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

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 6:55 pm 
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32. Kisses and Gay Love
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Vale – But the post counts don’t hurt do they? Tee hee.

highlandlass25 – Yes, that makes very good and clear sense. I’m just not sure that the fact that Tara is drugged as making it more of a gift. I guess that is expresses that Dani is in control rather than Tara. The fact that Tara is drugged takes away her control all together. Now did I get it?

Justin – Thanks so much and welcome to the story. I don’t think you have fedback it before so I really appreciate it. I’m not sure that Tara does really comprehend the way that their relationship will change with the marks. I believe that for her it really is more about wanting to delay as long as possible the effect on Dani (pain of either kind).

Thanks for the vote of confidence about the pacing and disclaimer. I guess what I decided on the disclaimer was that I would rather put it there and have 30 people say it was unnecessary than leave it off and have anyone feel it was needed or dangerous. You know?

Quote:
Now that Tara's got her marks, I wonder how long it'll be before Willow gets hers.


From this update:
Quote:
My marks artistry was scheduled for the day of the summer equinox. Dani’s would be two weeks later and the celebration two weeks later still.
In our time, Dani’s marks will be 4 updates from now (I believe).

Thanks so much.

Story Title – Waiting for Dani
Chapter – 5B – After
Author – JustSkipIt
Pairing – T/W
Feedback – Yes, please
Spoilers – None
Rating – PG
Disclaimer – Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy own Willow and Tara and the Buffyverse. I'm not saying this universe is totally original but I didn't steal it from any author or creator that I know of. No copyright infringement is meant by this fic and I will not make any money from it.
Note – Thanks to everyone for your patience with my finger and my travel. I didn’t have access to the Waiting graphic from where I am so no great graphic on today’s update.


When I woke, Dani was still in my arms which surprised me solely for the unusual nature of it. Waking before her, an almost unheard of event and one which shocked me greatly given the events of the last 24 hours, I had a few minutes to watch her. She was as beautiful as I had always known but this moment was one of the few when I got to watch her at rest. She was always so busy, but right now, she was just my girl in my arms. I felt a smile lifting the corners of my mouth in spite of the pain starting to throb in my hand. What had happened last night was such a fog. Such a … I didn’t even know the word for it. It was most simply the most wonderful feeling that I had ever experienced.

There was a sharp rap on the door and Dani immediately sat up. She smiled and then turned to me, “Good morning, my Lady.”

“Good morning, my Dani.” I looked at her but blushed deeply and felt that I must look away.

“I’ll answer the door, my Lady. I hope it is the healer.” She pulled on her robe and left the bed chamber. I heard her open the door and quiet voices. Then she entered the room formally announcing T’dre and the healer. Both bowed to me and I felt some weirdness as I realized that I now out ranked T’dre. She was my master in artistry but I now had five marks to her four and was Lady of my estate.

“Good morning, Lady Maclay,” the healer started, “how is your hand?” I admitted to it hurting and he immediately administered a draught of the herbs. With all three of them watching me closely I was not able to repeat my trick with the glass vial and I felt guilt that I could not comfort my girl as well as I would like when it was to be her time.

T’dre approached the bed and held my other hand as we recited a prayer for the work and the healing. “Can you feel the mark’s magic, Lady Maclay?” Tadre knew as well I that I could feel the magic emanating from my hand. If I could not, she wouldn’t have spent more than an hour in that first meeting with me. But I think she wanted the chance to take my concentration off the pain in my hand and remind me of my role. I was not only the Lady of the estate but an artist. I described the five successful aspects to the magic and evaluated the relative strength and purity of each for her. She accepted my report and nodded throughout, making no corrections. Then she bid Dani to attend to the visitors which my girl did with great haste and formality, inviting my father, Donnie, and Melanie into the room. Ritual required that only members of the estate already possessing their marks could attend an unveiling. In some rigidly formal unveilings only a member of the estate possessing equal marks can attend but in our household, we expanded this requirement. It was one tradition which fell to the Lord or Lady of the estate and the artist to agree upon.

Even though I knew it was coming, I felt sadness that Dani and the healer had to leave the room as soon as the attendees were settled. Once the door was shut, T’dre began her prayer and blessed me once again. My family members all fell to one knee to await the presentation of my mark and T’dre began to slowly unwrap the gauze. Neither myself nor T’dre could see the mark as we both had our eyes shut—a tradition which guaranteed that the first to see a mark were the attendees. She finished unwrapping my mark and I extended my hand toward my family. After waiting three heartbeats, I opened my eyes to be greeted with a clear view of all three of their marks and tears in Melanie’s eyes.

“Lady Maclay,” my father said with a bow followed by Donnie and Melanie. I responded to each with their formal names and titles. My father then turned to T’dre and congratulated her on her excellent artistry.

After that came a very informal few minutes spent receiving hugs and kisses from my family and Tadre as well as Faith, Anne, and Dani who were let in a few minutes later. Throughout the day, timed according to rank and proximity, I received visitor after visitor who formally addressed me and congratulated me on the mark. Each visitor brought a gift whether it was a cup of chocolate from one of the kitchen servants who knew how I loved the treat, a set of new handkerchiefs from D’Shel, or a new saddle from Donnie.

Tradition dictated that most gifts for the marks of a noble man or woman were crafts or found treasures rather than riches. Donnie had bought the saddle but had carefully worked the Maclay crest into it as well as impressions of Faith, Anne, and his hands. The intent of this tradition was twofold: it allowed everyone in the household from the lowliest servant to the Lord of the estate to present a gift and it emphasized the wealth of the noble man or woman. In effect, I was heir to the estate. My father was still my Lord but when he passed, may that be a very long time, I would be Lady and owner of our vast holdings. I would need and want for nothing for as long as I lived.

Of course, a theory such as that assumes that we only want for material belongings.

And so I wait.

But I must return to my tale.

The day seemed rushed and memorable yet forgettable as it turned into an endless parade of visitors interspersed by drug induced naps. With all the chaos I was again able to secure herbs for Dani in my valuable vial. I attended dinner in the hall with the rest of the household although Dani had to cut my meat for me. I believe that Tadre’s requirement that I draw marks with both hands helped me to have the necessary agility to eat. By nightfall I felt considerably better although still in a bit of a haze. The only sadness of my day was that I had never had a moment to speak with Dani privately.

I wanted… In truth I did not know what I wanted. I wanted to speak to her, to ask her about the night before. Had I dreamed it? With the exception of our early morning blushes, she had been exactly as I would have expected all day: devoted to me and quite formal. She had not touched me more or less than usual nor shared any secret glances with me. Perhaps I had dreamed it? Or perhaps it did not mean… What did I think that it meant? That she loved me? I knew she loved me or at least believed she did and Creator knows how I loved her. Was this intimacy an extension of that? Or was it just her way of making me feel better? Could that be the case? Had it meant nothing to her? An act of service? There was no one I could speak to about this confusion and a part of me wondered if this could possibly be standard, normal for such an event.

It was well past dark when I finally found myself alone in my rooms with Dani. She got me ready for bed, changing me into my gown carefully to avoid touching my hand and washing and brushing my hair before disposing of the dirty water. Then she changed into her own sleeping clothes and climbed into bed with me. I watched her expectantly, the look of wonderment and fascination clear on her face as she gently lifted my wrist and set my hand in her lap. She refrained from touching the design but I could feel her eyes stroking each line. “Your marks fit you, My Lady,” she finally whispered.

I lifted my other hand to stroke her jaw line. “They will fit you my beautiful one.” She blushed a deep shade of red and looked toward the curtains for a long time. “Are you ok?” I finally asked.

She didn’t look back toward me but she slowly nodded. “I don’t like you to hurt, my Lady.”

I wrapped my arm around her, pulling her in toward me. “It’s ok, my girl. It’s ok.” I whispered it over and over as I kissed the top of her head until she fell asleep in my arms. I followed soon after and only realized as I was drifting off that I knew nothing more about what the night had meant than I did before.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 7:51 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Dibs yay me I can,t express how much wonder this story hold,s for me it is like a fairy tale and you hold us all in the palm of your hand waiting for what is to come and for them both to understand there love for each other. Hope your week was wonderful and glad to have you back . Soon Dani,s marks and our girls always together


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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 8:48 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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My my my.

I do *so* look forward to your updates -- and with a poor sad finger. You spoil me... and i hope this means that your finger is on the mend?

Onto the feedback.

Tara remembers! There is internal acknowledgement that something important occured.

I worry about what this unspoken thing between them will mean. There is so much confusion and so much that needs to be said out loud... i hope that it brings them closer together before Dani gets her marks rather than pushes them apart.

The rituals of this place you have created are so ornate and lovely, but the heirarchy-ness of it all is *so* ingrained into every important ritual in their lives... I feel sad that Dani was so seperate from the unveiling of Tara's marks; like she should have been the very first to see it... like there is potential for hurt there.

But then there is the lovely image of Tara waking up before Dani and getting to watch her rest... and it was so beautiful! How many heart beats until they recognize their love for what it is?

Ahh, the angst!

db

ETA: Jeez. Somehow, I missed the part of your fb where you told me that you were in Buffalo, and for a funeral. How did I miss that?! I am blaming hysterical blindess. Point: I am sorry for your loss, and that your travels to my neck of the woods was for such a sad event. (I am scratching my head about the trees though).

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Last edited by db on Sun Nov 26, 2006 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 2:20 am 
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Dear Debra, I'm really sorry to hear about your injury and the death of your grandfather. Hope the funeral wasn't to sad. It's amazing how you manage to even think of us in times like that. Thanks.

That was not only very sensible but also very intersting. Because it answered some questions but it posed some more.

Wonderful how you managed to give us a small reminder on the inside of Tara's situation nowadays. She ist waiting not for something material but for her Dani. And this is worse because she never expected to wait for anything.

Tara now is the Lady of the estate, the heir. I wonder what will happen to Donnie if she never gets married. Is she supposed to marry or could she have children without being married? Oterhwise she will die as an "old maid" (being happy everly after with Dani and sharing a lot of fun stuff :blush ) and Donnie becomes Lord after her death? Will his children be the heirs after Tara? We will see.

In this chapter I was really uncomfortable with this formal lifestyle for the first time. It kept the girls from talking. But maybe Tara wouldn't have dared to ask Dani about the night's events anyway. She even doesn't know she had sex for the first time. Crap, is there no such thing like sex ed in this society? Maybe love and devotion is just not what these people share with each other. Maybe it's inapropriate to talk about it.

Didn't Dani even have time to put on some clothes others than a robe? She had to leave the room. Did she have time to change? Pretty sad that she couldn't be the first one to see the marks. But the end compensated this fact. Beautiful how you wrote it. In just a few words you managed to express so much what was going on between them.

Happily and patiently I'm waiting for the next update.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2006 5:11 am 
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5. Willowhand
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Oh the angsty-ness of it all. I really enjoyed this update, but wanted to offer my sympathies as well for your grandfather's passing. Losing family is never easy I know, but y'all will be in my thoughts.


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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 5:30 am 
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Please accept my condolences for your loss.

Considering your circumstances, it's great to see another chapter so soon and with the usual fascinating attention to detail. I particularly liked the descriptions of the Marks viewing and the stipulations of the gift giving. It wasn't all just "come see my fabby tattoo", you really got a feel for the culture and the important status it represented. And that was a nice touch showing Dani wasn't allowed to participate in the unveiling. It really brought home the fact, despite her close relationship with Tara, just how far away she truly is to her in terms other than of the heart.

I wonder if Dani will be given anything like Tara after recieving her Marks? Considering she isn't even allowed pain killers, I kinda doubt it.

Quote:
I followed soon after and only realized as I was drifting off that I knew nothing more about what the night had meant than I did before.


Good grief. It looks like Tara is as stumped as we are about the motivations of Dani's erm...enthusiastic bedside manner. Still, it seems they're quite happy to go with the flow and Dani's remark about not liking Tara to hurt pretty much speaks for itself...

Quote:
Ahh, Good suggestion but Xander will be making an appearance quite a few updates down the road and not as a suitor. Sorry.


Dang. But now I'm curious what he'll be in your fic. A link to Dani maybe?

Quote:
I wish I could show them to you. They are in my head but I have no gift for transfering them anywhere else.


Ah well, no problem. Guess we'll just leave it up to our fevered imaginations. :crazy :P

Quote:
Can I put that on the book jacket? Tee hee?


:lmao Sure! Although personally I think I need to lay off the Mills & Boon. 'Unfettered passions' heh.


As always, can't wait to read more.:read

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:46 am 
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Debra wrote:
Vale – But the post counts don’t hurt do they? Tee hee.


tee hee, no

wonderful update....i liked it very much. what i liked most was probably Tara's confusion....like us, she doesn't know what it means. i can't wait for them to talk.....i can't wait to know what Dani thought, why did she do that.

it was sweet the image of them sleeping....holding each other, in the end.

can't wait for the next update. i'm sorry for the short feedback....i'm stressed about school and very tired, thus not feeling much like babbling

how's your finger? and i'm sorry about your loss (i realize i didn't say that before). i hope you're.....well, not ok, but that you'll be.

your adoring fan

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Last edited by Thianne on Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 3:57 am 
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I was watching tv all weekend and there was a travel and a cookery program where the themes were so similiar. It involved the presenter traveling to a remote part of the country they were highlighting (South Africa and Vietnam respectively) and being welcomed to a tribe living in a primitive village. They would then go about showing us viewers something special -- dancing the traditional dance or sampling the local meals depending on program. Before they were able to do that, there was inevitably one segment where they visited the tribal head and requested for permission to enter their village.

My point? The presentation of the marks felt just like that. All formal and ceremonial with prayers and gift giving. Traditions are great, but I can't help wondering if we go through the motions for the sake of doing them. What I found interesting is Tara's thoughts when she became Lady Maclay:
Quote:
I would need and want for nothing for as long as I lived.

Of course, a theory such as that assumes that we only want for material belongings.

This is a tale told from hindsight, so Tara the Narrator is telling us that there was something (someone?) she had wanted but was not material. Perhaps the younger Tara was beginning to have an inkling?

I don't know whether I expected a repeat of last night's intimacy. I'm sure both of them recognized that something special happened, but it's still not clear whether Willow's actions were pre-meditated, out of her own love, or out of her love for Tara as her Mistress. Tara's feelings are opening up. From waking up in the morning, and watching Willow,
Quote:
She was always so busy, but right now, she was just my girl in my arms.

to holding and comforting Willow as they slept at night. So much intensity not ready to be spoken between them; but also the gaping differences in their stations that is still a big stumbling block to them giving in fully to their feelings.

Hopefully by the time you read this you're home already. Welcome home.
[br]

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:16 pm 
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G'day Debra!

With your permission (which I will assume I have, because ... well, I can't really ask in real time :p) I'll start with a joke. Tara was surprised that she woke before Dani? Well, what do you expect of the poor wee lass! She tuckered out from serving as a human replacement for pain relief!

Okay ... yeah, as jokes go, that was crap. :blush

Okay, so other people have also mentioned this but does Tara really know what happened? She obviously remembers, but is she aware that what she and Dani had was sex? In such a agrarian environment she no doubt knows about 'the birds and the bees', but has she connected the two yet?

And I'm a bit concerned about how matter of factly Dani is treating the situation. Did she do it out of love, or out of duty? I'm sure all the kittens want to believe that it's out of love, but I suppose it could be out of duty. Given the situation Dani's in, can she afford to fall in love with Tara, given what appears to be a permanent imbalance of power in their relationship? That kind of thing can be a death knell in even the strongest relationship.

Don't mistake me, I'm sure that Dani does love Tara, but can she admit it, even to herself?

The formal nature of the unveiling was interesting to read; it conjured images of medieval Japan for me. And I agree with Watty that this line:
Quote:
Of course, a theory such as that assumes that we only want for material belongings.

was fantastically telling.

Oh, and one point that I meant to mention earlier, but forgot, was this: at the start of the story, Tara mentions having a new girl. So where's Dani, hmm? Very interesting.

And please allow me to extend my deepest sympathies for both your loss, and your finger woes.

Cheers,
Paul.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:12 am 
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I really like the gradual evolution of Tara's awareness that you've got from chapter to chapter. As she tells her story there's a real sense of her going from child to adult, from making assumptions to discovering facts. And I like how you subtly reinforce it, from time to time, by having her drop out of 'story mode' into the present - for instance, when she was relating how, as Lady of the estate, she'd want for nothing, which harks back to her 'blissful ignorance' view of life that she had early on. But then she drops out of telling the story for a moment, and elegantly expresses the exact truth, that some things can't be possessed.

I'm given hope, too, by how she prioritises when she realises there's a choice to be made. She spends a lot of the time in her little privigeled fog, unaware of what's going on with other people - an attitude she's been schooled in, and we're seeing is difficult for her to break, or even realises that she wants to break - but when there's a clear choice before her, and she understands it's there, she chooses Dani. The drugs she took to dull the pain of her marking were an excellent example - she'd had the reasons behind servants not getting them explained to her, and (sadly) it's entirely consistent with the way of life she's been raised to - yet she defies tradition without even thinking about it, to keep Willow from hurting.

(I have a theory about what, exactly, the nature of her 'waiting' is, in the present, but I won't spoil it, just in case I'm right. Plus, this way I get to not look like a doofus if I'm completely wrong, too.)

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:50 am 
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:shock oo0o0o0o0oo... a very well written and frustrating :impatient update :laugh frustrating in an omgiwannaknowwhatitmeant! WHAT DID IT MEEEEAN?! AAAAAAAAH! kind of way :D makes me dance around with antsyness like a somewhat sunburnt elephant... :D *points to screen left*

i will conquer my insatiable need for updates however.. in the interests of the much more important life matters you're currently attending to :D and resign myself to simply.. waiting for dani.... :smug puuuun... it was a bad one but still :smug ima pun whore!

ANYWAY! enough of this! in answer to ur lady's question its um.. well.. its a lime coloured cross between a giraffe... a dinosaur.. and a hard-core gym junkie obsessed with tredmills :D or maybe not.. ive learned not to question genius such as it :laugh

i eagerly wait... (theres that word again :aww) for another (hopefully somewhat longer.. heh.. he..h.. :D) installment!

-bell

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 8:16 pm 
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Hi JSI,

I saw this story written by you, but I didn't get around to reading it until tonight.

I must say you certainly haven't lost your touch. This is a different type of story than you usually write but no less enjoyable. You always treat the ladies with respect despite some of the controversial elements.

The love scene is beautiful, but I hope they will be able to talk about what it means(In the next chapter maybe). Also, I hope Tara will be able to return those feelings without crossing any lines.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 8:49 am 
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Debra, many sorries for the lateness of the feedback, but better late than never. I find it telling that Tara is the one that is showing, however subtly, signs of inward confusion about what happened between them. Maybe that's because we're in Tara's head and not Dani's head, but I also tend to think that the servants in this society are probably less sheltered than Tara has been. Anyway, Dani has had to compartmentalize a lot of her life so far and so she probably has processed what happened between her and Tara and so is able to appear outwardly normal. Although come to think of it, everyone else who is observing Tara probably thinks she's normal anyway.

I also liked how Tara came out of her story a bit and said that she would never have wanted for material things but that assumes that people only want for materials things, etc. and so she waits, and then went back to her story.

I also liked how this update started with them waking up and ended with them going to bed that night. Very nice bookending.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:08 am 
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Hi everyone. Sorry for the delay in responding. Typing is very difficult and frustrating these days.

Dianneswillowtree – Congrats on your dibs. A fairy tale? Cool.
Quote:
Soon Dani,s marks and our girls always together
Hmmm. A fascinatingly optimistic view…

Thanks.

db – Hello and Thanks.
Quote:
and i hope this means that your finger is on the mend?
I wish. I’m finally going to see the doctor this week. I suspect she will call me an idiot for not seeing her earlier and say that I’ve damaged it badly before completely immobilizing it and making it even harder to type… We’ll see.

Oh yes, Tara definitely remembers. I just think that she’s not sure what to make of it. I think your concern about the amount that is unsaid between them is well placed. We’ll see how things go between now and Dani’s marks. I definitely get what you’re saying about the ritual of this world and how it keeps Tara & Dani so separate. I don’t think there will be hurt over the unveiling of the marks simply because Dani is so incredibly well-trained to be subservient. I don’t think it would occur to her to be hurt about it.

Thanks for your feedback and the thoughts about my grandfather.
Quote:
(I am scratching my head about the trees though).
That big snowstorm they had caused most of the trees to get too much snow piled on the branches (the leaves were still on them this early in the year) and the trees or at least the branches came down. It’s devastating and some estimates are talking about the city losing 90% of the trees. Everywhere we went there were trees and branches just lining the road. Very sad.

sacinema – Thanks so much. I feel sad about my grandfather but also glad that he was released from his pain. I’m also amazed about his life. He lived almost 94 years, had 2 children, 8 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren! My cousin gave the eulogy and at the end did the begats (as in Joseph begat Carl and Susi…). It was awesome.

Quote:
… it answered some questions but it posed some more.
Well put. I’m glad that you liked the very blatant reminder of Tara’s current situation. You may have noticed that the prior update lacked that because I wanted to concentrate on Tara’s marks themselves. But now, I wanted to remind you of her waiting.

Quote:
Tara now is the Lady of the estate, the heir. I wonder what will happen to Donnie if she never gets married. Is she supposed to marry or could she have children without being married? Oterhwise she will die as an "old maid" (being happy everly after with Dani and sharing a lot of fun stuff blush ) and Donnie becomes Lord after her death? Will his children be the heirs after Tara? We will see.
In an earlier response I attempted to lay out the Lords and Ladys rights of inheritance and title. Tara is expected to marry and then have children for sure but her father is quite liberal so we ill see how that goes…

Yes, the formality really got in the way this time and I don’t think that Tara has a clear understanding of what she and Dani shared beyond how it felt and how confused she feels about it.

Thank you so much.

highlandlass25 – Thanks so much about the update and my grandfather. I appreciate the thoughts from all the kind kittens.

Uzu – Thanks again.
Quote:
I particularly liked the descriptions of the Marks viewing and the stipulations of the gift giving.
I’m glad that came through well. The gift giving rules were modified slightly from those in Running on Empty, and excellent movie which I would recommend to anyone. It contains a stunning performance by (the late) River Phoenix and a real dissertation on the consequences of our actions as well as the meaning of family and love.

Quote:
It really brought home the fact, despite her close relationship with Tara, just how far away she truly is to her in terms other than of the heart.
Definitely. She is now a very highly ranked servant but still a servant, nonetheless.

Quote:
I wonder if Dani will be given anything like Tara after recieving her Marks? Considering she isn't even allowed pain killers, I kinda doubt it.
An excellent question and I promise that there is ritual for virtually everything in their world.

I’m glad that you like Dani’s response. She isn’t really free to say anything beyond that. Xander will be along in due time. I promise.

Thanks.

Thianne – Hello. I’m glad you liked Tara’s confusion. She definitely is stumped about what it all means. She’s a little lost.
Quote:
it was sweet the image of them sleeping....holding each other, in the end.
Thanks.

I hope school is going well and that your stress level is lower. Thanks.

watty – Hello! I love your comparision of the showing of the marks and entering the village. I think in a while it’s just that. It’s all formality and ritual.
Quote:
Traditions are great, but I can't help wondering if we go through the motions for the sake of doing them.
I think there are many traditions that follow this pattern. Where it’s like, what is this based on? Why do you not lift your spoon until the hostess has done so or why do you never give a wallet without money in it? And hundreds of others.

Quote:
This is a tale told from hindsight, so Tara the Narrator is telling us that there was something (someone?) she had wanted but was not material. Perhaps the younger Tara was beginning to have an inkling?
I think that her inkling is still a few updates away at this point in the story. She understands that she loves Dani but I don’t think that she understands what that means or how it is very complicated for the two of them. You know?

Quote:
… but also the gaping differences in their stations that is still a big stumbling block to them giving in fully to their feelings.
Huge. Monumental…

Thanks so much.

PS: I am so glad that you’re watching Survivor but bummed that you’re weeks behind. I’ll sum up: it is fantastic! Possibly the best season ever. Particularly this week’s (heck, the last three weeks) episodes. Rachel and I have been literally cheering throughout every episode.

Darth Pacula – Hello there. Or is it G’day?
Quote:
Okay, so other people have also mentioned this but does Tara really know what happened? She obviously remembers, but is she aware that what she and Dani had was sex? In such a agrarian environment she no doubt knows about 'the birds and the bees', but has she connected the two yet?
I’m not sure about that. I think that she thinks so but also doubts herself a lot.

I agree that Dani is treating the situation pretty matter of factly. But I don’t really think that she has much choice here. Try to imagine it from her perspective: she’s in love (as is obvious) with her Mistress and has no chance (that she can see) of a mature relationship with her. What would you do in her position?

I’m glad that readers liked the telling line. I worried slightly that it was a bit too heavy handed.

Thanks.

Artemis – I feel like quoting your entire first paragraph and then falling at your feet to say thank you, thank you. That’s precisely what I’m trying to communicate. I want the reader to really understand Tara’s evolution or at least the beginning and end points even if I haven’t yet let you in on the “what else?” part of the story. So thank you.

Yes, she is starting to prioritize Dani and is trying to keep Dani from pain. I am glad that most readers saw that.

Quote:
(I have a theory about what, exactly, the nature of her 'waiting' is, in the present, but I won't spoil it, just in case I'm right. Plus, this way I get to not look like a doofus if I'm completely wrong, too.)
Oh come on. Who doesn’t want the chance to look like a doofus? No guts no glory.

Belli Bear – Well written and frustrating? I’ll take it. Thanks for your offer of patience. I’ll need it it seems. Ha ha about your avatar.

Thanks.

The Rose24 – Hey there. Welcome to the story. Been busy huh? I can understand that. Thank you for the compliment. Yes, this is very different from my normal style but it came to me and I follow the muse as it goes. Yes, it would be very nice if they could talk openly about what’s going on between them. Thanks.

SallyMcFine – Hey there! How’s it going? Your RKT holiday story is fantastic and very touching.

But now about me and my story…

Don’t worry about the lateness. I know you’ve been busy. I think you have a very good observation about Tara’s confusion as opposed to Dani’s. I think the reason is a combination of what you suggest (we’re in Tara’s head and not Dani’s) and Dani’s more worldliness. Certainly Dani is less sheltered than Tara.

You’re one of many who commented on the line about only wanting for material things and I’m glad that it didn’t come off too heavy handed. Nice observation about the bookendings—very intentional and thank you.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:14 pm 
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Debra
Ooooops! I read the last update almost as soon as it was posted and wanted to let it gel before I left feedback, then I got caught up in RL and came back this morning to see I'd totally forgotten to fb at all. So sorry.

Even now I have to keep it short - gotta get up, get ready for work. So... main points.... you portrayed the formality of the viewing of Tara's marks well: wearing, tiresome, a little confusing, but kinda thrilling as well. You also portrayed well the effect on Tara of Dani's enforced absence during this day - oh sure, she was in and out, ushering guests, but no time just to be together and dwell on the momentous change that had taken place, not to mention Dani's actions the night before.

The confusion Tara feels, even to the extent of wondering if such intimacy might be 'normal' for such occasions, is rather heart wrenching, as is the reserve Willow maintains even when they are once again alone. All she feels she can say is that she doesn't like to see Tara hurting.

This is a harsh world you've created, despite the happiness Tara and her siblings (and Dani?) have experienced until now. Dwt commented that your story is like a fairy tale, and she's right. Following the best of the tradition, your story is colourful, fanciful, romantic and disguises a dark reality.
Anne

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:08 pm 
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Aha.. here we are again.. grmbl... I figure my almost-ready-to-post-reply wouldn't have survived a nasty Blue Screen of ickyness :smash

Well the good part about that is that other posters have pretty much made the points I wanted to make as well:) Frustrating is indeed a good word for the last update (so as frustrating as a certain miss McFine stories though;-)

One newish thought that came to mind is that the formality seems a bit like a protection against the real world and feelings/emotions? It's very easy to hide behind formal stuff after all. No idea if that will happen here, just a random thought that floated around and got into my head :)

I wish your finger to heal alright without further intervention need Debra, good luck with the doc :)

grimmy

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:05 am 
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Hey Debra, my stress level is more or less down, even if i'm not entirely happy since it seems that i'm getting tons of 7 this year, which isn't nearly enough for my tastes. but, uhm, whatever :P

How's your finger? what did the doc say? *hugs*

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 9:39 am 
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Hey everyone,
Thanks for the well wishes about my finger. I went to my doctor yesterday. The X-rays didn’t show a fracture but my doctor was pretty disturbed that I can’t bend it and that her forcing it to bend (did I mention ouch!) was almost impossible (not to mention painful). She thinks it’s one of two things: I ruptured the tendon or the tendon has shortened from being in the splint and immobile. She referred me to an orthopedist and I’m waiting to get an appointment. Meanwhile I took off the splint today to see how it was and I can bend it a little so I’m going to try to leave it without the splint for a few days and work on bending it. I’m typing with 10 fingers right now which is way easier but I’m amazed at how weak it is. We’ll see…


spells42 – Don’t worry about the delay. It’s kind of nice to get feedback kind of spread over time. You know? I like the way you describe the formality of the viewing. Much pomp and circumstance but kind of lost on Tara who only cares about the pain and Dani (not in that order).
Quote:
no time just to be together and dwell on the momentous change that had taken place, not to mention Dani's actions the night before.
Great point. It’s not just the questions of what Dani has done. Everything in Tara’s world (and therefore Dani’s) has changed. She is now an adult and a Lady and nothing will ever be the same. Did you ever read the book Saint Maybe? It’s by Anne Tyler who isn’t generally a favorite of mine because her writing kind of bums me out but there’s an incredible scene in it. The protagonist who is a teenage boy has a fight with his older brother. The older brother storms out and the teenager goes in the bathroom and is washing his face or shaving or whatever. Then he hears his brother’s car start and rev up and drive full force into the wall at the end of the street. And the teenager stands there staring at the mirror for a long time because he knows that as soon as he stops looking at the mirror, nothing in his life will ever be the same again. It’s an incredibly powerful scene and definitely shapes the rest of the book.

Quote:
The confusion Tara feels, even to the extent of wondering if such intimacy might be 'normal' for such occasions, is rather heart wrenching, as is the reserve Willow maintains even when they are once again alone. All she feels she can say is that she doesn't like to see Tara hurting.
Good. I hope so. Thank you.

Quote:
Following the best of the tradition, your story is colourful, fanciful, romantic and disguises a dark reality.
Yes and thank you.

grimlock72 – Sorry for the computer problems. That’s one of the reasons I generally type my comments and feedback in word and then copy and paste. When I don’t I usually regret it.

Lol about the other’s beating you to the punch on the common comments.
Quote:
One newish thought that came to mind is that the formality seems a bit like a protection against the real world and feelings/emotions? It's very easy to hide behind formal stuff after all.
A very good observation which probably applies to many things, not just this story but all our formality and politeness. But the truth is that there can be ugliness and evil lying under the pretext of speech and custom. Like in Jane Austen novels. People say some truly horrible things all under the pretext of saying appropriate things. You know? We’ll see what happens.

Thanks so much.

Thianne – Glad to hear the stress level is lowering. I’m hoping mine will come down too after this month is over. It’s been a very hard one with the finger, a funeral, three trips, Thanksgiving, and my mother’s birthday Tuesday.
Quote:
i'm getting tons of 7 this year, which isn't nearly enough for my tastes. but, uhm, whatever
Is that a grade? What’s the scale? We don’t have that. We have A, B, C, D, E/F. A is best of course.

Anyway, see above for the doctor’s verdict.

Bye.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2006 3:39 pm 
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In lieu of an update, I wanted to leave feedback on feedback. Drat ... it appears Vale is infectious. :p

Grimmy raised the point of the formality as a form of protection against the slings and arrows of the larger world. Now I certainly agree with that; after all, who hasn't refrained from saying something on the grounds that it would be impolite? If we're honest, it's often not politeness that governs that decision, but the desire to avoid conflict.

That being said, I think a lot of society's traditions and formalities arose from simply that: a way to avoid conflict. Back in the day, when a lot of these societial mores developed, if you said something the other person didn't like, there was a distinct possibility of being gutted like a fish with by a three foot length of sharpened metal.

Take the handshake for example; as I understand it it developed as a form of greeting that indicated that your hand didn't have a weapon in it.

Now that I've prattled on for a bit, I'll just ... ah ... go hide now, and return you to your scheduled Kitten viewing. :p

PS. Good luck with the finger, Debra.

Cheers,
Paul.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 7:01 pm 
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Hi Debra.

As was mentioned before Tara's awareness of her situation is really starting to shine through. She's starting to come out of her selfishness and starting to appreciate Dani more. But, she's still very sheltered, which is evident with her not knowing what to make of the night before. Some how I don't think that subject is going to come up for a while.

In regards to Tara saving some of the herbs for Dani... I don't think Tara's even considered that Dani might right out refuse them. Tara has good intentions, but at the same time, she hasn't thought that it might insult Dani by her thinking Tara thinks she's weak. (Did that make sense?) Servants aren't suppose take numbing agents to show their devotion to their masters. Will Dani think, again, that Tara doubts her? Will she be hurt by the offering?

I think Dani knows what Tara's doing with the herbs, so does Dani see this as love on behalf of Tara beyond the master/servant aspect and therefore, she goes ahead with making love to Tara? Since she is a servant I'm sure she somehow informed herself of other marking rituals and found that this (masters giving servants herbs) was uncommon and took that as an act of love. Anyways, I'm really curious to see what spurred Dani to go ahead with her decision. But I've accepted the fact that you may never tell us, which I hope you do.

Again, your details and descriptions were wonderful... I felt like I was a fly on the wall watching the unveiling of the markings unfold.

JustSkipIt wrote:
Of course, a theory such as that assumes that we only want for material belongings.


Ahh, spoken like a true child of privelage. I think this speaks volumes as to where she is at the moment.

Jackie

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Last edited by HalfCamel on Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 8:55 pm 
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tee hee paul :P doesn't it feel good? i love feedbacking the replies to feedback :D

and btw, i think you're right :think well, mostly.

and Debra, yes, 7 is a grade, on a 10 scale. but still, i think that would make it sort of a C, not really a D. i'm SO not satisfied about that. what i mean is.....they don't give 10 most of the time. it's like it's not in the scale. even if you do a perfect test more often than not you get a 9. but....an 8 it's not so uncommon. so, getting 7s.....well, it's not good.

and, be careful with that finger. :kiss1

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 5:59 pm 
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Darth Pacula – Lol about Vale being infectious. I agree. I think that much of the time politeness serves to give us a reason to do something and not have to question it. Tradition is much the same way. I’ve heard the same thing about the handshake as well as the practice of eating with one hand on the table—it shows that you aren’t holding a weapon in your hand under the table.

Thanks for the good luck.

HalfCamel – Hello there. I agree that Tara is still quite sheltered. She is having exposure to many more people through her training but she’s still quite sheltered from the outside world. She has exposure to nobility and their servants but not many people from outside that world. In a way, her life should be very simple in terms of understanding how to interact with everyone. But Dani puts a wrench into that concept.

Quote:
In regards to Tara saving some of the herbs for Dani... I don't think Tara's even considered that Dani might right out refuse them. Tara has good intentions, but at the same time, she hasn't thought that it might insult Dani by her thinking Tara thinks she's weak.
That makes perfect sense and is a great point, particularly given the way that Dani took Tara delaying her marks. I mean just delaying them made Dani think that Tara didn’t trust her and have enough faith in her devotion. I think you ask very good questions here.

Your questions regarding Dani’s motivation for her actions are very good ones. I would say that from what Dani has heard it is completely unheard of for masters to secret herbs for their servants. But whether that is seen by her as a sign of Tara’s love for her and therefore shows hers in return is a big question mark. And no, I’m not going to tell you (at least right now).

Thanks for your words on the descriptions.

Quote:
JustSkipIt wrote:
Of course, a theory such as that assumes that we only want for material belongings.


Ahh, spoken like a true child of privelage. I think this speaks volumes as to where she is at the moment.
Hmmm. Yes, at this moment in time but not necessarily that moment.

Thanks.

Thianne – Well Cs sound fine. What are you studying? I feel like I know but can’t access that information in my brain right now…

Thanks.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 8:00 pm 
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omgomgomgomg i just logged in and saw justskipit up the top with waiting for dani and i got all excited coz i thought yaaay weeee we get an update and yaaaay! but then no :aww *scuffs her feet shyly and sits on the curb, flicking through the Sunday Mail* do dee dooo...

-bell

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:04 pm 
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Well, i go to what we call a classical high school. that means that this year, my last, i study italian lit, english lit, art history, astronomy, math, physics, history, philosophy, latin and greek. we're supposed to have physical ed. too, and religion, but this last one is not mandatory so i refused to attend *shrug*, and the P.E.....well, our teacher is like, a human, walking joke :P so, the girls chat and gossip while the boys play soccer *rolls eyes* typical.

and, uhm.....i started to babble :blush sorry :blush

how's your finger and when can i have an update? :-D :kiss1

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 8:47 am 
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Hello :)

Wow... I'm speechless.

It's like a fairytale... well it's a fairytale but more "magictale" (I don't know if it means something).
I love when Tara and Willow know each other since the childhood... well here it's since forever!
It's really nice to read this, even if it's more difficult for me to understand (for this story I had to re-take my dictionary ^^). You keep us in suspense about why Tara is waiting for Dani. I mean with what Tara is saying I can imagine a lot of possibilities, my brain is working a lot (is it because Dani is going to take her marks? or something else? etc...)! lol
Again, it's a beautiful and amazing story. :)

Well I think I said what I wanted (and can) to say...

Once more, thank you for the story :)

I'm waiting for more here too ;-)

Regards

Julia

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:23 am 
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Belli Bear – Hey there. Sorry to fake you out. I am working on the next update but it won’t be for at least a week I’m guessing. Thanks for your persistence and dedication.

Vale – Wow. That sounds like quite a high school curriculum. I find religion fascinating but I wouldn’t want to go to a class unless it was a survey type class that kind of explained the different religions rather than pushing one of them.

Anyway. My fingers is improving. I am waiting to get into physical therapy next week. I can type pretty well. I put Waiting aside to write my RKT story and then the MT update but now I can concentrate on Waiting again. Honestly, I had 3.5 updates written but I’ve decided to change significantly the first two and need to rewrite them. So I have a bit of work to do before I’m ready to post. Thanks for all your support.

JujuDeRoussie – Hello and welcome to the board. I’ve been so excited to get your notes and feedback.

I like the word magictale. I never thought about it but I guess so. Well, I guess your dictionary being broken back out can be a good thing. I’ll say again how impressed I am with your reading this in English. I can pretty much ask where the bathroom is in Spanish or order a beer and that’s it for my foreign languages.

Quote:
You keep us in suspense about why Tara is waiting for Dani. I mean with what Tara is saying I can imagine a lot of possibilities, my brain is working a lot (is it because Dani is going to take her marks? or something else? etc...)
I’m glad it has you in suspense. It is not because of Dani’s marks. She will take her marks 2 weeks from the latest update and Tara is waiting about two years later.

Thank you so much.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 2:46 pm 
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Hope you had fun Christmas even with the non-cooperating fingers The entire therapy thing sounds a bit more serious than the sprain I had in mind, hope it isn't painful anymore??

This temporary pause gives us readers plenty of time to re-read parts, which is sometimes needed with this story Esp. with those family lines and all.

On reading some replies this one made me wonder;

HalfCamel wrote:
Tara wrote:
Of course, a theory such as that assumes that we only want for material belongings.

Ah, spoken like a true child of privilege. I think this speaks volumes as to where she is at the moment.


'cos I read the exact opposite in it. What Tara says can be rephrased to 'we do not only want material belongings'. That sounds to me like she realises that privilege doesn't solve all of life's longings?? That there is more out there than just privilege/money/properties... a bit like reflection after the fact. (though we don't know said fact yet)

grimmy

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:59 pm 
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grimlock72 wrote:
On reading some replies this one made me wonder;

HalfCamel wrote:
Tara wrote:
Of course, a theory such as that assumes that we only want for material belongings.

Ah, spoken like a true child of privilege. I think this speaks volumes as to where she is at the moment.


'cos I read the exact opposite in it. What Tara says can be rephrased to 'we do not only want material belongings'. That sounds to me like she realises that privilege doesn't solve all of life's longings?? That there is more out there than just privilege/money/properties... a bit like reflection after the fact. (though we don't know said fact yet)


Perhaps I should clarify, because I wasn’t too clear when I first replied and made this comment. Grimmy, that is exactly what I meant when I wrote it, I guess I should’ve been more specific.

When I made the “true child of privilege” comment, I meant that in the present state of mind that Tara is in she can look back and realize how selfish and self-involved she was being. When she said:
Quote:
I would need and want for nothing for as long as I lived. Of course, a theory such as that assumes that we only want for material belongings.
I meant to say that as she tells her story she has grown and come to the realization that privilege/money/properties aren’t everything. And I believe that children/adults in Tara’s position (albeit different circumstances) come to this realization when they lose or might lose something that means a lot to them.

So I’m assuming that Tara is waiting for Dani and she realizes that all those things she was hung up on (status, nobility, things) don’t mean as much as Dani does. And I’m taking it as she is hung up on those things in her youth because she’s always mentioning them... which I understand is part of her life and all she knows, but that’s what I think.

Alright, my long-windedness ends here, my apologies for hogging up Debra-space.

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Last edited by HalfCamel on Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:27 pm 
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Grimmy – Thanks so much. I hope your holiday was good as well. The finger is doing much better. I went to physical therapy this week and basically, I need to bend and stretch it a lot. Mostly it hurts from the ending and stretching or hitting it on something (like Asher’s foot which seems to find it quite frequently).

Well, we have HalfCamel’s response below. I will say that it is my intention that Tara is saying that she does not believe that any longer. Perhaps she never did… she is speaking of a theory of her family and other noble families but not necessarily her belief. But even if it was her belief at that time, it is not her belief as she is telling her story.

Grimmy & HalfCamel – Yes, it seems that you are both in agreement and that I’m in agreement with you also on the reading of that particular line. It’s a line which has gotten much attention and I’m happy with that. I’m also extremely pleased that this story calls for reading and rereading. What a great compliment! Thanks.

Quote:
I meant to say that as she tells her story she has grown and come to the realization that privilege/money/properties aren’t everything. And I believe that children/adults in Tara’s position (albeit different circumstances) come to this realization when they lose or might lose something that means a lot to them.
Totally!

I think that Tara is, as you say, Hung up on those things but I don’t necessarily fault her for it. She’s immersed in her life and her world. Thinking that she shouldn’t think as much of status and honor and privilege would be like asking a fish to stop thinking that water is important. It is the only thing she has ever known and she has never questioned that it is the way that it is to be.

Quote:
Alright, my long-windedness ends here, my apologies for hogging up Debra-space.
Hog away!



Story Title – Waiting for Dani
Chapter – 6 – The Journey
Author – JustSkipIt
Pairing – T/W
Feedback – Yes, please
Spoilers – None
Rating – PG
Disclaimer – Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy own Willow and Tara and the Buffyverse. I'm not saying this universe is totally original but I didn't steal it from any author or creator that I know of. No copyright infringement is meant by this fic and I will not make any money from it.

Note – Thanks to Watty for the awesome new Ashvatar!

Note – Thanks to Sally, Watty, & Susan for the advice on what to do…

Note – Thanks to Rachel for really helping me think through what should reasonably happen in this update.


Over the course of the next two weeks, my life returned to usual. I found myself the recipient of much more formal address than before and had to keep reminding myself of my new position. Strangest to me was Melanie’s position. She was the closest thing I had had to a mother in my life and yet with four marks she was now beneath my station. I could not get used to the tone of respect as she addressed me as Lady Tara or Lady Maclay. More so, I actually found it uncomfortable when Dani addressed me as Lady Maclay. I had always loved the sound of my name out of her lovely mouth whether it was Tara or T’ra or Miss Tara or even now Lady Tara but Lady Maclay sounded to me as if she were addressing my mother, not that I’d ever heard such a thing. I wanted to hear my own name from her lips and yet I knew that something between us had changed forever, that everything between us had changed forever.

So life around the castle returned to normal. My hand improved every day and after a week I could hold the reins, a pen, or a bow. The healer arrived every day just after breakfast and put my hand through a series of tests before applying a salve intended to speed healing and soften up the skin so that it would not heal drawn or pinched. I was to do a series of exercises bending and flexing the hand and fingers every hour and Tadre limited my drawing, although she made her usual visit to the castle for our work together five days after my marks were completed.

A few days before Dani was to take her marks we began our journey. The journey is an optional but frequent tradition. Certain mark-bound pairs will choose to undertake a journey together to allow them to spend final time together before the relationship is formally created. It is, in theory, a chance for the master or mistress to make clear her expectations and a chance for the servant to ask questions freely and openly or to withdraw from the agreement if appropriate. I had never heard of a servant choosing to withdraw from such an arrangement but it was possible that when this happened the family did not want to disclose this information and that this was why I had never heard of it. I felt doubtful that Dani would not want to be with me. Creator knew how much I wanted to be bound to her. I hoped that our time together would give her a chance to examine any doubts she may have but I did not know what they might be. More so, I prayed for a chance to discuss what we had not discussed since the night of my mark-taking.

Following breakfast thirteen days after my mark-taking, we made our way to the courtyard to find our horses saddled and loaded for us. Dani had, of course, completed our packs last night and this morning before we came down for breakfast. The stable hands had saddled our horses for us and provided us with rations and water. We planned to hunt on our journey but we would be rationed nonetheless. Our return was scheduled, per tradition, for noon the next day.

The night before Donnie had pulled me aside to speak to me about our journey. He confided to me that during this time, the relationship between myself and Dani would be equal. I would not be her Lady nor she my girl. This was information which a mark-pair was only given the night before a journey and always by the last pair marked in their house. I looked forward to the opportunity to hear my girl call me Tara even if nothing else in the day was profitable.

Father, Melanie, D’rs, D’elam, Donnie, Anne, Faith, and D’Shel saw us off, each giving us many hugs and well wishes and I saw that Father and D’Shel both had tears in their eyes as we mounted Hope and Dream. I remember looking back and forth between the two of them for a long time. I so rarely thought of D’Shel as Dani’s mother, yet she was. When I did think of it, I felt great respect for this woman. From what I knew of Dani’s magic, it was obvious to me that D’Shel as well as Dani’s father were both noble or formerly noble. The absence of marks on D’Shel’s hand meant that she had not been noble but perhaps her parents or grandparents had been and somehow they had fallen on hard times. Rather than take a free-woman’s job which she certainly could have done given her considerable skills in the kitchen, she had offered mark-binding on herself in order to provide her daughter with a higher, still mark-bound, future.

We waved as we rode from the courtyard and followed our estate path a mile or so. After a mile, Dani left the road to ride through a break in the hedge. I felt very glad to see her take that initiative as I had feared that I would have to take command on this journey in spite of our equality. If her submission was too deeply ingrained I didn’t know that she could forget it so easily. We rode on for a few more miles in silence until we met up with a small river which bordered our land. “East?”

Dani looked both ways and nodded her agreement and we moved our horses in that direction. “How is your hand, Tara?” She asked after a few minutes ride.

I was very pleased to hear her use my name. So she had also been informed of our roles on this journey. “It itches mostly but I love the feeling and look of my marks.”

Dani smiled. “You should. They are very beautiful and impressive.” We continued to ride in relative silence for most of the morning before she looked up at the incline of the sun and slowed Dream. “Why don’t we let the horses drink and we can take a break?”

I agreed and we both dismounted. I pulled a few apples, cheese, and bread from my pack and we sat on the edge of a rock to share the small snack. “Where do you want to go, Dani?” The rock was small and we were perfectly content to sit side by side on it. It would be a warm day and I could feel Dani’s heat through the thin coverings we both wore over our arms and smell her sweet perspiration.

She had apparently been thinking of this. “I was hoping that we could continue this way. Faith told me that there is a waterfall not more than four hours away and I thought we could make camp near it overnight so we could hear the rushing water as we sleep.”

I nodded. “That sounds like a good plan.” I smirked slightly. “Of course a ride that far might be more comfortable if we were on one horse. We could share body heat that way.” I wished I could be more direct. I could ask her to share my horse or ask her about her actions the night of my marks but instead I blushed and looked at my boots and wondered what any of it meant as I longed for the feel of her body in my arms.

Dani knew I was flirting and laughed at the obviousness of my attempt. She stood up and brushed off her britches with her hands then leaned over and kissed the tip of my nose. “Or you could just ask me to ride with you.” She stepped backwards away from my grasp and tucked her knife back into her waistband.

I laughed admiring her grace as she so easily avoided me. After brushing off my britches and holstering my knife as well, I took Hope’s reigns. “Would you like to ride with me?”

Dani bowed playfully. “Always, Tara. Always.” Her tone was completely sincere and I mounted Hope before extending my hand to pull Dani in front of me.

We rode a very long time like that, sometimes on Hope and sometimes on Dream. On Dream I let Dani ride and I was her passenger, enjoying the feel of her hands on my hips or thighs or one forearm wrapped around my stomach. On Hope we reversed our positions and I had her pressed against my front. Sometimes we rode in silence and sometimes we talked, mostly about inconsequential things: Donnie’s education, Faith’s wildness, Anne’s dancing. The afternoon was filled with laughter and teasing. We spoke very little that first afternoon about ourselves or our future. A few times I tried to start a conversation about our relationship. “You really helped me through my marks, Dani.”

I felt no tensing of her small body in my hands. No nervousness. No tentativeness. “I am glad to hear that, Tara.”

It was late afternoon when we began to hear the waterfall. From the roaring sound I could tell that it was a large one. The water in the stream we rode behind began to speed up and we could see the drop-off on the horizon. To our right I noticed a row of four trees of a species I had never seen. Each tree was tall and wide, just bordering the stream with some roots in the water and some outside of it. Hanging down from the tree were hundreds of branches with long flowing green leaves that waved in the wind, some actually touching the water themselves. Dani must have noticed me staring at the tree for she whispered in my ear. “Faith told me that is called a Willow tree.”

I nodded. “It’s very beautiful.” Dani reined Dream to a stop and dismounted before helping me down. We worked in silence to remove the packs and take care of the horses, removing their tack and brushing them before allowing them to graze and drink from the water. I asked Dani if she would rather hunt or stay at the camp to set up and build a fire. I had no doubt that she preferred hunting but did not know if her training would force her to defer me. I think she really considered it but then a wide smile broke across her face and she announced a preference for hunting. I handed her her bow and quiver and she departed on foot for her hunt with an excited look on her face.

I watched Dani go then turned to the packs. It didn’t take me long to erect our small tent nor to build the fire. After nearly a decade of magical study, if I had any trouble with the fire, it would have been an affront to both my estate and title. Before the sun had progressed much more toward the horizon I had completed my work at the camp. I tested the water with a hand and decided to take a bath, disrobing near the stream and folding my clothes on a rock. I took a few minutes to wash my inner garments and leave them drying over the fire before enjoying my bath. With the soap root I found near the water I was able to give my hair and skin a thorough washing. The water was relatively warm in spite of the fast current and by wrapping my feet around a root, I was able to remain stable while floating.

I was startled from my relaxation by Dani’s voice. “Now I know why you offered to allow me to hunt.” Her eyes danced with laughter from her teasing and I could tell that she had enjoyed her efforts. The fact that a quail and a rabbit dangled from her strap told me what a successful hunt she had taken.

I disentangled my feet and took a few quick strokes to the side and climbed from the water, pulling a cloth around me to dry off. I noted the dazed look in her eyes as she watched me emerge from the water but wasn’t sure what it meant. I used the cloth to dry my hair then pulled on the change of clothes Dani had packed. “Why don’t you leave those and enjoy the water.” I motioned toward the rock. “I left some soap root on that rock.”

Dani bowed playfully as she tossed the game near my feet, then with a quick turn verily danced off toward the water. I laughed as I bent to pick up the animals and watched with great interest as she stripped off her riding clothes. My cheeks burned as I noted the curves and muscles of her body. It was a sight I didn’t see nearly enough as she was usually in a great hurry to undress at night after getting me ready for bed and in the morning, she was virtually always up and dressed before me. A voice in the back of my head shouted that I should look away, give her some privacy but I found myself unable to comply. In a few seconds, she had dived deep and my decision was made. I tore my attention from my girl and attended to our dinner.

By the time Dani emerged from the water, looking as beautiful as ever and wringing water from her hair, I had our feast simmering in a cook pot. I motioned toward her hair and offered to brush it which she allowed. We didn’t speak much as I brushed her hair and massaged her head with my fingertips. When I had finished, she insisted on returning the treatment and I know that she could hear me attempting to suppress slight gasps or whimpers at the pleasure I felt from her fingers. Tying my hair back with a small leather cord, she quickly pivoted to straddle my lap and planted a quick kiss on my forehead. “Maybe we should enjoy dinner,” she said as she stood and backed a step away before I could wrap my arms around her waist.

Enjoy dinner we did. I hadn’t noticed the empty feeling in my stomach but apparently the day spent riding and preparing dinner had worked up an appetite in both of us. We each ate two bowls of stew as well as part of the quail and some small sweet buns the kitchens had packed for us. We also had a bottle of wine to share. When we were finished we washed our dishes in the stream and then lay down on our blanket near the fire, watching the stars overhead.

I playfully teased Dani about the constellations—an ancient avocation of mine. While she of course had memorized the name and location and movement of every star in the heavens the first time she heard them, I found it easier to remember them if I associated something more fun with the constellations. “There’s moose in the bathtub and big pile o crackers.” I pointed with my fingers as I reeled off my original list, happy to feel my girl’s laughter in my arms. As my naming suggestions became more and more absurd, her attempts to dissuade me of them also mounted. She named the constellations, sang a memorization song for each, or stood and parodied one of our my many tutors. Her impressions of one Master Tellar in particular had me literally quaking with laughter.

When she was done with her performance, she again snuggled with me in our furs. I wrapped my arms around her and felt her contentment. She felt so warm and relaxed in my arms and I wondered if this would be the time to ask the questions that were burning in my mouth. I lightly kissed the top of her head. “I love you, Dani.” It was no more than a whisper and I shook as I spoke.

Dani’s arms were wrapped around my own and she tightened her grip, pulling my arms tighter around her torso. She giggled a little. “Of course you do, sweetie. I love you too.” She lifted her hand and mine in it to her mouth and gently kissed the back of my hand.

I furrowed my brow as I thought about her answer. It wasn’t quite the ringing endorsement I … I don’t know what I expected. That she would turn in my arms and kiss me? That we would… I don’t know what I thought. On one hand her answer seemed to cement our place together but on the other, it seemed so blasé. Almost an afterthought. “D-d-do you have any questions or c-concerns about tomorrow?”

She rubbed the side of her face on my forearm, almost like a young kitten. “No. I have been trained, have known my destiny every day for many years, Tara. I have no questions.”

The tone of her voice shocked me. She had no questions indeed. My world was topsy-turvy. I felt lost about our relationship yet she seemed to know everything, to have absolute faith and conviction. “Do you wonder… how things,” I pulled away my hand and motioned between us with my thumb and forefinger, “will be different between us?”

She turned in my grasp so that she could look at me and smiled as she brushed a wisp of hair from my forehead and behind my ear. “Nothing will be different, Tara. It will just be much more so after tomorrow.” Before I could answer she patted the bedclothes. “Now we need to go to sleep so we aren’t late for our big day.” She smiled teasingly. “Or are you having second thoughts?”

I lay on the pallet as she had directed but pulled her into my arms. “I have many thoughts but I’ve never doubted wanting you.” She kissed my hand again and pulled my arms tighter around her body but didn’t answer. I waited a few minutes and waited a few more before realizing that she was no longer awake. And then I was no longer awake.

I awoke to the smell of fish cooking and terrible singing that I was so used to. I cast my forearm over my eyes to shield them from the sun and shouted: “Dani! We must have startled some grackles. I hear a terrible noise!” It was no surprise that Dani would have been up early to catch our breakfast and I wanted to tease her over what seemed to be her only true weakness.

She kicked at my feet as if trying to rouse me. “This grackle caught our breakfast while you had a holiday.”

I sat up and yawned, stretching my arms well over my head. It seemed that Dani had a strange look on her face for just a moment and I wanted to comment on it but at the same time, she blushed and I thought I might have surpassed my teasing quotient for this early morning. The air had a chill and I quickly pulled on the light leather jacket which lay on our packs. I stood and gave my girl a brief hug as I said good morning and then excused myself for a few minutes.

When I got back Dani had divided our breakfast, which consisted of the pan fried fish with a butter and spices, peaches, and corn cakes onto two plates. She handed me one and I playfully bowed as I thanked her. My stomach grumbled even as Dani thanked the creator the spirit of the fish who honored us with their gift and I smiled sheepishly. “I’m surprised that you didn’t wake earlier with that monster in your stomach,” Dani teased as I took my first bite.

I ate slowly and quietly as the first rays of the sun began to appear on the horizon. It was as if I could feel the perfection of the day. “By nightfall everything will be so different.”

Dani seemed as if she were studying me. Perhaps she hadn’t understood my tone. I don’t know that I understood it myself. Part of me was excited like a child expecting a new toy or a woman awaiting jewels for her wrist and part of me felt a sort of sadness I couldn’t explain. I was already an adult, a Lady of my Estate in fact, but part of me felt like an innocent child and I completely lacked the words to express my emotions in spite of the years of elocution training. Finally she swallowed her last bite.

“Do you have doubts?”

Her voice sounded small and fearful and I couldn’t stand the sound. I dropped my plate and fell to my knees in front of her. Each of her small hands, I held in my own and kissed her fingertips tenderly. Without releasing either hand, I used my fingertip to lift her chin so that I could look into my girl’s eyes. “Dani, Love, I have never for a moment doubted you nor my feelings for you. I want you more than I could possibly say.”

I could see the tears filling her eyes and looking as if they would spill over. I started to lift my hand to her cheek and she closed her eyes. A tear slowly rolled from her eyes down her cheek and I brushed it with my hand, not knowing what to say.

We sat like that for a long time. She with her eyes closed, silently crying and me kneeling in front of her wishing there was something I could do to take her pain away. My only consolation was that my plan at least would ensure that I could lessen her pain tonight. I smiled as I thought about the secret of the herbs I would offer my girl as soon as I could.

Finally Dani opened her eyes. She leaned forward and kissed me on the cheek. I could barely hear her whisper. “You are so good to me.”

I wrapped her in my arms and hugged her tightly. “Always, my girl. Always.” I murmured into her hair and ear and didn’t let go until I felt her hold on me release.

She rubbed both eyes gently with the backs of her hands and looked at our fire and then the incline of the sun. “We need to be going.”

“Dani…” I didn’t know what to say. Something was bothering my girl but I didn’t know what and I just wanted to make her as happy as I could for the rest of our lives.

Dani stood up and brushed her hands on her britches before nudging at my foot with her boot. “We’ve been waiting our entire lives for this day, Tara.” She smiled and it seemed as if her earlier sadness was gone. My girl was back and was as happy as I at the prospect of our intertwined destinies.

Noting how short we were running on time, we worked together to clean our dishes and teardown the campsite. In a very short time we had packed up and loaded the horses with our gear. As time was of the essence, we decided to ride separately. We rode out, passing a wineskin of water back and forth between us. We had a few hours of riding in front of us and our conversation fell to discussion of my family and household business. In the two weeks since my ascension to the Ladyship, I had already been involved in more of the running of the household and estate than I had expected. I don’t believe that I understood the extent to which Melanie was involved in the everyday functions of our lives and I gained new respect for her every day. Once Dani had her marks and our celebration was complete, an undertaking that had certainly increased the amount of planning and work, she would have the authority to help me greatly in these new responsibilities.

Although invitations for my mark celebration had gone out moons ago, there was still much work to do arranging everything. It was not often that a five-mark celebration was held and even less frequent that one was held with advanced notice. Most five-mark celebrations were either held to bestow the marks on a Lady as she married a Lord which was really a joining celebration or were held quickly as the new Lord or Lord and Lady ascended to their positions on the passing of the Lord of an estate. This meant that our gala would be more elaborate than any mark celebration we had ever attended with more guests and of a higher rank. Guests were expected from as far as five days journey. Peace had finally overtaken years of political skirmishes to the North and we expected some attendees from that direction. We speculated on the appearances of these countrymen with whom we had never had any interactions.

So our discussion on that morning’s ride was very practical and logistical and I was again grateful for Dani’s incredible mind. She was an amazing asset to me in every possible way. I offered a silent prayer of gratitude to The Creator for Dani. I hoped that she felt the same about me.

Before arriving at the marks tent, we needed to take a ritual bath. We could either bathe somewhere along the end of the route or arrive at the estate proper and use the same spot which Tadre and I had used. This was my preference but I would comply with whatever Dani’s chose.

According to the position of the sun, we arrived at our main road with about an hour before our appointment at the tent. We rode the horses back and handed them off to a stable boy before making our way down to the river. After finding some soap root near the bank, we disrobed and got into our bath. The water was warmer than it had been near the waterfall and we enjoyed it greatly after our long hours spent on the horses. Once we were clean, we offered supplication to The Creator that we could be pure and worthy of the commitment we were about to make. I leaned over and kissed Dani once on the forehead. “Are you ready?”

She smiled and took my hand as we climbed from the water. “Yes, My Lady.”

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 Post subject: Re: Waiting for Dani
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:39 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:09 am
Posts: 471
Location: Shoalhaven,NSW, Australia
DIBS!!!

Thank you Debra. Now I need to go away and think about it for a bit.

Anne
Ok, I'm back.
It's New Year's Day so I'd like to wish you and all Kittens a very happy 2007.

Debra, now I've had time to think, but it hasn't helped much. I'm puzzled by their relationship - they don't seem to be on the same page. It seems to me that either Tara has remained an innocent in the ways of her world, despite plenty of exposure to it. Or else she is so focused on Dani, she hasn't really thought about anything else, and so fails to see that Dani is fulfilling the role she finds herself in.

There is undoubtedly love between them, but it seems that neither of them realises, understands or accepts the nature of it. Dani's behaviour makes me wonder - incredulously - if she believes that Tara has no recollection of her actions that night. She seems to see their relationship as that of sisters or best friends, with the overlay of bonding responsibilities and roles, and determined to hide her physical attraction to Tara as not fitting with that perception.

Well, Debra, as you can see your fic certainly has me hooked. I'm looking forward to this grand celebration - I anticipate some revelations resulting from the widespread guest list, or other possible twists - I'm sure you'll surprise me.

Anne

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Spells for Two

Every path has its puddle. Old English Saying... I think I just stepped in mine...


Last edited by spells42 on Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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