Princess Tara and Princess Faith watched the small clock tick, and wondered just where their lovers were. It had been nearly an hour, and they still hadn't come back. The blonde princess was beginning to worry, and could see that same worry on Princess Faith's face. "I'm going to go look for Willow." She said standing, followed by the dark haired princess.
"Yes, I'm worried about Buffy, and I cannot feel any darkness in this town, so I assume it is safe."
Clay studied her counterpart closely before setting her eyes on Faith's twin, "There may not be any darkness left on this world, but the Heartless could still show up and cause trouble."
"Do not worry," Princess Tara smiled at her worrying twin, "We can take care of ourselves." She spoke walking toward the door with the other princess behind her.
"Okay, but if anything happens, hurry back here and we'll take care of it." Buffy said watching her twin nod her head with an evil smirk on her face. I really think she needs to get out more, Buffy thought shaking her head.
The group watched the two princesses disappear through the door, and resumed speaking about what had happened since they last left Traverse Town.
Both princesses glowed white for a moment, before glancing at the other, "I wonder why they aren't together?" Faith asked having felt her lovers aura in the Second District and Willow's in the Third.
"I think they needed time to themselves so they could work out what has happened, and I figure Willow is blaming herself for everything."
Princess Faith nodded with a sad sigh; it never failed when something bad happened their lovers would blame themselves, even if it wasn't their fault. "You're right; Buffy is likely doing the same thing."
"Will you be fine on your own, or would you like me to walk with you?"
"Don't worry yourself over me, I will be fine."
"Okay, then I will meet you later." Princess Tara smiled as she started down the stairs, and toward the door leading to the pond surrounding Merlin's house.
The princess pressed on the flame door, and stepped through quietly so as not to allow Willow to hear her. Tara couldn't see her lover anywhere, and was just beginning to think she had jumped across the rocks to the house when she heard a light splash. Turning to the right the princess could just barely make out Willow. The redhead was sitting on the bank with her legs crossed, and a small pile of rocks next to her; Tara watched her pick up one of the larger stones, and give it a hard throw, sending it nearly to the other side of the pond. Willow sighed, she'd been hoping that the darkness was gone, and that the others had rid her and Buffy of it, but it seemed like it was still there -running through her veins, and keeping her almost as strong as before.
Tara could tell her lover was worried, and with good reason, even she could still feel the darkness on her, but the princess knew how to get rid of that for good. All she had to do was keep Willow from making up an excuse to walk of in a hurry. "It's beautiful, isn't it?" she quietly asked sitting next to the redhead, and taking her hand to keep Willow from running off.
Willow tensed up and tried to rise, but the princess held fast causing the redhead to sigh. She wasn't going to get away this time, "Yeah...it is." She whispered staring into the water. She wanted so much to squeeze her lover's hand, but couldn't, in her mind she had no right.
"Why did you do it?" The princess asked, she wanted to hear in Willow's own words why she had allowed the darkness in her body.
"Don't you know?" Was the only reply, a reply that angered the princess to no end.
"Damn it, Will! That is not an answer!" The princess shouted, she couldn't take any more of the way her lover was acting. Willow for her part stared at the princess with her jaw on the ground, and knew Tara was pissed.
"I know it isn't an answer! But what the hell am I suppose to say?" Willow growled, "I saw the damned Heartless take you, and I couldn't do anything to stop it!" The redhead pulled her hand away from the princess and stood, "Damn it, Tara! If only I had been stronger I could have stopped it!"
"But being stronger does not answer my question."
Willow turned, staring at the princess, the darkness clouding her eyes, "It answers it to a T, Tara." she spoke and tried to calm down, so as not to allow what was left of the darkness to take over her body once more, "I could have kept you with me, and not only stood by and watched as you were taken...watched as everyone, our world was destroyed."
Tara opened her mouth to speak, but watched as her lover fell to her knees, "Maleficent said your heart was gone, and that I would have to be stronger to get it back...so I allowed her to give me the strength to get your heart back. Even though that strength came from darkness, it was the only choice, I love you, and I would have walked straight into hell just to get you back." Tears fell to the ground as Willow spoke, "I had thought it was the only way..."
"But it wasn't." The princess whispered, "I was always with you until the darkness entered your body."
"I know that now, and I hate what I did, what I've become."
The princess stood, slowly approached the redhead, and kneeled in front of her, "Will, look at me." Raising her head allowed Tara to see what was left of the darkness swirling in her eyes, "I love you, Will, nothing will ever change that, but you have to understand I cannot just say everything is alright, because it isn't."
Willow lowered her head, but nodded, "I know...and I'll do whatever I can to regain your trust."
"There are two things you can do for now, one is to let us purge the darkness from your body. The second, I want you to fight along side the others, and destroy the Heartless." Tara smiled, "And then we'll see."
"How will we get the darkness out of my body?"
The princess shrugged, "I don't know, but I'm sure the others and I can come up with something."
"Then let's go." Willow stood holding her hand out, and helping the princess to stand.
In the Second District...
Princess Faith walked through the Second District, all the while keeping her senses on her lover. The princess could feel the deep regret and sadness coming off Buffy in strong waves, and pushed the alley door open. What the princess had felt before opening the door was nearly pushed her back, leaning against the wall to steady herself the princess took a deep breath. Hating to do it, but knowing she had to, Faith raised her shields against her lover's feelings before walking forward. The princess stopped where the hall ended, and closed her eyes for a moment before turning toward the left where she could feel her lover. Faith knew if she called out to Buffy she'd most likely run, so instead the slowly approached and found her lover sitting on top a crate with her eyes closed.
Seeing her lover look so lost hurt the princess, and she had to wonder just why had the Heartless felt the need to attack. When they had attacked they had taken she and Tara against their will and in doing so caused their lovers to become lost. She and Tara had been placed in a deep sleep but during that time they had felt something trying to gain access to their hearts. When that had happened, both princesses had allowed their hearts to leave their bodies, and seek out their lovers. Everything had been fine up until Maleficent had given the girls the dark power, and they had to leave their lover's bodies to a much safer place, the doubles. Now that everything was said and done, she just wished Buffy would at least speak with her.
Buffy had felt her lover approaching closer, and had thought to leave as quickly as she could, but just didn't have the strength for it. Whatever Faith needed to say she knew she had to hear it, but she just knew she wasn't going to like it. Her lover grew closer and stopped, not saying a word, but the blonde could feel her lover's eyes on her, and knew Faith was thinking. Buffy got the urge to bolt past the princess and not look back, but pushed it back, and waited.
"Why are you out here alone?" Princess Faith asked watching her lover and hoped to see her eyes open, but gave a quite sigh when she didn't. Faith stepped closer and leaned against the crate her lover was currently sitting on, and touched the other girl's arm.
"Don't touch me!" Buffy whispered harshly jerking her arm away, and scooting further away from the princess. The blonde lowered her head once more when she saw the hurt in her lover's eyes, hurt that she'd just caused by moving away, "Please...just don't."
Faith barely nodded, "Why? Why did you side with the Heartless?" she asked staring at her lover.
"I wanted you back but there was no way for me to do it alone." Buffy leaned against the stone wall, "And I wasn't strong enough... When we confronted Maleficent and she told us your hearts were gone, it was then I knew neither of us had the strength to get either of you back. So when she offered us the power I was ready to accept it without a fuss, and so was Will."
"But we were always with you, inside your own hearts."
"I know, but how was I to know then? You sure as hell didn't give me any clues as to where you were hiding!"
"And what then Buffy? If I had let you know what would you have done? Led the Heartless straight to me and Tara, that's what!" The princess snapped, causing Buffy to flinch, "I do not want to come across as bitchy, but you have to agree your knowing would have led the Heartless to our hearts, and that was one thing that could not have had happened."
The blonde nodded, "Yes, you are right, but I ask again, how were we to know your hearts were within ours?"
"I love you, Buffy, can you not know that if something ever happens to me I'll always be with you, in your heart?"
"I'm sorry, all I could see was getting you back, and I didn't think about anything else...I'm sorry for what I've become. A princess kidnapping, world destroying, Heartless underling. And I know I have a lot of work to do before you can ever trust me again."
Princess Faith closed her eyes, opening the link between she and Tara, a small smile crossed her face as she opened her eyes, "You can start by allowing us to cleanse you of what darkness is left in your body. And another you can work side-by-side with your twins to destroy the Heartless."
"That's all?" Buffy glanced up, staring into Faith's eyes.
Faith stared back, watching the darkness swirl about in her lover's eyes, "We'll see, but be sure of this, your work is far from over." The princess smirked, "You may have to be my servant for a few weeks."
Buffy quirked her eyebrows, being Faith's servant didn't sound like a bad job, so what was the catch? Shrugging she nodded, "Okay, then let's get the darkness out of me." Buffy grinned, hopped off the crate, grabbed Faith's hand, and headed back toward the Third District.