Chapter One

Seeing Red

A/N This is the fallout of Season 6 in the world without shrimp. Starting with, how Tara didn't die. Set in s6ep19. A side by side comparison of both sets of events. Warning, mention of Tara's death, but really is the events of the night before. I had to do the real version first otherwise it would be unclear how the events were different. And that wouldn't make any sense now would it? Next chapter is the alternate version. And shorter maybe, I am undecided. Perhaps?

Sunnydale, Earth 2002

"Will?" Tara said quietly, they were laying side by side in bed, finally finishing round three of the day. Willow's head picked up from her shoulder, softly placing a kiss on her cheek as stared longingly into the blonde's deep blue eyes as she mumbled a slow 'yes?' Somewhere in the midst of their lovemaking it had grown darker, now sometime around midnight. "Do you think Buffy is ok?"

Willow mumbled something as she settled back into Tara's shoulder, "I was just thinking about that actually. I don't know what happened. I-I..." Tara shuffled, clearly there was something Willow had failed to mention; she seemed fidgety, uncomfortable now, her hand snaked down Tara's arm and clutched at her palm, lacing their fingers together.

"What is it?" Willow didn't answer, just kept still, watching the door. Tara lifted her fingers out of Willow's hold and drew out her chin with her delicate tips. Bringing Willow's face closer to hers, gently pressing a tender kiss to her lover's lips. "Willow Rosenberg, you will tell me what is going on right now." Willow whimpered, she didn't like this loss of lips. She sat up leaning on her elbows as she gave in to Tara's begging. She could never resist those.

"Earlier, after we decrypted those blueprints I went to the bathroom to find Buffy to tell her and..." Willow trailed off, she could feel her eyes well a little, tears jabbing at her sockets as she sniffled. Tara pulled her tighter, stroking a soft hand through the red hair on her lap. "I walked in and Buffy..." She sniffled again, bringing her hand up to her nose, wiping away any excess. "Sh-she was on the floor, her leg..." Her voice was crumbling into a stutter now, all shaky and out of breath. "She covered it so I wouldn't see, but I did. I saw it." Willow turned her head down into Tara's leg as she wept, it had hit her too hard. They'd both heard the shouts, Spike's anger raging, muffled by several walls and their passionate moans of lovemaking, but in the background she'd heard it. She'd seen the purple blotches rising to the surface of the skin and put two and two together, that and Buffy's tears. She looked so broken. And it broke Willow to see her so much in ruin after she'd been so reckless and wild with happiness. It was the guilt that stained her tears, painful jabs as they rolled mercilessly down her cheeks onto Tara's bare thigh.

Tara brought her lips down to where Willow was laying, kissing her forehead tenderly she wiped away some of the tears with soft fingers, running her index under Willow's eye gently. "Sweetie what, what was on her leg?" Tara asked barely a whisper between them, they were so close sound didn't matter, Willow could feel the words echo through her loud enough for Tara to understand without even saying anything. "You th-think, Sp-Spike, you think h-he?" She stumbled out, messing up her words. They barely got out in one piece, how she used to speak. Willow didn't answer just turned back to Tara's leg and sniffled. That was sniffle spelt y-e-s. "Oh goddess." Tara said softly, her stomach churning, she couldn't bare it, the thought of it. If someone ever did that to Willow she would want to strangle them, of course she'd never go through with it that was just the person she was, but the thought, someone, hurting Willow. Taking advantage like that.

"I'm Willow-rambling." She mumbled, rubbing her own eyes she didn't notice Willow sit up and face her, a puzzle bestowing her freckly face. The teary redhead was bemused, she'd heard something, perhaps her own name, but it was blurry.

"Huh?" She said tilting her head slightly to the left as Tara opened her eyes. And what she saw was well, nothing short of adorable. Willow's puffy eyes clearing of tears as her hair stuck up in places and her cheeks' flashing red faded back to it's usual peach. And the expression on her face was priceless, pure confusion, eyebrows raised in utter delirium, she was intrinsic and gorgeous. Tara couldn't resist planting several small kisses on her lips before replying, she was just delicious.

"Bares repeating. Huh?" Willow said, her face contorting even further still, lips pursing.

"Oh..." Tara looked down, it was her turn to blush. Scarlet sliding down her neck, her hair falling in messy honey-coloured scraps around her face, cupping her cheeks. She laced Willow's hands, squeezing her gently. "I was... In my head, I-I." She paused again, dragging out her utterances, how she loved to tease Willow further. "I was Willow rambling." She admitted, now blushing more, as that oh so delightful half smile creased her lips. Willow smirk, raising one eyebrow, her eyes drooped her hair curtaining the etching smile lines around her mouth. She leaned forward, lunging herself at Tara's lips, crashing into them with a smile but she broke quickly for a cheeky remark.

"Ohh you were Willow-rambling were you?" Tara nodded her movements far too large for life, as she attacked Willow's lips again, her head hitting the headboard roughly.

"Ahh." Her head winced, snowballing the headache that was already settling. "Wait Will, stop a minute." She managed to squeeze out between heavy Willow-kisses. Willow looked a little concerned and immediately broke the warmth between them, to cup Tara's cheek and check she was alright. With an affirming nod, Willow began searching her scalp for a laceration, but there was nothing. No blood, nothing to write home about. Willow kissed her forehead.

"You ok baby?" She said, her lips lingering over Tara's salty temple. "You're kinda sweaty, and hot. Which, with all the sex wouldn't be too strange but you don't seem quite right." Now Willow was Willow-rambling, as she did best.

Tara winced again holding her head gently pressing it into her palm. "Yeah, um, my head kinda hurts and my tummy feels funny. But it's probably just everything that's happened today, it'd been a big day Will, with Buffy and with the trio and everything, and then us." Willow smiled, recollecting the day in her head, the playback of many kisses, Tara's lingering smell and then the thought of Buffy laying on the bathroom floor so vulnerable and broken made her throat clam as she stifled another bout of tears. She pepped talked herself, telling her brain to pull itself together and that Tara was in pain and that was more important right now.

"It has been a whirlwind, especially us, I've missed you so much baby, and having you back is only going to help me get better." She gazed into the blue pools staring back at her, she could always get trapped in the perpetual bliss of Tara's sparkly eyes. Then suddenly remembering Tara's headache she sat up, squeezed Tara's hand and peeled herself from the bed, not stopping to grab a sheet though. Then she was back, chin leaning on the doorframe. "I am going to get you some water and an aspirin for that head of yours." She murmured, now surprisingly sleepy, Tara-kisses making her lightheaded.

Seeing Willow saunter off was the highlight of Tara's day, her ass looked so cute when she walked off, and as for walking around the house naked, was well, Tara had to admit seriously sexy. But given the amount of people currently staying was a tad risky. You never knew who was looking.

The sun rose quickly the next morning, the warm May sun glowing through the weeping windows as Tara stirred and noticed Willow already staring at her. "Ohh hello." She said in the sultry version of her voice she used when they were alone. Pressing a quick kiss to Willow's lips she murmured an 'mmm' and then reached over for the glass of water sitting coldly, making water rings on the side table cloth. Her head felt much better, surprisingly they had slept quite well, her having been asleep when Willow returned the night before. Still tangled in webs of red blankets they decided on getting up. Really it was for the best and with everything that had happened with Buffy and the trio yesterday they thought an earlier start might be welcome. It had been almost eleven by the time their entwined limbs had entangled the day before and staying up later was preventing the daylight hours of research they'd been missing due to sleeping in and well, all the makeup sex they seemed to be having.

"What do you think it was in the end?" Willow asked half way through buttoning her jeans, glancing at Tara's ass as she wriggled into hers, smiling cheekily to herself.

"What was sweetie?" She'd been so wrapped up in getting dressed Tara had actually forgotten about her head. Looking at Willow slightly puzzled, before she saw Willow gesture to her temple. "Oh umm, probably just some dodgy shrimp, those darn shrimp are always out to get me?" She laughed and caught Willow's eye in the mirror as they finished actually putting on clothes in what felt like forever. Willow wondered if she would miss clothes if her and Tara lived in their own little world, one in which they wouldn't have to fight monsters or evil, just be themselves.

"Probably not," she muttered under her breath no loud enough for Tara to hear, or so she thought.

"Probably not what?" The blonde said as she sauntered over to her girlfriend, her hips dancing, carving little circles into the air as she swayed. Now it was Willow's turn to half smile and flash through all the naughty details of the previous day, giggling perfectly as she felt so contented and happy. In this moment at least, where the other things stopped praying on her mind and she could just focus on Tara, her beautiful, wonderful, magical Tara, who was good enough, so good. Her moral standpoint was scary, but then Willow never was scared of heights so that was never an issue. She was off topic, apparently Tara was asking a question and she was just blaring her brain through all of wonderfulness she'd missed.

"Hmph." Her mouth grunted, doing up the final button of her blouse as Tara came to a stop in front of her. "Hey, clothes." She said, it was something she'd scraped together, because that had been her last conscious thought before her brain so scandalously distracted her from real life.

"Better not get used to 'em." Tara replied, scanning Willow's body, undressing her again with her piercing eyes.

Then Willow was flirting back and pulling on her belt loops, "yes ma'am" she'd heard, but didn't really process because Willow's lips trapped her. Their arms wrapping each other into a tight embrace as their lips met, their cosier morning style of kisses that floated intimacy. Willow's thumb resting at the lull of Tara's back, the edge softly holding her, it was an angle holding great leverage and really Willow was in control of where the kiss went.

Then a flashing moment passed and Willow was staring down at the lifeless shell at her feet, feeling the magic course through her veins, it was dark, dark blood pulsing as it consumed her. She knew where she must go next. Her feet carried her through the house, the emotional centres of her brain running on autopilot as rage and anger controlled her. Willow couldn't stop, her body moved of its own volition leaving Tara behind.