Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any other characters from the show. I also don't own any of the connected media they belong to Joss Whedon and anyone else who owns the rights and I also don't own Charmed or any of the characters related to the show, they belong to Constance M. Burge and WB TV network and you may already guess it now, but I do not own Harry Potter or any of the other characters or other related media connected to it as well. They belong to J.K. Rowling and anyone else who owns the rights to it. I also do not own Dogma or the characters related to it, they belong to Kevin Smith and whoever else owns the rights. Damn I hate Disclaimers.
Notes: This is an AU season six fic, which ignores Buffy and Spike being a couple as well as Xander and Anya. In this she is slowly recovering from being brought back from what they discovered was not heaven, but another dimension. There is no trouble with the trio. Basically things are quite on the slaying front. However Willow is still abusing her magic and they are still at University, Joyce still died during the Glory fight and the Charmed ones only differ in the fact that Prue did not die, but they still found Paige and brought her into the family and Cole is not evil, everything else happened as in cannon.
Summary: Willow casts a spell to remove an argument between Tara, Xander and herself, but uses the wrong spell and it has the most unlikely result and forever changes her relationship with both.
(Willow and Tara's Dorm)
Willow muttered to herself and stalked up and down her dorm, still replaying the argument she'd had with Tara and Xander about what they saw as her abuse of her magic. She did not see what it was they were complaining about, she did not misuse magic at least not in her opinion. Buffy and Giles were close lipped on the matter and stayed away from the arguments. This didn't exactly help her case. Anya had gone on vacation and thus was not there to affect things which left Dawn, the younger Summer's sister, but she seemed afraid of her at times which she did not understand.
Her magic had helped them hold the line against multiple enemies over the years since she had first learned she could do magic, Angelus, the Mayor, Faith, Drusilla, Spike, Glory and her followers and a host of other nastiest, so why now was she being told to hold back and to be more careful how she used her powers? She shook her head and continued her pacing. There had to be a way to get them off her back, the argument had been bitter and left quite a bit of anger, annoyance and bitterness between all three parties and she did not want that. Tara was the woman she loved and Xander was like her brother, she did not want to be on the outs with either. Moving to her shelf of magic books she began to look through them for an answer, thankfully Tara was working at the Magic Box tonight with Xander as stand-ins until Anya returned and would not be back until late.
As she continued to go through one of the bigger books she finally came across a spell that would do what she wanted it do, it would remove the argument from both of their minds as if it had never happened and replace it with a memory of them having a pleasant day together. She ignored the spell on the page on the other end of the page, not realizing that as she moved some other books out of her way the page fell backwards onto its reverse so when she looked back she did not bother to recheck it.
As she looked at the things she needed for the spell she noted she had everything, but two items. Moving to Tara's side of the dorm she went through her supplies and found what she needed. She took a deep breath before she started to mix the ingredients, this needed total concentration. As the stirred the mix and began to cast the spell she felt a cold shiver run down her spine. The power needed for this spell was far more than she had expected. She ignored the rather obvious dangers of this spell as well as the fact she was basically mind raping Xander and Tara, this was in the interest of what was best for the group as a whole. At least that is how she saw it. Finally the spell reached its climax and exploded to search out the targets. Willow's eyes turned black for a few seconds as the darkness of the spell passed over her, her red hair also darkened, but both returned to normal as Buffy walked straight into the dorm without knocking.
Since Buffy had been returned from the dead she had been slowly recovering her wits and confidence, but it had been a hard road for the Slayer. She had come back with the idea she had been in heaven however her description had not meshed with their understanding of it. She had not seen anyone else including Joyce who had sadly passed away the year before during the Glory crisis. She had only seen a bright white light that had given her some measure of peace, but nothing else and thus they were sure she had been trapped in an alternate dimension which had been full of the white light she had seen. Buffy had slowly begun to see her friend's point of view and so let go of her idea of having been in heaven, still been killed a second time had a big effect on her. "Hey Willow, what are you doing?" Buffy inquired, as she noted the magical items displayed around her friend who had a dear in the headlights look in her eyes.
Tara watched as Xander locked the door to the shop as they prepared to sort through some of the new shipment that had arrived that morning. They knew it was highly unlikely anyone would come to the shop now that it was pitch black. They'd been covering for Anya for close to a week now and after a certain time they had learned no one bothered to visit after dark, so they had decided to take the time to sort the delivery out.
She moved from behind the counter to where the boxes were stacked and Xander quickly joined her and began to lift and move them into better positions for them to work with. Xander paused for a moment before was going to make them something to drink as it was pretty warm and by the time they were done he guessed they were going to be even hotter. Tara smiled at the gesture. However it quickly vanished as she caught site of a photo Giles kept on the wall showing the group together, it was taken last year before Glory came to town. Seeing how happy she and Willow were in the picture made her pause, things were slowly beginning to disintegrate between her and the red head.
It had begun just after the battle that finally destroyed Glory and saved Dawn, Willow began to misuse her magic. The power she had gathered to fight Glory had begun to mess with her girlfriend's mind. She wouldn't listen to her warnings, nor would she heed Xander's concern, especially once she proposed bringing Buffy back to life. They had both been hesitant to aide her and the only thing that had convinced them to do it was the idea of Buffy being trapped in a hell dimension. It was a possibility they couldn't dismiss due to the fact it was where Glory had wanted to go and where she had opened the portal to. Once she had succeeded in bringing Buffy back Willow's ego grew to such an extent that she started thinking she was the most powerful witch going around. A foolish notion, the most powerful witch alive was Prue Halliwell, the eldest sister of the Halliwell sisters, also known as the Charmed ones.
Every witch and warlock knew about the Charmed Ones. Their legend grew daily. Prue was the strongest and the most experienced. Then there was Piper, the second eldest and the one who seemed the wisest. Then there came Phoebe, the one most led by her emotions and heart. Finally there was their recently found half sister Paige. She was a combination of her sisters from what she had heard from friends who had encountered her. Tara hoped one day she would get to meet the Charmed Ones, it would be a great honor for her.
"It'll work out Tara," Xander's voice broke through her troubled thoughts. "Somehow we will make Willow see the truth," he told her. Tara glanced at him and saw he had noted her distracted gaze on the picture, looking a little closer she saw real concern behind his hazel eyes and smiled again as she accepted his words of comfort.
"I hope you are right Alex," Tara responded with a nod of her head. She was the only one he allowed to call him Alex. She knew he hated been called Alexander, but for some reason he did not mind her using the shortened version of it, she never wondered why as she got on very well with Xander.
"Have faith," he told her, placing his hand on her shoulder. "Every day I feel her slip further and further away from me. I see her change from the caring person I fell in love with," Tara admitted with a sigh, as she brought her own hand up to his and they ended up holding hands for comfort.
"I know, I feel it too, but I refuse to admit we are going to lose her," Xander assured her. "The day I turn my back on Willow, is the day I'm not me anymore. I also don't think she would ever hurt us," he added with what he hoped was his most confident look.
"I pray to the Goddess that you are correct," was all Tara could say as her fear continued to gnaw at her.
As they moved to continue their work they were surprised by the appearance of a sparkle of white light, the fact that it turned into a woman with dark hair and soulful eyes was at least to Tara no big surprise. Tara was the only one who recognised what had appeared before them. Xander moved to defend her, but Tara gently laid her hand on his and shook her head. “It is okay Alex, she is a whitelighter,” Tara told him. “They’re Guardian Angels for natural born witches,” she added.
“I am Katy, your whitelighter Tara,” the woman said. “I know we have not met before, but you’ve never really needed my direct help. You have never strayed from the path your mother started you on,” she explained. “The Goddess has been very pleased by your progress, sadly she does have a major problem right now,” she went on.
“Willow,” Xander guessed.
“I am afraid so. If things continue as they are she will be completely consumed by black magic and she could destroy the world. The Goddess can see ahead in time and she has foreseen this,” Katy told them.
“How can we stop it?” Tara inquired.
“There is only one way, if we stay on the current path you will be dead within the next seven months. This event will push her completely over the edge,” Katy said to Tara, who went white in the face. “The path the Goddess believes will stop this has to be by your own choice. It will require Willow being taught a very hard lesson,” she explained. “At this moment in time Willow is casting a spell to remove the argument from your minds and replace it with a more pleasant memory. This is basically mind rape,” she stated.
“Oh god,” Xander said, wincing in pain from the mere thought of Willow doing something like this. Tara just leaned against him in shock.
“The Goddess intends to change it to another spell, it will change everything between the three of you,” Katy said.
“How?” Tara managed to ask.
“It will make the two of you fall in love completely. Your reality will be changed to the point where in your minds you will have been in love for quite a while,” Katy answered. “The lust part of the spell will help you conceive a child, a powerful child. She will have an important destiny to fulfil next to Wyatt Halliwell and others,” she went on. “Together they will alter the dark future the Goddess and the creator have seen down the line. There is already love in both of your hearts for each other, but it is hidden by your perceptions and past history and so the spell will just bring it out completely,” Katy went on. “The loss of you and the binding of her powers, which will certainly come should shake Willow from the dark path she is on. It should also help you avoid your death, but as I said it has to be your choice,” she finished.
Xander and Tara collapsed into chairs at the table and took everything the whitelighter had told them in. It was a very unpleasant thing to think about. Xander glanced at Tara who quickly returned it, neither looked away, as they looked the other over.
“Are you sure this is the only way?” Xander asked.
“I am afraid so, I know what has been said is disturbing for both of you, but time is of the essence here,” Katy responded with an understanding look.
“I will do it, if the daughter I could have with Alexander is so important to the fight and the future of all then I can not say no,” Tara finally spoke. “I do not wish to die, and if this saves Willow from black magic I’m willing to do this,” she stated.
“So am I. I wish it wasn’t necessary to happen this way, but it is,” Xander added a few seconds later.
Katy smiled and nodded “The spell will hit as soon as I leave. Know this both of you. This is a great sacrifice you make, but you will gain so much more from it. The Creator and the Goddess do not ask you to make useless sacrifices without there being a powerful reason,” she told them. “You may have saved not only your own group, but the world in time,” she stated before she vanished.
Before either of them could say or do anything else the magic from Willow's spell hit them full force, as both of them had been distracted and not expecting such an attack the spell worked on them instantly. Their eyes glowed with a bright green light for a few seconds before it faded. They locked their eyes and a minute later ended up in a heated kiss.
(Willow and Tara's Dorm)
Willow eyed Buffy warily as the Slayer paced up and down just as she had a few minutes before, this was not good. She had been forced to admit what she had been doing and Buffy was not amused or understanding of why her friend would do this. As Buffy began to turn to begin what she was sure was an angry rant, Willow's eyes strayed to the spell she had been casting and it was only then she noted she had used the wrong spell. In shock she leaned forward and looked at the page intently. Her eyes grew wide in horror as she realized what she had inadvertently done.
This stopped Buffy from starting her rant, she eyed the now pale red head in front of her and began to worry that something had gone wrong. She wished Giles was here, but he was safely at home probably asleep or reading a good book.
"Willow, what is it?" she asked, as she knelt next to her friend getting more and more worried by the look in the red head's eyes.
"Oh my god Buffy, I used the wrong spell," Willow babbled in response finally. "Somehow, when I was distracted moving my other books, the page must have fallen backwards and I used the wrong spell on them," she explained.
"And you didn't bother to recheck to ensure you had the right one?" Buffy groaned, amazed at her friend's stupidity in this matter.
"I never had to before," Willow mumbled, feeling her pride take a beating at this realization. "What kind of spell did you cast?" Buffy finally asked dreading the answer.
Willow read the spell from top to bottom and her paleness seemed to increase, turning her almost bone white as the full implications of the spell hit her. ‘What have I done?' she asked herself, before locking her eyes on Buffy before she answered. "It was a combo spell, lust and love," she told her.
Buffy's eyes widened in a combination of horror and surprise as she tried to block out what Xander and Tara could end up doing, especially if they were together right now.
"We have to find them and stop them from doing anything," Buffy shouted as she spun and headed for the door, only to bounce of an invisible shield that came out of nowhere. "What the hell?" Buffy hissed as she glanced at Willow who had meekly followed her.
"I didn't do it," Willow assured her with wide eyes, before she felt a wave of magic pass by her that felt like a cold breeze and she realized she was in trouble. "I'm been punished for my pride and arrogance. The Goddess has raised the shield to keep us here until the spell has run its course," she explained as she came to understand who must have done it.
"Oh crap," Buffy responded, banging her fist against the shield before backing away and collapsing into a nearby chair. "You've fucked up this time Willow," she stated as the red head collapsed onto her bed and curled up into a ball and let out a whimper before she started crying.
The Goddess watched with anger and no amount of satisfaction as the red headed witch known as Willow Rosenberg began to realize and understand that she had to be more careful with magic. This was not something she did without thinking out all possible outcomes. This was the best way to get through to her without real violence breaking out in the group she was a part of. It would also allow her to grant one of her children's fondest wishes. Sarah Maclay's greatest hope was for her daughter to find love and happiness and to start a family based on those emotions. Something she had failed to find before her death at her husband's hands. Her daughter's relationship with Rosenberg was doomed to fail.
At least both had agreed to her plan, both Tara and Alexander saw the need for this to happen, they saw the bigger picture. Tara was one of her greatest followers and this was the best reward she could give her. Saving her life and giving her a family of her own, and it was also a reward for Alexander for all his hard work in keeping his group together and the world spinning. His efforts had not been ignored by the Creator.
The action she took now would ensure Tara lived beyond the dark future she saw with her far sight. Alexander Harris would be a better partner for Tara than Willow could ever be. One who would never leave her once his heart was given to her, which thanks to the spell Willow had cast, had done it. It would be a painful lesson for Willow, but a necessary one. Hopefully it would be the only one she would have to teach her. If not, another would be given to her, in fact maybe that on top of this one would be an even better idea. She turned and summoned Leo Wyatt, the white lighter of the Charmed Ones and husband to Piper Halliwell. She gave him his orders and what exactly to tell the sisters, he seemed to understand why she was doing this.
"Will this be a permanent binding my lady?" Leo inquired. He did not like having to bind the powers of witches, especially those who had been helping them keep back the dark, only to slowly fall into that same darkness.
"No Leo, it will not," the Goddess responded. "Rosenberg must learn control and more importantly she must learn that there is a limit to what she can do with her power," she explained. "Losing her girlfriend to her best friend and their trust for a time will hopefully wake her up to what she has become, but I fear that will only last a short time and so a partial binding which is to last a year or two on top of this loss will make the lesson stick," she continued.
"I understand my lady," Leo said, as he understood what the Goddess intended and that the binding would be lifted if the red head Witch could change. "I will tell the sisters exactly what you have told me and tomorrow we will come to the Hellmouth and bind her powers," he told her before he executed a slow bow before he vanished in a halo of lights.
The Goddess watched Leo leave with a smile, knowing he did not like having to do this just as she did not like it, but he understood why it had to be like this. That is why Leo was such a good white lighter and why he had been assigned to the Charmed Ones, he knew that sometimes a hard lesson had to be taught. The Charmed Ones themselves had forced her to teach her a lesson when they had been flung forward in time, to see how their lack of control and pride had led to Phoebe been sentenced to death and started a new set of witch hunts. It had the desired effect and now she hoped this lesson would be taken to heart as well, turning back she continued to watch events unfold.
Tara let out a moan of pleasure as she felt her back hit the wall as her hands were pushed above her head by Xander. He ravished her mouth before he dropped one of his hands and began to play with her blouse covered breasts making her moan even more. Neither of them could think about how this was wrong, that what they were doing was not normal for them. Their minds were clouded with love and lust for each other, they were consumed with it.
Finally he let go of her arms and she brought them around his neck, as he began to work his way down her neck, his fingers nimbly worked the buttons of her blouse open, allowing him closer access to her breasts, which were covered by a simple white bra. She moved her own hands to his t-shirt and began to pull it over his head. He obediently raised his hands and allowed her to remove it. A smirk graced both their faces before they began to kiss each other again. Xander slipped her blouse off, letting it pool at her feet. Tara spun them around so he was against the wall before she dropped to her knees and began to work loose his belt, once that was loose she went to work on his button and zip of his jeans and then pushed them down his legs. Xander could only watch as she did the same thing with his boxers, he worked one hand into her hair and just held on as she looked at his penis before taking it into her mouth. The fact that Tara had never done this before escaped her grasp. She was so blinded by the spell that it never came to the fore of her mind.
Xander moaned as she sucked him hard and almost deep throated him once or twice, this was to him the most sensual bout of love making he had ever engaged in. Not even Faith seemed to match the passion Tara was showing, he to could not recall that he and Tara were not in a relationship and that they should not do this. Running his hand through her hair he jerked a little as he felt her teeth almost nip him, glancing down he noted the wild eyed look she sent him before she continued her work. The peace increased as she placed one of her hands on him and began to jerk him off as well as suck him, this went on for a while as Tara kept stopping so she did not push him over the edge, but finally the urge got too great and this time she did not stop and seconds later Xander exploded in her mouth. She gulped down as much of his cum as she could before she pulled away and let the rest fall on the floor, standing up she made sure he saw her swallow the last of his cum in her mouth.
Xander found this to be one of the biggest turn on's ever. No one he had sex with had ever done something like that. Even Cordy had spat out the cum when she had given him a blow job once. Faith had refused to do that kind of thing and he had never got that far with Willow during the fluke with her. During his road trip he'd had a few flings, but again none of the girls had done that kind of thing. His eyes darkened with even more lust as he watched Tara back away and slowly unhook her bra and drop it to the floor, giving him a close up view of her wonderful full breasts. He could hardly tear his eyes away from the sight as she played with her own nipples for a few seconds. She then unzipped her dress and let it slide down her legs onto the floor before stepping over it. This left her in just her white panties. Before she could remove them Xander quickly moved forward and pulled them down for her. Now both naked they moved towards the counter. Xander helped her jump up onto it before he joined her.
Kissing deeply for a few minutes before Tara reached down and took a hold of his penis and guided it to her entrance, pausing Xander stared deeply into her eyes as she nodded at him and he pushed forward into her. Tara let out a deep throaty moan as he entered her, this was the first time she'd had this kind of sex, but in her spell addled mind it did not occur to her. Her hymen had thankfully been broken during her school days and so she did not feel the pain of it been broken. Xander gave her a few moments to get used to him being inside her before he began a slow steady pace. He also turned them over so she was on top. This gave him a great view of her breasts bouncing up and down as they went. He leaned up and captured one of her nipples in his mouth and began to nibble, nick and suck it, making Tara moan more and more. He moved on to the other nipple and did the same to that one, Tara brought her hands around his head and held him to her bosom. The pace increased as they lost themselves in the sensations they were feeling, sweat began to drip down their bodies as they continued. Both let out a cry of pleasure as the sensations increased before they kissed again. A while later they cried out as they reached their climaxes. Xander had tried to pull out, but Tara had not allowed him too, this was part of the Goddess's plan as she worked her magic to ensure Tara ended up pregnant.
The love created by the spell became real as they collapsed on the counter and feel into a deep sleep. Making love real was easy for a Goddess. The idea that you cannot make love real by magic was true, but her powers were far more than magic. She was far more powerful than beings like the elders, the powers that be or even the darker beings of the underworld. She was one of the elder Gods and Goddess, her powers were limitless. Tara would awake tomorrow in love with Xander and he with her and she would also be pregnant with his child. A very special child, which just like Dawn Summers and Wyatt Halliwell would have a very specific purpose in the war as it continued.
Leaning back the Goddess put a protective shield around the Magic Box so that the two would be safe during the night. Tomorrow their new lives would begin and Willow would begin to understand what her pride and her arrogance had cost her.
2. Chapter 2 (V1.1 17.05.11)
(Willow and Tara's Dorm Room)
Buffy groaned as she slowly woke up to find the sun in her eyes. Blinking she quickly got up and stretched as her back felt twisted from sleeping in the chair. Noting it was a new day she moved to the bed where Willow remained curled up. She had a fitful sleep but she quickly awoke when Buffy began to shake her. "I think we better head to the magic shop to check on Tara and Xander," Buffy told her doing her best to sound sympathetic.
"You're right. I just hope one day they can forgive me," Willow said, already accepting that there would be a huge argument and she would accept the blame placed on her.
Getting up she followed Buffy out of the room taking note of the fact the shield keeping them inside had vanished. Clearly the Goddess had lifted it, but she doubted her punishment was over.
Xander awoke to feel a soft weight on his chest, opening his eyes he quickly noted Tara was still laying on top of him, naked as the day she was born. Two things hit him like a ton of bricks, one was the fact he was totally in love with her and second they had to get back into their clothes before someone like Giles found them like this. Shaking her a little she slowly opened her eyes before noting who she was sleeping on. Smiling as she saw it was Xander, the man she loved, she quickly captured his lips in a scorching kiss.
Xander let this go on for a few minutes before he stopped it. "As much as I would love to continue this Tara, we have to get dressed before Giles and the others turn up and find us like this," he told her regretfully and she smiled ruefully at him in return before getting off him. Feeling peaceful in each other's presence they quietly got dressed. Sometimes they ended up watching the other before they finally managed to finish. A few seconds later they heard Giles' key hit the door, Tara noted the shop smelled of sex and quickly cast a spell to disperse it and remove the small puddle of cum on the floor. Giles entered to find Tara and Xander standing by the counter. Frowning a bit he quickly noted they were cuddled up against each other.
"Xander, Tara," he said. "What do you think you are doing?" he inquired, but before either could answer him, Buffy and Willow rushed into shop only to come to a dead stop as they noted the cuddling pair.
"Oh god no," Willow moaned as she saw proof that the love/lust spell had indeed hit Xander and Tara.
"Buffy, what is going on?" Giles demanded to know as he turned to them after hearing Willow's moan. "We have a bit of a problem Giles," Buffy admitted as she helped Willow to the table and sit down.
Giles and the others quickly joined them, although Tara chose to curl up in Xander's lap. This of course raised more questions in Giles' mind and they did not make him feel good. In fact his first thought was Xander had been messing with magic again, but the look in Willow's eyes told him differently.
"What happened?" he asked, just resisting to let out a sigh, but he removed his glasses and polished them as he usually did before facing a difficult problem.
"It seems Willow had a huge argument with Tara and Xander yesterday morning and it left a lot of bitterness and anger between all three. Willow decided to solve the problem with magic," Buffy explained after exchanging a quick look with Willow who nodded miserably in response. "She was trying to cast a spell that would not only wipe the argument from their minds, it would create a replacement memory of them sharing a good day together," she continued.
"Good lord," Giles said, his jaw dropping as he took that it in. "Willow I am very disappointed in you. I thought you had more control and wisdom than this," he all but growled turning to the red head who shivered at his tone. "I did not think for one second you would do such a thing," he added.
"Giles she got it wrong, somehow the page she was on turned over and she ended up casting a far different spell," Buffy cut in, before he could go on. "She didn't bother to check that she had the right spell and so she ended up casting a love/lust spell on Xander and Tara instead," she informed him, before nodding at the cuddling couple, who just kissed each other in response.
"Oh shit," Giles couldn't help but mutter as he began to understand the full situation. "We tried to quickly come here to stop them from doing anything, but a magical shield snapped into place and kept us at the dorm all night," Buffy went on.
"The Goddess decided to punish me for my arrogance," Willow muttered with a devastated look on her face. "As well as she should," a new voice said and they turned to find five people standing behind them, even though they had not heard anyone come into the store. "Mr. Giles, my name is Leo Wyatt and this is my wife Piper Halliwell and her sisters Prue, Phoebe and Paige," the lone male introduced himself and the others.
"My word, Giles spluttered as he realized who was in front of him. "The Charmed Ones, what...what are you doing here?" he finally managed to ask. "We have been sent to ensure the last bit of Willow's punishment from the Goddess will be handed out," Leo answered. "The love Xander and Tara now feel for one another is real. It can't be changed or reversed so don't bother to try," he explained. "I'm also to tell you that Tara is now pregnant with Alexander's child," he added with a smile that was shared by the sisters.
Tara gasped once at learning the Charmed Ones stood before her and then again as she heard she was pregnant. She wrapped herself around Xander in a deep loving hug at this news. Giles spluttered as he tried to find a response, whilst Buffy stared wide eyed at the newcomers, as for Willow she closed her eyes in pain as she heard this bit of news and knew she had lost Tara forever in the romantic sense.
"So in their mind they've always been in love?" Buffy asked. "I thought magic couldn't create love," she added as she frowned in thought. "It can't," Prue answered. "Magic cannot create love, only lust, but what the Goddess did was far beyond magic Miss Summers," she added. "She is older than beings such as the Elders and Powers that Be, her powers are beyond anything we are familiar with," she continued.
"Only Leo probably has any real idea of how her powers work and he will not tell us," Phoebe put in with a small glare, before smiling at her brother in law. "Some things are supposed to remain a mystery Phoebe," Leo responded with a grin of his own. "I've told you this many times before, all that is important to understand here and now is that this is all a part of her plan and it cannot be altered," he warned them.
"We understand," Giles responded, finally finding his voice again before glancing at Willow. "You said something about another punishment?" he added, turning things back to Leo's original statement.
"I am afraid so. To make sure the lesson sticks we are going to bind Miss Rosenberg's power for a year or two," Leo answered and his expression showed he did not exactly like this, but would still carry out his orders.
"Don't you think she has been punished enough?" Buffy argued angrily at this news.
"Miss Summers, you have missed what Miss Rosenberg truly tried to do last night," Piper cut in, before anyone else could say anything. "The spell she originally tried to cast was akin to mind rape. It broke every bond of friendship and trust that exist," she explained, pacing a little as she did so.
This made Buffy pale before she glanced at Willow again who curled up tighter into a ball as best as she could. She felt ashamed of herself as someone said that word. Last night she had been able to ignore it or push it to one side, her arrogance and pride had blinded her to what she was actually doing.
"Had the Goddess not stopped it and changed the spell, it would have ripped the memory of the argument from their minds and added the new one without any real care and could have caused them brain damage," Prue picked up, where Piper had left off. "It was rape of the most darkest intent and before you ask what the Goddess allowed to happen was different in that she allowed two people in love to express that love in its strongest form and from that union conceive a child," she continued, knowing someone would argue that point.
“Plus before the spell hit them they were given the choice and they could have refused her plan, but they saw the necessity of her plan,” she continued. “By following her plan they may help avert the end of the world in the future, it has also spared Tara from a fate she did not deserve,” she added.
“Tara was going to die?” Willow gasped in horror.
“She was but anymore, and you have them to thank for not going insane due to her death and being a position to destroy the world by the end of this year,” Paige told them, making them all look horrified.
“Good Lord,” Giles gasped, as he realised the full extent of his failure in teaching Willow how to control her powers.
“They saw the bigger picture and trusted in the Goddess and the Creator. They chose to allow her plan to make them fall in love to happen,” Paige went on. “They chose to accept the fact that they would end up raising a child. One raised in the love the Goddess brought out in them, she will have a great impact in the future, just as Piper and Leo’s son Wyatt will have,” she told them.
"But yesterday, Xander and Tara did not love each other," Buffy couldn't stop herself from arguing. "Yes we did," both Tara and Xander shot back with a mild glare, having stayed quite through most of the conversation, but could not stop themselves from responding to Buffy's comment.
"From their perspective Miss Summers," Paige spoke up, "they have been in love for years. In a sense their reality was changed just as reality was changed when the monks sent the key to you as your sister Dawn," she informed them. "You will just have to accept this, all of you," she stated.
"We will," Dawn's quite voice caused all of them to turn to find the younger Summers sister standing behind them, having clearly been listening for some time. "It might take some time for some of us, but we will come to accept this. Xander and Tara are happy, especially about having a child together so who are we to rain on their happiness?" she went on, as she moved to join them at the table only pausing to hug Tara and Xander as she did so. "If the Goddess believes this is a good thing and it also teaches Willow proper control and responsibility for her magic, then we must accept it," she finished as she sat down.
"We were told you were a smart kid," Phoebe said with a grin, liking the girl's attitude. "Miss Rosenberg, do you understand why this happening?" she inquired, turning serious and facing the red head.
"I do," Willow responded meekly, uncurling and forcing herself to stand up. She had brought this on herself and had no one else but herself to blame. "I accept the responsibility and blame for what I did. I will also accept the punishment the Goddess has declared I deserve," she added.
"Acceptance is the first step in earning redemption for yourself, Willow," Piper told her. "This will be an unpleasant experience for you. The next year or two will be hard, but it is the only path open to you to keep your magic," she pointed out. "We're sorry," she added a second later, not liking this any more than Leo did.
"We best get on with this, Wyatt will be wondering where we are," Leo said. "Sheila said she could only babysit for two hours before she had to go to work," he reminded them.
"You are right Leo. Paige, draw the protective circle and pentagram," Prue ordered, taking charge of things. "Leo, go and get the Book of Shadows. Piper, light the candles and place them around the circle," she went on. "Phoebe, prepare the supplies," she finished.
Each sister nodded and began to carry out their duties. Prue accepted the book from Leo and quickly located the binding spell they would use for this casting. Once Paige was done she moved Willow into the centre of the circle. Giving the red head a sad smile she moved to her eldest sister's side, joined a second later by Piper and Phoebe.
"Wait a second, if you bind Willow's power we lose a powerful asset in the fight to keep the Hellmouth shut," Buffy spoke up. "She has a point," Xander agreed reluctantly. "If things get dicey we could need the extra power," he pointed out.
"How come you are not more angry by what has happened to you?" Buffy asked, surprised by his agreement with her. "I'm angry. Willow tried to wipe my memory of something that happened Buffy, but I'm not willing to lose her as a friend because of it. Granted we will never have the friendship we used to have not now, she has destroyed what we had and it might take me a while to talk with her again," Xander answered. "She has lost Tara, she is losing her magic and if I was to stop being friends with her as well, it may be to much for her to bear," he told her. "She will need support to get through all this, we can rebuild the trust that has been lost in all this, but in the end I have gained something from her error," he stated.
"And what is that?" Giles found himself asking. "A real future, a family of my own I know I will always stick close to and defend to my last breath," Xander replied, as Tara smiled at him.
"I agree with Xander. She has broken our trust, but it can be rebuilt, but it will never be as it once was, never as deep or true," Tara spoke up. "She has paid a heavy price for her actions, but I think she has also learned a lesson she will never forget," she went on, leaning her head on Xander's shoulder. "The next two years will not be easy, but as long we stick together I think we will find our way. She made a mistake and paid for it, but she is one of us and if it is one thing we do well it is forgive one another," she stated with a small smile.
"To answer your question Buffy, if you need the help you can call on us to aid you," Prue cut in, knowing their time here was growing short. "But only call us if you really need the help, we have our own war to fight and we are needed in San Francisco," she reminded them.
"Whatever aid you can give us Miss Halliwell will be greatly appreciated," Tara responded, while Buffy nodded her head in agreement. Xander was impressed by their offer to help and Giles was somewhat surprised by this turn of events.
Never in his life had he expected to encounter the fabled Charmed Ones, especially not as a way of punishing one of his children. He was very disappointed in Willow, but he knew he was partly to blame. He should have taken a more active role in ensuring Willow stayed on the right path, but instead he had taken his eye off the ball and allowed her to run head long down the same path he himself had done in his youth. He watched as the sisters began a chant and the power that began to flow through the shop was unlike anything he had ever felt before. It confirmed what he had heard about the Charmed Ones.
Xander held Tara close to him, both were sadly watching as Willow began to have her magic bound. Xander's anger at her try to erase their memory was strong, but as he had told Buffy he was not willing to lose her as a friend. They would have to start from scratch and rebuild their friendship and trust again, but as he had said to Buffy it would never be what it once was. His main focus was now on Tara and their unborn child. The magic the Goddess had wrought on them ensured that neither he nor Tara focused much on the fact that their love had come into being by her hand. In their minds they had been in love for years, and that was the way they liked to think.
Tara was of a similar mind to Xander's, one of her hands rested against him, while the other was on her stomach. The idea that she was pregnant was an amazing one. She swore to her mother's spirit and the Goddess who had granted her this great gift that she would be the best mother she could be. Sighing she snuggled closer to Xander.
Dawn leaned against Buffy and watched the binding of Willow's power. It shouldn't have come to this, but it had and now they would all have to deal with the consequences. The idea of Xander and Tara having a child together appealed to her. She had always felt they had good chemistry even though there had never been any romantic feelings between them before last night. Buffy sadly watched the spell come to its end and could see that Willow was now showing the effects on having her power bound. She was shaking and holding herself. She was crying badly and seemed to want to curl up into a ball again. Buffy felt sad for her friend, but she couldn't help but think that maybe this would ensure the red head would never misuse her power again. This was the way it had to be.
The spell finally finished and the Halliwell sisters collapsed back into a chair, clearly the binding spell took a lot out of them. The candles they had used had gone out as the spell finished and now Willow stood alone in the circle, doing her best to stay standing. Prue pushed herself back to her feet and broke the circle which allowed Willow to leave it. The red head stumbled into Buffy's arm as she broke down entirely. Buffy did her best to comfort her. Dawn moved away and went to Xander and Tara's side. The two brought her into a comforting hug, sensing her unease with the red head.
"I am sorry it came to this Willow, but if you can prove you have learned real control and responsibility in the next year or two your power will be restored to you," Leo told them, his sad expression still on his face as he watched the red head break down.
"And if she doesn't?" Buffy inquired. "Then it will never be given back to her," Leo answered bluntly with a shake of his head. "Hopefully that will not be the case," he stated.
"We will try and help her learn some of the important things she seems to lack when we visit you," Prue told them. "It might take time, but if she is willing to listen and learn then I am confident she will earn her power back," she added in a hopeful tone.
"May I learn from you as well?" Tara asked, with a slight stutter returning. "It would be a great honor to learn from the Charmed Ones," she added with a soft smile.
Prue exchanged looks with her sisters and then Leo who all nodded their heads in agreement. They could all see that Tara was a far more responsible witch and with Willow no longer able to do magic they might need Tara to pick up the slack, especially if they could not come to their aid. "Very well Tara. We will train you both," Prue finally said with a smile, which Tara quickly returned.
"Thank you," was all Tara could say, unable to believe she would be able to learn at the hands of the Charmed Ones themselves.
"We have to go now, as my son is probably giving Sheila a headache. Here is our contact information Mr Giles," Piper said. "If you need real aid or just need to ask for some information please don't hesitate to call," she told him, before she joined her sisters.
Prue held onto the book as they each took a hold of Leo and they began to orb out. This had not been a pleasant experience for them, but maybe they had gained new allies and in time maybe some friends as well. Xander and the others watched them orb out, before they turned to see Buffy still doing her best to comfort Willow. Giles removed his glasses and let out a sigh and truly wished Joyce was still alive, as she would know best how to handle Willow now.
3. Chapter 3
(Sunnydale Church, one year later)
Xander stood nervously at the isle of the church with Oz standing as his best man. The musician had returned to Sunnydale a month after Willow had lost her magic. Xander had called him home to aid them with helping Willow recover. The red head had been having trouble letting go of what had been and he felt Oz would be able to help move her past it. It seemed to have worked and slowly the two of them had begun to reform the relationship they had once had.
"Take it easy Xander, relax," Oz whispered to him as he noted Xander fidget again. "I know Oz," Xander responded. "Man this is the hardest thing I have ever done," he added much to Oz's amusement.
The two of them had formed an even stronger friendship than the one they had in school, which had always been strained by his closeness with Willow and the fluke that had followed. Now there was no mistrust between them, glancing back down the aisle he noted Prue, Piper, Phoebe, Paige, Leo and Cole in the stands watching, with Wyatt held by Piper who seemed to be taking in his new surroundings with awe. Prue held Jennifer (Jenny) Joyce Harris, Xander still smiled as every time he laid eyes on his daughter and so did Tara. They had waited until she had been born before having their wedding, Prue had been made Jenny's Godmother as Tara and Prue had become fast friends over the next couple of months that followed there first meeting. Katy, Tara's Whitelighter, sat behind them with a wide smile, as she was about to witness her charge's wedding.
Not only during those times they needed help, but also the lessons Tara had been taking with the sisters had built their friendship. Prue's boyfriend Bill Weasley was the Godfather. They had met them during a rather intense battle with some rather evil magic users they called Death Eaters. Learning about a hidden magical world had been a rather fun experience. They learned about the war they had just fought and the rounding up of the last few evil followers of the Dark Dork Voldemort, the fact that the weight had lain on the shoulders of 17 year old Harry Potter had reminded them of the Slayers having the world on their shoulders. Harry was also here with his girlfriend Hermione Granger and the other Weasleys were behind them with their various girlfriends. Across from them were other people they had met in the last year, and friends from school like Anya, Cordelia, Faith, Angel wearing the Gem of Amara, Doyle, Wesley, Jonathan Levinson and Amy Madison who were just becoming a couple.
As everyone got ready for the big event four new people appeared at the back of the church in a flash of light, drawing everyone's attention. One was a young woman with curly black hair and eyes that seemed to switch color in a purple tutu and jacket which jumped up and down and clapped her hands in joy before giving everyone a wave much to their confusion. The Lady next to her was unlike anything they had seen before with long red hair, hazel eyes and wearing a long flowing dress. The woman next to her had darkish blond hair like Tara's, as well as her kind blue eyes and she wore a nice but simple white dress. It was the tall man behind them that drew Harry's and his friends' attention, for to them he looked like the unlamented ‘dead' Death Eater Severus Snape, except that this guy had wings.
"Holy Merlin, Snape's back," Ron shouted, trying to draw his wand only to be restrained by his girlfriend Pansy.
Metatron, for that was his name, glared at the red head for what he felt was a huge insult. How dare they accuse him of looking like a dumb idiot who followed an even more idiotic Dark Lord to his death? A thump in his ribs caused him to keep quiet. He turned his head to the tutu wearing deity who glared at him.
Harry moved forwards towards the man with Hermione close behind, he kept his hand on his wand inside his pocket just in case, this was some sort of last gasp trap by Voldemort.
"Snape?" he inquired after stopping in front of the group. "Is that you? What happened to your greasy hair?" he couldn't help to ask.
"Why you impudent child, do I look like an accused idiot to you?" Metatron inquired and began to pace up and down. "Doesn't the fact I have wings connected to my back mean anything to you?" he inquired with a raised eyebrow.
"Err," Harry responded before glancing back at Hermione and Ron who tried to do their best not to laugh. "Yeah actually you do look like Snape and for some insane reason you've stuck wings to your back," he added.
Metatron could only stare at the boy and his friends who broke into laughter and when he turned to look at God he found her laughing as well, the Goddess and Sarah Maclay were also smiling. Groaning at always having to deal with this kind of thing when he came to Earth, he wondered why he even bothered. "I am Le Metatron," he all but shouted, feeling like tearing his hair out.
"Who?" Hermione inquired, having never heard the name before.
"Never heard of him, I think Snape's gone bonkers," Ron suggested, going for the simplest answer causing Metatron to start banging his head against the wall.
"I told you before if it ain't in a Charlton Heston movie they just don't care to learn," he grumbled to God who just smirked at him and shook her head in amusement. "I am Le Metatron as in the Voice of God," he repeated himself.
Harry and the others including Xander and the rest of the wedding party just stared blankly back at him, this caused him even more aggravation and in this moment he knew how Rufus felt at being left out of the bible by the church. "I am the Voice of God. In any documented case where some yahoo says he has talked to God he was in fact talking to me," Metatron explained with as much patience as he had. "Or he was talking to himself," he added after a short pause.
"This is new," Oz said. "I wonder if Giles has heard of him," he added, glancing at Xander who shrugged. Leo shook his head amused at how Metatron was getting worked up due to Harry and his friends mistaking him for someone else. He could have spoken up, but he decided God was having fun at the Voice's expense and so kept quiet. Katy giggled at the spectacle, Metatron always ended up the butt of some kind of joke when he visited Earth. She only just stopped herself from laughing as she recalled what happened when he met Bethany Sloane, oh that really had been funny.
"Why would God need to talk through you?" Hermione inquired, as she calmed herself down. "I mean couldn't he just tell us himself?" she added to which most of the others nodded.
"First God is a she most of the time, so you better correct yourself and as to your other question. Human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, you're mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that out," he informed them and all he could see now were shocked or stunned looks.
"That explains a lot," Harry said. "Are you sure you're not related to Snape?" he asked. "It's just you have the same temperament as him as well as his looks," he pointed out.
Metatron glared at the teen and growled. "Wouldn't you be permanently pissed off if people did not bother to learn about you and kept thinking you were a moronic idiot who got himself killed by following a stupid Dark Lord who had daddy issues?" he stared at Harry who fidgeted a little before ducking behind Hermione. "Yeah I reckon I would be," he responded.
"Glad we got that cleared up," Metatron said before he was elbowed again by God who felt he was picking on Harry.
"Who is she and why does she keep hitting you?" Ron asked.
"Oh not worked it out yet, red?" Metatron inquired. "She's God," he stated with the first smile they had seen out of him.
This of course caused the priest to faint, as well as a few others, while the majority of the others stared in a stunned stupor at his response. Every eye was locked on the tutu wearing woman who smirked and curtsied, clearly she found this fun.
"I don't believe it," Hermione stuttered. "I think I'm cracking up," she added.
"I'm right there with you," Harry told her with a weak grin. "Er... no offence, but why are you here?" he inquired. "Good question, is there a problem?" Xander asked after shaking his head to clear his thoughts.
"Nope, God just loves weddings and tries to attend as many as she can," Metatron answered "And yours Alexander is even more special to her as it was her plan to put you and the lovely Miss Maclay together. She told the Goddess what to do and she did it," he explained.
Willow paled at this bit of information and knew without a doubt she was lucky she was still alive. She thanked her lucky stars and God for spearing her. She missed the look God sent her as she thought this and the gentle smile that passed over her face.
With a wave of her hand the priest instantly awoke and although he started to stutter, but a look from God got him to refocus on why he was there, another wave of her hand caused the music to change. Everyone moved back to their seats thinking this was one of the craziest weddings, yet the most special they had ever been too.
Xander quickly straightened up as the music changed to the wedding march and he forced himself to take a deep breath before glancing back. Seemly gliding up the isle towards him and dressed in a wonderful silk wedding dress was Tara. At her side acting as the bride's father was Giles who looked very proud, behind her was Dawn in the role of the maid of honor and Buffy and Willow were bridesmaids. The past year had been a long hard road for Willow, learning to deal with the loss of her powers and re-earning their trust and friendship had been difficult, but they had reached a place where things seemed to be stable between them all.
Tara paused as she saw who was at the back of the church and letting go of Giles she rushed to greet her mother, who pulled her into a powerful hug. Tara could hardly believe her mother was here in spirit. Glancing at who was with her she executed a short bow which gained a pleased smile from the Goddess and God herself. Metatron nodded his head in response pleased by her action of respect before she received a kiss on the forehead from her mother before she moved to rejoin Giles. Giles noted Tara looked even more radiant now, after a few whispered words she began to approach Xander once more.
Tara finally reached him and Giles handed him Tara's hand which he gladly accepted as the priest came towards them with a smile on his face. The music stopped as everyone stopped speaking. Willow watched from beside Buffy as the wedding began, she felt a small sadness at the sight of how happy Tara and Xander were, but knew in her heart this was for the best. She had Oz back in her life now and they were slowing becoming what they had once been, maybe their relationship would be even stronger than last time. According to Leo, she might be given her powers back in the next few months as her progress in learning control and responsibility had been going well. She would never misuse them again. What she had lost had frightened her deeply. She was just thankful she had not lost Tara and Xander as friends. Granted the trust and friendship was far different than it had been before her spell, but she guessed she should be thankful for small mercies. Pushing these thoughts from her mind she focused on what was happening.
"Dearly beloved we are here before the eyes of God to join in holy union Alexander Harris and Tara Maclay," the priest began. Both glanced back at God who smiled at them, she was very happy to witness this moment.
Xander zoned out as he locked eyes with Tara and for the next few minutes the two just stared at one another, a sharp hit to his side brought him back to see everyone laughing at them and the priest shaking his head in amusement. "Repeat after me," he said again.
Xander stated his wedding vows before accepting the ring from Oz and placing it on Tara's finger. She then recited her vows before placing a ring on Xander's finger. The priest then began a blessing before he smiled and said he could kiss the bride. He didn't need to be told twice and quickly kissed Tara as deeply as he could as the crowd cheered. At the back God jumped up and down in joy at witnessing the event, Metatron shook his head at her antics, while the Goddess just smiled gently before glancing to her side where the spirit of Sarah Maclay watched her daughter's wedding with great joy and happiness.
"I now pronounce you man and wife in the eyes of all before you and in the eyes of God, let no one come between you and may you stay faithful to one another," the priest finished as they kissed again before they turned and headed down the aisle.
God embraced Tara and Xander as soon as they reached her, a sense of peace and contentment fell over both of them afterwards. She then moved to where Prue stood before performing a small blessing on young Jennifer Harris. The baby girl was instantly quiet as she stared into the eyes of God who placed a hand on her forehead and smiled before moving back to her place next to Metatron. With a final wave at the people they all vanished in a flash of white light, nit before she left Sarah told Tara how proud she was of her.
As they exited the church they could hear the cheer that went up from the crowd, pausing before they got into the limo, Tara threw her bouquet over her shoulder where Hermione managed to catch it. Glancing at Harry she grinned at him, Harry smiled back and leaned over and kissed her not bothered in the least by the look in Hermione's eyes. Ron sniggered until Pansy elbowed him in the side and glared at him, sighing he took Pansy's hand in his and kissed it before he followed the others causing Pansy to smirk at his instant apology.
Xander held Tara to him as they listened to the silence of the night completely content. They were now married and nothing would ever come between them again. The reception had been a real success, with much enjoyment been had by all. Prue and Bill were going to look after Jenny while they were on their honeymoon and they knew without doubt that their child would be cared for. Watching Oz give his speech had been a fun experience as he had teased them both with a few of their past exploits, then there was the drinking contest between Harry, Ron, Giles, Charlie, Leo and Cole which Giles had won in style. Hermione had not been amused to have Harry drunk as a skunk and hit him with a powerful hang over spell before laying into him and then dragging him onto the dance floor much to everyone's amusement.
Phoebe had done the same to Cole and Piper to Leo, all three men had repentant looks on their faces as they quickly worked to make their girlfriends and wife respectively happy again. Giles had smirked in triumph before having to run to the toilet to puke, Charlie had been scolded by his own girlfriend Tonks, but he had not been dragged to the dance floor as she was known to be very clumsy. Their first dance as man and wife had felt like a magical event and everyone and everything else had faded away as they moved to the music they had chosen together. An hour and a half later they had decided to call it a night and they had come here. He had picked her up and carried her over the threshold. They had showered and dressed for bed and tomorrow they would leave for their honeymoon at one of Harry's family vacation spots in Hawaii.
Tara decided it was time to start their wedding night properly and sat up and removed her night gown before she sat on Xander and began to trail kisses up his chest. She then captured his lips in a scorching kiss while she guided him into her entrance. She let out a groan as he slipped into her and then looked at him and smiled before she set a mild pace. Xander reached up and began to play with her nipples knowing this was going to be a long night, not that he minded. Capturing one of her nipples in his mouth he began to suckle and nip at it as he rolled them over and began to increase the pace as Tara locked her legs around his back loving the sensations rolling through her. Rolling again she ended up back on top as she leaned down and kissed him again as she felt his hands come around her backside and pull her closer, she let out another moan and continued to ride him as hard as she could. This continued for a while as they slowed down every so often to draw out their love making. Finally they couldn't hold back any more and Xander exploded inside her and she quickly followed him as her own climax happened. Collapsing on top on him she took a few deep breathes before she began to move again, kissing him deeply she had no intention of this been over just yet.
The Goddess stood next to God and Metatron and nodded her head, pleased to see that the dark future she had seen had indeed been averted. The friends Xander, Tara and their group had made in the Charmed Ones and Harry Potter and his friends had aided them in stopping the First Evil from rising before it had any chance on carrying out its evil plan. Willow was well on the way to mending her ways, having taken her lessons with the sisters seriously. This new alliance of their forces would give the world far more protection than it had before, and waiting in the wings to take on their roles were Wyatt, Jenny and the other future children who were yet to come.
God smiled seeing the balance become stronger and stronger. This was the best idea she'd had in a long time. Of course it always looked as if someone else had come up with the idea, but nothing happened in this universe without her say so. It was just the way it worked, the wedding had been fun to watch and it always filled her with joy to see two people in love become joined. She knew there would be more in the coming year, Harry and Hermione especially were reaching a point where she knew they would be married soon and she had caught the bouquet so it must have given her ideas. Those two had always been close and their relationship once it had begun during their trek to find the Dark Lord's Horcruxes had quickly progressed. Of course as she watched she recalled that none of this would be possible without the choice made by Tara and Xander, free will had proven once again to be the greatest gift she had given mankind. Some humans including their champions could not see the big picture, but Xander and Tara had and now thanks to their choice the future was a lot brighter than it had been.
The Metatron just watched his two companions just thankful that things on Earth seemed quiet for now. Oh he knew better than to think it would always be that way, but it was better than it had been. The Powers that Be and the Elders had messed up big time in the last couple of years and they had forced God to take action, which she had and he was sure the two groups were still rubbing their sore butts from the ass whipping the Archangels had given them at her command. He chuckled as he'd not had so much fun in a while, and it gave him great satisfaction in kicking the pompous idiots up the ass and making them realize their stupidity. The war would continue, but with their forces now allied, he was confident they could hold the line and at some distant time in the future actually win the war and bring a lasting peace to the Earth.