breeze to a large, dark shop that was hot, stuffy and loud with the whirring of hand machines.
"They're making components for V-1 and V-2 rockets. The Seimens Corporation pays us for the work."
Willow jotted down the details in her notebook, taking care to get the spelling right and asking Riley to explain what a V-1 and V-2 rocket were. All the while, her eyes were scanning the shop floor, watching the unsmiling women who were bent to their tasks at their hot little machines. Only one or two at the front of the room even noticed her there. A wave of self-consciousness washed over her. She lifted her camera and snapped a couple of shots here. And then lifted her eyes to let Riley know she was ready to move on.
They went on about this for the rest of the morning, stopping here or there on their tour, so that Willow could make notes and snap photographs. There was a building set apart from the others that Riley referred to as "the bunker," where troublesome prisoners were taken for solitary confinement. The building had an area where the camp's doctor practiced.
She also had asked about a smaller building that was emitting a thick smoke. "The crematorium," Riley had explained, again scuffing at the grass. There were a large company of women with red stars who were dragging barrelfuls of ashes from the back of the crematorium through a gate and down to the lake, where they deposited them without ceremony. Willow watched silently. There was no need to press Riley to explain this. Her heart felt heavy and cold with the knowledge that if the detectives ever captured her, she would end up here-and the end of the road might very well lead to the front door of this otherwise unremarkable building. But she imagined that for Riley this knowledge was far worse: The fact that he was personally responsible for what went on here clearly gnawed at him. In his eyes, she knew he cared. It mattered to him. She wondered if four or five months from now it still would, once he'd become numb to it all...but for now, while he was still new, this was terrible to him.
"I don't know how you're going to write about this," was all he could say. For her part, Willow couldn't say anything. She quietly took a few more photographs.
Willow and Riley ate lunch on the steps outside the administration building, in the sunshine. It would have been lovely except for the fact that they were in a concentration camp. Which was a very stupid-sounding sentence, even in Willow's own mind. She shook her head and set down her sandwich in favor of the cup of coffee. The two of them had been quiet for a few minutes. Willow needed a rest from information overload. And Riley had become broody. He was gazing at her hand. Or, more specifically, at Tara's ring, which was on her finger, which was attached to her hand. It was an unusual ring, not so much flashy, but with a distinctive bit of Victorian scrollwork along the silver band. Willow knew that being familiar with it now, she would recognize it anywhere. And realized that Riley could say the same thing. And he did.
"That's Tara's ring," he said finally.
Willow thought back to Anya again and the lesson she'd learned about sticking to the truth being the best course of action. "Yes," she said lightly. And then she wondered how many other details about Tara he had memorized away. And whether they were exactly the same ones she had memorized herself. She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. She and Riley were so different. He was tall and strong and kind, an Aryan masterpiece, just like Tara was. In fact, she and Riley made a perfect matched set. Willow was just some screwball.
"It's Xander, isn't it?" Riley inquired softly. More a demand than a question, really.
It caught Willow flat-footed. "What about Xander?"
"Is he the reason she won't marry me?" Riley sounded like a small boy. Willow was shocked at his vulnerability. And equally shocked to learn Tara had apparently had a Big Conversation with Riley that she hadn't known about.
"Tara's not marrying you?" Willow asked. "I- I didn't know."
"I talked to her last night. She broke it off. Said she had feelings for someone else. I'm assuming since you all had been hanging out together in Berlin that Xander's the reason. I mean, he's not marrying you." Riley nodded at the ring. True enough. The ring was not Xander's and Willow was not his fiancÚ.
"I assure you that there's nothing going on between Tara and Xander."
"You would know?"
"I absolutely would know. And he's not."
"Everyone has secrets. You can never know everything."
Willow thought about the fact she hadn't known about Riley's visit to Tara's farm. Willow knew that she herself had been secretive in the past with Tara to nearly disastrous results. But this bit of news had hit Willow's jealousy buttons. She hadn't realized until then how much she hated the idea of Tara being with anyone else. And how much a small omission could sting.
"I know Xander, and there is nothing going on between Tara and him," Willow said emphatically.
Riley frowned. "So. Is Xander traveling with you?"
"Yes," she replied.
"And I bet you were headed out to Tara's farm until I mentioned this morning that I'd been planning to go."
Willow squirmed. God! He was so right and so wrong about all of this.
He'd caught her awkwardness. "Don't lie to me about this," he said a bit harshly. In his place, she would have been just as anguished.
"We're headed back to Berlin," she restated. "When you suggested this morning that we might all go to visit Tara, I really thought it was too much. I felt it would be better for you to just go and see her yourself. We'd be in the way." All of this was true.
"It's got to be Xander. Who else has she been spending time with?" Riley mused aloud in frustration. "She won't tell me who it is. That means it's someone I know."
Right here looking at you, buddy. Willow's discomfort grew. Damn, she wished Tara had waited to break up with Riley until after Willow had made it safely back to Berlin. And not when she was sitting here trapped in the middle of the Ravensbruck concentration camp with the man who would lock her away in a heartbeat if he only knew.
Riley was still thinking aloud to himself. "I bet her brother will know. Wasn't he staying at the apartment for a week or two?"
"A- a week or so," Willow said, her dread growing even greater at the mention of Donald. Of course, he and Riley would be on letter-writing terms.
"Damn," Riley was fuming. "I knew she had too much free time on her hands. You, Wilma. You don't even know, since you go to work every day. I knew it was a bad thing when she sent the kids out to the country and decided to stay in town."
"I thought she decided to stay in town because you were in town."
"Who knows. I do know that the night before I left to head back to the Front, she was...different..."
"She was more...forward. More needy."
More grabby? Willow wondered and then cursed her love of words. She didn't want the images in her mind that "grabby" conjured up.
Riley was blushing. "She wasn't herself. And she hadn't been since we ran into you and Xander at the Officers Club that night."
Willow knew what he was talking about: that was the night she'd inexplicably found herself flirting with Tara. Suddenly, she was struck by the fact that perhaps Tara had felt the same way about her from the very start. The knowledge kind of warmed Willow inside. But she was in the middle of a dangerous conversation here and she couldn't let herself get distracted.
"I hear what you're saying, Riley, but I still don't believe it's Xander," she sighed.
He clapped her on the shoulder. "You are the most optimistic person I have ever met. You give everyone the benefit of the doubt."
Willow smiled a little. "I just follow my instincts. So far luck's been on my side."
Riley took another bite of his sandwich. "I wish I could say the same for me."
She looked at him a moment. His luck really had been no better or worse than her own. He was just hurting right now. She decided it was time to change subjects. "So. You're going to introduce me to some of the people here?"
Riley snapped back into his professional mode. "Yes. I'd like you to meet our camp doctor and the women's head guard. They can both tell you a lot more about this place than I can. But I warn you, they're not happy you're here."
I'm not sure I'm happy I'm here, Willow thought.
Spike lit another cigarette and regarded the piece of paper on his desk coolly.
"Well. I'll be damned," he said, flicking his gaze up to meet Caleb's. The Preacher had a stupid evil smug face on him, and Spike wanted to knock it right off. With his fists.
"Yes," Caleb grinned. "Wilma Hermann."
Spike took a deep pull on the cigarette to calm his nerves. Well, now. If The Preacher had Red's number, then she was a lost cause. Now all that mattered was making sure he didn't start knocking all the dominoes over, leading next to Red's boy Xander and then to Spike's girl Buffy.
"The nerve that girl Red has. Working for the Party newspaper. Right here under our noses!" Caleb was ecstatic. Like he wanted Willow as his girlfriend. It was the most excited Spike had ever seen him be about a woman.
"She is a cheeky one," Spike admitted. "Screwing the captain's fiancÚ, working as a girl reporter for the Nazis..."
Caleb's eyes gleamed malevolently. Uh-oh. That means he has more. "What else you got?" Spike asked.
"Can you imagine where the 'cheeky' Miss Willow Rosenberg is right now?"
Spike shrugged. "Screwing Miss Maclay, maybe?"
Caleb shot him a pissy look. "You have a thing for thinking about ladies together, don't you?"
Spike shrugged. While the Nazis tended to frown upon the deed, there was nothing against the law about dreaming. Yet. He waited patiently for Caleb to say what he was gonna say. Because, knowing the bastard, there was no way he wasn't going to say.
"Our Fugitive Red right now is at Ravensbruck."
"The women's concentration camp."
"Well, then, I suppose our job is done. A shame, though. I'd kind of like to shake that lady's hand. Or maybe kiss it a little."
"Well then you'd suppose wrong. Because she's not there as a prisoner. She's there as a reporter. She's on a story assignment for The People's Press. Our young Mr. Harris was her escort."
"Huh," Spike huffed.
"And that's not all." He paused a moment and then: "She's there to meet with Captain Riley Finn."
Spike shrugged. "And?"
Caleb kicked the doorjamb in excitement. "Finn is Miss Maclay's fiancÚ."
"Wow, you've had a very busy morning," Spike said. "And that girl is off her nut completely."
"Definite death wish." Caleb's grin was pure evil.
Spike nodded somberly. And then he realized there was nothing else he could do. His mood brightened. "Well. Shall we oblige her, then?"
Tara was finding it extremely hard to stay focused knowing that her two lovers were spending the day together. She still couldn't believe Willow's audacity to have picked a story assignment that led her into a concentration camp. And then to choose Riley, her rival for Tara's affections, as the man to be her source. Willow had been extremely sketchy about the story. Tara received what she was sure was the "Party Line" version-the tale Willow probably told Gruber to get him to let her do it. But Tara knew that there was some other motivation. Willow would never do something so big and risky as this without a really good reason, right?
Part of her was frustrated with Willow right now. Why this story? Why now? Why with Riley? Why at such risk? To herself and her friends. Was it fair for Willow to drag everyone out on the limb with her? Was this just the reality of loving Willow Rosenberg?
She'd read about people who experienced some kind of intense trial in their lives and then developed a craving for more and more. Like an adrenaline rush. Tara stopped to consider it: Was Willow an adrenaline junkie? Was she drawn to power?
It's true that Buffy had been an outspoken university student, helping to distribute leaflets against the war. But Willow had been the one who helped Buffy with the writing. Buffy's heart and instincts were right, but she didn't really read the newspaper or stay up with current events. So Willow helped with Buffy's "homework," while Buffy networked with other student rabble-rousers. Most of whom were all long gone now.
She thought about Xander, who probably would never have taken an SS job unless he'd realized he was safer on the inside than on the outside. And that, of course, would be because of the company he kept. Willow had explained to Tara how she and Buffy had helped Xander figure out how to alter citizen documents to create new records-or new identities-for people. One of the people they'd helped was, of course, Willow. And Buffy had called upon another contact she had at SS in his off hours to do "favors" of procuring travel papers that had enabled a number of people to leave Germany for France or England or America.
Willow, Xander, Buffy-and now Tara--moved in an orbit around each other. But Tara finally realized that it was Willow who was the prime mover, the one who set everything in motion. Rather than lay low, Willow was climbing ever higher.
Tara knew there would be a price to pay for that. And that Willow would end up paying it sooner than later. Buffy even seemed to understand that. They'd taken a walk around Tara's family's farm after breakfast and talked some more. There was something about the intensity of Buffy that was intimidating, but there was also a fierce affection and loyalty when it came to Willow and Xander. It made Tara love Buffy.
"So how long do you figure you'll be traveling, um, incognito?" Tara had asked Buffy,
She'd shrugged her boyish shoulders. "Until the war is over."
"What then?" Tara was curious about what her friends' dreams for the future might be.
Buffy had flashed her a sly look. "I'm going to get a good job so I can help take care of my mom and sister. My mom's had to work too hard for too long. She was helping put me through college. Until, of course, I went and ruined everything by becoming Public Enemy #1."
Tara chuckled. "I thought Public Enemy #1 was Betty something-or-other."
"Oh, yeah. Saved by the typo. I still owe Will for that. Or wait, I don't. I took her shopping and gave her all my girl clothes."
Tara smiled shyly. "I, um, did notice that she was dressed rather nicely the last time I saw her."
Buffy snorted. "Ha. Like you two spent five minutes with your clothes on."
Tara blushed, but she pressed on. "They say that first impressions are what's important. You know, the first 30 seconds."
"I see. So the other four and a half minutes of non-naked time were essentially wasted."
Tara chuckled. "Well, from an apparel standpoint, maybe. I'd have to say that Willow and I managed to pack a lot into that afternoon."
"Which I need to know nothing about. La-la-la. Here's me not listening."
Tara was silent, smiling.
Buffy let out an exasperated gasp. "Damn. The la-la-las don't help with mind pictures."
They were near the fence at the front of the property when a military van rumbled by, interrupting the country quiet. The sudden approach of it made Tara and Buffy jump. They watched the vehicle pass slowly, the drivers eyeing the pair of them before the car finally wound its way down the road and out of sight.
"Wow. Jumpy much? I halfway thought they were going to stop for us," Buffy confessed with a shaky voice.
Tara just nodded, waiting for her heart to stop racing.
Buffy patted her arm. "Willow's making me nervous. I wish she'd call. What time is it?"
Tara shrugged. "Four maybe?" Her eyes narrowed. "Was Willow going to call?"
"I asked her to. I want to be sure she gets out of there."
"Why is she there in the first place?"
Buffy looked at her in surprise. "The story," she said.
"And. She's Willow. She's big with the intrigue. She's danger girl."
"What's she after, really?"
"Aside from brownie points from her editor? She's always been an overachiever." When Tara remained silent, Buffy crumbled a little. "Are you sure you want to know more?"
"You know more, don't you?"
"Then don't I deserve to know more, too?"
Buffy sighed heavily, gazing off down the road where the military van had disappeared. "She's meeting a Russian woman. To give her copies of her notes and some of her film."
"Who is this woman? And why is she involved?"
Buffy shrugged. "The Russian's a go-between. She's going to deliver the story to the Allies."
Tara stopped, her jaw dropping in disbelief. "How does Willow figure she's going to get away with that? The only person to get into Ravensbruck to take photos, and she thinks the government isn't going to know the Allies got the pictures from her? Is she fucking insane?"
It was Buffy's turn to color. She was pacing now. Tara pressed on.
"And Riley. Does she hate him so much that she'd betray him? He's going to end up being the poster boy of a traitor. They're going to assume he's in on it. God! Doesn't she realize that hurting him hurts me? And, that's not even to mention that they'll be all over her. What the hell is she thinking?"
Buffy. "We all want the war to end."
"A lot of good that'll do us if we're all dead."
Just then a faraway voice reached them as if floated on the wind. It was Beth, coming down from the house. As the young woman came into view she called out again. "Tara, the phone. It's for you."