Samba De Orfeo
by Beth C.

They didn't spin a globe and stop it on a random city, and they didn't pick a name out of a hat.

Kennedy said that her homeland was calling to her, and it struck Willow that she had never even wanted to know where Kennedy's family was from.

She wanted to live somewhere quiet, somewhere that she would never need to use her magic again. Not a city that called to her, that beckoned her to walk it's streets.

Rio was alive and singing, with spirits running through it's alleys and the voodoo practitioners chanting to her.

They would walk past their home some days, looking into to see Willow, to see the woman controlling the chosen. Willow spent her days in the shadows.

But she couldn't resist the when Carnival came.

The hands clapping, and the voices reaching the sky, and the beating of drums that they can hear from outside the city cry out.

It's on these side streets, dressed as a fairy, she understands the true power she holds.

It took her a month to make, inspired by the hanging trees around their house, the spark in the air around them, and the urge to be something she could never be again. She wanted to be fresh, be pure, be purged of everything that ached.

With flowers in her hair, vines curving over her body, and a glittering mask over her eyes, they took to the street. Kennedy held her hand tightly at first, with a territorial grip, and a costume glittering even brighter then the woman on the float.

"My avo wore this during carnival," she had said excitedly when the package first arrived, "She was queen of the city when she was young."

But the costume makes her just one star in the grand chaos of the city.

The wood, and steel, and glass clatter together with the stomping of the feet all around her, as Kennedy becomes just another masked face in the swarming masses. Willow lets go of her to get picked up by the waves of people, to be possessed by the beat surrounding her on all sides.

She watched Kennedy's face fade away into the distance, and moved with the crowd as it brought her onto a side street, with unfamiliar bodies moving her in a sick rhythm with the music.

But then he was in front of her, and something was different.

There was something so familiar about thin hips, and the slight grin that developed from behind the mask. The hands spoke loudest, with thin fingers and calloused pads, grazing so lightly over her costume.

He moved behind, dipping her as the beat sped up.

"I thought you said it would be Istanbul," his voice whispered in her ear, as he pressed into her.

She moved back, dancing hard, "I was only a continent off."

Then she was in front of Willow, blonde hair whipping around her face.

"Tara?" she choked out, as the body pushed into her, grabbing Oz and holding Willow tight.

Tara's eyes glittered from behind the black mask that matched Oz's perfectly, "You look like a goddess."

"I can't breathe through this mask," Willow choked as they pushed their bodies to her even tighter, moving her down the streets.

Tara kissed her hard, "When is the last time you remember really breathing? Taking a deep breath and feeling that air fill your lungs, bringing it all in?"

"This street doesn't look familiar," she yelled as her head swam and the chanting grew louder.

Oz chuckled softly, his breath warm on her neck, "That's because you've never been here."

"Where are we?" she asked, as they exchanged smiles with each other.

"You'll see baby."

But then she wasn't on the city street, but in that thick jungle that surrounded them on all sides, that sang to her throughout the night.

"Where have you brought me?" she asked softly, looking at the circle of men and women around her.

Tara leaned in closer, "You brought yourself here."

"Why did I bring myself here?" she asked back, walking slowly away.

Oz grinned almost evilly, lacing his fingers with hers, "Because you miss this and you need this."

She pulled her hand back sharply, "I don't need this anymore."

"You will always need this," a voice cries out from the circle, "That's why your spirit guides lead you here."

"Spirit guides?" she thought, as something moved through her hard and fast and her feet began to move.

"We would only trust someone special to you, to bring you here, to watch over you," another voice called out, "We want you to see, we want you to stop being so afraid of your gift."

"It's not a gift!" Willow scream, forcing her feet still and falling to the ground, "This will never be a gift!"

The two bodies moved beside her again, and helped her to her feet.

"You are a gift, Willow," Oz said, pulling his mask off slowly, "You've always been a gift."

"You are special, Willow," Tara agreed, removing her mask as well, "They brought you here so you would stop being afraid of your power, that you would try to learn from them."

Oz ran his hand through her hair, "Close your eyes."

They kissed her sweetly, tinged with the sadness that taught her it would be the last time.

Then as fast as they had come, both bodies were gone with their taste lingering on her and their scent heavy in the smoky hair.

She began her slow walk back to her house after that, and slept heavier then since she had tucked her body beside Tara.

Kennedy stumbled in that morning as Willow was packing her bag. "I lost you in the crowd," she said, smelling over other's hands and alcohol.

Willow didn't have the heart to tell her, she never had her.

The letter came that day in the mail, postmarked from Giles and words smudged with tears.

"Oz is dead. I am so sorry."

She could feel it before she ever read those words.

She was ready to feel again, she was ready to learn.

"Giles, I'm going to be traveling for awhile. I'll write."


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