A/N: so so very sorry that it took forever and a year for me to get back to this story.
The three women stood outside the building in a vain effort to gather themselves. Buffy's anger was boiling over so badly that she knew she would have to go kill something to quash it. Willow was filled with elation and sadness, both of which threatened to over-flow. She was thrilled that Tara was alive and well and sad because she had been fooled into believing someone else was Tara. She wondered what Tara would think that said of the extent of Willow's love for her.
"There are more of them," Tara said quietly, in an effort not to deal with her own emotions. Those of anger towards those who put her in this position and anxiety for the amount of time that she had missed with Willow. Most of all, she felt hurt and sadness for what Willow had gone through in terms of grieving over her when she wasn't even dead.
"It doesn't matter how many more exist," Buffy said confidently. "We've got you back now and they won't get a chance to pull this off again."
Tears streamed from Willow's eyes as the women walked up to the door of Willow's apartment. Neither Willow nor Buffy had thought of the time or the fact that Kennedy was probably back. They didn't think of it right up to the point when Buffy opened the door with Willow's key, as Tara tried to comfort the redhead. "Kennedy," Buffy said softly, which jarred Willow's thoughts back into the present.
"Willow," Kennedy said and moved towards the obviously shaken redhead. She stopped suddenly, having spotted a woman that looked like Willow's deceased lover, Tara. "What the hell is going on here!" Kennedy shouted with rage plastered on her face.
"Kennedy I…" Willow started to speak but didn't know where to begin. She just wanted to envelop Tara in her arms and enjoy their reunion. Not to mention, the fatigue of several years was creeping up on her. Everyone knew that she had not rested well since Tara's death and she now felt as though she could sleep for a week.
Tara took the initiative having seen that Willow looked worn out. She looked as if she'd carried the burdens of a million souls on her shoulders for far too long and Tara wanted to now alleviate some of that burden. "I am Tara Maclay," she said with a hint of uncertainty in her voice due to the fact that initiating was never one of her strong suits.
"I don't know who the hel you think you are but you are not going to do this shit to my girlfriend!" Kennedy bellowed and ran at Tara with slayer speed.
Buffy took the opportunity to show that her speed was still faster and snatched Kennedy up like a rag doll. "It's Tara Kennedy and you aren't going to hurt her. I know you are like royally screwed up right now and pissed but I won't allow it. They need to get their thoughts in check and discuss this in the morning. So this means that you are coming with me!"
"Like hell I am!" Kennedy shrieked and planted a swift kick to Buffy's midsection. "I have been there for Willow through a lot of bullshit concerning Tara and won't let anymore go on!" She pushed herself away from Buffy but the slayer did not release her grip.
"Kennedy don't make me fight you on this because you will lose." Buffy said emphatically, as she looked at her friends.
"Buffy she didn't know," Tara said with a confused look on her face and sympathetic tone in her voice. She should have known that Willow would have someone after so much time. She felt bad for wrecking that for the woman who was valiantly trying to get loose from Buffy's death grip.
"Normally I would feel bad too Tara but this woman had the habit of pushing Willow around because she couldn't get over you. She also hit her once or twice I am told. Regardless as to whether or not you came back into the picture, Will didn't need this bitch in her life!" Buffy said and momentarily allowed her anger to win. She slapped Kennedy across the face so hard that her head snapped back and the echo of the sound bounced throughout the room with a definitive ring.
"Kennedy I'm sorry about all of this. Willow finally got her wits about her enough to speak. "You knew that I loved Tara and I had to stop talking to you about it to keep from being attacked verbally and possibly physically. I know some of your behavior is my fault but," Willow looked at Kennedy as Tara put a gentle hand of reassurance on her arm. "I was going to let you go even if Tara hadn't come back. It wasn't fair to either of us to live like this. I was turning you into a cold hard person and that was unfair."
Kennedy looked around the room at the three people who surrounded her. Like a light bulb with a new flash, her resolve caved. "I'll pack in the morning." She had a sad but knowing look on her face as Buffy gave her a chance and let her loose. She knew deep down that Willow was right and the best thing to do was go. She had even contemplated as much on many occasions but never had the guts to do it.
As Buffy followed Kennedy out the door after hugging the two women fiercely, Willow hugged Tara and tears fell fast and furious from both women's eyes. "I told you that I'd always find you Tara." Willow said softly and hugged the love of her life tightly.
"I heard those words in my head that night that we had dinner." Tara said and fir the first time since being rescued, kissed Willow passionately. It was a kiss that made both women feel that everything would be all right in the end.
During their night of talking to catch up on the past few years, love making and words of adoration, they vowed to never lose each other again.