The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 4:46 pm 
Title: Bread.
Author: Tulipp.
Feedback: Yes, please, especially if it’s constructive.
Spoilers: Through BTVS season 5, “The Gift.”
Disclaimer: All characters and an occasional bit of dialogue are borrowed from Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: Willow, Tara, and Dawn struggle to come to terms with the events of season 5, Buffy’s death, and an uncertain future. (Three parts.)
Acknowledgments: I am addicted to beta readers. It makes any story better, and I can’t imagine writing without them. Ruth helped me see stylistic tics I didn’t even realize I had; darkmagicwillow asked the right questions and helped me see Tara more clearly; and Ruby challenged some assumptions, even though I decided to keep them in the end. Finally, J. convinced me that it’s okay to try something new, even if the final product doesn’t turn out to be perfect. Thanks to you all. And one last thank-you to TromDeGrey, who hasn't seen this fic yet but is responsible for me not throwing it away many weeks ago.

Note: This is a three-part story, and the first part is pretty angsty, but things lighten up after that.


Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone;
it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time,
made new.
—Ursula K. LeGuin, The Lathe of Heaven

Months later, on a hot September day, Willow would let her fingers rest lightly on the steering wheel and look ahead at the yellow center line of highway disappearing under the hood of the car.

It would be strange to be driving after years of walking through Sunnydale. Walking the streets at night. Haunting the cemeteries waiting for newly turned vampires. Patrolling with Buffy.

Sunnydale would seem already to be far away, a dream she’d had once. Sometimes a nightmare with monsters and demons and pain and fear, but sometimes the kind of dream you don’t want to wake up from because the people that you love are in it, and they smile at you, and they touch your arm, and when you make a joke, they laugh, even though it’s not that funny.

She would think back on the summer, and she would let herself—just for a little while—forget the nights of not sleeping. Holding Dawn while she cried for Buffy. Holding Tara while she cried about Glory. Those things were important, and they were real, and she wouldn’t want to forget them for long. But with the window rolled down, the wind lifting her hair off her neck, she would let the summer breeze past her and hold onto only a handful of moments when things had changed: A June night. A July morning. An August afternoon. Moments when hope had come back when she had almost stopped looking for it.

The way the best things always happened when you weren’t looking for them.

Sometimes, she would think, the world went up in flames; your best friend flew into the fire like a bird, fell into the flames like a feather, and was burned up. And you knew everything was different—you knew—because the flames reached your own ankles and scorched you. Because all that was left of a hero was ashes. Because your heart wouldn’t spark, and you couldn’t find the match that would make it blaze again.

But sometimes…sometimes the world changed so slowly you almost missed it. As if someone had turned the oven up a little bit, and the kitchen was just slightly warmer than it had been. And then suddenly everything was different, and you couldn’t put your finger on what had happened to make it that way.

Then Willow would shake her head a little. She would turn to look at Tara, who would be shredding the last loaf of bread and tossing the crumbs out the open window. And Tara would smile sheepishly at her, as if she’d been caught doing something strange, and make a joke that wasn’t very funny.

Willow would reach over and touch Tara’s arm, and she would laugh at her joke, and in that quiet moment, something unspoken would rise warm and soft between them: a quiet heat.

And Willow would drive.

Part I: June.

Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt
Drag out to their last dregs …
My taste will not have turned insensitive
To honey and bread old purity could love.
—Gwendolyn Brooks, “My dreams, my works, must wait till after hell”

Willow almost forgot.

A soft sound had tugged her out of not-quite-asleep, and blinking in the dark of Joyce’s bedroom, she almost scooted across the bed to fold her fingers into the hollow of Tara’s hip bone. Almost nuzzled Tara’s neck with her nose. Almost slowed her breathing down so that they were inhaling and exhaling together. But then she remembered, and …with Tara only inches away…Willow was alone again.

She wished she had forgotten. She wished she could forget Buffy’s death. Anya’s wheelchair. Giles’ absence. Dawn’s shuttered look. Tara’s quiet ache—all of it.

Hugging her hands to her sides, Willow wished she could forget what it had felt like to slice into Tara’s head. To rend. Sure, in the end it had worked, but her fingers had scraped the inside of Tara’s mind, the inside of Tara, and that wasn’t hers to touch. It wasn’t hers to feel shards of memories, sharp and glassy, that Tara had never shared. It had been a violation. She had violated.

Willow couldn’t forget that, and she wouldn’t let her fingers hurt Tara that way again, so she had been keeping them to herself. Tara didn’t need more touching right now; she needed someone to be strong, to take care of things. She needed someone to be brave.

But it was getting harder. Her mind wouldn’t let her forget how much it had hurt to touch Tara, but her body remembered how much she needed Tara’s touch.

She heard the sound again—it was a knock—and she closed her eyes for a second, in disappointment or relief, she wasn’t sure which.

“Come in,” she called out, seeing Tara shift and sit up as a thin hand appeared around the edge of the door. Dawn shifted from one foot to the other in the doorway, her hair long and loose around her shoulders. She looked very young.

“Bad dream, Dawnie?” Willow asked softly. It wouldn’t be the first time, not for any of them.

Dawn edged into the room. “I….” She bit her lip. “Could I…sleep with you, just this once?” The words came out in a rush, and Dawn took a breath. “Sometimes….when Mom was sick, Buffy would let me sleep with her, you know, when she wasn’t patrolling, so really…well, it was just the one time since she was usually patrolling, and….” She broke off suddenly, smiling weakly, and crossed her arms over her chest. “I’m starting to sound like you.”

Propping herself up on her elbow, Willow patted the sheet beside her. “Hop in, Dawnie,” she said. “We can be a Wiccan sandwich. With…with Summers sausage.” She glanced at Tara for confirmation, but Tara was already reaching to the floor for an extra pillow.

“Jeez,” Dawn said, crawling over Tara and settling between them, “more like Summers squash. How do you guys sleep in the same bed?” Willow heard Buffy’s tones in her voice.

“Thinking about Buffy?” Tara said softly, slipping an arm around Dawn’s shoulders. Willow wondered how she did it, set aside her own pain so easily to comfort someone else. It seemed so effortless. So impossible.

But Dawn leaned back against the headboard, sighing. “I miss Buffy,” she whispered. “Everything seems wrong, like…like….” She faltered, drawing in her breath sharply, on the verge of tears, and Tara looked helplessly at Willow. Maybe it wasn’t so effortless, Willow thought suddenly, sitting up a little higher on her elbow and taking charge.

“I know, Dawnie,” she said lightly, using her little girl’s voice, and she felt Dawn exhale with relief. She saw Tara’s tense shoulders relax. “It feels like…like a bike shop without a Huffy.”

Tara smiled at her then, and Willow went on, heartened. “A cat without the fluffy,” she added, giving Dawn a little poke and watching her squirm. They needed this, all of them.

“Like…billy goats without the gruffy,” Tara jumped in. “Come on, Dawn, you do one.”

Dawn thought for a minute, biting her lip. “Like a library without the stuffy?” she asked finally, and Tara hugged her arm a little closer around Dawn’s shoulder.

Tara paused, tilting her head to one side so her hair fell over her cheek. “A bruise without the puffy,” she said finally, and the mood shifted again, the sigh seeming to come from all of them and hover over the bed. No one spoke for a moment, and Willow searched her mind for a sentence, some string of words, to blow that sigh away again. Words, she just needed words.

“Ooh, Macbeth without Macduffy,” she said suddenly, and this time, Dawn giggled. Willow felt a little better hearing it.

“No fair,” Dawn said. “That’s college. We haven’t gotten there yet.” Willow caught Tara’s eye and was rewarded with the relief she saw there.

“Oh, sure, literature,” Tara said, squeezing Dawn’s hand playfully but looking gratefully at Willow. “Willow wins again.”

Dawn rolled her eyes. “Willow always wins,” she yawned, and Willow knew there would be no crisis that night. She watched Dawn settle against the pillow and curl against Tara, who smoothed her long, sleek hair. Willow reached out and rubbed Dawn’s back lightly; for a moment they were the same, she and Tara, offering the only comfort they had to give.

Dawn’s breathing slowed into sleep after a minute, but Tara kept stroking her hair, and Willow kept rubbing her back. Listening to Dawn’s quiet breath, Willow inhaled that sweet nighttime teenage scent—antiseptic and baby powder, and then, as she brushed her hand lightly up Dawn’s back, and Tara brushed her own hand down smoothly over Dawn’s hair, their fingers touched, and they both paused.

Willow held her breath for a moment at the contact. She wanted Tara to wrap a hand around her fingers, to hold onto her and not let go. She wanted Tara to make some move that said it was okay to touch her again. She couldn’t do it herself.

In that moment before the rescue and the reunion, before Willow had seen Tara come home to herself, she had felt something true: she and Glory were the same. They could stick their fingers in people’s brains and twist their memories and perceptions around. They could find pain, but they could also make it.

So she waited. But after a few seconds Tara started to stroke Dawn’s hair again, and Willow reluctantly pulled her hand away before it remembered and reached for Tara itself. She saw Tara not looking at her. She saw another month of near misses ahead.

And she saw something else. Across Dawn’s shadowed body and Tara’s remote face, if she squinted in the dark, she saw a bowl of dried herbs on Joyce’s dresser. At the bottom of that bowl was a last resort. A just in case. Something for a rainy day, when the not talking and the not touching became too much to bear.

But for now, she closed her eyes against the image of the dried herbs, and she turned away from Tara and Dawn, and she tried…alone…to forget.

* * * * *

Tara exhaled silently when she felt Willow turn away from her. They had been so close for a second, so near, and Willow had still not touched her. Had not made the gesture that Tara had been wanting for weeks. She swallowed against the disappointment in her throat.

She repeated to herself, silently, the only words of comfort she could find: Time will help. Time heals all wounds. Give it time. Take your time. Time is a bandage, a giant tissue. Saying these things to Dawn in the daytime made sense. But here, in the dark, she knew they were running out of time; it was slipping away.

She couldn’t blame Willow for not wanting to touch her. She was sickened herself when she remembered the way she’d felt, the way she’d been. Maybe being fed wasn’t so bad, but to have your girlfriend bathe you, dress you, clean you after you used the bathroom…it made her shudder. It made her feel like a baby. It made her want to pull back, to wrap her arms around herself and shut down, like she used to do. Like she did with Glory. Like she had always done before Willow.

Something had happened between them in that moment…among all of them, really: Willow and Glory and herself. One moment, her mind had been smudgy, inky with confusion; the next moment, fingers like blades had sliced into her head, and everything had gone sharp. They were together inside that sharpness, each feeling the others as herself: Three gods. Three witches. Three girls.

And then from within the triangle—that brief union—a separation had grown and exploded, sending them all flying. A moment later, Tara had been panting and aware, and Willow had been crawling toward her through the rubble, and they had been themselves again. But this time…they weren’t two anymore. They were one and one.

They were alone, together.

Closing her eyes now, Tara knew that they would go to sleep, separately and silently. In the morning Willow would retreat into the basement and work on the Buffybot, and in the afternoon Tara would take Dawn to a movie to escape the oppressive silence of the house, and the next night they would go to bed again, each alone. She had hoped, when Dawn slid into bed between them, that it was a chance. She had hoped that Dawn would be a conduit, a lightning rod, a key; that her very presence would somehow magically unlock the door between them so they could reach for one another again.

But Dawn was just a girl now, not a key.

Stroking Dawn’s hair, Tara watched the sharp line of Willow’s shoulder until she could see it relax, finally, into the slow rise and fall of sleep, and only then, pulling the sheet up to her neck, did she close her own eyes and dream.

In the dream, all things happened at once, each moment taut and pitched low and held out, overlapping and simultaneous: Bird. Mirror. Kitchen. Bread.

A bright-hot blue day outside the Summers house. Through the kitchen window, Tara could see Willow, red-ponytailed and aproned, moving from sink to stove. She was singing to herself, a tuneless, longing hum; she was making bread.

Above, a small, iron-colored bird flew in lazy circles around the house, encircling. Protecting. Tara shielded her eyes with one hand to squint up at it, trying to spot the feathers clearly for a moment, to see the soft downy gray of its belly, but only the fine hairs of her own arm came into view. The bird was supposed to rest. She had to feed it. She had the food right here in her hand.

Except…she didn’t. She turned her empty palm over and felt anxious; the bird couldn’t eat nothing. She would have to go into the house. Glancing down, she saw the empty wicker basket by her feet and then the shrubs, covered with freshly washed white sheets drying in the sun. Shimmering like silver.

Reaching down to pick up the basket, her arm was long and pale and slender, almost as if it were someone else’s arm. An arm she knew but not her arm.

Around her, the air trembled and changed: the shrubs became a chair and a coat rack, the white sheets morphed into walls and windows.

How had she gotten into the hallway? The high singing murmur of Willow’s little-girl voice drifted out from the kitchen, and Tara wanted to go to it, to go to her, but the white-silver wall shimmered on her left and caught her eye like a magnet, pulling. Compelling. She turned to see…

Her reflection in the mirror on the wall. Tilting her head, Tara looked at her own blue eyes. She watched her right arm lifting up to touch the finger in the mirror; she watched the reflected finger come closer and closer. That slender arm in the mirror…not her arm. The light in the hallway flickered, casting a shadow across her face in the mirror: her long, pale face. Her sharply defined nose. Her curly hair. Her…curly…hair? No, it was Joyce’s curly hair, Joyce’s slender arm, Joyce’s face starting back at her.

Tara snatched her arm back from the mirror, but it was too late.

“We’re the same,” Joyce whispered, and Tara felt her own lips form the words.

Then the hallway changed and trembled, the mirror flickering and becoming a refrigerator that took shape as she approached slowly, slowly.

The kitchen came closer—Willow came closer—so she knew she must be walking forward. Willow’s hair was black, her fingers crackling red, but Tara knew it was Willow because she was talking about buns. “Buns in the oven,” she was giggling. “The fruit frogs put their buns in the oven.”

Saying “Willow.” Swallowing and saying “Willow?”

Willow started to turn, and Tara’s head swam on a wave of relief. She raised her eyes to take Willow in and saw…

The long and wavy blonde hair, the wide lipstick smile, the black tank top clinging to her round breasts. “Tara!” Buffy said, putting her hands on her hips. “You shouldn’t be here.” Tara recognized that familiar wide and not-quite-friendly smile.

“I’m supposed to feel safe h…here,” Tara said. “I think I should s…stay.” Over Buffy’s shoulder, she saw the counter, dusted with flour and cluttered with white-silver tins.

“Little girls belong with their daddies,” Buffy said firmly. “Go ahead and take her, Mr. Maclay.” Tara’s eyes snapped to the kitchen door, but the man standing at the threshold and reaching a hand out to her was a stranger.

Tara stared at him for a moment, and then her eyes tracked back to Buffy, who smiled and clapped her hands together. “I almost forgot!” Buffy said. “I have a present for you!” Buffy’s hands were full of stakes, and the blonde of her hair bled into red again, the red ponytail.

Tara shook her head slightly at Buffy…at Willow? “For…me?” she asked. She didn’t want them. She wanted to back away.

“No, baby,” Willow’s voice scolded her gently. “That’s not what I do. That’s not what I’m for. Now close your eyes.”

It was better with her eyes closed because the sound of Willow’s voice was clear, so it had to be Willow approaching; it had to be Willow telling her, in that sing-song voice, to keep her eyes closed and hold out her hand; it had to be Willow’s thin hand on her head, caressing her hair. Tara leaned into that hand and inhaled, trying to catch the scent.

“You must be tired of applesauce,” Willow was crooning at her now, “so I made you a sandwich. Now open up.”

Then Tara’s hands were filling up with the sandwich, warm and soft and…squirming… and her eyes were flying open and wide at the moldy bread crawling and green. She was shoving her arms away from her and wiping her hands on her jeans and backing away, unable to take her eyes off the lump of bread and tuna on the floor.

“It’s perfectly natural,” Willow was saying, but when Tara dragged her eyes upward to look at her, it was Glory, big-haired and red-lipped, who was grinning in Tara’s face.

“If you leave nummy treats where they don’t belong, they go bad,” Glory laughed. “That always happens.” And then fingers—whose fingers were they now?— piercing, and Tara going cold and metallic.

But the kitchen was already dissolving around them, the butcher block counter top flickering into the wooden bench in the backyard, the tins on the counter now a row of shiny bird feeders.

Tara sat in the backyard and watched the bird fly in circles that were smaller, and closer, and nearer until it alighted on the bench next to her. She blinked, and it was Buffy, calm and not smiling now, her silvery blonde hair spilling over the white sheet wrapped around her.

She swallowed, shivered. “This is set down,” she said to Buffy. “Our edges are blurring; it’s all set down.”

“No,” Buffy said quietly, with her calm, sad face and her calm, peaceful eyes. “Only some of this is true. Why can’t you see what you’re holding?”

Slowly, Tara looked down at her clenched fist, turning it over and unfurling her fingers. But she saw nothing there except air. And the criss-crossed lines of her own palm.

Waking with a start, Tara squinted in the dark at her empty hand. Who are we? she thought, and then wondered where the question had come from. Aren’t we ourselves anymore?

Dawn was there, curled against her, and Tara could see that on the other side of Dawn, Willow slept, hunched on her side and turned away from both of them. The dream was already blurring, its tumble of images fading and leaving her with only an empty hand, so empty it ached.

She saw Buffy's face again, clear against that graying, shaded dreamworld. “Why can’t you see what you’re holding?” Buffy had said, and Tara wanted to see.

She wanted to be holding Willow. She wanted it more than she wanted to protect herself, more than she wanted to hide away that lingering skim of shame. More than she wanted to stay awake and puzzle over a dream that returned to her most nights.

Taking a breath, Tara carefully, carefully reached across Dawn until she could feel Willow’s pajama top in her fingers, and she clutched at it.

The flannel was warm where it had touched Willow’s back, and Tara closed her eyes and pretended that it was Willow’s hair she was touching, or Willow’s skin, soft apricot fuzz on the back of her neck and her arm. Holding the fabric between her fingers and trying to conjure up Willow in her touch, she felt her heart slow down again, and eventually she fell back asleep.

* * * * *

Dawn woke in the early morning from a dream of trickles and rivers and knew she couldn’t put off going to the bathroom any longer. She sat up slowly, reluctantly peeling herself from the cocoon that Willow and Tara’s bodies seemed to make around her, and scooted to the end of the bed.

When she came back out, tugging at the drawstring in her cotton pants and yawning, she noticed that something was different. Stepping back, more fully awake, she realized that in the two minutes she had been gone, Willow and Tara had curled into one another, clinging to one another in their sleep the way they never did now in the daytime.

Dawn had never seen them so unguarded together, had never been free to look at them so openly, and at first, she took in the sight of them with hunger. Tara’s front pressed against Willow’s back, an arm draped over Willow’s stomach. Dawn could see that, underneath the thin blanket, their hips were matched, their knees lined up. Even their feet seemed to be intertwined: a little pile of feet.

She couldn’t stop looking at them; it was as if she was seeing them—really seeing them—for the first time.

It seemed like her vision of Willow and Tara was always shifting. She was never sure in the morning who was going to be who that day. After Buffy died, Tara had been timid like a little girl, and Willow had seemed like her mother, fussing over her and making her eat and go to bed early. But only a few days ago, when Willow had mentioned casually at dinner that she was thinking of fixing the Buffybot and taking her out on patrol, Tara’s eyes had flashed dangerously, and suddenly Willow was a petulant child and Tara was an angry mom.

But now…they didn’t look like mother and child now. They looked like.... Dawn’s mind stopped making words and understood that Tara’s arm was too high to be holding Willow’s stomach. She realized that not only Tara’s hips but also other things were pressed against Willow.

Dawn’s cheeks went hot, and she took a step backward. Part of her was curious, intrigued, and in her toes she felt a flush of something warm that wasn’t comfort.

She’d seen Willow and Tara together lots of times, of course she had; she’d seen them sleeping in the same bed. But somehow…somehow she hadn’t thought of them as separate, as their own thing. They were just…Buffy’s friends. Like, when Buffy and Willow and Tara had taken her out to the movies, she’d thought of it as one big girls’ night out. Now, she realized Tara and Willow had kind of been on a date, too. She’d just…never really thought about it that way before.

Her mind flashed her a memory, a twilight glimpse past the half-closed door of a van parked on the street: Oz and Willow necking, and Oz squeezing Willow through the fabric of her jeans, and Willow making the softest sound and reaching down…Buffy had yanked her away then, and later, Willow was red all over and wouldn’t meet Dawn’s eye. Now, Dawn’s mind flashed her a replacement image, one she had never actually seen and never really imagined: Tara and Willow necking, and Tara squeezing Willow through the fabric of her jeans, and Willow making an even softer sound and reaching down….

Part of her was curious, but another part blinked rapidly at this thing that was so private and so grown-up and so…sexual…and she edged toward the door and away from these two girls who were suddenly not just her sisters’ friends who held hands sometimes while they were taking care of her but…girlfriends, actually. Lovers.

The word tested itself in her mind, and she found nothing there to dislike. But also nothing she was quite ready to see. Not like this, in the dark. In a bed.

She closed the door softly behind her and let her breath out in the darkened hallway.

Back in her room, she hugged Buffy’s old teddy bear to her chest and drifted over to her dresser, where she had tucked photos of her family into the edges of her mirror. There was Buffy at 15, shrieking as Dawn threw a bucket of cold water at her on the beach. And there was her mother, glancing back over her shoulder at an art gallery opening, her curly hair and gentle face framed by splashes of bright color. There was herself, her mouth stuffed full of sandwich and laughing. And there was her father, smiling and slicing tomatoes in the kitchen of their old house in L.A.

Dawn had taken that photo herself; she remembered. She tugged it out of the mirror frame and studied it.

She had been sullen and tearful when Buffy and her mother had gone off for a grown-up lunch and shopping without her, and she had sulked around the house for awhile until she found her father in the kitchen, making soup and listening to old man music.

He had made her chocolate milk and coaxed an explanation out of her, something about still being treated like a baby when she was really almost nine, and he had smiled and then pretended he wasn’t smiling.

“What’s so great about growing up?” he had asked her. “More homework and wearing high heels to the mall and eating…what…quiche?” Dawn had made a face at the thought of that, and they had both laughed, and then she had watched as her father sliced tomatoes and bread and cheese and made them both gigantic sandwiches.

“There’s enough demons when you grow up, Dawno,” he had said then, seriously. “You don’t need to invite them in so early.”

She had nodded solemnly, wanting him to think she understood, but things had gotten hard after that. Her mom and dad had started fighting, and then they had moved to Sunnydale, and then they didn’t really see him anymore.

But…touching the shiny paper of the photographs with her fingers….Dawn knew that none of it had happened. Not really. She was an invention. She was new. And although she could remember growing up—her tongue could recall the taste of that sandwich, and her eyes could recall her mother’s face, and her arms could recall lifting the bucket—even though she could remember it…it hadn’t happened. Sometimes she wanted to do all those things now so that they really would happen. To be a little girl still, and to not grow up. To find out for herself what her father was like, what it was like to have a father again.

She’d tried, eyes squeezed shut, to convince herself that Willow was Buffy and Tara was her mom, to pretend just for a second that nothing had changed and the three of them were piled in bed together after watching movies, but it hadn’t worked. Buffy was gone, and her mom was gone, and she loved Willow and Tara a lot, but it wasn’t the same. No matter how hard any of them tried, they could never be people they weren’t, and they could never change the past….the real one or the made-up one.

Dawn wiped the paw of Buffy’s bear across her eyes, a little dizzy from thinking. Chocolate milk would help, maybe. But tiptoeing down the stairs, she realized that her fingers still clutched the photo of her father, and she felt how real it was. It was paper and ink, and those things were real. As real as any memory. Realer.

In the kitchen, calculating the time difference in her head , Dawn decided it was late enough to call, and she picked up the phone. In the early-morning pause she could hear the birds waking up outside, chattering sleepily at each other, and she knew that after this phone call everything would be different.

She punched in the numbers, and she waited for the click and the ring as the call went through, and then the fuzzy male voice answering on the other end. She took a breath, and she glanced around at the kitchen as if it were the last time she would see it, as if she had to memorize the unwashed glasses and the Xena magnet on the fridge and the half-melted candles Tara had been burning the evening before and Willow’s laptop and a dove-gray jacket of Buffy’s that was still hanging on a hook by the back door because no one had been brave enough to take it down yet. And she took a breath.

“Dad?” she said, not recognizing the little girl squeak of her voice. “Daddy?”

To be continued in Part II: July.

"And I'm eating this banana. Lunchtime be damned!" -- Willow in "Doppelgangland

Edited by: Tulipp at: 1/11/03 8:45:01 am

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 5:21 pm 
at the end i realized that i was holding my breath. and that the crowded noisy room around me had disappeared while i was busy reading. great fiction tends to do that... thank you.

"and they still control the world, and you are not in my arms..."

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 6:16 pm 
WOW! :clap

I've been dying to read a really good fic about what happened after "The Gift", and seems my wish has been granted (without the vengeance demon face, too!) :bounce

This was so great, I can't wait to read the next part!

Anya in a wheelchair... why did that strike me? lol

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 7:22 pm 
I totally let out a girly squeal when I saw your name next to a new story.

I. Love. Your. Writing.

Thank you for sharing more of it with us. You have such a way of capturing moments in time and holding them dear. I too often found myself holding my breath.

Oh, and I loved Dawn's realization even though she already knew it that Willow and Tara did more than hold hands.



BUFFY: I could wrestle naked in grease for a living and still be cleaner than after a shift at the Doublemeat.

WILLOW: Plus, I'd visit you at work every single day.

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 7:43 pm 
Ah Juli, I'm so excited to see this on Pens. Your style and content has been truly missed by me. There's an almost effortless simplicity to your writing that gives us the characters as they truly are, not as an interpretation. I've always loved that, because I know that it's not effortless.

I love the idea of this taking place in the hushed darkness of slumber. Dawn seeking comfort in Willow and Tara, but coming to realise that they're not her parents, however much she might like to pretend that they are. You've brought out her childish innocence here in a way that we never really got the opportunity to see on the show, and I love that. It's so refreshing and true to see Dawn for what she is; a lonely little girl. That moment when she sees Willow and Tara as lovers is really very important for her, because I think it spurs her on to find her father and move into a more dependent stage of her life.

Willow and Tara though...I mean...god. You hit the nail on the head there with that absence of touch. It's always been paramount in their relationship and here, it's as though they're craving that connection in a physical way, but they can only achieve it through their sleeping bodies. Almost as though the disconnection of the mind, and of rationality, and guilt, is the only way they can be together and find that "touch" again. Simply wonderful stuff.

Fabulous to see you back writing again. Really, it is.

"You think I smell like a mermaid?"
"No, I think it's haddock...or carp...Do us a favour dear Nan and put your glove back on."
~ Titty Saunders and Nancy Boy French

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 8:30 pm 

OK, so I really want to find these wonderful words, right? To tell you how excited I was to see your name in the author's column, and to give some kind of voice to how much I admire your writing...But I know that I can't really do all of that justice.

Ah, but a girl's gotta try...I read through this twice, and both times I was moved by the clarity of your writing, even as you write of things that are themselves cloaked in uncertainty and intangibility--feelings and dreams and memories, in particular. I really responded to the time and depth you gave to each person's POV. We walked through the house with each person in turn, given the opportunity to see each room through her eyes. When you moved to the next POV, it felt smooth and timely. There wasn't a sense of disorientation or "Whoa--how'd we get HERE?" that sometimes happens w/ perspective or time shifts.

I'm especially intrigued by the theme of identities as I see it emerging in this story. Each person, in her own way, seems to be asking the question: "Who am I now?" And of course they are, because things have shifted so profoundly. The only true (in the strictest sense of the word) original members of the house are dead and gone. Each person there now has come to live there as a part of some epic scheme or disaster. I found Dawn's POV especially compelling as a means of understanding the current distance b/w our girls: her ruminations on their shifting roles, that seem to change from day to day.

Sometimes the device used to keep two people apart feels contrived or artificial, but the fear and uncertainty that Willow and Tara feel are so well-described and evocative that their current distance makes perfect sense. I especially like your description of the moment of mind-shifting, or probing, that Willow performed. It had to be incredibly powerful, and I commend your Willow for having the humility to recognize the unintentional invasion of Tara's privacy. Yes, it was absolutely necessary; but it also gave Willow a look at pictures that Tara hadn't shared with her of her own volition. And Tara's lingering shame at having to be taken care of--you describe that so well, and so powerfully. That thought actually crossed my mind a few times during that story arc: Tara was inevitably in her pajamas and seemed not to be attending to herself much at all. Somebody had to be doing it, and Willow was clearly the one. Shame is such a life-long companion for Tara; she can probably spot it five miles down the road. It was truly touching to read her inner dialogue about her incapacitation.

Finally, I'm a sucker for little moments, or pictures, that break a story right into my heart. Here, it was Dawn wiping away her tears with the paw of Buffy's teddy bear. That was just beautiful, Tulipp, it truly was.

OK, I obviously worked through my commitment issues with regard to responding even if I didn't have all the words I wanted. The angst was worth it and I'm so excited to read more.

Thanks for taking keyboard in hand, Tulipp.


 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 8:56 pm 
As I sit here eating my breakfast, I realize nothing goes with scrambled eggs better than Bread. Especially if its made by Tulipp.

Seriously, though (Me? Serious? Yes, but just for a moment), once again you've filled in holes. Answered questions that sort of piled up and were left unanswered by returning 3 or 4 months later. I'm kind of glad the show itself didn't try to tell us what happened in that time or explain how a certain character got through something. Because then you get to do it. And it's wonderful.

The more Dawn annoyed me, I kept from slicing my wrists open every time she whined by thinking "Well, okay, so she's a key AND going through puberty so its gotta be rough." You gave me even more perspective on her situation.

You keep giving these characters a purpose to exist and that's really nice to see.




"Two? What do you mean you only opened two? ... Well, I can't figure out just two! So let's pretend you opened 200." - The Incompetent Math Teacher, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 9:17 pm 
Finally, I'm a sucker for little moments, or pictures, that break a story right into my heart. Here, it was Dawn wiping away her tears with the paw of Buffy's teddy bear. That was just beautiful, Tulipp, it truly was.
Oh, I so agree. I was thinking about this story as I was driving to an appointment this morning, and that was one of the visuals that stuck with me.



BUFFY: I could wrestle naked in grease for a living and still be cleaner than after a shift at the Doublemeat.

WILLOW: Plus, I'd visit you at work every single day.

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 9:25 pm 
they weren’t two anymore. They were one and one.

That was beautiful! :cry

I can't begin to say how good I think this fic is so touching and so sad that somehow Willow and Tara cannot find the words to say they need eachother so badly, physically and mentally.

Thank you for this fic


'I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really's depressing' - Tara

Edited by: Little M at: 1/7/03 11:26:29 am

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 11:27 pm 
Oh, I’m so relieved to see such great feedback. Thank you! I have really struggled a lot with this story; it kept messing with me, or maybe that was me messing with it…. Finally I just had to let this first part go, and I’m glad I did.

Greatluna, I seem to be obsessed with breath. I don’t even notice it’s there until I realize it’s all over the place. Thanks so much for reading this. I’m so glad it worked okay as a start.

BFR: Anya in a wheelchair…too much? But I could just picture it after seeing her limp in Xander’s arms in “The Gift.” Interesting how almost everyone’s physical ailments kind of mysteriously disappear on BTVS, never to be mentioned again, isn’t it? Oh, except gunshots to the heart. Thanks for reading!

Autumn! I totally let out a girly squeal when I saw that YOU had let out a girly squeal! I debated whether that was a credible Dawn, now that you mention it, considering that Dawn has spent lots of time around Willow and Tara. But the distance between “The Real Me” and “The Gift” was only a matter of months, and as a teenager, I myself was remarkably clueless. So there you go. Thanks!

Ruth, you helped me on this SO much. Not just seeing a new kind of sentence—although that was huge—but general Ruthiness. I was thinking, when you said “style and content” of this biography of one of the Brontes in which the biographer is trying to prove that really, the Bronte wasn’t that much of a recluse. No! In only one month she had “two teas AND a letter!” So now, I’m thinking…style AND content! :)

Mary, you spoil me, you really do. Any word you write is wonderful, but I have to say, in this case the word “clarity” is my favorite. That’s because I’ve been working on this for so long, and I kept losing my own sense of clarity: who are these girls, and where were they then emotionally? I really had to force myself to set aside the subsequent years of their relationship and remind myself that in spite of all the burdens of true love and selflessness that we all ask them to carry for us, they’re just girls, you know? You mentioned identities, and for me, that’s definitely it. There’s been a sea change, and now everyone is scrambling to find a lifeboat with her name on it. Thank you for your wonderful feedback! You help me see patterns more clearly.

Snipp, you ought to try turning that bread into some toast. It holds the eggs better, you know. You just get a toaster, and you put the bread in it, and then after a while you get toast. You must try it. You now have me thinking, incidentally, about the PuberKey and imagining what kinds of hormonal changes that would involve. Thank you for reading this!

Little M, thanks for reading this, and thanks for your feedback. I’ve seen some great W/T math moments on Pens: square roots, powers, pi, you name it. Me, I’m not so good at math so I stick with simple addition. Or, I guess, subtraction in this case. I’m glad that part worked.

And now I’m thinking about how sometimes you hear someone singing a song, and you think “oh, nice,” and then the person stops singing and starts talking, and you then think “I wish they would just stop talking. Stop talking!” And so that’s what I’m going to do now.

Thanks for reading, kittens! You’re the best! Nobody beats you!

"And I'm eating this banana. Lunchtime be damned!" -- Willow in "Doppelgangland

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2003 11:58 pm 
wow...the way you write...the descriptions...pain, joy, more's absolutely amazing...leaves me completely speechless...and this is a great start...i hope you will update soon...

~steph (still speechless)

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul. ~ Oscar Wilde

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2003 1:11 am 
You took my breath away, it's really amazing :clap :clap :clap

I was so moved by this part, like diving in deep sea water feeling a little dizzy going there but so good that you don't wanna go back!

More soon please:pray

The earth is blue like an orange
Paul Eluard

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2003 1:53 am 

It's amazing to me how real you make everyone seem. Like they are someone out of your family, or a friend, or you. It's so easy to slip into their world and understand and really feel what the characters are feeling. It makes you think of those times in your own life. Awesome.

And I'm glad to see someone cover that mysterous time right after the Gift. It's something the show certainly should have done and suprisingly few (or I've been missing a bunch) stories have been written about that summer and what drove Willow so hard to go for the resurrection spell.

Thanks. I look foward to part 2-


"I was feared and worshiped across the mortal globe. At now I'm stuck at Sunnydale High. Mortal. Child. And I'm failing Math." Anya in Dopplegangland

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2003 2:22 am 
I'll chime in and say how thrilled I was to see your name beside a new title. Pens can never get enough quality storytelling. :)

It's kind of odd, revisiting some of these moments after so much time has past, but your writing quickly transported me back to the break between S5 and S6. And you touched on some things I never really considered - like how Willow must have felt reaching into Tara's mind, and what she found when she got there, and how Tara must have felt when she discovered Willow had to do everything for her while she was hurt.

Powerful stuff. I'm looking forward to the next update. Thanks again! :)

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2003 3:52 am 
My god, Juli, I am completely breathless. How could you ever consider throwing this anywhere but out into the world for everyone to gasp over?! You amaze me! I kept asking myself how something so seemingly simple could be so emotional and complex. I have to admit, it makes me want to leave my own fic in my beat up EMS clipboard and just read this and TF over and over again. And again with the symbolism, whether you meant to use it or not. The three girls but really one - very Goddess/Trinity. This is very strange. I've never found myself trembling after reading ANYTHING. Wow.

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

Chinese Proverb.

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2003 4:13 am 
First of all, let me tell you how ecstatic I was to see your name beside a story. It's great to read something of yours again! And second, I couldn't budge at all while reading this. Not even to reach for my water a few inches away. It's fantastic as always... hope you update soon.

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2003 8:15 am 
Simply Beautiful and Brilliant.


Tara pushed down Willows pants with her feet, colliding with silken legs, a sensation that made her shudder-VIXEN-Shamelessly promoting my own fic.

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2003 10:23 am 
What a great start.

I feel so sorry for Willow and Tara...:cry

Stef :p

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2003 2:18 pm 
Interesting... Willow feeling she has violated Tara even though it was to help her. Thats a premise I haven't read before. Of course Tara interprets that as "who would want to touch me after all that"... typical of her, always assume the worst about yourself :(

They are at a stand-still at the moment, one of them has to make a move. Unless they plan to continue like this for years on end. I doubt that will hold much longer, can't keep emotions/frustrations like that in inside forever... trust me, controlled release is better :)

I actually saw Dawn as a kid who has lost both mother and sister here. I've never liked Dawn on TV so the fact that I don't dislike her in this fic is rather telling. Didn't surprise me much when Dawn called her dad, for some reason I thought she would call him. Hopefully dad is nicer then on TV otherwise the call would be the start of lots of trouble.

I wonder if Willow and Tara would be better of if Dawn went to live with her dad in some other place ? They seem to have some troubles of their own, it would give them more time to work those out. On the other hand, maybe they like having Dawn around.

Why didn't Tara want Willow to repair the buffybot anyway ? Sounds like a good idea to me.


"You hurt Tara," Willow said too calmly. "The last one who tried that was a god. I made her regret it." -- Unexpected Consequences by Lisa of Nine

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2003 8:55 pm 
Juli, it's so great to see another story from you on Pens. I was giddy when I heard - you made me giddy!

I've missed your writing. I don't think I realised how much until I read this. I'm sure I'll be repeating a lot of what everyone else has said, but I'll just plough on anyway (and I'm not copying deliberately, I swear).

Your writing has a tone and rhythm that works so well, it has a simplicity and honesty that is wonderful to read. Yet you still manage to convey complex thoughts and emotions.

And it's all so tangible. I always feel like your writing is a real treat for the senses, because you place me right there, in the heart of a situation. That's exactly what I got from this first part.

And your well realised. Their pain, their fears, their sense of loss, in its many forms. All so beautifully conveyed.

Thanks for taking the plunge. Worth the wait really doesn't cut it :)

Come away with me in the night
Come away with me
And I will write you a song

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2003 12:54 am 
cool story :)

i liked seeing what happened after Buffy died, and what was going on in Willow, Tara and Dawn's mind,

you can't just go declaring shenanigans on innocent people, that's how wars get started!

I'm not stealing, I'm just taking things without paying for them. In what twisted dictionary is that stealing?

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2003 1:42 am 
This is really pretty. I love your writing. I wish I could be more elequent in my praise but I am afraid I cannot do you justice. So I will just say, "More Please."


"Reality is nothing more than a collective hunch"

 Post subject: Waking
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2003 2:41 am 
I love how you establish the structure of your whole story in the prologue, both in the handful of moments, each a different month and time of day, but also in what you say about dreams, the kind that you don't want to end because people you love are in it. That's what a good story is. That's what you've given us here.

And yet.

And yet this whole story is an ending, a coda to the terrible events of The Gift. Though the show forgot, events have consequences. What did happen to Tara and Willow and Dawn that summer after Buffy died? What choices, small and big, did they make that changed their lives forever?

You though, Juli, you didn't forget. Those terrible, imporant events: Willow reaching into Glory and Tara's minds, Dawn losing the last family that she knew, Willow losing her best friend and hero and wondering how to take her place, Tara restored yet remembering terrible violations of her mind. You didn't forget any of them.

You can't find your future though until you let go of your past. Remember it, by all means, but don't let it be you. You have to come to an ending before you have a new beginning.

Though they don't realize it this June night, they don't have to take on the roles left empty by the ending of The Gift. Buffy's right when she contradicts Tara saying "This is all set down" in the dream. It's not. They all have a future ahead of them that they can choose. We see Dawn making a choice that could change her future at the end of this chapter. We see Willow teteering on the brink of a really bad choice to use the Lethe's bramble she found.

And we see Tara, so afraid that there are no choices, that they are doomed to fall into predetermined roles, in her dream. Perhaps Buffy's question "Why can’t you see what you’re holding?" asks Tara about the past she's holding onto as well as asking her why she can't see Willow, the person she wants to be holding onto and who she finally does choose to touch after her dream.

In the end I trust that before we wake up, you will have them rise like a phoenix from the ashes of Buffy's pyre to have no longer an ending, but a new beginning, a place in the world for each of them that's not forced upon them by the tragedies of the past.


"Omnia mutantur, nihil interit." -- "Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost."

Edited by: darkmagicwillow at: 1/8/03 4:48:32 pm

 Post subject: Re: Waking
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2003 5:56 am 
Hi Juli

I love the way you have written this. And yet I found it almost unbearable to read. The pain, the tension between Wilow and Tara which only dissipates when they are both asleep and not thinking. Dawn seeing Willow and Tara as lovers and her own realisation that she hadn't really seen them that way before. Her decision to ring her father, which could lead to further loss for herself if he rejects her.

Everything balanced, waiting for someone to make that one move which will take them forward, out of the maelstrom of despair and self doubt they have become entrenched in.

Superbly written.


 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2003 6:13 am 
Kittens, you are truly wonderful. I know this isn't the happiest of chapters, and I'm really grateful for people who are reading this anyway. And thank you so much for the wonderful feedback; it's so encouraging, and it gets me thinking about so much more. Thank you all.

Steph, good to see you! Now, are you absolutely sure there was some joy in there? It must have slipped in on its own because I had my JoyAlert on, I swear! ;) I don’t want you to be speechless, but thanks for the great start, really. I love your signature, btw.

Tawilove, oh, thank you. I like what you said about deep sea diving although I can only imagine what that must feel like since I have only gone even as far as snorkeling once, and it wasn’t a huge success. But I think I know what you mean.

Hermitstull, to me what’s amazing is how real Willow and Tara can seem to…all of us, I suppose. That’s what this whole place is about, and that’s what I wish that the BTVS people would see. They are real…not only because they represent something that we don’t get to see on tv very much but because they are characters with faults and flaws and possibilities. I love the possibilities. Thank you for reading this.

I’m having a hard time thinking of stories that fill in that time right after The Gift, too, although I’m sure there are many good ones, like Ruby’s “Hands” on the Completed Fics Archive.

Scout, ooh, thanks! You know, it IS odd going back there, and I’ve had a hard time getting back there myself. So much has happened since then, and I hadn’t realized how difficult it would be to put that stuff aside; it’s a new experience. But I find that now all the things I accepted as season 6 setter-uppers are just…not inevitable. Thank god.

Wytchi Grrl, thanks for the feedback, especially the capital letters. :)

TromDeGrey, you remember, I was at the end of my rope with this, and you told me that if I couldn’t let go of it, then I shouldn’t let go of it. So I didn’t. As for your EMS clipboard, don’t be crazy! Am I allowed to say that I love what you are writing and look forward to everyone else getting to see it, too? I was thinking of the trinity; in fact, I took the word “trinity” out in a last-minute revision where I cut out about 200 words from all the chapter, but I was hoping that the idea would still be there. Yay. But again…I remember beginning to think explicitly in terms of threes after something you wrote in response to “Terra Firma” and also in a conversation with dmw. Anyway—trembling. Wow. I’m just so glad you like it.

Cinderlust, thank you so much! I hope you didn’t get too thirsty. J But if you did, that’s kind of cool.

Deixs: Stef, me too, feeling sorry for Willow and Tara, that is. It’s not for long.

Grimmy, yeah, I am guilty of playing that Tara-assumes-the-worst card here. As for one of them making a move, I agree, but in one way, although neither of them felt able to take the first step, their bodies did it for them. It doesn’t entirely “count,” of course, but it is movement.

I’m glad you mentioned Dawn calling her dad. The thing is, my gf and I were in the car, trying to figure out a way that Willow and Tara could drive out of town with Dawn in tow without, you know, raising red flags or getting social workers on board or whatever. And then it hit us…maybe Dawn wouldn't be with them. It was paradigm-shifting for me.

As for the Buffybot, well…it wasn’t such a good idea in the end, was it? Setting aside the whole horror of looking at a robot identical to your best friend/sister….I don’t think it was necessarily a bad idea, but I also don’t think that without the Buffybot Willow could ever have emerged as “the boss of us” by the end of the summer, and—forget the magic addiction crap—that was one of the problems as I saw it. That Willow began to stop questioning her decisions because everyone else was letting her make them without question. That meddling Buffybot!

Emma , oh goody. I like hearing “simplicity and honesty” from a reporter. I believe I mentioned my general angstiness about this story to you once or twice, too, didn’t I? Thanks for reading it anyway.

Reyjawk, Toni, oh thank you. The fact that you want to read more is wonderful; thank you for saying that!

darkmagicwillow, you are my knight in shining armor. I love the way you read that dream; you see so much, and you say it so well. I didn’t show you the prologue originally because I wanted to see if the first chapter would work without it, but yeah, I wanted the prologue to announce up front the structure and the time frame and, in some ways, the conclusion of the story. Of course, on Pens it’s all happy endings all the time.

You mention that this June night doesn’t see realizations, and that’s true, although small changes happen almost in spite of Willow and Tara’s respective fears. I guess the next experiment is whether this story can be successful in just jumping a month ahead, with all the "skipping it" that is implied by such a jump.

But beginnings and endings, forgetting and remembering. That’s what I hope I dream about tonight. And I think that in some ways, that’s what all Willow/Tara fanfic is about, especially now.

EffieBlue. Hey, Jill; you slipped in while I was responding, but I wanted to say thanks for reading. I get what you're saying about the "unbearable," and that's one of the things that had me struggling with this for so long. I didn't want to write a long story that gradually pulls these three out of that despair; I see it happening more intuitively, small things--a look, a few words, a phone call--creating change that the girls are only partially aware of at the time. Thanks for reading it; your feedback is wonderful.

Thanks for reading, Kittens!

Edited because EffieBlue and I crossed posts. And edited again because I'm an idiot.

"And I'm eating this banana. Lunchtime be damned!" -- Willow in "Doppelgangland

Edited by: Tulipp at: 1/9/03 6:32:35 am

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2003 8:59 am 

A good friend told me about this story and I can see how right he was. You opened a door to something that was hidden or forgotten and shed light on moments and feelings that were lost to us viewers. Your story fits perfectly the character's *personality* and individual experiences and make us go deeper in their path.

But I still like happy endings :)



 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2003 7:48 pm 
An amazing story.

The way you've captured the need/unworthiness of touch from both Willow and Tara is heartbreaking, and having them acknowledge their needs and fears at night, when physically very close, but emotionally seperate gives their plight even more poigniancy.

I think you must be one of the best ever writers for Dawn's character. You've made her into a whole person, who we can sympathise with and to an extent understand. Her realisation of Willow and Tara's relationship and yearning to experience her memories for real are perfect descriptions of character growth and maturity.

Getting such a well written and thought provoking look into the arfterwarth of series 5 gives the events and characters from that season more depth and continuity than was accomplished by MEs months later approach. It also answers so many of my questions, so thank you.

I so love your writing


 Post subject: re
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2003 8:17 pm 
Ah, Tulipp, if you are not my favorite author then I don't know who is. I'm already in love with this. With the way you write Dawn and Willow and Tara. With the way nothing painful gets brushed off with you.

Really can't tell you how much I adore your writing. But what you write... is meaningful to me. If you ever write (or have written) anything not w/t that you might allow me to read... could I please?

Thank you for this story.

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2003 1:11 am 
Tulipp, I'm so happy to see you have written another story! What I so love about your writing is the way you make the scenes/moments so tangible to me, and by extension their emotions so palpable. You "dig" underneath, and bring a depth to the characters that puts to shame what ME has called characterization these past couple of years. I guess what I'm trying to say simply is that your writing moves me.

Other kittens have said they felt like they were "holding their breath", and I must concur. This was especially true with W&T in bed with first the "name game" that was at first "light", but suddenly veered towards the all too painful with Tara saying, ("A bruise without the puffy"). And this imagery conveyed so well that "scars" on the outside can physically heal, but the most painful (the one's that are harder to heal) are the "wounds" that can't be seen on the inside. As well as W&T's "near miss" in reveling in the other's touch, (ie making true contact in order to reaffirm their connection), but both pulling away because of their fears (ie Willow's guilt in comparing herself to Glory by "violating" Tara, while Tara's shame in thinking Willow can't feel the same after having to take care of her like a "baby"). Really you make these moments so poignant, and what struck a chord with me was the fact they might not be able to reach out when they are "awake", but instinctively their bodies (crave) can't be denied that contact/connection when they are asleep.

Lastly, I just enjoy so much your characterization of Dawn from truly seeing W&T as "lovers" with their bodies entwined together in sleep, to thinking ("Buffy was gone, and her mom was gone, and she loved Willow and Tara alot, but it wasn't the same. No matter how hard any of them tried, they could never be people the weren't, and they could never change the past... the real one or the made-up of."), which was a truly profound statement. Really I understand her dilemma knowing those moments (memories) when she was the "key" where on one level real (she can remember the events occurring), but on a totally different level fake (ie the monks made up the memories). Thus, (in the now) her need to make a tangible connection by reaching out to her dad. I also keep going back to the prologue with the line, ("The way the best things always happened when you weren't looking for them."), which by my own experience is so true, as well as conjures up such "hope". And I look forward to all of them finding that "hope" (a coming together) with the remaining parts. Can't wait for the next part!

Edited by: VampNo12  at: 1/9/03 9:46:33 pm

 Post subject: Re: Fic: Bread
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2003 1:58 am 
When I saw the title for this fic, I thought to myself, “Cool, a story about money!” Then I read the epigraph, and I realized that it is about two kinds of bread, food, yes, but also money. Let me explain.

I always tell my students, “When in doubt, misread the question!” Clearly you have one bread in mind, but I think that the idea of bread as currency fits too. What is currency but a means of communication, of exchange, liquid in its origin and its function? What is currency but what is here in great abundance yet sorely missing too?

I remember being frustrated at one point reading some the stories here, many of which seem to be driven, initially, by the slippage between what characters are thinking and what they are (not) saying, until I realized that that is exactly how I behaved when the world was younger! When the wrong word, even whispered, risks blowing down your house, better to be quietly thankful for the roof over your head, quietly hopeful that the weather will improve, and quietly anxious that it won’t. Oh, to be that patient again, to have that time ("Time will help. Time heals all wounds. Give it time. Take your time. Time is a bandage, a giant tissue.") again!

So much is in circulation here, through so many conduits. Dawn (“She had hoped that Dawn would be a conduit, a lightning rod, a key…”), but also Glory, Willow, Tara, minds, bodies, memories, gazes. The only thing not circulating here, at least not yet, is words. A penny for their thoughts?

Who says that April is the cruelest month?

A few random observations:
They were together inside that sharpness, each feeling the other as herself: Three gods. Three witches. Three girls.
God help me, when I read this, I thought, “And Ben!” Sister Bertrille has too many gay male friends!

But only a few days ago, when Willow had mentioned casually at dinner that she was thinking of fixing the Buffybot and taking her out on patrol, Tara’s eyes had flashed dangerously, and suddenly Willow was a petulant child and Tara was an angry mom.
Dawn has real future ahead of her interpreting dreams, at least Tara’s.

I love what you do with these characters, especially Dawn. This is a terrific start.


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