Return to Labyrinth Chapter One


Author: Willow Watcher
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: I do not own anything having to deal with BtVS. They all belong to Joss Whedon and the other people out there who have a claim in the series and all things dealing with Buffy. I however did write this story and the other characters are mine.

Willow shot up out of the bed with a shock when she heard an ear piercing scream. Her first reaction was to reach for her gun that she had placed on the nightstand beside the bed. She flipped on the light, threw the covers off her. She checked the chamber in her gun and mentally counted six bullets. Picking up a small flashlight, she turned off the lamp and walked out door.

Keeping the gun aimed down in a forty-five degree angle, she crept down the hall. When she approached the door of Buffy and Angel's room, she carefully turned the doorknob and peeked in. She flipped on the small flashlight and held it against her gun, pointing at anything that could have been of any threat. She saw a lump under the covers. She slowly walked over and saw Angel sleeping soundly, but no Buffy. She walked out of the room.

Across the hall, she peeked in at Dawn, who also was asleep.

Willow walked down the steps, keeping her back against the wall. She pointed the gun and flashlight at various places, checking around corners. She noticed a light coming from the direction of the kitchen. Keeping her eyes peeled, gun in hand, she whipped around the corner and saw Buffy standing there in front of a coffee maker.

Buffy jumped when she saw the redhead. "For god's sake Will!"

Willow's heart was still pounding hard. "I heard a scream." Willow still in agent mode, looked around the kitchen.

"I thought I saw a mouse." Buffy said as she took a seat on a stool in front of the bar.

Seeing there wasn't a real threat, Willow laid her gun and flashlight down on the bar.

Buffy eyed her friend up and down and giggled.

"What?" Willow asked.

"Look real threatening there Agent Rosenberg with your 'Hello Kitty' jammies on." Buffy looked down at Willow's feet. "And house shoes to match?"

"Well ya know about me and puss..."

Buffy held up her hand. "Please don't finish that sentence."

Willow smiled and took a seat across the bar from Buffy. She stretched and yawned. "What time is it?"

Buffy looked at the clock on the coffee maker. "Six thirty."

Willow nodded her head and yawned again. She laid her head in her hand. <Six thirty. Six thirty! Oh My God!> Willow shot up from the bar. "Tara! Buffy, I only have and hour and a half to get to the hospital to see her!" Willow looked at the clock. "Make that an hour and twenty-nine minutes."

Buffy shook her head and smiled. "Willow, would you calm down. Take a chill pill or something. I'll fix you a cup of coffee, decaf for you though. Besides, the florist doesn't open until nine." Buffy turned around and pulled out two cups from the cabinet and poured coffee in them both.

"Florist? What are you talking about Buff?" Willow asked taking the cup offered to her.

"Will?" Buffy looked at her with her eyes wide. "Flowers ring a bell?"

Willow smacked herself on the forehead. "Right, flowers. Oh and I should get her a bear or something. What kind of flowers does she like Buffy? I don't even know." Willow asked disappointed in herself for not knowing even the tiniest details of her love.

"She likes roses. All kinds, but the red ones she adores. She has this thing for red." Buffy said with a wink.

Willow ran her hand through her short hair. "I still hope so." She smiled and took a sip of her coffee.

"You want something to eat?" Buffy asked, heading towards the refrigerator.

"No thanks. The butterflies in my stomach have it pretty full right now." Willow said as she drummed her fingers on the counter.

Buffy sat down at the bar again. "I'm really not hungry too much myself."

"When is the last time you have had a decent meal, Buff?" Willow asked with concern.

Buffy shrugged her shoulders.

"Buffy, I know all of this is tearing you apart, but you need to eat. You have to be strong for Lacey and Angel and even little Dawnie. You can't just starve yourself." Willow said getting up from her seat and going to the refrigerator. She pulled out a carton of eggs and a package of bacon.

"I'm not much of a cook, but bacon and eggs I can master." Willow pulled skillets and bowls out of the cabinets.

"Will, I'm really not hungry." Buffy said trying to convince her best friend.

"Um, well, too bad. You're gonna eat something." Willow said searching throughout the kitchen for utensils.

Buffy smiled watching the redhead.

Thirty minutes had passed when Dawn and Angel came downstairs. Dawn didn't have a problem with stuffing her face, adding toast to the meal. Willow had to convince Angel to eat as well as she did for Buffy. But they wouldn't budge unless Willow joined them so reluctantly she agreed.

"I'll do the dishes." Dawn jumped up from the table, taking everyone's plates.

Buffy and Angel looked at one another with shock on her face and then over at Willow.

"When has she ever volunteered to do the dishes?" Buffy asked. "Willow, what have you done with my real sister."

Willow giggled. "She's just trying to help. I suppose she doesn't know of any other way."

Dawn came back into the dining room carrying a newly made pot of coffee. "Anyone for a refill?"

All three adults held out their cups. Dawn happily refilled them and then walked back into the kitchen.

Angel took Buffy's hand into his. "I love you." He smiled at his wife.

Tears welled in her eyes. "I love you too."

"Well, I love you both." Dawn came back into the room. She started picking up more dishes.

Buffy stood up and hugged her arms around her sister. "You know, you're the best."

Dawn held onto her sister tight and started to cry.

Buffy stroked her sister's long dark hair. "Shh. It'll be alright."

"I do what I can. I...just d-don't know...what to do?" Dawn said between sobs.

"You being here is more help than you know." Angel said as he stood up and joined in the hug.

Buffy poked her head around. "You just gonna sit there and not join in?" Buffy looked over at the redhead.

Willow stood up, tears running down her face, wrapped her arms around the people she knew as family.

The group separated except for Buffy and Dawn.

"I know I can be a pain in the ass sometimes Buffy, but I really don't mean to be." Dawn said wiping the remaining tears from her eyes.

"Dawn, when mom died, I promised her that I would take care of you. Yeah, you can be a pain, but I can too, so we're even." Buffy pulled away giving her sister a kiss on the cheek.

"Well, I'm gonna finish the dishes. I plan on making something special for dinner tonight." Dawn walked back into the kitchen.

Buffy turned and looked at Angel and Willow. "Hope you all have a strong stomach. Have plenty of Rolaids on hand." She whispered.

"I heard that!" Dawn yelled from the other room.

Willow giggled and so did Angel.

Buffy's heart swelled with love. It was the first time in days she had even seen a glimmer of a smile on his face, much less a laugh.

Willow finished off her coffee. "Well, I'm gonna jump in the shower and then go to the hospital."

Buffy raised her brow.

"I haven't forgotten about the florist, Buffy. I won't stay long. I need to find out a few things from Tara. Maybe, just maybe she can give us a little info on what's going on."

Willow held on tight to the two dozen, long stemmed red roses that were in a tall lead crystal vase in her hand along with a brown teddy bear.

She walked up to the nurse's desk and relieved it was a different one from the previous day.

"Hi. Can I help you?" The nurse asked, smiling at the grunting redhead placing the vase on the desk.

"Yeah. Is Tara Maclay still in ICU?" Willow asked fixing the arrangement of flowers to make sure they looked perfect.

"Let me look." The nurse flipped through pages and ran her finger down a list of names. "No. She has been moved to room 312. Just go down the hall, turn to the right and you'll find the elevators."

"Thanks." Willow said as she picked up the heavy arrangement and held the teddy bear in her other arm.

Willow waited patiently while the elevator came down to the lobby floor. She had to stand to the side while the hoard of people stepped out. As she got on, three other people joined her.

A man pressed the button for the first floor. A woman pressed the button for the second floor. Willow couldn't press anything. "Can you please press the third floor?" She asked the lady.

She complied smiling at the load that Willow was carrying.

<First floor.> Willow leaned up against the elevator wall. The door closed.

<Second floor.> Willow patted her foot against the floor.

'Ding' <Thank god!> Willow thought as she stepped out.

She looked up and down the hall for the right room. <312. Here it is.> Willow peeked in the window on the door. She saw Tara laying there, reclined back on the bed with her eyes closed.

<Perfect.> Willow thought as she slowly opened the door. She walked in and made her way over to the bed. She laid the vase on the table along with the teddy bear.

She carefully lowered her head down and kissed Tara on the cheek.

Tara moaned and rolled her head, but still had her eyes closed.

"Hey baby." Willow whispered in the blonde's ear.

Tara's eyes fluttered open and then went wide. "Willow!" She exclaimed, grabbing the redhead's face and planting a soft kiss on her lips.

"Wow and wow." Willow said. Her lips buzzed from the contact. Willow turned around and started heading for the door.

"Where are you going?" Tara asked surprised and confused by Willow's actions.

"If I get a greeting like that, I'm going back out and coming in again." Willow smiled.

"Get back here." Tara laughed. She held her arms out and hugged Willow.

Willow giggled. "I see you're feeling better." She said as she stood upright.

"I still have a headache, but it's certainly better, now." Tara said smiling.

Willow pulled a chair up next to her bed, sat down and held Tara's hand.

They stayed in place looking into each other's eyes. <Beautiful.> They both thought at the same time.

"Oh! I brought these for you." Willow said as she pointed at the roses.

"Willow, they're beautiful." Tara smiled, rubbing her finger over the soft petals. <Soft like Willow's lips.> "Thank you."

"You're welcome." Willow brought out the teddy bear and handed it over to the blonde. "I thought he might keep you company when I'm not here."

Tara snuggled up to the stuffed animal and kissed it on the nose. "It's so cute." She looked at Willow. "But not as cute as you." She blushed and lowered her head.

Willow lifted Tara's chin with one finger. "Promise me something?"

"What?" Tara asked looking in the green eyes that were full of love.

"Never hide that beautiful face." Willow stroked the blonde's cheek with her thumb.

Tara smiled and nodded her head. "Promise." She whispered out. She cocked her head sideways. "You cut your hair."

Willow ran her hand through her much shorter hair. "Do you like it?"

"Very much so." Tara smiled and touched the ends of the red hair.

Willow closed her eyes and smiled, enjoying even the slightest touch from the blonde. "Tara, I want to say that I'm sorry how we left things off the last time."

"Will, I'm the one who should be sorry. I was angry and confused and I shouldn't have taken it out on you." Tara frowned.

"Hey! Let me tell you that you had every right to leave. I remember you saying that you had to find yourself. You have become a beautiful woman inside and out, more than before. You have the Maclay Institute and let me say that I am so proud of you for helping kids like you are doing. I can tell by looking and listening to you that you are stronger and more confident. You are amazing, but then you always have been." Willow beamed a smile.

Tara blushed. "Willow, I want us to again." She confessed.

"Really?" Willow squeaked out.

Tara nodded. "But we need to take time. It has been four years and there's a lot to catch up on. We need to discover one another all over again, but no secrets. One thing that I need in my life is trust."

"You got it." Willow said jutting out her chin.

Tara smiled. "C'mere."

Willow leaned in closer. Tara stroked her cheek. "I've missed that resolve face." She gave Willow a gentle kiss on the lips. "I've missed you."

"I've missed you too baby." Willow said sitting back in the chair.

"So did Buffy tell you I was in the hospital?" Tara asked.

"Well, no. Giles did." Willow said, knowing that the subject of why she was in LA would come up.

"Giles? Why would Buffy call..." Tara stopped. "What happened, Willow?"

"Tara, Lacey has been kidnapped." Tara's mouth dropped open and her eyes widened. "Buffy called Giles and told him that she and Angel wanted me on the case. That is the reason I'm here, but, but when I found out about you I went crazy. I thought 'Oh My God Tara's hurt and Lacey's been kidnapped' so I hopped on the first plane out and well I arrived yesterday evening and the first place that I came too was here to see you, but when I saw someone in your room, I thought that you found someone, so I was going to leave thinking that you had moved on and I didn't want to interfere, but Dawn came running after me and I was like 'whew, I still could have a chance to get Tara back that is if she still wants me' and now that I see you are going to let us have another chance and that you are feeling better, I think that maybe, just maybe we both can find Lacey safe and sound." Willow said taking in a huge breath.

Tara smiled. "Still have the babble."

Willow smiled back and nodded her head. Her smile faded. She knew that business was at hand. "Tara, is there anything you can tell me about what happened Monday?"

Tara thought about the events that transpired that evening. "Lacey told me that she had to go to the restroom. Since it was just down the hall from the group meeting room, I thought it would be alright. I was cleaning when I heard her scream. I ran in the restroom and saw her standing there with someone with a gun pointed at her and then everything went black."

Willow was making mental notes about what Tara was telling her. "Did you happen to see who it was?"

Tara shook her head. "They were wearing a ski mask. The only thing that I could make out was that the person was a woman."

"Anything else, baby?" Willow asked.

"That's about it." Tara started to cry. "I should have gone with her. I shouldn't have let her go in there alone."

"Tara, it's not you're fault. It would have happened either then or at a later time." Willow stroked the blonde's hand in reassurance. "I'll personally find out who it is and get her back."

"I want to help out. The doctor said that I should be able to leave out of here tomorrow or maybe today." Tara said in a determined tone.

"Tara, it's dangerous and I don't want you to be put in anymore danger than you've already suffered."

"Willow, I am going to help. Remember the 'us' part?" Tara crossed her arms over her chest.

Willow sighed. She knew whether she liked it or not, Tara was determined to help.

"Alright, but you are not going to be doing any field work. That's my job." Willow said crossing her arms.

Tara nodded her head. "One thing missy, you go out there, you better come back to me in one piece."

"You got it." Willow smiled and they held hands again. The redhead kissed Tara's hand. "I would love to stay here all day with you, but I have to get back to Buffy's and figure this thing out. Angel and I spent hours last night looking through files, but couldn't come up with anything. We will though."

Tara stroked Willow's face. "I know you will baby. I know."

"Shit!" Willow cursed.

"What?" Tara asked.

"I forgot to mention to you a note that someone left for Angel." Willow pulled the paper from her pocket and handed it over.

Tara read over the message. She held her hand over her mouth in shock. "What the hell is this about?"

"I don't know, yet, but it looks like I'm going to have to make a visit to the Lompoc Federal Prison and have a little talk with James. Maybe that'll crack the case."

Tara cringed at the mention of the name. "Well you have to do what you have to do. Willow, I'll give up the money to get Lacey back. I'll do it in a heartbeat and you let Buffy and Angel know that."

"Honey, in their hearts they know you would, but that's not the point. This is a personal thing having to deal with Angel. I've dealt with cases like this. They don't give up the victim even when they do get the money. When you give in, they just want more. Don't believe everything you read."

Willow stood up. "I have to go sweetheart. I'll come back this evening and let you know what's going on. I love you." She bent down and gave Tara a long lingering kiss.

"I love you too." Tara said when they pulled apart. "Please be careful."

"I promise." Willow said as she walked out of the room

Tara leaned back in her bed. Her guilt about Lacy ran through her mind and she began to cry.

Willow entered the front door of Angel Investigations. She followed the sound of arguing coming from the living room.

"Let me tell you what Miss Beauty Queen, you are not going to get your skanky mitts on Xander. You missed your chance and now he's mine." Anya said as she interlinked her arm with the young man.

"As if I wanted him back." Cordelia said rolling her eyes and throwing her hand in the air.

"Well, he is great in bed. How many orgasms has he ever given you in the very short time you two were together?" Anya said pointing her finger at the tall brunette.

"More than you can count on those scrawny fingers and your hairy toes. How about you, little miss 'gotta have sex all the time'?" Cordelia asked with one brow raised.

"More than the rhinestones in those fake tiaras you keep in that case." Anya pointed over her shoulder at the case where Cordelia kept her trophies, banners and even her numerous tiaras from beauty contest she won over the years.

"Excuse me!" Cordelia shouted at the abrupt blonde. "Those happen to be diamonds."

"Yeah right! Like someone is going to give you anything with a diamond in it." Anya said holding up her hand showing the room her engagement ring that Xander gave her two months prior.

"Ladies, please!" Xander pleaded looking at them both. Even though he did feel his ego growing thinking that two women were fighting over him. He looked behind him. "Hey look! Willow's here." He said headed for the smiling redhead. "Help me out here Willster." He whispered.

She patted him on the shoulder. "No can do Xan. You're on your own there pal." She laughed.

She looked passed the two arguing women and saw Faith sitting at a desk with her feet propped on top.

She walked over. "Hey Faith. How's it goin'?" She asked sitting on the edge of the desk.

"Five by five, red. How about you?" She asked putting her feet down.

"Alright I guess. Just got back from the hospital visiting Tara."

"Yeah, sorry to hear about blondie. Is she doin' alright now?" Faith asked.

"Seems to be. Doctors say that she might be able to come home today or tomorrow." Willow said with love in her eyes for her blonde goddess.

"Just be glad it wasn't worse that a bump on the head." Faith stood up. "Ready to get to work?"

"Lead the way." Willow followed Faith into Angel's study.

They both walked in and saw Angel and Buffy kissing.

"Oops! Come at a bad time? We'll just leave you two alone" Willow said as her and Faith started to back out of the room.

Buffy and Angel parted and gave each other a hug. "Come on in guys. Just having a little P.T." Buffy looked into Angel's eyes as he looked into hers. Both mouthed the words 'I love you'. Buffy walked by Willow and smiled, then spotted Faith.

"Hey Faith." She said giving her a slight hug.

"Hey B. You holdin' up alright?" Faith asked quickly pulling away from Buffy's embrace.

"Doing all we can to keep it together. I'll just leave you all alone." Buffy sighed and left out of the room.

Faith, Willow and Angel took various files in their hands and sat down in different locations in the office.

Angel was looking through the files he had picked out and wrote notes on a pad as he would flip from one pile to the next.

Faith sat in the corner chair tapping her foot against the floor. Her eyes widened and she hopped up. "Hey Angel, I think I might have found something here." She walked over and placed the file down in front of the man.

"It's from the Giotti case from a year ago. I heard tells on the street that they were together again. You think they might have something to do with it?" She pointed at various lines on the paper.

Willow walked over to the desk and stood on the other side of Angel. "Maybe, but here is a file from the Lavar case from six months ago."

Angel looked at both cases. "I found this file this morning on the Lansing family. I think they maybe getting their family back together too." Hope was very noticeable in his eyes.

"Alright, Faith you take the Giotti, Will, you take the Lavar and I'll take the Lansing. If something comes out, let me know immediately. If nothing..." he sighed, "then we start all over again."

"Actually Angel, I need to go to Lompoc to talk to James. I'll take the Lavar case when I get back, which should be sometime this even..."

An ear piercing scream was heard from the living room. All three stumbled over one another trying to get out of the office.

Buffy was sitting on the floor with an open box in her hand, shaking. She looked up at Angel and back at the package.

Angel walked over and picked up the box out of his wife's hand. "Oh god!" He whispered going down on his knees, crying.

Willow took the box from him. "Jesus Christ!" She yelled.

One little finger laid in the box on a blood stained piece of cotton.

"Who is doing this and what the fuck do they want?!" Buffy screamed.

Angel wrapped his arms around his hysterical wife. "I don't know who but I know why."

Buffy pulled back. "You know? You know and you didn't tell me?!" She grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. "What do they want Angel? Tell me goddamn it!"

He looked up at Willow. Willow nodded her head and reached into her pocket. She pulled out the note and handed it to Buffy. She read the note. She looked at Angel and then at Willow. "I hope you all are happy now." She said with such hatred in her voice. "They are going to kill my daughter and you didn't even consider giving them the money! You have to go around and play Sherlock Holmes and find the fuckers but until then, they send bits and pieces of our child Angel, until they get their money." She smacked him across the face. "You bastard." She spat out. She got up and looked at Willow with pure venom in her eyes.

"Buffy, we didn't..." Willow tried to explain.

Buffy held up her hand. "Don't! I am in no mood to hear your bullshit."

She walked out of the living room and up the stairs. They all jumped when they heard a door slam shut.

Cordelia stood there in shock, not knowing what to say.

Anya was crying as Xander held her. "The're gonna hack that poor little baby up."

"Not if we can help it." Xander said hugging his fiancÚ tighter.

Willow sighed. She didn't want to, but she had to examine the finger that was in the box. She took the package into the bathroom. She knew Buffy kept latex gloves under the sink. She pulled two out and put them on. She swallowed a lump in her throat and picked up the little finger. She looked closely at the digit. She wrinkled her brow. She bent it and it bounced back. She hated this part. She smelled the end of the finger that had the blood on it. Blowing out a relieving breath, she reached under the sink and brought out a plastic baggie and placed the box and finger in it and walked out of the bathroom into the living room. Angel sat on the couch holding his hand over his cheek where Buffy struck him.


He looked up at her.

Willow smiled. "It's a fake. It's not her finger. It's just rubber."

Angel let out a sigh of relief.

Faith came over. She held out a letter. "I found this on stuck inside the lid of the box."

Angel took the note:


"Alright here's what we need to do. We need to get all of this analyzed for finger prints." Willow said

"I'll take it." Faith said walking up holding out her hand.

Willow gave the bag over. "Thanks."

Faith shrugged her shoulders. "No problem."

Angel stood up. "Faith can I see you in my study for a moment."

He walked down the corridor and she followed.

He reached into his desk drawer and brought out an FBI badge along with Faith's identification card. "You're gonna need this. It's only temporary. If you help us like you are doing, you'll get it back permanently. But if you screw up..."

"I know Angel." Faith smiled looking at the badge. "Thanks." She put the wallet in her back pocket.

Angel nodded his head. "I've got to go and talk with the Lansing's. Take that," he pointed at the bag that Faith was holding, "to the lab on Winchester drive, talk only to a guy named Clem and tell him I sent you. He'll tell you the results within an hour."

Faith nodded. "You got it boss. Anything else?"

"Yeah, when going over to the Giotti's the one you want to talk to is Dino and be careful." He said.

Faith walked up to him and gave him a kiss on the cheek, in which took Angel by surprise. "I will." She whispered in his ear and walked out of the room.

Angel took in a shuttering breath and sat down at his desk.

Faith walked out where the others were gathered around. "I'll check back with you all later."

"Be careful Faith." Willow said.

"You got it red." She walked out the front door.

"Alright, Xander and Anya, stay here with Angel and see if you all can come up with anything else."

"What do you want me to do Willow?" Cordelia asked.

"You can count those rhinestones." Anya said over her shoulder as Xander pulled her to Angel's office.

"Bitch." Cordelia said under her breath.

Willow chuckled. "Actually Cordy, I need you to call the local police. Giles told me that they have said they didn't find anything, but you know how those son of a bitches are. I hate to say this but you might want to call the FBI office downtown and see if they have any leads on the cases at hand. Angel will let you know which ones, but don't tell them anything that's going on around here. Just ask don't tell."

"O.K." Cordelia sat down and started making notes.

Just then the front door opened.

Willow stood there with wide eyes. "Tara!"

The blonde shrugged her shoulders. "They can't keep me if I don't want to stay."

Willow walked over to her. "Baby, you shouldn't be out so soon. You need your rest."

"I'm fine sweetie. I'll get some rest later. I just couldn't stay there not doing anything."

"Hi Tara. Glad to see you feeling better." Cordelia said looking up from her work.

"Thanks Cordy." Tara said then looked back at her redhead. "What do you want me to do?"

"Actually, we basically have everything covered. I'm going to Lompoc to talk to James. Xander and Anya are helping Angel in his office. Faith is taking up on a lead right now."

Tara sighed. "I can dust." She joked.

"Actually there is something you can do. Buffy is all to hell. She got a finger in the mail."

"Oh god!" Tara exclaimed.

"No baby." The redhead rubbed her hand up and down the blonde's arm. "It was a fake. We were trying to hide that note I let you read this morning from Buffy because she would, well freak. And when she got the finger, we had to let her read it and she went all wacky Buffy and smacked Angel, looked at me like she could run through me, with a truck I might add and now she is upstairs. So I was thinking that maybe you could go up there and talk with her and be, ya know, Tara. You always make me feel better. I'm sure it will work on anyone." Willow took in a deep breath.

"Willow, you are going to pass out one day from that babble thing you have." Cordelia said, still writing.

Willow looked at Tara and rolled her eyes.

Tara gave her a crooked smile.

"I hate to but I gotta get out of here." She leaned in and kissed Tara, slowly and then gently licked Tara's lips with her tongue hoping the blonde would accept the invitation to deepen the kiss, but Tara didn't. She pulled back and looked into those pools of green. "Slow, remember?"

"Slow. Right. But I love you." Willow said.

"And I love you."

They hugged and Willow walked out.

Tara walked up to Buffy and Angel's room and gently knocked.

"Go away!" Buffy yelled.

"Buffy, it's Tara. Can I come in?" Tara said in her gentle voice.

"No." The answer came out weakly.

"Buffy, I'm not leaving until I see you."

Tara heard the lock on the door click. She peeked in and saw Buffy sit down on the bed.

"Hey." Tara said as she closed the door and sat down on the bed.

"I'm glad you're back." Buffy said in a monotone voice but she meant it sincerely.

"Thank you." Tara scooted closer. "Willow told me what happened. You want to talk about it?"

Buffy started crying. "What am I going to do Tara? They sent my little girl's finger..."

"It wasn't real, Buffy. It wasn't real." Tara reassured her friend.

Buffy laid her head on Tara's shoulder. Tara wrapped her arms around her and rocked back and forth.

"What if it wasn't a fake? What if it was real? Angel and Willow didn't tell me about the note and goddamn it pisses me off when they keep me in the dark." Buffy said.

"I know how you feel, about being in the dark thing. I know one thing though, Willow and the rest of them are doing their best to find Lacey and they will find her." Tara said strongly.

"She is my life Tara. I don't know what I will do if I lose her." Buffy sobbed that much more.

Tara pulled Buffy off her and held her by her shoulders. "You are not going to loose her! I know you are going through hell, but she will be back here with you before you know it! Do you hear me?!" Tara said with such force it took Buffy out of her loathing.

Buffy took in a cleansing breath. "You're right. I'm sorry."

Tara held Buffy back against her. "Don't be sorry, just have faith. I remember someone else telling me the same thing, oh, about four years ago."

"And you became a stronger you." Buffy said still clinging onto her friend.

"With everything that we go through in life Buffy, whether good or bad, it makes us stronger. It makes us who we are." Tara pulled away from her friend. "Now lay down here and get some rest, O.K."

Buffy adjusted herself on her pillows. "You need to rest too."

"I will later." Tara said as she placed a blanket over her friend.

Buffy patted the bed behind her. "Stay with me. We'll rest together."

Tara smiled, kicked off her shoes and crawled in the bed beside of Buffy.

"So, you and Will doing alright?" Buffy asked turning on her back.

"I think it's going to be good, but I told her we were going to take it slow." Tara yawned.

"Good idea." Buffy yawned too. "Tara, I love you. You have become my best friend." Buffy snuggled up to Tara and placed her head on her shoulder.

"I love you too Buff. Now get some sleep." Tara held Buffy and stroked her hair. She heard her breathing become a slow rhythm. Making sure Buffy was asleep, Tara closed her eyes and soon followed.

Continue to Labyrinth Chapter Three

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