The way we were.

Tara's dorm, in the not too distant past…

Tara had been writing in her notebook for her art appreciation class at UCS when a knock at the door resounded. She acknowledged the person on the other side and got up from where she was sitting. She opened the door to see a mountain of boxes.

"So…is there a person behind all of those boxes?"

All she could hear was a muffled "mm hmm" and then decided to relieve her visitor of her cumbersome load of boxes. There were three boxes that were on the top, and Tara took one of them into her arms. After it was lifted she could see Dawn with an exhausted look on her face.

"Oh thank god you took those boxes…I thought I was going to die."

Tara smiled warmly and led Dawn into the dorm, meanwhile Dawn could not help but give a sigh of relief as she entered the dorm. Tara placed her box on a coffee table and took hold of another box that Dawn was carrying. And when all of the boxes were set down Tara and Dawn both exchanged hugs. Dawn sat on a beanbag chair that Tara had on the floor and Tara sat next to the coffee table to go through the boxes. Dawn knew that the boxes were filled with stuff from the magic box, but she didn't know what Tara needed with them.

"So, Tara…did you give Anya a shiny penny to get all this stuff?"

Tara had hardly noticed Dawn's question as she started to take some stuff out of the top box. Dawn recognized some of the things she took out, like sage sticks, some orbs of thessolah, some loral leaves, and then some talisman with a large red stone in the middle of it.

"Oh! That one's pretty."

Tara nodded and examined it closer, then she had realized that she had been slightly ignoring Dawn.

"I'm sorry sweetie, um yeah you're right…it is pretty but it is a little dangerous."

Dawn got a confused look on her face as she looked at the seemingly harmless amulet.

"Color me confused…how is that pretty little thing dangerous?"

Tara, again, did not break her concentration.

"You would be really surprised to know that some things with the greatest beauty can be the most dangerous. This little thing here…it is a sort of teleportations amulet that takes the wearer to an alternate dimension filled with evil entities."

Dawn was surprised, Tara really meant it when she said some of the prettiest things could be the most dangerous. Tara was sort of shocked with her words as well. She had inadvertently reminded herself of Willow, she was the most beautiful person she knew, but was also the most dangerous person she knew.

"Dawn…I think I should take you back to the magic shop…I don't want Anya to think you pulled another klepto attempt on her inventory."

"Okay…let's go."

A short time before the big battle… "So…Dru. Are we clear on what you are supposed to do when you go back to the dorm?"

Dru smiled and turned to Tara, her hair flowing in the nighttime breeze of Sunnydale.

"Oh yes, dearest. A little puff of smoke and I send that woman away to a land of spooks. And then my Spike will be with me."