Return to Labyrinth Chapter Eight


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.

Firemen ran into the building.

"Oh god Willow!" Tara cried out while she held the redhead putting pressure over the wound.

Willow coughed. "That...hurt." She struggled to get out.

"Hold on baby." Tara said as tears poured from her eyes.

One of the firemen yelled out over his shoulder. "We have multiple gunshot victims! Get the rescue team in here! He bent down in front of Willow. "Hold still ma'am."

Willow nodded and cringed in pain.

He ran over to Faith. He bent down and checked her pulse. He checked on the three men lying on the floor as well. "We have four D.O.A.'s."

Spike was rolled over by Buffy. She held on tight to her daughter. She checked over the little girl and smiled when she noticed no marks on her. Not even a scratch. Buffy looked over at Spike. "Are you alright?"

"Bit of pain, but yeah." Spike said as he struggled to remove his Kevlar duster. "Bloody hell." He said as he noticed the bullet holes. "These things don't come cheap, ya know."

"Are you alright?" The fireman said as he walked closer.

Buffy and Spike nodded. "There's one in the closet in the back room." Spike said pointing to a door. "She's pretty much out of it." The fireman nodded and headed to the back. Buffy and Spike rose to their feet.

Buffy looked around. She saw Tara rocking back and forth.

"Oh no." Buffy whispered out. She held tight to Lacey as she slowly walked closer. She saw Willow lying in Tara's arms, bleeding profusely from her chest.

"Aunt Wiwwow?" Lacey said as she squirmed and twitched until she was out of Buffy's grasp. She got on her knees and stroked her fingers through Willow's red hair.

"Hey kiddo." Willow whispered out, barely able to open her eyes to look at the distressed child.

Lacey looked at Tara. "Put a band aid on it."

Tara smiled at Lacey and cried even more.

Willow struggled to raise her hand and petted the girl on the face. "Still cute. I'm glad you're alri..." Willow passed out.

"Willow, come on baby. Please, wake up. Please baby." Tara lowered her head onto Willow's.

Buffy picked Lacey up when a medical team rushed in.

"We need some room to work ma'am." One E.M.T. said to Tara.

Tara didn't want to let go but Spike came up behind her and lifted her up. She turned to him and sobbed on his shoulder. "She's a tough one, blondie. Reds gonna come out of it." He whispered in her ear.

Xander and Anya came running in. "Oh my god, Willow." Xander whispered walking closer to the redhead. Anya turned away from the sight.

"Sir, please stay back. You need to let one of the other's tend to your wounds." A rescue team member said to Xander.

He nodded. Tears pooled in his eyes. He walked over to Tara. She turned and hugged him tight. He cringed in pain from the lacerations to his back, but held her tight. She noticed his discomfort. "What happened?"

"Well, apparently someone planted a bomb outside in the building. The firemen broke the door down in time, but shrapnel hit through my back." He said and turned around, more concerned about his friend in the floor.

"Faith!" Anya yelled out. "She's...she's dead." Anya cried over the body.

"Tara killed her. All of this was because of Faith. She wanted revenge for us putting her in prison." Buffy told her.

"What? No, it can't be." Anya said almost arguing.

Buffy nodded her head.

A medical team person ran in with a gurney. They picked Willow up and strapped her down and headed out the door. "Who's going with her?" One member asked in a rushed tone.

Tara didn't hesitate. She ran outside before he could reach the ambulance.

They loaded Willow in. Tara practically jumped in the vehicle. One of the men closed the door and smacked the back and they span out of the parking lot turning on their lights and sirens.

Medical teams still worked around the scene. Police vehicles span into the parking lot. A fireman and E.M.T. men came out of the back with Cordelia strapped to a gurney.

"Cordy!" Anya ran up to the woman. "Hey, wake up. C'mon. I want to argue with you some more. You're fun to argue with." Anya held on tight to her hand.

"Do you want to go with her?" The fireman asked.

Anya nodded her head. Xander smiled knowing that Anya really did love Cordelia even though they fought all the time.

"What's her name?"

Tara sat there mesmerized. Her eyes never left Willow. <Come on baby. Please god, help her.>

"Ma'am! What's her name?" The man asked again.

"Willow Rosenberg." Tara told him and watched him write it down. She focused back on Willow.

"What's her age?"


"We have a twenty-six year old female with a gunshot wound to the left of her chest. BP is 90/60 and dropping. No response to sound. Eyes having no response to light and are almost fully dilated. E.T.A. three minutes." The rescue team member announced over a radio.

"Roger. Medical team standing by." The response came back.

"I need some information." One police officer said as he stood beside the bodies.

"Faith Lehane," Buffy pointed her out. "kidnapped my daughter, blamed it on the Giottis, killed them and tried to kill us. She shot Agent Willow Rosenberg. I don't know how she is doing."

"Buffy!" Angel ran into the building.

One of the officers held him back. "Sir, I can't let you go in there."

"My daughter and wife are in there." Angel said trying to get by him.

"This is a crime scene sir. You can't go in there."

"The hell I can't!" Angel yelled as he pushed his way past.

"Daddy!" Lacey yelled out.

Buffy put her down and watched the child run into Angel's arms.

"Baby." Angel whispered as he picked her up. He held her tight as he walked towards his wife. All three wrapped themselves in a hug.

"Ma'am, I need to ask some more questions." A police officer said approaching Buffy.

"Well, we're going to the hospital to be with our friend. You want to ask questions, follow us there." Buffy said.

"Who's at the hospital?" Angel asked.

"Willow. Faith shot her in the chest."

"Shit. Is she going to be alright?" Angel asked concerned.

"Don't know." Buffy said as tears streamed down her face.

"Daddy." Lacey spoke up.

"Yeah pumpkin." He looked at his little girl.

"Aunt Wiwwow is hurt." Lacey said frowning.

"I know baby. She'll be alright. She has to be." Angel said trying to convince his daughter but not so certain himself.

"Queen bee isn't in good condition either." Spike spoke up from behind.

Angel handed Lacey over to Buffy. He walked back to the blonde haired man and pulled him into a grateful hug. "Thank you. Thank you for saving my little girl and my wife. I owe you everything."

"You don't owe me a thing. Happy to do it. Wish I could have done something for Red and Cordelia." Spike said sadly.

"Ma'am, we really need to talk about this." The impatient officer said pointing over to the dead bodies in the floor.

"The camera!" Buffy shouted out. She put Lacey down and ran up the stairs. She walked up to Cordelia's camera and looked at the LED screen. She noticed the red REC lettering that flashed in the right hand corner. She turned the camera off and walked down the steps.

"What's that?" One of the officers asked as he approached her.

"Apparently Faith didn't bother to make sure this thing wasn't on or she knew it was recording and decided to use it for her own sick pleasure." Buffy said as she walked passed him.

"We are going to have to confiscate that for evidence." The officer said as he walked right behind Buffy.

"I think I'm going to hold on to it and hand it into the FBI." She whipped her body around and put her hand on her hip. "You got a problem with that?"

"We don't need the FBI involved in this."

"Too late, they already are. Who do you think we have been working with? That," She said pointing over at her husband, "is Angel as in Angel Investigations. You can contact Agent Rupert Giles at the FBI office in San Francisco. I'm sure he would be happy to tell you what you can and cannot have." Buffy turned around. "Let's go to the hospital." She said to Angel and Spike as she walked by the more than shocked officers.

Spike and Angel loaded themselves into the car and made sure Lacey was in her car seat. Buffy walked over to Xander, who was still being treated by the medics. "We're going to the hospital. You coming with?"

"Yeah. You almost done buddy?" He asked the medic.

"One sec. There. All set to go. Don't move around too much. Those aren't permanent sutures." He instructed.

Xander nodded his head. "Let's go." He told Buffy as they headed for the car.

Tara looked through a window of the emergency operating room as doctors and nurses worked diligently on Willow.

Tara placed her forehead on the glass. Tears were streaming down her face. <Come on Willow, fight.>

Anya rushed up next to her. "Tara, I'm here." She said panting.

"Where's everyone else." Tara said with her voice cracking.

"Oh, I came in the ambulance with Cordelia. The doctor said that she should be alright." Anya looked through the window. "How is she doing?"

Tara shrugged her shoulders and placed her head against the glass again.

Anya patted her on the shoulder. "She'll be fine. I've known Willow for a long time and she is tough."

Tara sadly smiled and wiped away some tears which were quickly replaced with new ones. "I know." She whispered.

"Tara!" Buffy shouted as she ran down the isle.

Tara didn't move her head. Buffy walked up to her and wrapped her arm around her. "How's she doing?"

"I don't know." She said between clinched teeth.

"I asked the same question." Anya said to Buffy in a low tone.

Buffy nodded and looked through the window. They all watched as a doctor put a metal object in a pan. He went back working on Willow's chest.

Tara sighed. She raised her hand and placed it against the window. A nurse in the operating room walked over and closed the curtain, blocking any view the women had.

Tara pounded her fist against the window. "Damn it!" She walked around the corner and approached the door. She started to go in when Buffy pulled her back.

"Tara, you can't go in there."

"Why not?!" She shouted pulling back from Buffy's hold.

"They have to work on her. You'll only be a distraction to them. Now calm down and let's go sit in the waiting room, O.K." Buffy said trying to put some reasoning into the distressed woman.

Tara dropped her head and wrapped her arms around herself. She walked down the hall to the waiting room. Buffy and Anya followed her.

Everyone sat around. Lacey noticed Tara, Anya and Buffy walk into the room. She ran over to Tara and held up her arms.

"Hold me." She said.

Tara picked Lacey up and sat down with her. She cradled her and rocked her back and forth.

"Aunt Tara?" Lacey looked up.

"Umm Humm." Tara responded looking down.

"How's Aunt Wiwwow?"

"Your mommy and I already asked that question, sweetie." Anya spoke up taking a seat beside them.

Tara looked at her and crinkled her brows together.

"What?" Anya asked.

"Aunt Willow is doing as best as she can." Tara held the child closer.

Lacey rested on Tara's arm. She stuck her thumb in her mouth and closed her eyes as Tara started humming.

Buffy hated to bring up the occurrences that happened at the warehouse, but she knew the police would more or less hound Tara about the specifics.

"Tara, we need to talk." She said in a low tone.

Everyone else stood and began to walk out of the room.

"We're going to see how Cordy is." Angel said as he was the last to walk out.

Buffy turned to the woman who was cradling her daughter. "I need to know exactly what happened. I know that you shot Faith but Spike had thrown himself on top of Lacey and I so I really didn't see anything. You wanna tell me."

Tara sat there still humming and rocking the now sleeping Lacey.

"Tara, please talk to me. You have always confided in me and vice versa." Buffy placed her hand on Tara's arm.

"It's simple. She tried to shoot me. Willow pushed me out of the way. She tried to shoot you and I grabbed my gun from my ankle and shot her." Tara said without even thinking.

Buffy saw the new wave of tears streaming down Tara's face.

"You know and I know it's not that simple. I hate to bring it out so bluntly but you killed her."

"I know what I did. I know I killed her. She tried to kill my family and she might have killed the love of my life. And...and now we don't know if Willow's going to make it. She could die Buffy and it's my fault." Tara lowered her head. Tears fell onto Lacey's shirt.

"Why do you think it's your fault?" Buffy asked confused and more than concerned.

"That bullet should have been for me, not Willow. I should have listened to her and stayed out of the way." Cries racked her body. She covered her eyes with one hand.

"Tara, Faith would have tried to kill her anyway and you and the rest of us. I can't explain it but some kind of force was there to protect us. Will is strong and she knows that you're O.K. so she's gonna be O.K."

"I hope so." Tara looked into Buffy's eyes.

A man in green scrubs walked in the door. "Where is the family of Willow Rosenberg?"

Buffy stood up. "I'm her sister and this is her girlfriend." She pointed over to Tara. Buffy knew that if she didn't tell the doctor she was family, he wouldn't let her know anything. Besides, Willow was like a sister to her anyway.

"I'm Dr. Willis. Ms. Rosenberg has been taken to the operating room upstairs on the fourth floor."

"How is she doing?" Tara asked.

"The bullet went through the left ventricle. We were able to remove the bullet and control the bleeding to a point, but there was only so much we could do. A cardiologist was called in. He is one of the best."

"How long will be in surgery?" Buffy asked

"I really couldn't tell you. I can tell you that there was a lot of damage." Dr. Willis dropped his head.

"Thank you doctor." Tara said. Her heart was clinching in her chest.

"I hope your sister will come through this." He told Buffy. He looked at Tara. "She's one lucky girl to have someone to love her like you do."

"She's my everything." Tara said with every bit of truth that could be poured out in one sentence.

The doctor smiled and nodded his head. He turned around and left.

Tara paced back and forth in the waiting room of the fourth floor. "What's taking them so long?"

"Tara, they had a lot to repair." Buffy said.

The distressed blonde sat and sighed. "What if something is really wrong? What if they can't fix the problem?"

"They will, Tara. Just have faith." Buffy said before she realized her words. "Oh Tara, I'm sorry."

"It's alright. I know you were just being supportive Buffy." Tara smiled sweetly at her friend. She had said those same words to Buffy over the entire ordeal with Lacey.

A doctor came into the waiting room. "Willow Rosenberg's family?"

Tara immediately stood up and was standing in front of the doctor. Buffy pushed up from her seat and stood beside Tara. "I'm her sister."

The doctor looked skeptically at Buffy. He didn't notice any resemblance from the blonde to the redhead he had spent the last four hours operating on. He shook the thought out of his head and looked at the other blonde. "And who might you be?"

"I'm Willow's girlfriend." Tara said honestly and with love.

He could see the trail of dried tears that ran down her face.

"I'm Doctor Manning. Miss Rosenberg is in recovery. She'll be in there for an hour and then she'll be moved to ICU on the first floor. You'll be able to go in there and see her." He nodded towards Buffy. "Unfortunately, hospital regulations won't allow you to go miss." He looked at Tara.

"But, I need to be with her." Tara said as a fresh wave of tears streamed down her face. Buffy put her arm around Tara's side and pulled her close.

The doctor saw the desperation in the young woman's eyes. "Tell you what. Just play the sister part like this one," he looked at Buffy, "and they'll let you in."

Tara smiled and then it faded as quickly as it came. "How is she?"

"Holding her own. There was considerable damage to the left atrium. I repaired the hole and it amazes me how someone could survive such damage. She's a strong one."

"That's my Willow." Tara whispered.

"The next twenty four hours are going to be critical. Let's just hope her strength holds out." Doctor Manning said as he wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead.

Tara walked closer to the man and hugged him tight. "Thank you."

He patted Tara's back. "You're welcome." He pulled her back. "You need to get some rest. Try and eat something. You need to be strong for her."

Tara smiled and nodded her head. "I'll rest when she's beside me at home."

"Well, if you'll both excuse me, I need to call my boyfriend." He smiled and left out of the room.

"How come when it comes to the really cute guys, their either taken or gay?" Buffy asked putting her hand on her hip.

Tara's eyes widened. "Buffy, umm you have a husband and he is cute."

"Exactly my point, he's taken." Buffy smiled. The tension from Tara was more than evident and she thought with a little bit of humor could lighten the gloomy mood.

Tara smiled and bumped her hip against Buffy's.

"Let's go find the other's and tell them the news and then we'll go grab some coffee while we wait. O.K." Buffy suggested.

Tara nodded her head. She really didn't want to leave knowing that she was going to have to put more distance between herself and Willow.

"She'll be fine." Buffy said as she gently guided her friend out of the room.

Angel sat on the couch in Cordelia's room, close to falling asleep. His eyes popped open when Buffy and Tara walked in. Buffy noticed her husband and took a seat beside her. Tara walked over to Cordelia's bed and put her hand on Anya's shoulder. "How's she doing?"

Anya sat there holding on to Cordelia's hand, never taking her eyes off her unconscious friend. "She's doing alright. She came around earlier, but the doctors gave her something to make her go to sleep." Anya shook her head. "I'll never understand that part."

Tara rubbed her hand over Anya's back. She looked over her shoulder at Buffy and Angel sitting and holding one another. "Where's everyone else?" She asked.

"Spike and Xander took Lacey back to the house. Dawn's there taking care of her. How's Willow doing?" Angel asked.

"She's in recovery. They're going to move her to ICU after." Buffy told him putting her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes.

"Why don't you two go back home and be with you're little girl." Tara told them. She could see the two were totally exhausted from the week's events. "You guys need to rest."

"Are you sure?" Buffy asked. She wanted to go home desperately and hold Lacey and Angel and feel the security of her family.

Tara smiled and nodded.

"I'll stay Buffy." Anya spoke up. "I don't want Cordy to be here alone when she wakes up. Even though I'm sure she'll hate the idea of waking up and the first thing she sees is my face." She let out a little laugh.

Tara bent down and kissed her on top of her head. "I'm sure she'll love to see you."

Buffy stood and helped Angel on his feet. He grunted in pain. Buffy made sure he was sturdy on his feet. She walked the remaining distance between herself and Tara. She wrapped her arms around her and held tight. "She's going to be fine. She'll be back to her old self in no time."

Tara held Buffy just as tight. "I hope so. She's my life, Buffy. I don't know what I'd do if something happened...." Tara swallowed hard. She didn't even want to fathom the thought.

"The only thing that is going to happen is that you two are going to be together for a long, long time." Angel commented.

Tara let go of Buffy's embrace and walked over to him. "I love you." She told him as she carefully hugged him.

He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her head. "I love you too."

Buffy stood and wiped tears that welled in her eyes. She was relieved to have the emotion of relief and the love and devotion for the people who filled her life. She let a few tears fall thinking of her friend who still remained critical. She looked down at Cordelia and gave her a sad smile. She took her hand and squeezed it slightly and let it go. She looked at Anya and smiled. Anya smiled back.

Angel pulled back from Tara and looked at his wife. He held out his hand and Buffy walked to him and took it in hers. She gave him a kiss on the cheek. "I love you."

"I love you too. Let's get home to our baby." Angel sighed knowing that Lacey was safe and sound.

Buffy looked at Tara. "Call if you need anything." She stressed the last word.

"I will. Be careful." Tara said as she watched the two leave out. She turned her attention back to Anya. "You want to go get something to drink." She said as she placed Anya's hair behind her ear.

"Yes. I think that would be alright." She stood up and bent down to Cordelia. "I'll be right back." She kissed her on the head. She stood upright and stroked Cordelia's hair. "I'll have to get you a hairbrush from the gift shop. If you saw how it looked, you would absolutely freak."

Tara let out a silent giggle as she held the door open for Anya.

Tara and Anya took a seat at a table in the cafeteria.

"So what did the doctor say?" Anya asked as she put sugar in her coffee.

"He said that they repaired the bullet hole. The next twenty four hours are critical." Tara said as she sighed

"Are you going to stay?"

"Of course!" Tara shouted out. She saw the surprised look on Anya's face. "Sorry. It's pretty rough being without her."

Anya placed her hand on Tara's arm. "I know and I am sorry she got shot. I like Willow. She's nice to me, sometimes. I know I get on peoples nerves but I don't mean to. Sometimes they don't understand, like Cordelia but she is such a drama queen. She likes to run the show."

Tara tilted her head and looked at the woman puzzled. "Then why are you here? I know you don't get along with her at all."

"She's my best friend. I like fussing with her. I know she and Xander have a past and I can accept that. I just like giving her a hard time. I like when she gets mad." Anya admitted.

"That's kind of a strange friendship." Tara said still confused.

"I know but I don't think either one of us would have it any other way. At least she is honest with me. Friends are totally honest with each other."

"That's true. I want you to know that I am your friend and I'll be honest with you." Tara said holding Anya's hand.

Anya looked at the blonde. "Thank you."

Tara looked at the clock on the wall. She stood up from the table. "I'm going to go and wait until they move Willow into ICU."

Anya stood up. "Well, I'll go back to Cordelia's room. Maybe she'll wake up soon."

Both women hugged and went their separate ways.

Tara walked out of the elevator. She went down the long corridor and watched Dr. Manning and nurses rush medical equipment down the hall to the recovery room. A knot welled up in Tara's stomach. She began to walk then picked up the pace. Her heart pounded as she ran down the same hall following them.

She stopped right outside the door and watched the doctor hover over a patient. She couldn't see who it was on the bed until she noticed the glint of red hair. She stood there in total shock.

"Get me 300 cc's of heparin! Get the defibrillator ready! She's slipping!" The doctor shouted and the nurses ran around the room.

Everything became silent to Tara as she willed her legs to move towards the mass of people. She stood clear and she watched. She saw her beloved laying there with her chest exposed, a woman placing a breathing bag over Willow's face pumping on it slowly. She watched as the doctor plunged a syringe into the redhead's chest. He placed his stethoscope over her heart. He shook his head and began pushing up and down on Willow's chest. Tara looked at a screen on the wall that looked all too familiar. She saw the illuminated green line that remained flat. She tilted her head to the side and studied it. She looked at the red numbers and watched them flash.

The nurse picked up paddles from a machine. She watched as everyone stood back. The woman placed the paddles on Willow. Her eyes widened when she saw the limp redhead's body jerk up from the bed and flop back down. She watched the doctor place his hands back on Willow's chest and began pushing again.

One word brought all the sounds rushing back into Tara's ears.

"Willow, come on honey!" Dr. Manning shouted.

"Clear!" The nurse said as she held the paddles against Willow again.

Tara watched in terror as she saw her love's body flop up and down again.

"We're losing her!" He placed his stethoscope back against Willow's chest. "Nothing." He said. He balled up his hands into a huge fist and pounded repeatedly.

"NO!!!" Tara screamed.

"Get her out of here!" A nurse shouted.

A large woman walked towards Tara. She gently put her arm around the blonde and tried to guide her out the door.

Tara pushed the woman out of the way. She ran past everyone standing around Willow's bed.

"Hit her again." The doctor ordered holding on to Tara's waist.

"Clear." The nurse sent another surge of electricity through Willow.

They all looked up at the monitor. The doctor sighed. He stood up and looked over at the nurse holding the bag over Willow's mouth and shook his head. She looked sadly at the redhead and removed the bag.

Tara shook her head back and forth. "No. No. NO! NO! She can't do this!" Tara pushed the doctor to the side.

He was going to intercede but decided against it. He had it in his mind that there was nothing more to do.

Tara leaned down over Willow. "Baby, please!" She cried. "You can't do this. Come back to me. I love you so much. I need you." She placed her head down on Willow's chest. Her cries were heard around the room. Dr. Manning stood there as tears streamed down his face. The nurses were crying as well.

"Please Willow. Please come back to me." Tara pleaded as she laid over her dead love.

The doctor placed his hands on Tara's shoulder and gently pulled her up. He held the blonde against him. "I'm sorry sweetie."

Tara looked up at him. She jutted out her chin. She whipped her body around and quickly straddled over Willow hips.

"Goddamn it Willow! You promised me you would never leave me!" She bent down and gently kissed Willow on the lips. She picked Willow up by her shoulders and held her. She stroked the red hair and rocked back and forth. She placed Willow's ear over her heart. "Can you hear that? That beats only for you." Tears poured from her eyes. She held Willow close. "Hear it baby? It's all yours. I'm all yours, forever."


Dr. Manning barely heard the sound.


"Doctor?" A nurse stood there in total shock as she looked at the monitor.

BEEP......BEEP.......BEEP....BEEP The sound of the monitor sounded through the entire room. Everyone stood there staring at the screen.

"That's it baby. Come back to me." Tara still held Willow against her chest.

Dr. Manning placed his hand on Tara's shoulder. She looked at him and smiled.

"You are amazing." He wiped more tears from his eyes.

"She is." Tara said still holding her love tight.

"We need to take it from here." Dr. Manning said to the blonde.

Tara kissed Willow's head as she gently lowered her back down on the mattress. She got down off the bed and stood holding onto Willow's hand. She bent down and placed her forehead against Willow's. "I love you."

"Looovuuu." A mumbled whisper came from the redhead.

"You show me how much you love me by staying alive." Tara said low enough so only Willow could hear.

A faint smile rose on the redhead's lips.

Continue to Labyrinth Chapter Ten

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