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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Nov 26th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:00 am 
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CHAPTER RATING: R

Chapter 34



India

(Part 1)



Give Me What You Alone Can Give
A Kiss To Build A Dream On



“Is it bad that the first thing we bought when we get to Delhi is a bunch of American candy?”


Willow watched Tara roll her lollipop over her tongue and decided she’d answered her own question with a definite HECK NO.


The raid on the international candy cart had been well worth it.


Tara popped the candy out of her mouth and twirled the stick. The fellow travelers in the minibus from the airport were all jaded and half-asleep but they didn’t have the benefit of a sugar rush.


“I wonder how many licks it really does take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?”


“They’ve tried to do real scientific studies, it’s really anywhere between 70 and 400,” Willow answered knowledgeably, then smiled fondly, “Remember when we were eight and we tried to do our own experiments, but you kept crunching through to the middle?”


“My stamina in licking has evolved,” Tara replied, her gaze fluttering up through her eyelashes in a sultry display, “I wonder how many it takes to get—”


Suddenly there was a cacophony of beeps and the bus lurched as it entered into erratic city traffic. The whole bus was awake now.


The lollipop went straight down Tara’s throat but thankfully popped right back out again.


“Whoa!” Willow exclaimed, slapping Tara on the back quickly, “Are you okay?”


Tara nodded and rubbed her throat.


“Guess I have a pretty established gag reflex,” she replied, not noticing Willow pursing her lips to keep from laughing, “Maybe we shouldn’t eat in vehicles over here.”


She looked out the window at the chaos of unruly traffic and gulped.


“Or…get in them at all.”


“Yeah, no kidding. I don’t want to taste the rainbow that badly,” Willow quipped in reply, then lowered her voice, “Not the kind that comes in a packet anyway.”


Tara offered a tiny smirk but was more focused on staying in her seat. She hoped their hostel stop was one of the first.


It, in fact, was the very last and they arrived frazzled and very ready to be on solid ground again. They could have used a minute to get their bearings, but almost immediately everyone who’d gotten off the bus was approached by street sellers, a lot of whom were young children, to push their wares.


They had to weave their way out and left a few unsavvy tourists standing there trying to retreat from the mob. Unfortunately, that was the kind of lesson you could only learn by experiencing it. They walked into the lobby of their hostel to check-in and find their room from there.


They were able to nab the corner bunk bed, as was their preference, with only a couple of the other beds claimed and no one else even there right at that moment.


Both of them opted to lie down for a few minutes until their stomachs returned to their usual spot.


When Willow noticed the sun starting to set outside the window, she slid out of bed and stood up on the frame to look in on Tara in her top bunk.


“You wanna go get some dinner or is your belly still north of your boobs somewhere?”


Tara pressed her palms on top of each other over her belly button.


“I think it’s appropriately positioned again,” she said with a small smile, “I’ve been looking forward to going to an Indian restaurant that doesn’t have chicken nuggets on the menu.”


Willow’s nose scrunched.


“You know what’s worse? Anu’s Kitchen was in the top five restaurants in Sunnydale on Trip Advisor.”


“Do we even have five restaurants?” Tara questioned with an arched eyebrow.


“Exactly,” Willow replied pointedly.


Tara sat up and stretched, treating Willow to a brief glimpse of skin as her shirt rode up.


“I just need to use the restroom, then we can go exploring.”


Willow hopped off the bed and Tara climbed down the ladder. Willow looked around and took advantage of a rare moment of solitude in a shared room, pulling Tara to her by the hips.


“C’mere.”


She kissed Tara for several seconds and dipped a finger under the waistband of Tara’s pants.


“I miss it when we’re not… alone-alone.”


Tara lifted her hands to Willow’s face, holding her cheeks gently under her fingers and popped a chaste kiss on her lips.


“All of me loves all of you. Alone or not.”


She left and Willow leaned back against the bedframe, smiling.


She turned back to gather her things for going out and didn’t notice that anyone had come into the room until she heard a rustling behind her. She looked around to see a dark-haired guy shoving something with reflective foil into his pocket.


He sensed eyes and looked up too.


He smiled like he had a secret.


“Hey! No way!”


Willow looked behind herself as if someone else could be there. The man scurried over to the other side of the bed to stand nearer her.


“We met before. Down under,” he said, smirking lasciviously, “You liked to get freaky in the men’s bathroom.”


Willow was bewildered and tried to turn her body away.


“Um, sorry…I don’t remember.”


The guy stepped forward, much too close for comfort.


“I can make you remember.”


Willow backed up and ended up falling down to sit on her bunk.


“Whoa.”


The guy tried to look relaxed and openly sneered in her direction.


“Come on, don’t be a prude. You’re wearing nipple clamps on your clothes for god’s sake.”


Willow’s eyebrows shot upward and she looked down at herself urgently.


“What are you talking about?”


He gestured at the top of her sweater, where the sides were being held closed by her newest set of sweater clips, which Tara had made her with monkey clips after they had visited a gibbon sanctuary in Thailand and learned about conservation efforts. It had been an enlightening and humbling experience and Willow blushed furiously at the association the man was erroneously making.


“These are sweater clips,” she said defiantly, closing her palm around one of the little monkeys, “Clearly.”


“Right, clearly,” the guy scoffed and Willow suddenly had a flashback to being holed up in the bathroom in Adelaide guiding Tara out of the bush.


And that same scoff and same face greeting her when she left.


“Wait, I do remember you. Aren’t you here with your…boyfriends or something?”


A vein popped in his head.


“Boyfriends?!”


Willow shrugged one shoulder.


“I hear polyamory is very popular these days. Not for me but hey, I don’t judge.”


His jaw clenched and something came over his eyes that terrified Willow.


“I like women! I get a lot of women!”


“Okay, then,” Willow replied quickly, spinning out of bed to hide better behind the frame, “Well, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go meet my girlfriend.”


He dropped the anger again and leered in Willow’s direction.


“If you two are on the look-out for a guy to offer some entertainment I’m a very entertaining guy.”


“We generally find ourselves sufficiently entertained,” Willow replied, clearing her throat silently.


Another head of black hair stuck in through the door and looked straight at them.


“Warren, come on. If we don’t get there early all the pretty ones will be taken.”


Warren smirked at Willow again.


“See ya later sweet cheeks.”


He walked out backward so he could keep grinning at her until he bumped into the doorframe and quickly left through it with a scowl. A minute or so later, Tara returned, rubbing her hands together.


“Everything okay?”


“Yep” Willow replied quickly, shaking her head of the strange encounter, “Starving though. Can we go eat?”


“Yes, absolutely,” Tara replied, gathering her hair up into a ponytail, “Let’s go. On foot.”


“On foot,” Willow agreed quickly.


They stopped by the kitchen to refill their water bottles, where lots of other travelers were gathering to eat. They chatted to a Polish couple about good places to eat and how to spot bad street vendors. When they were accepted as friendly, they were given a flyer for free entry to a bar that the other couple wasn’t going to be able to use before leaving.


They headed back out onto the street which was screaming with car horns and intermittent yelling. Willow wrapped her hand around Tara’s upper arm.


“Do you have your maps downloaded? I don’t want you getting lost in all of this.”


“Yes, honey,” Tara replied diligently but affectionately, “I always do it at the airport when you remind me.”


“You’ll be thankful for my nagging one day,” Willow grinned, which was promptly wiped off her face when a rickshaw sped past them and came inches to running them over.


She pulled Tara back and only the shock stopped her from yelling after it.


“I guess on foot isn’t any safer!”


While Tara waited for her heart to slow again, she had the opportunity to take a slow look around in their surreal, chaotic surroundings. She placed her hand on Willow’s shoulder.


“Just stop for a second. Look around. Smell the air.”


“I can certainly smell it,” Willow grumbled.


“No,” Tara breathed softly, letting her gaze fall on Willow, “We’re in India. We’re really standing on the side of the street in India about to go grab some dinner that the locals eat and go to a bar that the locals go to and we get to live this and experience this in all its insanity.”


She stopped and looked away.


“I’m sorry. It just still stuns me sometimes that we’re here and we’re doing this. We’ve seen so much. We’ve done so much. We’ve grown so much. We’re just so lucky.”


The loud congestion became background to Tara’s sweet voice for Willow, who clung to her again and smiled.


“Yeah, we are. Thank you. Sometimes I need that reality check.”


Tara returned the smiled and squeezed Willow’s hand on her arm. They set off again, more careful about where and how they walked this time.


The city was bustling; completely packed with people. Derelict on one street and abundant on another. Touts everywhere vied for their attention but this wasn’t their first rodeo when it came to avoiding tourist traps.


“Tara, look!” Willow said, suddenly pointing ahead.


Tara’s eyes followed and she saw a cow meandering down the street like it owned it.


“That’s amazing,” she commented, watching it strut along with the old cars and motorbikes weaving around it, “You definitely don’t see that in Sunnydale.”


Willow smiled impishly.


“I saw Cordelia being followed down the street being yelled at by Percy West once but I guess that’s a different kind of shitbox following a cow.”


Tara cast her eyes sideways toward Willow.


“You’re proud of that one, aren’t you?”


Willow nodded with that pleased, devilish grin stuck on her face.


They were staying in the backpacker’s neighborhood, so while they had to continue to dodge the street sellers, they had endless options to eat. Soon the city smells were completely forgotten to that of fresh spices.


They walked through the main bazaar, soaking up the atmosphere and admiring the local art and fabrics. They ended up in a restaurant they noticed had a rooftop that looked out over the market and the stories-high buildings surrounding it. As they walked through to a table, they dodged potted plants and bookshelves.


The whole place kind of looked like a bookworm’s mountain hideaway but smelled like an early morning market place selling spices; rich and earthy and mouth-watering. They sat on a table under the slanted corrugated iron roof like they were in their own little hut and spent a moment appreciating the stars beginning to settle in the sky.


They played it safe with their food for the first night, ordering pakora and butter chicken and naan to share and the taste absolutely lived up to the smell.


“I think that was the best meal I’ve ever had,” Tara said when they were finished, “I didn’t even know pakora wasn’t supposed to be mushy.”


“It was really good,” Willow agreed, “We’ve had so much good food though; I don’t think I could rate it without at least a basic spreadsheet.”


Tara smiled and bumped Willow’s foot under the table. Willow blushed and averted her gaze, but lifted it again quickly.


“Do you want to check out that bar?”


Tara nodded and they slowly extracted themselves to pay and find their way around the neighborhood. With a quick look at their maps to figure out exactly where they were going, they found the bar in question and realized it was actually an open-air terrace.


The bar itself was made from an up-cycled shipping container with big speakers either side. They got a drink each and fell into the crowd, which suddenly became electric as four guys started to breakdance in front of the bar to loud Hindi pop music.


Willow watched Tara’s whole face, then body, light up as she processed the new style of music. It was upbeat and fast and almost immediately Tara was dancing on the spot.


“This is amazing!”


They must have been in a crowd of hundreds, but Willow only had eyes for Tara as she watched her feet jump and tap with the eccentric beat. She radiated joy and it was infectious.


When she held her hand out for Willow to take and join, it was taken without hesitation.



Tara swirled some Greek yogurt on her spoon and turned her back on a penetrating gaze she could feel upon her. She leaned toward Willow across the breakfast table and lowered her voice.


“Why does that guy keep staring at us?”


Willow momentarily glanced up to see Warren staring them down from across the kitchen.


“Garden variety creep,” she answered flatly, refusing to keep his gaze.


Tara covered Willow’s hand and squeezed.


“I’ll keep you safe baby.”


Willow put her other hand on top of Tara’s again and smiled just for her.


“I always feel safe with you,” she answered, rubbing her thumb over the back of Tara’s hand as her eyes found the little blinking clock on the microwave, “Hey, we should head out.”


Tara nodded.


“I’ll clean up and fill up our water bottles. Have you got the train tickets?”


Willow jumped up to head for the door.


“I’ll go print them at the desk.”


“Don’t forget the other ones,” Tara called after her.


Willow left and Tara brought their dishes to the sink to quickly wash up. As she went to follow Willow, she passed the table with Warren and couldn’t help notice his unctuous grin as he laughed with his buddies.


“Two for the price of one, gentlemen.”


Not caring for whatever retail exchange she assumed they were talking about, she left to fill their water bottles and join Willow in the lobby.


“Ready?” Willow asked, taking her water bottle from Tara.


“Ready,” Tara answered with a smile.


The train station was only a couple of blocks away but neither had gone past it since they’d been there. It wasn’t the most modern building, but it wasn’t decrepit either. Old signage, plastic seats; it wasn’t unlike a train station back in the US.


The platforms were busy, very busy as they might expect but their platform was the first one there so they were only seconds on the ground before boarding and didn’t have time to be overwhelmed by it.


It was a relatively short trip compared to how vast the country was, less than two hours, so the train wasn’t a sleeper and had just groups of seats with a table between them. It too resembled a train they might have caught at home. It wasn’t even that busy; they had a choice of seats and Tara noticed little footrests beneath each one as they walked down the aisle.


She sat down comfortably in one seat while Willow sat opposite. The seats even reclined a little. Tara’s eyebrow lifted at that feature. It majorly exceeded her expectations but it dawned on her why pretty quickly.


“Is this first class?”


“Yep,” Willow replied smugly, then frowned off the look Tara gave her, “Come on, Tara, It was $20 instead of $10. We’re not even talking dozens of dollars. There isn’t someone coming round to rub our feet; it’s just enough room to be comfortable.”


Tara looked down.


“I just wish you would check with me.”


“I’m paying for them,” Willow countered.


“I can pay for myself,” Tara replied, soft in voice but firm in tone.


Willow sighed.


“I feel like we’ve had this argument before. Why can’t I treat you or you treat me sometimes? We’ve done it before; you bought me dinner last night.”


Tara shook her head softly.


“It’s different on dates.”


Willow sat up straight.


“Well guess what then?”


Tara looked at her curiously and Willow grinned across to her.


“This is a date. And you can’t tell me a visit to the Taj Mahal isn’t romantic.”



“So romantic,” Tara mumbled as they stood deep in a line of people waiting to enter the monument with the midday sun hot and high overhead and camera flashes going off in every which direction.


Willow frowned, displeased.


“I didn’t manufacture the line.”


“I didn’t say you did,” Tara replied a little curtly, then closed her eyes for a moment, “Sorry.”


Willow just shrugged and kept her hurt eyes forward.


When they got to the front of the line, Willow suddenly realized she’d need to produce the tickets before they could get through security. She brought her bag forward and started rooting around, casually at first, but more erratic as seconds ticked by and now they were very much at the front of the line.


She looked up and swallowed audibly.


“I think…I think I left them in the nightstand.”


Her face scrunched up awkwardly.


“I’m sorry, I thought I had them,” she said to the expressionless Indian man waiting to check the tickets, “Tara, I’ll pay for new tickets.”


“That’s not the point!” Tara replied, frustrated and uncharacteristically indifferent to their surroundings, “We’ll have to line up for them and then join this line all over again. It’ll take an hour, if not hours.”


The ticket-collector tried to intervene.


“Madams, if you do not possess a ticket please return—”


“Maybe they’ll let us skip ahead again?” Willow said to Tara, now also oblivious to the frustrated people around them.


“It’s just irresponsible Willow, why didn’t you check?” Tara shot back and Willow couldn’t avert the hurt this time.


“Why didn’t YOU check with me? Why is it always on me?”


Tara gestured with her hands in frustration.


“I did, I told you when you were printing the train tickets!”


Willow pulled a petulant face.


“Well…I clearly didn’t hear you!”


“Madams—”


“Shut up!” they both said loudly at the same time; tension bubbling out from between them and to the larger circle.


And that was ultimately what earned them an escorted walk off the premises.


Later, the story of being kicked out of the Taj Mahal before ever getting to see it would be told through laughter with a shared fond smile between them.


Right now, Tara only wore an unfamiliar scowl.


“Well done, Willow. Well done.”


She marched away from Willow, away from the curb they’d been kicked to and disappeared further into the horizon.


“Tara!” Willow called after her, but sensed not to follow, “Damn it.”


She threw her hands up in exasperation and let her head fall into her hands for a moment. What was she supposed to do now?


She slinked off to a quieter restaurant to mope and ordered a cheese paratha and a coke because breakfast seemed a long time ago. She spent a few minutes contemplating whether to text Tara or not but opted against it. She wasn’t even sure this one was entirely her fault. But she realized pretty quickly that she didn’t care whose fault it was, she just wanted them to be okay.


Wow. I guess growth sneaks up on you.


They had to get the train back together, so Willow figured she’d have to see her by then. She knew Tara must have been incredibly frustrated to tell someone to shut up like that. Her redheaded temper got the better of her often but Tara never acted like that. Maybe she just needed some time alone.


She stopped pushing around her food and started to eat, piggybacking on the Wifi as she did so to look up the local city and what other attractions it offered.


It turned out, not a lot.



Tara looked west to where the sun was just starting to dip in the sky as it started its descent into nightfall.


She’d spent the day just walking around, seeing nothing but her own shoes walking forward at first, but then she looked up. And she couldn’t look down again.


The poverty was apparent even more than in Delhi with trash overflowing everywhere, all kinds of excrement and flies circling it. Hungry dogs, hungry people. It had hurt Tara’s heart. She felt so ugly for daring to complain that Willow had bought them nicer seats. For speaking with such a harsh tone.


She couldn’t even handle the surroundings for a day. The people who lived here — this was their whole life.


Eventually, she’d just gotten into a tuk-tuk that promised a tour of the city and had gotten out when she’d seen a nice park that didn’t seem too crowded. The grass and hedges were such a vibrant green in contrast to the drab and dark city and she could see water shimmering in front peacefully.


In fact, it had surprised her when she walked to the front of the park that she had almost as good a view of the Taj Mahal as if she was right in front of it; a square full-on picture of its unique shape directly across the river with nothing but the clear sky behind it.


She would have to move in a bit, to get to the train station, but she found herself unable to get up from sitting there, looking on at the monument in all its symmetrical wonder.


She felt a body slide beside her on the bench and didn’t need to look up to know who it was.


Willow’s scent was unique; strawberries and cream decorating a mocha cake, freshly baked with a cup of steaming chai tea on the side. Tara had spent years narrowing down that smell and could always tell when Willow was close by.


Willow didn’t say anything and Tara let there be silence between them for a moment before speaking softly.


“We got to see it after all.”


Willow stared ahead at the view; it looked like a painting, perfectly still.


“Do you know the story?”


Tara shook her head.


“I listened to a podcast guide earlier,” Willow explained, “Not quite the same as listening while you’re there, but I did learn some stuff.”


After another small silence, Tara reached out and lightly brushed her fingers against Willow’s arm.


“Tell me?”


Willow scooted over the last inch between them so their legs hit against each other.


“Back in the 17th century, there was this guy called Shah Jahan. He was just a teenager and he was in line to be emperor but wasn’t yet. His grandfather was this BFD who everyone loved, so he had this legacy to live up to. One day he’s showing off around the royal bazaar, flirting with all the daughters of the statesmen, showing off his dreamy eyes and whatnot. So he gets to one of the little booths and there’s the daughter of the soon-to-be prime minister. And he’s like whoa, y’know?” she stopped and sent a sidelong glance Tara’s way and added on softly, “I know.”


Tara met Willow’s gaze but quickly looked away with a blush. Willow turned her head back toward the white building as it took on a soft glow under the orange sky.


“Anyway, that’s it. Boom. Love at first sight. Soulmates, engaged, the whole deal. They knew young.”


She paused again for a contemplative moment but didn’t stop looking ahead.


“He’s not allowed marry her right away, though. They have to wait five years for the court astrologist to pick out the best date for a happy marriage. And in the meantime, he’d had to marry another woman, a princess of Persia, for political reasons. Then, finally, on the allotted date, they were married and fortuitously, it was a very happy marriage. He was devoted to her and she to him. She was his advisor and confidante and just as politically astute as he was. They truly ruled the nation together for nearly twenty years. She had fourteen of his children, though only seven of them actually survived. And then, unfortunately, on her fourteenth child, she hemorrhaged and died in his arms. The emperor was distraught. Crying. Paralyzed. She was buried quickly, but six months later he had her dug up and had a procession in her honor with the streets lined with mourners and was buried again. This was when the emperor got his grand idea to build a mausoleum befitting of his wife. He worked on the architecture himself so he could be sure it represented heaven on earth.”


She smiled as she saw low-lying cloud hug the peaks of the building and had another ‘whoa’ moment of realization that she was here, now, doing this.


“It took twenty thousand men to build it in the timeframe the emperor wanted. The marble was dragged from hundreds of miles away by elephants and oxen. Everything had to be perfectly symmetrical, right down to the mosque and guest house flanking each side. There’s passages from the Quran written in perfect calligraphy into the marble and intricate flower designs are inlaid into it. The garden is full of Islamic symbology to represent paradise forever for his beloved.”


She took in a soft breath and exhaled slowly.


“It’s not just brick, it’s love written in stone.”


Tara’s breath slowly left her body in an awed sigh.


“Wow.”


“Wow,” Willow agreed softly.


They lapsed into silence again, watching the sun travel behind the Taj and cast it in different hues.


“How’d you find me?” Tara asked eventually, though it wasn’t accusatory.


“One of my special skills. I can always find you,” Willow answered, then held her phone up sheepishly, “You checked in and I got notified.”


“I didn’t even know I checked in,” Tara answered jadedly, “Must’ve been when I was taking pictures.”


“Did you take a lot of pictures?” Willow asked, rotating her thumb around the air in a discreet fidget.


Tara shook her head.


“No, only here. I just… walked around.”


Willow nodded.


“Me too. Not much else to do,” she answered, then slowly gulped, “It was intense, just walking.”


Tara’s eyes closed painfully for a moment.


“Very.”


The silence hung until Tara opened her eyes and sent a penetrating stare Willow’s way.


“Made me feel grateful.”


“Me too,” Willow replied quietly.


Tara’s eyes creased and she reached out to slip her fingers into Willow’s hand.


“Willow, I’m sorry I—”


“I’m so sorry I—” Willow blurted at the same time, then continued when Tara stopped, “Messed up the tickets.”


Tara shook her head.


“You just made a mistake. I shouldn’t have flown off the handle. I’m so embarrassed. I never act like that,” she said apologetically and looked down, “Do I put too much pressure on you to be in charge of things like that? You book all the tickets and accommodation and things. You just seem to know how to get the best deals.”


“No, baby, I’m happy to do it,” Willow reassured quickly, “You did years of research…the day-to-day stuff is the least I can do. And you’re right, I know how to scour the internet. I’m happier knowing I’ve done the best for us. So, no. No pressure whatsoever.”


Tara looked up again.


“If you ever want me to do anything, you’d ask right?”


Willow nodded.


“Yes. And I have. And you have. I know you’re perfectly capable. You got yourself around Australia.”


Willow suddenly saw a tear threatening to spill and reached up to catch it on her thumb before it could fall.


“Baby? Did I say something wrong?”


Tara shook her head again.


“A little PMS,” she admitted. She didn’t succumb to it often but the combination of events today and overnight had her on edge, “And I didn’t sleep well. I kept hearing someone else moving around the room. I was too scared to get down to get my ear plugs.”


“Who was it?” Willow asked and Tara shrugged one shoulder.


“I don’t know, I couldn’t see without sitting up. But it’s no excuse. I wish I could apologize to that man and all the people in the line.”


Willow let her hand fall to Tara’s shoulder.


“Don’t beat yourself up, baby. I’m sorry you couldn’t sleep. If I’d known I would have snuggled you.”


Tara glanced at Willow, a different kind of glassiness coming over her eyes.


“Is that an open offer?”


“Always,” Willow promised with a sweet smile.


“Now?” Tara questioned with the smallest of eyebrow arches.


Willow looked around at the few but still very much there people walking around and back at Tara.


“Um…”


Tara blushed as she realized what she’d made Willow think.


“Can we, um, go back and have an early night? Just listen to some music or something?”


Willow’s shoulders slumped in relief of the day’s tension.


“I love doing that. I’ll make us some dinner.”


Tara grimaced.


“It’s not going to be those spaghetti tacos again, is it?”


“Hey, that was an experiment,” Willow replied indignantly but with a smile, “How does your mom’s tuna casserole sound?”


“It’s a date,” Tara smiled.


“Hope it goes better than this one,” Willow replied, scrunching up her nose.


Tara lightly squeezed their fingers together.


“This one didn’t work out so bad.”


Willow smiled and quickly glanced at her watch.


“We better get to the station. I don’t want to be stuck here for the night.”


“Not when I’m craving snuggles,” Tara replied in a discreetly sultry tone.


Willow looked back with flirty eyes.


“And never let it be said that I left a Tara craving unsatisfied.”

_________________
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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Nov 29th 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:32 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 225
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
“Wait, I do remember you. Aren’t you here with your…boyfriends or something?”


A vein popped in his head.


“Boyfriends?!”


Willow shrugged one shoulder.


“I hear polyamory is very popular these days. Not for me but hey, I don’t judge.”


Although Warren acted like a sleezy arsehole, I'm surprised that Willow of all people insinuates him being gay without knowing anything about his sexual orientation. I really hope she didn't do this with the intention to insult or ridicule him. But even if it was just out of thoughtlessness it bothers me considering that Willow herself would have probably freaked out / panicked if some other traveller had called Tara her girlfriend during the first weeks of their journey.

I wonder how far Warren would go to prove he is a "true man" and to what extend his friends (Jonathan and Andrew I presume) would aid him. I fear Warren meant our beloved couple with this comment:
Quote:
“Two for the price of one, gentlemen.”

So I worry for our girls' wellbeing a bit but also trust that you won't let them be harmed by Warren and his "henchmen" in this fic.

I'm glad that our girls reconciled quickly after their quarrel. I recommend that they should both make a quick check together if they have everything they need before going on a daytrip from now on.
Quote:
She felt a body slide beside her on the bench and didn’t need to look up to know who it was.
Willow’s scent was unique; strawberries and cream decorating a mocha cake, freshly baked with a cup of steaming chai tea on the side. Tara had spent years narrowing down that smell and could always tell when Willow was close by.

:flower How sweet that Tara can identify Willow by her smell (although I have to admit I had an unpleasant memory of Rack calling Willow "Strawberry" in Season 6).
I loved to learn the background-story of the "Taj Mahal". Like you Willow is a good storyteller. And what a perfect description:
Quote:
“It’s not just brick, it’s love written in stone.”


Quote:
“How’d you find me?” Tara asked eventually, though it wasn’t accusatory.


“One of my special skills. I can always find you,” Willow answered, then held her phone up sheepishly, “You checked in and I got notified.”

:laugh Thank god for modern technology!
Quote:
“It was intense, just walking.”

Sneaky canon-easteregg (with the letter w instead of t)?

Quote:
“We better get to the station. I don’t want to be stuck here for the night.”


“Not when I’m craving snuggles,” Tara replied in a discreetly sultry tone.


Willow looked back with flirty eyes.


“And never let it be said that I left a Tara craving unsatisfied.”

:flower :wtkiss
Hopefully their snuggles won't be interrupted by Warren and his pals...


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Nov 29th 2019)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:38 pm 
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Grrr Warren is back and he's come with cronies- he is deplorable and frightening here as well as the show, I trust you will keep the girls safe and make him go away soon

Quote:
“Come on, don’t be a prude. You’re wearing nipple clamps on your clothes for god’s sake.”


it was a shitty comment b/c of the source but I can so see Tara buying nipple clamps thinking they are sweater clamps and Willow not knowing any better either- btw, are there such things as sweater clamps??? when i first read about them I just figured I hadn't heard of them, but now... maybe Willow IS wearing very fashionable nipple clamps on her clothing


Quote:
Willow watched Tara’s whole face, then body, light up as she processed the new style of music. It was upbeat and fast and almost immediately Tara was dancing on the spot.


“This is amazing!”


They must have been in a crowd of hundreds, but Willow only had eyes for Tara as she watched her feet jump and tap with the eccentric beat. She radiated joy and it was infectious.

there is little more beautiful than watching someone in their element and in their passion- I am so glad Tara is relishing in the music around her- but I mean, of course she would. I remember when OMWF feeling aired and seeing Amber just looking so joyful and radiant and free when she sang- I felt like I was seeing an artist in her element and it stole my heart

I was so glad that Willow just recognized that maybe Tara (and herself) needed some alone time- its good for everybody and especially when having a crappy PMS day/ their frustration is so normal - thanks for not letting them be saints.

Seeing that poverty and struggle would definitely have humbling (and heartbreaking)

I loved the Taj Mahal story and how Willow shared it across the water

they are still talking and sharing and taking care of themselves- these are good things

_________________
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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Nov 29th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Location: Ireland
Will's redemption

Quote:
Dibs! :whip


Woo!

Quote:
Although Warren acted like a sleezy arsehole, I'm surprised that Willow of all people insinuates him being gay without knowing anything about his sexual orientation. I really hope she didn't do this with the intention to insult or ridicule him. But even if it was just out of thoughtlessness it bothers me considering that Willow herself would have probably freaked out / panicked if some other traveller had called Tara her girlfriend during the first weeks of their journey.


Have to hold my hands up here, I messed up! There was a larger scene that was cut back in Adelaide that featured a fellow traveler telling Willow about the occupants of the room and that woman described Warren and 'his boyfriends' (hence Willow's recollection 'your boyfriends or something?' That person meant it insultingly but Willow didn't pick up on that at the time. I ended up cutting it because I wanted Willow to explore her growth with Tara on their reunion instead of giving too much of it away (that's why that chapter ended up so tiny!) But I completely forgot that it was called back here. I do apologize!

Quote:
I wonder how far Warren would go to prove he is a "true man" and to what extend his friends (Jonathan and Andrew I presume) would aid him. I fear Warren meant our beloved couple with this comment:

So I worry for our girls' wellbeing a bit but also trust that you won't let them be harmed by Warren and his "henchmen" in this fic.


You are entirely right with that last sentence :)

Quote:
I'm glad that our girls reconciled quickly after their quarrel. I recommend that they should both make a quick check together if they have everything they need before going on a daytrip from now on.


They will, but everyone makes mistakes from time to time. From this I hoped they learned to keep cooler heads and to recognize when they need some time alone without any antagonism.

Quote:
:flower How sweet that Tara can identify Willow by her smell (although I have to admit I had an unpleasant memory of Rack calling Willow "Strawberry" in Season 6).


Random historical sidebar, I too used to feel all icky when strawberries were brought up too (sometimes even in my every day non-fanfic life!) and then I read a fic that described Tara tasting Willow as strawberries and it was done in such a sweet way that it replaced the other unpleasant memory. So, for me, strawberry is totally reclaimed and in my mind, Tara's the only one who gets to know she tastes like that :)

Quote:
I loved to learn the background-story of the "Taj Mahal". Like you Willow is a good storyteller. And what a perfect description:


It really is a lovely story for the ages.

Quote:
:laugh Thank god for modern technology!


Certainly helpful when there's no teeny tinkerbell lights around!

Quote:
Sneaky canon-easteregg (with the letter w instead of t)?


:wink

Quote:
:flower :wtkiss
Hopefully their snuggles won't be interrupted by Warren and his pals...


Nah, I'll let them have their snuggles :)

Thanks for your feedback!

shirrey

Quote:
Grrr Warren is back and he's come with cronies- he is deplorable and frightening here as well as the show, I trust you will keep the girls safe and make him go away soon


Away soon, definitely. Away forever...eventually :wink

Quote:
it was a shitty comment b/c of the source but I can so see Tara buying nipple clamps thinking they are sweater clamps and Willow not knowing any better either- btw, are there such things as sweater clamps??? when i first read about them I just figured I hadn't heard of them, but now... maybe Willow IS wearing very fashionable nipple clamps on her clothing


:laugh :laugh :laugh

Sweater clips are a real thing!

Image

But when undecorated, they do have an uncanny resemblance to...

Image

So both are real, but you are definitely right that Tara could think she's buying one not the other.

Quote:
there is little more beautiful than watching someone in their element and in their passion


We are so on the same wavelength on this. I LOVE listening to artists wax lyrical about their art. I get so mesmerized.

Quote:
- I am so glad Tara is relishing in the music around her- but I mean, of course she would. I remember when OMWF feeling aired and seeing Amber just looking so joyful and radiant and free when she sang- I felt like I was seeing an artist in her element and it stole my heart


The 'now I'm bathed in light' line in particular in UYS makes me gasp even still when I watch it. It's just so ethereally magical to see a character embodied so perfectly.

Quote:
I was so glad that Willow just recognized that maybe Tara (and herself) needed some alone time- its good for everybody and especially when having a crappy PMS day/ their frustration is so normal - thanks for not letting them be saints.


You know what they say, if you want to know someone, travel with them. There's bound to be little disagreements, even if you've worked hard to figure out the big ones.

Quote:
Seeing that poverty and struggle would definitely have humbling (and heartbreaking)


I've never been to India but my brother still gets choked up talking about it.

Quote:
I loved the Taj Mahal story and how Willow shared it across the water


Sweeter heard for Tara for it to be from Willow.

Quote:
they are still talking and sharing and taking care of themselves- these are good things


A good relationship never loses it.

Thanks for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

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Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Nov 29th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Location: Ireland
CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

NOTE: Advance warning for some unwanted sexual contact and conversation in this chapter

Chapter 35



India

(Part 2)



Ease My Troubles, That’s What You Do



Willow woke into darkness, her eyes slowly flickering open.


It was dead of night and though the blanket was barely draped across her body, she was warm.


This was unusual as the room had been pretty chilly previous evenings.


She didn’t remember falling asleep but when she felt an earbud still pressed into her ear and an arm thrown across her waist, she realized they must have fallen asleep when they were still listening to music.


The music had stopped, though.


Tara’s phone had died, probably. Though that explained why she was so warm with all of the body heat.


But what had woken her?


Her ears caught something that sounded like heavy breathing but that had become a sound she was accustomed to from sharing so many rooms with so many different people. But this felt close.


Too close.


And it wasn’t Tara’s saintly respiration.


Tara was nearest the wall and curled into her, so Willow shifted her body on its side facing out so she could see into the room. After a moment of adjustment into the pitch black, she noted movement near the foot of their bed. Slowly, through several heavy blinks, she realized it was a figure with their arm moving up and down near their waist.


She closed her eyes and moved again and this time when she opened her eyes, everything seemed still again.


Frowning and shaking her head, she shifted onto her other side, flung her arm around Tara and tried to go back asleep.



Tara fluffed her pillow in place on her bunk, returning it after taking it the night before to cuddle with Willow.


Her bed hadn’t been slept in so there was no need to make it and she jumped down from the first step on the ladder to the floor.


Willow was sitting on her bed, frowning at her phone. Tara sat in beside her.


“Why so scrunchy?”


Willow slapped her phone against her palm.


“My dad keeps emailing me.”


“That’s good, right?” Tara asked softly, placing her hand on Willow’s knee, “They’re staying in touch?”


“Well, yes. They are. Which is good and probably as close to normal communication that I could hope for. But…” Willow answered cagily, drawing out the last word, “He keeps insisting I visit Israel ever since I told him we were thinking of going to Egypt instead of Turkey. Wants to give me extra money to go.”


Tara’s hand fell away softly.


“Oh.”


Willow reached behind her neck and rubbed it.


“I guess it’s not a major detour…could just go for like a weekend. Get my dad to pay for a fancy hotel?”


Tara’s eyes stayed down and her voice, quiet.


“I hadn’t really considered it.”


Willow sighed.


“Yeah, I know,” she replied, leaving her phone back down on the bed, “I’ll respond later. Did you sleep better?”


“Like a log now that I had my snuggle buddy,” Tara replied with a gently sloping smile, “You?”


Willow’s eyes narrowed slightly.


“Odd dreams.”


“That’s nothing new,” Tara replied affectionately.


“At least I wasn’t speaking in my sleep this time,” Willow replied, squirming uncomfortably, “I’m, um, just gonna go to the bathroom before breakfast.”


“Okay, I’ll wait,” Tara called after her, placing her palms on her thighs for a moment and rubbing them against the fabric, before getting up and turning her back to make Willow’s bed for her.


It was the least she could do considering she’d shared the tiny space with her. Looking at it now she wondered how they even fit without falling out, but they always had just fit together.


She smiled to herself as she smoothed everything out and bent her arms at her hips to nod in satisfaction with the lack of creases.


Just as she was about to turn back, she suddenly found a pair of hands reaching around her from behind and covering her breasts.


She inhaled sharply in surprise.


What was Willow doing?


Anyone could walk in.


It surprised her that it turned her on a little bit.


Except…something was wrong. She looked down.


Those weren’t Willow’s hands.


They were big and rough and the nails were dirty.


And that smell was not Willow’s delicate aroma of afternoon tea. It was that of someone who subscribed to the ‘shower in a can’ philosophy and the distinct minty, rotted waft of someone who uses mouthwash as a replacement for teeth brushing.


She spun around and was met with Warren’s smarmy grin. His body was pressed so close he was almost touching but not quite.


His pants were unzipped but the button was tied so it wasn’t obvious, though it was obvious to Tara as she realized that something had been poking her in the back before she turned.


She stared at him in stunned silence, fearfully immobile until thankfully Willow returned and immediately came over to her side upon seeing the standoff.


“What’s going on?”


Tara slumped toward Willow for protection.


“H-He grabbed me.”


“What!?” Willow spat, her pupils enlarging so much her eyes looked pure black.


“No I didn’t,” Warren said with the air of someone who’d gotten away with this before, “There was a spider on her. Big one. Two big ones, actually.”


He stepped back with a smirk and Willow suddenly gasped quietly.


“I saw you. Last night. You were…” she glanced down, then over at Tara, “He was standing over the bed touching himself. I thought I was dreaming it but you were really doing it weren’t you? You creepy pervert.”


Warren’s face flashed with anger and he got up close in Willow’s face.


“You didn’t wake up the night before when I came in your face and wiped it off.”


Willow didn’t have a moment to process that as suddenly she saw a fist swinging for his face and it wasn’t hers.


She heard Warren’s nose crack and then a loud, effeminate squeal as his hands rose to cup it.


“You bitch!”


Willow looked over at Tara, shocked, who was looking at her own ruffled hand with the same look on her face.


“What is going on here?” a male voice with an Indian accent boomed through the room before he appeared, skinny but tall and surprisingly well-built, and wearing a nametag with the hostel logo on it.


Warren pointed at Tara petulantly.


“She punched me!”


“He grabbed her chest,” Willow interjected quickly, standing in front of Tara, “And he’s been touching himself in front of us.”


The Indian man looked between them all unsurely for a moment before his eyes dropped to Warren’s opened fly and his face hardened.


“You out of here right now!”


Warren tried to fight him off as he was dragged out but his strength wasn’t comparable.


“She’s lying! They’re lying bitches!” he shrieked as his heels imprinted the carpet, “Dumb whores!”


Willow’s heart pounded in her chest until he was completely out of the room, then she turned to Tara, wide-eyed.


“You punched him for me.”


Tara cradled her lightly bruised hand.


“He hurt my hand,” she answered, flattening out her knuckles again.


Willow stepped toward her and took it tenderly.


“Aw,” she said softly, “Baby. That was…”


Tara expected Willow to say ‘terrifying’ or ‘disgusting’ but her pupils were blown in a whole new way.


“Really hot.”


Tara blushed but a pleased smile tugged on her lips.


“Nobody messes with my girl.”


Willow gently touched the broken skin on Tara’s knuckles and watched her wince.


“I’ll go see if they have some ointment. Sit down, okay?”


She guided Tara to sit on the bottom bunk and headed to the front desk, where their sweet Indian savior was printing a page with a hastily-taken photo of Warren and his broken nose with NO ENTRY in English and Hindi above and below it.


He looked up as she approached and stopped what he was doing.


“Are you both most okay? I must apologize unreservedly.”


“Yeah, I think so,” Willow nodded, reaching across her body to hold one arm with the other hand, “It’s not your fault. There’s creeps everywhere.”


“Man is banned from premises,” he assured.


“That’s probably a good idea,” Willow nodded, “Do you have a first aid kit? For, y’know…”


She twisted her hand indicatively and a hint of a smile appeared on the man’s face.


“Madam has impressive swing.”


“Yes, she does,” Willow replied in a tone unquestionably proud, “Thank you…”


She peered in to read his nametag.


“Manpreet. For getting him out of there.”


Manpreet nodded once.


“You are welcome, Miss…”


“Willow,” Willow supplied.


“Miss Willow,” Manpreet replied, clasping his hands in front of him, “Please do tell me if I may do anything for you.”


“Just the, ah, first aid kit,” Willow said, laying her hands on the counter, “If you have one.”


Manpreet disappeared into the back room and returned with a white plastic container with a little green cross taped on. Willow took it and thanked him again and brought it back to Tara.


She cleaned up Tara’s hand and wrapped a bandage around it gently.


“Is that okay?” she asked tenderly.


“Yes, thank you,” Tara replied, softly tensing and releasing her knuckles to test their sensitivity, “I’m sorry…I think I’ve probably made us miss all the good stuff at breakfast.”


“I think our options are going to be soggy toast or going out,” Willow replied and put an arm around Tara’s shoulders, tugging them close together, “I think a meal is the least I can get you for defending my honor.”


Tara slowly met Willow’s eye, concern shining through.


“Are you okay?”


“You’re the one with the busted up knuckles,” Willow replied with an affectionate smile.


Tara looked away uncomfortably.


“About…what he said?”


Willow took in a soft breath and looked at Tara reassuringly.


“He didn’t really do it.”


“How do you know?” Tara asked with a creased brow of confusion.


“Because it was cold without my snuggle buddy the night before last and I wore a hoody to sleep, tugged up,” Willow said confidently, “Not much more than my eyes were on view. He’s all talk. So don’t worry, okay?”


Tara nodded, relieved; she remembered bringing the blanket up over her head herself that night to keep in the warmth.


But then Willow’s face took on the concern that had left Tara’s.


“What about you? Did he hurt you?”


“It was all so quick,” Tara answered, dazed for a moment before she took stock and realized she was fine and Willow was fine and she was just glad for it to be over, “But, yeah, I’m okay. Glad he’s gone.”


She flexed her hand again, looking down at it in disbelief.


“I can’t believe I punched someone.”


“I can’t believe the first person you ever punched wasn’t Donny,” Willow retorted, laughing at her own joke, “Remind me to stay on your good side when you have PMS.”


Tara snorted and covered her mouth to cover it but her eyes remained alight with the humor of it.


Willow wrapped her arms around Tara and just held her for a few minutes.


“Let’s go get something to eat,” she suggested softly, “Before the others start trickling back.”


Tara nodded and smiled when Willow gingerly held her injured hand in her own.


They walked out and toward the markets, careful to watch every step. There was no room for obliviousness to the streets in this city; a lesson quickly learned.


They made their way to the food stalls and weighed up their options before deciding to get some eggs and spinach wrapped up in chapati. They could eat it easily while they walked around.


The man in the stall whipped it all together in no time, then pointed to three tubs in the front of his cart, next to the barrel of melting ice holding bottles of water and soft drinks.


“You pick chutney.”


“Oh,” Willow replied, peering in, “Um…which one goes best with eggs?”


The vendor grabbed a plastic spoon from a pot.


“You want taste?”


“Thanks!” Willow replied, scooping a full spoon of the first, red chutney and closing her mouth around it.


She made a yummy noise at first as the spoon dragged back over her lips, she licked it again as she swallowed. It was about one-eighth of a second later that her eyes began to bulge.


It was hot.


The hottest thing she’d ever tasted, including the time she’d practically burned her lips off in her haste to try the Chinese hotpot (and the time she really had almost burned her lips off when she’d been too curious with a glue gun as a child.)


Her arms started to flap but before Tara could react or ask what was wrong, Willow was looking around desperately for relief. She spotted the barrel of drinks and plunged her hand into the icy vat, scooping up a few small cubes and firing one into her mouth while she rubbed the other on her lips.


Tara just silently rubbed Willow’s back and looked at the vendor sheepishly, who was looking back with an amused look on his face.


“We’ll take it plain,” Tara said diplomatically and quickly paid.


“Mmspospay,” Willow tried to speak without relinquishing the ice.


Somehow, or perhaps of course, Tara understand.


“You can pay next time. When you’re not doing your best impression of Elsa.”


Willow stuck out her tongue but immediately had to use her lips-ice on it as the other melted to oblivion.


Tara took the two Indian-style breakfast burritos and took Willow away from the laughing bystanders.


She opened the bottle of water she had in her bag and handed it over for Willow to glug down. Willow did exactly that and held the bottle in relief against her lips when the burning finally eased.


“How come I’m the one who always gets landed with the steaming ears and lava tongue?”


“Because you jump into things mouth first,” Tara replied, then glanced over at Willow through her eyelashes, “A trait I’ve enjoyed in the past.”


Willow’s eyes widened as Tara handed off her breakfast.


“Especially with your lava tongue.”


Willow had to shove the chapati into her gob to stop herself from squeaking.


“Eating now.”


“Mmm,” Tara replied, bringing the corner of her breakfast up to nibble on.


She blushed as she realized what she’d actually said and how intently she was watching Willow eat.


The adrenaline was starting to wear off.


She looked back down at her food and let its warmth settle her stomach.


“It’s pretty good actually.”


“Yeah, it’s delicious,” Willow agreed and Tara was relieved to hear the normalcy in her tone, “The vending machine at the Grab’n’Go won’t be able to live up.”


Tara smiled softly.


“What do you want to do today? We never made plans.”


Willow shrugged one shoulder and they walked around another couple of blocks to finish their food. Along the way, she found a flyer roughly stuck onto a pole.


“What about that?”


“A street art tour?” Tara read cursive English above a printed address street corner.


Willow shrugged again.


“Why not?”


“No, it looks fun,” Tara agreed, “I just didn’t think it was your thing.”


“I did a graffiti hunt in Melbourne,” Willow replied with a faux-haughtiness, “I’m cultured.”


“Okay then,” Tara grinned, “I’m in.”


Willow smiled and tapped her pockets.


“I didn’t bring my phone for pictures, do you have yours?”


Tara shook her head.


“No, I locked it up to charge. It died during the night.”


“Right,” Willow replied and glanced at the flyer again, “We have enough time, do you mind if I go back to grab it? It would seem a shame to miss out.”


“Of course,” Tara nodded, “I’ll come with you and refill our water bottles again. You drained them.”


Willow leaned up and kissed Tara’s cheek.


“I don’t know how I’d stay hydrated without you.”


As they headed back toward the hostel, Willow paused and placed her palm gently against her stomach.


“Are you okay?” Tara asked with concern.


Willow shook herself out of it and continued onward.


“Yeah, just those eggs turning over.”


When they were on the steps, Willow suddenly rushed ahead.


“Meet you back here in a few!”


Those eggs went from turning to somersaulting and were determined to leave Willow’s body however they could. The bathroom stalls were the other side of the building, which may as well be Narnia for how unreachable it seemed to Willow.


Sweat broke out on her brow and her stomach lurched in a last and final warning. Willow looked desperately from side to side and spotted an open single room ahead with the cleaning lady and her cart parked outside it. Willow skid toward it and saw the en suite bathroom inside light up as if a golden halo was shining down on it (it was just a dodgy lighting fixture.)


She practically threw herself in and twisted the lock, just about making it to the toilet on time as the cleaning lady began banging on the door and yelling in Hindi.


“I’m sorry!” Willow called out helplessly, her head hanging in her hands as her guts wound themselves up inside her, “I’m sorry!”


She hadn’t even learned how to say it in Hindi yet so she couldn’t apologize properly.


Her hands crossed over her stomach and she leaned forward hoping the pressure might alleviate the pain but it didn’t stop churning.


After a minute, the cleaner stopped yelling, though Willow could still hear the ringing in her ears. Instead, moments later, there was a loud bang of a hand against the door and a male voice boomed through authoritatively.


“Excuse me, this is not a reserved room. You must exit at once and pay a soiling fee.”


Willow knew that voice.


“…Manpreet?”


There was a pause before the voice returned, softer.


“Miss Willow?”


Willow sighed.


“Manpreet, I’m having a… gastroenteric situation.”


“I do not understand this word, Miss Willow,” Manpreet replied, the urgency gone in his voice.


“I just need the bathroom, okay?” Willow shot back quickly, “It was an emergency situation.”


Another pause.


“I see, Miss Willow.”


Willow’s cheeks flamed as much as her intestines.


“I’ll pay for the room. Can you book it out for the night?”


“I will do this for you, Miss Willow,” Manpreet said reassuringly.


Willow winced as a fresh cramp squeezed through her painfully.


“Can you give the key to my—can you give the key to Tara? You remember her?”


“Miss Rambo!” Manpreet replied in recognition, “Yes, I will do this. I will leave you alone now, Miss Willow.”


Willow exhaled softly. She was in far too much pain to focus on the embarrassment but it didn’t stop her face contorting with humiliation.


“…thanks Manpreet.”


She heard the sound of the outer door closing on the room and her head returned to above her knees as she groaned painfully.


Tara checked her watch again as she loitered outside the entrance and tapped her foot gently.


As more minutes ticked by she grew concerned and decided to check if Willow had gotten distracted by her phone. As she stepped back into the lobby of the hostel, Manpreet appeared from nowhere and ran up to her.


“Ah, Miss Rambo, I find you!”


“Have you seen—” Tara started, then stopped and frowned, “I’m sorry, what did you call me?”


“I have key for you,” Manpreet replied, holding it out for her, “Miss Willow reserve new room for you.”


Tara’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Maybe in case Warren came back? But they usually talked about these things first.


“Oh.”


“I believe she is suffering from sudden anal leakage and required suitable facilities,” Manpreet attempted to supply helpfully.


Tara just stared at him for several long seconds before finally blinking slowly and taking the key.


“102?” she read off of it, “I’ll, um…yeah. Thank you.”


She blinked again, shook her head quickly and walked past him. The room was only a few feet away so it didn’t take long for her to get there and let herself in. The room had a big queen bed, the biggest they’d had outside of the nice hotels, and though it was basic decor, there was a TV, a mini-fridge and even a little tea set on a tray.


Tara glanced away from the room and at the second door right inside it. She went to knock with her wrapped knuckles, then thought better of it and used her other hand.


“Willow?”


“Tara?”


Willow’s voice was weak and pained. Tara didn’t have to guess why.


“Oh honey, are you not feeling well?”


There was a pause.


“You could say that.”


“Can I get you anything?” Tara asked softly through the door.


“I just wanted you to know where I was,” Willow replied, a bit hastier, “You should go again. Do the tour.”


“I can sit here and talk to you,” Tara offered but Willow was quick to shoot it down.


“I really don’t want you to.”


“You know I'm accustomed to your bathroom emergencies,” Tara replied with a fond smile in her voice, “I really don't mind.”


“Tara, just—” Willow yelled, then an audible groan could be heard, “Just go. Please. Now.”


Willow tensed every muscle in her body until she finally heard the door close again.


This was hell.


Her head slumped into her hands again. She was starting to feel unable to even hold it up by herself.


She closed her eyes and focused on her breathing, trying to use her mind to uncoil the continued cramping.


She had no idea how long she stayed like that, or whether she was even conscious or unconscious at times as everything just became a painful haze, but became startled when something touched her shoulder.


Both hands grabbed the seat to keep herself on it, then she looked to the side to see what had touched her.


It was at this point she was sure she was hallucinating because she saw a plastic carrier bag floating on a long stick that had been stuck through the tiny rectangular open window in the top corner.


Willow cautiously slid the handles of the bag off the stick, at which point it retreated as if by magic. She looked inside where there was water, wipes, a cold compress, a tiny warm hot water bottle, and her phone. Fully charged.


She felt a lump form in her throat and clutched the bag close to her chest for a moment.


She took the compress and pressed it to her cheeks, then just over her whole face for a moment and sighed contentedly. When it got a bit too cold, she took it off again, feeling a little bit better.


She put it on the sink so it was accessible again to her and took the hot water bottle to her stomach. They was definite relief from it and she felt well enough to look at the screen of her phone, where she saw messages already waiting for her.


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A laugh escaped and Willow brought her forearm up to wipe tears from her eyes.


She angled her body so the hot water bottle pressed into her stomach by way of her thighs and kept up the pressure. She started to type a response.


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Willow sighed and focused on the warmth on her belly.


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Willow frowned.


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Her eyes widened in realization.


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Fresh sweat grew on Willow’s brow as she awaited a calm, reassuring response from her ever-wise girlfriend.


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Willow nearly fell off the bowl.


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Willow looked around for the sink lest she start spewing from that end too.


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Willow heard a cackle of laughter come in from the room and felt her cheeks flame.


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A fresh cramp set upon her and Willow didn’t have time to be indignant any longer.


Hours passed with intermittent check-ins but Willow mostly just endured with her eyes closed; so much so that she fell asleep slumped against the sink, completely exhausted.


She came to by banging her head against the faucet and rubbed the spot, confused as she tried to place herself. She didn’t recognize the bathroom at first but then she remembered barging in earlier.


Ugh. That was embarrassing.


She put a hand on her stomach and pressed gently. She was tender but it wasn’t the Coney Island Cyclone in there any longer.


She was glad that the window was still open.


She lifted herself off of the seat, her legs wobbling a little as she did so. She immediately decided she needed to shower and waddled over to it with her pants around her ankles. She stripped off and welcomed standing under the warm spray and twisting the crick out of her neck.


She wasn’t about to change back into the same clothes, so she put a towel around her and tucked it in so it would stay in place. She opened the bathroom door, letting the steam escape and sighing happily when she found the room a lot warmer than the shared dorm had been.


She always tried to make sure they avoided the absolute bottom barrel accommodation but it had been a lesson along the way that a lot of people didn’t consider heat a basic need.


Almost as soon as she’d stepped out, Tara was walking over to her with a little teacup in hand.


“Hey,” Willow greeted, all the better for seeing Tara’s face.


“Hey,” Tara smiled back softly, gently offering her the cup, “It’s peppermint. It should help. Come sit down.”


Willow sat on the bed and warmed her hands on the little cup.


“How’d you know I was coming out?”


“Well, I didn’t have an Instagram post this time to guide me this time,” Tara replied fondly, reaching over to tuck a piece of damp hair behind Willow’s ear, “I heard the shower. How are you feeling?”


“Raw,” Willow replied, frowning and looking toward the window to see if she could ascertain the time of day, “I don’t even know what time it is.”


“Dinner-ish,” Tara answered, placing her hand down on the bedspread, “I was going to make you some toast but wanted to check with you first in case you thought it would be too much.”


“That’d be really nice,” Willow replied, feeling the relief of having someone take care of her, “What about you?”


“I had a big lunch earlier,” Tara replied with a shrug, then stood to hike a grocery bag from the floor and fish out the pack of bread she’d bought, “I put your PJs on the heater to warm.”


Willow glanced over to the heater and saw her red flannel jammies spread out over them.


“Thank you, Tara.”


Tara just smiled bashfully and glanced down.


“I’ll go make you some toast.”


Willow watched her leave, feeling some love bloom in her heart and crept over to the heater to retrieve her pajamas. She held the soft flannel against her for a moment before dropping the towel and draping her limbs in the warmth.


Its hug was only second to a Tara-hug.


Which Willow hoped would be forthcoming soon too.


She noticed all of their stuff was in the corner, which Tara must have lugged down by herself while Willow was semi-comatose.


She went back to the bed and slipped under the sheets, which felt so much better than the ones in the dorms where she’d actually contemplated laying her towel down to sleep on by how dirty they looked.


She settled her back against the pillows with the sheet draped over her waist and reached for the remote on the nightstand.


Holding it in her hand, she looked around and smiled. This could be their bedroom in the future. Better decorated, hopefully, and she’d like a bit more pop in her bed linen, but this could be them, snuggling up on a Friday night as they always had to watch a movie, but more.


Honest. Sincere. Real.


She flicked through the channels until she found something in English that wasn’t a news channel and checked her phone while she waited for Tara to return. She did after a few minutes with a plate piled high full of toast.


“Do you have a second, secret, sick girlfriend?” Willow asked with a quiet smile, “Or are you trying to kill me via gluten overdose?”


“Option 3,” Tara answered as she climbed on the bed and sat cross-legged beside Willow, “Sharing is caring.”


Willow picked up a triangle, because of course Tara had cut them into triangles for her, and held it up to Tara’s mouth. Tara bit the corner and smiled bashfully, which Willow returned and took the bread back to her own mouth to eat.


“Good toast,” she complimented and Tara waved a piece around with some mock-snootiness.


“It’s all in the burn.”


Willow giggled and took a long sip from her cup of hot tea. She patted the spot next to her for Tara to get under the sheet beside her. Tara kicked off her shoes off and sat alongside Willow, sharing the sheet.


Their hands came together through linked fingers between them and neither minded having to reach over each time to take toast from the plate.


“Xena,” Tara commented as her focus finally landed on the television, “A classic.”


“I never watched it when we were kids,” Willow replied, cocking her head as she watched the two women around a campfire, “My dad didn’t like the promotion of mythological gods. You know, compared to his own totally-not-mythological one.”


“I was always more into the goddesses,” Tara replied wryly and Willow saw a crooked smile hiding behind some chewing.


Willow almost forgot she’d spent the day doubled over in agony such was the sweetness of just sitting with Tara like this.


As the show played out, Willow’s brow gently creased. She leaned over to whisper to Tara.


“Is it just me or is this show kinda gay?”


The biggest laugh rose from Tara’s stomach but somehow she managed to contain it through pursed lips threatening so hard to grin that her jaw shook.


“You know, you might be right,” she managed to get out in a neutral tone with only her eyes betraying her.


Willow looked at her kind of funny but shrugged it off and leaned in against Tara’s slide, resting her head on Tara’s shoulder.


A dance show came on when the episode ended with Bollywood stars that was energetic to watch and then a buddy comedy with subtitles.


Willow watched the reluctant protagonist being dragged around a strip joint with appropriate macho comments being espoused. She poked Tara in the side with her elbow.


“Hey, Tara?”


“Mmm?” Tara replied, brushing her fingers against Willow’s shoulder.


Willow couldn’t help a giggle escaping.


“Tits or ass?” she asked in a gruff voice meant to mimic one of the men on screen.


Tara rolled her eyes playfully, thinking they were exchanging the same mocking spirit, but Willow kept looking at her expectantly.


“Are you serious?” Tara asked after a few moments of uncertainty.


Willow’s nose scrunched.


“I wasn’t but now I kinda am?”


Tara’s mouth opened and closed. She knew better than to ask if Willow meant the women on screen.


“Just Willow,” she settled on after a moment, dropping a kiss onto Willow’s forehead and turning her attention back to the screen.


Willow pulled back a bit and looked at Tara curiously.


“Come on, you have to choose.”


“Why?” Tara asked, holding up a hand airily, “Are you being threatened with having a body part lasered off? Can we negotiate your freedom with all body parts attached?”


Willow gently tugged on Tara’s sleeve.


“It doesn’t have to be about me. Just a…general concept,” she said, her voice rising uncomfortably for a moment, “Just tell me.”


Tara inhaled slowly and exhaled even slower. She let her fingers dance up Willow’s thigh.


“If I have to choose…”


Her fingers pressed insistently enough between Willow’s legs to make her involuntarily gasp.


“Your…”


She then surprised Willow by dropping a kiss on her nearest shoulder.


“Shoulder blade.”


Willow didn’t have enough time to say ‘huh?’ before Tara brushed her lips against Willow’s neck and pressed a kiss into the hollow in her throat.


“And your throat.”


Her mouth dipped as low as the open V of the flannel allowed on Willow’s chest.


“Your breasts,” she whispered and let the tail of the pajama shirt rise enough for her to kiss there, “And your bellybutton.”


Her hand moved then, curving around Willow’s behind and giving it a squeeze.


“Your butt,” she said, smirking a little as she rose her head back to Willow who was looking back at her with an unbroken stare, “And your thighs.”


She grasped Willow’s thigh suddenly, making her jump. Willow’s breath hitched as Tara’s fingers danced down her leg.


“And that spot where your calf muscles tense when you’re excited and send quivers right back up to your…”


Her arm brushed up to press between Willow’s legs again.


“And most of all I love your… lips,” she spoke, her face inches away from Willow’s face now, “Your soft, sweet lips.”


She kissed Willow three times, slowly.


“That I love to kiss.”


Willow’s body was completely still and tingling.


Tara sure knew how to blow her insecurity fishing right out of the water; slapping her down and building her up all at once.


Tara’s hand fell away and she bumped her nose against Willow’s, their breaths mingling hotly for a moment.


“That’s what I choose.”


Willow’s eyes closed and she swallowed deeply as she felt Tara settled back into a sitting position.


Her breath was shaken as it left her mouth and when she opened her eyes again just the sight of Tara made her flush to her bones.


“I’m a breast gal myself,” she blurted, immediately cringing at her own lack of grace.


Tara could only smile and chuckle to herself.


“I know.”


“You already knew that?” Willow asked, frowning with surprise, “Am I too hands-y?”


Tara chuckled again.


“Oh no. I’ve known for a long time. It's one of the reasons I held out hope that you might like me back. I saw you looking.”


Willow suddenly sat up straight.


“Did you wear low cut tops on purpose to our sleepovers?” she accused, her mouth dropping open when Tara just returned a guilty look, “I knew it! I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! It was one of those back of the brain thoughts I wouldn’t let myself process fully but…grr, you tease!”


“Hey, I didn’t know for sure,” Tara defended, blushing, “You’d always been self-conscious about your size, without merit might I add. I didn’t know if you were looking or looking.”


“So you knew I was kinda gay,” Willow reasoned in a soft voice like it was a revelation.


“I ‘knew’ you were in love with Xander because that’s what you always told me,” Tara replied, her tongue poking into her cheek for a moment, “But I thought…hoped… maybe you might perhaps have a little…curiosity too.”


She smiled fondly.


“I remember once you said we should play spin the bottle…just the two of us.”


She glanced down at Willow’s body.


“Plus your PJs were always a little bit gay.”


Willow looked down and frowned.


“What’s gay about flannel?”


“Um, apart from everything?” Tara questioned with a sincerely arched eyebrow.


Willow lifted her sleeve up and examined it as if rainbows might come shooting out. She decided she was glad she didn’t know about that connection because she probably would have stopped wearing them and they were super comfortable.


She stayed on her side facing Tara and started to draw circles on Tara’s thigh.


“Can I ask you something?”


“Of course,” Tara replied slowly, hesitantly, “But if it’s about your body, I—”


“No, no,” Willow interjected, waving a hand about, “It’s about other people’s bodies.”


Tara’s eyes grew wide like saucers and Willow was actually able to laugh to, and at, herself.


“I can see on your face you think I’m about to jump into a jealousy spiral, but actually it’s the opposite. Because…I know we both have insecurities, but you don’t get jealous. Can you teach me how?”


“Oh, Willow,” Tara replied softly, shaking her head, “I get jealous. I have a long history of being jealous, especially over you.”


Willow’s brow creased.


“Umm no, you don’t. I’ve never seen you jealous, ever.”


Tara shook her head again.


“I was jealous of Buffy when you started hanging out with her, I was jealous of the guys you said you crushed on. Who was that actor guy from the 80s? John Cusack?”


“On reflection, I think it was Joan’s…unique…form that I enjoyed,” Willow replied, blushing to her ears, “My parents would probably call that a unique kind of transference.”


She tried to smile.


“Better not tell them or they’ll want to write a paper on me,” she said, then her eyes and voice grew downcast, “Another paper.”


Tara looked down, her thumbs turning over themselves in her lap.


“I was even jealous of Dickie last year.”


“Dickie? Dickie BABCOCK? Seriously??” Willow exclaimed in disbelief, but reined it in when she noticed Tara wasn’t kidding around, “Wow, Tara…I never knew.”


Tara smiled softly, sadly and Willow realized she recognized it and not in a good way.


“I guess it’s hard to notice. I hid all those years of it behind the smile.”


Willow’s heart tightened painfully.


“Years?”


Tara drew her knees up to her chest, boxing herself in.


“That’s about how long you were set on Xander.”


Willow shook her head dismissively.


“But he—”


“Was the love of your life,” Tara interjected quickly, “So you’ve said.”


Willow felt a harsh slap of reality of all of the times she’d whined to Tara about liking Xander…how often she’d kissed her while saying she was practicing for him.


Fuck.


She wisely shut her mouth for a moment to choose her words.


“I'm sorry, Tara,” she said eventually, slightly helplessly but with nothing but sincerity, “I’m so sorry. It was never real. But I get that it hurt you. I don’t think I understood quite as much until right now. Which is on me, because you’ve said it. I guess I just…I guess I thought your feelings were as real as mine were…which is to say, not.”


She placed a hand on Tara’s knee and gently tried to push it down.


“You have to know that every kiss was because I wanted to kiss you. I was just too scared to say it. And I’m so sorry I ever made you feel differently.”


Tears pricked her eyes and Tara let her legs be lowered again, physically opening up.


“Hey…You don't have anything to be sorry about,” she comforted.


Willow swiped at her eyes.


“You’re doing that thing where you push your feelings down to make me feel better.”


“No, Willow,” Tara shook her head, “Okay, listen…One…my jealousy isn't your problem…unless you're intentionally invoking it, which I don’t think you were. And two… I only ever wanted you to be happy. If that was him, then…that was him. I would have supported it.”


Willow reached out and placed her palm on Tara’s cheek.


“You’re a better person than me.”


Tara leaned her cheek in to nuzzle Willow’s hand.


“You don’t give yourself credit. I never doubted you cared about my feelings. You used to tell me to date Nate.”


Willow’s face scrunched up.


“Nuh-uh.”


Tara nodded.


“You would drop hints about how you thought he liked me.”


“I was fishing! I wanted to know if you liked him too!” Willow could only laugh at herself again, which exploded into uncontrollable giggles, “Sorry, it just seems so stupid now! I mean, Xander’s a great friend but I thought I wanted him and not you and you thought that too?! How stupid were we?!”


Tara couldn’t help but smile as she thought back to what were the more ridiculous times of envy against Xander as a dorky, spotty, awkward kid going through puberty.


“I was so jealous when you chose him to be your Coke and Pepsi partner at your bat mitzvah.”


“Seriously?” Willow asked, eyes wide.


“Seething,” Tara replied, grinning at the silliness of it all.


“I only chose him because he was gonna choose you! I heard him talking about it to Jesse!” Willow laughed, “Stupid idiot ran out on Sprite.”


“Don’t call him that,” Tara chastised softly.


“Yeah, you’re right,” Willow sighed contritely, “Even if I would say it to his face. In fact, I did.”


“I remember,” Tara agreed, nodding, “Your mom wasn’t impressed.”


“When is she ever?” Willow replied wryly and they both slid slowly into silence.


Willow’s hand had remained on Tara’s thigh and she gave it a little squeeze


“Is there anything I can do to repair all those years?”


Tara lifted Willow’s hand to her mouth and kissed her palm.


“You do it every day you wake up and choose to be with me.”


Willow reached to clasp Tara’s delicately bandaged hand between both of hers.


“Let me tell you the whole story. To make you understand that it was never him. I told you a little bit of it before. Do you remember me telling you about Cordelia making fun of me on the first day of Kindergarten…because I said I wanted to marry you?”


Tara nodded slowly and Willow recounted all of her fuzzy childhood memories. The yellow crayon and the bullying and how using Xander as a cover was a lie so old she’d forgotten it was a lie.


“He was the perfect beard. He never liked me back so I never had to actually act on it. And I treated him badly as much as I did you. I don’t deserve all the forgiveness I’ve been given.”


“You were way too young to try and have to work out all of that turmoil,” Tara replied tenderly, “Maybe it’s time to forgive yourself.”


Willow dipped her head for a moment, then smiled up at Tara.


“I’m glad we can talk like this.”


“I am too,” Tara replied softly.


Willow bounced on the spot, showing some excitement.


“I want this. I don’t ever want there to be something so misunderstood between us again. I want to be open about everything. It might take some time and work to get there, but I want it. Even if it hurts or…I want to know everything,” she smiled bashfully, “You might even be able to point out other women you find attractive to me one day.”


Tara opened her arms, which Willow gladly fell into, though looked up quickly for a moment.


“Just to be really clear, today is not that day.”


Tara chuckled softly.


“I know honey,” she said, kissing Willow’s brow, “I only have eyes for you.”


Willow’s face pressed closely into Tara’s chest and her fingers rolled over the curves. She looked up at Tara through her eyelashes and let her hand dip lower, pressing against the front of Tara’s pants as Tara had done to her earlier.


“You know I’m not exclusively inclined toward the northern slopes…” she said with a salacious grin, “I’m definitely a pussy Willow too.”


Tara took in a sharp breath and exhaled it shakily.


“Oh. I, um, I got my…”


Willow nodded understandingly, pressing her lips to Tara again.


“I can wait,” she whispered softly, looking down bashfully, “I don’t think my stomach is up much for bouncing around tonight anyway.”


“Think we can cuddle?” Tara asked and Willow nodded keenly.


“If you’re the big spoon.”


They shuffled down so they were lying and Tara curved her body around Willow’s back. She let her hand slide under Willow’s top and gently rubbed her palm around Willow’s belly in circles.


“Is this okay?” she asked softly in Willow’s ear.


Willow’s eyes closed peacefully.


“Mmm, I like that.”


She rested her fingers gently over Tara’s hand.


“And I love you,” she said softly, recounting the words she’d memorized while Tara had gone to get toast, “Main tumse pyar karthee hoon.”


“That’s the most complicated one yet,” Tara murmured as her fingertips brushed Willow’s tender skin.


Willow exhaled in a soft sigh.


“The words, maybe. Not the feeling. Not anymore.”


She smiled as she drifted off into tranquil sleep.


“Not ever again.”

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Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 3rd 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:46 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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JMT-

Sorry I've been absent from leaving feedback. I've been reading and then just plain lazy!

Where to start....oh yes, the fucking perv from HELL! He, who shall not be named, is a vile pig and I sincerely hope that is the last we see of him. Big YAY for Tara punching him in the face! I love how you incorporated a little canon into this scene.

Quote:
“Aw,” she said softly, “Baby. That was…”

Tara expected Willow to say ‘terrifying’ or ‘disgusting’ but her pupils were blown in a whole new way.

“Really hot.”
Willow... :laugh

I can SO relate to Willow's "bathroom issues." As soon as she grabbed the ice & popped it into her mouth...I think I said "NO" out loud, lol and also, GROSS! They don't call it Montezuma's Revenge for nothing.

This made me LOL and also think..."Tara's a genius!"
Quote:
It was at this point she was sure she was hallucinating because she saw a plastic carrier bag floating on a long stick that had been stuck through the tiny rectangular open window in the top corner.

I can see Willow's reluctance in not wanting Tara to see her sick on the toilet, but the longer they're together....that soon will fade and she'll be like, "Get in here and HELP ME!!!" lol Just ask my wife about the California Pizza Kitchen / San Diego beach Incident of 1994™. It happened about two and a half years into our relationship and that day...I became a hero. Wait, never mind. How about you NEVER mention that to my wife! Kay? Thanks.

Quote:
Holding it in her hand, she looked around and smiled. This could be their bedroom in the future. Better decorated, hopefully, and she’d like a bit more pop in her bed linen, but this could be them, snuggling up on a Friday night as they always had to watch a movie, but more.
Awwwwwwww! :heart

One last thing I feel bears mentioning, which definitely concerned me: The possible side trip to Israel.

Quote:
“He keeps insisting I visit Israel ever since I told him we were thinking of going to Egypt instead of Turkey. Wants to give me extra money to go.”

Tara’s hand fell away softly.

“Oh.”


I'm not really sure why this is bugging Tara. The money part? Maybe, but my guess is that it has more to do with Willow allowing her parents control over trip plans. Maybe Tara wishes Willow didn't share so much with them? I also think Willow may feel obligated because they helped out with the Figi hotel. I just hope it doesn't become a major point of contention.

I loved the last few chapters and as always, looking forward to more!

-JMT

_________________
Shelby - Racing The Rain (IN PROGRESS) / Baby Makes Three (IN PROGRESS) / The Santa Line / Everything She Does...Is Beautiful / Calfornia Grass

"Transform your pain. Release your past. And ... uh ... get over it."
~Willow, Where The Wild Things Are


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 3rd 2019)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:31 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

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Quote:
There was a larger scene that was cut back in Adelaide that featured a fellow traveler telling Willow about the occupants of the room and that woman described Warren and 'his boyfriends' (hence Willow's recollection 'your boyfriends or something?' That person meant it insultingly but Willow didn't pick up on that at the time.

Ah! Thanks for rehabilitating Willow in my mind. :wink

Warren's behaviour was pathetic and disgusting! Yay to Tara for punching him after his (thankfully false) false statement of what he did to Willow the night before.

Quote:
“He hurt my hand,”

Another sneaky canon-easteregg (with "hand" instead of "nose"). Quite a funny complaint if you're the one who punched someone… I wouldn't try this as a defense-argument in court. :grin

Quote:
“Nobody messes with my girl.”

The other easteregg!

I actually imagined that if you had Warren attack the girls then Tara would defend Willow so this great quote could make an appearance.

Quote:
“How come I’m the one who always gets landed with the steaming ears and lava tongue?”


“Because you jump into things mouth first,” Tara replied, then glanced over at Willow through her eyelashes, “A trait I’ve enjoyed in the past.”


Willow’s eyes widened as Tara handed off her breakfast.


“Especially with your lava tongue.”

:laugh Yay for vixen-Tara's apperance!

Quote:
can you give the key to Tara? You remember her?”


“Miss Rambo!” Manpreet replied in recognition

:laugh

Quote:
“I believe she is suffering from sudden anal leakage and required suitable facilities,” Manpreet attempted to supply helpfully.


Tara just stared at him for several long seconds before finally blinking slowly and taking the key.

:rofl I love Manpreet!

Poor Willow! I guess you can't have a yearlong trip around the world without at least one case of "Montezuma's Revenge". I love how Tara took care of her (although she had a little lapse of compassion during their message-conversation with the emoticons and the laughing at Willow's expense... :fallen).

I loved Tara "whorshipping" Willow's body as a cure to her insecurity and that they had another enlightening talk about their childhood and youth (especially Tara admitting her jealousy and Willow explaining that she was lying to herself about the nature of her feelings towards Xander).

Quote:
And I treated him badly as much as I did you. I don’t deserve all the forgiveness I’ve been given.”


“You were way too young to try and have to work out all of that turmoil,” Tara replied tenderly, “Maybe it’s time to forgive yourself.”


Willow dipped her head for a moment, then smiled up at Tara.



Yeah Willow, think of your New Year's Resolution - you wouldn't think Tara didn't deserve forgiveness if your places had been reversed, would you?

Quote:
“I’m glad we can talk like this.”


“I am too,” Tara replied softly.


Willow bounced on the spot, showing some excitement.


“I want this. I don’t ever want there to be something so misunderstood between us again. I want to be open about everything. It might take some time and work to get there, but I want it. Even if it hurts or…I want to know everything,”

Good plan! With that in mind they should really talk about Tara's apparent reluctance against a visit to Israel which I don't really get. If I were her I would like to visit Israel with my jewish girlfriend just to learn more about her religious / cultural background.

Quote:
“And I love you,” she said softly, recounting the words she’d memorized while Tara had gone to get toast, “Main tumse pyar karthee hoon.”


“That’s the most complicated one yet,” Tara murmured as her fingertips brushed Willow’s tender skin.


Willow exhaled in a soft sigh.


“The words, maybe. Not the feeling. Not anymore.”

Awww! :flower

One last thing: I didn't understand this part:
Quote:
“I was so jealous when you chose him to be your Coke and Pepsi partner at your bat mitzvah.”


“Seriously?” Willow asked, eyes wide.


“Seething,” Tara replied, grinning at the silliness of it all.


“I only chose him because he was gonna choose you! I heard him talking about it to Jesse!” Willow laughed, “Stupid idiot ran out on Sprite.”


Is that some sort of non-alcoholic-drinking-game for kids or what?


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 3rd 2019)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:52 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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Ew Warren EW EW EW!!!! (also, a request, will you put content warnings if stuff like that happens again?) glad Tara punched him, almost wish Willow would go dark and take him down

glad Manpreet was so accommodating. poor poor Willow. I am glad they are both taking a day to rest

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 3rd 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Finey_McFine

Quote:
JMT-

Sorry I've been absent from leaving feedback. I've been reading and then just plain lazy!


No apology needed! Happy just to know you're still reading :)

Quote:
Where to start....oh yes, the fucking perv from HELL! He, who shall not be named, is a vile pig and I sincerely hope that is the last we see of him. Big YAY for Tara punching him in the face! I love how you incorporated a little canon into this scene.


It is the last he is featured, I can confirm. Last mentioned, not so much, but I think you'll be okay with said mentionings.

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Willow... :laugh


There's a fine line with the ole violence :laugh

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I can SO relate to Willow's "bathroom issues." As soon as she grabbed the ice & popped it into her mouth...I think I said "NO" out loud, lol and also, GROSS! They don't call it Montezuma's Revenge for nothing.


Just very...unpleasant.

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This made me LOL and also think..."Tara's a genius!"


She's creative, you gotta give her that!

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I can see Willow's reluctance in not wanting Tara to see her sick on the toilet, but the longer they're together....that soon will fade and she'll be like, "Get in here and HELP ME!!!" lol Just ask my wife about the California Pizza Kitchen / San Diego beach Incident of 1994™. It happened about two and a half years into our relationship and that day...I became a hero. Wait, never mind. How about you NEVER mention that to my wife! Kay? Thanks.


Lips are sealed :wink

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Awwwwwwww! :heart


She's so excited about their future! It's just a huge shift in perspective for her so I'm :heart -ing right along with you!

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One last thing I feel bears mentioning, which definitely concerned me: The possible side trip to Israel.

I'm not really sure why this is bugging Tara. The money part? Maybe, but my guess is that it has more to do with Willow allowing her parents control over trip plans. Maybe Tara wishes Willow didn't share so much with them? I also think Willow may feel obligated because they helped out with the Figi hotel. I just hope it doesn't become a major point of contention.


Less personal objection, more political. But it won't be a major point of contention.

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I loved the last few chapters and as always, looking forward to more!


Thanks so much JMT, hope you continue to enjoy them!

Thanks for your feedback!

Will's redemption

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Ah! Thanks for rehabilitating Willow in my mind. :wink


Thank you for pointing it out! I couldn't go back and change it because it was posted and formed part of the exchange that needed to happen but I'm glad there wasn't a misunderstanding.

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Warren's behaviour was pathetic and disgusting! Yay to Tara for punching him after his (thankfully false) false statement of what he did to Willow the night before.


He is a total creep and will totally get his comeuppance.

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Another sneaky canon-easteregg (with "hand" instead of "nose"). Quite a funny complaint if you're the one who punched someone… I wouldn't try this as a defense-argument in court. :grin


You never know, I think a judge would see it Tara's way :D

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The other easteregg!

I actually imagined that if you had Warren attack the girls then Tara would defend Willow so this great quote could make an appearance.


Isn't it just the best quote, coming from Tara of all people? Top 5 for sure.

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:laugh Yay for vixen-Tara's apperance!


Also a fave, as you know!

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:rofl I love Manpreet!


After this, so does Willow!

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Poor Willow! I guess you can't have a yearlong trip around the world without at least one case of "Montezuma's Revenge". I love how Tara took care of her (although she had a little lapse of compassion during their message-conversation with the emoticons and the laughing at Willow's expense... :fallen).


Hey, you gotta laugh... :laugh

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I loved Tara "whorshipping" Willow's body as a cure to her insecurity and that they had another enlightening talk about their childhood and youth (especially Tara admitting her jealousy and Willow explaining that she was lying to herself about the nature of her feelings towards Xander).


I think it was an important conversation a long time coming but also came at the right time. This kinda stuff, I find, is worked out as you go along.

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Yeah Willow, think of your New Year's Resolution - you wouldn't think Tara didn't deserve forgiveness if your places had been reversed, would you?


You make a very good point :)

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Good plan! With that in mind they should really talk about Tara's apparent reluctance against a visit to Israel which I don't really get. If I were her I would like to visit Israel with my jewish girlfriend just to learn more about her religious / cultural background.


She'd love to do the last part of that final sentence, it's just the location itself giving her pause. They'll talk it through.

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One last thing: I didn't understand this part:

Is that some sort of non-alcoholic-drinking-game for kids or what?


https://djconnectiondjs.com/bar-bat-mitzvah-games-and-descriptions/

Thanks for your feedback :)

shirrey

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Ew Warren EW EW EW!!!!


Mega.

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(also, a request, will you put content warnings if stuff like that happens again?)


Sure! (it doesn't though) I've retrospectively added one to that chapter too :)

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glad Tara punched him, almost wish Willow would go dark and take him down


He'll get his just desserts, promise!

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glad Manpreet was so accommodating. poor poor Willow. I am glad they are both taking a day to rest


Yes I think it was definitely a necessity!

Thanks for your feedback!



Update Directly Below

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The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 3rd 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 8:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:22 pm
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Topics: 36
Location: Ireland
CHAPTER RATING: NC-17

NOTE: Rating change ^^

Chapter 36



India

(Part 3)



It’s Oh So Quiet…



“That life-size portrait of Gandhi was just…stunning. I didn’t know monochrome could be so elegant.”


Willow frowned at Tara as she pushed open the door to the hostel kitchen.


“He was kind of a dick, you know.”


“But the art was beautiful,” Tara argued, adjusting the strap on her messenger bag so it didn’t fall off her shoulder.


“I’m just saying—”


“They waur in th' room tay!” someone suddenly shrieked across the room and they both looked over to see a gaggle of people surrounding a girl whom they’d shared the dorm with previously, a Scottish woman with short, blonde hair and a bit of a smoker’s rasp whose name was Hannah, “Oi, Poppy isnae it??”


“Me?” Willow asked, stepping forward in confusion, “Willow.”


“Aye, ah knew it was a tree,” Hannah replied a little dismissively, “Ye can teel them he was a reit creep.”


Willow walked over and leaned over the table with her elbows sticking out.


“What’s the hubbub?”


Hannah looked at Willow expectantly.


“Dae ye min' those three bamsticks 'at shared uir room? Wee things wi' th' big egos?”


Willow glanced at Tara, who was frowning.


“Uh, yeah, we remember them,” Willow nodded, hoping she was following along.


Hannah smirked.


“Got huckled tryin' tae buy a gin.”


Willow’s brow creased.


“They got what trying to buy some gin?”


“A gin!” Hannah repeated insistently, “A gin!”


“I think she means gun,” Tara whispered quietly, “They got arrested.”


“That's whit ah said,” Hannah said with exasperation, though clearly loving the attention of sharing the story, “Big bossy ‘un tried tae punch a polis an' got held in th’ cells.”


“Not-so-garden-variety creep, then,” Willow muttered, while Tara paled.


“They were really trying to buy a gun?”


“He's th' body gettin' creeped oan noo,” Hannah cackled, “The’s place is mingin an' we're payin' fur it… imagine th’ jail!”


“How’d you find out?” Willow asked, backing up to Tara to silently put an arm around her waist.


“His friends cam back tae gie their bags, freaked it, screamin' at each other,” Hannah replied with a grin, “They waur arguin' abit bailin’ heem ait ur jist bailin’. They’re probably oan a plane it awreddy, ah woods be.”


Tara tugged on Willow’s sleeve and Willow nodded to her discreetly.


“Well, he got what he deserved.”


“I’ll say,” Hannah replied, flicking her hand back through her hair, “Heard he was wankin' tae us, the lavvy-heided arsepiece.”


“If you’ll excuse us,” Willow said, extracting them from the conversation so Hannah could go back to bragging to her crowd and Willow could bring Tara off to a quieter corner.


They sat at a small round table near the door and Willow tucked her hand into Tara’s across the middle of it.


“Tell me what you’re thinking, baby.”


Tara gulped.


“Do you think he was buying that…for us?”


“I’m guessing you don’t mean as a belated Hanukkah gift,” Willow replied with her unique brand of peppy sarcasm.


Tara’s jaw tensed.


“He was angry when…” she stopped and lifted her gaze to Willow’s, her eyes betraying her fear, “Let’s get out of here.”


“You wanna get some dinner or go to a bar or something?” Willow asked unsurely.


“No, I mean let’s get out of here,” Tara replied, antsy, then clarified, “Move on.”


She looked down and her voice dropped.


“I don’t feel safe.”


Willow only had to think about it for a second.


“Yeah, of course,” she replied, squeezing Tara’s hand reassuringly, “You’re totally right. Let’s go. I can book us a train out of here tonight. Where do you want to go?”


“Anywhere,” Tara replied quickly.


Willow nodded.


“Let’s go pack up.”


She stood up and pulled Tara into a hug.


“Hey,” she said, smiling softly as she echoed the words Tara had said to her just a few days before, “I’ll keep you safe, baby.”


Tara held onto Willow tight for a few moments, enough to get the strength to follow Willow to their room. She started to quick-pack both hers and Willow’s things as Willow used her iPad to figure out their next move.


“Trains are surprisingly booked up but we can get a couple of spaces heading south if we hurry…we can figure out where to hop off when we’re on it.”


Tara zipped up her bag and placed her hands over the handle.


“Do you think I’m being paranoid?”


Willow shook her head.


“No. And I think we were getting close to our time to move on anyway,” she replied, looking up at Tara with tears suddenly brimming in her eyes, “And god, Tara, if anything ever happened to you…”


She reached out to cup Tara’s cheek. Tara nuzzled into her and they both closed their eyes for a moment to enjoy the contact before separating again.


“Let’s get out of here,” Willow said, helping Tara to lug the bags off the bed.


They dropped their key back to the front desk and Willow thanked Manpreet for all of his care during their stay.


“You are most welcome Miss Willow and Miss Rambo. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in my country with minimal buttock disruption.”


“Why does he keep calling me 'Miss Rambo'?” Tara whispered as they left the building.


“That's what you're objecting to?!” Willow asked incredulously.


They debated whether to order a taxi to get to the train station with their bags, but decided they were trying to not take their lives in their hands by leaving so getting into a car was tempting fate on these roads. Plus it was close by anyway, so they just walked.


They had to get to the furthest platform in the station with night descending and throngs of people boarding for commutes or travel. It was more akin to what one might expect when imagining an Indian railway station: utter chaos. They lost each once before holding their hands very firmly together and using brute force to weave through the people.


Somehow, the train was even more crowded than the station. As they pushed into the last cabin they were both overwhelmed by the tight space. Flimsy, wooden benches were nailed into the train walls and every inch of space was taken up by people pushing together to try and get on.


There was a space of maybe six feet of floor space available in the most tucked-away corner; just about enough room for them both to sit huddled up to each other with an old newspaper beneath for protection.


The train was already moving before they could process whether to stay on or not and more people had pushed in so they took that floor space before it was gone. It took several minutes for the shock to wear off before Willow could whisper to Tara.


“I didn’t know it would be this bad,” she said, tears pricking her eyes, “I thought…I thought all the cabins would be sleeper cabins, I…”


Tara just patted Willow’s leg silently. She had to keep her head down to avoid the armpit of the man sitting to her right.


Willow had to keep her bag between her legs and fight to squeeze her iPad out so she could actually figure out where the hell they were going. She grew ever more frustrated trying to figure out their destination with the almost absent internet signal and constant jostling. Not to mention the floor was about as comfortable as sitting on a bed of nails.


She was ready to toss the iPad against whichever fellow passenger had brought his BO on board with him but finally, after much intermittent searching, she had a clear idea of where they were going.


It wasn’t good.


“I figured out where we can get out the soonest but we’re going to be on here until past sun up…and trust me you don’t want to know how long it would take to get to Mumbai. At the very least we’re switching trains and getting off this floor.”


“Okay,” Tara agreed absentmindedly, then spun her head around to Willow, “Wait…all night?”


Willow looked apologetic and Tara’s head just rolled forward.


It was a long night.


They took it in turns to be each other’s head support so the other might get a few precious minutes sleep, never verbalizing this agreement; just adjusting as necessary.


Willow’s eyes were sore from checking her screen for the time and where possible to refresh her map and watch the train tick a little more forward.


Tara was asleep on her shoulder when she watched the sun start to rise with bleary eyes. Her connection started to strengthen indicating they were heading in a more urban direction and when Willow saw the spot on the map that indicated the station pop up on the screen with the moving dot hurtling toward it, she gently shook Tara’s shoulder.


“Babe,” she whispered quietly enough for only Tara to hear, which was extremely quiet considering the scores of people, “Tara, we’re almost there.”


Tara looked up with equally bleary eyes. She looked around at other passengers, slumped in all kinds of positions, and the world hurtling by outside as it very gradually slowed down.


Finally, the station was in sight and they grabbed onto each other to keep steady as they climbed over people to be as close to the doors as possible while watching it near through the windows.


There were men squatting on the sides of the road openly relieving themselves and somehow it still seemed preferable than another minute in that cabin.


Neither of them realized they were gasping for air until the doors finally opened and they stepped outside and took a breath. It had been so stuffy and it was a cool night. Neither could even imagine what it must be like in the middle of summer.


“People must die,” Willow muttered but Tara didn’t respond because she thought Willow was just making a general remark to the universe and she kind of agreed.


They slogged through the station with the hundreds of other passengers until they realized they had nowhere to go. With some consistent WiFi, they parked themselves at another wooden bench and Willow wearily began looking up some accommodation.


“I never thought I’d see the day I couldn’t bear looking at a screen.”


“I’ll do it,” Tara offered. At least she’d had a little bit of sleep before their exit.


Willow gratefully handed over the iPad and leaned her head back against the wall, using her sweater as a pillow.


Tara scrolled past a lot of no vacancy posts as she searched for somewhere for them to stay. They were usually fine to wait until they got to their destination to book but sometimes the smaller areas were tougher.


“There’s something here…” she said to Willow after a few minutes, “It’s a bit more than we usually spend but all meals are included. It’s just for the weekend. Give us a chance to get our bearings. It’s not a hostel, though.”


She showed the screen to Willow, who cracked an eye.


“Relaxation retreat?” she read off the very basic ad.


“Is that too out there?” Tara asked unsurely.


“I really liked the Tai Chi in China, so not stratospheric,” Willow answered, her arms crossed loosely over her chest, “Honestly as long as I can lie horizontally it sounds like Disneyland right now.”


Tara chewed on the corner of her lip.


“I’m not being pushy, am I? I was kind of hoping to do a meditation class here so this sounds great to me but I don’t want to force you into it.”


“Any bed that isn’t made of a mattress of newspaper,” Willow reasoned jadedly, “Any at all.”


Tara nodded.


“Okay, I have the address. We should be able to get a cab outside. Are you okay to move?”


Willow mumbled an affirmative response and let Tara hoist her up so they could get to the taxi stand outside. Tara haggled the fare, a skill she’d really honed as her confidence grew in their travels.


Willow was impressed watching her; remembering a time the Japan only mere months ago when Tara had paid almost triple for something at a newsstand just to avoid any awkwardness or confrontation.


She was kinda turned on too. Why did weird things like that turn her on?


Oh, right.


It was Tara doing them.


She wrapped her hand around Tara’s upper arm and held on as the cab drove them out of the town and out into the countryside.


She smiled to herself and then over at Tara.


“I’m about to go full cheeseball but I can’t stop thinking about it ever since we not-visited the Taj.”


“I’m ready,” Tara replied in a soft, teasing tone.


Willow felt at peace to be her cheesiest self.


“You make heaven a place on earth. There it is. I had to stay it. You can laugh at me now. I can take it.”


Tara just snuggled into Willow’s side and their hands slid down together to hold.


Willow was enjoying watching the cows graze and the mustard fields go by but as the minutes ticked by she grew concerned about where they were going, or rather where they were being taken.


Just as she was about to turn to Tara to voice her concerns, they turned into a long driveway. The gardens were so green they looked artificial, but that may have just been in contrast to the surrounding land.


The cab dropped them in front of the doors.


The building was made of beige stone, with wooden features like window shutters and an overhanging roof. It looked like Fred Flinstones’s house had been re-engineered for the 20th century…or they’d gotten lost on the way home from meeting The Jetsons.


“Yabba Dabba Doo,” Willow mumbled under her breath.


“I thought it was Tare-Bear now,” Tara replied, misunderstanding the reference.


“It is,” Willow replied affectionately, “But sometimes it’s nice to call back.”


Tara pressed her hand above her stomach for a moment with a conflicted look on her face, then reached out to take the handle of her luggage. They walked past a little rock pool with a water feature trickling down and doing its job of setting a relaxing tone.


When they walked through the doors, the inside matched the outside with bare stone walls and dark wood interiors. The lobby was small, barely more than a hallway and there was only the sound of the wind at their back and the soft clicking sound of the door closing behind them.


There was an Indian woman standing behind a counter with a computer, which Willow thought might be from before she was even born; many large leather-bound notebooks and stacks of pens that looked like they were drying up. That made Willow anxious.


“Namaste,” Tara greeted, placing her palms down on the wooden counter, “Um, do you speak English?”


“Yes, ma’am,” the clerk smiled with a nod, “How may I help you?”


Tara smiled in relief.


“We’re here for the weekend retreat.”


“You are most welcome,” the clerk replied, her voice low and passive, “Please may I take your information?”


While Tara conversed, Willow had a look around at the decoration and symbols adorning the walls. She recognized some as Buddhist symbols from Thailand, some seemed Islamic and there were several Hindi Gods. She swore one even looked like Xena’s weapon but she blamed that on the tiredness.


As her gaze traveled around the room, it fell back on Tara, whom she realized was staring at her.


“Huh, sorry?” Willow asked, reaching for her wallet thinking maybe Tara needed cash.


Then she noticed Tara was pale and her voice was quivering.


“Y-you need to give her your phone.”


Willow laughed, looking side to side between the other two women.


“It’s funny because you made a joke but nobody is laughing,” she chuckled, bile rising in her throat as it dawned this wasn’t a joke. She tugged Tara’s sleeve and brought her over to whisper, “Why do I need to give her my phone?!”


“It’s the rules,” Tara replied quietly, “I guess to stop distractions.”


“You didn’t tell me that!” Willow protested.


“I didn’t know,” Tara said, holding her arm across her body nervously, “Willow, we’re in the middle of nowhere, our lodging choices aren’t overwhelming right now. Can you please just give it up for the weekend? It might be good for y—us.”


Willow looked stricken and the lady behind the desk popped her head out helpfully.


“We keep them in locked boxes here with no one else having access if you are worried for security.”


Willow looked behind the clerk to see rows of little metal boxes hung on the wall which looked like an old set of apartment mailboxes.


She knew that because Xander and Jesse had dragged one from a dumpster outside the hotel once and used it to practice picking locks. Xander had involved her by asking to borrow a hair clip but neither that nor Jesse’s father’s stolen credit card had worked until Willow, eyeing the tiny keyhole and doing the math in her head, suggested a paper clip.


She learned to pick a lock that day but had never put it to use (unlike Xander and Jesse who had been grounded and suspended respectively for trying to get into a cash box and the school office to wipe out a detention.)


Her eyes followed a sign she’d missed before, clearly outlining the forbidden objects.


No alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sure she agreed with those but electronics? Her precious, precious electronics?


But Tara said she really wanted to do this and Willow didn’t want to disappoint. Also, a bed seemed so close…


Reluctantly, she reached into her bag and slid her phone across the desk. As the clerk opened the box to lock it away, Willow noted Tara had already given over everything else and her face dropped grumpily.


She stared at Tara with her most serious frowny face and Tara looked back helplessly.


It didn’t stop Willow’s arms from folding over her chest.


“And what level are you at?” the clerk inquired in that pleasant up-lift at the end of her sentence that was beginning to drive Willow nuts.


“Level?” Tara asked blankly.


“Proficiency level?” the clerk clarified, looking at them expectantly.


Tara glanced at Willow, who although was still feeling grouchy about her phone, couldn’t resist those pleading eyes.


“Oh! Uh, high, a high level. Very high. One of those… top levels.”


She looked at Tara, whose eyes were wide anxiously.


“Five!” she declared abruptly and Willow blinked several times.


The clerk just nodded and wrote it down.


Willow mouthed ‘five??’ at Tara, who just shrugged.


“Very good, most wise. You will receive the yellow wristband,” the clerk advised and they both deflated with relief, “Here are your room keys and schedule. If you need to speak to staff you may return to this desk, otherwise, our total silence tenant is observed throughout the rest of the establishment.”


Willow’s hand closed around her keys, then she did a double-take.


“I’m sorry, did you say…total silence?”


The clerk’s eyes widened and she scrambled for a pen.


Image



Willow’s eyes widened too as she read and she opened her mouth to speak, refute the offense that had not been taken. Upon realizing she couldn’t she did the next best thing, at least to her scrambled brain at the time, and stuck both thumbs up.


The clerk looked relieved and clasped her hands together in front of her, bowing her head just slightly.


Willow copied the motion and shot her eyes toward Tara unhappily.


Sure enough, above the door into the back of the building was a big sign with ‘Silence’ written in many languages. Their schedule had a map on the back of it, showing them the rest of the building with the residential quarters and then they would have to walk outside across a garden to get to the activity building.


They walked through the heavy door and both stopped.


If they thought it was silent before, this was like a vacuum — the quiet almost hurt their ears. Tara stepped forward first, checking the number on her room key.


Willow watched her and realized they had different keys and therefore different rooms.


They walked down the hallway to their doors, directly opposite each other. Tara felt Willow’s gaze on her and turned to look. Willow looked like she’d swallowed a bee and started gesturing wildly and mouthing words at Tara.


“I can’t have my phone, we can’t even speak! Thanks a lot, I’m glad we’re in different rooms!”


Willow wasn’t sure how easy that must have been to decipher, but the look on Tara’s face told her it had been understood.


Tara just raised her two thumbs sarcastically.


Willow’s mouth opened in shocked indignation and spun on her heels to open her door.


Tara did the same but dropped her keys.


Willow was not above sneaking a peek at Tara’s ass as she bent down to pick them up.


An indignant peek, of course. Sometimes there was a thin line between huffy and horny.


She watched Tara push herself into her room and she did the same. She would have liked to slam the door for the satisfaction of it, but it was on one of those systems that slowed it down to a click.


Instead, she dropped her bag and kicked off her shoes and dropped down onto the little camp bed in the room. She looked around.


It looked and felt like a converted janitor’s closet in its size but there was a huge skylight that made the sun shine directly on the bed and lightened the room much more than it deserved.


There was a rail with a few hangers on it, a plank of wood attached to the wall to mimic a desk with a chair stuck underneath it and the bed she was lying on which felt like it was leftover from some war.


So relaxing she thought to herself as folded her arms under her head and looked up at the bit of cloudy sky peeking down at her. It was too bright so she turned on her side and curled up.


At least it was an actual bed.



She was confused when she woke up and was momentarily blinded by the afternoon sun. She sat up and stretched her back. The camp bed hadn’t been so awful after all. It didn’t even creak when she moved.


They really had nailed that ‘silence’ thing down.


She looked at the door and though it was only a few feet away, it looked like miles. Or rather, what was on the other side of it felt like miles.


Between this and their visit to the Taj, she made a note to avoid words with Tara if either of them hadn’t slept. There was a reason sleep deprivation was a form of torture. And now she had Tara-deprivation too because of it. One of those Hindi Gods was laughing at her.


She checked her watch and then her schedule to see what she might do. She missed lunch but she could grab dinner in a bit. There were a couple of classes starting soon she could try out to pass the time.


When in the back and beyond of the Indian countryside…


She quickly grabbed her toothbrush and freshened up a bit. The bathrooms were deserted so she figured she was a little late for the start of class and this did not sit easy with her. At All. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t necessarily her thing, she was late for class!


She hurried across the garden without stopping to admire any of the pretty flowers or rock formations.


She found the right room and entered. No one but the instructor glanced in her direction but when he saw her wristband he just clasped his hands and bowed.


Oh boy.


Willow once again copied the motion before scanning the room.


She thought Tara might be here but she must have gone to the meditation class.


She found a seat on the floor and just stayed there for a moment, unsure of what to do.


She peered over at someone else and saw they had a little booklet they were filling in. She saw a stack and grabbed it and a pen.


Gratitude she read.


There wasn’t much in the way of direction, Willow guessed because of her purported Level 5 status. Still, she wasn’t a stranger to journaling and this seemed pretty straightforward. Write the things down she was grateful for.


Coffee…food…


Her chin dropped onto her upturned hand.


Kisses and gay love.


She sighed.


Having a girlfriend who doesn’t take my shit anymore.


She sighed again, missing the disapproving looks being sent in her direction.


Stupid journaling making her a rational being.


She knew said girlfriend was probably feeling as ridiculous about their little fight as she was. She knew now what was a real issue and what was a silly, nothing blow-up. This was very much the latter but now they were in this awkward lodging situation and everything sucked and she didn’t want to be grateful, she wanted to be grumpy.


A bell was rung to indicate the end of class and Willow watched everyone else to gather her papers so she did so too.


She tried to keep a pen so she could write an apology note to Tara later, but was apprehended in the doorway and had to try and silently laugh off her ‘mistake’.


It was odd walking around this place; everyone had their heads down, avoiding eye contact lest it be construed as communication. At least this building had the sounds of shuffling people and the scratch of silverware.


Wait.


That was the scratch of silverware!


Dinner!


Willow was suddenly starving. It must be close to 24 hours since she’d eaten. They hadn’t even had a chance to eat dinner yesterday; they’d been so spooked by the story of Warren, they’d just bolted. The train certainly didn’t get a dining cart coming through it.


She let her nose be her guide to the dining hall. The theme continued with dark wood tables and stone benches either side, in rows. It only sat maybe thirty, so Willow could tell immediately that Tara wasn’t there.


She frowned.


Where was she?


She looked over her shoulder longingly for a moment but her stomach ruled her mind and she stepped forward to take a tray and get some food plated up.


Willow had zero clue what she’d been given but it was packed with crunchy veggies and spice and sauce and came with the freshest roti she’d ever tasted. She wolfed down it, and had seconds, though she had to ladle it herself when she server just stepped back as she approached.


When she was full she made her way back to her room and stopped in the hallway outside her door. She gave a quiet rap on the door but could hear it reverberate off the walls uncomfortably. It felt so loud it made Willow clap her hands over her ears.


She waited but when nothing happened she just let herself into her room and laid back down on her bed.


The sky was dark overhead down; stars twinkling back down through the skylight.


It took Willow a few minutes but then suddenly her eyes adjusted and she could see it, clear as day.


The Big Pineapple, staring her in the face.


Mocking her with its bright sparkle and unusual, alluring shape; mirroring she who named it.


Willow tried to close the pillow around her head but it did nothing to stop her thoughts.


She knew it wasn’t Tara’s fault she was hopelessly addicted to her phone but now she didn’t have her phone or Tara and if that wasn’t her idea of personal hell then Satan wasn’t smart enough.


She looked over to her journaling papers, considering whether to read through it all again just to do something when she suddenly caught the top corner of the pile of papers glinting under The Big Pineapple’s shadow.



Tara ran a brush through her wet hair and nibbled on the crackers she’d foraged from the end of her bag.


She had been on her way to dinner and hopefully to find Willow after the meditation class where she meditated on how stupid they were both being, but the instructor had acted like her personal bodyguard and, without words or even body contact, ushered her to a new room labeled ‘private meditation’.


She’d found an exit and slipped out wordlessly but she’d ended up back in the residential quarters and opted to just shower and scavenge some snacks instead of traipsing back to the dining hall and potentially getting caught again.


Crumbs fell onto the towel wrapped around her and she untucked it and let it fall to her feet. She rifled through the open bag sitting on her bed and found a pair of red shorts, which might better be described as hotpants, that she usually only wore underneath something but she was alone so she didn’t really care.


She pulled a tank top over her head that was getting a little stretched out over the bust, pushed her bag off the bed and was about to lie down when she heard the door across the hall close. It wasn’t hard to make out when it was the only sound apart from her own breathing anywhere nearby.


Hoping she might catch Willow on her way somewhere, she took a few quick strides over to open her door. Willow wasn’t there, but when Tara turned her head to look up and down the hallway, she spotted the back of a familiar head of red hair sneaking back through the door out to the lobby.


Slightly alarmed, Tara followed fast on her tiptoes; her childhood ballet lessons coming back to her momentarily. She pushed the door open slightly but it was pitch black in there; any staff had left for the night with a phone number taped to the desk to call in case of emergency.


Tara heard rattling and had to use her ears to isolate where the sound was coming from as her eyes tried to adjust. Something was scratching and jostling toward the back of the room.


She stepped forward and some moonlight passed through the shutter blinds. Tara could make out Willow’s form, standing in front of the lockboxes, desperately trying to wiggle something into it.


Was that a paperclip?


Realizing what Willow was doing, Tara hurried toward her. She wasn’t sure if it was still larceny if it was your own property but she was sure that it was a whole load of drama they didn’t need. She clasped her hand around Willow’s wrist, who gasped and spun around to see who her apprehender was.


Her head reeled for a moment as she made out Tara’s face. Her eyes washed with fear then relief when she realized who it was. She glanced at her fingers still clasped around the wiggling paperclip and made one last desperate attempt for her treasure.


Tara yanked Willow’s hand away completely and pressed her up against the wall to stop her.


There was complete silence again apart from both of their raging breaths.


Willow could feel Tara’s chest heaving against hers and felt Tara’s eyes penetrating hers. She knew it was defeat but somehow it felt like a victory.


There was a soft ping when Willow released the paper clip to allow it to fall to the floor. Tara’s eyes dropped down for a moment and she released her grip on Willow but didn’t let go. She looked up again to catch Willow’s gaze again and in a split second found her mouth was latched onto Willow’s.


She didn’t even know which one of them made the move.


Willow’s arms wrapped around Tara’s back and slid down to Tara’s butt, pulling her in tight and widening her legs in the process so Tara pressed right up against her.


Tara paused for a single moment with her groin pushed between Willow’s hips and her mouth open on Willow’s lips, breathing through her for a second.


She wasn’t sure that getting caught like this was any better than getting caught trying to break into the safes so with one quick jolt of her body that made Willow moan as they brushed against each other, she linked Willow’s hand with her own and pulled her back through the main door and down the hallway to their rooms.


Willow backed up against the door of her room and looked at Tara in the harsh hallway lighting that just seemed to highlight how bare she was.


Tara with nothing on was a sight to behold but Tara with something-that-was-almost-nothing was a whole other layer of sexy.


She opened her mouth but it was dry. Tara saw it and quickly lifted her finger, pressing it against Willow’s lips.


Willow nodded hurriedly and shoved her hand into her pocket to retrieve the key. She spun around and slotted it into the lock, turning it open so they could tumble inside.


The door closed with a soft click, much softer than the shared panting and ripping of clothing going on behind it.


Willow’s pants fell down around her ankles right as the back of her knees hit the bed and she spiritedly kicked them off to join her shirt and bra on the floor. She fell back onto the bed and Tara climbed on top of her between her legs, whipping her tank top over her head before sliding their torsos together and latching herself onto Willow’s mouth.


Willow moaned again as her hands clawed at Tara’s back, sinking into her soft skin and feeling the muscles ripple. She bit her lip to contain the sounds as Tara kissed off into her neck and down to her collarbone.


Teeth scraped on her throat and only for her dampened voice box she would have cried out loud enough for the whole block to hear.


Tara must have guessed this because Willow felt a hand cover her mouth as the kisses began to circle her breasts.


Her back arched into the touch and her lips enveloped Tara’s middle finger. Her tongue rolled around the tip and suddenly Tara was pressed entirely against her and seeking her mouth desperately.


Willow’s hands flew to the back of Tara’s neck, winding into the back of her hair.


Tara reached between them to grasp Willow’s panties and slide them off of her legs. Her fingers brushed Willow’s hip and over the hair on her mound to finally stroke wetness.


Willow felt Tara moan against her lips. It vibrated through her right down to where Tara’s fingers were caressing her burning flesh. Her tongue pushed into Tara’s mouth and her hips began to rut against Tara’s hand.


Two of Tara’s fingers slid easily along Willow’s lips and slipped inside her. She felt Willow clench and then she clenched too, making her hotpants wet in the front.


They both broke the kiss to groan loudly, too loudly, and Tara buried her head in Willow’s neck to quieten herself. She just wanted Willow to absorb her, to let her be everywhere at once.


Her hips positioned themselves behind her hand with a straight angle and used her weight to reach up and press herself in as deeply as she could. Willow’s knees turned in against Tara’s butt, telling her not to stop.


They didn’t need words for this.


Tara’s shorts began to ride down and Willow reached down to help them along. They fell from Tara’s ankles and she started thrusting harder as their thighs slid against each other.


She reached between them and found Tara soaked.


There was a quick adjustment so Tara could spread her legs a bit more and Willow entered her quickly; unable to resist the hot embrace calling to her.


She wanted to speak, to ask is this good?, is that good?, hey, is everyone looking at you weirdly too? but learned pretty quickly that Tara’s body was telling her all she needed to know.


She could feel the eager rolling and insistent pushing against every part of her and just knew Tara was as lost as she was, now that she shut up long enough to listen.


They’d had sex a few dozen times now and it had always been good, great in fact; but this was transcendent.


Tara’s kiss was slow but her hand was fast and her hips were faster and Willow got to a point where she couldn’t even tell whose body part was moving where; it was just endless swells of pleasure everywhere.


All she could hear was Tara’s breath in her ear, growing more ragged with each passing second. The stars above her started to blur and she clenched inside, causing Tara to groan with pleasure which in turn vibrated through Willow and made her come, clutching Tara’s back tight to her body.


Tara’s hips sped up to help herself get over the edge. She felt it rippling right as Willow’s nails dug into the muscles on her back and her whole body shook. She left indented teeth marks on Willow’s shoulder and gradually fell more against her until Willow was holding her body weight.


Willow sighed happily as Tara pressed against her everywhere and they continued to hold each other inside.


Her hand lazily slid up to cup Tara’s head and hold her right where she was, listening to the way Tara’s breath hummed with satisfaction.


Tonight, Willow was grateful for someone who made her hear music even in complete silence.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 6th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:01 pm 
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DIBS :applause I think it is probably good for Willow to go without technology for a few days. As usual, your love scenes are always really hot. Not quite sure why they defaulted to I'm the best/top level, rather than admitting they were novices, but it seems interesting to see the other's responses. Are we going to learn about the significance of the colors? Looking forward to Tuesday.

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 6th 2019)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:55 pm 
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SO, first of all...I felt like I needed Google translator for the Scottish woman. I'm still not even sure I understood it all!! :lol

I'm with Tara though, time to move on. The dude is psycho and there was no doubt as to his intentions. I just wish they'd maybe taken a few minutes to plot their course better. Haven't they seen the movie LION? Just sayin'. Also, that train sounded perfectly miserable.

The retreat sounds lovely, except for the no electronics and complete silence part. I. AM. TOTALLY. WILLOW. When she was trying to pick that lock, I was like, "YOU GO GIRL! GET THAT PHONE!!" :lol This chapter, by the way, was a nice little shout out (no pun intended) to 'Hush.' My #1 all-time favorite episode.

Laragh, the way you structured this chapter was really something. Seriously, masterful. There was all this loud chaos, from the Scottish woman to the rail station to the train. Just noise, noise, noise everywhere and then complete silence.

Quote:
If they thought it was silent before, this was like a vacuum — the quiet almost hurt their ears.
It reminded me specifically of the scene in Hush when Tara is walking through the dorm and the guy drops the glass, because with that kind of total silence, a pin dropping is loud.

Quote:
“I can’t have my phone, we can’t even speak! Thanks a lot, I’m glad we’re in different rooms!”

Willow wasn’t sure how easy that must have been to decipher, but the look on Tara’s face told her it had been understood.

Tara just raised her two thumbs sarcastically.

Willow’s mouth opened in shocked indignation and spun on her heels to open her door.

Tara did the same but dropped her keys.

Willow was not above sneaking a peek at Tara’s ass as she bent down to pick them up.

An indignant peek, of course. Sometimes there was a thin line between huffy and horny.

She watched Tara push herself into her room and she did the same. She would have liked to slam the door for the satisfaction of it, but it was on one of those systems that slowed it down to a click.
This whole silent exchange had me rolling. Mostly because I cannot tell you how many completely dumb were-both-too-tired-to-live arguments I've had with my wife over the years. Just the absolute stupidest shit imaginable.

The sex part...totally hot, and definitely a turning point...especially for Willow.
Quote:
They didn’t need words for this. She wanted to speak, to ask is this good?, is that good?, hey, is everyone looking at you weirdly too? but learned pretty quickly that Tara’s body was telling her all she needed to know. They’d had sex a few dozen times now and it had always been good, great in fact; but this was transcendent.
This was a huge relationship confidence booster for Willow and a lesson in why sometimes it's important to just keep your mouth shut and go with the flow...again, no pun intended. :wink :lol

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 6th 2019)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:57 am 
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4. Extra Flamey

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Quote:
“I think she means gun,” Tara whispered quietly, “They got arrested.”


“That's whit ah said,” Hannah said with exasperation, though clearly loving the attention of sharing the story, “Big bossy ‘un tried tae punch a polis an' got held in th’ cells.”


“Not-so-garden-variety creep, then,” Willow muttered, while Tara paled.


“They were really trying to buy a gun?”


Thank goodness that they are in India and not back home in the USA where Waren would have had no difficulties to buy a gun. I'm glad that Warren got arrested, serves him right!

Quote:
They dropped their key back to the front desk and Willow thanked Manpreet for all of his care during their stay.


“You are most welcome Miss Willow and Miss Rambo. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in my country with minimal buttock disruption.”


“Why does he keep calling me 'Miss Rambo'?” Tara whispered as they left the building.


“That's what you're objecting to?!” Willow asked incredulously.

:laugh I'll miss Manpreet!

Quote:
“And what level are you at?” the clerk inquired in that pleasant up-lift at the end of her sentence that was beginning to drive Willow nuts.


“Level?” Tara asked blankly.


“Proficiency level?” the clerk clarified, looking at them expectantly.


Tara glanced at Willow, who although was still feeling grouchy about her phone, couldn’t resist those pleading eyes.


“Oh! Uh, high, a high level. Very high. One of those… top levels.”


She looked at Tara, whose eyes were wide anxiously.


“Five!” she declared abruptly and Willow blinked several times.

Canon-easteregg! In this situation it would have been wiser to just ask the clerk politely what on earth she meant instead of blurting a random number.
I feel with Willow here, having to go without her electronics is hard enough for her, but not being alowed to speak, not having anything "productive" to do and beeing seperated from Tara on top really must feel like hell to her.

Good thing that Willow was kept from the desperate attempt of "stealing back" her own phone and they chose a much more pleasant way of breaking the rules of this esotheric "Relaxation retreat". Even if the "forced" silence along with it being "Makeup-sex" after a fight and seperation enhanced their sexual experience I would recommend to move on to another place as soon as possible (I most certainly would bolt out of a place like this after 24 hours tops!).

Quote:
Willow sighed happily as Tara pressed against her everywhere and they continued to hold each other inside.


Her hand lazily slid up to cup Tara’s head and hold her right where she was, listening to the way Tara’s breath hummed with satisfaction.


Tonight, Willow was grateful for someone who made her hear music even in complete silence.

Awww! :flower


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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 6th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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taranwillow4ever

Quote:
DIBS :applause


YAY :banana

Quote:
I think it is probably good for Willow to go without technology for a few days.


We could all do with it, probably, but it would suck :laugh

Quote:
Not quite sure why they defaulted to I'm the best/top level, rather than admitting they were novices, but it seems interesting to see the other's responses.


Because they were tired and hungry and didn't want to be sent away.

Quote:
Are we going to learn about the significance of the colors? Looking forward to Tuesday.


Do you mean of the wristbands? It's mentioned in this one alright :)

Thanks for commenting!

Finey_McFine

Quote:
SO, first of all...I felt like I needed Google translator for the Scottish woman. I'm still not even sure I understood it all!!


Allow me to translate:

“They waur in th' room tay!” = “They were in the room too.”

“Oi, Poppy isnae it??” = “Hey, Poppy, isn’t it?”

“Aye, ah knew it was a tree.” = “Yeah, I knew it was a tree.”

“Ye can teel them he was a reit creep.” = “You can tell them he was a right creep.”

“Dae ye min' those three bamsticks 'at shared uir room? Wee things wi' th' big egos?” = “Do you remember those three idiots that shared our room?”

“Got huckled tryin' tae buy a gin.” = “Got arrested trying to buy a gun.”

“That's whit ah said.” = “That’s what I said.”

“Big bossy ‘un tried tae punch a polis an' got held in th’ cells.” = “Big bossy one tried to punch a cop and got held in the cells.”

“He's th' body gettin' creeped oan noo.”
= “He’s the body getting creeped on now.”

“The’s place is mingin an' we're payin' fur it… imagine th’ jail!” = “This place is disgusting and we’re paying for it…imagine the jail.”

“His friends cam back tae gie their bags, freaked it, screamin' at each other.” = “His friends came back to get their bags, freaked out, screaming at each other.”

“They waur arguin' abit bailin’ heem ait ur jist bailin’.” = “They were arguing about bailing him out or just bailing.”

“They’re probably oan a plane it awreddy, ah woods be.” = “They’re probably on a plane already, I would be.”

“Heard he was wankin' tae us, the lavvy-headed arsepiece.” = “Heard he was masturbating to us, the toilet-headed piece of bottom.”

Quote:
I'm with Tara though, time to move on. The dude is psycho and there was no doubt as to his intentions. I just wish they'd maybe taken a few minutes to plot their course better. Haven't they seen the movie LION? Just sayin'. Also, that train sounded perfectly miserable.


:lol You have to remember, their only other experience on the train in India was going to the Taj, which was First Class (thanks to Willow) and quite a lovely ride. The media portrayals weren't front and center of their minds.

Quote:
The retreat sounds lovely, except for the no electronics and complete silence part. I. AM. TOTALLY. WILLOW. When she was trying to pick that lock, I was like, "YOU GO GIRL! GET THAT PHONE!!" :lol


I wouldn't commit vandalism but I would be so tempted :laugh

Quote:
This chapter, by the way, was a nice little shout out (no pun intended) to 'Hush.' My #1 all-time favorite episode.


Mine too! (for the obvious reasons)

Quote:
Laragh, the way you structured this chapter was really something. Seriously, masterful. There was all this loud chaos, from the Scottish woman to the rail station to the train. Just noise, noise, noise everywhere and then complete silence.


:blush thank you so much! That means a lot, it truly does, I respect your opinion and writing so much!

Quote:
It reminded me specifically of the scene in Hush when Tara is walking through the dorm and the guy drops the glass, because with that kind of total silence, a pin dropping is loud.


Yes! You can actually feel how sound is a vibration because it shakes your ears.

Quote:
This whole silent exchange had me rolling. Mostly because I cannot tell you how many completely dumb were-both-too-tired-to-live arguments I've had with my wife over the years. Just the absolute stupidest shit imaginable.


How can you not be together that long and not have had the most idiotic exchanges, both playfully and during a fight? I think it's a sign that you're comfortable with each other more than whatever the intent behind the words are.

Quote:
This was a huge relationship confidence booster for Willow and a lesson in why sometimes it's important to just keep your mouth shut and go with the flow...again, no pun intended. :wink :lol


You are 100% right, sometimes you just have to clasp hands and make that soda machine shake. (true story, I contemplated making them have sex against a soda machine to make it move but I just couldn't make it convincing that they'd have sex in public again :lol )

Thanks so much for your feedback!

Will's redemption

Quote:
Thank goodness that they are in India and not back home in the USA where Waren would have had no difficulties to buy a gun. I'm glad that Warren got arrested, serves him right!


Ugh, tell me about it! It's absolutely nuts.

Quote:
:laugh I'll miss Manpreet!


He will be a story told with fond memories.

Quote:
In this situation it would have been wiser to just ask the clerk politely what on earth she meant instead of blurting a random number.


It would have been, but who's wise when they're exhausted and starving?

Quote:
I feel with Willow here, having to go without her electronics is hard enough for her, but not being alowed to speak, not having anything "productive" to do and beeing seperated from Tara on top really must feel like hell to her.


It's definitely not the kind of situation you want to get into without knowing the full facts ahead of time...at least then you can plan!

Quote:
Good thing that Willow was kept from the desperate attempt of "stealing back" her own phone and they chose a much more pleasant way of breaking the rules of this esotheric "Relaxation retreat".


More fun for everybody :wink

Quote:
Even if the "forced" silence along with it being "Makeup-sex" after a fight and seperation enhanced their sexual experience I would recommend to move on to another place as soon as possible (I most certainly would bolt out of a place like this after 24 hours tops!).


Don't worry, they'll be moving right on down and out! :)

Thanks for your feedback :)



Update Directly Below

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 Post subject: Re: New Fic: Inevitable [AU] (Dec 6th 2019)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:00 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

Chapter 37



United Arab Emirates



Lights Will Guide You Home And Ignite Your Bones
And I Will Try To Fix You



“Are we sitting together?”


Willow took a half-step forward in the airplane-line shuffle and compared their tickets.


“Uhhh…you’re A and I’m C,” she said, then smiled over her shoulder at Tara, “That’s okay, I’ll just ask the person between us to switch. They’ll be happy to give up a middle seat.”


Tara pressed the front of her body into the back of Willow’s — a move completely hidden amongst the line of people scrambling to get on the plane as if it might depart without them, but entirely felt by Willow.


“You’re so chivalrous,” she said sweetly, or at least it would be sweet to anyone but Willow who could hear the sultryness dripping within it.


Willow cleared her throat softly.


“For my lady,” she said, shooting Tara a small smirk.


“You’ve come a long way from ‘I’ve never sat in economy before’,” Tara teased lightly and didn't mention how far she'd come to be able to say 'my lady'.


“Ugh, did I really sound like that?” Willow whined, “That Willow sucked.”


Tara hiked her bag higher on her back and discreetly kissed Willow’s cheek from behind.


“I fell in love with that Willow. Don’t bag on her too much.”


They boarded the plane and squeezed their way down to their row of seats. After putting their bags in the overhead compartment, Willow smiled at the man sitting in the middle seat. He was a big guy, an islander, and his shoulders spilled out to the seats either side of him. He had a smile fixed on his face that was unusual to see from anyone on a cramped flight.


“Hey,” Willow greeted, lifting a hand and waving, “Um, I’ll take the middle seat if you want. You can have my window.”


He looked over at her and continued to smile.


“Oh, that’s okay.”


“Or the aisle if you prefer,” Willow said, looking awkwardly over her shoulder as someone tried to move past her, “Both are on offer.”


He cocked his head and straightened it up again.


“I’m good.”


“I don’t mind…” Willow pressed, “Really.”


His smile was starting to become disconcerting.


“I like the middle.”


Willow and Tara shared a look and reluctantly sat into their own seats.



“He likes the middle?!” Willow exclaimed as they walked across the jet bridge from the flight when they finally deplaned on the other side, “And that grin! I swear we’re going to see him on the news for being a serial killer.”


Tara frowned.


“He smelled okay,” she tried to supply helpfully.


Willow glanced at her, side-long.


“Baby if you have the ability to sniff out serial killers you need to become a special hominid member of the K9 unit.”


Tara playfully rolled her eyes and Willow bumped her shoulder with a grin.


They crossed into the airport and through the usual rigmarole of customs and immigration without talking much. Tara still got nervous and Willow had the sense to not put her foot in her mouth when a(nother) foreign jail cell was at stake.


“I need to use the bathroom. Can you wait for me here?”


Willow nodded and backed up against a wall. Tara turned into the bathroom and into a cubicle quickly before a line grew from others who had just gotten off the flight.


When she was finished, she ran her hands over each other under the cold water of the airport bathroom faucet, waiting unsuccessfully for an hot water to appear.


She patted her face to revive her a little bit and blew out some air. The woman beside her looked at her sympathetically and Tara smiled back before heading back out to Willow.


Who was not standing where she’d left her.


Tara looked around and spotted her sitting in a small row of chairs with her head resting on their stacked bags.


Tara approached and sat next to her.


“Are you worn out, sweetie?” she asked, her hand lifting for a moment to stroke Willow’s hair but stalling and dropping again, “You’ll be more comfortable if we head into the city and rest our heads on a real bed.”


Willow huffed out a breath.


“No, I’m just rolling my neck after Filipino Ted Bundy seemed to think his shoulder was entitled to the space between it and my head.”


Tara frowned.


“Ted Bundy was a really small guy.”


Willow smiled over at Tara and reached out to squash Tara’s lips together between her thumb and forefinger.


“You’re like my very own serial killer special on the History channel.”


Tara turned her head away to break the contact and Willow returned to her phone.


“Trying to find us a room. Seeing if I can get us a good deal. Prices are kinda a shock after being in India.”


“Oh,” Tara replied, reaching up to scratch a little behind her ear, “I booked us a room already.”


Willow looked up, surprised.


“You did?”


Tara nodded, her eyes glancing away momentarily.


“Uh-huh.”


“You never told me,” Willow replied softly.


“Sorry,” Tara replied apologetically, “I just, um, I just did it.”


Willow just smiled.


“Are we allowed to speak in it?”


“Haha,” Tara replied with a good-natured roll of her eyes, “Well we’ve been officially demoted to Level 0, so yes. Only paper wristbands for us.”


She stood and took her bag to begin to walk. Willow did the same and followed.


“Who knew Level 5’s weren’t supposed to eat or write or do anything but be in a permanent state of meditative hush and placidity?”


“Clearly, not us,” Tara replied wryly.


Willow’s hand curved over Tara’s shoulder and she pressed her body closer.


“Nope, we broke all the rules…”


“Stop,” Tara said quickly, playful but with a bit of an edge, so Willow stopped.


There was a small lull until Willow spoke up again.


“Do we need to figure out where we’re going?”


“We can grab a train downtown,” Tara explained, “The hostel is just a block away from the nearest station.”


Willow just nodded and smiled; Tara was clearly taking the discussion they had about working out the logistics to heart and Willow was happy to see her feel confident enough to take the lead. Even if she felt a little uncomfortable being out of control.


As they walked through the airport, Willow spotted their seatmate wandering a bit aimlessly before being approached by security guards with dogs. They sat at his feet and all became clear to Willow.


“Ohhh,” she said, nudging Tara as he was suddenly hoisted off his feet and all but dragged away, “He was high. Eek. I don’t envy being in that interrogation room.”


“C’mon, Will,” Tara replied insistently, putting a hand on Willow’s bag and pushing her toward the exit.


Willow followed, almost tripping over herself, but still grinning a bit.


“Kinda like it when you take charge like that.”


Tara shot her a firm look that was undermined by her red cheeks and curling lips.


They made their way to the metro and got two of the last seats before a bunch of people from a recently landed flight from London piled on, most of them sweaty and exhausted.


They had people standing over them and alongside them and any notion of personal space had yet again gone out the window. Tara saw Willow put her hand on her neck and roll it from side to side.


“So how's your, you know,” she nodded at Willow’s neck indicatively.


Willow smiled weakly.


“It's between a hitch and a kink, with a side of a twinge. It's okay.”


“I’ll massage it for you when we get to the room,” Tara replied quietly.


Willow dropped her hand and brushed their fingers together.


“Well, I’m not going to turn that down.”


Tara lifted her hand away and pretended to scratch her ear again. Willow frowned but then they jolted and she nearly had a forty-year-old man in a football jersey and sunglasses fall into her lap.


She turned her nose away at the pervasive stank of travel and cheap deodorant and man stink and looked out the window longing for the city to come into view.


Thankfully it didn’t take long for the huge skyscrapers to start to dominate the skyline; the steel buildings striking against the lush trees and uninterrupted blue sky. The water shimmered, reflecting the sun in the sky and bounced it back up upon the shining buildings.


“Wow,” Willow said aloud and heard Tara echoing the sentiment behind her.


It was a pretty spectacular way to get their first view of the famously wealthy city. Even from afar, the opulent wealth was apparent.


They disembarked in the city with the hundreds that had been packed in with them. The temperature was pleasant, high 70s, and a big improvement on the stuffy train that had felt like a hundred degrees.


Departing the station, they paused and looked up. It was disorientating to be so low when everything else was so high.


“Tara, where are we going?”


“Um…” Tara replied unsurely.


Willow took out her phone and pulled up her maps.


“What’s it called?”


“I can do it,” Tara replied defensively, taking Willow’s phone and sheepishly turning her back to look it up.


She brought up the directions and nodded to the left.


“It’s just on the other side of that corner.”


They walked down the street toward a particular building but Willow looked in the window in confusion as they passed by to go in.


“…this is a restaurant.”


“The hostel starts on the 20th floor,” Tara explained as they went through revolving doors and exited to the right toward the elevators, avoiding the restaurant completely, “All the space is vertical in this city.”


The doors opened and they stepped inside. It had gold plated mirrors on two sides and a cushioned bench nailed in. When they looked up, the ceiling was a Renaissance painting that did not look like a generic reprint.


Willow had been in a swanky elevator or two in her time but this was the swankiest. It was a far cry from the last place they stayed in while in Mumbai, where Willow had had genuine concerns at times that the ceiling could crumble right on top of their heads.


Willow wasn’t opposed but was surprised. It wasn’t like Tara to pick out somewhere like this. Maybe everywhere just looked like this in this city.


They got to the right floor and the reception area was a little bit more low-key but they still showed off with marble desks and gold leaf wallpaper. Willow took a few leaflets to look at while Tara checked them in.


“Dubai on a budget,” she waved at Tara as they walked down a hallway to the number printed on keycard in Tara’s hand.


Gold, of course.


“We’ll need that,” Tara replied, taking it and turning it around to read the back, “I knew it was wealthy here but it’s all a bit much, isn’t it? ‘Taxis are public transport here’…wow. The carbon footprint must be huge.”


She opened it to read while Willow started to look around at where they were heading.


Normally dormitory hallways were all open with people coming and going. This could’ve been a hotel floor considering how quiet it was.


“Hey, are we going to a private room?”


“Uh-huh,” Tara replied absentmindedly.


A line appeared on Willow’s brow.


“Here?” she asked, that line furrowing in complete confusion, “In one of the most expensive cities in the world?”


They’d only stayed in the crumbling Mumbai place on Tara’s request because they’d left it late and any other available rooms were too expensive; the extra expense amounting to about $10 a night.


Willow didn’t mind paying more for a private room, but Tara normally was more conscious of it, which made this extra weird.


Though Tara had agreed to move in Mumbai when Willow had voiced her concern and had been apologetic about it too, so maybe she was trying to make up for it now? It still seemed like an odd choice.


“Well we don’t have a water view or anything,” Tara replied turning the key over in her hand so it faced the right way to put in the door they were approaching.


She unlocked the door and held it for Willow to walk in.


Willow dropped her bag and immediately went over to the huge window. They were really right in the epicenter of all of the hustle and bustle.


“It’s not water but it’s still pretty amazing,” she replied, peering downward for a moment before spinning back around when she didn’t like the associated vertigo, “Though I guess any room with a window in this city is going to have a pretty amazing view. How much is it?”


“80 bucks,” Tara answered, stretching her arms above her head and distracting Willow for a moment with the strip of skin revealed between her shirt and pants.


“…would have been $30 each in a dorm in the places I was looking up, so not bad I guess.”


But still more than they'd paid per night in any place, ever, except for Fiji.


“Mmhm,” Tara said and sat down gratefully on the nearest single bed to her, one of two.


Willow sat down on the other, then suddenly realized what she was doing.


“Wait, hey,” she said, looking down then over at Tara, waving a finger between them, “They got the room type wrong. Two beds.”


Tara shook her head.


“No. I booked a twin.”


“Oh,” Willow replied, trying to work out if Tara had booked the wrong room and was embarrassed about it, “Well maybe if we go down and ask they’ll change us? I’ll just tell them I made a mistake, no big deal.”


Tara inhaled softly.


“Honey—”


Willow stood and strode over to Tara, sitting beside her and taking her hand.


“I mean if we’re gonna fork out the extra for a private room it’s to snuggle, right?”


Tara linked her fingers in with Willow.


“We can snuggle. We’ll just push the beds together.”


Willow’s face fell.


“Have I started kicking or something in my sleep? Is the talking finally getting to you?”


Tara leaned in and pressed a kiss to Willow’s forehead.


“No, baby,” she reassured, “I love sharing a bed with you. Kicking and talking included. We can, next time.”


Willow continued to frown.


“Why next time? Why not now?”


Tara was silent for a moment, then looked at Willow tenderly.


“I booked this room…just to be extra safe.”


“Extra…safe?” Willow parsed out as if saying it slowly might help her make sense of it.


“Well…you know,” Tara paused and sighed, “Homosexuality is illegal here.”


Willow’s head reeled and her hand fell out of Tara’s. Tara put her hand on Willow’s shoulder instead.


“I thought you knew that,” she said softly.


“I-I knew it,” Willow replied, wiping her suddenly-sweaty palms on the bedspread, “But I didn’t…think about it.”


Tara squeezed Willow’s shoulder.


“It’s okay, honey. We just don’t hold hands in public. And we can push the beds together.”


Willow nodded dumbly but her eyes were focused on the floor.


Tara frowned.


“Hey…” she said softly, letting her hand fall away.


Willow sighed.


“I’m exhausted.”


“I know, baby,” Tara comforted, “Let’s go get some dinner. I’m starving, you?”


Willow nodded again.


“Yeah, I could eat.”


Tara offered her hand, then thought better of it and put the key away in her wallet instead.


“Do you mind where we eat?” she asked and Willow just shook her head silently.


Tara would have enjoyed scoping out the city and spending the evening walking around, but Willow seemed tired and out of sorts about the separate beds. Tara knew she must be disappointed but it really wouldn’t be that different to just push the beds together.


She tried to start a few conversations as they ate at a nearby Pakistani B-B-Q place but Willow was monosyllabic and not engaging much.


“I feel like I’m living in the Jetsons or something,” Tara said as they rode down a glass elevator from the 100th floor after a brief detour to a roof garden bar but hadn’t even stayed for a soda in the end, “I know that’s lame.”


“You’re not lame,” Willow answered quickly.


Tara brushed their pinkies together but Willow snapped her hand up and pressed her palm flat on the glass surrounding them.


Back in the room, Tara decided to try and cheer Willow up.


She closed the blinds and dimmed the lights and sat next to Willow on the bed Willow was sitting on, using her phone.


Tara placed her hand over Willow’s phone and gently pushed it away while kissing Willow’s neck. Willow immediately let her phone fall to the bed and her neck tilted for more, though her voice was strained when she spoke.


“I…”


Tara swooped in to take Willow’s lips and Willow melted into them for a few moments before pulling away. She rested her forehead against Tara’s, who started to push Willow back onto the bed, but Willow resisted.


“We shouldn’t.”


Tara panted gently, her cheeks flushing red.


“Are you worried about fitting in the bed together? Because if you want, you can just lie down,” she offered with a shy smile as she drew a circle on Willow’s thigh, “A-and I can get on my knees and—”


“I think I’m just so tired, y’know,” Willow interrupted, head down.


Her knuckles were white and her jaw was tensed.


Tara fell away, deflated.


“Oh. Yes,” she agreed quietly, “Me too. Always tired after a flight.”


After an awkward moment, she stood and hovered.


“Do you want to push the beds together to sleep?”


“We should probably leave them,” Willow replied cagily, “Don’t want to scratch up the floor and they try to charge us or something. Probably a $1000 floor in a place like this.”


The beds were on wheels but Tara didn’t feel like pushing and getting rejected for the third time.


“Yeah, no, of course,” she replied, turning her back to go over to what felt like ‘her side’ of the room, “That’s fine.”


She changed into pajamas and looked over her shoulder, where Willow was already curled up facing away from her.


“Goodnight, Willow.”


Willow’s voice was hollow as she spoke back.


“Goodnight.”



Tara ran her fingers through the soft silk of one of the fabric stalls in the local souk.


Somehow it felt softer each stall she came across.


There were endless alleys of art and sculptures and souvenirs and that was without even mentioning the food outlets and café spots. Almost everything was far too rich for Tara’s taste, but she enjoyed the window shopping nonetheless and the beautiful views over the harbor.


The scents were amazing, from saffron to sugar to the sandalwood in perfume. Tara could almost navigate her way around by nose.


She reached forward to Willow who was just a couple of feet ahead and tugged her arm from behind.


“Willow, come feel this—”


Willow spun around so quickly she almost fell on her ass.


“Don’t!”


People looked over and Willow’s eyes widened and her hand rose to her throat as she took in a sharp breath. She turned away but Tara caught up and stood in front of her.


“Willow, we have to talk about this,” she said softly so as not to garner any more attention, “Clearly I’ve hurt you or upset—”


“I can’t do this,” Willow interrupted, her face a bright purple as she pushed past Tara and ran.


“Willow,” Tara called after her but they were in a maze thronged with people and she was out of her eye line in seconds, “Willow!”


A haughty man at a fruit stall shot her a scornful look and said something in Arabic that either meant ‘shut up’ or ‘Americans’ or something equally derisive.


Tara suddenly didn’t feel much like shopping anymore and started to make her way out. Willow had barely spoken a word all day as they toured the city. They’d come to this city at Willow’s request, it hadn’t even been on their original itinerary.


They’d seen a show about the tallest hotel in the world back when they were watching TV in their private room in Delhi and Willow had successfully convinced her that it would be a once in a lifetime experience to get to swim up on its roof.


When Tara had suggested it that morning, Willow had flat out refused to go. Tara had almost spent a whole night’s accommodation budget just to get them up there as a surprise. She was glad she’d waited to buy a ticket now; it would have been wasted money.


And now Willow had run away. It felt like a long, long time since Willow had run away from her. It hearkened back to some painful memories.


She started to sweat as she tried to weave her way out of the people who were happy to stroll. She’d been happy to stroll too but now she just needed out.


She finally exited the souk having bought exactly nothing but a bottle of water on the way out which she guzzled on her way back to the hostel.


She rode the elevator in silence, though with a thumping headache starting to make itself known.


She hadn’t felt so out-of-the-loop with Willow since they first started dating.


That seemed like a lifetime ago. Like two different people ago. A different relationship ago.


She got to the room and let herself in, seeing Willow sitting on her bed with her body hung over her legs.


“Thank god you’re here,” Tara said, closing the door behind her, “What the hell—”


She stopped when she heard a sob echo throughout the room.


“Willow?” she asked, dropping to her knees in front of Willow, who was physically shaking and crying through heaved breaths.


Willow’s eye met Tara’s and she seemed to instantly crumble.


“I can’t do this Tara, I can’t do it, not again.”


“Again?” Tara asked in a soft, soothing voice.


Willow swallowed several times.


“This is…this is what it was like, what it was like in my head except here it’s real, it’s really real and I can’t go back, I just can’t, I—”


“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” Tara soothed some more, taking both of Willow’s hands in hers, “Take a breath. Take a long, slow breath.”


Willow tried to comply and finally got there on the fifth or so attempt.


Tara breathed with her for guidance and spoke to her softly.


“Now name five things you can see.”


Willow blinked several times until they weren’t glassy anymore.


“Window. Bed. Door. Bag,” she said slowly, holding Tara’s gaze. “Tara-Eyes.”


“Four things you can touch,” Tara encouraged.


Willow took one hand back and patted around her.


“Blanket. Pants. Phone,” she rattled off, then squeezed Tara’s fingers between her own, “Tara-Hand.”


Tara smiled softly.


“Three things you can hear.”


Willow closed her eyes.


“Birds. Honking,” she said quietly as her ears picked up the sounds outside the window and the one nearest to her, “Tara-breath.”


“Two things you can smell,” Tara's voice continued to gently call out.


Willow inhaled deeply.


“Toothpaste,” she answered, the open tube still sitting on the nightstand between their beds, and then got the waft of a sweet, familiar scent that was too many things at once and too unique to identify as one thing, “Tara-smell.”


“One thing you can taste,” Tara exhaled.


Willow felt Tara’s body move and then a tender kiss placed on her lips.


She sighed softly.


“Tara.”


She felt Tara’s hands slide down her thighs and opened her eyes again, feeling calmer and able to regulate her breathing better.


“Tell me what’s happening,” Tara requested softly, “In your own time.”


Willow exhaled.


“It’s in my head. Every second, it’s in my head.”


“What is?” Tara asked, her brow etched with lines of concern.


Willow’s eyes were shrouded with hurt.


“It’s illegal. We’re…illegal.”


Tara sat back on her heels a little, pensive.


“This is what it felt like…before I accepted who I am,” Willow continued to explain, “Like my every movement is a giveaway. What happens if they maids see our beds together? Could they tell if we did stuff? W-what if they can tell by the sheets? What if someone sees us together and guesses, what if they see your thumb ring? I can’t see you in a bikini or a swimsuit; everyone and their uncle would know! I can’t look at you at all. What do I call you? What if I stumble and don’t know what to call you and it’s written all over my face? What if I smell like you? Do I walk a weird way? Do my clothes give me away?”


She threw her arms up as fresh tears sprung into her eyes.


“What if my footsteps sound gay?!”


It was funny, except it wasn’t.


“I keep seeing that guy they dragged off in the airport and imagining it’s me, or worse — you. I just think, how could they see how I look at you and not know. It’s a prison. It was a prison then and now real prison is a possibility—”


“We’re not going to a real prison,” Tara interrupted but Willow just shook her head sadly.


“We’re already in one when we’re living in fear.”


Tara reflected for a moment on the truth of that sentence and also how far Willow had come to actually have her say it.


“You’re right,” she replied eventually, “So let’s go.”


Willow frowned.


“What do you mean?”


“Let’s leave,” Tara replied plainly, “I won’t let you feel like you did all those months ago. You’re not that person anymore, Willow. You’re strong enough to lean on me now. So lean on me and let me get you out of here. You had to pull yourself out of your own prison but I can get you out of this one. This one is easy. Just a plane ride away.”


Willow frowned unsurely.


“We’ve only been here a day.”


Tara shrugged one shoulder.


“You’ve seen one flashy skyscraper, you’ve seen them all.”


“What about our trip to the desert?” Willow questioned, lifting her thumb to her mouth to nibble on the skin around it.


“Really, what’s a little bit of sand?” Tara dismissed, “And it’s hard to know if they treat those camels right. I wouldn’t want to support any cruelty.”


Willow’s heart started to beat a little faster.


“Where would we go?”


Tara considered it a moment.


“We took Nepal off the list to come here. We could hop back over. Do they do visas on arrival?”


“Yeah, I think so. I can check,” Willow replied, suddenly excited, “Is it legal there? T-this?”


Tara nodded.


“I think it's a bit of a gay hotspot actually.”


Willow’s eyes grew wide.


“Really? Who knew?” she said, then added on sheepishly, “You, clearly. You always know about this stuff.”


She turned her head and swiped at her eyes to fully compose herself. Tara gave Willow’s legs one last squeeze before standing and stretching her knees. She gave Willow a minute to herself while taking out her iPad to look for flights.


“There’s a redeye out tonight,” she said after a few minutes of searching.


Willow exhaled and stood up to walk over to Tara.


“Wait, don’t book it. I’ll can see if I can reroute our original flights. I-I’ll pay for the difference but it might be less expensive that way.”


Tara covered Willow’s hand between them as she sat beside her.


“Nothing is worth you feeling like this for a second, especially not money.”


Willow looked like she might cry again.


“I’ve been so scared,” she admitted.


“Why didn’t you just tell me?” Tara sighed softly.


Willow’s eyes closed.


“I was ashamed. It didn’t seem to bother you. You’re so much stronger than me.”


Tara was silent for a moment, then bumped Willow’s shoulder.


“Well guess what?”


Willow looked up.


“What?”


Tara smiled.


“We’re a unit. A twosome. A dueting dyad duo.”


She leaned in and pressed several small kisses to Willow’s cheek.


“So,” she continued confidently, “The weight of their eyes can’t bring us down.”


Tara hugged Willow sidelong. She brought Willow’s head into the crook of her neck and held her there.


“My strength is yours once you’re willing to take it. And you’ve been my strength more times than you know.”


Willow sighed softly.


“I accept.”


Tara kissed the top of Willow’s head.


“Let’s get out of here.”


Willow threw her arms around Tara and held on for dear life.


When they were both ready, they packed up their things, returned the gold key to the gold lobby and rode the gold elevator to the silver BMW that brought them to the airport.


They ate dinner there and had to hang out at the gate for a while but Willow was on edge right up until they were sitting comfortably in the air.


“Are you feeling any better?” Tara asked quietly after they were served some pretzels.


The flight wasn’t even half full and she could have spoken louder but the lights were dimmed and the cabin was quiet.


“In part,” Willow answered honestly, “The me— us part, yes.”


Tara slid her hand out from under her blanket and brushed some hair from Willow’s brow.


“What’s going on up there?”


Willow silently gathered her thoughts for several seconds.


“We get by, so much,” she answered eventually, then rolled her eyes at herself, “What I mean is, no one guesses that we’re a couple. Even when we’re touching and stuff. It was kinda a huge surprise to me when I stopped caring because it was something I always obsessed about before. I mean I call you my girlfriend and the world is like ‘hey gal pals’.”


Her head turned toward Tara.


“And I guess that’s because we don’t fit some bogus stereotype or whatever but what…what about people that do? That can’t hide it? In places like that? Who are forced to stay there?”


Tara nodded.


“You’re right. It’s not fair, or right.”


“What can we do?” Willow asked helplessly.


“Change the world,” Tara replied softly, then added, “Help the people.”


Her fingers fell down the curve of Willow’s face and she took Willow’s hand in her lap.


“But for now, just rest a little and know that you’re safe.”


Willow started to settle her head on Tara’s shoulder but paused and looked up.


“Tara?” she asked, gazing into Tara’s eyes for a calming moment, “Ouḥibouki.”


Tara’s face slowly blossomed into a soft, serene smile. She knew this routine now, she knew what the unfamiliar words meant.


“When did you get a chance to learn that?”


Willow just shook her head. Telling Tara she’d seen it on a tourist t-shirt didn’t have the impact she wanted for this moment.


“It doesn’t matter.”


Willow squeezed their palms together.


“What matters is that there’s nothing more important than telling you I love you. And I will never forget that ever again,” she stopped and swallowed a lump, then finally smiled, “Hey, you wanna watch some SpongeBob on my phone?”


Tara nodded and Willow handed one of her AirPods over to Tara and found the downloaded files they often watched together on lazy mornings when they were alone.


The episode started playing and they watched as SpongeBob grew multiple hands to get all of his jobs done at once.


“Do you think he acquired special powers or is his ability to grow hands native to his species?” Tara whispered to Willow in the small space between their heads.


“I don’t know, but whatever it is I hope they can utilize it for humans someday,” Willow replied with a salacious grin breaking through the few tears that were finally clearing from her eyes, “It would come in very…handy…”


Tara’s head turned toward Willow and her lips slowly quirked upward on her face.


“Vixen.”


Willow’s cheeks blushed and her head ducked lightly as she continued to smile.


She sensed Tara’s head snuggle against her shoulder and at 30,000 feet in the air, never had she felt more safe.

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

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The Love… Series ... Two For Joy ... Inevitable


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