Buffy took a step towards the rogue slayer and Faith instantly tightened her grip on Tara's neck. "Now, now B, that's not a good idea!" she spat, forcing Buffy to return to her place.
"Faith, let her go now!" Willow growled, she could feel her eyes darkening with fury as the magicks coursed through her veins and crackled at the tips of her fingers.
"Willow." Giles whispered, placing a heavy hand gently on her shoulder, "You should calm down."
Faith seemed blissfully unaware of the danger she was in and laughed heartily at the furious redhead. "Don't worry British man, Red's gonna behave!" she told him, her self confidence and arrogance only serving to infuriate the Scoobies further. "Aren't ya Red!" She shook Tara viciously and Willow stepped back as Tara yelped, her face a deep and angry red. "Now, this is what's gonna happen!" Faith continued. "You will all sit down nicely and behave yourselves while me and Red and Blondie here have a little…" she paused briefly. "conversation!"
When no one made any effort to follow her instruction, Faith tightened her grip on Tara's throat further, causing the blonde to gasp as tears trickled slowly from the corner of her eyes.
"Guys, sit down." Willow said slowly, she knew that she could be endangering the entire group but seeing Tara this way was more than she could bear.
"That's better." Faith grinned. "Now Red, you and me are gonna go up on deck and have a little discussion, as it appears that we are out of the triangle, I'm taking Blondie here as a little insurance, y'know in case you have an ideas about being a hero!" she spat the remainder of her sentence at the rest of the group and they all sat heavily, plans, ideas and ways to help Tara all ran through their minds.
Faith brushed past Willow as she made her way out on deck, unfortunately for her, the brief contact gave Willow and Tara the opportunity they needed to join hands. "Solvere!" Willow snarled and Faith shot backwards, landing heavily on her butt in the centre of the deck. Toppling forward into Willow, Tara gasped for breath and began rubbing her neck.
"Buffy, guys, get out here!" Willow yelled as she stepped towards the rogue slayer menacingly. "So, you want to play rough uh?" she asked as she began circling the slayer who had once again found her feet. As she came to stand by a barrel, Willow noticed a long bull whip and reached out for it. "I believe this is more your thing though." she smiled sweetly as she took her first crack of the whip. "How about we see how much you enjoy being beaten?!"
Tears stung the corners of Willows eyes as she remembered the horrific punishment Faith had bestowed upon her girlfriend.
Behind her, the rest of the Scoobies had gathered in the doorway and were watching the scene unfold before then in terrified fascination. "Willow, this isn't the way!" Buffy called out to her.
"No B, let her have a go if she thinks she can." Faith told her arrogantly, "I've been dying to give Red here a good beating."
Before she had a chance to say anything else, the whip whistled past her head, grazing her ear on its return.
"Shut up Faith!" Willow snapped, her eyes filling with obsidian fury before cracking the whip in her direction once again. This time the firm leather found its mark and left a deep bloody trail across Faiths cheek.
Behind the redhead, Tara gently put her hand over Willows, releasing her grip on the whip and pulling her into a warm, loving hug. Before the whip had even hit the floor, Buffy and Xander charged Faith, dropping her to the floor and securing her hands firmly behind her back. "It's time you answered to your actions!" Giles told her.
"Sorry British man, but you got nothing on me!" Faith told him, her voice full of mocking. "We're out of the triangle. You can't prove a thing!" she sneered.
"Wrong again Faith!" Willow told her, "We can do anything, the scars can be there!" she winked and Tara turned her back reluctantly on the slayer so Willow could pull her shirt up. Revealing the silky smooth expanse of Tara's well muscled back, Faith laughed heartily "See, she's clean, unmarked! You got…." Faith choked on her words as the deep and angry marks of her beating appeared over the young woman's back.
As they bundled Faith back aboard 'Solo Dreams' Giles and Xander returned to the helm. "Take us home, G-man!" Xander sighed as he dropped into the seat at Giles' side. "I think that's for you to do!" Giles smiled warmly as he turned the key within the ignition and the boat coughed and started first time. Turning the boat in the general direction of land, Xander gunned the throttle and the group, along with their new captive raced towards dry land.
Willow, Tara and Buffy secured Faith into one of the cabins with a mixture of magic and force before Willow and Tara returned to the deck. Giles was radioing the events that had transpired over the past few days and requesting that the police be ready for when they drew into the dock. "Is everything well?" he asked after replacing the radio and noticing the witches on deck. Nodding, neither one spoke but went to sit at the bow and watch the waves break as they raced through the ocean.
Xander smiled sadly, both women had been through so much back in Sunnydale and this trip was meant to be a relaxing get away for everyone but he knew that Willow and Tara needed time away from the chaos of the Hellmouth to try and rebuild everything that they had suffered. Whatever had happened between them aboard the 'Occisor ab Castimonia' certainly been a bonding experience and he wondered if it would drive the pair farther apart.
After an hour or so of sailing in silence, Tara got up and vanished below deck leaving Willow to gaze out over the ocean. Sadness filled Xander and he gestured to Giles to take over before jumping down onto the deck and assuming the place that Tara had just occupied. "You ok?" he asked solemnly. Turning her head to face him, Willow grinned.
"I'm all kinds of the best good!" she told him, the sparkle in her eyes proving that she wasn't hiding anything.
Frowning slightly, Xanders gaze followed the path that Tara had taken before he turned back to the redhead who was giggling quietly. "She went to fix a good sized lunch!" she told him.
In all the chaos and uncertainty of the past couple of days, Xander had almost completely forgotten that they hadn't had a decent meal but the reminder made his stomach growl noisily.
Tara reappeared and Xander rushed to her aid, relieving her of a large tray of baguettes and placing them on the table that Willow had just set up. As soon as he placed the huge tray on the table, he turned quickly and took Tara's face in his hands and kissed her loudly on the forehead. "You're the greatest, Tara!" he cheered, "Hey Giles?" he yelled up to the helm, "Tara made food!"
In a heartbeat, Giles was at the table with them, leaving the boat floating within sight of land.
Buffy appeared and lifted a can of soda. Breathing a sigh of relief as she saw land, she lifted a can of soda and took a long drink. The only sounds around them were the gentle breaking of waves against the side of the boat and the occasional seagull. "To friendship!" the slayer toasted, lifting her can high in the air. "Friendship!" the others cheered.
Giles returned to the helm in silence and started the boat once again to take them all back to the normality of the Hellmouth and Sunnydale.