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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 9th August 2011)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:12 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Gonna chime in on this little discussion: I completely agree with Deb and Shelby. There are several factors at play here: guilt, fear, trust, hope etc. Willow is absolutely afraid of NOT having a relationship with Tara. Okay.. Let’s forget what we know and focus on what Willow knows. What does Willow know? Nothing much. She doesn’t know what Tara will or will not do. She never asked Tara much of anything beyond general questions: What she wants to eat, drink etc. Can you really “move on” when you’re basing a relationship, or lack of, solely on assumptions? No.

Willow needs to truly forgive herself and in doing so, realize she is worthy of forgiveness and love. She hasn’t, yet, and that generates fear. But.. Tara is there. Still. She has not indicated she intends to leave forever--Quite the contrary. Willow is not listening to her heart, or to Tara’s. Fear won’t allow it. They can be civil to each other, friends even, but that isn’t enough for Willow. It’s not enough for Tara either. One moment of letting go and following her heart led to the kiss and revealed the kind of relationship she wants/needs with Tara. It was an important step toward acknowledging the truth: She loves Tara and hopes Tara wants her in the same lesbian-gay-type-lovers/ soul-mate way. That maybe, just maybe, she is worthy of Tara’s forgiveness, trust and love. How can that possibly be a mistake? Willow thinks kissing Tara is a mistake only because she is petrified of rejection. She has convinced herself that is inevitable and doesn’t even give Tara an opportunity to prove, or disprove, this notion. That is fear. You absolutely must break the cycle of guilt and fear in order to truly move forward with your life, regardless of the end result. Willow’s kiss served another very important purpose. It tells Tara that Willow wants/needs her too. And that simple action may be the very thing that compels Tara to finally be completely honest with Willow, and herself, about her own desires. The only mistake Willow made was allowing fear to take hold by assuming the worst after kissing Tara and bolting.. again.

Dear Willow, What is the worse that could happen? You don’t have Tara now. You think you will never have Tara. If you open your heart and she says no to the kind of relationship you want/need with her.. you haven’t lost a thing. What? If Tara actually put voice to rejection you lose that tiny bit of hope? That is hanging on, not moving on. You must let go of fear, be honest with Tara and face the consequences. It’s called closure.

Dear Tara, Ditto.


Wayland: I’ve been reading this from the get-go (sorry for the serious lack of feedback) and have to say it is one of my favorite active stories. I’m not generally a fan of angst but this is soooooo well written. Amazing job.


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 9th August 2011)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:43 pm 
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Wayland - I have been reading this all along and you are ratcheting up the discomfort, but in a way that doesn't seem contrived, so kudos. I enjoy this story a lot, but I have also been reading the threads and feel compelled to throw my two cents in here as well, lol.

I think there is a lot of fear here on both sides. They keep dancing around one another and what they both know needs to be said - which is ultimately what they are feeling about one another. Yes, in an offhand way, by staying even after debating leaving with herself, Tara is in an excruciatingly subtle way leaving emotional bread crumbs for Willow, letting her dare to hope, although she tortures herself about it and what it really means.

I don't know how I feel totally about the kiss, do I think it was ill timed? I would have to say yes, but every time Willow gets overwhelmed, bolting out the door is just as ill advised, in my opinion.

I know a lot of us are also speaking from our own experiences and opinions and I think for the most part none of us are 22, but one of the things that made me stop a little was this is also being written in the scope of two "young" women in their early 20's. Neither have the emotional maturity or experience here, I think, to really be doing anything other than what they are doing. Which is dancing around one another too afraid to say the truth in what they feel and ask for what they want. I'm not saying either is emotionally stunted, but Willow has had one other sexual relationship, with Tara we don't really know - so how much can they really know? They are just learning about themselves!

I think everyone on some level has made good points, but I know at 22 or 23, if I had been so horribly hurt by my lover (and possibly my first serious relationship), that I may not have been able to let that go even a year later. It would have, at least with that person, made me more wary of them because in part, that I still felt so much for them. Love is wonderful, but when you sacrifice yourself and your needs for someone else's, or let another put you in a place of subjugation (which Willow did by taking away Tara's free will) the relationship on a whole has actually become abusive and incredibly unhealthy.

They are both standing in water that is rapidly rising with weights attached to their ankles, in the form of their unspoken and unresolved issues with one another, and they will drowned.

I don't know that the kiss was brave when followed by running away, nor was standing there like a statue and letting it happen any wiser. So, the dance goes on and on, the question is will they actually get real with one another? Will Willow stop running and take some more responsibility for her actions and listen to whatever Tara has to say? Will Tara spit out what she wants and needs? That's when they both will heal, mature and grow, in my humble opinion, but only Wayland knows, in the grand scheme of things. :)


Thank you, Wayland. I can't wait to see what you do next and how any of our debates will play into your considerations. :clap :clap

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 9th August 2011)
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:49 pm 
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JustSkipIt
Thank you for the excellent feedback, Debra.

The chapter was meant to feel suffocating, so I’m happy that came across.

Quote:
Maybe they could just fuck and let go

I’m delighted that you’re speculating on the conclusion. I do that often with stories, but only the ones that catch my imagination, so I take it as a compliment.

Quote:
There have been times in this fic that I've felt like your lack of dialog tags left me wondering who was speaking and I found it confusing

That’s very helpful. I don’t want my writing to be cluttered, but of course, I don’t want it to be confusing either. Finding the balance is something I’m learning as I go along. This type of feedback is so useful. I’ve made a couple of edits to the final two chapters as a result.

You are right, the flashback does work as a buffer. I wanted that gap, because Willow’s flight isn’t exactly impulsive, it’s a culmination of everything that’s gone before.

I was very interested to read the different reactions to Willow kissing Tara. None of them contradict my own view. It’s a question of perspective. Willow certainly sees it as a mistake. Being in such close proximity to Tara, whilst having no hope, has been torture for her, and the kiss makes it worse.

Willow sees it as weakness – to give in to her feelings. Was she brave or weak? Both, I think.

Giving in to your feelings, against your better judgement is weakness, but it can, at the same time, be a strength. Because it’s honest, and in my opinion, the reason for their break up and subsequent estrangement is a lack of honesty. All the consequences arose from a fear of being truthful with each other.

Admitting to weakness and fear is, I think, a brave thing to do. Which is basically what Willow did. She sees it as a failure and can’t even face Tara. Of course, Tara may not see it the same way. As you said, Tara is holding the sanity, which is hopeful.

I hope you enjoy reading on. Any chance of the next part of The Three of Us?


davislm
I’m glad you like it, thanks for commenting.

SMGOVAN
Quote:
2 steps forward 10 steps back....

Perhaps not… Thank you for commenting.

viximon
Don’t worry, I wouldn’t dream of leaving them this way. Thanks for reading.

taranwillow4ever
Thank you for reading and letting me know that you are enjoying the story. It means a lot.


Finey McFine
Thanks for your lovely comments. I’m glad it was your favourite chapter, even though it was a painful read. They are walking through wet cement indeed, but slowly, they are moving forward.

Quote:
Willow was feeling, she stopped thinking

For a moment, Willow allowed her feelings to override her thinking. And now she sees it as a terrible mistake.

Whether or not she’s right – well, I hope you like the way I’ve written what happens next.

Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts.

love_2003
Thanks for reading and commenting. Don’t worry, they will get there. I hope you enjoy the update.


sadie
I’m glad you liked the flashback. It’s no coincidence that it happened here, and you’re right, it’s a good thing for Tara to have in mind. Thank you for leaving feedback and for reading the story. I hope you like the update.

BeMyDeputy
Hi Kate. I laughed at your Fibonacci joke. That’s a worry.

Quote:
we see throughout the chapter that Willow is confused and upset, it's only the emotional state we get, not the content
.
That was deliberate. It’s apparently Willow’s POV, but really, we are on the outside, because I wanted the reader to experience some of Tara’s shock. Tara has been moving and changing during the time they’ve spent together, and I guess she assumes that Willow has been too. Tara has been absorbed in her own feelings. She’s incredibly focussed on Willow, but doesn’t actually stop and put herself in Willow’s place. I don’t think she’s irresponsible or inconsiderate of Willow, I just think she’s blinded by her own fear and insecurity. Tara sees Willow as the strong one.

Quote:
Kissing Tara is like pouring alcohol on a wound before ripping the bandage off.

This is exactly what Willow feels that she has just done. Since the ‘you thought I had a new girlfriend?’ outburst, Willow has been, to an extent, acting a part. Tara has been behaving as if they are a couple and Willow is desperate to prolong that for as long as she can, (even though it’s pretty agonizing, it’s better than the alternative). But kissing is step too far. She can’t do that and then act like nothing happened.

If Tara doesn’t love her any more, it could be seen as an insanely self-destructive thing to do. Willow is far too fragile to handle rejection.

Willow should be talking to Tara, and Tara should be questioning why Willow tries not to kiss her. But neither of them do that.

Willow thinks it was an act of weakness, and yes, she has left herself completely defenceless, but I see her idea of strength as skewed. The magic was all about being in control, being strong, being powerful. In this moment, (just like Tara in the flashback), Willow can’t even control her own actions, so she feels that she’s made a terrible mistake. Maybe the question isn’t, ‘was she weak or strong?’, but whether being ‘strong’ is actually a good thing. Losing control is anathema to Willow, but trying to control everyone and everything has been disastrous for her happiness. Kissing Tara is definitely not Willow taking care of herself, not when she knows that Tara will leave. But maybe it’s time for her to let go and let someone else take care of her?

Thanks for all your thoughts on this chapter, Kate, I love hearing what you have to say.


Agilulfa
Thank you for comments. Yes, absolutely, from our point of view the kiss is a step forward, but only because we know the whole story. For Willow, it’s yet another mistake. She can’t be that close to Tara and then lose her again. Now she’s pushed Tara away, which is the opposite of what she wanted. She was desperate for Tara to stay, no matter how painful that was for her, but by giving in to her feelings she thinks she’s made that impossible.


Kajun
I’m delighted to know that you have been reading this story, and that you are enjoying it.

The discussion has been really interesting and I thank you for chiming in.

Quote:
Willow’s kiss served another very important purpose. It tells Tara that Willow wants/needs her too

A very good point. Tara didn’t actually know this. The story began with Tara assuming that Willow had a new girlfriend. That was only a couple of days ago. They have both been acting on assumptions, and neither has had the courage to ask the other ‘What do you want?’ in case the answer is rejection.

So finally, one of them is being honest, albeit through desperation.

Quote:
How can that possibly be a mistake?

That’s a good question. True, at the very worst, Willow would get closure. But for her, that possibility may be the worst thing in the world. The tiny bit of hope she was clinging to was perhaps the difference between continuing recovery and giving up.

vampyregurl73
Quote:
Tara is in an excruciatingly subtle way leaving emotional bread crumbs for Willow
That’s well put. And completely not her intention.

You make a good point about their emotional maturity. Tara runs away every bit as often as Willow does. They are young and very frightened. They don’t have the experience of surviving loss or rejection. Thus far, they’ve retreated from it, into denial and avoidance.

The feedback has certainly influenced the story. It was pretty much complete as a narrative before I began posting, but, thanks to excellent, thoughtful comments, I’ve clarified a lot of things, (not least my own thinking).

Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 9th August 2011)
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:15 pm 
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TITLE: Donegal Street

AUTHOR: Wayland

RATING: PG-13

DISCLAIMER: Willow, Tara and any other characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise belong to Joss Whedon, FOX and ME.

SPOILERS: Up to and including Season Six.

SUMMARY: Tara left Willow after Tabula Rasa. It is now about a year later.

FEEDBACK: I would be grateful for your comments.

NOTES: Thanks to my beta, Vivienne, for the encouragement I needed to get this far and to Julia for reading and offering suggestions. Thanks to BeMyDeputy for invaluable input.



Chapter 13


Willow pushed herself up off the bathroom floor with difficulty. Every muscle responded with a dull ache. She had no idea how long she had been there, huddled against the side of the bath. Dry-eyed, staring at nothing. Long enough for the noise in her head to stop, anyway. It was quiet in there now. Not peaceful, just quiet. Empty. Like a vacuum.

She wondered sluggishly where Tara was now. On the train, maybe. Perhaps already in Sunnydale. Briefly, she considered washing her face, but then winced at the thought of the mirror above the basin. She had no desire to see herself.

The spark of emotion exhausted her. The few yards to her bed were the most she could contemplate for now. She opened the bathroom door, leaning heavily on the handle, then stopped abruptly, as if she had walked into a wall.

Willow shut her eyes. When she opened them, Tara was still there. Sitting on the floor in the hallway. Her head was tipped back, her eyes closed. She had her arms wrapped around her knees. She looked as if she were on a beach, peacefully taking in the sun. At the noise of the door, she lowered her head gracefully and looked straight at Willow. Patting the floor next to her, she waited in silence.

Willow walked on stiff legs towards her, then awkwardly sank down. She hunched over, curling her arms around her legs, as if determined to take up the least space possible. When she had finally settled into place, Tara spoke,

‘Why can’t you?’

Willow took a sharp breath and buried her face into her knees. Tara said nothing more. The glow from the bathroom fell like a spotlight on two perfectly still figures. Somewhere in the apartment, a window rattled against a squall of rain.

At last, Willow stirred and in halting sentences, began to speak.

‘Before, when you left . . . it was . . . I was expecting it. It was almost a relief. You wait and wait for the blow to fall and then it does, and you think, “hey, it wasn’t that bad - I survived.” ’

Willow took another sharp breath.

‘I knew nothing. The pain hadn’t even started. I still thought I could fix things. More magic. Better magic. When I finally understood what I’d done . . . ’

Willow closed her eyes as words failed her. She dropped her head and when she spoke again, it was barely audible.

‘When you leave again, I think it will kill me.’

Tara felt her heart stall. She was falling, like a plane in the sky, its engines silent.

She had honestly believed, when she left Willow, that the lasting pain would be hers alone. Looking at the broken woman beside her, that belief appalled her. Tara wrenched herself away from the thought. Now wasn’t the time to indulge in self-recrimination. Now was about Willow. She wanted to hold her, to hold her tightly and crush those words into dust. But she could not. She knew that. The gulf between them would not be bridged by a touch. The fiercest embrace would not bring Willow closer. Tara felt her hands curl into fists as she forced the passion out of her voice. When she spoke, her tone was composed.

‘Why do you assume I’ll leave?’

It seemed to take an enormous effort for Willow to hold her head up and face her.

‘Because sooner or later you’ll realise the truth. Because some things are unforgivable.’

Willow spoke flatly, as if not expecting a reply, and immediately looked away.

‘So you decide for both of us. Again.’ Tara’s voice was gentle, but Willow recoiled as if she had been slapped.

‘It isn’t your decision, Will,’ Tara added softly.

Willow blinked several times, then began to shake her head vigorously.

‘What I did was a violation.’

‘Yes.’

‘I had no excuse.’

‘And I’m not asking for one.’ Willow stared, her face contorting in confusion.

‘I’m not asking for an excuse. But I want to know why.’

Willow leaned her head back against the wall, her eyes averted.

‘It’s pathetic. I was pathetic.’ When Tara did not respond, Willow continued, her words quicker now, sharper.

‘I was the person people left. My parents. Xander. Oz. Even Buffy preferred being dead.’ She adopted an exaggerated whine, ‘Poor little Willow. Poor me.’

The biting contempt in Willow’s voice forced Tara’s eyes shut for a moment, but she did not interrupt.

‘I mean, it’s not like they ever got rejected, or lost someone. No, that never happened to Xander, or to Buffy, or Dawn . . .’ The aggressive sarcasm in Willow’s voice faded as she mentioned the teenager, changing into something like grief. Her last words came after a moment of silence and were close to a whisper, ‘ . . . or to you.’

Tara’s jaw ached as she bit down the urge to respond, as she let Willow speak. A slight tugging made her glance down. Willow had grasped the hem of her loose shirt. Probably unconsciously, but she was holding on tight.

‘I thought it was just me. My problem. And I thought there was an answer, if I looked hard enough. And then I found it.’ She kept her head down, fingering Tara’s shirt like a comfort blanket.

‘Magic made me special. I was needed, really needed.’ Tara could see enough of Willow’s face to make out a brief self-mocking grimace, before she continued, sadness lacing her words. ‘And it brought me you. So even when I knew it was driving you away, I couldn’t stop, because without magic, you wouldn’t want me. Without it, I was nothing at all.’

Tara wanted to weep.

She should have seen it. Why Willow responded to their arguments with more magic, not less. Why she was so crushed by the truth of Buffy’s return. She had scaled the heights of witchcraft and it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t the magic she truly craved. It was approval.

Tara forced her own feelings down and managed to speak in an even tone.

‘Feeling insecure isn’t a crime.’

‘No, but what I did because of it was.’

The bleak finality in Willow’s voice hit Tara like a blast of freezing air, chilling her to the bone.

Tara knew she had messed up. From the day Willow had surprised her at her house in Sunnydale, she had made mistakes, up to and including the moment she had allowed - encouraged - Willow to kiss her. She had arrived here without explanation and then spent the next three days acting as if she and Willow were still girlfriends. She knew she had messed up, but only now did she realise exactly what she’d put Willow through. Tara swallowed hard. Words. She needed words. She took a deep, steadying breath.

‘I was a victim all my life. When my family came, I didn’t stand up for myself. You did it for me. All of you. When Oz came back, I sat in the dark and waited for you to come and tell me we were over.’ Willow raised her head, her brow creasing in disapproval. Tara pressed on, her voice gaining in strength.

‘When I left you I thought, finally, I’m standing up for myself. But what did I do? I deprived myself of the one thing that made me happy. I shut down. I went back into the shadows. Worse, I left you there too.

I didn’t fight for you when I should have, before things got so bad. I thought I didn’t deserve you and I missed something crucial. You deserved me.’

Willow was shaking her head, her mouth already open, impatient to speak. Tara pressed her fingertips lightly on her lips. Willow kept silent, but Tara saw in her face the stubbornness she loved so much. Now, it caused a prickle of fear.

‘Remember the spell I cast, in the Magic Box?’ Willow’s brow furrowed for a moment. For Tara, the fact that Willow had to stop and think, spoke volumes. She watched Willow’s face clear as the memory came to her. Tara wasn’t surprised at the immediate denial.

‘No, no, that was different . . . ’ Tara grasped Willow’s hand and squeezed in a wordless request to be allowed to speak. Willow fell silent.

‘Willow, I blinded you.’ Tara loosened her grip but did not let go.

‘But you were afraid, you thought you’d lose me, lose everything,’ Willow’s reply was instant, emphatic.

‘Yes, I was.’ Tara let the statement hang. She watched Willow open and close her mouth. She could almost see that quick brain working. Marshalling arguments, constructing denials.

‘I learned from my mistake. I learned not to abuse magic again.’ She saw Willow wince at the reference.

‘And so did you.’

Silence followed. Tara let it lengthen. Willow had not rushed to contradict her. Or turned away. That was something. Tara swallowed, feeling the dryness of her mouth.

‘You did something bad. You’re sorry, right?’

Willow nodded, holding her body rigid, as if even that small movement might cause her injury. Her eyes were fixed on Tara, unblinking.

‘You want to make amends, to try and restore what was lost?’

Willow nodded again, her face blank.

‘Well, I lost you, and I want you back.’

Willow said nothing.

Tara felt panic claw at her.

Everything she had said was based on one assumption. One huge assumption. She could be wrong.
If she was wrong . . . she couldn’t bear to complete the thought.

The force and conviction of her earlier speech drained away. She felt hollow. She tried to sound calm but didn’t even get close. Her voice wavered as she forced the question out,

‘Willow, do you want me back?’

The reaction was instant.

‘What?’

Willow’s hold on her shirt tightened convulsively, pulling Tara closer.

The blank look had vanished utterly. Now Willow’s face was a picture of horrified confusion.

What? Do I . . ? Of course I . . . ’ Willow made a visible effort to bring herself under control. She closed her eyes briefly, took a breath, then opened them.

She nodded as she spoke softly,

‘More than anything.’

Tara felt sick with relief.

For a moment, the pain eased.

‘But I don’t see how you can ever forgive me.’ The naked anguish in Willow’s voice seemed to fill the hallway.

Tara silenced her, once again gently placing her fingertips on Willow’s lips. She smiled as she spoke,

‘My decision, remember?’

Willow acknowledged that with a tiny nod, but the doubt and fear remained etched on her face. Tara stroked her cheek, as if trying to smooth them away.

‘I can’t make you forgive yourself, Will. Anymore than you can make me forgive myself.’

Willow’s response was heated, ‘But you have nothing . . . ’ Tara hushed her again, then let her hand fall away and waited.

Willow seemed even paler in the dim light of the hallway. All animation had left her features. Tears began to pool in her eyes, tipping over the lashes and tumbling down her cheeks in a steady stream. It was the only movement on her still, white face.

‘I’m scared,’ she whispered.

Tara understood. God, she understood. But she was running out of words. Desperation cracked her voice.

‘Be brave?’

Willow said nothing. The silence pulled at Tara like a barb in her chest. She tried to speak but could not get past the constriction in her throat. All she could do was stare into the glittering green eyes that filled her vision.

Then Willow inclined her head a fraction, and at last, fell forward into Tara’s waiting arms.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 2nd September 2011)
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 2:48 pm 
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Dibs

ETA:
I think this is my favorite:
Quote:
Tara knew she had messed up. From the day Willow had surprised her at her house in Sunnydale, she had made mistakes, up to and including the moment she had allowed - encouraged - Willow to kiss her. She had arrived here without explanation and then spent the next three days acting as if she and Willow were still girlfriends. She knew she had messed up, but only now did she realise exactly what she’d put Willow through.


Both of them are so caught up in their own experiences that they never stop to consider what the other is going through. So this, this dawning of 'oh crap, this is what I've been doing to her,' is a requisite turning point. Particularly because this story isn't about them actually fixing things, but about them deciding to fix them.


Tied for my ssecond favorite are Willow's statement that without magic she would be nothing and that she would lose Tara (very canon, and I always wanted to see Tara react to that assertion), and the moment that Tara is afraid Willow doesn't want to get back together.

So, yay!

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Last edited by BeMyDeputy on Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 2nd September 2011)
PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:34 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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That was simply wonderful. I'm so happy that they finally sat down and talked. While watching the series, I always felt that Tara was a bit hypocritical for abandoning Willow for abusing the magicks when she had done the same herself. I like where the story is going. It feels like the girls are finally turning the corner onto the road to reconciliation.... Great update!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 2nd September 2011)
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:57 am 
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Wow, that was worth waiting for. Excellent. :applause. I like the vulnerability you give Willow.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 2nd September 2011)
PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 3:28 pm 
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Wow, Clare...that was really, really great! I absolutely LOVED how it all played out:) Fantastic outcome, from a fantastic writer!!

Quote:
Willow shut her eyes. When she opened them, Tara was still there. Sitting on the floor in the hallway.
So, so glad that neither Willow nor Tara left the apartment. Tara gave Willow some space and waited it out; she didn't knock, just waited. But she did something really great...she picked it up right where they left off. She didn't let her off the hook; she pressed on.

Quote:
‘When you leave again, I think it will kill me.’
Ugh! Painful!!

Quote:
‘So you decide for both of us. Again.’ Tara’s voice was gentle, but Willow recoiled as if she had been slapped.
‘It isn’t your decision, Will,’ Tara added softly.
Very well done and so painfully true.

Quote:
She should have seen it. Why Willow responded to their arguments with more magic, not less. Why she was so crushed by the truth of Buffy’s return. She had scaled the heights of witchcraft and it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t the magic she truly craved. It was approval.
So glad that Tara finally figured things out. She realized that Willow had just as many insecurities as she does, if not more. Definitely a light bulb moment.

I just realized that, if I don't stop now, I'm going to end up quoting nearly the entire chapter. So, I'm gonna stop and just say this: I loved it, read it at least three times and am excited to see where things go from here.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 2nd September 2011)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:41 am 
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Whew!
At last, soem straight-forward communicating without a lot of assumptional (assumtive? assumed?) baggage. But it isn't over: as someone once said, you can't always take yes for an answer. bobk

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 2nd September 2011)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:23 pm 
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BeMyDeputy
Kate, thanks for all the time you have given to reading and commenting on this story. It’s been much appreciated.

Quote:
this story isn't about them actually fixing things, but about them deciding to fix them


Yes. It isn’t a fairytale ending. Happy and together? – of course. But there are many things they have to work through. Each woman feels she made terrible mistakes. They have yet to forgive themselves fully. Willow is a year into her recovery and, trust me, that is no time at all. There are also practical issues to resolve – Tara is in school in Sunnydale while Willow has a job in the city.

They have been through a lot, but have emerged wiser and closer than before. They understand each other, and themselves, so much better. They know that whatever troubles they face, they will face together. And maybe that is a fairytale ending after all.


SMGOVAN
I always felt that the show didn’t properly explain Tara’s actions. Part of the motivation for writing this story was to show why she did what she did, in a way that seemed consistent with her character. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you.


taranwillow4ever
I’m very happy that you liked it. Thank you for reading and leaving feedback.

Finey McFine
Hi Finey,

You know, I think you commented on every chapter of this story. I’m very grateful for the encouragement, thank you.

I’m so glad you enjoyed the last update. Yes, Tara waited. In a way, she was waiting for Willow to catch up. Tara spent the last few days changing, reevaluating the past and resolving to do things differently. While Willow was just in limbo, expecting the axe to fall. So it had to be Tara who pushed. She finally realised that being passive was no defence against emotional pain and that Willow’s happiness, and not just her own, depended on her taking charge.

I hope you enjoy the conclusion. Thanks again for your feedback.


DaddyCatALSO
Yes, it isn’t over. It will take time for the trust and confidence to come back, but now that they are together and talking honestly, their relationship can only become stronger and closer than ever before.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 2nd September 2011)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:46 pm 
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TITLE: Donegal Street

AUTHOR: Wayland

RATING: PG-13

DISCLAIMER: Willow, Tara and any other characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise belong to Joss Whedon, FOX and ME.

SPOILERS: Up to and including Season Six.

SUMMARY: Tara left Willow after Tabula Rasa. It is now about a year later.

FEEDBACK: I would be grateful for your comments.

NOTES: Thanks to my beta, Vivienne, for the encouragement I needed to get this far and to Julia for reading and offering suggestions. Thanks to BeMyDeputy for invaluable input.

Thanks to:-
BuffyFan4ever, sadie, Finey McFine, JustSkipIt, DaddyCatALSO, WR/TM, Agilulfa , Ariel, SMGOVAN, Promthea128, KnightlyLove, Silent_X, BeMyDeputy, beautiful_love, love_2003, vampyregurl73, Lady Callie, taranwillow4ever, Mgraham93, wiccanvixen, brave-little-toaster, wimpy0729, viximon, davislm, and Kajun.

For leaving feedback. Even the briefest comment let me know that you were reading and enjoying the story. It was a wonderful motivation.




Chapter 14


She could hear her heart beat.

Willow shifted slightly, pressing her cheek closer to Tara’s breast. The strong, steady rhythm seeped into every cell of her body. Their conversation was a tangled heap of words, just outside her reach. She would have to unravel it all, she knew that. But later. Now, she was busy, listening to Tara’s heart beating.

A hand stroked her hair, running from her forehead to the nape of her neck, over and over. There was nothing tentative about the touch. Every pass was firm. It made her feel solid, as if she had substance. Willow smiled to herself. She was anchored again.

‘Sweetie, we should get up.’

Willow couldn’t see her, but she knew from her voice that Tara was smiling.

‘Don’t want to.’ Willow kept her eyes closed.

‘Even when there’s a nice bed waiting for us along the hall?’ The tone was light and teasing, but Willow felt the beating in her ear speed up a little.

With a theatrical sigh, Willow raised her head and squinted up.

‘Promise?’

Tara’s face was very close to hers, alight with amusement.

‘I promise.’

They both struggled to get up, pressing against the wall with one hand, almost overbalancing, holding on to each other for support.

‘Ow! Ow!’

‘What is it?’ Tara’s voice was sharp with alarm as Willow began to hop, her face contorted into a grimace.

‘My foot went to sleep!’

Tara tightened her arm around Willow’s waist as they hobbled into the bedroom.

‘You big baby!’

‘Am not!’ Willow exaggerated her limp, and pursed her lips dramatically. The childish banter was silly, she knew, but it was soothing. Soothing, and at the same time it made her skin prickle.

***********


Tara used her shoulder to push open the door to Willow’s bedroom. The glow of a small nightlight transformed the furniture into grey, geometric shapes. Tara turned towards the bed, and, still clutching Willow firmly around the waist, swung them both round and deposited her gently on top of the covers. Straightening up, she failed to notice Willow’s hand, still entangled in her shirt, and abruptly pitched forward, landing face down on the bed, onto a pillow of red hair.

Willow giggled.

Tara lifted her head and scowled, which only made Willow giggle more. Reaching down, Tara flicked on the bedside lamp and Willow shrank back from the sudden brightness.

‘Sorry, sorry.’ Tara moved quickly to shield Willow’s eyes. After blinking rapidly for a few moments, Willow seemed to focus on Tara’s arm, where her shirt sleeve had ridden up, exposing bare skin.

‘How did this happen?’ Her tone was sharp, taking Tara by surprise.

‘What?’

Tara squinted at the skin of her forearm and eventually made out a faint pink line.

‘Um . . . cooking, maybe? I don’t remember.’

‘You should be more careful.’ The sternness of Willow’s reply was belied by the gentle brush of her lips on the fading scar.

‘I will,’ said Tara.

************


Tara pushed herself up and slid back off the bed, feeling for the ground with her toes. When she got to her feet she scraped back her hair and smoothed down her clothes.

‘I think I ruined it.’ Willow said, staring at Tara’s shirt ruefully.

Tara tugged the fabric.

‘Nah. I like it like this.’

Tara grinned, waiting for an answering smile from Willow. When she got it, she turned away and crossed the bedroom to the window. For a second she pressed her fingertips against the cool glass, speckled with raindrops, then pulled the drapes shut with a decisive tug, and walked back to the foot of the bed. Willow was sitting up, propped against the headboard, tracking her every move. Tara paused, watching Willow watching her, then she pulled her shirt over her head and folded it roughly before placing it on the chair at her side. She unbuttoned her pants and let them fall, gracefully stepping out of them. She stooped to pick them up without breaking eye contact with Willow. She removed her bra and underwear in the same, unhurried way, tossing the garments onto the chair. Her eyes never left Willow. When she was naked, she stood completely still.

She could feel Willow’s eyes on her, pressing on her skin, like a physical sensation. Tara waited until Willow’s gaze came back up to her face, then paused. Then she grabbed a pair of baggy pyjamas from the back of the chair, slipped the top over her head and stepped into the bottoms. When she looked up, Willow was pouting in disappointment. Tara laughed, because when she’d reached for the clothing she had caught the flicker of relief that passed across Willow’s face, and a weight she had not known she was carrying had fallen away at the sight.

Tara finished buttoning up the pyjama top as she climbed onto the bed and crawled over to Willow, dragging her into a clumsy embrace. Then she pulled away a little, until her lips were almost touching Willow’s ear.

‘There’s no rush.’ She felt Willow nod against her shoulder.

‘We can take our time.’ Tara pulled back further until she could see Willow’s face. The pout was back, but the eyes were sparkling.

‘Ok . . . so long as I get to sleep with you every night,’ Willow said in a grudging tone, a smile twitching the corners of her mouth.

Tara tapped her on the nose playfully.

‘You did that the first time too.’

She thought back to those first weeks, when Willow had stayed overnight in her dorm room. Nights which had filled her with hope and despair in equal measure. She smiled at the memory now.

Willow grinned in acknowledgement, then her expression was serious again as she spoke softly, ‘I’d like that.’

************


Willow slid off the bed onto unsteady legs. The sight of Tara had stunned her. The image still floated in front of her eyes, like a bright light after a flash bulb flared.

Tara had undressed in front of her countless times. In the beginning, with a heart-squeezing shyness. Later, sometimes, with brazen promise. And often, with unself-conscious ease, thinking of nothing but a warm bed and sleep.

Countless times, but never like this.

Willow walked slowly to the end of the bed. She needed a moment, a few seconds away from the nakedness of Tara’s eyes.


She had once had permission to touch that body. Permission granted freely. It was hard to believe. Impossible to believe.

Once, she had known that body better than her own. A tender geographer, she had mapped every contour, explored every texture, memorized every mark.

The image of muddy boots, tracking across a pristine floor flashed through her mind. I’ll never deserve to . . . Tara will surely . . . what was I thinking? Her thoughts jerked in a rising tide of unease.

Willow pulled a T-shirt and pyjama bottoms from the pile of washing that seemed to rest permanently on the chair by her bed. The tower of clean laundry had grown even taller with Tara’s clothes and now it wobbled alarmingly. Willow lunged at it, grabbing hold to stop it falling.

A soft giggle made her look up. Tara was watching. In the soft glow of the bedside lamp, she shone.

And Willow remembered. From the beginning, when they had no words - she had known it even then.

No matter what demon was at her door, Tara was the answer.

A warm feeling spread through her body. She straightened up and gave Tara a scolding look.

‘It isn’t nice to laugh at the co-ordination-challenged, you know.’

‘I wasn’t laughing,’ Tara lied shamelessly, the grin still on her face.

I make her happy.

The thought struck Willow like a sudden, unexpected wave, rocking her back on her heels. She put one hand on the back of the chair to steady herself.

I make her happy.

Willow began to undress, dropping her top onto the heap carelessly, without looking. The room was cold but she didn’t feel it. Her skin seemed to heat with every layer of clothing she discarded. When she was naked, she stopped for a moment. Tara smiled, a slight dip of her head the only movement. Willow smiled back and picked up the crumpled T shirt.

As she pulled one arm into the shirt, she waved the other in the direction of the top Tara was wearing.

‘Those are my favourite pyjamas.’ Her aggrieved tone was undermined somewhat by the smile she was failing to suppress.

Tara smirked, unrepentant.

‘I know. I bought them.’

************



Willow lay in Tara’s arms, her back curved against the pillow of her breasts. Her hands rested on top of Tara’s, which were clasped firmly around her waist.

She wanted to stay like this forever.

She could feel Tara’s warm, steady breath on the nape of her neck. She could smell the faint citrus of her hair.

But she wanted to see her face. She needed to look into her eyes.

Tara smiled. She recognised the slight tensing of Willow’s body. It meant she was about to move, to fidget. Tara knew this and that made her smile.

With wordless sounds of frustration, Willow turned over, dragging bed clothes with her, rocking the mattress with her ungainly movements, until at last she settled on her other side, facing Tara.

Willow’s breathing slowed as she finally lay still. Tara leaned towards her till their foreheads touched, then moved back so that she could see her properly. For a long time, Tara just stared, revelling in the freedom of openly appreciating every detail of her lover’s face.

Then Willow rested her fingertips on Tara’s temple, and traced a slow arc across her forehead. With a delicate touch, she followed the line of her cheekbones, brushed her eyelids, then down the side of her nose - which Tara wrinkled.

‘That tickles.’

To her surprise, Willow did not smile or speak. She continued moving her fingertips, now tracing the line of Tara’s lips.

‘I used to do this.’ Willow sounded distracted, her attention focused on the careful movement of her hand.

‘Hmm?’ Tara murmured, mesmerized by the soft touch.

‘Here.’ Willow waved her free hand to indicate the bedroom. ‘At night. When I couldn’t sleep.’

‘What?’

Even in the dim light, Tara saw the flush spread across Willow’s cheeks.

‘Not all the time. I mean, sometimes.’ Willow began to pull her hand away, her eyes downcast. ‘It was kind of a treat.’

Tara caught the hand and brought it back to her. She pictured Willow, alone in her bed, tracing from memory the features of her face. Tears filled her eyes. She blinked them away quickly, before Willow could notice. Tara uncurled Willow’s fingers and kissed the palm of her hand.

‘It’s nice,’ Tara said softly, ‘It’s perfect.’

After a moment’s hesitation, Willow brought her hand to the side of Tara’s jaw and resumed her journey.

************


In the still room, Willow’s voice sounded unnaturally loud,

‘When I go to England, will you come with me?’

‘Yes.’

The instant, emphatic reply seemed to startle Willow. She waited, as if expecting Tara to add something.

As she struggled for the right response, Willow suddenly realised something - thanks were not wanted, not needed. The thought caused a surge of joy. She saw her own feelings reflected in Tara’s face.

A final flurry of rain pattered against the bedroom window.

‘So, what do you want to do tomorrow?’ Exhaustion slurred Willow’s words a little, but Tara caught the hint of excitement in her voice.

She gave a lazy smile.

‘This. Just this.’ Reaching out, she pulled Willow closer, and the near-silence of the room was once again disturbed only by the sound of their rhythmic breathing.

****************************

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Donegal Street * Home For Christmas * A Traditional New Year’s Eve


Last edited by wayland on Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 2nd September 2011)
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:47 pm 
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I Dibs you!

But must now run to class.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:18 pm 
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:clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap :clap

Wayland,

Well done, angst-y character studies of them both. Do you intend to do more with this or a sequel?

This story was so sad at times and fraught with pain, self-doubt, anger... I could go on, that it was more than uncomfortable to read. But what I like is it isn't the norm, the all of a sudden everything is forgiven, nothing is ever really talked about, let's jump in bed.

So that's why I ask about a sequel, more progression, and you've definitely, in my opinion, left that as a possibility. WOuld be very interested in reading it, too.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
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Is this the end? I could see it as such but, also there is so much opportunity for further back and forth between these two. I love the angst. It makes it so much more like real life when a story contains it.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
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Is that it? I want more!! Sequel please. Great story!
:kgeek

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
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Nooooooooooooooo! Is this really the end?!??!? I mean yeah, theres no secret where our girls are headed. But, I want my vicarious smoochies..lots and lots of kisses and gay love!! Thank you for creating such a wonderful story. It took me on an emotional roller coaster and I loved every minute of it (except when Willow hid in the bathroom!)

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:02 pm 
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I've been coming to this board for ten years now and have only de-lurked twice, tonight is number three.

Every update eagerly anticipated, every word savored. I often caught myself holding my breath until the end of a paragraph. Most updates tore my heart out, but as soon as I finished, the Donegal Street watch would begin.

You have a gift and I truly hope you share this gift with all of us again. Soon.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
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I went back and read this from the beggining today. All I can say is wow. You created a beautifully written fic. I absoluetly loved the journey they both went through to getting back together and letting the other in again it really was an emotional rollercoaster and It was an amazing experience reading it.

I liked the mention of the begginings of their relationship, because that's what they've done, started a new relationship together without any of the previous time limits that were there before (Oz coming back, Tara becoming a demon or Tara leaving) It was good just seeing it just be the pair of them for the vast majority with Buffy making a brief cameo as it meant that they could just deal with their own problems rather than everyone elses which I think helped to speed up their individual journey's.

I'm just going to repeat what vampyregurl73, taranwillow4ever and SMGOVAN have already said I would love to see a sequal- I could see it being sort of like season 4 with them getting together seperate from the others rebuilding the trust and eventually practicing magic together . It would be interesting to see followup to the argument other going to England (regarding the different beliefs about magic and how it can be dangerous)

I completley enjoyed the story and look forward to reading your work in the future.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
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Well... I think I'm not the only one going, but... but... it's done?! Already? ...more...?

In any case, it's been fantastic reading this story, I've been looking forward to every update notification in my inbox! Angsty but in a very very good way. Very real, and I hope we get to read more from you soon!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
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Oh and for mentions of a sequel, I would love to read a prequel for these two, just the short flashback was fantastic, I can only imagine what your version of S4 would be like!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
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My dear Clare...that was simply wonderful. A brilliant character study; dramatic, full of angst and pain with just the right amount of tenderness all wrapped in a beautifully written package. Bravo! :applause :applause :bow :bow

I don't really know what else I can say that I haven't said already, except maybe...sequel?

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (updated 2nd September 2011)
PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:49 am 
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wayland wrote:

‘So, what do you want to do tomorrow?’ Exhaustion slurred Willow’s words a little, but Tara caught the hint of excitement in her voice.

She gave a lazy smile.

‘This. Just this.’ Reaching out, she pulled Willow closer, and the near-silence of the room was once again disturbed only by the sound of their rhythmic breathing.

****************************



Such a beautiful way to end it. Loved everything about this chapter.


Last edited by love_2003 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
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Clare - I owe you fb from the last two updates so I'll try to go back and do that.

Chapter 13 - I like the start of this chapter with Willow on the floor of the bathroom. For me it echoes the end of Tabula Rasa. I don't know if that's intentional but it works well.

Quote:
She wondered sluggishly where Tara was now. On the train, maybe. Perhaps already in Sunnydale.
Ergggh. What in the last 3-4 days would make her believe that this particular run from the room would drive Tara away? She hasn't run away any of the other times that Willow freaked out and ran. Perhaps Willow needs to extend her focus outside of herself to the world around her including Tara. She needs to understand that every freakout she has doesn't extend to Tara. She also needs to try to have a little faith that Tara will be there for her. Otherwise, there's no reason to start a relationship.



Quote:
‘When you leave again, I think it will kill me.’
A nice line and the exact type of thing that people say during fights/discussions. On one hand it shows vulnerability but on the other it challenges the other person to defend a hypothetical future action. It forces Tara into saying "I will never leave you again" when the truth is that to say such a thing either signs you up for a future of possible abuse or makes you a liar. It is sort of necessary though. I mean no one can say "I'll never leave you unless you cheat on me or hit me or hurt our children or make a pact with Satan... or ... or...or..." Still, it's a little of a shit thing to say.



Quote:
‘Magic made me special. I was needed, really needed.’ Tara could see enough of Willow’s face to make out a brief self-mocking grimace, before she continued, sadness lacing her words. ‘And it brought me you. So even when I knew it was driving you away, I couldn’t stop, because without magic, you wouldn’t want me. Without it, I was nothing at all.’
That I buy. I understand that type of insecurity but I don't want Willow to feel like that and I'm sure Tara doesn't either.



Quote:
‘Well, I lost you, and I want you back.’
Yay, Tara. I like Tara's approach here - that they need to choose what they want and say it and be brave and love each other. Because... really... what else is there?



Quote:
Then Willow inclined her head a fraction, and at last, fell forward into Tara’s waiting arms.
Yay!





Chapter 14 - Hmmm. What to say. This chapter is beautiful and romantic. And ... I have to admit that it isn't to my tastes. I don't know whether I can put my feelings into words well. And before Katie can jump in to tease me, it has nothing to do with your not ending with NC-17. That's perfectly fine with me and quite appropriate here.



I feel like this chapter is a huge step away from the narrative style of the other 13 chapters. They have been (for me) ... dense, tangible, present. This one is more fleeting. More ethereal. It feels like the kind of experience that would have them eventually get up and get food and leave the room and wonder what had happened.



Quote:
Once, she had known that body better than her own. A tender geographer, she had mapped every contour, explored every texture, memorized every mark.
A lovely image...



I like the story of how it ends although I feel like I would have liked a shout-out to Tara's sleeping in Willow's bed 2? nights before - either one of them thinking about it or one of them teasing about it. I like the sort of ... tentative finality of their union. I just... I don't know. I don't think the last chapter's narrative style is one is my personal preference.



Still, overall I love the story. I think you did a wonderful job and love the tale you created. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:34 pm 
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Clare,

What an extraordinary journey this story has been! It's rich in outward detail, shows deft use of visualization, but also so precisely and powerfully illuminates the inner landscape of suffering, fear, insight, and love.

The combination of a seven day a week life style for two and a half months added to two weeks of being incredibly ill combined to make me a poor friend on the feedback you deserve. Forgive me, friend!

Chapter 13
Quote:
Willow took a sharp breath and buried her face into her knees. Tara said nothing more. The glow from the bathroom fell like a spotlight on two perfectly still figures. Somewhere in the apartment, a window rattled against a squall of rain.

I’ll say it again, you are “A Poet of the Ordinary” a phrase I coined to describe someone who can take ordinary moments between people and create truth and beauty.

Quote:
Tara’s jaw ached as she bit down the urge to respond, as she let Willow speak. A slight tugging made her glance down. Willow had grasped the hem of her loose shirt. Probably unconsciously, but she was holding on tight.

‘I thought it was just me. My problem. And I thought there was an answer, if I looked hard enough. And then I found it.’ She kept her head down, fingering Tara’s shirt like a comfort blanket.

‘Magic made me special. I was needed, really needed.’ Tara could see enough of Willow’s face to make out a brief self-mocking grimace, before she continued, sadness lacing her words. ‘And it brought me you. So even when I knew it was driving you away, I couldn’t stop, because without magic, you wouldn’t want me. Without it, I was nothing at all.’

Tara wanted to weep.

And that makes me want to weep. The poignant clinging to Tara’s shirt, the pain of laying bare the pretense of magic’s power and speaking of weakness. You also suggest the language of recovery in that Willow can acknowledge that she is not terminally unique, that others have had to endure pain and rejection, too.

Quote:
‘When you leave again, I think it will kill me.’

Tara felt her heart stall. She was falling, like a plane in the sky, its engines silent.

Again, simple image – incredibly powerful.

Chapter 14:
Quote:
She could hear her heart beat.

Willow shifted slightly, pressing her cheek closer to Tara’s breast. The strong, steady rhythm seeped into every cell of her body. Their conversation was a tangled heap of words, just outside her reach. She would have to unravel it all, she knew that. But later. Now, she was busy, listening to Tara’s heart beating.

A hand stroked her hair, running from her forehead to the nape of her neck, over and over. There was nothing tentative about the touch. Every pass was firm. It made her feel solid, as if she had substance. Willow smiled to herself. She was anchored again.

This is so beautiful; a solid, clear bell-note – ringing true. Anyone that’s had a good cry and taken refuge in a lover’s arms knows that this is exactly how it is. Lovely. :flower

Quote:
Willow slid off the bed onto unsteady legs. The sight of Tara had stunned her. The image still floated in front of her eyes, like a bright light after a flash bulb flared.

Tara had undressed in front of her countless times. In the beginning, with a heart-squeezing shyness. Later, sometimes, with brazen promise. And often, with unself-conscious ease, thinking of nothing but a warm bed and sleep.

Again, the dazzle after a flash-bulb’s flare – beautifully precise image. And undressing, showing the different moods and seasons of their relationship. The phrase “heart-squeezing shyness” is very affecting.

Quote:
She had once had permission to touch that body. Permission granted freely. It was hard to believe. Impossible to believe.

Once, she had known that body better than her own. A tender geographer, she had mapped every contour, explored every texture, memorized every mark.

I’d love to all Intellect-Girl with my scintillating analysis of exactly why this phrase works, but the truth is that I have the beginning of tears in my eyes. It is that beautiful, that powerful. Thank you. :love

Willow’s realization that Tara is her answer works well. Then the ending:

Quote:
As she struggled for the right response, Willow suddenly realised something - thanks were not wanted, not needed. The thought caused a surge of joy. She saw her own feelings reflected in Tara’s face.

A final flurry of rain pattered against the bedroom window.

‘So, what do you want to do tomorrow?’ Exhaustion slurred Willow’s words a little, but Tara caught the hint of excitement in her voice.

She gave a lazy smile.

‘This. Just this.’ Reaching out, she pulled Willow closer, and the near-silence of the room was once again disturbed only by the sound of their rhythmic breathing.

Resting so sweetly in each other’s arms. It’s a lovely, perfect ending. And like all beautiful art there is sadness, too. Sadness because it’s over . . .

Thank you.

Ariel
How I Met Your Mother


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:05 am 
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Hi Clare!

Whenever I visit my mother, who will be eighty-three next week, she never sends me home without putting one packet of mints and one packet of tissues in my handbag. The mints get eaten, but the tissues accumulate in a drawer somewhere because, one never knows, one day they might come in handy. That drawer now stands empty. I used the last packet on Chapter 14 of Donegal Street. I cannot tell you how many times I was moved to eye-moistness through the course of this story.

Sentimentality doesn't move me at all, it usually makes me nauseous. You wrote with true sentiment, which is an altogether different animal, and far, far harder to achieve. It was never overdone, you had a lightness, a delicacy of touch that conveyed so much more than any display of histrionics or melodrama ever could.

I could, at this point, warble on and on at great length about various aspects of the story, and your writing of it. But I've said most of it to you already and, anyway, I'm English, for God's sake! Unecessary displays of emotion and all that. Hmmph! So thank you, my dear, for the invitation to walk hand in hand with you down Donegal Street. It has been both a pleasure and a privilege.

Loadsa love

Viv

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
PostPosted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:48 pm 
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BeMyDeputy
Thank you Kate.

vampyregurl73
Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your kind words. I’m not planning a sequel, but I’m glad you felt that everything hadn’t been said in this story. I like to think that I left the reader with a beginning, rather than an ending.


True_love
Thank you. I’m glad you liked the angst. I love stories where there are difficulties which propel the characters towards change, rather than angst for angst’s sake. It is the end of this story, but there is definitely scope for a lot more back and forth between the characters – in my mind a lifetime of it – and that’s how I wanted the ending to feel.

taranwillow4ever
Thank you. I’m really happy you enjoyed the story.

SMGOVAN
It means a lot that you enjoyed the story, and that you took the trouble to say so. Thank you. Feel free to continue the story in your imagination. In fact, I insist on it.

4festa
It’s a delight to entice someone out of lurkdom, and a big compliment. The way you described waiting for each update is something I’ve often done myself and it’s wonderful to think that a story I’ve written had that effect. Thank you so much Mary.

sadie
I’m so happy that the story seemed real to you.

Now S4, that’s an interesting idea…

Thanks for all the feedback you’ve left on this story. It’s been wonderful to know that people have read and liked it.

Mgraham93
Thank you so much for reading through again. I do that with stories I like, so it’s a big compliment. Yes, that’s exactly how I see it – they’ve started a new relationship, but this time without the limits of all those doubts and fears they couldn’t talk about.
I’m not planning a sequel at the moment, but this story developed after just one scene of it came to mind, so perhaps inspiration will strike again. Thanks again for your lovely comments..

Finey_McFine
Thanks Finey, for the kind words and the support throughout the story. I can’t imagine a better environment for a new writer than the kitten board. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks again. .

love_2003
Thank you so much for reading and commenting..

JustSkipIt
Yes, the scene with Willow on the bathroom floor was a reference to Tabula Rasa. For me, it was such a memorable image – Willow hiding away while Tara grimly packs up to leave.

Quote:
Perhaps Willow needs to extend her focus outside of herself to the world around her including Tara.

This is a good description of Willow’s mindset. She thinks about Tara obsessively, but is so caught up in her own pain that she makes the mistake of basing her assumptions about Tara’s reactions entirely on her own feelings. She is unforgivable, therefore Tara will leave – despite all evidence to the contrary. Tara did something similar for the last year – seeing herself as of little consequence, so believing that Willow would not suffer unduly from her absence – but at this stage, Tara is starting to really see Willow, she’s beginning to stop assuming.

Quote:
She also needs to try to have a little faith that Tara will be there for her.

And Tara needs to actually tell her that.

Quote:
‘When you leave again, I think it will kill me.’
Still, it's a little of a shit thing to say.

Yes, when you think about it, it’s a horribly manipulative thing to say, but of course, that isn’t Willow’s intention. She is utterly beaten. To her it’s a statement of fact – an explanation of why she ran away from the kiss. She’s too wrapped up in her own despair to see how it might affect Tara, especially if, in fact, Tara were planning to leave her.

It’s only in the last chapter that Willow finally begins to realise how Tara actually feels, rather than how she imagines she should feel.

Quote:
I feel like this chapter is a huge step away from the narrative style of the other 13 chapters.

Interesting. I’ve reread the chapter and it doesn’t feel very different in style to me. Of course, I could be the worst judge of that. I’m curious whether it seemed so to others.

I did expect that some readers would prefer a more concrete resolution, but what you called ‘tentative finality’ sums up what I was aiming for. Their reunion is certain, but it will take some time for it to feel real to either of them. I can imagine them waking up and wondering if they dreamed it all - but then seeing and feeling the solid body in the bed beside them. That seems a more realistic reaction to me. A kind of echo of how they might have felt after their first night together. They will talk about everything, definitely, but for now, for tonight, physical closeness is all they need.

Constructive criticism is the way a writer improves, and your comments have always been insightful, thoughtful and never less than supportive. Thank you.

Ariel
Hi Ariel, you always seem to highlight the phrases I was particularly pleased with, which is so satisfying. Constructive criticism is invaluable, of course, but it’s also really helpful to know that someone else liked the same lines that I did – sort of a seal of approval.

Quote:
You also suggest the language of recovery in that Willow can acknowledge that she is not terminally unique, that others have had to endure pain and rejection, too

Acceptance is the key, as the saying goes, and Willow has learnt that she is not unique and she cannot avoid pain by denying it, or ‘fixing’ it. There is a comfort in that, I think, in knowing that you are not alone. She now needs to accept that she is also not unique in making mistakes, only human.


Vivienne
Hi Viv. Couldn’t have done it without you. It’s been fun, hasn’t it? Apart from your sterling beta work, whenever my confidence or motivation faltered, you always encouraged me, and that was priceless. Thank you.
Now go write more Highgate Tunnels!

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:19 am 
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wayland wrote:

sadie
I’m so happy that the story seemed real to you.

Now S4, that’s an interesting idea…


Isn't it?? Hint, hint...

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Last edited by sadie on Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Clare,
I sit here, some four months after you finished this (plus another two or three weeks since I first got my hands on it), and haven't left you proper feedback. In fact, searching my emails, I can't find that I ever wrote you a word of feedback on this chapter, even there. I seem to recall us discussing it on Skype, at least. Just nothing written down.

I guess I haven't known what to say.

Not that there isn't a lot I have to say about this chapter. I do, and I will, here. Finally.

It's just . . . this story means a lot to me. This story taught me as much about writing as writing the some sixty thousand words of "Queen of Hearts" I've written has. This story showed me that the connection I feel to Willow isn't just our shared geekiness, but the similarities in our mental illnesses. But most of all, this story won me a new and dear friend.

I may be learning to be a writer, but I still find the idea of coming up with something to say to all of that rather daunting. Even if it is terribly sentimental of me.

What can I say to all that?

(Seriously, if you know, I could use some help here.)

I sat down with the complete story to read all at once, to help get me in a better place to write you this feedback. I noticed several things while I was at it.

First, I was reminded of how simply good this is. Great, even. Your writing impresses me, from the minutiae to the grander structure. You have a delicate touch and a genuine way with words. You have a sense of story arc and tempo that bespeak a long history of reading. You don’t breeze over how flawed these characters are, you delight in it, rub our faces it. It reminds me of a line from Battlestar Gallactica: “Deeply flawed, yes, but deeply human too, and maybe that's saying the same thing.”

Second, I discovered how much more painful this is on a continuous read-through. Reading the chapters over time lets you out of the tension. Even though you tend to crash the tension back down at the start of each chapter, only to build it up again, it starts from a higher place. This effect is amplified in a continuous read. I could feel the tension in my chest from Willow’s first appearance in Tara’s living room and you had me—once more—in tears at the end of chapter nine. That it works so well is a credit to your writing ability.

Finally, it was a different experience to sit and read this simply for the joy of reading it, even though I had plans to think more analytically about the final chapter afterwards. I spent so much time reading over this with a red pen in my hand (not literally, of course) that it felt so different to sit back and enjoy it. I loved reading this for the sake of reading, not editing. I know that the drafts I sent back to you covered in red ink frequently, okay, honestly, never contained more praise than an occasional highlighted line marked “good.” I’m not always the best at being encouraging, even when my reasons basically amount to “all that I didn’t mark? I liked it.” Still, I hope that I managed to make up for that by putting what I liked up as feedback here.

I suppose I should get on with that, now shouldn’t I? And if my education in musicals has taught me anything, it's where to start.


Quote:
She could hear her heart beat.

You do this. The short, single sentence paragraph at a chapter's opening. Not all the time. But you do. And you make it work.

Quote:
The strong, steady rhythm seeped into every cell of her body.

I think partnered people calibrate their lives, at least in part, by their partner, and this image of Willow letting Tara’s rhythm perfuse her body is so sweet. Like, she’s letting herself physically recalibrate to the idea of being with Tara.

Quote:
Their conversation was a tangled heap of words, just outside her reach. She would have to unravel it all, she knew that. But later. Now, she was busy, listening to Tara’s heart beating.

This comes back to something I said earlier, about Chapter 13, I think. The story here is about deciding to get back together, not about getting back together. There’s another story after this, of course, of them dealing with everything. But this is about taking that step, and how exhausting that can be. It reminds me of deciding to fight my bipolar, instead of just giving in to the depression. It’s a moment that swings around the course of their lives, and causing that pivot is hard, no matter how good a goal they’re after. And so it feels right that the unraveling should wait, and now Willow can just sit and listen to Tara’s heart beat.

Quote:
There was nothing tentative about the touch.

You draw several parallels in the later chapters to the start of their relationship. Appropriately so. But even though I don’t think this line is about that, it made me think of it. At the start, this kind of touch would have been tentative. This simple thing, as much Tara telling Willow that she wants her back, shows Willow that Tara is sure. The reader, privy to Tara’s realization that she had never really had faith in their relationship, gets the feeling that now, even in the wake of hurting so much, Tara is finally beginning to believe in them.

Quote:
It made her feel solid, as if she had substance. Willow smiled to herself. She was anchored again.

And here we have the fulfillment of what Xander said earlier, about without Tara, there is no Willow. She has Tara again, and can finally be whole.

Quote:
The tone was light and teasing, but Willow felt the beating in her ear speed up a little.

It took me a read or two to see this as Tara’s nervousness about heading to bed. I mean, they’re both so emotionally drained that if there was a conflict over whether they should go to sleep or have sex, it could be disastrous. So even though it’s together, they’re walking into a mine field.

Quote:
The childish banter was silly, she knew, but it was soothing. Soothing, and at the same time it made her skin prickle.

There’s a bit in the shooting script for “Older and Far Away:” “A nice moment of bonding... then the uncomfortable realization that they're having a moment of bonding. Oops.” This reminded me of that. Only, since here they’ve already come together, it isn’t an oops.

Quote:
Tara paused, watching Willow watching her, then she pulled her shirt over her head and folded it roughly before placing it on the chair at her side. She unbuttoned her pants and let them fall, gracefully stepping out of them. She stooped to pick them up without breaking eye contact with Willow. She removed her bra and underwear in the same, unhurried way, tossing the garments onto the chair. Her eyes never left Willow. When she was naked, she stood completely still.

She could feel Willow’s eyes on her, pressing on her skin, like a physical sensation. Tara waited until Willow’s gaze came back up to her face, then paused. Then she grabbed a pair of baggy pyjamas from the back of the chair, slipped the top over her head and stepped into the bottoms.

This whole moment is amazing, not to mention beautifully written. It just has this sense of Tara showing Willow that she’s vulnerable, too, and there and ready to be vulnerable with Willow. But at the same time, she’s taking care of them, by taking the step towards sleep and away from sex.

Quote:
When she looked up, Willow was pouting in disappointment. Tara laughed, because when she’d reached for the clothing she had caught the flicker of relief that passed across Willow’s face, and a weight she had not known she was carrying had fallen away at the sight.

I love everything about this: Willow’s relief, Willow’s faux disappointment, and Tara’s relief that there was to be no conflict, and that they were in tune on the sex/sleep front.

Quote:
Willow slid off the bed onto unsteady legs. The sight of Tara had stunned her. The image still floated in front of her eyes, like a bright light after a flash bulb flared.

Tara had undressed in front of her countless times. In the beginning, with a heart-squeezing shyness. Later, sometimes, with brazen promise. And often, with unself-conscious ease, thinking of nothing but a warm bed and sleep.

Countless times, but never like this.

Let’s see here. “Heart-squeezing shyness”? That phrase alone makes my heart go a little melty. But then it’s set in this gorgeous context. Just . . . yes.

Quote:
Willow pulled a T-shirt and pyjama bottoms from the pile of washing that seemed to rest permanently on the chair by her bed.

This made me smile: living on my own, I never put my clean clothes away. Just into the clean pile.

Quote:
And Willow remembered. From the beginning, when they had no words - she had known it even then.

No matter what demon was at her door, Tara was the answer.

All the previous thoughts of the start of their relationship (I believe) were Tara’s. And here, finally, Willow draws on that beginning, as she turns that important corner:

Quote:
I make her happy.

I know that for me, one extra-spiffy consequence of bipolar was the constant feeling that I simply wasn’t good enough for the people I loved. So this realization, and how it affects Willow, is just so familiar.

Quote:
Tara smiled. She recognised the slight tensing of Willow’s body. It meant she was about to move, to fidget. Tara knew this and that made her smile.

This is such a beautiful contrast to earlier, when Willow flees the house, distraught that Tara no longer knows her. It’s like, Willow has finally let herself be weak and vulnerable in front of Tara, and it opens the door for Tara to know her again.

Quote:
‘Not all the time. I mean, sometimes.’ Willow began to pull her hand away, her eyes downcast. ‘It was kind of a treat.’

At the same time, it isn’t all better, though; Willow is still ashamed, still feels guilty for just how badly she missed Tara, for how much she needed her.

Quote:
As she struggled for the right response, Willow suddenly realised something - thanks were not wanted, not needed. The thought caused a surge of joy. She saw her own feelings reflected in Tara’s face.

This reminds me of this time Adam was really sick. Like, so sick he couldn't be bothered to play video games. And I did everything I could think of to make him feel better. He tried to thank me, but I dismissed it. He was sick, so I took care of him. And I saw how he understood how I felt about him shift. I mean, we were already engaged, but he still hadn't had this moment yet.

Quote:
‘So, what do you want to do tomorrow?’ Exhaustion slurred Willow’s words a little, but Tara caught the hint of excitement in her voice.

She gave a lazy smile.

‘This. Just this.’ Reaching out, she pulled Willow closer, and the near-silence of the room was once again disturbed only by the sound of their rhythmic breathing.

I didn’t see it, until I read it in one sitting: Willow’s excitement for the next day being remarkable. She’s finally breaking out of having to deal with the passage of time five minutes at a time, and can look forward to things in the future.

I think that this ending is particular to the way you write them experiencing their distress. That you make them so anxious and so sleepless when things aren't well. So for them to be able to relax in bed, and either sleep or just plain be is relief. It's coherent.


I was thinking about what Deb said, about them not acknowledging Tara having spent the last two nights in Willow's bed. And at first, I didn't see a way to do it. But I think you could slip in these lines, in another one of the little snapshots you have, between Willow tracing Tara's face and the bit about going to England.

"I slept here last night. And the night before."

"I know."

Obviously you'd need to flesh them out, at least in terms of actions or something, but as a core, it's something to think about. I think it balances out Willow's shame over the bit with tracing Tara's face, by showing that Tara is vulnerable, too. And it fits with Willow not thinking she needs to forgive Tara for the spell in the Magic Box: she accepts it, and lets it go. Even if, to an outsider, it feels unspeakable cruel. I think I also like it since you said that the scene was the inspiration to the story, so it feels right to pull it back in at the end.

And yes, I know you're done and not going to go change it now. But still.


So, there you are. My thoughts. It's strange to be done.


Kate

P.S. You may now release the hostage. I can't believe I was stupid enough to suggest to you my fear that you would hold back your feedback until I wrote you this. Dumb, dumb, dumb Kate.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:12 pm 
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Hello,

Given how long this fic has been finished, and how much pleasure reading it has given me, I thought it was high time to offer some feedback.

I know that others have said – with a great deal more clarity than I – how much this means to them, and I too wish to try and express that. I love reading (and re-reading) your work, and this is – in particular – one of my all-time favourite stories, surpassing many published stories for its quality and the sheer enjoyment it has given me.

This is one of the most touching and keenly observed pieces of fiction I’ve ever read.

I say that, without hyperbole or exaggeration, I am awed by your ability to paint the scenes so well with the briefest of sentences, to capture and describe the strong and tense emotions without it feeling trite or overly dramatic, and to capture the essence of Willow and Tara.

I suspect I would find it an utterly futile endeavour to try and pick out the parts that I love the most, as I would merely end up quoting the whole thing verbatim! There are, of course, some sentences that leap out at me – that hit me hard with the recognition of some essential part of Willow or Tara’s character – and your prose truly flows – never unnecessary or requiring a second read to impart their meaning – but for me there is something very precious that I have found here.

When I read this, I get a sense that Willow and Tara are real people living their lives – that all this is unfolding and I am merely a privileged observer, and that these events would occur whether or not I were reading. Even when the story comes to an end, I don’t really feel it has ended – I feel that they will continue their lives without me, sometimes with joy and other times with sadness, but always in some measure together.

To say that you “brought them to life” is a trite phrase that does not do you justice. It is something far more powerful than that, and I really am unable to find the right words - though I hope I am in some way able to communicate my meaning.

I have immensely enjoyed all your works that I have read, and I hope that you will privilege us with many more to come.

Many thanks for writing this,

JustAKitty

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic - Donegal Street (Completed 13th September 2011
PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:36 pm 
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BeMyDeputy
Hi Kate,

It makes me smile when you say that when editing you never gave this story more praise than the occasional ‘good’. Like the hours and hours you devoted to crafting constructive criticism weren’t praise enough?

Your analysis was always incisive and never failed to make me think. The process of editing was both challenging and rewarding. Writing this story and posting it on the Kittenboard was an incredibly positive experience. I learned so much about writing. The feedback I received helped me improve in many technical ways and it also showed me what fun it is to work on a longer story, to build up an audience and to see it through to completion. I’m very grateful.

Last, and by no means least, it gave me your friendship. Priceless.

JustAKitty

Thank you so much for your generous words. I have also read stories on the Kittenboard that I have enjoyed more than published works, and I’m hugely flattered that you would say this about mine.

Quote:
Even when the story comes to an end, I don’t really feel it has ended

This is exactly how I saw the story so I’m very glad it came across to you in that way.

I’m delighted that you wrote a story for the February challenge, adding to your debut short fic, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your writing.


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