Chapter 6: To Remember Not or To Forget Not?
Title: Living as Lenore
Author: Luna (aka Luna_del_Cielo on lj)
Fandom: Supernatural/Buffy the Vampire Slayer/
Cast of Characters: Tara/Lenore McLeod, Fergus McLeod/Crowley, Loki/Gabriel, Anya, Castiel, Eli, Dean, Sam, Scoobies
Summary: Willow tried to bring Tara back from the dead…and she did. Unfortunately, it happened to be in a body 340 years in the past.
This story will explore Lenore’s life as a Prophetess, as a vampire, and finally as a woman struggling to figure out who – or rather, what – she is as her life turns full circle when she meets the Scoobies again.
Pairing(s):Anya/Gabriel, Tara/Willow, and inexplicably several others...Spoilers: BTVS S6E19 ‘Seeing Red’, SPN S2E3 ‘Bloodlust’. Spoilers for Crowley's past in S6 “Weekend at Bobby’s” and allusions to Loki's past in S5
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If I did then fewer people would have died in each of those shows :)
October 1, 1700
“When your thirst for truth has left you parched, forget not what resources you have.”
Lenore could not get Loki’s final words out of her mind. For the last ten months she had debated with Elspeth (the other coven members had never been told about Lenore’s past life) about the Forget-Me-Not flower that Loki had given to her. Clearly he had given her the flower as a way to remember her past life, but the two of them had debated multiple issues that went along with the situation.
For one, how was she supposed to use the flower to remember? Did she eat it? Or make it into a potion? Or do a spell with it? Or weave into her hair? There was no clear answer and if they chose the wrong answer, like eating the flower, then there would be nothing left to try again.
On the other hand, could they truly trust Loki? He was a dangerous creature and responsible for the deaths of five men in their village, and certainly hundreds more throughout Europe. More so, the trickster enjoyed, well, tricking people and who was not to say the flower would bind her to him or something else horrifying? Yet, during his time with her he had never seemed truly dangerous except once, and that had been a test of her own power and will.
Then there was one more question that Lenore did not have the answer to: Did she verily want the truth? After twelve years of wondering of the past, dreaming of the past, sketching the past, was she truly prepared to know? After all, she had responsibilities that demanded her focus.
Since Connor’s death she was forced to move out of the church’s minister’s house and instead moved in with Elspeth. After the death of their father, Fergus inherited the tailor shop and their clan home. With him, Molly, and their mother living above the shop, there was no room for her and the children. Fortunately, that worked out well because Elspeth loved having the children in the house and it gave Lenore easier access to do magic in the privacy of her cousin’s cellar.
However, while their living arrangements had worked out well, Lenore still had to provide for her children. Marriage was absolutely out of the question and Elspeth’s herb business was only profitable for one person. Therefore, Lenore worked ten hours a day in Fergus’ tailor shop sewing, cutting, and fitting. She had a moderate talent in the area and quite a bit of creativity to please their customers, but it was certainly not her passion and the work was hard.
Not to mention, Fergus’ attitude had noticeably soured since January. While he had initially stated that his loss of organ was worth it to save her and Elspeth from certain death, he became bitter when he learned of Anyanka’s presence and that his help had not truly been needed. Lenore had assured him that it had because otherwise Anyanka likely would have destroyed the whole village, but he was still unsatisfied with her words. She of course felt awful about his unhappiness, but she was getting tired of his increasingly short temper. He was outright rude to people constantly and while he was still the nicest to her and the children, he would even snap at her more often than she liked.
Therefore, working in the shop was not very pleasant.
And if she learned about her past life, what then? What if that changed everything and she felt compelled to leave her family and find the woman that she dreamed of?
There was just too much at stake.
…And yet…It was painful not to know. To have a glimpse into a life that she didn’t have anymore or even understand felt like a shallow needle prick each time it occurred. Then to have numerous glimpses but still walk away uneducated felt like a knife wound to the chest.
She had to know. After all, Elspeth had always said that knowledge was powerful. What if she learned something that could help others? After all, that flash of knowledge about Anyanka had greatly helped them. What if more pertinent information lay past that veil?
Oh for the love of Hecate, this was maddening.
Most maddening was her inability to make a decision. Did she leave the flower in its jar or did she use it?
For the rest of the night Lenore could not sleep as she tossed and turned in her bed. Finally, she decided to take the plunge and use the flower – and just hope that God watched over her as she did so.
Silently she walked through the dark house, careful to wake no one. She knew that Elspeth would want to be here with her but Lenore felt that she needed to do this on her own.
Lighting a candle in the kitchen, she walked down the cellar steps and used magic to open their coven room. She slid inside and breathed in the ancient smell of magic in the air. Now a practicing witch for a dozen years, the power of the room no longer overwhelmed her. Now she found it comforting and familiar; it pleased her sometimes to just sit in here and relax. Elspeth had said that the room had been used by witches in her clan for centuries and judging by the flavor of the room she would have to agree.
Very carefully she extracted the jar containing the Forget-Me-Not out off of the shelf and placed it in front of her on the table. This flower symbolized several things, but most intriguing to her was that it was worn by lovers so they would not forget one another, specifically when the man went off to war. Of course the red-haired woman came to mind and she was wondering if that was why Loki had chosen this flower.
Lenore sighed as she rested her head onto cradled hands. Now she just needed to determine the best way to use this flower.
“When your thirst for truth has left you parched, forget not what resources you have.”
Well, she had finally made the decision to discover the truth about herself, so she supposed she was parched for knowledge. Obviously the Forget-Me-Not was her resource, but that still didn’t identify how she needed to use the flower.
After an hour of silent questioning she let out a grunt of frustration and went back upstairs to get a jug of water from the kitchen. Maybe she was just tired and needed to be refreshed – a drink would do that.
Oh Lord, she was stupid. Of course if she was parched for knowledge she would need a drink, and what did one do with dry leaves and flowers but make tea?
It was all so simple now. Quickly Lenore grabbed the water jug and went back to the room where she dumped the liquid into the cauldron and began boiling it. Trembling with excitement she crushed the dried flower in her hand and sprinkled it into a tea cup. Once the water was finished she poured it over the flower and let it sit for ten minutes – quite possibly the longest ten minutes of her life. Finally it was cool enough to drink and she placed a tea leaf strainer over it.
She raised the glass up the heavens and said a silent prayer with closed eyes. Then, with trepidation creeping through her veins and excitement spiraing through her body, she took a small sip and then gulped the rest of it down.
Shoulders tense, she set the cup on the table and waited for the memories to come. Here it was, the moment she had been waiting for…
A minute passed, then five. Then ten, fifteen, twenty, and then thirty.
And nothing happened.
It looked like in the end the Trickster had tricked her.
Dejected, she scooted back her chair and began re-shelving the now-empty jar and cup. Frustrated, she kicked the table leg and practically growled. All this, and she had nothing to show for it, nothing at all. She would never know who she, Eleanor ‘Lenore’ Amelia McLeod, really was.
She was Tara Maclay.
Daughter of Sarah Campbell Maclay and Kevin Maclay; sister of Donald Maclay.
She had lived in Hooper, Utah until she had moved to Sunnydale, California…where she had truly come to life.
Lenore’s mind exploded with colors and images so intense that a choking gasp was ripped from her throat. Falling forward towards the table, she caught herself with trembling hands. She opened her eyes but she couldn’t see the room in front of her. Instead, dozens, hundreds, thousands, and millions of images blinked across her mind’s eye. Whispers spoke to her of names, songs, and stories that quickly coalesced into one never-ending scream. As her brain began overloading with information her trembling increased to full-body convulsions and she fell twitching to the floor.
It was too much…too much information…
Unconciousness was a welcome distraction.
She was in a room scented with the musky aroma of incense and several paintings on the wall. A knock sounded, echoing through the empty room. Feeling oddly apprehensive, she opened the door and saw Her.
The Her. Her mystery woman.
Lenore’s breath caught in her throat and she was blinded by the brilliance of her smile. God, she had dreamt of that smile so many times. And her eyes – they were like small emeralds shining under the sun’s rays and Lenore wanted so badly to bask in her light. A nervous smile played along her lips and she gave Lenore an expectant look as she held up a flaming candle.
“No candles? Well, I brought one. It's extra flamey.”
Oh God, the sound of her voice was heartbreakingly lovely. Never before had Lenore heard her speak. She spoke as soft like a pixie and as quickly as their wings beat against the wind.
Lenore was silent and she stepped forward to give her the candle and then closed the door behind herself.
“Tara, I have to tell you...” Lenore was not sure who Tara was but this goddess could call her Bob for all she cared.
“No, I-I understand. You have to be with the person you l-love,” she found herself saying.
The goddess before her smiled, and it was no longer a nervous smile, but an excited one. “I am.”
Her breath was stolen from her. This woman loved her? Never before had she been loved – either in her past or present life had she felt that emotion.
“I mean,” the woman stated significantly. “Okay?”
“Oh, yes,” she said in soft wonderment.
The goddess continued speaking. “I feel horrible about everything I put you through. A-and I'm gonna make it up to you. Starting right now.”
Lenore smiled, still basking in amazement that this woman loved her. “Right now?”
She smiled and nodded, and Lenore blew out the candle. They were shrouded in darkness and she felt very nervous – her previous dreams had never gotten to the point of kissing! But then the woman’s lips were on hers; it was a soft kiss, an unsure kiss. Oh, but it sent shivers down her spine. Her hand cupped the base of the woman’s neck and she opened her mouth slightly to truly taste her.
Suddenly a flood of memories arose in Lenore – meeting this woman at the Campus Wiccan group, practicing magic with her, falling in love with her, working with the Scoobies, fighting with her, taking her back into her arms…and then the final image of blood splattered over her white shirt.
“Willow,” she moaned softly as her mind spiraled further into an abyss of memories past.
Sleep covered her like a thick quilt and Lenore was experiencing difficulty uncovering herself. Heavy-lidded eyes struggled to open and her limbs felt like they were weighted down with boulders. There was a rustle of movement to her side and she heard her brother’s voice.
“Lenore? Good god, woman, are you awake?” he asked in hushed concern.
Cracked lips opened to speak but only a croak emerged from them. Dry coughs erupted out of her mouth and she felt herself pulled up; Fergus’ arm supported her and she felt him sitting at her left side. Something cool touched her lips and she felt it fall down her throat. Initially she choked and Fergus patted her back.
“There now, don’t choke. You need this, Len.”
Len. So many times the sound of that name had annoyed her to no end, but know she greeted it warmly. She was back, back from wherever she had been; back to a brother that loved her and not one that verbally abused her.
A little bit more liquid slipped past her lips and then she felt Fergus pulled her tightly against him. “Dammit, Len. I thought you were going to die. What the hell were you thinking?” he asked gruffly.
“Fer—” she tried to say but she coughed instead. Her eyes blinked open once, twice, and on the third time she was able to take in her environment. She was in her room in Elspeth’s home lying on the bed. Fergus was the only other occupant but she thought she heard movement down the hall.
Lenore remembered what had happened. Loki had been true to his word and the Forget-Me-Not had worked. She had dreamt of everything, every last detail of her former life as Tara Maclay. The information was overwhelming but she had attempted to sort it in detail during her dreams.
Her mother had been a powerful witch but after her death she – or rather, Tara – had left home right after graduation to go to school far away in California. There she had met Willow, a woman whose aura had shined with the multi-faceted brilliance of a rainbow. With her Tara helped the vampire slayer Buffy fight demons with their other friends, Xander, Anya (who she now recognized was the same Anyanka from the church cellar), Mr. Giles, Spike, and Dawn. Her end had been sudden and unexpected – a wound through the chest by an unknown assailant.
The process of learning all of this was very traumatic. She still had many questions…specifically, why in the heck was her past life born in the 20th century yet her second life was born in the 17th century?
Fergus gave her some more water and she swallowed it with more ease this time. His tone became annoyed and defensive, which he only did when he was really worried. “Bloody hell Len, I didn’t give up my bits and pieces in exchange for your life only to have to try to die on me less than a sodding year later.”
She smiled, and then inwardly winced as her chapped lips cracked with the effort. “Wouldn’t want you to be both penis-less and sister-less,” she joked dryly in a raspy voice.
“Exactly,” he grumbled, but his voice sounded relieved now and he gave her a quick squeeze before laying her back down on the bed.
“How long have I been asleep?” she whispered as he returned to his seat.
Fergus opened his mouth to speak and then just shook his head in astonishment. “Seven bloody days, Len. Seven days. If Elspeth hadn’t told me that your soul was still in your body, I would have thought you dead.”
“Seven days?” she choked.
He nodded. “By all accounts you should be dead – no one can survive without a drink for this long and live. I even asked Elspeth if she performed a spell to keep you alive but she said that was ‘dark magic’ and denied doing one,” he rolled his eyes. Lenore could tell that he didn’t care about dark magic and its consequences very much.
Fergus sighed. “I should get Elspeth. You’ll need a meal quickly. Do you have enough strength to see the children now?”
Her children. God, they felt like a lifetime ago. It was hard for her to keep both lives separate and after spending so much time in her previous life she had forgotten about them.
“Send them,” she croaked.
Once he left she let out a long, painful sigh. The mere idea that she had forgotten about her children – even only momentarily – made her wonder if her decision to drink that tea had been worth it.
Only time would tell.
Thanks to everyone for reading!
As always reviews = love, and we all know that love makes the world go round ;)
***Dialogue taken from ‘New Moon Rising’. Transcript found here: http://www.buffyworld.com/buffy/transcri
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