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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (Complete)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:46 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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********

TITLE: College Confidential

WRITER: Laragh

CHAPTER RATING: PG-13 (will become NC-17 as the story progresses!)

DISCLAIMER: Willow, Tara and any other characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise belong to Joss Whedon, FOX, ME and a whole host of other entities, none of which are me.

SUMMARY: The first part of the prequel to Hacker Confidential and Family Confidential - the college years!

SPOILERS: Perhaps minor references to the show or stealage of dialogue, but nothing that would spoil the series.

FEEDBACK: Yes please

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I almost didn’t make it, but just skirting in at the end of June! So, it’s prequel time and as those familiar with Confidential!verse will know, there’s a period of just over four years to cover coming up to the start of Hacker. This will be split into 'College' and 'Adult' Confidential.

I'm using the flashbacks I had in Hacker throughout the story, but I'll flesh them out a little so they may appear changed (though the actual content will stay the same). Oh and my standard disclaimer, this will be fluffy and mushy and cheesy and all those things, so if you like a bit of drama in your reading, my fics will never be for you.

(Also, Boston College is the established setting, and I'll do my best to keep it as accurate as the internet will allow me, but certain things, like Tara doing a degree in Social Work, which isn't available there, will just need a little suspension of disbelief. Shouldn't take from the story too much!)



GREAT BIG HONKIN’ NOTE ADDED FEB ‘13
I’ve recently gone back and edited most of my fics to change Tara to what I believe is her rightful brunette. This took a long time, and none were anywhere near as long as this series. There were almost 1200 ‘blondes’ I would have had to manually change. Therefore, she remains blonde here. I plan on changing that in-series at a later date and hope it doesn’t annoy anyone too much.



Chapter 1

********



Part 1




Tara walked across campus quickly, holding her books to her chest with one hand while the other grasped onto the large latte she was taking steady sips from. It was her weekly treat to get a take-out coffee and while she normally indulged herself on a weekend, she needed it that morning to try and wake up. She was rushing along the path on the way to her early-morning class, though the chilly air was helping more than the coffee in tricking her brain into functioning.


She had been living in Boston for two years, having moved from New York State when she graduated high school. She was half way through her bachelor’s degree in social work and enjoyed her college life, certainly more than she ever had while in high school and living at ‘home’, but she still felt somewhat like an outsider in her surroundings.


She knew it was her own fault, never making an effort to join any college groups or meet anyone outside of her classes, but she sort of liked the isolation - people and social interaction had never been her strong suit. A lot of that was due to circumstance, but there was a large chunk that was just her too.


She wasn’t overly shy and wasn’t really opposed to having friends, but growing up, she hadn’t been allowed to have friends over and so people at school had generally avoided her or picked on her for the clothes she wore or the way she talked, so she’d learned to like her own company.


Most of the human contact she received was from her family, which was fine up until she was ten and her mother died in a car accident. Then her father started drinking and started hitting her, so being alone – being away from him – was always the preferred option.


As well as that, she figured, if she focused on her studies, she could graduate to the full of her potential, make sure she got a job and never have to see her father again. Not that she’d ever go back there. She’d live on the streets before she willingly went back.


But on that particular Thursday morning, her thoughts were far from the life she escaped and were focused on the life she was working towards, which included attending her Sociological Statistics class. A class, which she determined with a quick glance down to her watch, she was definitely running late for.


She brought her coffee up to her mouth, intending to take a final sip before she had to take off running, but instead felt the shirt she was wearing covered in it. The warm liquid made it cling to her skin, but she didn't have a chance to process the uncomfortable sensation as something suddenly crashed against her front, causing her to stumble around.






Willow pushed her glasses up her nose to stop them from falling off as she scurried across the campus, intent on getting to the library as soon as it opened. She wanted first access to whatever books and resources were available for her independent study in her Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience class, and no amount of reason could convince her that she wouldn’t if she arrived even a second late.


Much to the annoyance of her roommate, Becky, she was an early-riser, a quality she had kept on from high school when she’d get up early to hang out in the school library before school. She always preferred the wall-to-wall books than the surroundings of her own lonely bedroom.


Her parents had never been around, so she never had to explain her whereabouts to them. They only seemed to care about her academics, so when she’d applied for colleges, they’d been delighted when she’d been accepted into Harvard, MIT and Princeton.


Willow, however, had fallen in love with the Boston College campus when she had visited during the tour around the country her parents had sent her on to decide - though they didn't know about the particular detour she took until she announced that it was where she'd had taken a place in.


The fact that it was as far away from her parents as possible was a bonus in her eyes; they may rarely have been around, but the time they did spend together was full of ridicule and belittling on their part - made worse by the fact that they, or her mother at least, seemed to deem that as 'affection'. Her father was warmer, but deferred to his wife enough that it didn't make a difference to Willow's upbringing.


She was also glad she’d been offered a full scholarship as her coming out hadn’t gone down well and she’d been effectively cut-off until she ‘renounced her ways’, something she was never going to do.


Like a certain other person who happened to be on the same route as her that day, her thoughts too were far from what she’d left and on where she was going – the library. Which she had to get to. Quick.


She pulled out her cell phone to check the time but before she could even glance at the screen she found herself colliding with something, or rather someone, and promptly fell on her butt. The notebooks and collection of pens in her possession flew everywhere and her glasses slipped right down her nose again, though her instinct was to push them right back up, so luckily they weren't caught in the ambush.


She shook her head to get her bearings, then looked up, instantly going into panic mode when she saw she had walked straight into a girl – an absolutely gorgeous girl, she couldn't help but think as she jumped up and pulled a pack of tissues from her pocket.


“Oh god, I am so sorry, I am so, so sorry, are you okay? Clearly you’re not okay, some lunatic just spilled coffee all over your pretty shirt,” Willow said, barely taking breaths between words as she dabbed at the blonde’s t-shirt with her tissues, suddenly realizing what she was doing, “And I really shouldn’t be touching you like this, I’m so sorry, I’ll pay for dry-cleaning and get you a new coffee, as many coffees as you like and, and a muffin or whatever baked goodness you desire.”


Tara knew she should be concerned about the slowly-diminishing burning sensation of the coffee on her chest. She knew she should be concerned about her ruined shirt, or the fact that she would definitely be late for her class, or that a strange woman was touching very close to her breasts. But she couldn’t quite bring herself to care because at that moment she looking into the most beautiful face with the greenest eyes she had ever seen.


Those green eyes suddenly locked with hers and Willow inhaled softly, cutting off the babble.


Both felt like something had just changed for them, that something special had somehow happened.


“I’m, I’m Willow by the way. Willow Rosenberg,” Willow squeaked out after a minute, “I’m so sorry about your shirt.”


“It’s okay,” Tara replied, feeling her heart pounding in her chest, and the most sociable she ever had in her life - she just had to talk to this girl, “It’ll wash out. And I’m Tara Maclay. It’s nice to meet you.”


Tara extended her free hand – the one that had been holding her coffee – and gulped when she felt a spark jolt through her as Willow took her hand and shook it firmly. A wave of confidence washed over her.


“So…that coffee?”


“Yes!” Willow replied, a little too overzealously, making her blush, “I mean, yes, coffee, I spilled your coffee so I’ll buy you coffee. Um, I’m...I’m free now?”


Forgotten was all the morning of research she’d planned, all the notes she had been going to look over, the paper as a whole - gone from her mind. All she knew was that the most beautiful girl she’d even seen was standing in front of her and seemed willing to spend time with her – it was the first time in her life she’d ever felt something was more important than homework.


Tara too had let her class slip from her mind. A quiet thought pushed its way forward that she was now very late, she honestly couldn't care. Right then it didn't matter if she never attended a class again – there was no way she was going to pass up the opportunity to hang out with this Willow.


That's the prettiest name I've ever heard.


“I-I’m free too,” she managed to respond, offering a nervous but still adorably crooked smile.


Willow had to make a conscious effort not to let out a loud squeal and pointed behind herself with her thumb.


“The campus coffee shop is...you know, right around the corner.”


“Yeah, I know,” Tara replied easily, a remarkable feat given she only words she'd spoken to anyone in the past week was to give her coffee order, “That’s where I got my coffee.”


Willow blushed again, but it was from more than just embarrassment. It was the oddest feeling she'd ever experienced, but she swore she felt her heart lift when Tara smiled at her.


“Do you wanna...?”


Tara nodded in agreement and they started in the direction of the coffee shop. It was a short two minute walk around the corner, and while the trip was silent, it was also littered with sneaky glances until they arrived at the building, the place bustling with students looking for an early morning caffeine-fix.


Willow spotted a free circular table with a stool either side near the left-hand side window and quickly walked over, putting her books on the table, thus claiming it. Tara followed her and sat on the stool opposite, letting her own books rest beside the other ones as Willow motioned towards the counter.


“Triple Latte with vanilla syrup, right?”


Tara’s eyebrows shot up and Willow inhaled sharply, her hands moving in front of her to gesture wildly.


“I’m not like a really weird creepy stalker person or anything, I just read the little letters on your coffee cup when I spilled it and I’m like an expert on all things coffee. Coffee and computers, those are my things. My roommate says she thinks I’m gonna become a millionaire ‘cause I’ll own some big software company and I’ll invest in coffee industries ‘cause I could single-handedly keep the trade alive, but I don’t really think that’s true, I mean, I drink a lot, but you’d need to drink a lot of coffee to make yourself rich off an investment and you’d have to spend all the money on the coffee you were drinking anyway, so you probably wouldn’t make anything at all, plus I really don’t want to own a company, I know nothing about business and I don’t think I’d do well in meetings ‘cause when I get nervous I babble, kinda like I am right now, and I’d look silly and nobody would think I was good for representing the company and there’d be a mutiny and I’d be tossed out and lose all my money and all I’d have left would be the stocks in coffee and they’re really probably no use to anyone...”


Willow trailed off and looked down dejectedly, clasping her hands together in front of her stomach.


Great. If she wasn’t already completely freaked out she will be now.


Tara stared for a moment before giving that half-smile again and a quiet, but warm and full laugh.


“You have very impressive breathing skills.”


Willow looked up and after hiding a gasp when she felt that heart flutter again, smiled too.


That wasn’t a mocking laugh! I heard Cordelia’s for so many years, I know laughs and that was not mocking!


“I also have impressive ‘making-an-ass-outta-yourself’ skills,” she replied, cheeks flushing and hands waving twitching nervously, but she was still smiling, “As you’ve just witnessed.”


“I don’t think you made an ass out of yourself,” Tara replied with a sure shake of her head, “I think you made yourself looked super cute.”


Both girls blushed bright red but Willow’s smile got impossibly wide.


“Was that the right coffee order?” she asked after a moment, swinging her still clasped hands in front of her.


Tara nodded and reached into her pocket for her wallet, thinking she'd just have to make her budget stretch this week, but Willow started gesturing with her hands again.


“No, no way, I spilled yours, remember? I’ll, um, I’ll be back in one sec.”


Willow rushed off and joined the queue for coffee, her hand moving to cover her hand in disbelief.


No way am I about to buy coffee for the most gorgeous woman in the world. Is this a date? No, not a chance. A date requires asking...except I kinda did ask...but not for a date...could I ask her for a date? I just met her. What’s the etiquette? What are the rules? I need to ask Becky. Would she even want to date me? She said I was cute...probably just being polite. God, I made an ass of myself, I don’t care what she says. Stupid, Willow, stupid, stupid, stupid.


“Excuse me...ma’am...ma’am...look, do you want some coffee or not?!”


Willow was pulled from her self-deprecating thoughts by the sound of the exasperated man behind the counter snapping his fingers in her face and finally registered his words and the fact she’d reached the top of the queue.


“Uh, yeah...” she said, blinking a couple of times to gain her bearings, “Vanilla Triple Latte and a Mocha. And, um, a muffin.”


The server looked at her, thoroughly annoyed.


“What kind?”


Willow scowled at the man, just to show her disdain for not getting ‘service with a smile’ before quickly glancing over her shoulder at where Tara was sitting, calmly looking out the window. Willow felt her lips curl into a smile just at the sight of the other girl until she noticed a movement out of the corner of her eye and jerked her head back around. She narrowed her eyes at the server whose hand was raised and fingers positioned as if he was about to snap them again.


“If you snap your fingers at me one more time, your manager will be getting a very strongly worded letter, okay? And trust me, I’ve very good with words. Give me one of each.”


The man looked suitably chastised and nodded, rushing off to put four different types of muffins into a small white paper bag and handed it over the counter.


“Thank you,” Willow said with only a small hint of sarcasm.


She retrieved her wallet, giving the man a bill and taking the change back, pocketing it before the coffee cups were passed to her. She pondered how she was going to carry everything for a moment before taking the folded top of the paper bag between her teeth and holding one of the Styrofoam cups in each hand. She made her way back to the table, placing Tara’s cup in front of her and took a hold of the bag, putting it between them as she swung herself onto her stool and smiled at her coffee companion.


“Sorry that took so long, the barista was all moody,” she said before tearing the bag along the side so the muffins were revealed, “Um, I got muffins. I wasn’t sure which you liked so I got one of each. There’s, um...chocolate chip, blueberry, poppy-seed and...I think this is apple cinnamon.”


“You didn’t have to do that,” Tara smiled, holding her coffee between both of her hands to warm them, “I like blueberry.”


“Me too!” Willow replied enthusiastically, before tacking on shyly, “We could...we could share, if you wanted...”


Tara nodded and they shared a coy glance for a moment before Willow reached out to pull a small piece from the blueberry muffin, popping it into her mouth.


“Yummy,” she said with a nervous smile, and Tara gave a small laugh.


“Good?” she asked.


Willow swallowed the chunk in her mouth and nodded too.


They both reached towards the muffin at the same time, their fingers inadvertently brushing against each other in the process. The two jolted, both feeling their heartbeats quicken as a rush of fire and electricity shot through them. Their eyes met and they searched each other, both thinking the exact same thing.


Did she feel that?


They both looked away shyly before either got an answer from the other’s eyes and they shared the muffin quietly until Willow broke the quiet by slipping her glasses off and folded them, leaving them on top of her pile of books.


“You don’t need those all the time?”


Tara voice was tinged with curiosity but felt her mouth go dry as Willow looked up and even more vibrant green eyes came into focus, now unclouded by the frames. She quickly took a long gulp of her coffee as Willow just smiled.


“No, I only wear them if I know I’m gonna be reading or concentrating for long periods of time. I get headaches otherwise.”


Tara nodded, then her brow creased in confusion.


“Then why were you wearing them this morning?” she asked but saw Willow’s eyes widen and realised why, “You had plans this morning. I’m sorry, you really didn’t have to buy me coffee.”


“No, really, I wanted to,” Willow hastened to reassure, “I was just gonna hang in the library ‘cause I don’t have any classes this morning and I had nothing better to do. But this counts as ‘something better to do’ so...yeah.”


Tara smiled shyly again.


“It does?”


“Yeah,” Willow nodded with a matching smile, “I mean...making new friends is nice...right?”


Tara nodded back but her eyes looked saddened for just a moment.


Friends. What were you expecting Tara? But she’s right, friends would be nice. Friends would be very nice. Friends means I still get to look into those beautiful green eyes.


“Right. I’d like to have a friend,” she eventually answered, “I haven't met many people since I came out here.”


Willow shook her head in disbelief.


“That’s not right. You're so nice, you must have lots of friends.”


Tara gave a one-shouldered shrug. She didn't want to go into specifics of her lack of socialising pre-college, though she did feel some pride that she was holding a conversation well. She had to admit that Willow deserved a lot of that recognition - she was making it easy for them to just chat, a phenomenon she'd never understood too well but was thoroughly enjoying.


“Guess I’m just choosy,” she replied eventually and saw Willow’s smile falter, so quickly added, “I’d choose you.”


Willow visibly brightened.


“To be your friend?”


To be my everything.


Tara blinked in surprise of her own thought and quickly drank some coffee to mask the look on her face.


“Definitely. You seem like great friend material.”


“Well, great,” Willow beamed, before giving a definitive nod, “So, friends...know things about each other, right? Like...your major?”


“Social work,” Tara replied, settling into the conversation, “Sophomore.”


“I’m a sophomore too,” Willow responded happily, “But psychology.”


Tara got a curious look on her face.


“Psychology? That’s pretty different from computers.”


Willow blushed that Tara had remembered any part of her inane babble from earlier.


“I figured I had machines down, so why not try and learn about the mind?” she replied with a laugh, “I don’t really think I’ll ever settle into a job as a psychologist or anything but...I like learning about like, behaviour and things. Why people do what they do. Computers are so simple, you give it a command and it does it, no questions asked. People...aren’t. So it’s interesting.”


Tara had a look on her face between smitten and impressed.


“That certainly seems like a good reason to declare a major.”


Willow was pleased, feeling oddly gratified that this person she'd known for a half hour approved of her decisions.


“So social work? Do you want to be a social worker?”


“Uh huh,” Tara replied with a smile that held a tinge of sadness, “I want to help kids. You know that are...kids who need help.”


Willow saw the sadness of Tara's smile reach her eyes and without thinking, reached across the table to entwine their fingers, giving her hand a comforting squeeze. She jerked her hand back almost straight away when she realised what she was doing and looked down at the lid of her coffee cup.


“That’s good. Wanting to help. The kids will be lucky to have you.”


“Um, thanks,” Tara replied, staring down at her hand in awe for a moment at how wonderful it had felt to have Willow’s there, before snapping back to attention, “T-that means a lot.”


Willow continued to stare down at her coffee cup, worried she had managed to mess up her new friendship already before becoming aware of eyes staring at her and looked up to see Tara softly smiling. Happy that she still seemed interested in talking to her, she decided to continue her inquiries.


“So, we’d be around the same age, huh? I’m 19.”


Tara smiled a little wider in relief for the same reason, happy they were still talking.


“I’m 20. I was 20 on January 1st. New Year’s baby.”


“Cool!” Willow exclaimed, bouncing a little in her seat, “I’m 20 in April. Um...showery baby?”


“As in April showers?” Tara asked, laughing when Willow gave a shy nod, “That’s a good one.”


Willow shook her head slightly.


“Most people think my jokes are stupid.”


Tara was the one to shake her head this time.


“I think they’re funny.”


“Oh,” Willow replied with a smile, “Well then you can be my official joke tester-outer.”


“Okay,” Tara nodded with a grin, “All future humorous idioms go through me.”


Willow giggled again, loving the way Tara talked and phrased things, but her glee was short-lived when she noticed her glancing down at her watch.


“Do you have to go?” she asked, trying not to convey her disappointment.


“Yes,” Tara replied, not even trying to hide her own disappointment, but she knew there was no way she could miss her second class, “I’m sorry. I have an exam. And I, um, need to run up to my dorm to get changed.”


She opted not to tell Willow about missing her first class and would have been quite willing to forgo this one too if it wasn't for the test that was scheduled.


“Your shirt!” Willow exclaimed in response, hands covering her mouth, “I got coffee all over it, I’m so sorry, I forgot.”


“Willow, it’s fine,” Tara replied with a genuine smile, “I’m sure it’ll wash out.”


Willow blushed when Tara said her name – she wasn’t sure how or why, but it sounded different coming from her lips. Soft and sweet and almost…pretty.


“No, I said I’d get it dry-cleaned and I will,” she replied quickly with a definitive shake of her head, “If, um...you could meet me tomorrow, wearing a new shirt obviously, and with that shirt and I can take it and get it dry-cleaned and then bring it back to you. I mean, it’s my fault, it’s not fair for you to have to go out of your way to go to a dry-cleaners.”


And that would mean I get at least two more chances to see you. Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes, please say yes...


“Okay,” Tara replied with a coy shyness, “If you insist.”


“Great!” Willow replied, her smile stretching from ear-to-ear, “So tomorrow? To um, collect your shirt?”


“Sure,” Tara nodded, eager to have a solid plan to see Willow again, “I just have one class in the morning.”


“I'm free after two...so say, like, three?” Willow asked with keen enthusiasm, getting a nod in return, “Yes. Okay. Here? Outside?”


Tara downed the last of her coffee and stood up.


“I’ll be here.”


Willow beamed and nodded.


“Great. Wonderful. And, um, I’m really sorry again. About the coffee and everything.”


Tara got a bashful smile on her face.


“I’d have a thousand coffees spilled over me if it meant I got to meet you,” she replied softly before ducking her head in embarrassment and gathering her books, “Bye Willow.”


Willow raised her hand in a wave and watched as Tara left the coffee shop and walked away. She kept an eye on her, definitely not noticing the way her hips swayed as she moved.


Nope. Not looking at her ass at all. Definitely don't see that sway...or those curves...


She blushed at her thoughts but allowed herself to have them until Tara was out of sight, then dropped her head onto her books, a dreamy smile on her face.


This is the start of something magical.

_________________
Amber Benson killed me once.

Check out my finished fics

Current Series: College Confidential ... Adult Confidential ... Hacker Confidential ... Family Confidential


Last edited by Laragh on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:04 am, edited 15 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:42 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:43 am
Posts: 434
FIRST DIBS!!! Hooray for random refreshes! Great way to end the day. I also realized the big difference between when you posted and my dibs. The universe definitely like me. :)

Great start. It's love-at-first-babble.

Stupid scowly coffee server. My mom works at Starbucks so I know that's not how to get repeat customers.

Quote:
God, I made an ass of myself, I don’t care what she says. Stupid, Willow, stupid, stupid, stupid.

I know these thoughts well. I've learned to ignore them.

Quote:
“Right. I’d like to have a friend,” she eventually answered, “I haven't met many people since I came out here.”

If she had only left out the last word, she wouldn't have to settle for friends for the short amount of time she does now. :p

Quote:
I like learning about like, behaviour and things. Why people do what they do. Computers are so simple, you give it a command and it does it, no questions asked. People...aren’t. So it’s interesting.”

I couldn't agree more. I'm an accounting major because I'd rather work with numbers in a job, but I would have loved to take more Psych courses for this very reason. That's why I study TV shows.

Love how Tara naturally gets Willow's sense of humor.

Can't wait for more. (Will it be at a regular time or vary based on when you finish?)

_________________
"Not everyone wants to graduate high school at age 16 and college at age 19 and have our first IPO by age 20. Some of us want to waste precious minutes, hours, days, and weeks rotting in front of the TV." - Survivor Ash Island By JustSkipIt

Buffy: Hi. Willow right?
Willow: Why? I mean hi. Did you want me to move?
First sign of adorable Willow "Welcome to the Hellmouth"


Last edited by BuffyFan4ever on Thu Jun 28, 2012 9:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:33 pm 
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20. Not one Much for the Timber
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Hello my JMT! :big wave

I read this earlier today and waited patiently to comment until it posted here. :grin Three words: I LOVE IT! The girls are so adorable and knowing the outcome of this sweet first meeting makes it all that much better. Truly an epic romance! Hey maybe after this you can start on Middle Age Confidential: Hot Flashes and Chin Hair and then on to Geriatric Confidential: Willow and Tara Share a Scooter at Wal-Mart. No? Oh okay, i-it was just a thought. :p

Anyway....I now have a reason to love Wednesday's again! I will be anxiously awaiting your next update:)

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:05 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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:applause I'm so happy you decided to do a prequel. The falling in love stories are my absolute favorites :bigkiss .


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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:29 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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I haven't read it yet but I was so excited to see a prequel that I had to post! Go Laragh. You are my hero!

ETA: This was an awesome start. I love that you are going to go back and show us the bits that you hinted at over the other two fics! I'm with JustSkipIt, I do enjoy the getting together fics generally more than the already together ones. Of course you are just an awesome writer and I'll read anything you write.

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Last edited by dtburanek on Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:47 pm 
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2. Floating Rose
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Very glad to see the prequel, Laragh :) Loved "Hacker Confidential" and "Family Confidential". I just adore this kind of domestic, fluffy yet dramatic fiction. I'm no good at constructive criticism so you'll have to settle for my admiration instead :applause I greatly look forward to the next chapter.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:08 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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OH.MY.GOD...I'm jumping on my chair now and I haven't even read it yet :eatme :banana :bounce
ack..screw my paperworks..off to reading now :kdevil
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I hope you’ll stay along for this potentially disastrous but hopefully fun ride

I'll stay. you have my word. :cool

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:20 am 
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Laragh,
I am very happy to see this. What a lovely birthday surprise--thank you! (Quite intentional, I'm sure ;))

I know I'm stealing this from wayland, but she's right: one of the more memorable scenes from FC was the last(?) sex scene. Where Willow is all nervous about her body being different, and when Tara laughs she freaks out. I like it when characters misstep, when things don't run perfectly smoothly. They're human, with faults and imperfect communication. They've been together so long in HC and FC that they know each other well, and don't spend much time tripping over each other; when they do, it's memorable.

You said you'll be jumping around, time-wise. If you're taking requests, let me put in my vote for lots of early-relationship stuff, where they are making mistakes while getting to know each other. You have this beautiful touch, where they can disagree or make mistakes, but at the same time keeping the scene warm and fuzzy but not too saccharine.

Cheers,
Kate

P.S. FYI, unless I'm reading it wrong, you have Tara being late for two different classes in this scene: early development and statistics.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:23 am 
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Okay, so, I have been reading Hacker Confidential and Family Confidential for a while now, but didn't leave any feedback, but I thought that this would be the perfect time to (finally) start!

I have been extremely excited for the prequel for weeks now because I simply loved Hacker and Family Confidential (they made the middle of the week a lot more bearable), so the small happy dance I did when I saw that the first chapter was finally there was totally in order. It's strange though how excited you can be for a story you already know the end to, but I can't wait to find out how they got there and how you will manage to fit in all the snippets we already got.

So all in all: really cute first chapter, I especially like Willow's little internal monologues, they fit her very well. Looking forward to the next one! =)

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 4:17 pm 
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Laragh,
It's great to be back with you again at the start of your prequel about Willow and Tara and as much as i firmly believe that not all characters need backstories, I am so thrilled to bits, really there are actual bits involved, I've had to sweep them up and keep them in a jar next to me, 'cause this means that we get the romantic and uplifting saga of how they met that you often referred to in passing in the successive tales.
Speaking of uplifting, since this is the opening chapter of the prequel, it gives me more opportunities for my requisite penis jokes and seeing hetero gags where there are none.
I am currently engaged in a sequel to my novel which is even more barking mad than it was.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:24 am 
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Oh. I'm so very excited. Confession that you've probably noticed - I don't read HC or FC. I like and enjoy your writing. I've just found that I'm not interested in stories in which the girls are already together. I only like the getting together or getting back together fics. So you can't imagine how happy I was to see this title.

Both girls have a lot of personality already. They're flirtatious and friendly and letting the other know that they want to see her again. So much fun to have. I'm sort of interested that they went to BC given cannon Willow being Jewish and Tara generally being portrayed as either Pagan/Wiccan or anti-Christian upbringing or both.

I seriously can't wait for more.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:31 am 
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I totally read this days ago on FF.net, but wanted to wait to comment properly when this was up. So excited for this story, not just because it takes us a step closer to the baby animals, but because all your writing makes me flail like mad. Have I told you that before? That I'm ridiculously proud that I can call you my friend, or at least you can't stop me, shhhh just go with it. You're my friend, who I may or may not recently have said I love you. Have I? 'Cause I do dude!

I love the Willow/Tara dynamic, kind of shy but still into each other and their quirky, dorky selves. Can't wait for Becky to make an appearance, always a fan of her. I am currently working on your next picture. It makes me chuckle so far, can't wait to show it to you. Keep up the awesome work Lararararararargh!

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 11:34 am 
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Totally loving this prequel already. I already know this is going to be an awesome story. I'm super excited to continue reading how Willow and Tara fell in love.
So, will you be having updates every Wednesday?


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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (06/27/12)
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:18 am 
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You said

I hope you’ll stay along for this potentially disastrous but hopefully fun ride, and as always, thanks for reading

Laragh, your stories are never disastrous and always fun to read.

All she knew was that the most beautiful girl she’d even seen was standing in front of her and seemed willing to spend time with her – it was the first time in her life she’d ever felt something was more important than homework.


Tara too had let her class slip from her mind. A quiet thought pushed its way forward that she was now very late, she honestly couldn't care. Right then it didn't matter if she never attended a class again – there was no way she was going to pass up the opportunity to hang out with this Willow.



There are no finer Willow/Tara story moments than those where they first meet, full steam ahead with the cuteness. ;)

Willow trying to buy coffee and muffins was fun. Wonder if she went through a similar experience when she was a barista hope, we get to find out.

It's so nice to read the girls first meeting and they are so easy relaxed and comfortable together.

This is the start of something magical.

I for one totally agree with that.

A great start to what is bound to be another awesome story from you Laragh.


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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:05 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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BuffyFan4ever

Quote:
FIRST DIBS!!! Hooray for random refreshes! Great way to end the day. I also realized the big difference between when you posted and my dibs. The universe definitely like me. :)


I posted early but it took about 14 hours or so before it was approved :)

Quote:
Great start. It's love-at-first-babble.


Haha! Very true!

Quote:
Stupid scowly coffee server. My mom works at Starbucks so I know that's not how to get repeat customers.


Some people just weren’t made for morning shifts.

Quote:
I know these thoughts well. I've learned to ignore them.


That’s good! I think we all know those thoughts unfortunately but if you can learn to block them out, all the better!

Quote:
If she had only left out the last word, she wouldn't have to settle for friends for the short amount of time does now. :p


Haha, there is ‘coming out’ to, well, come.

Quote:
I couldn't agree more. I'm an accounting major because I'd rather work with numbers in a job, but I would have loved to take more Psych courses for this very reason. That's why I study TV show.


It’s why I write fanfic!

Quote:
Love how Tara naturally gets Willow's sense of humor.


They just get each other from the start!

Quote:
Can't wait for more. (Will it be at a regular time or vary based on when you finish?)


Planning for regular Wednesday updates!

Thanks for commenting :)

Finey_McFine

Quote:
Hello my JMT! :bigwave


Hi! :D

Quote:
I read this earlier today and waited patiently to comment until it posted here. :grin Three words: I LOVE IT!


Wow, thanks!

Quote:
The girls are so adorable and knowing the outcome of this sweet first meeting makes it all that much better. Truly an epic romance!


Glad you think so!

Quote:
Hey maybe after this you can start on Middle Age Confidential: Hot Flashes and Chin Hair and then on to Geriatric Confidential: Willow and Tara Share a Scooter at Wal-Mart. No? Oh okay, i-it was just a thought. :p


Ha! I love it. I have their lives pretty much completely planned out, but I like your names :wink

Quote:
Anyway....I now have a reason to love Wednesday's again! I will be anxiously awaiting your next update:)


:D I hope you continue to enjoy it!

Thanks for your feedback!

Grimm

Quote:
:applause I'm so happy you decided to do a prequel. The falling in love stories are my absolute favorites :bigkiss .


I’m glad you’re excited! The prequel was suggested way back in the early-mid days of Hacker, so it’s been a long time coming!

Thanks for your comment :)

dtburanek

Quote:
I haven't read it yet but I was so excited to see a prequel that I had to post! Go Laragh. You are my hero!


Aww shucks, thanks! I hope you enjoy it!

Quote:
This was an awesome start. I love that you are going to go back and show us the bits that you hinted at over the other two fics! I'm with JustSkipIt, I do enjoy the getting together fics generally more than the already together ones. Of course you are just an awesome writer and I'll read anything you write.


Glad you liked the start, hope you continue to as well. I like the getting together fics too!

Thanks for commenting :)

Rebecca Ashling

Quote:
Very glad to see the prequel, Laragh :) Loved "Hacker Confidential" and "Family Confidential". I just adore this kind of domestic, fluffy yet dramatic fiction. I'm no good at constructive criticism so you'll have to settle for my admiration instead :applause I greatly look forward to the next chapter.


Thanks! I hope you enjoy it, and if there’s ever any constructive criticism, I’m definitely open to hearing it :)

Thanks for your feedback!

arsyadriani

Quote:
OH.MY.GOD...I'm jumping on my chair now and I haven't even read it yet :eatme :banana :bounce
ack..screw my paperworks..off to reading now :kdevil


Haha! You should do your paperwork first :wink

Quote:
I'll stay. you have my word. :cool


Yay! :D

Thanks for commenting :)

BeMyDeputy

Quote:
I am very happy to see this. What a lovely birthday surprise--thank you! (Quite intentional, I'm sure ;))


Oh definitely :wink Haha, I’m happy for the serendipity.

Quote:
I know I'm stealing this from wayland, but she's right: one of the more memorable scenes from FC was the last(?) sex scene. Where Willow is all nervous about her body being different, and when Tara laughs she freaks out. I like it when characters misstep, when things don't run perfectly smoothly. They're human, with faults and imperfect communication. They've been together so long in HC and FC that they know each other well, and don't spend much time tripping over each other; when they do, it's memorable.


I don’t like making big dramas out of them having fights/misunderstandings because, well, I just don’t. I write for them to be happy, I always have. But I do let the little things come up when I feel them organically, or at least I’ve learned how to let them happen.

Quote:
You said you'll be jumping around, time-wise. If you're taking requests, let me put in my vote for lots of early-relationship stuff, where they are making mistakes while getting to know each other. You have this beautiful touch, where they can disagree or make mistakes, but at the same time keeping the scene warm and fuzzy but not too saccharine.


Their first few months will definitely be played out as a ‘normal’ fic, I won’t start jumping around for a while, so there will be plenty of ‘early relationship’ :)

Thanks for your feedback!

Legolise

Quote:
Okay, so, I have been reading Hacker Confidential and Family Confidential for a while now, but didn't leave any feedback, but I thought that this would be the perfect time to (finally) start!


Yay! :D

Quote:
I have been extremely excited for the prequel for weeks now because I simply loved Hacker and Family Confidential (they made the middle of the week a lot more bearable), so the small happy dance I did when I saw that the first chapter was finally there was totally in order. It's strange though how excited you can be for a story you already know the end to, but I can't wait to find out how they got there and how you will manage to fit in all the snippets we already got.


I hope I can do their past justice! And that it keeps being a happy thing for your Wednesday :)

Quote:
So all in all: really cute first chapter, I especially like Willow's little internal monologues, they fit her very well. Looking forward to the next one! =)


Thanks! I’m never quite sure if I’m going overboard with their characterisations and I still mess up sometimes but glad to know it’s still readable!

Thanks for commenting!

taralicious

Quote:
Laragh,
It's great to be back with you again at the start of your prequel about Willow and Tara and as much as i firmly believe that not all characters need backstories, I am so thrilled to bits, really there are actual bits involved, I've had to sweep them up and keep them in a jar next to me, 'cause this means that we get the romantic and uplifting saga of how they met that you often referred to in passing in the successive tales.


Hey!! Happy to have you along for the ride :)

Quote:
Speaking of uplifting, since this is the opening chapter of the prequel, it gives me more opportunities for my requisite penis jokes and seeing hetero gags where there are none.
I am currently engaged in a sequel to my novel which is even more barking mad than it was.


Ooh, good luck with it! I bet it’s great! I prepare myself for the dick jokes :wink

Thanks for your comment :)

JustSkipIt

Quote:
Oh. I'm so very excited. Confession that you've probably noticed - I don't read HC or FC. I like and enjoy your writing. I've just found that I'm not interested in stories in which the girls are already together. I only like the getting together or getting back together fics. So you can't imagine how happy I was to see this title.


I totally get that. The reason I started HC with them in an established relationship is because I’d done quite a few fics like this where they’re getting together and I wanted to try something different. I have to admit I think I do have a preference for writing them getting together too :)

Quote:
Both girls have a lot of personality already. They're flirtatious and friendly and letting the other know that they want to see her again. So much fun to have.


Lots of fun hopefully! I don’t want them to have too much drama, just enjoy the fumbly bumbleness of new like and lust.

Quote:
I'm sort of interested that they went to BC given cannon Willow being Jewish and Tara generally being portrayed as either Pagan/Wiccan or anti-Christian upbringing or both.


Tara isn’t pagan/wiccan in this verse and Willow is Jewish but their religious backgrounds aren’t really reflective of the college – Tara went where she was accepted and Willow just liked the atmposphere of the campus when she visited (though you can be sure Willow’s parents weren’t that happy about it!)

(And I will freely admit my depiction of the college probably won’t fall in line with the reality, because when I established their university I never intended on doing a prequel, so it was just a throwaway reference. It would probably be a good idea to think of ‘Boston College’ as a generic term rather than referencing the actual establishment)

Quote:
I seriously can't wait for more.


Hope you enjoy it :)

Thanks for your feedback!

vazy

Quote:
I totally read this days ago on FF.net, but wanted to wait to comment properly when this was up. So excited for this story, not just because it takes us a step closer to the baby animals, but because all your writing makes me flail like mad. Have I told you that before?


Baby animal love! I’ll get there!

Quote:
That I'm ridiculously proud that I can call you my friend, or at least you can't stop me, shhhh just go with it. You're my friend, who I may or may not recently have said I love you. Have I? 'Cause I do dude!


Aww, vazy! :blush I’m so proud to call you my friend too!

Quote:
I love the Willow/Tara dynamic, kind of shy but still into each other and their quirky, dorky selves.


:D Glad you’re enjoying them!

Quote:
Can't wait for Becky to make an appearance, always a fan of her.


Here’s some Becky! And she’ll play a more prominent role since she’s pretty much the only secondary character at the moment!

Quote:
I am currently working on your next picture. It makes me chuckle so far, can't wait to show it to you. Keep up the awesome work Lararararararargh!


Ahhhhh pictures! I love pictures! Excited :D

Thanks for commenting :)

love_2003

Quote:
Totally loving this prequel already. I already know this is going to be an awesome story. I'm super excited to continue reading how Willow and Tara fell in love.


Aww, yay! I hope you enjoy it!

Quote:
So, will you be having updates every Wednesday?


That’s the plan!

Thanks for your comment :)

willowtaralover

Quote:
Laragh, your stories are never disastrous and always fun to read.


Aww, thanks!

Quote:
There are no finer Willow/Tara story moments than those where they first meet, full steam ahead with the cuteness.


Every couple needs a cute-meet

Quote:
Willow trying to buy coffee and muffins was fun. Wonder if she went through a similar experience when she was a barista hope, we get to find out.


That’s a little bit aways since it’s post-college, but I’ll definitely cover it!

Quote:
It's so nice to read the girls first meeting and they are so easy relaxed and comfortable together.


I like cutting them some slack and just enjoy getting together!

Quote:
I for one totally agree with that.

A great start to what is bound to be another awesome story from you Laragh.


I hope so! I really appreciate the support :)

Thanks for commenting!




Update Directly Below

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Current Series: College Confidential ... Adult Confidential ... Hacker Confidential ... Family Confidential


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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:08 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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********

TITLE: College Confidential

AUTHOR: Laragh

CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

DISCLAIMER: Willow, Tara and any other characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise belong to Joss Whedon, FOX, ME and a whole host of other entities, none of which are me.

SUMMARY: The first part of the prequel to Hacker Confidential and Family Confidential - the college years!

SPOILERS: Perhaps minor references to the show or stealage of dialogue, but nothing that would spoil the series.

FEEDBACK: Yes please

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Just wanted to note, since Hacker was set in quasi-real time as I was writing, that would set this verse in February 2005 onwards. Happy 4th of July to my American readers :)

Chapter 2

********

Willow skipped down the hallway and into her dorm room, a massive smile still plastered to her face.


A smile that hadn't left her ever since she'd run in to Tara that morning.


She’d decided to forgo her study plans - a concept quite alien to her - for the day after Tara had left the coffeehouse, figuring there was no way she would be able to concentrate when all she could think about was her new friend.


She had wandered around the campus for a while before the weight of her books started to weigh her down and she decided to return to her room. She'd actually enjoyed the time just thinking about nothing in particular and had noted with interest that everything seemed brighter and lighter around her - which she attributed to taking the time to look and not rush around.


Must be it...nothing else changed...'cept I met Tara...Tara...her name is so pretty. I wonder what it means. I should ask her. Tomorrow. When I get to see her again!


She smiled at her roommate, Becky, who had been her roommate for as long as they'd been in college, as she entered her room and continued her skip-walk to her desk to drop off her books.


Becky was lying on her bed, knees up and laptop resting on them, idly typing away at something.


“I thought you’d be in the library all day,” she commented without looking up.


“That’s really bad for your posture,” Willow replied, actually spinning over to her bed and sitting down with a bounce, “I didn’t get to the library.”


That seemed to be intriguing enough for Becky to glance away from her laptop.


“And why is that?”


Willow pursed her lips in an attempt for nonchalance.


“Just met a new friend is all.”


Becky eyed her roommate curiously. She had gotten used to Willow's 'odd' behaviour and had come to learn how to decipher it, but there was something about her demeanour that was different to anything she'd seen in her friend before. She watched the way Willow rocked back and forth on the bed, keeping her hands linked under her knees and her feet kicking from under her.


Definitely 'giddy-Willow'. But with something extra, a gleam in her eye.


It only took her a second to reconcile what she was seeing with what she heard, and was fully at attention, laptop tossed down beside her, forgotten.


“A girl...friend?”


Willow almost jumped right up onto the bed, but busied herself by grabbing her pillow and squeezing it to her chest, chin resting on top.


“She is a girl, who is currently a friend, but is also a girl that I really, really want to be a girlfriend of the romantic variety because she is so very, very beautiful and she’s funny and she’s kind, she wants to be social worker so she can help kids and isn’t that amazing? And I only talked to her for like an hour but I know she’s fantastically wonderful but I think she just wants to be friends and I don’t know what to do.”


She hadn't quite meant for all of that to come out in one go, or to be so revealing in her affections, but apparently possessing feelings for someone did nothing to help her lack of control in articulation.


In fact it made it worse.


“So...yeah,” she finished somewhat lamely, but figured if it was out there now maybe she could get some advice from her far more learned-in-matters-of-the-heart roommate, “What do I do?”


Becky sat up fully and turned to face Willow, a thoughtful look on her face. Her roommate having a crush was a Big Deal - and an as yet unexperienced one.


“Start from the beginning. Tell me everything.”


Willow looked off a moment with a dreamy smile as she again thought about the person who had lit up her morning, before focusing again. She needed advice.


“Okay, so I was walking to the library, like I planned when I left here this morning-”


“Yeah, thanks for banging into your nightstand so loudly, by the way,” Becky couldn't resist interrupting with a roll of her eyes, “You know I just love how early you like to wake up.”


“Sarcasm not appreciated,” Willow replied in a snipe, “And if you don’t want to know...”


Becky held her hands out in front of her defensively.


“Okay, okay. Continue.”


Willow closed her eyes, thoughts having been derailed for a moment, but it didn't help as her mind instantly flooded with thoughts of Tara again.


“She smells so wonderful...”


Becky cocked an eyebrow; she'd never heard Willow offer such a compliment about someone and had certainly never seen the smitten look on her face.


“I think you’re skipping a little too far ahead...”


Willow quickly opened her eyes again and nodded.


“Right. Okay, so I was on my way to the library from here and I was carrying all my books in one, um, my left, hand and I used the other to pull my cell phone from my right pocket and check the time ‘cause I didn’t have my watch on, you know my normal watch, it has mickey mouse on it and his arms are the hands? I left it here this morning 'cause it kind of hurts when I lean on it too long and I figured I would be if I was writing lots of notes. So I have my phone in my hand, my right hand, and I look down, which, cue distraction from the path and next thing I know I’m on my butt and my books are everywhere, my pens too, and I look up and there’s this... beautiful... stunning... just... perfect girl standing there... and her hair is all shining in the sun, making her look like an angel...she just took my breath away...but then I glanced down and kablamo! I'd spilled her coffee all over her shirt, which was really pretty and blue and kind of had a purple running through it, or maybe that was just from the coffee, but it looked darker anyway. So obviously, I started to panic and I jumped up and took a tissue I had in my right pocket with my cell phone and started trying to clean the coffee up and then I realised I was basically feeling her up so I-”


Becky stopped her roommate by holding up her hand when she realised she was taking the 'everything' thing to heart.


“When I said everything, I didn't mean everything. Not every tiny detail is necessary.”


Willow blushed as she realised how pedantic she was being and cleared her throat.


“Okay. Sorry,” she replied, nodding to herself to tell her brain to give the highlights, “So I spilled her coffee on her, and she was really sweet about it all. Didn't get mad or anything. And I told her that I would buy her a replacement coffee, and a muffin, you know, to say sorry. She said she was free right then. So, duh, I might be a complete dummy and super dork, but you don't say no when an angel tells you she wants to spend more time with you! Question her sanity, maybe, but you don't so no!”


“So you had coffee?” Becky prompted for her to continue.


Willow nodded.


“Uh huh, yeah. We went to the coffee shop, and I made my jackass #2 move by seeming like a stalker by knowing her coffee order-”


“Read it off her first cup?” Becky interjected in a guess.


“Yeah!” Willow replied, relieved not to have to explain, “And I told her the whole thing about your coffee corporation and me being head of theory, in full babble mode. Like expert level babble. But she didn't laugh, she smiled, this wonderful, adorable smile that only went up one side of her face. We had our coffees and we shared a muffin and talked, it was so easy. She laughed at my jokes and really listened to what I was saying and did I mention she smelled really good?”


Becky looked troubled a second, all too aware how unskilled Willow was in dating or possible dating etiquette.


“Uh, Will...you didn’t sniff her, did you?”


“No!” Willow replied, a light flush rising in her cheeks, “She was just wearing a nice perfume and it...wafted over to me. It wafted, okay?!”


“Okay, jeez,” Becky responded defensively, before grinning in delight at all that she'd heard, “Wow, you met a girl. My Willow met a girl. A real live girl, who I didn't even have to push you to meet!”


“I met a girl,” Willow confirmed with a broad smile before it faltered, “But I don’t know what it means. The prospect of a date was much easier when there were no actual feelings involved. Awkward, yes, but easier.”


Becky rolled her eyes a little at that.


“You can't really know that. If you would just have let me set you up-”


“I did let you set me up, Becky!” Willow cut her friend of, quite loudly, “With a bunch of different girls-”


Becky eyed her as if to say 'are you serious?'.


“Two girls.”


“And another one from my LGBT group!” Willow retorted, squirming in discomfort at the memory of those 'dates', “Doesn't matter, I never felt anything.”


Becky shook her head, having always thought her roommate treated the idea of dating unreasonably.


“If you’d have just let them go past the first date-”


“Why, Becky?” Willow questioned, with a sure shake of her head, a lot surer then than it ever had been before, “It was a waste of time. And I know definitely now that it was a waste of time because I could’ve spent all the time in the world with those girls and not felt a thing. All I had to do was stare at Tara for one second and I felt like my heart was a piece of butter melting on toast.”


“Tara?” Becky asked with a small smile, ignoring the odd metaphor and letting the ideals of her roommate's dating history go, “Nice name.”


Willow seemed appeased again as she thought of Tara and clung to the pillow.


“Isn’t it? It's so beautiful. Just like she is,” she replied before falling back down onto her bed and sighing, “Becky, I don’t know what to do! What do I do? You're supposed to be giving me advice!”


Becky folded her legs beneath herself, ready to take on the role of dating guru.


“Well you said you talked. Was it flirty?”


Willow contemplated the question and realised she had little idea what flirty dialogue would actually consist of.


“She called me cute... Super cute actually.”


Becky gave an encouraging look.


“Well that’s a good start. And you said she laughed at your jokes. She’d have to like you a lot for that.”


Willow grabbed her pillow and flung it across the room in retaliation, but stayed focused.


“Do I ask her out? What if I do and she gets weirded out and never wants to see me again and – oh god, Becky, I don’t even know if she’s into girls! I just...I never even thought! Big gaymo here just assumes everyone is gay! She could have a boyfriend for all I know! Ugghh! Why is this so hard?!”


She covered her face with her hands and groaned loudly, annoyed that yet another possible impedance had presented itself. Becky was kind enough not to burden her roommate with some hackneyed phrase or stale adage about the difficulties of dating and relationships, opting to help her be positive.


“So ask her. Are you seeing her again?”


Willow nodded.


“Yeah. Tomorrow. I'm picking up her shirt to dry-clean, and I think she wants to hang out too. She said she wanted to be friends.”


Becky clapped her hands together, as if the whole situation was resolved.


“Well there you go. It’s normal for a friend to ask about relationships, she won’t think it’s weird. Scope her out, feel around, guess how she’s feeling. Come on, Will, what the hell are you doing a psychology degree for if it’s not to work out what people are thinking?”


Willow shook her head.


“There’s a difference between working out the mechanisms of the broad human mind and figuring out whether the girl of my dreams wants to be the girl of my reality.”


Becky looked surprised - it was a big enough deal that Willow would talk about someone in such a way, but she could tell that her roommate really meant it.


“Wow. You have it bad.”


Willow sighed dramatically, some might say love-struck.


“If your heart skipping a beat, sweaty palms, weak knees, stomach flutters and not being able to think about anything else but how her eyes are the deepest blue I’ve ever seen and how I could spend days just staring into her soul constitutes having it bad, then yeah. I have it really, really bad.”






“Hey! Tara! Hi!”


Tara spun around at the sound of her name being eagerly called and smiled when she saw Willow coming from the coffee shop she was standing in front of, a cup in each hand, one of which was thrust towards her.


“More coffee?” she asked with a smile, “You already got me a replacement.”


“Friends buy friends coffee,” Willow replied cheerily, then noticed the small plastic bag hanging from Tara's wrist and made a grab for it, “Is this your shirt? I’ll have it back asap.”


“Willow, you really don’t have to get it dry-cleaned,” Tara responded shyly, “I have good detergent.”


“I’m sure you do,” Willow rushed to reassure she didn't think Tara was less than capable of cleaning her own shirt, “But I want to. Please? It’d make me feel better.”


Tara just smiled that crooked smile again that tuned Willow into a puddle.


“Okay. If you insist.”


“I do,” Willow replied resolutely before tacking on hopefully, “Did you wanna hang out? I mean, if you’re not busy or made new plans?”


Tara's hands twisted around her coffee cup and she bounced just slightly up on her feet.


“I’d love to hang out.”


“Great!” Willow beamed in delight, then looked over her shoulder, “I-it was pretty crowded in there. Noisy. There's, um...there’s a big oak tree I study by sometimes. I know it’s February and kinda chilly but it’s nice and sunny...and we could talk.”


She hoped she was appearing as aloof as she was intending and not making too big a deal out of wanting to talk - but she wanted to take Becky's advice and scope Tara out a little.


“We have warm coffee,” Tara replied heartily in indication that she was okay with staying outside despite the nippy weather, “Lead the way.”


Willow grinned in glee and almost grabbed Tara's hand to hold, only realising at the last second that that was not an appropriate ‘friend’ thing to do. She covered by pretending she was reaching for her cell and brought it out, acting like there was something interesting on the screen.


“Sorry. Just a reminder about a, um, study group I have...later, way later!” she chuckled nervously, internally kicking herself for her near faux-pas, “Um, so the tree. It’s not far. This way...”


She pointed to the left of them and took a step in that direction, smiling when Tara followed in step.


“So did your exam go well yesterday?” she asked after a moment, deciding she could both 'scope out' and just have a nice conversation at the same time, “The one you were going to?”


“I was, um...kinda distracted,” Tara answered honestly - her thoughts had been almost point for point the same as Willow's were about her over the past 30 hours, “But you know, it wasn't for my final grade or anything. I can make it up. College is...college.”


“Lectures and notes,” Willow agreed, pointing again when the large oak tree she'd been referencing came into view, “I never really went for the whole ‘going wild, getting drunk and partying’ side of college life. The grass is dry if you want to sit.”


Tara found a soft patch of grass and settled down, folding her legs underneath herself. She left her cup in her lap and smiled softly.


“Me either. I’m not opposed to having fun, I just don’t see the point if I can’t remember it the next day. Plus that wouldn't really be my idea of...fun. I don't like drinking much.”


She left out it was more the stench of booze that she'd grown to 'dislike' and the effects it had had on her father - though by choice she'd opted not to find out what the effects would be on a whole bar full of college students.


Willow sat opposite but stretched her legs out, then nodded in agreement.


“Can't say I've never had a drink...I've actually gotten drunk a few times,” she admitted, almost shame-faced, “My roommate’s big on the booze. I mean, not to serious, unhealthy levels or anything, but she likes to party. I’ve gone out with her a few times, mostly just when there were bands playing at the college bars and stuff, but I don’t really gel too well with that side of things. She’s my best friend and we get on great and I wouldn’t change her for anything, we just have separate night lives, you know? She’s beer and boys and I’m books and...well, not boys.”


Tara nodded along as Willow spoke, still smiling at her. She didn't hold her father being an aggressive drunk against anyone else who wanted to drink, and she knew most people didn't wait until they were 'legal' to do so. She was appreciative that Willow didn't like to get drunk every night though - it left room to be able to hang out in the evenings.


More intriguing to her to her though, was Willow's last statement.


Does that mean she’s just not into relationships...or she’s not into relationships with boys?


Willow noticed Tara looking at her intently and blushed, unsure whether she'd revealed too much.


Tara realised she was making Willow uncomfortable and quickly looked away, but was unsure how to respond - did she acknowledge what had been said, or ignore it? What if she was picking it up wrong?


“I like to read too,” she said eventually, opting to go for neutral ground, “A good storyline is all the stimulation I need.”


Willow eagerly agreed with a nod and figured now was an opportunity for 'scoping'.


“So, what else do you do for fun?” she asked, taking a casual sip of her coffee, “Boyfriend?”


Tara shook her head, but her expression gave nothing away.


Willow waited a moment, hoping for some elaboration, but got nothing.


“Right,” she continued, trying to think of a better way to ask ‘do you get off the train at girls town' before deciding she was being far too convoluted and should revert back to normal conversation, “Watch any TV? I watch some stuff on my laptop. I like comedies, I love Will & Grace!”


“I've seen that a couple of times,” Tara answered with a smile, “I really like cop shows too. I always try to guess who the killer is before they actually tell us. I’m never right.”


“Me either. They're purposely sneaky...and not very factually accurate a lot of the time,” Willow responded knowledgably, “So you like the CSI’s and Law and Orders and all that? I always wondered why they had so many.”


“I watch every now and then. At least when no one else is in the student lounge. I really like that Special Victims Unit, Law and Order one,” she replied, tapping her fingers against her cup before adding on bashfully, “I kind of have a bit of a crush on the lead.”


Willow was familiar with the show in question and saw her chance to answer the question she’d been trying to ask before.


“Christopher Meloni?” she asked nonchalantly, taking a long sip of her coffee right after to hide the anxious look on her face.


Tara shook her head again, but with her lips quirked up demurely on one side.


“No. The, um, lady.”


Willow was so lost in Tara's smile that it took her a few seconds to register what had been said, but once she did, lit up like a light bulb and had to dig her heels into the ground to stop from jumping up to do a happy dance.


“That's cool. She's pretty,” she managed to speak with a reservedness very much not indicative of how she was feeling on the inside, “So, I, um, guess that renders my question about the boyfriend pretty redundant...Girlfriend?”


Her voice betrayed her at the end by going up an octave or two.


“No,” Tara shook her head, then moved a little closer to Willow without realising, “I've never...I just...I think you should meet someone and they should take your breath away. That’s never happened to me.”


Until I met you.


“I know how you feel. I've been told I'm naïve,” Willow replied with a wide smile that Tara thought the same as her, “Oh and um, just so you, ah, know, when I said not boys...I meant not boys. As in, yes girls.”


Tara hid a grin of delight behind her cup until she composed herself.


“Really?”


“Uh huh,” Willow nodded gleefully, thinking she caught a hint of that grin, “It's funny, huh? We must give off some kind of frequency.”


“Maybe,” Tara replied with a quiet laugh, before her face took on the same forced attempt at aloof that Willow had attempted earlier, “S-so have you got a girlfriend?”


Willow shook her head quickly.


“No. My roommate – her name’s Becky by the way – she set me up on some dates with these girls in a few of her classes...and I was in an LGBT society freshman year, there was a girl there that asked me out. Not trying to seem all 'look, wow, all these girls wanna date me' or anything. And they never went past date on-, um, three,” she embellished slightly, not wanting Tara to think she couldn't keep the interests of someone, “Actually, the same reason you said. I figured if you can’t feel that...that spark, you know? Even if I didn't know what it was supposed to feel like, I knew that I didn’t. Not fair to the other girls either. I want that breathless thing you said too, but never had it.”


Until you knocked me on my ass. I haven’t been able to breathe since.


Tara listened as Willow spoke and found herself becoming more and more enamoured. She thought she possibly caught a longing glance at the end, a glance she knew she was guilty of herself and wondered if she could tell her friend that she had actually been struck breathless, with her.


Ask whether it was possible she'd caused the same reaction. She’s caused something. She knew that much. Unfortunately her lack of experience in both friend- and relationships made her unsure of the dynamic between them, not to mention the fact they'd only spent a short amount of time together, even if that time had been wonderful.


She was aware of her emotions; she knew she was attracted to Willow, knew she would very much be interested in things beyond a friendship, even if friendship was more than she’d ever been given. What she didn't, and couldn't, know was Willow's feelings, and figured this was something she herself wouldn't be able to take a lead in.


She could be her friend and see if anything stemmed from that.


Time, Tara, give it time. It's not like you would pounce over and kiss her right this second. Just talk. Get to know her.


Happier at sorting her thoughts a little, she relaxed her shoulders and smiled.


“So you were part of the LGBT society? Are you in any other clubs”


“Just for freshman year,” Willow answered, confident she'd gotten some valuable information and could take a break and just let herself enjoy the afternoon, “I was part of the computer club and the book club too.”


“Was?” Tara asked curiously, “Not anymore?”


Willow shook her head.


“Nah. The computer club just talked about things I already knew about and the book club weren’t into the same books I was, so I left those pretty quick. I stayed in the LGBT club for my whole freshman year, they were really great when I came out to my parents and it didn’t go so well, but I wasn't that into it this year. I wanted to keep up with my studies, and with the failed date…the girl was nice but kinda pissy that I 'blew her off'. I tried to explain everything I said to you but...well, you know. It was awkward.”


Tara nodded understandingly.


“You don’t have to explain yourself to me. I never joined any clubs at all, so committing to one for any amount of time is an achievement in my book,” she replied warmly, before her eyes creased in sympathy, “I’m sorry your coming out didn’t go so well. Are things better now?”


Willow shook her head, but didn't seem too cut up about it.


“It’s okay. I don’t know what I expected really. I mean, I just made the one phone call, got an earful about letting them down and my religion down, though I always thought that seemed like more of a front, 'cause they never had any issue with gay people until it was me. It was a rough call...they said I wasn't their daughter any more. Not nice to hear. But at least it wasn't drawn out.”


Tara felt her heart sink for her friend.


“Willow, that’s terrible. I’m so sorry.”


Willow just shrugged.


“Yeah, it sucked at the time, but I’ve had like...a year to come to terms with it. We were never particularly close anyway. It’s fine, really, Tara,” she replied when she saw the look on Tara’s face, “Honestly. If they’re ever a part of my life again, then...well, cool. But if they’re not, I accept that too. It’s their choice.”


Tara could only offer a comforting smile.


“You're really strong.”


Willow felt a sense of pride that Tara viewed her in such a way and smiled back.


“So your coming out went a bit better then?”


Tara was completely taken aback by the question, not having registered in her mind that a discussion about families would be turned back on her. Her mouth opened and closed a few times, before she managed to rein herself in and cleared her throat.


“W-well, I never really came out to my parents. I don’t...I don’t speak to my Dad. I guess we have that in common. And my...” she trailed off, sad, “My Mom died when I was 10.”


Willow’s features softened and she scooted over to give Tara's shoulder a squeeze.


“That's awful. I’m so sorry. I know that probably doesn’t mean anything-”


“It means something,” Tara cut Willow off softly, feeling comfortable enough to cover Willow's hand on her shoulder with hers, “Thank you.”


They shared a look for a moment until Willow's eyes fell to their hands, and Tara quickly retracted hers, thinking she had lingered too long. Willow felt a pang of loss for a moment before dropping her own hand by her side.


“So no parental coming out woes. That's of the good,” she said, trying to break through the heaviness between them with some levity, “So wait...if you never came out to your family...and you said yesterday you haven't really had friends, and no girlfriend...Tara have you ever actually come out? I mean, obviously apart from to yourself? Have you ever like...said the words?”


Tara’s brow crinkled as she considered the question. She couldn’t remember a time where she wasn’t comfortable with her sexuality – sure, she’d grown up in a small, predominantly Christian town but even when she was young it never seemed odd that her allegiances always fell more towards girls than boys.


She hadn’t had a word to describe herself until she entered high school and learned just through hearing things from the other kids, but even when they denigrated gay people, she never felt like it was something to be ashamed of. It was as natural as breathing to her. And if there was anything her mother had managed to instil in her before her untimely passing, it was that she should always be proud to be herself.


Apart from the credible sense of self she managed to keep during the darker times of her time, more pressing issues by way of her father's fists were enough of an incentive not to publicise it - he didn't need a reason and she had enough sense not to make things worse for herself. She could be happy with who she was and happy not to shout it from the rooftops at the same time.


But now that Willow had brought it up, she thought it probably was odd that those specific words had never left her mouth.


“I guess not,” she answered, twirling her finger around the lid of her cup, “I always knew and never had anyone to tell.”


Willow smiled, thinking Tara's fidgeting was adorable.


“Why don't you tell me?”


Tara looked up in confusion.


“What do you mean?”


“Tell me,” Willow repeated with an insistent nod of her head, “Come out to me.”


Tara was bewildered.


“But I already did.”


Willow gave a little grin.


“No, you told me you had a crush on a lady-cop. You didn't say the words.”


Tara wasn't sure what Willow was trying to do, but decided to go along with it. She opened her mouth to 'say the words', but they got caught in her throat and she blushed.


“You’ve made a big deal out of it, it feels weird.”


Willow just smiled, offering a kind, patient face. Tara recognised what Willow was doing, giving her a safe opportunity to have a 'milestone' event and smiled appreciatively.


“I’m gay,” she said, easily this time, feeling enlightened somehow even though it didn't change anything.


Willow beamed and took Tara's hand, giving it a firm shake.


“Congratulations, Tara Maclay. You just came out. Expect your introductory packet in the mail,” she joked, getting a laugh for her efforts, “Hey, what does your name mean? I was wondering last night and forgot to look it up.”


It took Tara a second to process the jump in conversation, but she snapped to attention when she saw Willow's expectant face.


“Oh, it means either 'Queen' in Gaelic or 'Star' in Sanskrit.”


Willow smiled, liking the answer.


Queen or Star. That sounds about right. I'd happily have her be either of mine...


“-hy?”


Willow blinked as she realised Tara had asked something.


“Um, sorry?”


“Why?” Tara repeated, curious as to why Willow was interested.


“Oh!” Willow replied, realising that it probably was an odd question to ask a friend, “I'm, ah, interested in names. Willow just means Willow, so you know, boring. But I like your name. It's pretty.”


She averted her gaze to hide the blush on her face at that, but if she hadn't she would have seen Tara was in the exact same boat.


“I like hanging out with you,” Tara piped up shyly when she felt her cheeks start to calm down.


Willow looked up and could only smile.


“Maybe we could keep hanging out? If you wanted?”


Tara nodded keenly.


“I do want. Very much.”


Willow felt her heart lift in her chest, delighted at the prospect of continued time spent with Tara.


“Great!”


And it was.


They had a friendship, and there was an undeniable deeper bond. They enjoyed each other's company and had plans to continue being in it.


There was something there.


And that was enough.


For now.

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Current Series: College Confidential ... Adult Confidential ... Hacker Confidential ... Family Confidential


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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:11 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

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Dibs

Great chapter.

Loved how Willow kept babbling "everything" about meeting Tara. I also liked how Becky is able "interpret" Willow, such as automatically know that Willow knew Tara's coffee order from the first cup.

Quote:
“Honestly. If they’re ever a part of my life again, then...well, cool. But if they’re not, I accept that too. It’s their choice.”

Love the foreshadowing. :)

Hooray for Tara officially 'coming out.' :)

Can't wait for more.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:26 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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As a measure of how wonderfully adorable that was, let me cite a conversation I just had with Adam.

Adam: So, what's got you all giddy?
Me: Huh?
Adam: You're sitting there with a stupid-big grin on your face. What's up?
Me: Oh. Girl porn.
Adam: Porn makes you smile all giddy-like?
Me: *sigh* I called it 'girl porn' because that's what you call everything I read on board. This isn't actually porn. No sex. Just . . . adorableness.
Adam: *rolls eyes* You're weird. *returns to video game*

Quote:
I don’t like making big dramas out of them having fights/misunderstandings because, well, I just don’t. I write for them to be happy, I always have. But I do let the little things come up when I feel them organically, or at least I’ve learned how to let them happen.


Oh, just in case it wasn't clear, I didn't mean big-drama land. If I was expecting big drama from you, well, um, I think it would be a sign I wasn't paying attention. I meant little things, the kind that are resolved quickly and sweetly. :)


And I'm pretty sure it's July 4th on your side of the pond, too. Just, you know, not Independence Day. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:12 am 
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2. Floating Rose
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Oh, Willow in the first flush of love is so darned adorable. And her likening her heart to butter melting on toast has exactly that kind of silly, daft poesy that Willow expresses so well. And Tara gets her official coming-out also :) Look forward to the next instalment!

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:08 pm 
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8. Vixen
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Yay for excellent update-y goodness... Big lol for Becky the Willowbabble interpreter... Big yay for the first "date" under the tree and learning more about their pasts... Extra big yay for Tara to officially saying she is gay...

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:40 am 
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2. Floating Rose
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Yay! New chapter! Wednesday saved ;)

First of all, I think you're far from going overboard with their characterisations, quite the opposite. I think with AU stories it is even more important to have clear connections to the original characters or otherwise they have this tendency to become just some characters who just happen to have the same name. Of course, overdoing characters doesn't do any good either, but they feel very realistic to me. After all, meeting new people brings out the crazy in most of us...

My favourite part was where Willow goes from gushing randomly to suuuper chronologic and suuuper detailed. It reminded me of something Disney-ish, but I can't quite tell what it was. Anyway, it made me laugh, which is a very good thing. It also proves my point that neither extreme is good for the recipient of the story.

The last thing I want to say is something I was a little worried about but which you manage just perfectly. I am talking about this relatively huge jump in age backwards from the end of FC. I can imagine that it is not the easiest thing to write characters several years apart, and additional to that those years pass in the opposite direction years would usually go. That sounded strange, but I hope you know what I mean. Anyway, it works really well, some character traits are slightly changed (probably from not having years of experience and not yet having influenced each other) but they are still all in all the same people, only younger. So very well done there!

And now I can go on looking forward to the next chapter again =)

Oh, just one more thing...

Laragh wrote:
Happy 4th of July to my American readers :)

I think we non Americans deserve to have a happy 4th of July as well ;)

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:01 pm 
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Mmm. Oh, they are so on the way to exactly where we know they are going. Adorable and out and otherwise-girlfriend-less. Willow is quite something here. Tara still shy but they are very good together.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:06 am 
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5. Willowhand
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Yes! I totally love stories where the two girls fall in love! I'm glad you are writing this Laragh. I loved Hacker and Family also, but I never left any feedback because I was still in my lurking period then. I am really curious how their friendship is going to develop into something more. Till so for it's is a great story! Just keep it coming :)


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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:10 am 
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8. Vixen

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I bow down before you O queen of the KittenBoard and your awesome story telling skills. I'm planning a Willow and Tara meet cute and can only hope for it to be half as good as yours.

Willow skipped down the hallway and into her dorm room, a massive smile still plastered to her face.

A smile that hadn't left her ever since she'd run in to Tara that morning.


Massive smiles are plastered over the faces of all who meet Tara, or at least her alter ego Amber Benson. I speak from experience after having met her awesomeness at last years HalloWhedon and still grinning like a manic Cheshire cat over it ;)

I love how Willow's thoughts keep coming back to Tara despite the interruptions from Becky. Equally loving the way that Willow babbles everything about her meeting with Tara.

“Yeah!” Willow replied, relieved not to have to explain, “And I told her the whole thing about your coffee corporation and me being head of theory, in full babble mode. Like expert level babble.

Great comedy line and nice self awareness on Willow's part over her babble ability.

“Uh, Will...you didn’t sniff her, did you?”

This had me :lol the images it conjures up LOL.

“There’s a difference between working out the mechanisms of the broad human mind and figuring out whether the girl of my dreams wants to be the girl of my reality.”

An awesome line here and one that tells us just how much Willow is in love with Tara without actually using that phrase.

We see Willow talking to her friend and roomie Becky but are we going to see Tara doing the same or does she have a room of her own?


“That's cool. She's pretty,” she managed to speak with a reservedness very much not indicative of how she was feeling on the inside, “So, I, um, guess that renders my question about the boyfriend pretty redundant...Girlfriend?”

Her voice betrayed her at the end by going up an octave or two.

“No,” Tara shook her head, then moved a little closer to Willow without realising, “I've never...I just...I think you should meet someone and they should take your breath away. That’s never happened to me.”

Until I met you.

“I know how you feel. I've been told I'm naïve,” Willow replied with a wide smile that Tara thought the same as her, “Oh and um, just so you, ah, know, when I said not boys...I meant not boys. As in, yes girls.”

Tara hid a grin of delight behind her cup until she composed herself.


YAY :applause now the girls know that they are both into...well girls and each likes the other can you please hurry up and get them together. I know you've only just begun the story but I can't wait for them to be a couple.

Such a cool, sweet moment when Willow gives Tara the opportunity to come out to her when she learns that Tara has no real family to speak of.

I agree with BeMyDeputy, the chapter was just full of Willow and Tara adorableness especially the last part when Tara says she enjoys hanging out with Willow and already I'm doing a happy dance through knowing what's to come.

YAY another awesome chapter from your awesomeness. Keep writing Laragh, and I'll keep reading.


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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:44 pm 
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Quote:
“I thought you’d be in the library all day,” she commented without looking up.

That's the way I was at university as I spent days in the library too; well, I've practically lived my entire life in a library hence the writing thing.
Quote:
“Just met a new friend is all.”

My new friend i want Willow to say hello to is more of the "a world of no" variety.
Quote:
and was fully at attention, laptop tossed down beside her, forgotten.

I am always fully at attention whenever Tara's name is mentioned as well, parts of me more than others.
Willow and Tara on their second date, they are so Willow and Tara-like i can hear Alyson and Amber speaking your dialogue in my head as their neuroses and messy scarred childhoods make them who they are and make their finding each other that much more heightened and pronounced as what their lives have been leading up to.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/04/12)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:55 pm 
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There are so many things I want to quote! But I am going to stick with one because it sums up how well you put words together. You know with the writing and the talking and the putting words together into sentences.
Quote:
There’s a difference between working out the mechanisms of the broad human mind and figuring out whether the girl of my dreams wants to be the girl of my reality.

And I think Becky's reaction summed it up pretty well too.

Brilliant! Keep up the good work and I will try to keep up with being a better feedbacker! Actually I was going to comment about you having done the coffee thing before (but I made that connection when you first mentioned it in Hacker). But then I saw someone already made it (over on ff.net anyways).

Delayne

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/11/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:06 am 
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BuffyFan4ever

Quote:
Loved how Willow kept babbling "everything" about meeting Tara. I also liked how Becky is able "interpret" Willow, such as automatically know that Willow knew Tara's coffee order from the first cup.


It’s interesting actually because I ended up having so many secondary characters in the other two that I kind of had to fit them in where I could, but I have some room here to show some of Becky and Willow’s relationship, which I think is awesome.

Quote:
Love the foreshadowing. :)


Is it foreshadowing if it’s already happened? ...or will happen...or...damn, this is confusing

Quote:
Hooray for Tara officially 'coming out.' :)


It might not have been a big deal, but I think it’s really special for her to have been given that moment.

Quote:
Can't wait for more.


Here’s more! :D

Thanks for commenting!

BeMyDeputy

Quote:
As a measure of how wonderfully adorable that was, let me cite a conversation I just had with Adam.

Adam: So, what's got you all giddy?
Me: Huh?
Adam: You're sitting there with a stupid-big grin on your face. What's up?
Me: Oh. Girl porn.
Adam: Porn makes you smile all giddy-like?
Me: *sigh* I called it 'girl porn' because that's what you call everything I read on board. This isn't actually porn. No sex. Just . . . adorableness.
Adam: *rolls eyes* You're weird. *returns to video game*


Girl porn. Ha. I know someone who calls fluff ‘heart porn’.

Quote:
Oh, just in case it wasn't clear, I didn't mean big-drama land. If I was expecting big drama from you, well, um, I think it would be a sign I wasn't paying attention. I meant little things, the kind that are resolved quickly and sweetly. :)


Oh there’ll be a few little things. There’s one thing I know for sure will happen and some other things will probably present themselves…to be honest I’ve kind of gotten used to giving people an ‘auto’ response when they mention drama so they know not to expect it and if they complain down the road I can say ‘well, hey, I warned you!’. But I’ll definitely have a few ‘missteps’ along the way :)

Quote:
And I'm pretty sure it's July 4th on your side of the pond, too. Just, you know, not Independence Day. ;)


Ha. Alright then, to keep it up, happy 11th of July to everyone reading this!

Thanks for your feedback :)

Rebecca Ashling

Quote:
Oh, Willow in the first flush of love is so darned adorable. And her likening her heart to butter melting on toast has exactly that kind of silly, daft poesy that Willow expresses so well. And Tara gets her official coming-out also :) Look forward to the next instalment!


Glad you enjoyed it! It’s interesting for me to get to right them like this after having them been together for years and years for so long!

Thanks for commenting!

zampsa19752001

Quote:
Big lol for Becky the Willowbabble interpreter... Big yay for the first "date" under the tree and learning more about their pasts... Extra big yay for Tara to officially saying she is gay...


Haha I’m glad you liked the chapter! Lots more to come :)

Thanks for your comment!

Legolise

Quote:
Yay! New chapter! Wednesday saved ;)


:D

Quote:
First of all, I think you're far from going overboard with their characterisations, quite the opposite. I think with AU stories it is even more important to have clear connections to the original characters or otherwise they have this tendency to become just some characters who just happen to have the same name. Of course, overdoing characters doesn't do any good either, but they feel very realistic to me. After all, meeting new people brings out the crazy in most of us...


Thank you! That means a lot :) I’ll try and keep them from going overboard and you’re right – the crazy is definitely brought out!

Quote:
My favourite part was where Willow goes from gushing randomly to suuuper chronologic and suuuper detailed. It reminded me of something Disney-ish, but I can't quite tell what it was. Anyway, it made me laugh, which is a very good thing. It also proves my point that neither extreme is good for the recipient of the story.


Disney-ish! That’s awesome. Maybe like when the heroine meets the prince and kind of flails around swooning? ‘Cause Willow was pretty much swooning that entire chapter :P

Quote:
The last thing I want to say is something I was a little worried about but which you manage just perfectly. I am talking about this relatively huge jump in age backwards from the end of FC. I can imagine that it is not the easiest thing to write characters several years apart, and additional to that those years pass in the opposite direction years would usually go. That sounded strange, but I hope you know what I mean. Anyway, it works really well, some character traits are slightly changed (probably from not having years of experience and not yet having influenced each other) but they are still all in all the same people, only younger. So very well done there!


I know what you’re talking about! Something I was and still am worried about (so if you ever notice anything that you think wouldn’t fit right, do let me know!) Some things are definitely different – Tara is shyer and hasn’t become as confident yet (like she’ll grow to be comfortable letting out her sarcastic side) They’re not as relaxed around each other yet – but they will be. One benefit I have of having some of this established already is that they’ve spoken how quickly they settled into being with each other. (that’s gonna be my excuse for everything – if someone complains I’ll just say ‘sorry it was already established in confidential!verse! :P)

Quote:
I think we non Americans deserve to have a happy 4th of July as well ;)


Alright, alright, sorry :P Happy ALL OF JULY TO EVERYONE!!

Thanks for your feedback :)

JustSkipIt

Quote:
Mmm. Oh, they are so on the way to exactly where we know they are going. Adorable and out and otherwise-girlfriend-less.


Why make it difficult for them? :wink

Quote:
Willow is quite something here. Tara still shy but they are very good together.


They’re Willow and Tara, I don’t think there’s any world they aren’t very good together! :)

Thanks for your feedback!

T.G.I.F

Quote:
Yes! I totally love stories where the two girls fall in love! I'm glad you are writing this Laragh. I loved Hacker and Family also, but I never left any feedback because I was still in my lurking period then. I am really curious how their friendship is going to develop into something more. Till so for it's is a great story! Just keep it coming


I’m glad I’m writing this too, it’s fun! It won’t be long at all before they get together!

Thanks for commenting!

willowtaralover

Quote:
I bow down before you O queen of the KittenBoard and your awesome story telling skills. I'm planning a Willow and Tara meet cute and can only hope for it to be half as good as yours.


I’m sure it will be wonderful!

Quote:
Massive smiles are plastered over the faces of all who meet Tara, or at least her alter ego Amber Benson. I speak from experience after having met her awesomeness at last years HalloWhedon and still grinning like a manic Cheshire cat over it


Tell me about it, same here.

Quote:
I love how Willow's thoughts keep coming back to Tara despite the interruptions from Becky. Equally loving the way that Willow babbles everything about her meeting with Tara.


Haha she wouldn’t be Willow unless she did that :P

Quote:
Great comedy line and nice self awareness on Willow's part over her babble ability…This had me :lol the images it conjures up LOL.


Haha glad you got a chuckle!

Quote:
An awesome line here and one that tells us just how much Willow is in love with Tara without actually using that phrase.


Yep, she definitely is!

Quote:
We see Willow talking to her friend and roomie Becky but are we going to see Tara doing the same or does she have a room of her own?


Tara has her own room!

Quote:
YAY now the girls know that they are both into...well girls and each likes the other can you please hurry up and get them together. I know you've only just begun the story but I can't wait for them to be a couple.


Yes I can! They will be together very, very soon!!

Quote:
Such a cool, sweet moment when Willow gives Tara the opportunity to come out to her when she learns that Tara has no real family to speak of.


:)

Quote:
I agree with BeMyDeputy, the chapter was just full of Willow and Tara adorableness especially the last part when Tara says she enjoys hanging out with Willow and already I'm doing a happy dance through knowing what's to come.

YAY another awesome chapter from your awesomeness. Keep writing Laragh, and I'll keep reading.


Thank you! Then I’ll definitely keep writing!

Thanks for commenting :)

taralicious

Quote:
That's the way I was at university as I spent days in the library too; well, I've practically lived my entire life in a library hence the writing thing.


I was a bit of a library whore myself

Quote:
My new friend i want Willow to say hello to is more of the "a world of no" variety.


Never ever.

Quote:
I am always fully at attention whenever Tara's name is mentioned as well, parts of me more than others.


And there’s the dick joke :P I’ve missed them.

Quote:
Willow and Tara on their second date, they are so Willow and Tara-like i can hear Alyson and Amber speaking your dialogue in my head as their neuroses and messy scarred childhoods make them who they are and make their finding each other that much more heightened and pronounced as what their lives have been leading up to.


Aww thanks! Glad it’s coming across real :)

Thanks for your comment!

dtburanek

Quote:
There are so many things I want to quote! But I am going to stick with one because it sums up how well you put words together. You know with the writing and the talking and the putting words together into sentences. And I think Becky's reaction summed it up pretty well too.


Wow, thanks! :D

Quote:
Brilliant! Keep up the good work and I will try to keep up with being a better feedbacker!


Hey, I appreciate it! Really!

Quote:
Actually I was going to comment about you having done the coffee thing before (but I made that connection when you first mentioned it in Hacker). But then I saw someone already made it (over on ff.net anyways).


They did and I have! What can I say my creativeness is limited (when I wrote it in Hacker I actually didn’t think of it because I never thought I’d expand much upon it)

Thanks for your feedback :)




Update Directly Below

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Current Series: College Confidential ... Adult Confidential ... Hacker Confidential ... Family Confidential


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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (07/11/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:08 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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********

TITLE: College Confidential

AUTHOR: Laragh

CHAPTER RATING: PG-13

DISCLAIMER: Willow, Tara and any other characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchise belong to Joss Whedon, FOX, ME and a whole host of other entities, none of which are me.

SUMMARY: The first part of the prequel to Hacker Confidential and Family Confidential - the college years!

SPOILERS: Perhaps minor references to the show or stealage of dialogue, but nothing that would spoil the series.

FEEDBACK: Yes please

Chapter 3

********

“Again, Willow? Is there one day this week you haven’t spent with Tara?”


Willow sprayed herself with some body spray to freshen up, then sat on her bed to contemplate the question.


“No,” she answered finally, a smile coming to her face at the fact, “No I haven’t.”


It had been ten days since their afternoon spent talking by the oak tree, and they had kept up steady contact since, making plans to see each other every day, even if it was just for an hour. Willow always brought them coffees despite Tara protesting each time that she didn't owe her any more. They stuck around campus, and the tree, if the weather was nice or found a warm place inside to sit and talk if it wasn't.


Both generally steered away from further talk of their parents, not wanting to taint the good time they were having together, but Tara did speak about the some of the happier memories she had of her mother and Willow opened up about her ‘geek-infested roots’ and how it had caused her some hassle in high school.


As well as that, they talked about their respective classes, some professors they'd both encountered, books they were reading and other interests they enjoyed. Once, on a nicer day, Willow had pointed out a funny shape she'd spotted in the clouds and they'd lost hours quietly identifying more, spending a long while in complete silence, just content with each other.


Willow was particularly excited for their meeting this particular evening, because it was the first time they'd arranged to meet 'after dark'. Their daytime schedules had clashed with an extra credit assignment Willow had due, and so only had the evening free. She'd been delighted when Tara had agreed to the evening with her - even if the plan was just to sit by 'their' tree and talk, like they normally would, doing so at night was just one step closer to a real date.


A date which neither had broached yet; or, as Willow felt, hadn’t quite plucked up the courage to ask for.


She wanted to ask. There had even been occasions when she almost had, times when she was almost sure she felt a reciprocation of her feelings from Tara, but something blocked her each time. She didn't think she could cope if she was rejected.


“-dea?”


Willow blinked a few times as she realised Becky was standing over and talking to her, having been lost in her own internal musings.


“Huh?”


Becky sighed; she knew exactly where Willow's thoughts were.


“I said do you really think that’s a good idea?”


Willow's lips dropped in a frown.


“Why wouldn’t it be?”


Becky sat at the chair by her desk and started to slip her shoes on. While initially being delighted that her best friend had found a potential romantic interest, as the days had dragged on, it had turned to concern.


“Because...” she replied, sighing again, “I know you. And you’re falling for her. Hard. And if she’s not feeling the same way and just wants friendship...you’re going to be crushed.”


Willow's frown turned into a pout and turned away, pretending to search for something atop her nightstand.


“Yeah well I don’t want to think about that.”


Becky shook her head.


“Willow...”


“Becky, I said I don’t wanna think about it!” Willow replied loudly, throwing her hands up exasperatedly, “I’m still...scoping her out, feeling around. Like you told me to. So...that’s what I’m doing.”


Becky knew the annoyance wasn't really directed towards her, but at the situation. If her roommate wanted to stay oblivious for a while, then she'd let her. She had yet to meet the now famous Tara, so she couldn't draw her own conclusions from their interactions, but it didn't stop her knowing she'd need to be there for Willow.


Whether that was to squeal excitedly if the relationship ever blossomed or be there with chocolate and tissues and if it all fell apart.


“'Kay, Will. Whatever you think is best.”


Willow felt bad for snapping, but didn't want to be put in a dour mood so close to meeting Tara. She spun back around to Becky and sighed.


“If friends is all she wants to be then I will be her greatest friend in the world. I need her in my life. That's not even a question. And I’m gonna fall for her. I can’t stop it. It’s already happening, happened. If that causes some huge, massive problem...I will deal with it. Whenever that is. Until then...until then, I’m clinging to the possibility that she could ever want me back. Okay? Can't I have that?”


Becky just nodded.


“Sure, Will. You can have that.”


Willow gave a resolute nod to stave off the feeling of dejection.


“So you’re going somewhere tonight?” she asked after another moment, gesturing towards her roommate, “That’s a nice dress.”


Becky checked her appearance in the mirror and tucked the hem of her dress up a little.


“Yeah, well if you don’t make an effort on Valentine’s Day, then when do you?”


Willow’s eyes widened in surprise.


“It’s Valentine’s Day?!”


“Uh, yeah,” Becky replied with a ‘duh’ expression on her face, “Have you not seen the cut-out hearts all over campus?”


“I thought they were the party advertisements that are always around,” Willow responded, jumping up from her bed and bouncing up and down on her feet, “Tara agreed to meet me on Valentine’s Day. That...that could be a good sign, right?”


Becky offered a positive smile.


“Yeah, it could.”


Willow clapped her hands together once, hope restored.


“Cool. Great. So, um, who’ve you got a date with? Anyone I know?”


Becky shrugged.


“Just a guy from my poetry class, Andrew. We’re getting some Italian food and going dancing.”


Willow grinned playfully.


“Should I expect you home tonight?”


Becky gave a sly wink.


“Depends on how good a dancer he is.”


Willow giggled and was about to wish her best friend a good evening, when a thought occurred to her.


“Hey, do you think I should bring some food? I was gonna bring a blanket anyway ‘cause the grass was kinda dew-y when I was walking past it earlier...I could get something delivered and bring it with me? I mean, it's late, kinda...she might not have eaten in a while.”


Becky exhaled slowly - she had no idea if she should be encouraging Willow or not.


“That would be…date-like.”


“It could be an experiment!” Willow exclaimed suddenly, the scientific part of her brain going into overdrive, “I can set everything up like a date and see what her reactions would be to that! To being on a date! With me! So it’s like a...pseudo-date. Which, if nothing else, is another step towards a real date.”


She nodded happily as she spoke, delighted to have figured out some way to at least try and further her relationship with Tara.


“Yeah, I’m gonna order Chinese food. She said she liked Chinese food the other day when we were cloud spotting and I said one looked like a fortune cookie! Where’s my phone?”


Becky stood up and grabbed her purse from the bed.


“Good luck with your pseudo-date,” she said as she made her way over to the door, “I gotta go.”


Willow covered the mouthpiece of her phone which was pressed against her ear and smiled at her friend.


“Have a good night. Thanks for all the advice,” she said warmly before speaking back into the phone when someone greeted her on the other end, “Hi, can I get a delivery please? BC campus. Yeah, can I get...”


She placed an order of the things she liked and threw in a couple of extra dishes in case Tara had different tastes. When she’d finished ordering, she looked down and decided the outfit she had on wasn’t good enough for a date, pseudo or otherwise.


She walked over to her closet and opened it, looking through for a few moments before pulling out a forest-green halterneck top, one which would have been something she'd normally pass over for its lack of fuzziness, but had been a birthday present from Becky the year before. She held it against herself and decided it went well with the black pants she was already wearing.


She pulled the shirt she had on over her head and dropped it on her bed before fitting the halterneck snugly over her frame. She turned around a few times in front of her mirror, straightening the fabric out before grabbing getting some green eyeshadow and applying a light amount on her lids, hoping the overall effect was appealing.


She spent another minute checking herself out before finding the spare blanket she had under her bed. She left it on her desk and sat down, biting the skin around her thumb as she contemplated how she'd go about this 'pseudo-date'.


Stop overthinking. Ha! Who do you think you're speaking to? Right, yourself. Talking to yourself because you're completely insane. Get all the crazy out now, brain, 'cause you're not allowed be crazy tonight! I specifically ban it!


She nodded to herself, resolve face fully in force, before the shrill ringing of her cell disturbed her. She quickly answered and confirmed her dorm building, then got ready to go downstairs. A quick glance at the alarm clock on her nightstand told her it was about time to set off to see Tara anyway, so she threw the waist-length black jacket that was hanging over the chair at her desk and slipped it over her shoulders, then checked her pockets for wallet and keys.


She slipped the blanket under one arm and flicked the lightswitch off, then left her dorm and went downstairs to wait for the food delivery guy. She only had to wait a couple of minutes before he arrived and she paid him while taking the paper bag in her other hand.


“Keep the change,” she said warmly when he tried to hand her back some coins, before taking a deep inhale of the brisk air and set off for the tree.


She grew cheerier as she approached, excited about her 'experiment', and would have skipped if her hands hadn't been so crowded and weighing her down. The sun had completely set, but the sky was still a dark blue in twilight, the stars just beginning to peek out. She arrived at the tree in a few minutes and set everything down on the ground, spreading the blanket out and unpacking the cartons of food.


“Are we having a picnic?”


Willow's head shot up at the sound of Tara's voice and she jumped up with a smile.


“Hi! I, um, I got us some food. I was kinda hungry so I thought you might be too. And I remembered you said you liked Chinese food...You do, right?”


Tara heard some sound float into her ears, but she couldn't quite register what was said as she took in what Willow was wearing. She'd loved seeing the different styles of brightly coloured and textured shirts and pants Willow had worn each day, but she would have been lying if she said she didn't appreciate the figure-hugging halterneck or the way the deep green made her eyes pop.


She looks so beautiful. And she went to all this effort...it’s almost like a date. Is she trying to tell me something? Does she want a date? That’s probably just wishful thinking, Tara. She’s not that shy. If she wanted to date, she’d ask. She’s just trying to make an effort for a friend so stop overanalysing and answer her.


“I...I could eat,” she managed eventually, wondering if it would be okay to compliment the outfit.


Friends can tell each other they look good, right?


Willow bounced in delight and didn't notice the lingering eyes on her as she gestured down to the blanket.


“Great! I wasn’t sure what you liked exactly so I just got a few different things. I can order more if you don't like anything.”


Tara nodded shyly and sat on the corner of the blanket.


“You’re outfit is really pretty,” she said quickly as Willow got comfortable opposite her, “I really like your top.”


Willow looked down and smiled; pleased she'd opted to change.


“Thanks,” she replied, feeling herself burst with happiness at the compliment before a dash of reality hit her.


It might not mean a thing. Friends tell each other they look good all the time. I just told Becky earlier.


“Is that Moo shu pork?” Tara’s voice interrupted Willow's train of thought as she pointed at a container, “I love Moo shu pork.”


Willow blinked for a moment, then pushed the container in question over towards her.


“Yeah, me too. Don’t tell the Jew police though.”


Tara laughed and Willow felt herself smiling from ear-to-ear that she was able to make her do so, then a quick look in the now empty bag made her smile falter.


“Uh oh. They forgot to include those little plastic spoon/fork thingies.”


Tara pointed at a couple of pairs of chopsticks that were already out.


“We have those.”


Willow eyed the utensils warily.


“I, um...I haven’t the slightest idea how to use those.”


Tara picked them up and handed one pair to Willow.


“I can teach you. It’s easy. A guy in my study group taught me. We get take-out if we're staying up late sometimes.”


“Are you sure?” Willow replied with a nervous chuckle, “I wouldn’t wanna...accidentally poke you in the eye or something...”


“Don’t be silly,” Tara laughed, holding up her chopsticks in demonstration, “You hold one of them between your thumb and middle finger...it should be touching against the bottom of both.”


Willow copied the blonde’s hand motions.


“Like this?”


“Exactly,” Tara smiled, before adjusting the second chopstick, “Now with this one, you put it between your thumb and your forefinger on top. Against the tip of your thumb and the pad of your forefinger.”


Willow intellectually understood what Tara was saying to her and could see how the action was performed but when her brain send the signals down to her fingers, they somehow interpreted it as ‘toss the chopsticks in the air and make one hit your pretty friend in the forehead’.


“Shit,” she exclaimed, scrambling over to the other side of the blanket so she was beside Tara, rubbing her thumb over the place when the utensil had hit, “I’m so sorry.”


“It’s okay, don't worry about,” Tara replied with a soft sigh as Willow touched her, before composing herself and picking up the accidentally-thrown chopsticks, “Just plastic.”


Willow sat back on her heels, a guilty look on her face.


“A couple of plastics sticks to you and the rest of the world maybe, but in the hands of this spaz? Deadly weapons.”


“I'm sure you can do it,” Tara replied, offering Willow the chopsticks back, “Sit back down, we'll try again with the sesame chicken, that should be easy to pick up.”


Willow was reluctant to make an ass out of herself again, but couldn't resist a request from Tara. She sat back down and smiled when Tara shuffled right up close to her, then her eyes widened as she watched her friend pick up a piece of chicken and offer it to her. She silently closed her mouth over the offering, thankful she was able to do a task like that without messing up.


“See? It's easy,” Tara somehow managed to speak despite being completely distracted by Willow's lips, “I-I’ll help.”


She let her gaze flutter upwards, then held out the chopsticks for Willow to take. Willow did, but held them very carefully until Tara reached out to cover her hand, gently moulding her fingers until they took the right shape over the utensils. Tara used her hand’s position to guide Willow's hand down to the container again and helped her grab some of the contents before removing her hand completely.


Willow kept her grasp tight on the chopsticks and carefully picked up the piece of meat. She looked up to meet Tara's eye and slowly, cautiously, brought it up to her mouth. She felt her heard start to pound as Tara took it between her lips and let her hand drop back down by her side. She looked between Tara's lips and eyes, not caring right then if she was being obvious


“You did it,” Tara whispered when she finished, so low that the redhead wouldn’t have heard had they not been sitting so close together.


Willow felt her breath start to come in shallow, heady gasps. She didn’t know whether her mind was playing cruel tricks on her, but it seemed as if their faces were inching closer and closer together. She was sure she recognised the look in Tara’s eyes - it was the exact same one shining in hers.


Want.


Was her plan working? Had setting things up like a date prompted Tara to be a bit more apparent with possible feelings? She wasn’t sure. She couldn’t tell. But she did know that Tara's lips were definitely closer to hers than they had been three seconds ago. Much closer. And they were getting even closer still. She licked her own lips in response and felt her eyes flutter closed. It was coming. Tara's lips were coming towards hers. They would be on hers any second...


Until loud shouts from a few feet away from them made both girls spring apart in shock and surprise.


“Wooo...hooooooo! Glug, glug, glug!”


Willow gaped at the group of boys stumbling down the sidewalk nearby, some with beer bottles in their hands, the rest gulping the liquid down their throats. She felt like marching over there and smashing the bottles over all of their heads as her mind reeled from what had, or in fact, hadn't happened.


She took a calming breath that did little to assuage her, before glancing over at Tara, who had picked up one of the containers of food and was picking at some of the food, examining the content intently, hiding flushing cheeks that Willow couldn't see.


She’s acting like nothing happened. Did I...Did I imagine it?


“Frat boys, huh?” she managed to speak after a moment, “The only people who don’t want a date on Valentine’s days. At least not just one.”


Tara’s mind was running to ninety after their almost-kiss. She had been just a millimetre away from sealing the deal when the interruption had happened and now couldn’t help but think it was fate’s way of stopping her from doing it. From ruining the one pure friendship she’d ever had. Sure, Willow hadn’t pulled away when she’d started to push closer but that was probably because she wouldn’t have even thought of the possibility of kissing her and so wouldn’t think to pull away.


She decided in that moment that she’d been stopped from making what could have been a terrible mistake if it meant losing Willow as a friend. She knew she couldn’t let Willow see her flustered or anguished without arising suspicion so forced a smile instead.


“Huh. I forgot it was Valentine’s day. Explains why I saw quite so many couples on my way here.”


Willow’s face instantly fell.


She didn’t know it was Valentine’s Day either. Which means she didn’t agree to spend time with me on Valentine’s Day. She agreed to spend time with me on any old day. Like every other day. Nothing special. No step forward. And my mind clearly must’ve imagined whatever the hell just happened. Or didn’t happen. She’s just eating those noodles like she didn’t just almost make all my dreams come true.


She blinked away an errant tear that came to her eye, ashamed at letting herself have such a reaction and quickly composed herself as she picked up another of the containers and tried to eat. She didn’t really care that she still couldn’t use the chopsticks that well since her appetite had been rapidly suppressed by her own thoughts.


“This is good Chinese,” Tara broke the silence after a few minutes of them eating quietly.


“They deliver to campus,” Willow responded, feeling like it was a bit of a stupid answer but not knowing what else to say, “I can give you their number.”


Tara gave a quiet nod.


“Thanks.”


They lapsed into silence and finished eating most of the food displayed in front of them. Willow packed all of the empty containers back into the bag and started tapping her fingers against her pants. Both of them noticed the shift in the mood of their evening and Tara, thinking was her fault, decided to start a new topic of conversation to try and get back to their normal friendliness.


“Do you like the stars?”


Willow looked up at the surprise question and offered a small smile.


“Yeah. I really do, actually. They're supposed to make you feel all insignificant, but they made me feel like ... like I was in space or something... part of the stars. Part of something so much bigger than just me,” she replied before pointing upwards, “See, there’s Canis Minor. Oh and Cassiopeia. That’s ‘Little Dog’ and ‘The Queen’ to you and me.”


Tara looked impressed.


“I never knew the Latin names. I never knew any of the names actually. I always made up my own.”


Willow looked at her friend with an inquisitive grin, not feeling quite so down on herself as she had been just a few minutes before.


“You did? Will you...will you teach me? Unless they’re private or something.”


“They’re not private,” Tara shook her head, moving over slightly so they were sitting shoulder-to-shoulder again and pointing upwards, “See right up there? That’s The Big Pineapple.”


Willow giggled.


“The Big Pineapple?”


“Yes,” Tara nodded definitively, tracing a line of stars with her finger, “That right there is the base. Then it curves upwards.”


Willow followed the curve with her eye and nodded, impressed.


“It’s big.”


“Hence the name,” Tara replied with a wry grin, before moving her fingers over to a different patch of stars, “And that... is Short Man Looking Uncomfortable. See that cluster of stars there in the middle? That’s the grimace.”


Willow threw her head back in laughter.


“Tell me more, tell me more.”


Tara beamed that she had seemed to be able to get past the awkwardness she was sure she had caused before and moved her hand again.


“Moose Getting A Sponge Bath.”


“Oh I can see the antlers,” Willow replied in mock-seriousness, “It must be a male.”


“Of course,” Tara replied in a similar mirth-filled tone, “It’s the female who has to give him the bath.”


Willow giggled again.


“Got any more?”


Tara looked upwards and bit her lip in contemplation.


“Little Pile O’ Crackers?” she suggested after a moment before shaking her head, “No, I don’t think that one works.”


“No, I can see it!” Willow insisted, moving her hand beside Tara’s and tracing the same path her finger had, “Look, there’s the crackers...piling up...and there on the top, see the little swirl? That’s clearly the Cheese Wiz!”


Tara gave a small laugh and dropped her hand.


“You’re good at this,” she said before an errant yawn escaped her, making her cover her mouth, “Sorry.”


“You sleepy?” Willow asked with a smile, glancing down at her watch, “Yeah, it’s getting pretty late. Can I walk you back to your dorm?”


“Oh,” Tara replied, wishing she'd been able to suppress the yawn so they wouldn't have to part, “Yeah, sure. That’d be nice.”


They both stood up and Willow gathered her blanket and folded it under her arm before taking the bag of empty containers and threw it in a nearby trashcan. She walked back over to Tara and once again found herself almost about to instinctively take her hand. She shoved her hand into her pocket to stop herself as she started walking alongside Tara, letting her lead the way since she realised she didn’t actually know which student house her friend resided in, they’d never discussed it.


“I had a really fun night,” Tara said as they strolled along the grass, “No one’s ever understood my star constellations before.”


“Well they’re just stupid poop-heads,” Willow replied in all seriousness, “They’re so much better than the other ones.”


Tara smiled as she stopped outside a building.


“Well this is me.”


Willow nodded, only paying attention to Tara's smile again, before she realised where they were and did a double-take.


“This is what?”


“This is me,” Tara repeated, tugging the end of her shirt uncomfortably when Willow continued to just stare at her, wondering if there was an issue because she'd lucked out in getting a dorm in what happened to be the newest building on campus, “Is that a bad thing?”


Willow looked between the building door and Tara in disbelief.


“Tara, this is...I live here!”


“You do?” Tara asked, surprised.


“Yes!” Willow replied, almost shouting at this stage, “How have I never seen you in the lounge or getting food...or...or something!”


Tara gave a small, shy shrug.


“I don’t leave my room much. You know, except for class. Or I didn’t before I met you. I only went into the lounge when no one else was there.”


Willow was completely flabbergasted but didn't know what else to say, so just opened the double glass doors.


“Well I said I’d walk you to your dorm.”


Tara slipped through the door and started walking down the hallway.


“I’m on the ground floor, I have a single.”


Willow nodded almost curtly, irrationally annoyed at herself for not discovering Tara sooner.


“Lucky. I love Becky but it’d be nice to have some private space sometime too.”


“You can come hang out in my room if you need some peace,” Tara offered before ducking her head shyly, “I could leave and you could just...chill.”


“Thanks,” Willow replied with a small smile, “But I’d prefer if you were there too.”


Tara smiled and gave a quiet nod before stopping outside her dorm. Willow looked up at the number on the door and had a whole new reason to be upset.


“Tara, please tell me this isn’t your room,” she said and saw Tara just give her a nod, “No, this can’t be your room. This is 109.”


Tara looked at her door number in confusion.


“Do you...not like prime numbers?”


Normally Willow would have laughed at that but instead just leaned against the doorframe and put a hand flat against the door.


“This can’t be your room...109 can’t be your room...because my room is 209. And that means...that means that for the past 18 months there has been...what, a foot of flooring between us? A foot. And we never met. And that’s not fair.”


Tara looked towards the door in a mix of surprise and anguish – the anguish from the upset look on her friend’s face.


“We’ve met now,” she said, putting a comforting hand on Willow's shoulder but just saw her sigh so without thinking of anything other than offering her some comfort, pulled her into a hug, “We’re friends now.”


Willow inhaled sharply as she felt Tara’s arms wrap around her. It was the first time they’d ever hugged and she just melted. For a whole second, she wasn't worried, or upset. She was just hugging Tara. She couldn't believe wonderfully perfect it felt, how wonderful Tara felt holding her and squeezed back as tightly as she could. That second was quickly dissolved though, as she took in Tara's last words.


“Right. Friends. We’re the best of friends,” she said with a forced smile, trying not to bark a laugh out, “So, um, I know where you live now, so I’ll, um...I’ll come down and visit, okay?”


Tara gave a small nod, sad she hadn't been able to cheer Willow up.


“Or, um,” Willow continued, trying to lighten the tension in herself by making a joke, “You could just bang on the ceiling with a broom or something. We could have a system. One bang for ‘come on down’, two for ‘check back later’”


Tara offered a laugh, though her heart wasn’t really in it and Willow exhaled before pointing behind her with her thumb.


“So, I’ll um...I’ll see you soon?”


“I’ll see you soon,” Tara confirmed with a wave and watched Willow turn and walk towards the staircase to her floor.


She fished her keys from her pocket and opened her door, dropping her keys on her desk as she massaged her temples and started slipping her clothes off so she was left in just her underwear.


The woman of dreams has been a foot away from me for the entire time I’ve lived in Boston. Just an arm’s reach away. Except it’s not my arms she wants to be in. She pulled back from that hug I gave her after a second. I clearly made her uncomfortable.


She gave a loud sigh and climbed between the sheets on her bed, settling her head against the pillows and gazed up at her ceiling, imagining what Willow was doing directly above her.


It’s worse now. At least before I didn’t have to be reminded of how that perfect angel will never want to be with me every time I look upwards.


Tears sprang to her eyes and she didn’t even try to stop them, too worn out by the emotional back-and-forth her feelings had been playing throughout the evening. She turned on her side and felt her tears flow across her nose and onto the pillow, not caring that she’d probably make quite a predominant wet patch on the fabric, her thoughts only focused on how she could learn to live with the ache in her heart every time she would see Willow.


She cried herself to sleep after a few minutes and let her dreams take over.


They were her secret haven - the only place, she thought, where she and Willow could actually be together.

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Current Series: College Confidential ... Adult Confidential ... Hacker Confidential ... Family Confidential


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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (11/04/12)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:08 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:43 am
Posts: 434
Dibs

Great chapter.

Quote:
Stop overthinking. Ha! Who do you think you're speaking to? Right, yourself. Talking to yourself because you're completely insane. Get all the crazy out now, brain, 'cause you're not allowed be crazy tonight! I specifically ban it!

She nodded to herself, resolve face fully in force...

Love this! Perfect Willow.

Quote:
She’s not that shy. If she wanted to date, she’d ask.

I can totally relate. As a guy, this puts me at a disadvantage.

Loved the 'pseudo-date.'

Quote:
Willow intellectually understood what Tara was saying to her and could see how the action was performed but when her brain send the signals down to her fingers, they somehow interpreted it as ‘toss the chopsticks in the air and make one hit your pretty friend in the forehead’.

:lol I completely sympathize with Willow's bad hand-eye coordination.

An almost-kiss is usually worse than no kiss at all because both people doubt the other's feelings.

Quote:
“Tara, please tell me this isn’t your room,” she said and saw Tara just give her a nod, “No, this can’t be your room. This is 109.”

Tara looked at her door number in confusion.

“Do you...not like prime numbers?”

:lol Loved Tara's question. Maybe Willow subconsciously knows about the badness of ep. 109 'Smashed.' Either that or she has a strong fear of puppets. :p

Quote:
They were her secret haven - the only place, she thought, where she and Willow could actually be together.

:tear Poor Tara

Can't wait til next week.

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 Post subject: Re: College Confidential (Prequel to HC/FC) [AU] (11/04/12)
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:05 am 
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8. Vixen
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:51 am
Posts: 893
Location: Kaskinen, Finland. Citizen of Kitopia
Yay for excellent update-y goodness... I loved the pseudo-date and Willow's total lack of chopstick handling skills... I really hope that they quite soon, preferably by accident, learn that they both have more than friendly feelings towards eachother... I hope Tara very soon makes her room very Willow-friendly, a relaxed Willow might accidentally reveal her more than friedly feeling for Tara. Tara really needs to know about Willow's more than friendly feelings so she can look with hope not despair towards the ceiling... Can't wait for Becky meeting Tara for the first time...

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