"Okay, Xander, Willow, you get on here with me," Buffy said as she got on the back of one of the two storks waiting on them, "Papa Smurf, you go with Tara."
"Oh y-you don't n-need me," Tara tried to protest, "I-I'll just g-get in the way."
"Nonsense," Buffy scoffed playfully, "More hands we have the better. Besides, you're one of the gang now."
"I'd listen to her," Giles said with a smile, "She can be quite the stubborn smurf."
Tara ducked her head but climbed on the stork with Giles. Willow looked at her longingly, kicking herself for not protesting their flying arrangements so she could've been with the brunette. It was too late now, though, they were already ascending into the air. Besides she wasn't sure Tara would've welcomed her company. The other smurf had been doing everything she could to avoid her the entire morning. She was starting to think that Giles had been completely wrong in his assessment, sure, she knew that she loved Tara but if the other smurfs actions were anything to go by, the feeling definitely wasn't mutual. She sighed at the realisation but had to put all her thoughts and feelings to the side as they landed near Yennanther's lair. They had a monster to stop, and focusing on that had to come first.
"I don't know why we don't travel by stork the whole time," Buffy said as she slipped off the bird and gave it a quick pat down, "It sure beats wearing out the soles of these shoes."
"The storks are most courteous by allowing us their time as it is," Giles replied curtly, "We won't be abusing that courtesy."
"Okay, okay," Buffy said, defensively, "Where's Yennanther's lair?"
"Just around this corner," Giles responded, rounding said corner to reveal a run-down looking old church.
"He really takes no pride in appearances, does he?" Willow asked.
"You've seen him before, Brainy," Giles answered, deadpan, "I'd think it's quite obvious he doesn't."
The other four all exchanged a surprised look at their normally respectful and polite leader's comment, but shrugged it off. They were all aware the elder smurf had a history with their arch nemesis.
"We need a plan," Willow said after a moment, "We can't just go smurfing on in there."
"Quite right," Giles replied, turning to the group, "Gutsy, you're by far the strongest of us all, I need you to restrain Yennanther while we go after the creature. I need to have a little word with my old friend."
Buffy nodded her understanding and began stretching in preparation.
"Brainy, Shy, you have the most familiarity with the creature, I need you to use the shrinking potion on him. To do this, though, Jokey, you're going to need to distract him so they have the opportunity."
"Distract him," Xander nodded, smiling at the plan, "Got it, Papa S."
"And Gutsy," Giles said, turning to Buffy and handing out the sword, "When the time comes, you'll know how and when to use this."
Buffy took the sword and held it reverently in her hands for a moment before putting it down her back, using the neckline of her dress to hold the handle in place.
"Are we all ready?"
There was a series of nods around the group and Buffy grinned, stepping forward to lead the group towards the abandoned-looking structure. She took a few deep breathes as everyone gathered behind her, bringing a hand up and holding three fingers up, putting them down one at a time to indicate their timeframe and burst through the front door as she put her last finger down.
Yennanther - an older man, considerably taller than all the smurfs with sandy hair and beard to match, in black robes – spun in his place, spluttering for a moment before Buffy launched herself at him, attacking his face.
"Go, go!" she yelled at the rest of them, Yennanther's height making it difficult to keep him down and she could see the monster had entered the room.
Tara scrambled in her pockets for the potion and grabbed it, just in time for the Fyarl to wave his arm and knock her to the ground.
"Tara!" Willow yelled, running over to her friend, checking her over, "Are you okay?"
Xander noticed the fallen smurf and started jumping up and down in front of the monster.
"Yo, ugly! Yea, ugly, over here!"
The monster turned towards the noise and roared, reaching down and picking Xander up with two fingers.
"Holy smurf," Xander gulped as he was brought up in front of the Fyarl's face, "Willow! You could throw that potion anytime now!"
Willow turned at the sound of her distressed friend's voice and began panicking, looking between him and the passed out Tara on the floor. Acting quickly she scampered over to where the potion had rolled out of Tara's hand and picked it up, attempting to aim it at him, before finding she was having the same trouble she'd had the day before with the blinding potion.
Willow turned at the sound of her voice, a relieved look going over her face when she saw it was Tara who had spoken it, still lying on the floor, her eyes glassy from the floor. The brunette silently held her hand out and Willow immediately understood, locking their fingers together and throwing the potion, hitting the creature in the chest. He immediately began shrinking, dropping Xander in his confusion, who scarpered over to his friends, relief evident on his face.
"Nice throw, Willow!"
Willow squeezed the hand that was still in hers and smiled.
"I couldn't have done it without Tara."
A few feet away, Giles, who had been helping Buffy restrain Yennanther, pulled the bottle of red liquid from his pocket and threw it at him. The dark wizard instantly went rigid and Giles nodded at Buffy, who understood the silent command and whipped the sword from her back, running towards the now-shrunken monster that had regained its senses and was going towards the other trio.
Yennanther looked completely puzzled by his sudden inability to move and Giles moved to stand beside his head.
"Stun potion," he explained, "One you taught me how to make if I remember correctly."
Yennanther, having regained the ability to speak, sneered at the smurf.
"So you caught me this time," he scoffed, wincing but trying not to show it as he saw his Fyarl getting hit in the chest with the sword and falling to the ground unceremoniously, "You know me, old friend, I won't be stopped."
"Maybe not," Giles replied, taking the vial of blue liquid from his pocket, popping the cork lid off and forcing the fluid down Yennanther's throat before the wizard had a chance to react, "I've been working on this potion for some time. Had it in stocks for when the opportunity arose."
Yennanther spluttered at the foul tasting liquid and tried again in vain to move his body.
"What was that? What did you do to me?!"
"I stripped you of your magical abilities," Giles explained, "That was a binding potion. The stun will wear off in a few minutes, you can clean up that Fyarl's mess yourself. And if I have anything to do about it, you won't be bothering us for a while."
Giles knew the binding potion he dosed his enemy with wouldn't stop Yennanther fully. The wizard would retain his knowledge of magical proceedings and potion-making, but it would stop him commandeering any other creatures for his use or use spells utilise spells for his own evil functions. Giles walked over to the other four smurfs, patting Buffy on the back for her skills.
"Well done, Gutsy. And the rest of you. That really was a group effort," he smiled at everyone before noticing Tara was the only one sitting rubbing her head, "Are you alright, Shy?"
"I t-think so," Tara replied, standing up on shaky legs, "Just w-winded."
Willow supported her as she stood up and rested a hand on her back.
"We need to leave before that stun potion wears off," Giles said, turning to see Yennanther starting to move his fingertips, "Brainy, you take Shy back to her house on the stork, I think she needs to rest. Gutsy, Jokey, you come with me, I'll prepare us some of my famous celebratory Smurf punch."
Gutsy and Jokey high-fived each other as they all left the old house, the sounds of Yennanther yelling "I hate those Smurfs!" almost deafening them as they boarded their travel birds and flew towards home. Neither Willow nor Tara said anything on the way back, but the redhead continued rubbing her back and Tara didn't try to stop her. When they got off the stork, Willow walked Tara over to her door and the brunette stopped and turned.
"I-I'm okay from here. I-I'm sure you'd w-want to b-be with your f-friends."
Willow opened her mouth to say something, but quickly closed it again as she formed a thought in her head.
"What do you want?" she asked after a moment.
Tara looked completely bewildered by the question and hung her head.
"W-Willow, it's okay. I k-know you p-probably hate me and that I d-disgust you or something."
Willow looked crestfallen and moved towards the brunette smurf, taking her hand.
"What? Tara, why would you think that?"
"Yo Brainy! Heard what you did with Yennanther! We're all heading to Papa Smurfs to celebrate. You coming?"
Willow turned to the group of smurfs who were calling out to her and smiled at them but shook her head, thinking that news really did travel fast. They all shrugged, but continued on their way, looking quite strangely at Tara, and Willow realised it must be because, like her the day before, they'd never seen her before. She also realised Tara must be highly uncomfortable with them looking at her and protectively covered her, putting her hand on the small of her back again.
"Can we go inside?" she asked quietly and breathed a sigh of relief as Tara opened the door and stepped inside.
Willow closed the door behind them and walked them both over to the small sofa near the window, sitting down and indicating for Tara to sit next to her.
"You never answered my question," she said after a moment when the brunette hadn't spoken, "Why do you think I hate you? Or disgust you?"
Tara was blushing harder than she had ever blushed before and squirmed uncomfortably in her seat.
"T-this morning," she managed after a minute, knowing Willow was waiting for an answer, "I w-woke up and you were g-gone. I t-thought... I just t-thought..."
"Oh Tara," Willow shook her hear vigorously, taking both the brunette's hands in hers, "That was me being silly smurf. See, I woke up and, well...we were kinda cuddling."
Tara's eyes widened, her mouth going dry.
"And it kinda scared me," Willow continued, not noticing the brunette's distress, "But not because it disgusted me or anything. Just because I didn't know what I was feeling. But now I do."
"Y-you do?" Tara asked, dreading the answer.
"Yep," Willow nodded, cupping one of Tara's cheeks, "I'm in love with you."
"Y-y-you're i-in, y-you're..." Tara spluttered in disbelief, "B-but, but y-you can't b-be, I-I'm, I'm-"
"Beautiful," Willow finished for the stammering smurf, "You're absolutely beautiful. And I'm in love with you. I know I am because you fill my heart more than anyone ever has before."
Tara raised her head and looked into the eyes of the redhead beside her, wanting more than anything to believe what she was saying but still unsure.
"You do," Willow confirmed, "Do you think maybe...you could love me too?"
Tara felt tears come to her eyes and let out a low, happy laugh.
"I think...I think that maybe I definitely do. I love you, Willow."
Willow squealed with excitement and leaned forward to embrace the brunette, squeezing her tight.
"You love me! You love me and you said it without stuttering! I love you too, Tara, never doubt that!"
She pulled back and bit her lip slightly, looking down at Tara's lips and then into her eyes for permission. Tara blushed but nodded and soon after felt Willow's lips cover her own in what was to be the first of many kisses between them.
"Wow," Willow said when she pulled back after a minute, the flush on her face matching the brunettes.
She leant in for another quick kiss before bringing her hand up to her mouth and kissing her knuckles. She wasn't quite sure how Tara had managed to do it, but her little blue heart...well, it didn't feel so blue anymore.
Hope you enjoyed the fic and anyone who didn't figure it out, 'Yennanther' is an anagram for Ethan Rayne! :)