A Deal with Osiris

"Hmph," murmured Willow, fastening the last button of her white shirt, red hair falling over her shoulders. "Hey, clothes!" she said playfully, rubbing her hands on her jeans. Warm sunlight shone through the window behind her.

Tara, standing in front of her, eyed the clothes, and replied, "Better not get used to 'em." A smile played at her lips.

"Mmm, yes, ma'am," Willow said smoothly, grabbing the waist of Tara's jeans and pulling her into a kiss. Their lips brushed, and both gave in to their affection. Their mouths separated and they clung to each other in a tight embrace.

"Mmm," let out a content Tara. Her eyes drifted up and through the glittering window. She noticed Buffy poking around the bushes on the lawn, Xander approaching from behind. "Xander," she pronounced, almost unsurely.

"Okay, not quite the response I was fishin' for," exclaimed Willow with a smile, walking over to the mahogany dresser.

Tara moved closer to the window. "No, he's here." Proving her point, she gestured down to the lawn.

Opening a drawer, Willow asked hopefully, "Think they're making up?"

"I hope so," answered Tara with a smile, "that's the best part."

Smiling herself, Willow walked over to Tara, and they kissed once more. They broke apart, Willow grabbing Tara's hand and taking a step back. "I'm glad to have you back, baby."

Tara sighed in return.

Willow frowned. "What? Are you not glad to have me back? Cuz…when we were in bed…"

"No!" Tara laughed. "No, it's not that. It's just," she looked away. "It w-was hard." She was silent for a moment, then elaborated, "When I would see you, and touch you…it was hard not to give in."

This earned a grin from Willow. "Guess that just means we were," she paused for dramatic effect, "meant to be." She kissed Tara again, and said, "I love you."
Tara whispered back, "I love you too."

Willow walked back towards the dresser, but stopped halfway, turning back to face Tara. "Wanna have more crazy sex later?" She smiled optimistically.

"You're making me wait?" Tara smirked, and they both laughed.

A loud bang erupted from outside, followed by four more. The glass behind Tara shattered, and blood sprayed onto Willow's shirt.

Tara was staring at the red liquid that now stained Willow's clothes. "Your shirt," she said, confusion written across her face, and then she collapsed to the ground.
Willow exclaimed, "Tara?" She ran to Tara's side, falling onto her knees. "Tara?" she said again, more urgently. Tears began to fall from her eyes, and she sobbed, "Baby?" She picked Tara up into her lap. "Baby come on!" She began to rock Tara. "Get up!" she cried. "No!" she wailed. "No!" More sobs escaped her lips. "No!" she said again. Weeping, she tilted her head up, and she felt the magic overtake her. Her eyes turned black, then flashed into red.

She looked back down, now breathing heavily. "Oh, God! Oh, no!" She held Tara's head and looked at her still face. "Please! Please, come on!" She sobbed. "Come on, Tara!" she urged, tears streaming onto the floor. "Please, come on, baby!" She gasped, letting out another wrenching sob.

Wind began to howl, and dark clouds gathered above them, casting the room in shadows. Willow looked up at the ceiling, eyes black once more. "By Osiris… I command you, bring her back!" There was a flash of lightning in answer. "Hear me, Keeper of Darkness!"

The clouds formed a funnel in front of her, and it slammed into the ground. A face appeared in the billowing mass, and it began to speak, voice deep and rough, "Witch! How dare you invoke Osiris in this task."

"Please," she pleaded, "please, bring her back."

Lightning coursed along Osiris' billowing face. "You may not violate the laws of natural passing."

Willow looked down at Tara's body in disbelief, "How? How is this natural?"

Osiris growled, "It is a human death by human means."

"But I-"

"You raised one killed by mystical forces," Osiris cut her off. "This is not the same." Willow shook her head. "She is taken by natural order. It is done."

"No! There has to be a way!" Tears were streaming down Willow's face.

"It is done!" Osiris repeated, voice growing louder.

"No!" Willow yelled. Her outburst created a beam of rippling energy that slammed into the cloud, causing Osiris to scream. "There must be a way. A…" she looked around desperately, "a trade!"

Osiris, weakened from her blast, said firmly, "There can be no trade!"

"M-my magic. I…I'll give up my magic!" Willow exclaimed in a final attempt.

Osiris chuckled evilly. "You would give up your powers, given to you by the forces of darkness, to bring back this pathetic human?"

Willow hesitated. Did she really want to do this? "Yes…yes, I would!" she decided. "Take it. Take my magic! Without her… I'm nothing!"

Lightning cracked, brightening up the room. "With her you are useless!" Osiris spat. "Her power could never compare with yours!"

"I don't care!" Willow cried, "Take it!"

"It cannot be undone!"

"Take it!" Willow shouted.

"It is done!" Osiris said with a final flash of violet lightning.

Willow felt the magic rip from the very fibers of her body, tear from her soul. She screamed as pain coursed through her nerves. Orbs of pulsing light burst from her chest, hurtling towards Osiris where they disappeared in his mass. Then it was over, and Willow collapsed onto her hands, weak from the strain.

The clouds receded and soon disappeared, returning the room to its normal state. In her lap, Tara began to cough. Willow looked down as Tara's eyes opened weakly.

Outside, the wailing sirens of an ambulance approached.