Disclaimers;
In the beginning there was no life on Tuesday's prime-time schedule. Then the great Joss said, "Let there be Buffy!" And it was good. Joss owns all he surveys, I'm just hangin' out in his universe.

Author's note;
This is my follow-up to "Life Is Sweet", where I explore the relationships between Buffy, Willow and Tara in new ways that Joss would never even consider. Well, he'd probably consider them, he'd just never try to get them past the sensors.

Rating; R

Summary;
In a desperate attempt to save Buffy from a nasty demon, Willow and Tara unleash a spell whose long-term consequences will change the lives of all three women.

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THE THIRD POWER
Written by Kirayoshi
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Chapter 4
Head Over Feet
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"I had no choice, but to hear you.
You've stated your case time and again.
I've thought about it.

You treat me like I'm a princess.
I'm not used to liking it.
You ask how my day was.

You've already won me over,
In spite of me,
Don't be alarmed if I've fallen
Head over feet,
Don't be surprised if I love you
For all that you are.
I couldn't help it,
It's all your fault."

--Alanis Morissette
"Head Over Feet"


"Hey, guys, a little help here," Buffy teased as she fumbled in her purse for her dorm key. She found the task slightly more difficult because of the Chinese take out boxes she was balancing with one hand while she fished through her purse with the other. "Tara, would you please take the stir-fried beef off my hands before it lands on the floor?"

"Right, Buffy," Tara gingerly removed the top box from Buffy's arm, smirking slightly at the spectacle of Buffy trying to find her key one-handed.

Willow gently pushed past Buffy, smiling as she produced her own dorm key. Buffy glared at her, asking, "Why didn't you volunteer that before?"

"Mainly for the entertainment value," Willow grinned puckishly. Tara struggled to maintain a straight face, but finally abandoned her efforts in a burst of laughter.

"Oh, sure," Buffy scowled in false gravity. "Take her side. You know what I'm gonna do to you two tonight?"

"No," Tara chimed in as she placed her load of take-out boxes on a nearby desk, "but we can hope." With those words, she slipped behind Buffy, wrapped her arms around the Slayer's waist, and started to kiss the back of her neck. Buffy leaned back, thoroughly enjoying this treatment.

Willow watched the two of them for a second, before pursing her lips in a wolf-whistle. "Hey, guys," she teased her loves, "let's come up for air, shall we?" She looked around the room, and asked, "Hey, Tara, have you seen Miss Kitty Fantastico?"

Tara glanced at Buffy's bed, and smiled. "There she is," Tara announced, "and she's made a new friend." Buffy looked at her bed, and grinned when saw a small black kitten curled up next to Mr. Gordo. Willow nodded at the sight, and went to the mini-fridge. Pulling out a carton of milk, she poured some milk in a small dish, and set it on the floor. Tara went to the bed, and nudged Miss Kitty from her sleep. The kitten yawned and stretched, jumped off the bed and scampered to the milk. The three girls sat on the bed and watched the kitten lap up the milk happily.

"Okay, guys, let's eat," Buffy announced as she got off the bed to grab the take-out boxes, which she placed on the bed. "Oh, I've got cola or root beer to wash this down. Especially the General's Chicken, I hear that's pretty hot."

"Actually," Willow suggested, "I just got some new stuff from the 24-7. In the back of the fridge." Buffy reached back into the fridge, and pulled out three bottles. She read the label on one bottle; "Eros Punch?" She regarded Willow with a questioning leer.

"It's just an apple-grape drink," Willow explained, blushing slightly as Tara giggled, "with guarna and other herbs. Supposed to help build stamina."

"Well," Buffy looked at Willow with a knowing eye. "In that case, heads up." She tossed a bottle to Tara, then to Willow. She took her own bottle and some plates and took her seat at the head of her bed. Willow and Tara had pushed Willow's bed next to Buffy's so there would be room for all three of them.

Buffy sat in lotus position, her feet tucked under her legs, as she opened her bottle. Noticing that Willow and Tara had started sipping at their juice drinks, she lifted the bottle. "Ladies, I propose a toast. To old friends and new beginnings."

"Here, here," Willow and Tara touched their bottles to Buffy's and drank. "And may I make a suggestion?" Willow added. "Tonight, we don't make any mention of our past romantic experiences. No mention of Riley, or Parker, or Angel, or Oz, or--any names you want to add to that list, Tara?" Tara shook her head quickly. "No, Willow, no one I can think of."

"Okay," Willow continued. "Tonight, those others don't exist. Tonight it's just the three of us. Friends, partners, lovers, whatever you want to call us. Whatever happens tonight, the two of you will always be the most important people in my life."

"Just as I feel about the two of you," Buffy agreed. "But before we go any further," her statement was greeted by groans from the other two. "C'mon guys, this is serious. We gotta talk about something. About the immediate future."

"Well," Willow put on a mock-serious face, "I predict that our immediate future will involve the three of us, naked and sweaty, achieving multiple orgasms."

"No, no," Buffy tried to continue her thought. "I don't just mean tonight."

"I don't think she did either," Tara exclaimed, leering. "At least I hope not." Willow reached across the bed to high-five Tara.

"Guys," and exasperated Slayer interrupted the two. "If you can stop channeling Anya for a few seconds. What I wanted to talk about was the incident with Riley. Yeah, I know we agreed not to talk about our exes, but this is something we need to get out of the way now."

"Yeah," Willow said softly. "I think I understand. I mean, I was a Slayer for a few minutes there. When I saw what he was doing to you, I went into full Slayer mode there."

"And you managed to stake a vampire without even half trying," Tara agreed. "And I'm sure I could do the same if I had to."

"My point exactly. Somehow, because of our new bond, you've got some of my skills. I'm thinking that sometime soon, we need to tell Giles what happened, and have him put together some training exercises for the two of you. Nothing as extreme as my regimen, but still, enough that you can defend yourselves."

"Good idea, Buffy," Tara said. "But you should have some new training yourself. If we have your Slayer skills, it seems to me that you've got some of our Wicca powers."

"Yeah, she's right." agreed Willow. "You said you were able to immobilize a horde of newbie vamps without touching them the other night, right?"

"Yeah, you're right," Buffy remembered the incident. That, and the empathic bond that caused her to become aroused while Willow and Tara were making love, prompted the three of them to start exploring why this bond was forged. The one answer that was clear to them was that the bond was meant to be, as was the love between the three of them that resulted.

"Okay, guys," Buffy continued. "We talk to Giles, and get his reaction."

"Probably something like, 'The three of you are WHAT?'", Tara announced in a credible impersonation of Buffy's former Watcher. This brought a fresh round of laughter from the others.

"Seriously," Buffy went on once she was able to get over her laughing fit. "That's another issue we have to address. How do we explain our relationship with the others?"

"Well," Willow mused, "I figure Xander will need a long cold shower, while Anya won't even bat an eye. I swear that she wouldn't notice if she saw a goat in the bed. Not that I want to test that theory out anytime soon."

"I think we should be honest about us," Tara suggested. "After all, we're not sleeping around, it's just the three of us. We've got this connection, it's going to show, I say we let them know what's happening."

"You're right, Tara," Willow admitted. "The biggest mistake I made this year was trying to keep us a secret from the rest of the Scooby Gang. I nearly lost you over that, Buffy. And we can trust the others. Whatever happens, they'll support us. I still want to wait until we spring this on our folks, though."

"Good idea," Buffy agreed. "My mom's probably not a problem though. Once she got used to me being the Slayer, I figure anything else is a non-issue. Your mom, on the other hand," she pointed to Willow, "can't even get my name right. She never liked me before, I doubt that this will change her opinion of me. I figure we just tell Giles and the others, and anything after that, we take it one day at a time." Willow and Tara nodded in agreement, and Buffy announced, "Okay then, enough of the serious stuff. Let the party commence!"

Taking a pair of chopsticks in hand, Buffy started scooping out fried rice on each plate, and passed the plates out to the others. Willow and Tara started to serve themselves from the other boxes, sampling stir fried beef, sweet and sour chicken and tempura fried prawns. Tara was a little clumsy with her chopsticks, but Willow was able to teach her how to use them. Buffy noticed that Willow held Tara's hand in the appropriate position to hold the sticks, and started to laugh. "Any excuse to hold hands with her, huh, Wills?"

Willow cocked an eye at Buffy. "Jealous?"

"Only that I didn't think of it first," Buffy grinned, biting into an egg roll.

"Ooh, poor baby," Tara sympathized with Buffy, as she scooped up a piece of shrimp with her sticks, and fed it to Buffy.

The three of them continued to enjoy their dinner, occasionally feeding each other, first with their chopsticks, then with their fingers, licking and kissing each other's fingers as their meal took on a more sensual air. Finally, after most of their dinner was consumed, Willow passed around the fortune cookies. "Okay, guys." Willow announced, smiling impishly, "Once, during my freshman year in high school, Xander taught me something he called the Fortune Cookie game. When you open your cookies, you read your fortune slips aloud, but at the end, you have to say the words, 'in bed'." Buffy hooted in laughter and Tara blushed slightly. "Okay, Tara, you're the guest, so you start first," Willow announced.

Tara smiled as she cracked open her fortune cookie, withdrew the slip of paper, and read; "Your physical exertions will yield rich rewards...in bed!"

"Oh God I hope so," Buffy chuckled, as Willow rolled on the bed, rocking with mirth. "Okay, Wills, your turn."

Willow opened her cookie and read her fortune; "Fortune favors those who are adventurous...in bed!"

Tara had been drinking fruit punch as Willow spoke, and suddenly found herself laughing so hard that the punch went up her nose. "Good one, Wills," Buffy agreed as she broke open her cookie. "Okay, guys, here's mine," she coughed audibly to get the other's attention. "Happiness comes to those who hold on to their friends...in bed." Buffy put down the slip of paper, and smiled wickedly. "I totally agree!"

The three women leaned in to each other's arms, embracing happily, thanking whatever gods were responsible for their finding each other. Their closeness, however, was cut short when Buffy winced in sudden pain. Willow looked at her friend worriedly, but Buffy shook it off. "No big, Wills," she insisted, "just sat in lotus too long, my feet cramped up."

"Here, Buffy," Tara offered, scooting herself toward the edge of the bed. "Swing your feet over here." She patted her lap lightly.

Willow smiled at Buffy, as she slipped behind her back. "Do it, Buffy," she urged her friend. "Tara gives the best foot massages."

"I was wondering how you got that spring in your step, Wills," Buffy kidded the redhead. She swung her legs around, and set her feet gently on Tara's lap. Tara removed her shoes and stockings, and started to knead at the balls of Buffy's feet. Meanwhile, Willow slowly slipped her hands under the collar of Buffy's T-shirt and started to massage her shoulders. Buffy started to relax, her tension melting away under the ministrations of these two witches. She leaned into Willow, enjoying her caresses, and leaned her head upward to steal a kiss from her lips.

"Ooh," she moaned, thoroughly loving the pampering she was receiving, "I could see myself doing this all night."

"Oh, I think we got other plans for tonight," Willow said, winking at Tara. She slipped out from behind Buffy, who protested wordlessly, and headed toward her computer, and turned it on.

"Uh, Willow," Buffy groaned, still enjoying Tara's footrub, "isn't this like the wrong time to check your e-mail?"

"Have faith, Buffy," Willow admonished the Slayer while she waited for her computer to boot up.

"Can't. She's in prison." Tara groaned at the obvious double entendre. "Besides, I'd rather have the two of you," Buffy added, grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

"I'm not checking my e-mail," Willow responded. "I'm putting on my Digital Jukebox."

"Your what?" Buffy asked.

"It's a music program I downloaded last year. It burns my CDs on the computer."

"Willow," Buffy pleaded, "you're the computer literate, not me."

Willow stuck her tongue out at Buffy, eliciting a chuckle from Tara. "To 'burn' a CD," she explained as she started the program, "means to record it directly onto a hard drive. I recorded my CD collection, plus some of Tara's, and a few of yours, and I apologize for not telling you before--"

Buffy rolled her eyes, "You're forgiven, Wills."

"Thanks. Anyway, I can now listen to my favorite music directly from the computer. I even sorted the separate tracks to different play lists. I've got a list for romantic songs, some sexy music," she blushed slightly, "and I figure we could use some inspirational music." A few mouse clicks later, and soon, a slow, sweet melody emerged from the computer speakers.

"Ah," Willow nodded. "Van Morrison." She turned seductively to the two women, her hips swaying to the rhythm. Soon, a whisky-smooth voice sang out, sweet and clear;"

"You can take all the tea in China,
Drop it in a big brown bag for me,
Sail right around all the seven oceans,
Drop it in the middle of the deep blue sea."

She crooked her finger, whispering, "Tara, let's give Buffy a show." The blond witch got up from the bed, and slowly joined Willow on the floor. The two wiccans started to dance together, Willow sliding up behind Tara, and encircling her waist with her arms. Sinuously, they started to rub against each other's bodies, as Willow's hands started to tug on Tara's shirt.

"She's as sweet as Tupulo Honey,
She's an angel in the first degree.
She's as sweet as Tupulo Honey,
Just like honey from the bee."

Buffy sat mesmerized as Willow and Tara continued their dance, which quickly grew into an impromptu striptease. Tara turned around within Willow's arms, and started to unbutton the redhead's top. Willow shed her top, and started to pull Tara's top off of her shoulders. Tara lifted her arms high above her head, allowing Willow to remove it completely. Willow's bra was a simple lacy white, while Tara wore a pink bra. Both undergarments accented their curves perfectly, and their lean soft torsos swayed enticingly, adding to Buffy's desire.

"They can't stop us on the road to freedom.
Men can't stop us, 'cause our eyes can see,
Men of insight, men in granite,
Knights in armor bent on chivalry."

Willow cast a sidelong glance at Buffy, extended her hand, and purred, "C'mon and join us, honey." Buffy took the offered hand, and Willow pulled her into the center of their circle. Buffy faced Willow, their eyes locking, staring intently at each other, their passion mounting. Tara wrapped her arms around Buffy, and undulated behind her. Buffy could feel Tara's breasts gently rubbing against her back, while Willow took Buffy's left hand to her mouth, and started to kiss and suck her fingers. Buffy moaned at each new contact, pulling Willow closer to her with her free hand, and kissed her hotly on her mouth. Willow opened her mouth, permitting Buffy's probing tongue to meet her own. Tara leaned in closer to Buffy, nipping and licking her earlobe. Buffy found herself arching her back, as her arousal grew with each new contact.

"She's as sweet as Tupulo Honey,
She's an angel in the first degree
She's as sweet as Tupulo Honey,
Just like honey, baby, from the bee."

Buffy broke off the kiss reluctantly, and looked into the bright green eyes of her friend. "I-I've never done this before," she whispered, her voice carrying overtones of both desire and fear.

Willow smiled understandingly. "Hey, we've only done it once."

"Don't worry," Tara added, as she turned Buffy's head around and leaned in for a smoldering kiss. "We'll figure it out together."

Buffy surrendered her body to her lovers. Before she was even aware of it, her blouse was removed by two pairs of hands, that now caressed her upper body. The Slayer's nerves were afire, her knees were becoming water, she was forced to drop to the bed, as Willow and Tara joined her, never letting up on their assault.

In short order, jeans, hose, bras and panties joined the pile of discarded clothing, as three women began to explore each other. Three bodies experienced sensations and pleasures like they never knew before. Three hearts achieved union.

And three special souls formed a connection of love and passion that would bind them forever.

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Sunlight poured through the blinds of the dorm window, dappling the room with morning light. Buffy stretched decadently as she awoke, stopping when she realized that the two bodies who were sharing the bed with her were still asleep. Willow lay at Buffy's left side, and her head was pillowed across Buffy's breasts, while Tara slept at Buffy's right side, her arm draped across Buffy's waist.

Buffy smiled as she watched the two sleeping wiccans. She could barely believe that these two women had taken her as a lover. She felt complete, she felt wanted, she felt wonderful. And she felt a nibbling at her ear.

Willow started to stir, arching her back luxuriously. She smiled dreamily as she looked at Buffy. "Hey, lover," she growled. "Were you awake long?"

"Not too long," Buffy answered, as she leaned in to kiss Willow. "Just admiring the view. But, if I can see both your heads, then who's nibbling my ear?"

Willow craned her neck, looking over Buffy's head. She laughed lightly; "Kitty Fantastico?" The kitten was lapping merrily at Buffy's outer ear, and Buffy tried to swat K.F. off of her. Kitty scampered off of Buffy, and toward her food dish. "I'd better feed her," Willow announced, as she nudged the sleeping blond next to her. "Tara, honey, time to get up."

Tara shook her head groggily as she slowly regained consciousness. "D-don't warn the tadpoles," she murmured. Willow and Buffy shared a secret smile as she awakened. They then met Tara in the center of their bed and engaged her in a three-way kiss. "Oh, yeah," Tara nodded. "That's how I want to wake up from now on."

"I'm sure that can be arranged," Buffy agreed as she reluctantly extricated herself from the pile of naked bodies, and started to hunt for her clothes. "Guys, I wanted you guys to know that last night was officially the best night of my life."

"Same here," Willow nodded. "Yeah, me too," added Tara as the two of them scooted off the bed.

"No regrets?" Buffy asked.

"None at all," the other two chorused, as they took Buffy in their arms. "We belong together," Willow declared.

Buffy, Willow and Tara stood together in this close embrace. Buffy vaguely remembered a long-forgotten math professor from her senior year in Sunnydale High School, who lectured that the triangle was the most stable form of geometry. She laughed, remembering how unstable things got when Xander was torn between Cordy and Willow. But this triangle, yes, this triangle was stable. They knew that they had to work out the nuts and bolts of making this unusual relationship work. But after last night, they knew that there was a rightness to them. A sense of predestination. The knowledge that they were meant to be together.

Buffy allowed these thoughts to drift from her mind. There would be time enough later to confront reality. For now, she was happy to remain in arms of her two lovers. To revel in this new found love, the most powerful love she had ever known.

Love to the third power.