It was a frightening few minutes that Willow spent in the shadows waiting for Tara to turn up. When she did so Willow almost leapt into her car and planted a big warm kiss upon Tara's lips. "Thank the Goddess that you came in time, I was beginning to think that they would catch me first."
"I called the police so they'll be waiting for us when we get home. How did you get away?"
By the time Willow had finished explaining to Tara what had happened to her, they had got home, where three police cars had pulled up outside the house. "So, tell us what happened so we can go after the perps." Willow explained what had happened and then a man took her aside and showed her and Tara his US Marshal badge.
"I'm Marshal Rupert Giles and I want to talk to you in private if you don't mind."
Willow and Tara nodded.
"We know that the attempt on your life was connected to Warren Meers, but unless we catch the people and they agree to give evidence against him, we can't prove it. Organized crime has many layers between the boss who gives the orders and the "soldiers" as they call themselves and their associates at the bottom. We think that in a few days or weeks there will be another attempt on your life. Or they might kidnap Tara or the Summers family to ensure your silence."
"Tara I can understand, but why would they be after the Summers?"
"Because you and them are such good friends. Before they made the attempt on your life they would have followed you around for a bit to see who your closest friends were. We don't have enough police to give you a permanent bodyguard, and if you and they stay where you are, you never know when they will strike. I think that you should go into hiding and so should they. Even if Mr. Meers is convicted your life will still be in danger, so I think you should be renamed and relocated."
Willow narrowed her eyes. "I like my name too much to want to change it. And surely there are alternatives to going into hiding? What if Tara and I went to stay with friends for a while? I'm sure they can't have followed us everywhere?"
"That would work in the short term, but the danger from friends of Mr. Meers is likely to be around for decades. Sooner or later your friends are going to ask you to leave, and hotels cost a lot of money. You can't do your jobs here, as they will know where you are and where to ambush you, and without jobs you will exhaust your savings quickly and end up homeless, living on whatever scraps you can find."
"How about moving back in with my parents?" Willow asked, and then shook her head. "We can't do that, my parents are homophobic and so are Tara's. They want nothing to do with us. But maybe we should put on bullet-proof vests and strap on guns and fight if attacked."
"Given the criminal charges hanging over your head, getting a permit might be a problem. If you really want to carry guns I could swing it in your favour since you have not been convicted. But bullet-proof vests are heavy and cumbersome and you would get tired of wearing them. You would relax, get sloppy and the next thing you know, they've crept up behind you and put a bullet in your brain. And what if you shot someone dead just because they looked at you the wrong way? If you end up in prison they can kill you there too, unless you get put in protective custody with the worst of the worst of the female prison population. Think about it."
"I'm a surgeon," said Tara. "I want to heal people, not hurt them. And I don't want to spend the rest of my life wondering if someone will murder you or me, I want to feel safe, and I don't want to end up homeless. Willow, if it was just you that was in danger I'd say do what you think is right, but you need to think about me and Joyce and Dawn and Buffy. They're in danger as well as long as we stay here."
Willow sighed. "I'll do it for you, Tara, but if it goes wrong I won't stay in hiding. I wonder what Dawn will think when we tell her the news?"