Tara and Faith were keeping their eyes on their lovers, something strange had occured when everyone had stepped away from the Heart door. Willow and Buffy had stumbled and grabbed their chests where their hearts were, and groaned.
The expression on their faces looked as if someone had stabbed them, and they were in pain. Both girls had rushed to their lovers sides, and helped them to stand, all the while asking if they were alright.
Willow had nodded, "Yeah, I'm-I'm fine." she had said, and shook her head.
"I'm okay." Buffy had told Faith, and glanced at Willow.
"What happened?" Faith asked at the same time as Tara, and glanced between the girls.
Whatever that had been felt as if something had been trying to push it's way into her heart, and thus causing her heart to flutter. It had scared her more than hurt, she didn't know what had happened, but was afraid to say anything. Studying Willow, Buffy cocked her head to the right, she was sure it had felt that way to her, also, but should they tell Tara and Faith? At that moment Willow looked up and stared into her eyes, and she knew what that look was telling her.
"It felt like something was pushing into my heart." Buffy said, relieved that Willow also thought they should tell the girls what they'd felt, "I don't know what it was, but it scared more than hurt..."
"Is that what you felt, sweetie?" Tara placed her hand over Willow's heart, and felt it beating fast than normal, and cut her eyes toward Faith, "Feel Buffy's heart."
Faith did like Tara asked, worried about what she'd feel, and quirked her eyebrows, Buffy's heart was beating faster than it should, "Do you feel okay?" she asked looking at her lover, and saw her nod, "What about you Will? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, why are you asking?" Willow began to get worried, why were Tara and Faith staring at her and Buffy?
Tara took Willow's hand, and placed it over her heart, "Feel," she said, and watched as Willow's eyes widened slightly, "My heart's beating at twice the speed...that's odd." Glancing at Buffy, she saw the same confusion on the Al Bhed's face, "Yours the same?"
"Yeah, it's weird...almost like when your scared and your heart beats faster."
Willow shook her head, she didn't know what was going on, hell, how could she? All she knew was of this test; a test she figured they'd started as soon as they had appeared on this world, but didn't know when it'd be finished. The redhead sighed, and remember Tara's eariler question, "Yeah, what Buffy said, that's what I felt. It was like this warmth entered my body, and joined my heart."
Buffy nodded, "That's what it felt like to me, a warmth trying to find a place in my heart." she stopped and stared at the ceiling, "But what could have it been? Could it have been the darkness?"
"I don't think so." Faith said glancing at Tara, and seeing her agree with a nod, "The darkness I've felt was cold, it had no warmth."
Willow once again sighed, when the darkness was calling to her black magic, she'd felt as if it had been the answer to every question she'd ever asked, or been faced with. But had it been warm? To tell the truth, she couldn't remember, all she could remember was that when the darkness had had her, it felt odd, and just a little painful. "What did the darkness feel like to you?" Tara asked startling her from her thoughts.
The gray mage stared into her wife's eyes, and shrugged, "Weird, and there was a little pain."
"Is that what you felt trying to join with you?" Faith asked gripping her blade. She hated to do it, but she didn't know what would happen if Willow, or Buffy was taken over by the darkness. How would they act? Would they act like their twins, and try to kill them?
Tara was wondering the same things, would Willow, or Buffy allow themselves to be tainted by the darkness? Would they join their twins in trying to bring the darkness into the world, or worlds? And what about she and Faith? Would they leave them to the Heartless? The twins had certainly left their lovers in the hands of the Heartless, but they also had thought that their lovers wouldn't be hurt. She really didn't think Willow, nor Buffy would allow any of this to happen, but there was always a chance for things to go wrong, and Tara didn't like it one bit.
"No, that wasn't the darkness...I don't know what it was, but I know for sure it wasn't the darkness trying to get inside me." Willow said firmly, she'd noticed the way Faith had been gripping the hilt so tight her knuckles were white, but she couldn't blame her. If she or Buffy was taken over by the darkness she would want Tara and Faith to be safe, not hurt, especially not by she and Buffy.
Buffy, too, had saw the way Faith was gripping her blade, and fought back her tears. Glancing at Tara she could see the worry etched across her face, and had to wonder, had she and Willow really worried them that much? The Al Bhed lowered her head, how could they have done that? She knew they weren't suppose to know about the test, but why? What was so bad about them knowing? Her head shot up, and her eyes found Willow's, when a single thought crossed her mind.
Willow had looked from Faith's hand to her lover, and nearly broke down crying right then and there. The worried look Tara was giving Faith hurt her to no end. Clenching her fist Willow gave the floor a hard stare; Tara was worried for her, and why not? What had she done to keep her from worrying? Nothing, not a damn thing! And what for, all because of a damn test! Why were she and Buffy told not to tell their lovers? What would have been the harm in them knowing? Her eyes widened and found Buffy's when she raised her head, as the same thought Buffy had crossed her mind.
If they had told their lovers about this test when they'd first had the dream in Monstro, Tara and Faith would have tried to stop it. Neither of them would have allowed them to take on something as dangerous sounding as a test they didn't know what was about. And even if they had allowed it, both girls would, even now, be trying to protect them. And that couldn't happen, if Tara, or even Faith protected either of them, whatever needed to happen, wouldn't. And if it didn't happen, the Heartless could very well take over every world they found, and destroy it.
As the thought crossed the girls' minds they felt something within them; a warmth that was telling them they were right, "Hey, c'mon." Willow grinned, "I ain't gone all dark, so let's help the guys find the pieces we need, and get this over with."
"Yeah, Will's right," Buffy nodded, and smirked, "The darkness ain't gunna get ahold of us. So, no worries."
"Don't tease like that, okay?" Tara asked softly, she hated the idea that the darkness was after anyone, but she hated it more that Willow and Buffy could tease about it.
"Sorry, love," Willow wrapped her arms around Tara's waist in a gentle embrace, "The darkness won't get any of us, that's a promise." she whispered and kissed Tara's neck before pulling back, "Now, let's go." Willow kept Tara's hand in her's, and held back a set of giggles when Buffy nearly pulled Faith off her feet.
It took the group all of thirty minutes to find the three heart pieces, and a rather painful battle with several more Heartless shadows, soldiers, and another new one that wore a dark purple robe, and carried a mage's staff. Tara quitely giggled when Willow let out another growl, just as she'd been doing for the past ten minutes since she'd been knocked over the second floor balcony, and into the fountain on the first floor.
Faith shook her head when Buffy groaned and rubbed her ass where a rather powerful, and very painful lightning bolt had hit her. Faith snorted trying hold back her laughter at remembering Buffy jumping five-foot in the air, and letting out a scream that had stopped everyone -including the Heartless- when one of the mage Heartless had cast a Thunder spell. Buffy had then turned, marched straight up to the Heartless mage, grabbed him/her/it...whatever it was, and began shaking as she screamed at it never to do that again.
After the Al Bhed had dropped the mage it had quickly disappeared, and hadn't rejoined the battle. Apparently Buffy had scared the living hell out of it, and it wasn't going to take another chance on any of the others. One shaking was enough for the mage.
And now here they were standing on a small five foot wide walkway in a large room with more machina machines than they'd ever seen in the Al Bhed Home. Buffy -to say the least- was impressed. There was a thirty foot tall, twenty-foot round machina in the middle of the room, and the group could see steam rising from the metal. Must be to control those caged platforms, Tara thought watching a set of platforms rise up, and lower down, and another set moving from right to left.
Buffy whistled, "Wow, these things would be cool at Home!" the Al Bhed's eyes glazed over, "I wouldn't have to climb any more stairs!"
Willow lowered her head, and bit her bottom lip trying not to her giggles get the best of her, here was a girl that had had to walk all over the place when they were in Spira...well, that was only if she wasn't trying to kill them with her reckless airship flying. And now she was complaining about climbing stairs? The gray mage couldn't help it, she laughed and shook her head.
"What?" Buffy turned around, "I'm serious! Those damn stairs are murder!"
Tara giggled, "Umm, I think we should, you know, go now." Before I lose it.
The dark twins were sitting in front of the door leading to the darkness, and Maleficent was standing beside Tara and Faith's twins. The twins looked over their shoulders at the door before setting their eyes on the witch, and smirked.
"Well, I see the path has emerged at last." Willow's twin spoke with another, more, deeper voice overlapping hers, and causing Maleficent to nod.
"Yes. The Keyhole to the darkness."
Buffy's twin once again looked at the door, "You know, if you unlock it the Heartless will overrun this world." she said with a voice exactly like Willow's.
"What do I care?" Maleficent snapped, "The darkness holds no power over me. Rather, I will use its power to rule all worlds."
"Such confidence." Willow's twin said as a dark razor sharp Keyblade appeared in her right hand, and saw another appear in Buffy's. Both Keyblades were black with a dark purple hilt, wide at the top and narrowed down to a fine point at the tip.
"Impossible!" Maleficent shouted trying to open the door, and finding it sealed shut, "The princesses of heart are all here!" the witch turned and glared down at Tara and Faith's twins, "It must be them!"
"Without their hearts," Buffy's twin spoke in a bored tone, as she stared at her Keyblade, "They will never be able to release their power."
Maleficent quickly turned toward the double doors, and narrowed her eyes, "The king's fools are here." she sneered, "I'll deal with them myself, you two stay here and guard the princesses." Maleficent disappeared, leaving behind to very bored girls -who sighed- and leaned against the door.