Willow sighed as Besaid Island came into site and glanced around the bridge. Xander was lying on the floor sleeping, a small amount of drool on his cheek. Anya was sitting in a chair- next a dozing Fayth- holding Mythe, both mother and child were sleeping peacefully.
Buffy yawned and rubbed her eyes as the ship passed over the beach. Tara was using Willow's shoulder as a pillow, snuggled up to her as best she could be in the seats, sleeping. Willow yawned, feeling her eyes begin to droop from begin up all night.
The airship sat down just outside the village gate startling everyone who'd been sleeping, awake. The group sluggishly walked down the stairs to the cargo door and stepped outside.
In the bright morning sunlight they could see the destroyed village, and the villagers cleaning up the debris. Willow knew the only things standing were her and Tara's place, Faith and Buffy's, and the temple.
When the villagers saw the worn-out group they hurried over and helped them to the temple, where food and water was waiting. Anya covered her chest with a small blanket so she could breastfeed Mythe, as the others ate something to keep them going.
"Going to be a long day." Faith said glancing at the temple door.
"Yeah, but its what we do, ya?"
Buffy nodded. "Xander's right. When Home was destroyed, all the Al Bhed helped rebuild it, this is no different."
"Xander, Anya, you can stay with us." Tara said getting a nod from Willow.
"Yeah, no problem."
"Lady Tara?" The temple priest spoke approaching. "Could you help with the healing? There were no deaths, just injuries."
"Yes, take me to the wounded and I will begin." Tara said standing.
"Thank you, My Lady."
"I guess that's our cue to start with the helping, huh?" Xander said standing. "Anya, stay here and get some rest, we'll help the village."
It only took Tara a little over an hour to heal the wounded villagers, and headed out of the temple to help in clearing the debris. She smirked when she saw a sweat-covered Willow with a thin white shirt sticking to her body, helping Xander move a large burnt slab of wood. Faith stepped beside her and followed her line of vision and nodded to Buffy.
"Damn! I don't think anyone's gonna get any sleep tonight!"
"Yeah, not with the way Tare is staring at Will!" Buffy laughed as Tara blushed.
"Oh shut up! You're just as bad!" Tara shot back before she made a beeline for Willow. "Need any help?" she asked when she was in speaking range.
Willow wiped the sweat from her face and smiled. "Nah, me an' Xander's got this part done. All we gotta do now is sweep this mess up," she said motioning toward the small slivers of wood and glass lying on the foundations. "Then we'll be helping bring in the good lumber to start rebuilding."
"How about I do the sweeping, and you two go and help with the lumber, okay?"
"Sure, if you're not tired from the healing."
"I'm not, now go on. With the others I'm sure we'll have one home done before the sun sets."
"That sounds good, right Will?" Xander asked smiling as Anya handed him a canteen of water. "Thanks honey."
"Oh, don't worry. I'll help Tara." Anya said. "But I'll probably be doing most of the work, while she ogles you!"
"Good one, Anya!" Faith laughed as she and Buffy passed by carrying a six-foot long pole.
Tara shook her head and grabbed a broom. "I-I think I'll get to work." she said and moved to where Buffy and Faith were setting up the pole.
When lunchtime rolled around the shell of the first hut was finished, making the villagers smile as they took time to eat. Buffy hurried around talking to the men and women, and made a list of what was needed, before she ran off toward the ship to call her mother. Joyce wrote the list down and told Buffy she and Dawn would be there in a couple of days, with help.
For the rest of the day the villagers thanked Buffy -saying how happy they were not having to wait on a ship to sail in with the furniture, or supplies. What little hadn't been destroyed by the fiends, or the fire was being stored in the temple storage room for safekeeping. As for food the villagers had a large garden behind the temple, which was left unharmed, plus several fruit trees grew on the island, and a few men spared time to fish.
Now it was an hour before sunset and the first hut was completely finished except for the furniture. The girls decided to enjoy a relaxing swim in the ocean, and headed toward the beach with Xander slowly following.
Not caring about what any one said Willow jumped into the water fully clothed, and surfaced feeling better as the warm water surrounded her. Following her lead Xander jumped in next to her and sighed as he floated on his back. Tara shrugged took her top off, leaving her in a black bikini top and joined Willow and Xander, with Faith, Buffy, and Anya right behind her.
Tara laughed when Faith picked Buffy up tossing her into the air, and moved just as she came down making a huge splash. Buffy glared at Faith before turning toward Tara and smirking, as she waved. Tara cocked her head to the right, confused, right before a pair of arms wrapped around her waist and pulled her under the water. Willow giggled when she surfaced and looked around for Tara -and not seeing her- that is until Tara grabbed her ankles, and pulled her back under before swimming off.
Swimming around to a small but unseen section of the beach Willow finally caught up, and saw Tara lying in the sand with her eyes closed. Smirking Willow slowly walked onto the beach, kneeled down beside Tara, and began placing small tender kisses along her stomach, between her breasts, before kissing her lips.
"What do you think you're doing?" Tara asked when Willow slid her hand up and cupped her right breast.
"Well, I thought we could have a bit of fun."
"Fun? And you didn't invite us?" Buffy asked pouting, startling Willow and causing Tara to giggle.
"The fun I'm talking about doesn't involve any one besides me and Tara."
"You sure we can't watch?" Faith asked with a smirk before hurriedly swimming off and avoiding a low-level water spell.
Willow groaned laying her head on Tara's shoulder as she looked up into the darkening sky, while Tara blushed from Faith's words.
"One of these days..." Willow trailed off staring into the sky.
"Make a wish, baby. The first star of the evening is glowing bright."
"I don't need to, I have everything I've ever wanted...with you." Tara smiled raising up and leaving a kiss on Willow's lips, as Anya swam up.
"Sorry to bother you, but I think it's time to be getting back before it gets too dark."
"Yeah, I think you're right." Willow said and frowned when her hand hit something under the sand.
She watched Tara and Anya disappear around the cliff and moved the sand around, and found a small five-inch round gold crest with a silver moon in the middle. Shrugging her shoulders Willow put the crest in her pocket thinking it would be a nice gift for Tara, and jumped in the water to meet up with the others.
The group thanked anyone who was listening that they weren't attacked walking back to the village. Anya picked Mythe up from the older villagers in the temple before following Tara to her hut.
That night as Xander and Anya were sleeping peacefully with Mythe between them, something was happening with Tara, Willow, Buffy, and Faith. If anyone had been watching both couples they would have seen all four girls tossing and turning in their beds.
Tara opened her eyes and found she was standing on the beach, Mythe was standing in the water with her back toward Tara. Turning she smiled and held her left hand out, Tara smiled at her mother and walked into the water, only to stop and stare wide-eyed as a tidal wave rose up.
The water washed over both Mythe and Tara sending them underwater. When Tara opened her eyes she saw her mother was still holding her hand out toward her, before she could grab onto her mother's hand the current washed Tara toward the beach.
Standing up Tara saw Willow on the beach waving at her and smiling happily, as Tara approached, Willow looked into the sky and gasped. Following Willow's line of vision Tara saw herself falling out of the sky and into the water, as a black portal opened under her feet. Before Willow could grab her, she fell into the portal and lands on a circular platform with a beautiful dark haired woman holding an apple painted in the center.
"So much to do, so little time..." Mythe said appearing. "Take your time, and don't be afraid. The door is still shut."
"Mother? What's going on?" Tara asked stepping forward only to stop when three trapezoid stones rose from the floor. One had a sword floating above it, the second had a shield, and the third had a staff.
"If you give it form, it will give you strength. Choose well, daughter."
"What do you mean mother? Why the sword, shield, and staff?"
"The sword has the power of the warrior, and invincible courage. But it is also a sword of terrible destruction. The shield has the power of the guardian, kindness to aid friends, and repel all. The staff has the power of the mystic, and inner strength. It is a staff of wonder and ruin. "You may only choose two, so choose well."
"If I must choose it will be the staff and shield."
"Then your path is set. Be well my daughter." Mythe said as the trapezoid stones disappeared as the floor shattered, causing Tara to fall to another circular platform with a painted picture of a beautiful blond woman wearing a white ball gown. A staff appeared in Tara's right hand as a shield appeared on her left.
"You've gained the power to fight." Giles said appearing in front of Tara, as a small foot-tall pitch-black creature with yellow eyes rose up from the floor. "Now Tara, attack!"
Tara raised the shield as the creature jumped into the air bringing its clawed paw down, and was repelled by the shield. Tara held the staff out and cast a Holy spell on the creature and watched as it disappeared.
"All right! You've got it, now use this power to protect yourself and the others." "Giles said as more black creatures appeared. "There will be times you have to fight. But keep your light burning strong."
Tara cast two more Holy spells and hit the last two creatures with the shield, causing them to disappear. She stayed on her guard glancing around the circular platform, and didn't see the shadow like creature rise up.
"Behind you!" Giles shouted and grinned when Tara turned hitting the creature with the shield killing it. "Your adventure will begin soon." Giles said and disappeared.
Tara fell through the floor into a dark room with a set of spiraling stairs leading up at the front of the room. Ira appeared next to Tara and followed her up the stairs.
"The closer you get to the light, the greater your shadow becomes." Ira said watching Tara's shadow grow and rise from the floor, and shape into a twenty-foot tall pitch-black monster with tree trunk arms. "But don't be afraid, and don't forget..." Ira trailed off as the monster attacked Tara.
Tara blocked the hit with the shield raising her staff and doublecast a Holy spell, and an Ultima spell. The spells hit the creature making it shrink back into Tara's shadow. Turning she looked at Ira as he nodded.
"Don't forget. You hold the mightiest weapon of all." He said watching Tara get swallowed by a inky black portal. "And don't forget only you and the others can open and lock the doors."
Tara shot up in bed at the same time Willow did, both were covered in sweat and breathing hard. Willow looked at Tara with wide scared eyes, before the door to the room burst open allowing Faith and Buffy to run in.
"We just had the same dream!" Both Buffy and Faith said in unison.
"Let me guess your shadow grew into this giant monster, and you had to fight it, right?" Willow asked glancing at each girl.
"Then I had it to...looks like we're back to sharing dreams." Willow laughed humorlessly.
"Great." Faith sighed plopping down to the floor.
"Maybe we should talk about it." Tara said as someone knocked on the front door.
"I'll get it." Willow sighed getting out of bed. "Six in the morning and someone's at the friggin' door." She grumbled right before opening the door and letting out a scream that had everyone running toward her, as she slammed the door.
"What's going on?" Anya asked looking as if she was actually flying out of the guest room, with Xander hot on her heels holding a crying Mythe.
"M-m-m-mouse!" Willow shrieked causing Faith to laugh.
"A mouse? You're freaked out 'cause of a mouse?"
"Big...huge! Biggest one I've ever seen!"
"Oh, then it's a rat." Xander said through a yawn.
"Oh Iíll take care of this!" Buffy said moving Willow out of the way and opening the door, only to see a three-foot tall mouse with a bewildered look on his face. Screaming she slammed the door shut, only to jump when the knock came again.
Having enough freaking out from Willow, and now Buffy, Anya shoved the girl away from the door and looked down at the mouse with wide-eyes. He had black ears with a golden crown setting between them, a long silver robe, and he was holding a small two-foot long gold and silver mages staff.
"Hi" he said and laughed before a serious look crossed his face. "I need your help."
Anya fell to the floor unconscious as the others stood near the door looking stunned.