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

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 4 - 02/02/15
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:18 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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DUUUUUDDDEEE! Awesome update! Hmm...I wonder what's up with the water. Dude, you're just...the most rad person. Holy crap, this was great.

And to respond to your response, yeah, a surfer phase. You're lucky you didn't have to deal with my “overly excited” phase. That was crazy.

Can't wait for the next update, man

-Gabe

_________________
"Miss Edith speaks out of turn. She's a bad example and will have no cakes today"

I have a fish named Drusilla. He doesn't know, he thinks his name is Drew. Shhhh...

Spike: Are we feeling better, then?
Drusilla: I'm naming all the stars.
Spike: You can't see the stars, love. That's the ceiling. Also it's day.
Drusilla: I can see them. But I've named them all the same name, and there's terrible confusion.


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 4 - 02/02/15
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:35 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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:lol LMFAO!

Maaaaaybe I could have looked past Willow saying...

Quote:
“Well, when you gave it to me to drink, yes. Before that it was just like water. Good, clean water, but water all the same. So… why you? What makes it more than just wet? Edible even?


But, I would be hard pressed to believe she was clueless when she said...

Quote:
"It tastes good. It feels good. But do you suppose it does more than fill me up?”


However, this little ditty would have simply been to much to ignore...

Quote:
“Taste like chicken, after all if it was just water when I drank it and then it was more of a fulfilling meal when you gave it to me, so I’ve kind of eaten… you, sort of.”
:drool

Skipping?.......Yeah, Willow is in trouble :bigkiss

PS. Why are you so hard on your early work? :happy

Because you distinctly told us not to go back and read your earlier work....I immediately went back and re-read your earlier work :kdevil .

Sure, I can see how much you have evolved as a writer. But, it's * Beginning Cycles* not a bad piece of Fanfiction.

Sidestep 1,2 and Trinity are your Crown Jewels.

But, Processing is AWESOME too...Ditto for CWS, TRC and Lesbian Gay Type Women...

Maybe I don't get it because I can't write much past my name :grin


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 4 - 02/02/15
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:31 pm 
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23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
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Next part posts tomorrow. For now just some responses to feedback. I say 'just', feedback's the reason I'm here and I write ;)

Thanks all

Katharyn

-----------------
Zampsa – Thank you very much, as ever!

Oh yes, they have the water. Soon there will be something else to sustain them.

As for dorm room ‘exploration’ – well, I did mean it in a literal sense as well as the innuendo!

Thanks


Salix – They’ll wonder what’s up with the water too… And this isn’t your overexcited phase? LOL

Thanks

Grimm – Yeah, see… being able to use some of those lines you quoted actually drove the plot to a certain extent. I had a thing where I wanted Willow, in all innocence, to be able to keep piling on innuendo (or perhaps more… loaded comments) that would set Tara wondering, spluttering and generally going ‘whaaa?’

That whole thing with the edible water came from that, but also from the fact I needed to make sure they had something to start them off eating!

Okay, so my early work… It’s really on Beginnings Cycle I am referring to. And it’s not that it’s ‘bad’ just that it was done long before I started using either beta or checking myself properly. That’s what bugs me about it now. The content not so much, though Sidestep was a big step up.

That’s all it is!

Thanks so much

Katharyn

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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 4 - 02/02/15
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:15 pm 
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9. Gay Now
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Topics: 15
Location: Beyond the orbit of Mars and accelerating...
Sigh.

I'm really going to have to check the actual pens boards more often.

I keep missing awesome stuff like this :(

Anyhoo, i'm looking forward to seeing more. :bounce

I'm well aware of Joss's comments about Tara's potential heritage, so i look forward to seeing what you do with it.

And i'm loving the Faerie realm, and your description of it.
I will analyse it carefully (later) to try to learn how you do it so well. :bow

I'm getting a vibe for this realm like Hell from the movie Constantine. In that it's a modified version of the prime plane.
Though i'm getting a more autumn-y Hellboy Golden Army vibe, with the Forest Elemental.

Wow, i'm so bookmarking this one :)

See you soon!

R :flower

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


My Story: Coming Home


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 4 - 02/02/15
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:43 am 
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23. Volumey Text

Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 12:23 pm
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Azirahael - Hey! Welcome :)

Thank you so much and thank you for your restraint in the 'knowing what Tara is' stakes, though the story is making a good job of making that sort of obvious :)

Honestly, I hadn't thought much about the description of the realm, but if it's working for you... great! It is - or at least what they've seen is - a version of the 'prime plane' (as you call it, good term I might steal for Willow!) but it's not quite the set up that you describe. There's something else going on (not a big mystery really, just not revealed until later!)

Love your film comparisons and though I didn't - specifically - think of Hell Boy 2, I wouldn't deny it probably influenced me. Though this isn't autumn because of the state of the world, more because... it's autumn! (Hush aired in November) but to be honest - as you will see - there are plenty of leaves in the trees (this will be a factor in a few parts!)

As for Constantine... I saw that once, I think, but I thought I might be the only person who actually liked it!!

Thanks again.

Next part coming right up.

Katharyn

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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


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 Post subject: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 5 - 02/05/15
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:53 am 
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Topics: 5
Title: Tara and Willow – The Blessed Unrest – Chapter Five
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but nothing much apart from the episode ‘Hush’ in S4. And let’s face it, if you’ve not seen that then… what are you doing here?
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Story notes: Tara’s background is different to that presented in Family and instead based on a throwaway remark made in interviews around the time Family first aired. (Though I now realise not the precisely terminology used there)
Summary: Learning more about each other.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
The title ‘The Blessed Unrest’ came from and belongs to Sara Bareilles from the album of the same name.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: It is sometimes difficult to remember – when writing – that the girls don’t know each other (and aren’t even the same people yet) that we know so well. So while it’s a delight to go back to these early days, I do sometimes find that I let aspects of their later/future characters slip in there. In my case that’s even worse because I wrote some enormous fics that changed the characters over long periods of time and – in my mind – that’s who Tara and Willow are to some extent. So I hope you’ll forgive some of those slips… Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the early days again. The uncertainty and the wonder of it all.
Thanks to: Some good friends, who keep telling me to keep going.



Was something wrong here?

The question, Willow supposed, was really about whether self-awareness was enough? Was it healthy? Really, she’d not gone far enough into that Psych 101 class she’d dropped to know the answers.

Psych would probably tell me that if I feel like its all okay, it probably is. If I don’t then… not

Perhaps that discipline wasn’t going to offer much to the assessment. Might be why she’d dropped it.

She and Tara were bunking down in what had once – somewhere else - been Stevenson 214. The only way they’d known was to count the ‘rooms’ from the top of the ‘stairs’. But these weren’t really dorm rooms as much as they were ‘cells’ in the non-prison meaning of the word.

A really good description. It was like a space in the tree, grown from it – into it. Something anyway. She wasn’t sure there was a biological process she could’ve named and explained, but here it was all the same.

Like the library and some other places they’d been, Stevenson Hall too featured a large tree but rather than growing taller than any tree should like those others, this was a squat thing about the same height as her familiar dorm block but the trunk – ornately carved to resembled the frontage – was as roomy as the whole building had been.

Trees – generally – didn’t do that. They reached for the sky and the sunlight. If this had followed the proportions of its equivalents back home… Well, it might’ve given the Empire State building a run for its money. As it was… it looked squat.

But recognisably building-like, which seemed to be the point.

And inside?

Chambers. Cells. Burrows. Whatever you wanted to call them. There were even ‘stairs’ circling around and emerging on different ‘floors’.

Wooden homes, grown from the tree itself. The main features looked absolutely natural though then embellished with paints and carvings much like those in the books they’d seen. Rows of them arranged just like Stevenson had been, all empty of people.

But inside the rooms? They were all equipped for living in. Neat and tidy, like they were ready for someone to come back to them. Or a dorm at the end of semester when everyone went home for the holidays.

With less posters.

There were beds, after a fashion. Frames at least, filled with leaves. Soft, soft leaves. Fresh too. Like someone had just gathered them and placed them there.

So who did that? Or did leaves not decompose here? I’ve not seen fallen leaves or leaf-mush… Should I be worried about lack of leaf-mush? Is lack of leaf-mush a critical factor?

And if leaves don’t decompose, where do they go? Are leaves here like plastic bags back home? How does this work?


Here in ‘her room’ there was a wardrobe of sorts and it was somewhere that beautifully ornate dresses went to dare you to try them on just by being so amazing.

And she hadn’t dared. Not only did they feel like they were someone else’s, but the brocade looking so delicate and perfect that it might all crumble if she touched it. Even to her, who’d never picked up a sewing needle in her life, it was perfectly obvious that a seamstress could work for her entire career and only hope to create one thing that was so beautiful.

And there were five of them hanging there.

Not much by way of jeans and tee-shirts. Nor underwear, actually, which was going to get to be an issue if they were here for even another day. But beautiful dresses? Yes… And they looked like they were all her size. On this – ‘her’ - side of the room.

On the other… with a little more room up top, the contents – all different - might easily have fit Buffy better.

You know, if you were thinking about that sort of thing and speculating on whether this world really was mirroring their own in some strange way.

If so, you had to doubt that anything capable of populating the wardrobes with such beautiful dresses could be undertaking a scheme that was in any way nefarious (one of her favourite Giles words.)

So… nefarious or not, all the other rooms were the same. At least that they’d looked through. Curiouser and curiouser, because rooms that corresponded to girls who were taller or shorter, bigger or smaller all seemed to have dresses that would fit.

So how did that work?

How could it? Just how nefarious could that possibly be?

Should I be worried about a master-seamstress who stocked an entire dorm with beautiful dresses on the off-chance someone from another world arrived and moved into their room?

It wasn’t exactly the usual thing the Scoobies had to worry about. It was rather lacking any imminent threat, that was for sure.

The dresses weren’t going to emerge from the wardrobe and menace them with their beauty.

Tara had taken ‘Buffy’s bed’ and quickly fallen asleep. It was something that – still more curiously – she took no small amount of satisfaction in. Considering they’d both felt so refreshed by the water, it seemed unlikely Tara would’ve have drifted off so quickly. But falling asleep with her in the room? Yes. That was a measure of trust they needed to have in each other. And they were all but strangers, despite saving each other’s lives and learning more about each other during the course of the past day.

Sitting here, watching the rise and fall of Tara’s chest as she breathed softly and listening to the small noises that came from some sort of dream, she realised that she felt very… content.

Content enough she had to wonder about her sanity. This ought to be something she was scared of. Something to escape. She ought to have been desperate to get back home. But working on the assumption she was sane then she had to wonder about what could cause her to be so content? Which led her back around to wondering if something was affecting her.

Them, actually, because – again – Tara’s sleep without being exhausted suggested that she wasn’t any more worried about things.

So?

Maybe it was something in the air. The water? Or the leaves, Tara’s sleep had come as soon as she’d laid her head on the soft leaves. Plants could have narcotic effects. Heck, most narcotics were derived from plants. But…

Maybe there was no it at all. Maybe this place was everything it appeared to be… good? Wasn’t that possible too? Good things could happen, so there must be good places too?

And maybe if they were content it was nothing more than good company in a good place and the lack of imminent, ugly death?

That was what she was trying to decide. It was said – wasn’t it? – that the mad never knew that they were. That understanding that much about yourself would mean you couldn’t actually be insane – in the clinical sense?

Or was that just a myth from movies? Probably, a lot of what she knew was.

Why would she feel so… at peace here? Even if it was a good place… Yes, it was beautiful. Yes, it was safe – they hadn’t seen or been threatened by anything, let alone the sort of monsters Sunnydale was rife with.

But it wasn’t home.

And home was where her friends and family were… Home was – wherever they were now - somewhere else.

Or so she assumed.

There was the slim possibility this was the new state of the real world now and everyone else had been taken elsewhere while things got overwritten with trees and nature and beautiful dresses but… To be honest that seemed less likely than that she and Tara had gone somewhere else.

So… why didn’t she feel like she had to get back?

Self-awareness 101.

She knew some of the answers. First of all, what she already admitted. It was safe. It was beautiful. Tara was… here. She wasn’t alone – which would’ve been terrifying no matter what. Secondly, Tara wasn’t panicking about this, in fact she seemed right here but genuinely as mystified about how and why – and where – they were.

Fine. There was all of that.

Why?

Was it a drug? If so… where was the crash or the hangover?

Or was it just that in addition to saving their lives from the Gentlemen…

I wanted to get away. I wanted to be away from all that Sunnydale had become. A trap of memories. Of monsters. Of things that weren’t like they were before.

On some level, she knew that she’d needed – and wanted – something different in her world.

Maybe that had meant… a different world. Albeit one that was sort of familiar, in an uber-eco-friendly way.

Here, there was nothing to menace them. All the beauty she could stand. Away from people that meant well but seemed to get her less well than they had before. With someone who didn’t know, didn’t judge, didn’t think she needed to get back on the horse…

With Tara, at the end of the day.

It’d only been a few hours she’d really known her at all – and that they’d been here - but she didn’t see why she had to hurry to prevent that becoming a few days. You know, if she could find some fresh underwear.

Or maybe do some washing.

Because self-awareness offered no wisdom other than that… Why not, Willow? Why not?

As long as everything’s clean.


----------------------

Willow had asked her whether she was worried.

In all honesty, she’d immediately said ‘no’. It wasn’t something she’d really even needed to think about.

But in that she’d seen that Willow was concerned more about why she felt the same way than their actual circumstances.

Understandable. But the wonder just kept coming and when you were filled with that then…

Wonder was wonder. It couldn’t be bad or it would be something else.

Whatever it was with the water, it didn’t change overnight. They’d found a cup – more of your wooden goblet really – and when Willow helped herself the water was… just that. Wet. Quenched thirst, but not much beyond that.

But when she took some for herself, or when she handed it to Willow?

Well, put it this way there was no way that water alone should’ve been sustenance enough after the night. No way that it should’ve passed for a satisfying breakfast. Willow had joked that she’d heard of a liquid diet, but how ridiculous this was.

And it was. Totally ridiculous.

All the same… They both felt the same.

Which was a shame, because later they’d found the tree and hadn’t wanted to feel so full anymore.

Of course, that was after the debate about the dresses. She’d suggested that – maybe – Willow might want to try one of them on. For curiosities sake, if nothing else. Just to see if it really did fit as well as it looked like it might.

Whether it had, in fact, been ‘made’ for her.

As a scientist, Willow ought to have appreciated that sort of experimental curiosity.

There’d been more than one type of curiosity at work there though, because… Who wouldn’t want to see someone like Willow Rosenberg in a dress like that? Some people. Maybe. But they’d have been all kinds of crazy. Even on the hanger it just seemed so perfect for her.

It wasn’t just the size. The perfection of the colour alongside Willow’s hair and her fair skin? There was one dress of the five that –

Well, there was a dress and she hadn’t been so persuasive as she’d thought. Not even through science.

But no. Willow was still wearing the same jeans and sweater that she’d had on last night.

Of course, she had the same outfit on too. But their visit to her ‘dorm’ was one of the short list of things they had to do today. In fact they’d been headed in that direction when they came across the tree.

There were trees everywhere, of course. But this one had been a little different.

Hanging from the branches… low hanging fruit. No effort to pick at all. Just reach up and there it was. Ripe, delicious looking. She’d even picked one before Willow had cautioned her. And rightly.

Berry’s, after all, could look delicious but kill you stone dead. And the least said about mushrooms the better. They could make you see strange things and then kill you stone dead.

But here…? She was already seeing strange, wonderful things – and that was when she was looking around and not at Willow.

She held a piece of the fruit in her hand, wanting to take a bite but... Willow could easily be right. “Isn’t this where the juice bar is?” she asked, looking around and trying to orientate herself to a campus that – in some places – remained unexplored by either of them in their own world, let alone this one.

Neither of them had really gone near the sports facilities yet.

Or the stadium.

“Could be,” Willow allowed. “I guess… Yes. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat the fruit.”

“We drank the water,” she pointed out. “Nothing happened.” It seemed like the same arguments could’ve been used.

“We have to drink nearly every day, we don’t have to eat.”

“Speak for yourself,” she said automatically, grasping another fruit and tugging lightly. It just came away in her hand with barely any effort. Larger around than any apple she’d seen, it was actually shaped more like a pear. And it was enormous. If this had fallen on your head, you’d really know about it. Making up the theory of gravity wouldn’t have been your first thought.

“What do you mean?”

“Umm – just – a girl can’t live on water alone,” she said, feeling flustered again. She’d thought she’d left the inadvertent innuendo behind yesterday but… no. This time her first instinct had been to buy into it.

Willow grinned. “Apparently here, you can.”

“No… I’m pretty sure – never mind.”

“You’re really going to bite into that?” Willow asked as she wiped it clean on her top. Not that there was any dirt. She hadn’t seen dust or dirt since she got here – at least not beyond the kind that all of this grew out of. Soil and so on, but nothing blown around. Nothing lingering on the fruit from the rain fall.

Perfection…

“I… I don’t think that people who built this place – or grew it – would leave poisonous fruit where just anyone could grab it. Even a child could’ve picked this.”

“There’s plenty of things wrong with that assumption,” Willow said, just as she was about to take a bite.

So she hesitated.

“For example,” Willow continued. “Maybe the tree grew later than this place was built - grown.”

“Right on the spot where the juice stand is? Is this is an old tree.” She got ready to bite again.

But Willow interrupted once again. “Or it could be that whoever build this place enjoyed a different diet to us. And what they’d think was a tasty piece of fruit would be poison to us. Birds can eat berries that will make us curl up and wish for nothing more than to die. And they’re from the same place as us.

“But, I’m sure it’s fine. Bite away.”

So she looked at the other girl. The sarcasm really wasn’t helping, even if it was making a good point. “Are you always so sceptical?”

“No, Tara. I’m just really, really averse to being poisoned. It’s a crazy-ginger-Jewish-witch-nerd thing. Don’t worry about it. Really. I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“You’re Jewish?”

“Rosenberg might’ve been a clue? Not exactly hiding it.”

“I… guess I never thought about it,” she blushed. It just hadn’t entered her mind to question whether Willow had been raised anything other than the Wiccan her attendance at the group might’ve suggested.

On the other hand, look at the other attendees? Probably it was because Willow was the only one with more than a modicum of magical potential.

“So are you Catholic?” Willow asked.

She shook her head. “Maybe – probably - way back, but – no, we – Mom – she was… Well, she was a witch, but I’m not exactly certain that she really believed in anything apart from the power of nature. Sort of Wiccan, I guess. That’s what I usually tell people, but…” She shrugged.

“No, that’s cool. Shorthand’s good.”

Hefting the fruit, she held it up to her lips again. “Maybe… just a little?” she suggested. “A tiny, tiny bit. See how I feel in an hour or so?” Seemed like a good compromise.

“I think that’d be a really good idea,” Willow beamed, pleased to have gotten her point across.

“Smartypants,” Tara said, taking the tiniest nibble from the fruit and…

Ohhh.

“What!?” Willow demanded. “Spit it out! Tara spit it out – now!”

“No… NO… It’s… good. Wow. It’s… So good.”

So good that she had to fight not to take another bite, because Willow still might be right. For sure. But… just one more tiny bite?

“Let me try?” Willow suggested.

“What happened to could be poison?” she asked, licking the juices from her lips. It was sweet, it was sticky and it was… good. It was like – It was like… What were the words that could describe it?

“Well… Could be, but if I just have a very little too?” Willow asked.

She smiled, handed it over and watched Willow – tentatively – take the tiniest nibble from the same spot that she had. No worrying about mouth cooties if you were wary of poison fruit.

“Oh. My. God,” Willow said, taking a larger bite right away. “Ohhh. It’s like – it’s like an orgasm in my mouth.”

Then Willow’s mouth dropped open. Shocked at what she’d said.

She was right there with her on that one. “Umm.”

“Not that – No. That sounded – that sounded really – that wasn’t what I meant at all. I think I probably meant it’s like my mouth had a – you know… Umm, not at all like – one of those in my mouth because… that’d mean something really very different. It’s nice this, isn’t it?”

“Willow?”

“Yes, Tara?”

“You know that tendency you mentioned?”

“You mean babbling?”

“It’s…” She hesitated, unsure whether she wanted to use the word. But Willow needed to feel better about herself after that, she was still blushing so much it had to be diverting blood from more important places… “It’s adorable,” she said. Since they were allowing themselves to be a little embarrassed by what they were saying. It only felt fair to share.

“Really?” Willow’s smile brightened. Perhaps it was something she’d never been told before.

She nodded.

“Because my other friends, they’d never let me live that one down. They’d be talking about that forever. With Buffy it’d probably end up relating to mistake she made with a boy – she has no luck dating – and Xander would get all guy about it and his girlfriend, Anya. They overshare. Like all the time. And she’s… You don’t want to know what she’d say and - ”

“We’re friends?” she asked, wanting to go right back to the start of that latest example because… Yes. That was a good thing. Another wonder of this place.

“I… Aren’t we?”

They were behaving like friends. And they’d saved each other’s lives and ended up in the magic kingdom (without the trademarks or cartoon animals). But… It was nice to hear it all the same.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes we are.”

“Good,” Willow said.

“I mean, if you want to be. We don’t have to be – we can do this, whatever it is, without - ”

“Tara, why in the world – either of them - wouldn’t I want to be your friend?”

----------------------

“Tara, why in the world – either of them - wouldn’t I want to be your friend?” she’d asked.

And the answer almost broke her heart.

“Lots of people… aren’t.”

Four words that just went to show that lots of people were dumb as grass and that she was probably being insulting to the grass, just by using it as a comparison.

“I’m – I guess I’m kind of an introvert,” Tara followed up, as if that explained it.

“No. I don’t think you are,” she said after a moment of consideration.

“Pretty sure I - ”

“Tara, an ‘introvert’ probably doesn’t usually go charging off to help save the day by looking for a total stranger to do a spell with. That’s… all kind of heroic.”

“Introverts can be heroic,” Tara said, sticking to her self-assessment.

Plenty of people were introverts and she hadn’t meant it as a bad thing. “Okay, but… I just think you’re kind of shy.”

“Isn’t that what introverts are - ?”

“And you shouldn’t be,” she finished rather than accepting the point.

“I shouldn’t?”

“Of course not! You’re kind. You’re sweet. You’ve got a good heart, you obviously worry about other people more than yourself and you’ve got these really pretty eyes…”

Wait… That last part hadn’t really been what she meant to say but it just slipped out there without being thought about at all. Like an obvious truth.

Maybe Tara hadn’t noticed though because… Because what?

It wasn’t just her eyes that were pretty. That smile… She’d made an unfortunate mistake with her description of the taste of the fruit. But if the fruit was as good as she’d described – in that way - then Tara’s smile was… What? The visual equivalent of falling in love?

How did she say that though, without a) babbling and b) sounding either really weird or c) like she was… Well, some people might’ve thought it meant she was into girls.

With added babble, it might’ve sounded like she was into goats. Or newspapers. Cabbage. Or… anything really.

But all at once, she couldn’t meet those eyes because… Will she see what I was about to say? Will she see what I’m feeling?

I’m feeling?

She turned away and started walking again. Trying to keep it casual, but still talking to Tara. After all, it wasn’t the other girl’s fault she was stuck with a babbling fool with a fetish for beautiful smiles. And eyes. “We should probably – you know – go. Places to go, forest version of the campus to check out.”

Because… this was… This was entirely unexpected and she had no idea where it had come from but –

All at once, she’d looked at Tara and it was -

It wasn’t like any other girl she’d ever looked at. Because, until now she didn’t feel like she’d ever really looked at another girl. But looking at Tara... Knowing the girl meant that she was seeing her and the parts of her…

Oh, Tara has parts

Other parts. Not just smiles and pretty eyes that were like coins dropped into a cosmic well and -

Where the frilly heck was all this coming from?

The fruit! Maybe it was the fruit!? That was the new thing that had happened in the last few minutes. ‘An orgasm in my mouth’ – never ever saying that again – and was the sugar rush or some other chemical mixture provoked by the sweet juices having an effect on her? Physiologically possible, depending what was in it. Easily possible.

Maybe even likely if all of this had been happening in isolation.

But…

See…

She knew she’d been noticing long before taking that one, tiny, bite.

Noticing.

Thinking about…

Tara… parts… When she looked at me, when she looked up from under her hair back in the Wicca Group did I think she was adorable? Did I admire her pretty eyes because I was jealous of them?

Or…

Did I think she was beautiful right then?

Without being jealous of her at all?

Didn’t I… sneak a glimpse at…


And she had to admit it to herself.

I totally did that.

Before tasting this fruit. Before drinking the water. Before even coming here.

Now – here – knowing Tara a little meant she’d admitted it to herself…

Okay. Deep breath.

Time to admit a few home truths.

I looked.

I liked.

If I looked again, right now, I’d continue to like what I was looking at and I’d probably give myself away with the liking and the looking and then things might get awkward and the smile might go away and I don’t want the smile to go away –

I like the smile right where it is and she’s so special that… I don’t want her thinking that… I like her. Not that way.

But I do.


Which was… shiny and new. A little unexpected but not entirely left field… Skanky-vampire Willow had done much more than sneak a glimpse. Of course skanky-vampire Willow would’ve done naughty things looking in a mirror so… not much of a comparison there.

She pushed that evil version of herself out of her mind and – around here – that was easy to do.

I’m looking at a girl – this girl – like I’ve never looked at a girl before.

Okay. How do I feel about that?

Okay. I feel pretty okay about that.

In fact, I AM going to look at her again. Just to make sure.

It’s called scientific method.

And it’s the right thing to do.


------------------------

“Huh?” she asked as Willow turned and looked back at her.

“I didn’t say anything,” Willow told her, verbally contradicting her body language, that said she had something on her mind. “Unless I did? I might have – I sometimes do when I’m thinking – Did I?”

“No – but – you looked, I thought maybe you did,” she said. Willow had… the strangest expression. She had no idea what it was about but hopefully it wasn’t the fruit…

“Just looking – I mean, not – Just looking around. Look. See. Trees!”

She looked where Willow was indicating. Yes, there were more trees. Trees and trees that were part of ‘buildings’ and the faux campus forest just stretched on and on… Lots of trees. Everywhere trees. “They’re pretty,” she agreed for lack of anything else to say.

Something about what she’d said obviously had some sort of impact on Willow though. The trees were pretty. That ought not be enough to make her blush. And when Willow blushed – with her complexion – she really blushed. Super obviously.

“Did I say - ?” she started. But Willow had blurted something at the same time. Something about her eyes.

“I said you had pretty eyes,” Willow repeated when she asked.

“Umm, thanks.”

“I didn’t mean to say that,” the other girl added. “Not that I don’t think you have pretty eyes, because you do have pretty eyes. As far as eyes go, yours are pretty pretty and now I sound like a pirate or something. But what I meant to say – not to say – is that you have pretty eyes. I mean I didn’t mean to say it. Even though they are pretty.”

“Okay…?”

“And you have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?” Willow asked.

“My p-pretty eyes?” she tried. It was all she’d heard in all of that. And something about pirates.

“Yes. I mean – no. Not exactly. Don’t let me start again,” Willow begged. “I’ll only embarrass myself. Embarrass myself… More.”

“I promise.”

“What?”

“Not to let you start again,” Tara said. Actually, she was curious because… What on earth was up with Willow? Was it the papple fruit having an effect?

“Thanks – I…”

“Babble. You warned me.”

“You’re not supposed to point it out,” Willow said, plainly much more comfortable with that topic than whatever had been bugging her a moment before. Comfortable enough, in fact, that she could slip in alongside her and take her arm. Not that she asked, it was more like a sudden burst of inspiration.

And yes, it was – still - like connecting a circuit when they touched. Magic balanced itself out between them in a slow trickle and that was intriguing.

Maybe it wasn’t the papple. Maybe it was just making new friends. It’d been a while since she’d done that and not really since she’d been grown up until she came to college. Most of the friends she’d had through school had been with her since kindergarten and even then they hadn’t been as close as – say – Willow was to this Buffy girl she talked about.

No one ever probably made me sound quite as worthy of heroic adoration as Willow does Buffy.

“Sorry.”

“No… I babble and you have to listen, its fine.” Willow sighed and leaned against her shoulder in the same moment and it was… nice.

Then…

“Are you smelling my hair?” she asked as Willow followed the sigh with a long inhale.

“Umm – no. Not deliberately. Not like ‘I’m going to smell that girl’s hair’ because that would be all kinds of weird. No, I just – I got a whiff and then I was inhaling. At the same time. Because… breathing. I do it all the time. Breathing, I mean. Not smelling people – please, Tara, you have to just stop me or it just goes on and on.”

“Do I smell?” she asked, mortified. All that running around and then a night without a proper shower and -

“No! I mean – no, you don’t smell bad. You… you smell… I mean, you smell like… Actually, you smell like fresh rain in a forest on a warm morning.”

“Oh. Because my shampoo, it said ‘lemon zest’ on the bottle. But it is new, maybe there’s not so much zest as there should be...”

“Fresh rain in a forest on a warm morning is better than boring old lemon zest,” Willow said.

“Good. I think. So… you really were smelling my hair?”

“I told you. I caught a whiff. A nice whiff. I… Sometimes I like to make use of my senses.”

“Because it’s what they’re for?”

“Exactly.”

“D-Don’t take this the wrong way,” she said. “But… you’re a little weird, Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson 214.”

“You think?” Willow took her hand again and they kept walking.

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

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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 5 - 02/05/15
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:23 pm 
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Dibs-y goodness! :banana

Yay for great update-y goodness... Nice for Willow to start figuring out that she really likes Tara....

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 5 - 02/05/15
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:53 pm 
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YASSS!!!!! BEAUTIFUL!

Fabulous, absolutely fabulous! Dude, it's amazing. Man, I wish I could read a story like this forever and...stuff. THIS UPDATE WAS AWESOME, DUDE! Like, I can't even...I can't do anything after reading this. With the...and the...stuff and...no words. I have no words.

Can't wait for the next one, man

-William

P.S. Nope, my overexcited phase was WAY worse than this one. Boy, I wish you coulda seen it.

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"Miss Edith speaks out of turn. She's a bad example and will have no cakes today"

I have a fish named Drusilla. He doesn't know, he thinks his name is Drew. Shhhh...

Spike: Are we feeling better, then?
Drusilla: I'm naming all the stars.
Spike: You can't see the stars, love. That's the ceiling. Also it's day.
Drusilla: I can see them. But I've named them all the same name, and there's terrible confusion.


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 5 - 02/05/15
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:15 pm 
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Quote:
“Oh. My. God,” Willow said, taking a larger bite right away. “Ohhh. It’s like – it’s like an orgasm in my mouth.”


That got a few funny looks when i laughed may ass off in the lounge.
Spectacular.

And having Buffy faint dead away at the 'Wife' comment was epic!
I don't know how it's going to end, but i love this so far :bounce

ok, my theory as to what's going on:
Spoiler:
So, given Tara's [Deleted for security reasons] heritage, i'm imagining that they have been transported to the original forest home of her people, whether it be Faery-land, a pocket dimension, an alternate plane or what have you.

I suspect they will eventually meet some other folks, possibly learning something about Tara's ancestry too.

After all, there was that 'Wife' comment that dropped Buffy on the floor :D


Typo catcher:

“Right on the spot where the juice stand is? Is this is an old tree.” She got ready to bite again.
'This is' perhaps?


[u]Berry’s[/u], after all, could look delicious but kill you stone dead. And the least said about mushrooms the better. They could make you see strange things and then kill you stone dead.

probably should be 'Berries' and 'less'

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 5 - 02/05/15
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:32 am 
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Zampsa - Thanks very much again :) Willow figuring that out will go on for a while.

Salix - Thanks for such effusive feedback :)

Azirahael - Also thanks for the corrections. Yeah, there's so many words it's difficult to catch everything when it's still a real word LOL.

Yes... I will keep finding these moments of Willow awkwardness for a while yet LOL. As for your speculation, all very logical and what you'd expect! :)

Thanks
Katharyn

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 Post subject: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 6 - 02/08/15
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 5:33 am 
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Title: Tara and Willow – The Blessed Unrest – Chapter Six
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but nothing much apart from the episode ‘Hush’ in S4. And let’s face it, if you’ve not seen that then… what are you doing here?
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Story notes: Tara’s background is different to that presented in Family and instead based on a throwaway remark made in interviews around the time Family first aired. (Though I now realise not the precisely terminology used there)
Summary: Sleeping together. No, not that way. Not yet 
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
The title ‘The Blessed Unrest’ came from and belongs to Sara Bareilles from the album of the same name.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: This is a longer part because, even in a story that doesn’t need (or have) cliff-hangers there are places where the breaks make more sense than others. And yes, it has a tiny cliff-hanger 
We touched on it in the last part and we get into it more here, where Willow understands that she has an attraction to Tara and… doesn’t worry about it. From day one (and I think this is there in the canon) I’ve never believed in Willow struggling with her sexuality and never written it this way. This story may be the closest I’ve ever come to that and even here, she’s not ‘struggling’ as too many of us do or have done, she’s just being Willow about it.
Thanks to: Those gluttons for punishment who keep coming back for more. Thank you.



Willow had decided that there were precisely two states of being in this world they found themselves in.

You were ‘with Tara’ or ‘without Tara’.

Seemed simple enough, but actually it’d taken her a while to come to that conclusion.

It was evidenced in various and sometimes subtle ways but – she thought – it was scientifically observable. Of course, there was only her perspective and no control group because Tara was never without Tara. (That was prime babble material right there, if she ever got around to stating her conclusions, and something to think about first.)

So, the evidence. The water was just the most obvious thing. Just plain old water to her, but from Tara’s hand it was a meal in its own right (though now there was less lapping like a cat and more drinking from a cup like a civilized person).

Then there was the fruit. When they’d had no overt, bad reactions to it they’d tried a little more and it’d still seemed like a taste explosion in her mouth. Not any other kind of good reaction because… there’d been a poor choice of words. Really. Even if accurate. But thing was – well - picking it. They’d found a tree, she’d gone to pick one and… it wouldn’t come off in her hand. Twisting, pulling until the whole branch shook – nothing. Even hanging her whole bodyweight from it and…

And then Tara reached up, for the same ‘papple’ (it had a name now) and it just came away as easily as that. Like it would’ve fallen off the next time a light wind blew.

Weird, and maybe it was like loosening a bottle top. Maybe she’d done the hard work.

Same thing had happened when she tried for another though. Exactly the same thing. It was always the same, something they knew because they’d had a quite a few. You could eat those things and never feel sick.

Then there was the fact that things seemed… brighter, when Tara was around. Literally brighter. Like the sun shone and penetrated the canopy even more. The whole place was beautiful anyway, but when Tara was right with her it was just a little more beautiful.

It was like… things here reacted differently to her.

And that didn’t bother her at all, at least when she was with Tara.
When she was with Tara the idea of being here for any length of time didn’t really bother her. She knew it would come right in the end and that they’d get by. More than ‘get by’, they’d be ‘okay’. ‘Good’ even. No, ‘good’ was no stretch at all.

Outside of Tara’s company though – they’d split up to check a few of what had been academic facilities – she could feel the place pushing at her. Almost… rejecting her. Tara hadn’t known what she was talking about and – of course – being back close enough to tell her that meant she hadn’t worried about it either.

But it was there.

Then – and this might not actually be connected - around Tara she didn’t really mind that she was possibly making a fool of herself by noticing the other girl. Even checking her out because… It seemed like a good idea with no downsides at all.

Away from Tara, well it still seemed like a good idea. How could it not? The difference was that she thought more about what that might mean.

If she was caught, if that weirded Tara out… If it weirded her out because – until now – girls had never been her thing. A thing about girls had been very much a guy thing and she was pretty sure she wasn’t a guy or that she’d never had a thing about any other girl so…

Tara Maclay was simply beautiful though. Heart. Soul. Spirit. There was a purity to that thought, one that really didn’t mean anything other than understanding the girl inner beauty.

Those weren’t her only beautiful traits though. There was also… Body

There. Yeah, I admitted it to myself. Yay me.

Now, what did that mean?

Around Tara, it was a self-evident truth.

Away from her, it was just as true and just as self-evident but had all sorts of connotations that other people would put on it.

But… what other people?

There was no one else here. Just them. Surely there must’ve – at some point – to create this place. Build it, grow it – whatever it was you did to create a college campus out of nature…

There was no one else here now though, they were almost certain of that.

And it did seem to be some sort of campus. She’d been down to the science labs. Some of the equipment seemed sort of familiar. Mortar and pestle. Containers holding powders and liquids.

The laser lab, where she’d only visited once during a tour back in the real world, here contained some sort of set up which featured a precious stone the size of her fist.

Relating as much to Tara had made her splutter the sip of water she’d just taken.

Or maybe something about how I said it.

The computer labs had been filled with something that might’ve resembled whatever the plural of abacus was.

But… bizarre and operating in three dimensions. She hadn’t had time to figure them out, but they’d been cubic rather than simple racks and something about them suggested that the volume within the cube – though empty – could somehow also be counted. She’d been tempted to bring one back with her, but… no.

Tara’s explorations had led her to a different kind of excitement.

Apparently an art history major – she’d not actually known that – Tara had been and explored the department only to find it was, instead, a gallery.

The illustrations in the library books had been impressive enough, but when she’d come and met Tara at the agreed spot after their separate explorations she’d found the girl weeping.

Not crying. Actual, genuine ‘weeping’.

And she’d been happy, though it’d taken a few minutes of reassurance to convince her. It had been happy weeping.

Tara had been overwhelmed by beauty.

Curiosity said she ought to have gone and looked for herself, but a wariness had set in almost immediately. If this place ‘worked’ better for Tara and yet reduced her to tears then how might it affect her?

“I don’t think you should go back,” she said.

Tara looked up at her sharply. Perhaps the single harshest gesture they’d shared. The other girl clearly felt otherwise. “Why not?”

“Just not right away,” she suggested quickly, recognising she wasn’t going to keep Tara away from it. “The clue’s in the word. ‘Overwhelmed’? You should be ‘whelmed’ probably. Overwhelmed is too much whelming. So, you have to be a bit careful with your whelming. I mean, did art make you cry before?”

“Sometimes.”

“Really?”

“Not like this,” Tara admitted. “Never like this.”

“Then, like the papples, maybe we ought to… ration it a little?”

A nod and she had Tara’s agreement.

And even though I want to see it, I know myself… My whelm point is probably way below yours, beautiful girl.

Okay… now that was definitely getting… what? Gay?

And what if it was?

Buffy had been telling her to get back on the horse for weeks now. Just because said horse might be a mare, was that really any sort of problem compared to everything else that happened in their corner of the world?

No. Not a problem at all.

Well, the only – tiny – little problem with that was… Well, she might be interested in exploring this newly obvious side of her nature but Tara Maclay hadn’t given any sign she might lean the same way. Let’s face it, most people didn’t. Opinions varied on the percentages, but generally speaking the odds were against reciprocation of feelings. Just because there was a human race that had successfully perpetuated itself for the last fifty thousand years or so.

So… What did that mean? While she was sure Tara wouldn’t condemn her – even if she voiced those feelings – it could be a way to kill off a burgeoning friendship that she made too complicated too soon.

So ?

It means keeping quiet. Do what you’re doing now – keeping an eye on Tara – and… You have to decide if this is really what you want and taking the chance might be worth losing her friendship. Right, Rosenberg?

Works in theory.


“So… what do we do?” Tara asked.

“Well, we could go and check out your room now?” she suggested and almost face-palmed in frustration at her inability to follow the instructions of her inner-babbler.

It’d just slipped out there.

Yeah. Let’s go to your place.

Smooth. Rosenberg. Really very smooth.

With moves like that, what possibly straight girl could resist you?


------------------------

Banks Hall was – or had been in that other place – one of the oldest on campus. Never rebuilt or replaced, it was one of the last dorms put up at the very inception of the college.

Here, in this world, you’d have certainly come to the same conclusion. Once again it formed part of a humongous tree that would’ve made the great redwoods in the northern part of California look like saplings that would blow over in the first storm of fall.

And, like the more diminutive Stevenson, the hall was all built into the trunk of the tree. And she really did mean a hall.

“Oh… Wow…”

Willow was spinning slowly as she looked at the high arched vaults formed by the tree. You could’ve fitted a cathedral just in here. And to make use of the upper floors, there were natural grown steps every so often.

Who could do that?

It had to be magic. Didn’t it? Maybe not a spell – not as she knew it - but something to encourage growth in those very specific ways? Nature might do just one of the aspects of the ‘construction’, once in a million years, but so much and so close together?

“Did you ‘wow’?” Willow asked.

“I wowed.”

“I didn’t hear you wow.”

“Who wouldn’t wow?” she asked. Because… Wow.

“Maybe I just didn’t hear you.”

“I can be kind of quiet sometimes.”

“Me too,” Willow said.

“Really?”

“What? You think I’m a chatterbox?”

Oh. How to make new friends. She’d probably sounded more sceptical than she’d meant to. “No?”

“No, it’s fair. I really can. But I can be quiet too. Sometimes I don’t speak up enough.” When she didn’t say anything, Willow seemed to take a guess. “You too, huh?”

“Pretty much all the time,” she admitted. Actually, that thing with the Gentlemen, who’d stolen all their voices hadn’t been the longest time she’d gone without saying anything. And – oddly - Willow didn’t seem to mind that she was quiet at all. “You’re tired of people who talk too much?”

“Sometimes,” Willow said after a moment’s consideration. “You’ve got to know when to keep your lips closed. Or your mouth because – that’s what people usually say. I don’t know where lips came from? Lips are part of mouths I guess, those lips and - ”

Awkward silence. Because, she was sure they both thought they knew what Willow had just started to say but who was going to say anything about it when the topic of conversation was knowing when to be quiet?

But then when neither of them were saying anything – what then? Ignore it entirely? Address the original thought?

Yeah, that one.

“I – I never really had that problem,” she said eventually. “Knowing when to be quiet, I mean. Usually I had to work out when to say something. I – It’s never been easy for me, speaking up.”

“Well, I’m glad you’re speaking up now,” Willow said, smiling. “I’d hate to feel like I was here alone. In this big old cathedral swallowing attempt at a dorm block. Why is this the only building that’s really nothing like it is in the real world?”

She shook her head, not knowing the answer. Only to meet Willow’s eyes, playfully demanding she verbalised it. “Umm, I don’t know?”

“Good. I don’t know either. We can not know together. Wait – what I mean is that we can both not know, not that we can’t both know which is sort of what I said – oh, you’re not listening?”

“I am,” Tara said. “But I really didn’t need to.” She grinned. “That’s a little joke.”

“It’s a very little joke,” Willow pointed out as she walked past, deeper into what should’ve been the hallway of the dorm building and plainly wasn’t.

“Sometimes my jokes - ”

“Oh, it’s still funny,” Willow said, reassuring her. “Just really, really tiny.”

She smiled, pleased that Willow saw it her way.

“So you’re smart, funny and – Smart and funny,” Willow said. “I bet your dates go way better than mine. Most of mine involved babbles, sounding like I lost twenty IQ points between the first slice and the last. That along with optional and often random slayage. Vampires and stuff happened. We helped.”

Tara shook her head. “I don’t really d-date.”

And it may have been the wind moving through the structure, but she could’ve sworn she heard a breath from Willow. A breath that sort of sounded like ‘Good’.

But if she had heard such a thing, what would that mean?

Neither of them was giving it away and they managed to find the stairway that led upwards to… what? This was the one part of campus that wasn’t like all the rest. And… when they opened the door to what might’ve appeared to be her room…

They both gasped.

They both wowed.

Superficially it was hers. Things were sort of in the same place. Artwork hung in the same places she’d hung it in her real room – but instead of her prints, it was the same, hauntingly beautiful work that had made her cry in what had been the art history department when it was somewhere else.

Where she’d had strings of lights, there were tendrils of vines and… they glowed. “Is that called b-bio - ”

“Bio-luminescence,” Willow confirmed. “Tara? Is this – is this your room?”

“I… I think so.”

The bed though… the bed would be under the stars. Despite the broad canopy of the tree that this place was a part of, this room – somehow – looked right up at the sky. And the points of light she’d tried to replicate by adding more fairy-lights around the roof of her room… was moot. Because when it was dark…

Literally sleeping under the stars. And in a room at the same time.

And yet there was no sign of damp.

There wasn’t even an errant leaf in here. The bed looked freshly made up, like crisp new sheets had been applied that very morning.

“Look…” Willow said, drawing her attention to the wardrobe. As with Willow’s, it contained garments she’d never seen before. And they were even more intricate. She held one up. It looked like it’d be a wonderful fit and when she looked closer, there didn’t look to be a seam in them… Almost like they were grown or made from whole cloth somehow?

One more thing that ought to be impossible?

“I couldn’t wear that,” she said with some real confidence because she’d spent a lot of time a few years ago coming to understand what she couldn’t wear.

Shouldn’t, mostly. But that was almost the same thing.

“Tara, come on. You’d look beautiful.”

“I really couldn’t wear that.”

“Sure you could!”

“Willow, I’d barely be d-dressed.”

There was a long pause, like Willow was about to argue and then thought better of it and… didn’t. “One of the others then.”

“They’re not really much better,” she complained.

“It’s more opaque though. And everything below the waist flows rather than – you know – umm clinging…”

“I’d be tripping up every few steps and… it really wouldn’t go with my boots,” she said.

“I kind of like the boots,” Willow said. “I mean – you’re right, it wouldn’t go with them. But… I think – in a place like this – you’d go barefoot. Running barefoot through the forest and all that? Right?”

She wrinkled her nose. “It’d be all messy. I’d step on – in – things and then it’d be in my toes and - ”

Willow shook her head, disagreeing. “Tara, you don’t get it. You haven’t got a spot of dirt on you since we got here. Look at your boots, your skirt. Nothing. Look at where we’ve been. We’ve been sat all over the place, trailing through trees and grass. But… nothing. Unlike me. I’m getting to be a mess, but you? Not so much.”

“All the same,” she said, unable to deny Willow’s comparison. “Shoes are one of the great inventions of civilisation.”

“And boots right after them, right?”

She tugged at her skirt, showing them off and inadvertently proving Willow’s point. They were remarkably clean. Around this many trees, the pollen, the dirt, the litter? They should’ve been dirtier than they were. She admired the big Doctor Marten boots. “I just like them.”

“I like them too,” Willow said. “They suit you, I think. You don’t me saying that do you?”

“Why would I m-mind?”

---------------------

“Why would I m-mind?” Tara asked.

Why indeed? Good question. One that she didn’t immediately know how to answer. After all, there’d been more than one reason behind her asking if Tara minded.

First of all, she didn’t want to risk offending someone she barely knew but already knew she wanted to know a lot better. Not that she did the offending thing a lot, but that was because she was careful and didn’t go insulting people’s choice of footwear.

Like Tara had said, footwear was very important. A genuine milestone of civilisation. A fashion statement for some. Very practical for all.

Secondly though, she had to admit to being on a teensy fishing expedition. Not even an expedition. More of a gentle fishing walk. Barely a stroll out of the garden, really. Definitely not an expedition.

And why?

Well, there were a few stereotypes about people who wore those kinds of boots. Girls, at least. Might be right. Might be wrong. Honestly, she had no idea whether the stereotype was real or just her perception of a stereotype. Or what it meant in this, particular case even if it was real? And that was kind of the problem. With her attention very firmly drawn to Tara Maclay – and that was something that was shiny and new – she was now realising just how little she knew.

Not about Tara – though finding out was part of the attraction, whether it was a friendship or something else – but she knew next to nothing factual about what and who she was projecting Tara might be.

The question was twofold. Did Tara ‘like girls’? Or could she?

Because up until last night she’d honestly never thought that she liked girls, not like that. There’d been that thing with her doppelgänger (who’d liked her!) But… I like this girl just fine. I like this girl enough to want to know if she likes girls too. Or could do. Especially if that girl was me.

People could grow to understand themselves better. That was what this was. A learning experience.

Trouble was… her life to now had been… Well, it hadn’t been about girls who liked girls. For now she wasn’t putting a label on that. Besides, who would such a label be for the benefit of?

But… Did the boots mean something? Were they just boots at the end of the day? Comfortable and practical? And, maybe, they could just be meaningless boots and Tara could still like girls. The boots themselves might not have anything to do with it. Or they might. Or maybe boots really did mean something, in general, but not for Tara.

There were too many variables and that was just Tara’s choice of footwear, let alone everything else she’d have to figure out about her.

So… fishing. Give me a clue? Please?

This was what a library – or better yet the World Wide Web – should’ve been for. But here? No web. No books. No phones. No LGBT societies on campus to hang around and try and figure things out.

Here… there was nothing but them. And, knowing herself, that was going to get really difficult because there was nothing she hated more than an unanswered question. It was going to get like a scab that she couldn’t help picking at.

A beautiful, sexy –

Sexy? Wow. Yes. Sexy.

Sexy was as obvious as beautiful, really.


Of course, the process of finding answers was one of her favourite things in the world.

Why would Tara mind though? Time to answer the question…

“I don’t know,” she said. “New people, meeting, running into life-ending creatures and finding themselves in some sort of fairy-tale world instead of the one they knew… You don’t want to be asking dumb questions. If you’re the only person in this world I definitely don’t want you hating me.”

Tara brushed against her hand, but by accident. “I won’t hate you. Not ever.”

She looked at the other woman. She’s a woman. I feel like a girl. But she’s a woman. “You know. I think I believe you. Which is reassuring, it means I can screw up more without consequences.”

It was nice, as ever, to see Tara smile.

“Look how fast night’s falling,” Tara said, looking out at the sky. They couldn’t see the sun, but in a matter of minutes the sky had turned scarlet and darkness was going to threaten very soon. “Hungry?”

“I could eat,” Willow said and thanked Tara when she handed over another slice of papple. It hadn’t spoiled at all, even though they’d cut it hours ago. Remarkable stuff.

Or, possibly, made out of the same thing that allowed Twinkies to sit on a shelf for about five years.

No… this was delicious fruit.

“Mind if I sit on your bed?” she checked.

“Well, it’s not really mine.”

“Well, it actually kind of is. And you know what? All this is like the very opposite of a room. Definitely the opposite of a window.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, look… We’re inside but mostly outside. We’re protected against the elements – by some miracle of natural architecture – but it’s like we’re looking out at the inside. Who builds like this?”

“I don’t know,” Tara said. “But I do wonder whether we did this. Somehow.”

“I’d thought about it, but I didn’t want it to sound like I was blaming you.”

“You think it was me?” Tara asked, waving away a bite of the papple.

“Pretty sure I never dreamed of this, I don’t know whether you ever have?” And she didn’t miss the flicker when she suggested it. “You did?”

“Not – But - Well, it… it feels familiar. But I thought maybe that was because it was just like campus. Most of it anyway. Doesn’t it feel familiar to you?”

“It looks familiar, but it feels… When I’m with you, it’s comfortable. That’s the highest compliment I can pay it.” And maybe you too.

“And when you’re not? With me?”

“It presses on me. It’s beautiful but less welcoming. I feel like it’s trying to push me out.”

“Really?” Tara sounded surprised.

“Only when I went off alone. With you – it’s beautiful.” Almost as beautiful as you. And… woah, keep a lid on that, Rosenberg. “Umm – like, the water. Right? If you give it to me…”

“It’s like a meal.”

“And only you can pick the papples.”

“So you think I made this place? That maybe we’re in my head?”

She shook her head. “I don’t know what to think, honestly. But I don’t think we’re in anyone’s head. I’m sure you remember our heads were probably about to be ripped off so… no.”

“Unless time is different?” Tara said.

Now that was an idea she hadn’t considered, but should’ve done. And she’d never guessed Tara might think in those terms. Hang out with Buffy and Giles long enough and you heard all sorts of things, experienced some of them. Other realties where centuries passed in minutes or vice versa.

All sorts.

So Tara just knew all that stuff? Without living through the dangers? Or some of it at least?

That could definitely make things… easier when they got back. Talking about what it was the gang did. All of that.

“You… know this?”

“That time’s different?”

“No – I mean, all about this sort of thing. Dropping into other worlds and vampires and monsters? You’re taking it all pretty well. Right about now, most people would be panicking.”

“You don’t seem to be,” Tara commented.

“Well, I’m not most people.”

“No, I guess you’re not.”

And yes, that made her insanely pleased. Because… you wanted someone you liked to feel that about you. As long it was in a good – not weird – way.

“I’ve – Buffy and some friends, we’ve been fighting… Well, we’ve been fighting pretty much everything. Vampires. Demons. Once there was a bear. But it was a demon too. Demon-bear. Definitely not cuddly. But even if we’re far from home, so far this place is better than a busy night in Sunnydale. What about you?”

“My… My Mom was a witch.”

“And she taught you?”

“Some things, yes.” Tara seemed strangely reticent about it.

“My Mom’s not a witch,” Willow said. “But she did try to burn me at the stake once.”

“That’s terrible!”

“It’s not as bad as it sounds. There were circumstances.”

“Oh.” Tara didn’t say anything for a little while. Neither of them. They just sat there, next to each other on ‘her’ bed.

“I’m not afraid,” she blurted. “Of this place. With you here too – I mean, on my own I would be but… not with you.”

“I’m not afraid at all,” Tara said. “Somehow… I know maybe I should be more concerned but… I can’t be.”

And is any of that because of me? Just be nice to know… Enquiring minds and all that.

“Maybe I should be afraid of that,” Tara added.

“Afraid of not being afraid?”

“Uh-huh.”

“I think we should keep looking around,” she said. “But tomorrow. See if we can find any way out of here but, for right now, we’re safe, we’re warm. We have food and water. Food that is water and we’re not alone – we have each other. So that’s pretty much a thousand percent better than most of my weird adventures in Sunnydale. You have no idea how rare all that is.”

Tara smiled, “I think I can guess.”

“Not even, really. It can get pretty hairy.”

“Then… why do you do it?”

“Because… I guess because Buffy has no real choice and none of us would leave her to do it alone. They’ll be looking for us right now too and – they’re not the kind of people who’ll get our pictures on milk cartons. They’ll leave no stone unturned and believe me, they look under stones no one else even believes in.”

“That’s a relief,” Tara agreed. “I still don’t really know many people here.”

“Sure you do, Tara,” she said. “In fact, I’ll bet you one, whole dollar that you know everyone here. In fact, I’d bet you that here you’re definitely the most popular girl on campus.”

And yeah, it made her smile.

Which was always good.

-----------------------

The funny thing was that – after a day of exploration, walking and talking, she really didn’t feel that tired.

Willow, on the other hand, had started snoring nearly as soon as her head hit the pillow.

The pair of them were in - what Willow insisted on calling - ‘her bed’ purely based on the fact it was in ‘her room’ here in ‘her dorm’. None of which was strictly true. But Willow seemed to like it and she couldn’t deny that there was a resemblance.

Wherever it came from, there was definitely something that connected this world and the one they’d come from.

But just as clearly there was a definite theme to the differences too.

This wasn’t just a natural environment, after all you could’ve made the whole campus out of cut wood or felled trees. Like the log cabin version. Planks and logs and cut wood. But this… This was a magical environment. Trees… didn’t grow this way. Wouldn’t grow this way.

Not in their world anyway.

These ‘buildings’ weren’t carved out of enormous trees. Instead the growth had formed the internal and external shapes. And that – she was sure – was both impossible and would require an enormous amount of time even if it wasn’t.

After all, how long did it take a tree this large to grow? Much, much longer than there’d been a university in Sunnydale.

Or a Sunnydale.

Or maybe even people in North America. (Though that wasn’t where they were…)

No one would have the patience – or the life span – to see such a period of growth through even if it was possible.

So it seemed there were really three possibilities. The trees were somehow intelligent. Someone had shaped them or none of this existed and it was a product of their shared imagination.

It felt like it existed.

The bed was soft under them. The stars above looked real and sort of familiar. The wood and the water and the fruit and the stonework… It all felt real. Substantial. And nothing had behaved… strangely.

As a girl, one of the spells she’d tried with her Mom was one in which she’d shaped wood-shavings and sawdust with no more than the power of her will. Forming three-dimensional shapes that gravity would never allow to exist and duly collapsed when she withdrew that effort of concentration. Mom had always tried to capture them on camera for her, but that simple act of solidifying their reality had always made them collapse just as she pushed the button to take the picture.

This place didn’t feel at all like that at all. It was solid. It needed no mental power to give it reality. It was here.

They were here.

She and Willow.

And… What do I do about that?

Willow Rosenberg was snoring softly. Again. This time in ‘her’ bed and about five inches away from her. There was no barrier between them, a sheet that felt like silk draped over them but far warmer than silk alone would ever have been given their seeming exposure.

This girl wasn’t perfect. More perfect than she was, but not perfect. Who was?

The snore was another of those things that was endearingly cute and made Willow a little less scary. Because… the things she heard? Well, they were scary… Kind of.

Willow Rosenberg was a monster fighter. She’d apparently gone through high-school – and now into college – going out most nights to hunt vampires and beasties and all the things that went bump in the night.

She was… proud of it. It wasn’t something she wanted to stop doing. No, she was doing something that helped people and… How could you expect someone to stop doing that?

And what would it be like to worry about someone who was?

Every night?

Willow knew science and computers better than anything else. Stranger worlds to her even than this one. Probably she was a certified genius too. Willow hadn’t said so but when you put two and two together and it came four by virtue of some very complex mathematical reasoning, you could kind of tell she was by far the smartest girl in the room.

Probably always had been.

That was scary.

And… Willow Rosenberg was beautiful. That was scary too. For a whole other reason.

It was all just a little intimidating and if Willow hadn’t also been kind, considerate and so calm under pressure it would’ve been difficult to even talk to her.

But she’d seen those later qualities, sensed it, right back at Wicca Group. Everything she’d found out since then just proved it. Willow Rosenberg was willing to stand up for what she believed in and to be you a dollar she was right. Willing to stand together with her too. And being here, in whatever this place was, had only proved it.

Finally – the last scary thing – was she was getting to be pretty sure that Willow was… into her.

So what do I do about that?

There’d been a boyfriend, only briefly mentioned. A bad breakup that had come up a few more times. A friend who was encouraging her to ‘get back on the horse’.

I’m me. I don’t want to be a horse, even though I like them.

But I don’t want to be someone’s college experiment. Or someone’s rebound or… whatever… I don’t know how to deal with any of that.


Because, quite obviously, Willow Rosenberg wasn’t sure what her feelings meant or what to do with them.

And until Willow worked that out, she wasn’t sure that she could even acknowledge them.

Not unless she says something.

And what would I say if she did?


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

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 6 - 02/08/15
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:25 am 
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Dibs-y Goodness!

Yay for great update-y goodness... Yay for more explorations... I hope they soon figure out their feelings and act on them...

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 6 - 02/08/15
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2015 2:58 pm 
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YAAAASSSSS!!! UPDATES!!!

The surfer phase is gone (yay) but now I don't sound as cool when I talk (boo). :/

FABULOUS UPDATE, MAN!

Willow and Tara NEED to talk to each other about their feelings. But I can wait for a little while before they do. I'm a patient person.

Woah, this update was great! Can't wait for more. :)

-Grace (yeah, my name is Grace for the day. I'm trying it out a bit. I don't like it much, though)

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Spike: Are we feeling better, then?
Drusilla: I'm naming all the stars.
Spike: You can't see the stars, love. That's the ceiling. Also it's day.
Drusilla: I can see them. But I've named them all the same name, and there's terrible confusion.


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 6 - 02/08/15
PostPosted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:27 am 
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Spectacular update! :banana

Say it with me : PUT ON THE DRESSES.

Nice to see the girls getting closer.
And that's an excellent point Tara made about not wanting to be someone's experiment or rebound.
That's an angle few ever think of.

Although the Willow-esque fishing expedition was great :D

And i am so loving the environment that they're in.
I really like the descriptions, it's like i can feel the beauty.
So don't stop doing that, please.

Plus i have this vision that the environment is going to change, possibly with flowers, possibly with fireworks, when they finally cross that line :)

So, whatever happens next, thankyou for writing such a beautiful story :flower :flower

R

P.S: Were the girls wearing the awesome dresses when they came back?

Typo:

Willow Rosenberg was willing to stand up for what she believed in and to be you a dollar she was right.

Bet?

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 6 - 02/08/15
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:42 pm 
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Responses to feedback for now. The next update will come later today (my time!)

Zampsa - Thanks, as ever :) Well, this is a fic that takes its time with their exploration and feelings and other things they should be doing. Unlike my usual buying into 'instant attraction and love' this time, there's a process behind it (even though there's still no doubts.)

Salix - Or should I say, Grace? As I've hinted above, they will certainly talk. But patience will help :) The whole thing is done in about 27 parts (or so). Thanks!

Azirahael - The dresses will go on. With comedic results. :)

I'd honestly not thought about the rebound or experiment thing, until I had to find reasons for Tara to hold off just a little. It was all easier when they just hooked up in the laundry room, but also much more impulsive than I think Tara usually is. A rush of blood :)

I'm trying to do some Willow fishing as much as I can - until she doesn't need to! The environment will keep coming too, but usually where they find new things. Not so much repeating the same elements and places... You'll see what I mean, but thanks for liking the description! I don't do it enough (generally!)

Were they wearing the dresses when they came back? Umm, not sure. Probably not...

Thanks!

Next part in about 13 hours probably...

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 6 - 02/08/15
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:54 pm 
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Yay!

Something to look forward to! :bounce

That really picks up my day. :bigkiss
Earlier today i was called a whore, told that i should be 'raped by a pack of n*****s,' drink poison and die.

Sigh, there's some really nice people in the world.

So more Willow and Tara goodness is... good? :wtkiss

R :flower

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 6 - 02/08/15
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:53 am 
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Well, if I can help improve a sh*tty day in any way, Azirahael, I'm very pleased.

Please... read on.

Katharyn

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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

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 Post subject: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 7 - 02/11/15
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:54 am 
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Title: Tara and Willow – The Blessed Unrest – Chapter Seven
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but nothing much apart from the episode ‘Hush’ in S4. And let’s face it, if you’ve not seen that then… what are you doing here?
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Story notes: Tara’s background is different to that presented in Family and instead based on a throwaway remark made in interviews around the time Family first aired. (Though I now realise not the precisely terminology used there)
Summary: Morning. Together. Bathing. Together. Yes. Really.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
The title ‘The Blessed Unrest’ came from and belongs to Sara Bareilles from the album of the same name.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: Having said how this story doesn’t need cliff-hangers, I’ve really done one this time. Like a full on, traditional, as much (non-relationship) tension as this story will ever muster. If you’re into cliff-hangers, enjoy this one. It’s the biggest and best you will get in the story.
There, do you think I built it up enough?  What if it disappoints? Oh noes…
That’s what I call the cliff-hanger for the cliff-hanger to come…
Oh, before we get to that though, other stuff happens. And I just love writing Tara and Willow ‘stuff’. It’s what this story is all about. It’s curious though, contrasting this with ‘immediate hook up in the laundry room’. I’m taking things much slower (MUCH slower), and yet when Willow’s musing the way she is in this chapter it’s almost like she’s being… impure. It’s like – in my head – if it’s not immediate and all-consuming then it should be longer and more chaste… Okay, so it’s chaste so far. But not in Willow’s mind (and increasingly Tara’s!)
Thanks to: All the Kittens who ever wanted a chapter summary like the one above. LOL.



“Good morning, sleepyhead.”

Willow stretched, moaned and finally opened her eyes to find herself looking into Tara’s. Already awake, not a hint of bleary there and not all that far away.

Easily near enough to reach over and… what?

“I dreamed of you,” she admitted before she realised what she was saying. At least it hadn’t involved following instincts and doing the reaching over and whating…

“Good things?” Tara asked, (un)fortunately all too innocent to appreciate what she might have been saying.

Only might’ve been.

“Uhuh. Because you weren’t a plant monster or anything like that.”

“Umm, so that’s good?”

“Long story, Buffy had this dream about a boy once.”

“And he was a plant monster?”

“No, he was a boy, but kind of an asshole.”

“So where did the plant monster come into it?” Tara asked.

“Oh, there were things going on in town. Giles got a pot-plant and it went a little out of control. Everyday stuff, really but – kind of memorable because… plant monster.”

Okay… way to scare the girl off. This is my life, out of control pot-plants and… Oh.

“I mean it was a plant, in a pot. Not a ‘pot-plant’ like pot.”

“Oh. Right. So the boy wasn’t a plant monster?”

“No… but it turned out he did do pot. Not Giles’ pot because he didn’t have any pot – or a pot plant – he hadn’t done pot since… the stone-age. Or sometime that was all back in the day.”

Tara frowned, very obviously very confused.

Yeah… that was something that -

“Sorry,” she said. “I… sometimes don’t make much sense when you wake up with me. Until I get coffee I’m not really - ”

“Lucid?” Tara suggested.

“I was going to say ‘with it’ but sure, ‘lucid’ is a good word too. Not that lots of people – you know – have woken up with me. Just one person actually – two if you count Buffy and you only get to count her because she’s my roomie. We have separate beds, except when she’s been my occasional anti-monster safety blanket. Certainly not because – Because that’s not Buffy at all. Except for when Faith’s around and there’s some real tension between those two. Then, you do kind of wonder.”

“You woke up with a girl called Faith?”

“No! She’s a trouble on legs, which – means less than I meant it to.”

“But Buffy woke up with her?”

“No! But I often thought things would’ve been different if they had.”

“Oh. And who is this Faith?”

“You don’t want to know. Just consider her a slut-bomb. Keep away.” And… that sounded harsh and judgemental in ways that weren’t very cool.

Faith deserved it but Tara had no way to know that.

“Not that I’m all death to sluts – umm, you know, people who enjoy other people. A lot. I’m not against that. I’m very sex positive and - ” She buried her head in her hands. “Oh, Tara, please… I need coffee… It’s been two days and I need coffee so bad before I say something so bad you’ll hate me forever.”

Every word I say…

The next thing she felt was… a little like her dream actually. Just a little. Tara brushed hair back from her face, put a hand on her cheek. No, she was just stroking it. Just? There was nothing ‘just’ about it. Then the touch was gone, but her words were just as reassuring. “No, that’s not going to happen.”

“Hating me or coffee?”

“Both, I think. Sorry.”

“I only think I’ll regret the coffee,” she said, lifting her face and grinning. “Thank you, for being so understanding.”

“I’ve seen what lack of coffee does to people,” Tara said. “My Dad was used to coffee that had sat brewing and re-brewing for like three days or something before Mom finally made him start a fresh pot. You could’ve stood a spoon up in it.”

“I think I like him already,” Willow said and then… Well, that was kind of presumptuous. ‘Oh please, Tara, introduce me to your Dad.’

She’d already knew that Tara’s Mom was no longer with them. They hadn’t really discussed what had happened, but she was always in the past tense. And it sounded like it hadn’t been quick either. But Tara had come through it, come here – or at least to Sunnydale – a well-adjusted young woman.

A hot, beautiful, well-adjusted young woman who… She’s in my dreams.

As for what that dream had been. It was already fading. Hanging onto it was like trying to catch a wisp of steam. It was there, you could feel and see it and then… it was gone.

But there’d been Tara.

There’d been lips.

She remembered that. Tara-lips.

Tara-lips up against Willow-lips.

Kissing lips.

Not exactly X rated stuff. Or even NC-17. R might’ve been considered harsh. But…

It felt like it had been a good dream. And then waking up… inches from making it real? What happens if I kiss her? Right here. Right now. What happens if I kiss her?

And then the opportunity had gone. Maybe she’d telegraphed that desire. Or the dream was seeping into Tara’s mind in some magical way or maybe it was just really bad luck but the other girl rolled onto her back, looking up at the sky.

“It’s raining,” Tara said.

Willow looked too, seeing what she meant. Understanding what that noise was. Outside – beyond the canopy composed of leaves big enough each could’ve used as table-clothes – it sounded like a tropical rain storm. Huge drops of water hitting big, broad folliage and… not coming close to penetrating this open plan bedroom.

A whole storm passing by. They could look up and see it, but never a drop would make it down to them.

“I guess something has to water all these trees,” she said. “Can’t be nice all the time.”

“It’s still nice,” Tara replied. “Look, there’s a rainbow.”

“Where? I can’t see,” she said after looking.

“There,” Tara said, pointing. “You have to look past the branch there, you see?”

It was entirely innocent. Truly. But Willow found herself then on – in – a bed pressed up against the girl she was having serious musings about, had dreamed about just last night and looking down her bare arm.

There was a delicious pressure against her shoulder and she knew it was Tara’s breast but didn’t dare look at it. Even though… breasts were another thing – Tara’s breasts at least – she was considering in a whole new light.

A woman’s lips. This woman’s lips.

All her lips, actually but there was no way she was ever admitting that.

If I turn my head, I’ll kiss her arm without even meaning to. Just with an innocent, accidental movement.

So she didn’t. Because if she did, it wouldn’t accidental. It wouldn’t be truth. And the truth was something she already treasured with Tara – apart from admitting things that could spoil whatever friendship they had.

But that was wasn’t a lie. That was just omission. In a good cause.

“That’s pretty,” she said of the rainbow, finally turning to look at the girl – make that ‘woman’ because there was nothing girlish about Tara’s arm she was sighting along. Nor about the curve that her own shoulder was pressed up against.

Nothing girlish about the heat of her body either.

Or about the smell of her. No longer as manufactured as it probably had been two days before but still seeming fresher than should’ve been possible.

Am I still dreaming? Because… is this too perfect?

She bit her tongue to see.

“Ow.”

“What?”

“I… I bit my tongue.”

“Why’d you do that?” Tara asked.

“Oh, I was just seeing if this was all a dream,” she explained. “My tongue says ‘ow’ and so I’m going with ‘no.’”

“We’re both having it, if it is,” Tara said.

“Unless you’re in my dream, saying that?”

Like you were. With those lips. Could this be a dream within a dream?

Hope not.


“Maybe you’re in mine?”

“I wouldn’t bite my tongue in yours because, that’s a dumb thing to do and I don’t think you think I’m dumb do you?” she asked.

“N-No. I think you’re scary clever,” Tara said very honestly.

And that was what made her sit up, parting from the warm, pleasant sensation of being pressed up against her bed-mate. “Scary?”

“I think genius is a little intimidating,” Tara said, turning shy again.

“I – I don’t want to be. Also, not that clever. Otherwise I wouldn’t have bitten my tongue. Still with the ow. See?” She stuck it out and wiggled it. “Isssh thrr a mrk?”

Tara shook her head, looking away. Why? Ohh.

Maybe ohh. Not definitely ohh. But if it was ohh rather than uggh and Tara was thinking like that and knew what she was thinking…

Which meant she was also thinking it?

Did that mean she was encouraging her to think it though? There was your question that deserved an answer.

“We should probably go bathe or shower or… something,” she said.

And then realised what that sounded like.

Oh.

I just can’t help myself.

------------------------


Willow’s scream rang out through the clearing.

Bright. Loud. Clear as a bell.

In other circumstances, she’d have come running but right now?

Not exactly unexpected, all things considered.

The leaves and wood absorbed it. There was no echo. But she had to look. She had to. After all… something bad might possibly have happened and that was the whole point of being the lookout.

The looking. It included in, as well as out.

But – with almost the best of intentions - she was able to turn away again before Willow noticed her looking at her bare back and not a little of what was beneath it. All above water level.

It was… Well, it was something to think about while she waited – on guard - for her friend to wash in the chilly pool.

And to say she had a little curiosity about what she might’ve seen had Willow chosen to enter the pool of water the other way around would’ve been to understate that curiosity enormously. Even though a slight side on view just then had reinforced how obviously cold it was.

Silhouette’s had always been one of her favourite things and now for a whole new reason…

But, curious as she might be, she resolutely kept her back turned while sitting on the nearby bench.

They’d picked this pool, rather than the fountain they’d been drinking from because… Well, you didn’t bathe in the same water you drank. Especially when it was serving as part of their diet too. A hearty breakfast of papple and water had left them both feeling comfortably full. Also, the best tree – which never seemed to run short of fruit – had been on the way here as well as the fountain.

“Told you it was cold,” she called loudly enough for Willow to hear over the trickle of water and since she was calling in the wrong direction.

“Cold! Very cold! Gods above, that’s so cold! You – you never said it was this cold!”

Surprisingly, cold, Tara had to agree. Now she was wearing one of the dresses that had been in ‘her’ closet, having taken the opportunity to rinse out the skirt and top she’d arrived in. She hadn’t quite dared take off her underwear while in the pool but she’d bathed in it and done her best so… that counted, right?

Yes, there was only Willow around but… undressing – fully – in front of her had seemed needlessly provocative. If she was right about Willow’s growing feelings for her and all.

I could so easily be wrong and I’m not going to make a mistake with the only other person here.

With my friend.


Willow hadn’t been quite as bashful. Probably because the dress the red-haired woman had picked out from what passed for her dorm room had a little more coverage and support built in.

Her dress though? Well, sitting down she only had to keep her arms crossed to stay someway decent.

Standing? There was a pose, just about, that had the same effect, bringing her arms down across her breasts and clasping her hands down below her belly.

And this was the most complete dress she’d actually found. Complete in the sense of the most actual coverage rather than what it showed off.

Especially after bathing without the benefit of a towel…

The sun was warming her up though, it wouldn’t take too long for… well, the ‘wet look’ wouldn’t be why she felt exposed.

This might be like their world, their campus. It might even be that ‘their’ rooms were like their rooms. But this dress? It was like nothing anything in her wardrobe.

She couldn’t even tell what it was made from.

But, when it was just the two of them and they were washing their regular clothes? It’d just have to do because – somehow – going through the ‘closets’ in the rooms that didn’t belong to them felt like a violation. Even though there was no one here to wear the things that hung in those wardrobes.

So while Willow cursed various deities, she rung her hair out and draped it over one shoulder. They’d not found any towels so the sun was going to have to do its work.

Finally the litany of disgust at the cold water ended and she could hear Willow set about washing herself.

“I don’t know how this is so cold,” Willow said from the pool. Behind her. Firmly behind her.

“It’s outdoors?”

“But the air’s warm. And it was last night too – remember we were basically sleeping outside and we didn’t feel cold? I mean, I didn’t. Did you?”

Talking in the other direction, she determinedly still didn’t turn around. “I think my room – the canopy trapped heat. I think. It was probably cooler out here.”

“Maybe,” Willow allowed. “But this is so far beyond cool. I have little bumps all over me.”

I know, I saw the silhouette.

And there was a thought that was all sorts of tantalising.

Almost as tantalising as the considered opinion that Willow was facing towards her as she talked. That presented two challenges. First, what might she see if she turned her head. It seemed rude to talk in the other direction.

Also… what was Willow seeing of her.

This dress was… Well, the back wasn’t much better than the front.

Then, finally, she had to wonder why Willow had chosen to face her. Knowing she’d be… visible. If, indeed, she’d done that.

“It’ll get warmer,” she said and then wondered if it was something she could come to regret. But no, she couldn’t worry about every theoretical innuendo she might utter. Willow’s were bad enough. Bad enough she wondered how theoretical and accidental some of them might be. But…

I think she’s just accident prone with words.

Or something’s in her subconscious.

Me? Maybe?


“P-p-promise?” Willow asked. It wasn’t playful, in fact it almost seemed… nervous. Like she knew how that could be taken and was – just about – happy for it to be understood that way.

Or was that some sort of wishful thinking?

“It did for me. Kind of.”

“I didn’t look,” Willow blurted. As if she’d asked. Or even accused.

“Oh. Good. I guess.”

“Not while you were out of the water.”

What was she supposed to say to that? “Umm. Thanks.”

“I’m pretty much under the water now,” Willow promised. “You can turn around if you like.”

“No… I really can’t. The dress, you know?”

“Oh… Really? It’s that bad?”

Bad? It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve owned and if Daddy caught me wearing it I’d get the belt for only the second time in my life, even though I’m old enough to be away at college.

Of course, Daddy was a long way away.

Probably.

But it really was a different thing she was worried about. She hadn’t gone to college in Montana. And even if she had, they were very far from there. If it had just been the two of them, friends and all… Yes, she’d have worn the dress and just been self-conscious. The additional pressure was… this was Willow.

And the feelings that she thought Willow was experiencing. That was kind of nice. Kind of scary with it though.

But this dress – which wasn’t who she was – wasn’t the one to face a girl who seemed more and more into her in.

Not with too little underneath. Some people might take it as a signal. Some people inclined to be looking for them and she already knew that Willow was an evidence based woman. And if she found that evidence… like in some signals? Well, that might…

Not be so bad.

But it still might be.

They’d not figured that out yet. Part of being the girl who wouldn’t usually wear a dress like this was that she preferred the idea of Willow discovering who she was without looking.

On the other hand, of course – and apart from this actually happening in the woodland realm – it was exactly the sort of situation she’d hoped might come about in college.

Meeting new people. Meeting someone who might be more than a friend. Someone who was interested.

Someone who was open.

Someone who was free from entanglements and drama.

Someone who didn’t have to know she was into girls already, but once she realised… was very okay with that.

Someone who turned out to be Willow shaped because, these feelings she was having suggested she really did have a type now. It was slim, pale and red-haired with an adorable nose and – the rest.

But… In all those musings on the possibilities of college, she’d never really thought through how to get from ‘interested’ to what came after that. Not realistically anyway.

It hadn’t been a factor before and - at the time - had seemed like too much detail in her romantic hopes and dreams. In every girl’s romantic dreams (she guessed, having never asked EVERY girl), it seemed like that sort of thing should just happen when that imaginary interest transitioned to full blown relationship via a couple of whispered words, an unexpected kiss and maybe a whole lot of touching.

With Willow Rosenberg – if she really was interested – it was this whole other thing. More grounded in certain facts, if not reality itself. Look at where they were…

Neither of them was going to be what you’d call ‘highly experienced’ in navigating the early stages of relationships. From what she knew, it sounded like both of them had probably been the ‘pursued’ in their previous relationships. The one who didn’t need to be quite so bold.

Maybe she was wrong about that, but – if any of this was real - Willow also had to deal with questioning herself about her new desires too. That had to be true, because no one who’d contemplated being into girls before would’ve let herself say half the things Willow had done.

Not deliberately – at least she didn’t think so – but at various times in the last two days Willow had been –

In anyone else, anyone who knew what they were saying, it would’ve been the most outrageous flirting that she’d never, in a million years, have found attractive or appealing. The litany had just gone on and on… Funny. Ridiculous. Verbally klutzy. (And all kind of appealing, when it came to making her wonder about every, single, word.)

In Willow – just recently – she had someone blatantly talking about going down (stairs) or fist (sized jewels) or flicking their tongue at her (to check for bite marks) or getting wet (the water), eating her (also the water) and the other half dozen euphemisms and suggestions Willow had inadvertently come out with…

She’d never have stood for it if someone had been actively trying to seduce her. Not that she’d have been rude and walked away, but she would’ve said something.

In Willow Rosenberg though… It was somehow… endearing.

Unless she did know the things she was saying in which case this was a deceit and… No, Willow really didn’t understand get it. When she thought about it – sometimes – yeah, a certain amount of babble resulted. But what spilled out of her mouth initially, it was pure Willow. Deceit in this sort of thing wouldn’t have occurred to her. That much she was certain of.

And that was all why she couldn’t just turn around. Not wearing this. Not in these circumstances.

“It’s… not really me,” she said about the dress.

“I understand all about limited wardrobe choices, my Mom shopped at Sears for me right up until I came to college. And I’m going to see it anyway,” Willow said. “So we might as well get it out of the way, right?”

It sounded very reasonable but…

“I’m still wet,” Tara said, wincing even as the words passed her lips. Talk about euphemisms. That just skipped euphemism and went right to ‘dirty talk’. “So it’s kind of clingy.”

Not to mention still being chilly.

“I understand,” Willow said.

“You do? I mean, thanks?”

“Yes. I do. Once, I wore a miniskirt for Halloween and a top that… well, it wasn’t there much. I was so embarrassed that I put a sheet over it. You know, like a ghost?”

She smiled, twisting her head to look back. From the corner of her eye she could see that Willow really was neck deep in the water. Everything was fortunately – and yet disappointingly – hidden in the water. So she shuffled a little way around. Not far enough for Willow to see anything but enough it didn’t hurt her neck so much to look back.

“How did that go?” It sounded… very out of character. And really intriguing for that reason – though not for any other. Because she liked Willow’s character just as it was. Weirdly wonderful.

Girls in mini-skirts were obviously ten-a-penny – though not here – but there was only one Willow Rosenberg – Stevenson – 214.

“It was unfortunate,” Willow said. “One of those Buffy nights. So I ended up insubstantial and dressed like a hooker. And not the expensive kind – at least, I don’t think so.”

“Huh?”

“Long story.”

“Maybe you’ll tell me, one day.”

“Only in exchange for one of yours,” Willow said.

She shook her head. “I’m all kinds of b-boring.”

“No,” Willow said, not even arguing. She was just stating a fact. “You’re really not.”

And – maybe for the first time – she believed it.

------------------------

“There’s been too much build up,” she said. “It can’t live up to it.”

“And that’s how you t-try to make people feel better?” Tara asked.

Oh. Right. Maybe, from a certain point of view, that hadn’t been the most complimentary statement she could’ve made. Even though her heart had been in the right place. Maybe, from that point of view, she’d just suggested that this wasn’t going to be worth looking at all.

And somehow… she really didn’t believe that.

“Oh, boy. Sorry - Not… exactly, no. Sorry. But – I meant well, do I get points for meaning well while being verbally challenged?”

Tara was apparently way more stressed about being seen – full frontal – in the dress than she ever had been about taking a dip in the pool. A friend might have pointed out that some kinds of wet, white underwear did have a tendency to go kind of see-through anyway. That, maybe, such a friend might have – very briefly – noticed that and chosen not to say anything at the time, recognising that it would only increase the discomfort.

Maybe a friend would’ve done that. But she didn’t want to seem like the kind of friend who’d be paying that kind of attention at all. Even though she totally was. And it really had been a total-honest-to-goodness accident that in that split second she’d been looking in precisely the right direction.

You never knew when a peeping-tom squirrel might’ve happened along either.

Apart from them not having seen anything more advanced than a tree in the entire time they’d been here.

Did the trees have eyes?

If they did, they’d have probably been watching over Tara too. Keeping her safe and secure while she bathed (with remarkably little cold-related cussing or screaming).

And just because Tara had had demonstrated that you could be on watch – even when your new friend was buck-naked and frozen in that same pool – without actually looking didn’t mean that she was a bad person.

Not exactly bad.

Then, when you considered it had all been for the very best of reasons then, actually, it was a good thing. ‘Not exactly bad’ and ‘very best’ averaged out at ‘good’ right?

Some people might actually buy that. People who were mathematically inclined.

Probably not Tara. But some people certainly would.

The sorts of people who understood that sharing a room for the night, part undressed, hadn’t left a whole lot of mystery.

On the other hand, it would’ve been a different kind of person who noted that the wet look was…

Stirring. Stirring things that hadn’t really been stirred before. The things that responded – negatively – to an ice cold bath.

Yeah, okay, she’d long since realised an attraction to Tara and a definite curiosity about her in a physical sense. But when it came to ‘stirring’? That was something new.

New and good…

Oh, I’m bad.

“You do get points for meaning well,” Tara agreed.

“So?”

“I just - ”

“I’m wearing mine,” she pointed out, the new dress was clinging to her in all sorts of new ways.

“Not the same at all.”

“No, but it’s a dress from here. Is it my fault my seamstress was a little more conservative?” If there’d been seams.

Seamlesstress?

Tara sighed, felt for her still wet clothes and was faced with either sitting here until they dried, covering herself up with her hands for the next few hours or… showing the only other person around here what she was so embarrassed about.

Frankly, she wasn’t sure how the front could be any more scandalous than the next-to-non-existent back. But she was strangely looking forwards to finding out.

Strangely? No. There was nothing strange about it.

“I promise not to - ” She thought for a moment. “What is it you don’t want me to do?”

“Look,” Tara said. “Ideally.”

“Oh, I might not be able to help you there. Just having eyes open and all means I would - But – I definitely promise not to laugh.”

“Laugh? Why would you l-laugh?!”

“I… I don’t know,” she said. Not laugh. What then? “I won’t stare?”

“Good.”

More reassurance seemed to be needed.

“And I won’t… Umm… I won’t judge?”

Tara didn’t seem to have thought of that one. But once she had, she seemed to be even unhappier.

“Tara, I tell you what. There is one, single solitary picture of me in the Halloween slutty-ghost outfit. Just one in the whole world. If you feel that you deserve it, because I let you down, then… I’ll let you see it.” Of course, it was also the only photo of her that showed as much cleavage, thigh and belly as she hoped someone might find… intriguing.

There was no bad.

“Cross your heart?” Tara asked.

“And hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye – but not really, because… eww. But bad things, if I’m lying. Definitely. Also, a dollar.”

Finally, after more than ten minutes of chiding Tara stood up but still had her hands crossed across herself.

“Come on. Just do it. Hands by your side,” she said.

She watched Tara twitch once, twice. Trying to make herself do that. Psyching herself up to it. Of course, when she did she was looking off to her left, up in the air. Not wanting to meet her eyes – or rather to see where she was looking.

And actually, she wanted to do the friend thing. Genuinely. She wanted Tara to feel good about herself.

It was easy too, because two things were apparent.

No. Not those two things. Well, okay they were… pressing without being as obvious as Tara feared – but two other things. “Beautiful,” she said.

“Don’t.”

“I mean it, Tara. You’re beautiful – you’re beautiful in the dress,” she added quickly. Because who said that otherwise?

Only someone who…?

Maybe not only – but yeah.

“And you know what?”

“What?”

“It’s really not as bad as you thought it was.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s really not.” Which was a tiny bit disappointing on a personal level, but she felt much better for Tara because of it. “Clingy in some places, but not all over and it fits you perfectly. It even hides – well, it hides the things you were worried about.”

To the curses of enquiring minds etc.

“It does?”

“Really. Look.”

Tara looked down at herself, then went to the pool that – within seconds of the last disturbance – had already flattened so perfectly it served as a mirror. “How…? This was… You know that word, d-diaphanous? That was what it was.”

And yes, she’d thought the same thing. But now… the dress was darker, more concealing than she’d expected – than either of them had expected – and in just the right places. Was it what you’d wear to a formal dinner to meet your prospective in-laws?

(Why did those in-laws look familiar in her mind’s eye?)
No. But you could wear it for the fanciest night out in Hollywood and not get gossiped about too much. Probably not make many magazines and definitely not the cover.

Even so, no starlet had ever looked quite so perfect as Tara did in that dress. It was like it had been made for her. Grown for her, even.

“Perhaps it’s magic?” she mused.

“Do you think?”

“Well…” She gave it some thought. “So much here couldn’t exist if it obeyed the laws of our world. These trees could never grow like this. Maybe… maybe the dress picks up on what you want it to be?”

Tara looked at her reflection, concerned that perhaps she was about to find herself all but naked.

Of course, that wouldn’t be her wish. Even if… Enquiring minds.

“Why don’t you test it? Maybe see if you can make one part of it change colour?”

Unfortunately Tara tugged at the hem rather than picking a more interesting part of the dress where something might’ve gone wrong in intriguing ways. Focusing on it, visibly concentrating her brow furrowed and right there in front of them both… it darkened.

“Wow,” she gasped. “Do it again.”

This time it turned a deep scarlet, the colour of some of the red leaves on the bushes.

Then emerald green.

“Wow. Again.

“Tara, you could make a fortune back home with that!”

Her friend beamed, happier when she’d altered the shade of the entire dress to be much more demure.

The good thing was that the dress was so thin, you didn’t need to see through it. Not really.

But it’s not perving when it’s ‘curiosity’. Almost ‘research’, really.

Yeah, research is the thing.

Now, I wonder if I can do that to my dress?


Before she had time to find out though, Tara shushed her. “Willow, I think we’re being watched.”

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

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 7 - 02/11/15
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:32 am 
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Dibs-t Goodness! :banana

Yay for great update-y goodness... Nice bath time and figuring more about those dresses... Somebody watching them doesn't sound too good...

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 7 - 02/11/15
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:05 pm 
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Ohmigod!
This was so adorable!
I don't think i've ever seen Willow's slightly skatty thoughts ever done so well. :bow

Interesting to see that Tara's the slightly more together one.
Mind you, this does seem to be her place.

Hmm, if Tara's dress is noticeably more revealing than Willow's, i'm wondering if [b]both[/] their minds influenced this place?

Wow, i'm so looking forward to finding out what's going on.
Plus smoochies of course.
It wouldn't be Willow and Tara without smoochies.

And yeah, i think things would have been better for all concerned if Buffy had uncorked a little with Faith, but that's another story.

Bravo! :bounce
I am officially cheered up :D

R :flower

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 7 - 02/11/15
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:45 pm 
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Thank you very much, Zampsa - Dibbsing again! Bathtime was bound to be fun. Rest assured though, whoever is watching... not watching that!

Azirahael - I have to say, I've been making Willow a bit more scatty this time just because there's not a plot to drive on... so I can indulge without losing the thread. But thanks!

I always make Tara slightly more together, to be fair. I am biased towards her!

And for sure, there will be smoochiness!

As for Faith and Buffy, I love the idea Willow could analyse it and - even hating Faith - just admit to herself that if the pair had hooked up or been GF then... the world would be a much better place LOL. That just cracks me up :)

Glad this helped your day!

Thanks
Katharyn

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 7 - 02/11/15
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:59 pm 
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Katharyn, There are some really interesting things happening in this.. realm(?). I love the description of Tara’s room. What I wouldn’t give to have clothing that actually fit and could change color in a blink of the eye!

For the moment, Willow is completely dependent on Tara for sustenance. I don’t expect that to be the case for long. She will learn how to navigate this wondrous new world soon enough with Tara as her guide. Then they will be on equal footing which is absolutely essential to developing a strong, healthy relationship. :)

I was wondering when/if someone else would pop up. They were just chased by scary creatures and suddenly transported into “parts unknown” so it’s logical Tara would be alarmed when she realizes they are being observed. I think anyone/anything looking to cause them harm will end up with a very large oak tree upside the head!


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 7 - 02/11/15
PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 6:44 pm 
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WOOHOO, UPDATES!

Nice update, man! I have nothing else to say about this, because it was so amazing.

-Wills

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Drusilla: I'm naming all the stars.
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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 7 - 02/11/15
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:24 pm 
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Need to get onto a new page, this one takes so long to scroll down... LOL

Kajun - 'Realm' is as good a world as any. I a not sure now whether the girls ever settle on a term (my memory!) but that one works. Especially as it hints Tara could be a Queen of a Realm :)

Tara's room - I suddenly found myself 'disappointed' when I saw a screen shot from the canon show when we - briefly - get to see Tara's room that I'd not gone back and looked at that more. Then I thought, nah. This one's better :)

I must admit I hadn't thought much about Willow's dependency for food etc. In fact I hadn't thought much beyond two closely spaced jokes about being 'wet' and 'eating' LOL. You're right, of course, but I think you'll find the issue will fade away.

I think it would be difficult to sustain this story for a hundred thousand words with nothing else in it but them. I'd be dragging out their new relationship even more (and believe me, you'll think I've dragged it out quite enough!) But what's watching them is more a 'what' than a 'who.'

As for the oak tree, well... This isn't Sidestep Tara :)

Salix - Well, I have nothing more to say than 'thank you' so... :)

Thanks! The next part will post later today.

Katharyn

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 Post subject: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 8 - 02/14/15
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:01 am 
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Title: Tara and Willow – The Blessed Unrest – Chapter Eight
Author: Katharyn Rosser
Feedback: Absolutely, yes please. That’s why I write for this place, to engage in the discussion about the story.
Spoiler warning: Not sure why I am bothering, really, but nothing much apart from the episode ‘Hush’ in S4. And let’s face it, if you’ve not seen that then… what are you doing here?
Distribution: This story was written for Pens. Pens is its home. No archiving off Different Coloured Pens and the Kitten Board please. No conversion to eBook or other formats please. Enjoy it here.
Story notes: Tara’s background is different to that presented in Family and instead based on a throwaway remark made in interviews around the time Family first aired. (Though I now realise not the precisely terminology used there)
Summary: Life in the forest-campus gets more… complex.
Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the copyrights or anything else associated with BTVS. All rights lie with the production company, writers etc. I am making no money from this series of stories however all original characters and situations remain my property. As this is a missing scenes and alternate reality fiction lots of scenes are new versions of those seen in the show, as such dialogue and situations are taken from the show. I’m sure you can tell which. All credit for those aspects goes to the original writers.
The title ‘The Blessed Unrest’ came from and belongs to Sara Bareilles from the album of the same name.
Rating: Occasional, tasteful, adult situations and contextual bad language. However by and large equivalent to the show.
Couples: Tara and Willow forever, that’s all I’m bothered about.
Text convention: Use of italics denotes either special emphasis if used for a single or a few words in a sentence OR first person thoughts if used for a whole sentence.
Notes: You thought it was just going to be them and the trees forever? Nah… Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to less alone together!
In terms of story process, I’m being very careful to not jump too far ahead on the final posting draft. It’s adding a lot this time around, but I’m being disciplined and making sure that I only stay 2 parts ahead of posting so that – when you all have good ideas – I can steal them and put them in! I still need to find a place to put references about ‘planes’!
Thanks to:



“Watched? Watched by who? Whom – I guess – but who’s watching us?”

“I don’t know,” she said as Willow looked around. “I’ve just got this feeling…”

While Willow was looking here and there, turning to try and find who or whatever it was, her attention was pulled towards the trees that bordered the pool. It – the sensation - just… felt like it was coming from over there.

Why?

She had no idea. Maybe it was coming from those parts of her the brain that were primitive and understood that it was important to know when something might be watching – or hunting - you. Once upon a time that had been a life or death instinct. Just not for her. Montana really hadn’t honed those skills.

Not as much as Sunnydale might.

Or maybe it was just logical.

Whatever it was that let her feel it, she wasn’t the ones who spotted it first. Even though she’d had the direction right.

“It’s a deer,” her friend said. “Isn’t that a deer?”

“A doe,” she agreed.

The animal was large, by any standards, more like a small pony in terms of size. The kind of size that made you certainly not want to meet the stag with horns to match. But despite being so large, the doe was also beautiful and graceful. Big, dark eyes were fixed on them. Watching carefully, but it seemed fearless unlike any deer she’d ever seen at home.

Perhaps they’ve never had to learn to fear people?

Perhaps they’re so big no one would dare…?


“I… I thought we were alone here,” she said, expressing both of their surprise.

“It’s a deer,” Willow reminded her after making a noise that said she actually agreed. “Just a deer. Big, sure, but just a big, cute looking herbivore. Bambi’s Mom? Right? Like that?”

“Probably.”

“What do you mean, ‘probably’? You think it might have big, sharp teeth? It looks like it could have my arm off.” Willow eased back, away from it.

“I – no, that’s not – I just meant, we’re in another place. It might not be the same. But – it’s not built like a predator,” she said.

“Good point. The eyes aren’t – predators focus on their prey. Prey animals, they have eyes set to the side so they can see what’s coming for them. I think I read that, right?”

Unfortunately, she couldn’t be reassuring right now. Not with any certainty. “Why haven’t we seen or heard any animals? No sign of them either. Nothing. Not until now? Not even birds?”

Which, of course, was the perfect cue for a bird to actually land on a branch, not far from the doe which paid it no mind and kept watching them. Both creatures were looking over towards them.

And then a second bird, smaller than the first. More like a finch than a hawk.

All looking their way. None of them wary.

“If this goes all Hitchcock then… we really have nowhere safe to run,” Willow said.

“Was there a movie about d-deer?” she wondered.

“No, but when you have more than one bird then that’s a plural. That’s ‘Birds’ and… that movie scared the crap out of me. Still does. With their beaks and their beady eyes - ”

“It was her own fault,” Tara said. “After the birds in the cage died.”

“So the other birds get to terrorise a whole town?” Willow asked.

“She should’ve looked after them.” Walking towards the animals, she couldn’t help saying what she thought. “And it’s fiction anyway.” Because obviously in the real world it’d be a little different.

Right?

In the real world… two birds wouldn’t sit there watching you. Together. And not fly off when you got close to them. Right?

And the big deer…

“True. That was fiction, this is – what are you doing? Tara? Where are you going?”

“Closer to them.”

“Those are birds. And a giant deer. Doe. Doe-a-deer. A female deer. Whatever.”

“They won’t hurt me,” she said.

“At least one of them has got teeth. And the others have beaks. You did see that movie right?”

“They won’t hurt me,” she said again.

“Umm, and how do you know that?” Willow demanded. “Exactly?”

“I… just do.”

Neither did they seem worried about her approach. As she stepped towards them all three animals watched her, but not warily. They weren’t poised to flee. There was no tensing of muscles ready to spring. Rather they edged forwards themselves. The birds hopped to nearer branches while the deer took three steps forwards and soon was within arm’s reach.

“Oh, wow,” Willow said. “Look at you. Animals love you too? I mean – animals love you?”

“My dog did. And the cats,” she admitted. But never anything like this.

Wait.

‘Too’?

“You had puh – you had cats?”

“Cats are great.”

She wasn’t looking, but knew her friend well enough by now to understand her likely expression.

“I’ve never seen the attraction of wild, vicious predators that kill for the sheer fun of it walking around the house leaving you pieces of all the things they’ve massacred,” Willow said. “Just for kitty giggles. But, maybe I should’ve given them more of a chance – Careful, Tara!”

She was close enough now that the three newcomers were within reach. No birds should let anyone this close to them. Certainly not wild ones. Seeing them up so close revealed the subtle colours in their plumage. What looked black from a distance on the larger – crow-like – bird was actually a mixture of very dark greens and blues. And when the smaller finch type bird reared up and spread its wings, it showed her marvellous reds, hidden beneath there.

Not something you saw every day.

But then neither was the insistent pushing of cold, wet deer nose at your neck – because the deer in question was so large. “Cut it out!” she chided the doe.

And she did exactly that.

“Umm. Tara? Did that deer just do what you told it to?”

“She’s a she,” Tara said, looking into huge, eyes and seeing a reflection there that didn’t quite seem like her.

It was the dress…

“Okay, did that doe just do what you told her to?”

“No. Well, yes, but – no - I – I mean it’s probably just all about tone. Like with dogs. It matters much more how you say something to a dog than what the words are. You know?”

“Maybe, I guess. We never had a dog either. But why don’t you test it… Try telling it to take a step forwards.”

“You can get a dog to ‘come here’”. But she had to admit, she was curious. Willow might have a point. These animals weren’t behaving typically. It was like they had no fear of humans.

But someone had built or at least lived in this place or why were their rooms and closets and everything…?

“How about just saying ‘one pace forwards’?” Willow suggested. “In a neutral tone.”

“That feels kind of silly.”

“But it’d prove something,” Willow said.

What would it prove?”

“That you can talk to animals. That you’re Eliza Doolittle. Here at least.”

“That’s Doctor Doolittle,” she corrected with a smile.

“Oh, right. But you should do this – no matter what you call her. Because that’s what it looked like to me. That deer did what you said. And I think that they’d listen. Go on,” Willow encouraged her. “Ask it – her - to take a pace forwards.”

But before she could, the deer took that pace. Looking right at her.

“Woah,” Willow said. And she was right there with her.

“One pace back?” Tara suggested.

The deer did just that – a little more awkward. Even the birds both hopped back and they hadn’t been included. More like they didn’t want to be left out.

“This… this is freaky,” Willow said.

“My cat would never do that,” Tara said. “Before you ask.”

“Wasn’t going to say a thing,” Willow promised her. “And really? I’m staying right away from any talk of cats.”

“Why?” It struck her like a strange thing to say. You didn’t have to like cats, but not to talk about them? Why ever not?

“Ah – um – because there are birds around and they seem to understand what we say – or at least you say. It wouldn’t be fair to start talking about… cats. Yeah, lets say it’s that.”

Meanwhile the crow-like bird was giving Willow a curious look. Like, for example, these cats that she was referring to wouldn’t know what hit them if they did try anything.

Somehow, she could believe it. Felines weren’t top of the food chain here. Somehow she knew it.

“How about asking them to stand on one leg?” Willow suggested.

“How is a deer going to stand on one leg?” she asked. If a deer could ever have a look of scorn, this was one that had mastered it.

“Oh. Right.”

But the birds did it anyway.

“They’re listening to me too?” Willow said, obviously just noticing their compliance.

“It looks like,” Tara agreed and held out her hand, encouraging Willow to come and join them.

“I warn you now,” Willow said as she took it and that now familiar rush went through their physical connection, “if I get bitten by something big, I’m blaming you.”

“Deal.”

“Or something with big teeth.”

“Okay.”

“Or pecked to death.”

“Okay.”

“Or anything, actually.”

“Okay.”

The animals did see more wary of Willow than her, but tolerated her presence all the same. Even allowing her to reach and press a hand to the muzzle of the deer. But it never stretched towards Willow as it kept doing with her.

And Willow, who plainly hadn’t been around animals all that much, couldn’t get over it.

“It’s so soft.”

“I’ve never been this close to a wild animal either,” she explained. This was definitely not normal behaviour. At least it wouldn’t have been back home.

But then nothing about this place was normal. Not one, single thing. Or how they’d gotten here. So this? This wasn’t even in the top ten strangest things that had happened in the last seventy-two hours.

The other strange thing was that – as time passed – the animals showed no inclination to leave. They were perfectly content just to stand there and pay attention to her whims, even though – eventually – she thought it just seemed rude to keep asking them to do things.

When the red squirrel showed up too though, that was the final straw.

“Okay,” she said while it wrapped it’s bushy tail around her neck. “All of you – go do what you have to do.”

Almost as one, the two birds and two mammals flew or darted off.

“Why did you do that?” Willow asked. “That squirrel on your shoulder was so cute.”

“They should be out feeding, or something – not talking to us,” Tara said. “And you saw how fast they went. They wanted to go.”

“But they couldn’t until you told them to?”

That wasn’t the thought she’d had but… actually, it might really have been like that.

“Maybe not ‘couldn’t’ but… wouldn’t? Perhaps. But I’m sure they’d have listened to you too,” she said. That seemed important.

Willow shook her head. “If I told them to go, waved my arms around like a mad-woman. Sure. But all the rest? No. They were paying attention to you, Tara. Every move you made. Every word.”

“But - ”

“It’s like the water,” Willow said. “When it’s from you, it’s different. Who are you, Tara?”

Was that the question?

And what did it mean if it was?

---------------------------

Another sunset, magnificent as it was, and another day had passed where they hadn’t figured out a way out of here.

Or even really looked for one.

Another day where it hadn’t seemed like a big enough priority to get right on that with any real urgency.

Yet another way to look at it was another day where Buffy and Giles – Giles mostly – hadn’t figured out a way to rescue them. If, indeed, they needed to be rescued at all.

That was still an open question but not one that was really getting debated. Or even thought about all that much. Something else was always there to distract.

This – with Tara – was a very distracting place. And in a good way. It wasn’t like it was happening to keep her from doing what she ought to. No, this was just… It was wonderful all around.

After the bathing – which took longer than you’d imagine considering how cold the water had been – and the interlude with the animals it had almost been time for brunch and after that a snooze in the sun.

Important parts of the day here.

Later they’d wandered some more, just talking and then dinner. Papple and a new fruit that was sharper, but just as delicious. They hadn’t given it a name yet, though even that seemed more important than getting home. And then…

Maybe it was just an impression, but around here sunset seemed to come when it was convenient rather than on a set schedule like the rotation of the world or anything that obvious. But as they looked at the sky, they could see birds. Lots of birds. All seemingly flying their way. Into the forest around them.

Almost like it had been empty until this morning and now they’d all just come from… somewhere else?

Almost – you might think - like they set off on a journey here once Tara had arrived? Because… it’d take a few days, right? To travel any distance?

So there was more than one thing to be curious about when it came to Miss Tara Maclay. Unless she was the best actress in the world, Tara had no more idea what was going on than she did. Less, perhaps, because Tara wasn’t seeing it from an outsider’s perspective like she was.

Here, Tara was the ultimate insider. This whole forest reacted positively to her presence. Blooms turned towards her. Branches parted more easily for her passing than a certain other person who struggled with them. And that was when Tara failed to find the much easier path, as she almost invariably did. Water became nutritious. Fruit dropped off in her hand, perfectly ripened. Animals came and listened to her, did what she said.

None of that worked for her. At least…

Not unless I’m with Tara.

She’d been around weird and wonderful things long enough to draw her conclusions from that. Science told her the rest.

Plainly this was Tara’s place and – like the dress – it was made for her. And, also like the change she’d willed into being in the colour of the dress, Tara was growing more used to it. Learning to make use of it. Okay, so far that didn’t include them getting out of here or finding a way but… That simply didn’t feel like a priority for either of them.

And from her perspective being alone with Tara Maclay wasn’t exactly a burden or a punishment. It wasn’t hard either. Trapped alone with some people she’d have struggled to… well, get on. Others, she’d have run out of things to say days ago.

But she and Tara? They talked. They talked about everything. One of them had started with a tendency to babble and the other a reluctance to say much that was personal at all.

Somewhere they’d met in the middle and Tara was already much more confident with her speech, barely stumbling over any words now. Perhaps it was the comfort of a complete lack of stress.

Well, not a ‘complete lack’ because surely Tara had to be wondering what was growing between them too?

I hope she is… I need to know it’s not just me before I...

What? What is it I want?

Well, first, I want to know.


But even if there was never anything more than friendship between them, she had this innate feeling that they certainly would be – and remain – friends. They weren’t talking at each other when they were filling the day. They were having long, in depth conversations on just about every topic. From where they’d come from to the witchy things they knew and had done. Current affairs – albeit in another place – to favourite foods. Silliness. TV shows. Books. Art, and the fact she knew less about it than she should. Food. Travel. Wishes.

In a few ways, she thought she knew Tara better than Buffy and it had only been a few days.

And the one thing they’d not talked about was the one thing she wanted to know…

They were alone. That and the circumstances ought to have put a lot of pressure on a new friendship. But they were rarely mistaken, rarely testy with each other and even then it was there and gone in a moment. Forgiven and forgotten. Lesson learned.

It was like they fit together.

But it was getting harder to get her mind to cease to wonder about the other ways they might fit together. If anything she was all the more intrigued because in these other ways they felt like they’d be… right.

It’s only been a few days but… I started out wondering about the physical side of things and what that would be like. But… now, I barely even care. Everything else that had to work between us to go there… does. What it would be like was much less important than the fact that it would be Tara.

So, no, she couldn’t stop wondering because she felt – or hoped for – how good they could be together.

And that had never happened before. Not ever. It wasn’t a thought she’d ever had with Oz or about anyone else. Sure, wanting to be with someone. In theory. But not knowing, at the very deepest parts of her, that it would be good.

Had Buffy told her that she felt like that about someone she’d have called it another bad decision, overinvestment in something that might not work out… All the things that Buffy usually did wrong (apart from the necrophilia – which they were all hoping was a one-time aberration because look how it had worked out.)

But… Now she understood the feeling for what it was. And she considered it unlikely that it would – or could – go as wrong as anyone of her best friend’s attempts at romance. Tara was – after all – very much alive and not at all an asshole.

Alive and not an asshole, they certainly had that going for them then.

And now the only problem was that she had no idea how Tara felt about her.

Or how to find out without perhaps risking what they already had and probably should always have.

But here was the place for that. It was just them. The baggage of the rest of world and all their labels and assumptions and… other people, didn’t matter here.

There was just them. They were everything.

So, before they figured out where they were and how to get back, maybe she needed to start simple. Maybe she needed to find out how Tara felt about girls. It was a not-so innocent topic of conversation. One that – once raised – she could take from there.

Not so innocent because she’d be looking to zero in on Tara’s feelings for one girl in particular.

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

_________________
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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 8 - 02/14/15
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:14 am 
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Dibs-y Goodness! :banana

Yay for great update-y goodness... I'm really glad that the first of the wildlife has decided to appear... I hope they soon-ish have to face their feelings and act on them and have yummy kisses...

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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 8 - 02/14/15
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:51 pm 
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Ooh, a thinky chapter!

I like it. Breaks things up a little.

Nice to see Willow using the power of Logic™.

I'm looking forward to the inevitable kissing scene (who isn't?),
but i think i'm looking forward to Willow talking about all this with Tara more.

Beyond the also inevitable babble, i'm looking forward to see how it's done.

And the animal appearance raises many questions about the nature of this place.
Other inhabitants would suggest that this place was not simply created by their magic, and was a pre-existing plane that they simply shifted to.

So who built it, and why?
Who else lives here?
What is this planes relationship with the prime plane?
Is this the original plane, and the 'Prime' plane a development of it?
What is in this plane's analogy of the hellmouth?
Or the temple of Prosperexa?

Oh, looking forward to this on so many levels now!

Also smoochies, because :wtkiss

:D

R :flower

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 8 - 02/14/15
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:50 pm 
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YASSS!! UPDATESSS!!!

Wow. Tara can communicate with animals in this world? Sweet! I wonder why, though...

Fabulous update, dude! Can't wait for more. :)

-Wills

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I have a fish named Drusilla. He doesn't know, he thinks his name is Drew. Shhhh...

Spike: Are we feeling better, then?
Drusilla: I'm naming all the stars.
Spike: You can't see the stars, love. That's the ceiling. Also it's day.
Drusilla: I can see them. But I've named them all the same name, and there's terrible confusion.


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 8 - 02/14/15
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:29 am 
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Zampsa - Thank you, as ever. And congrats, as ever, on dibsing.

Y'all just want the kisses... Not everything is about kisses.

Okay... maybe. But not all the time!

Azirahael - That's the new label? 'Thinky' chapters? That's fair, I do them often enough!

It's weird, I feel bad that these two weren't all over each other like the laundry room AND I wanted to maintain the fact that there's never any doubt or worry BUT I also wanted to do what I think Willow does. She EITHER jumps in with two feet OR she thinks things through. She does the former less than the latter (while Buffy is the very opposite and Faith is off the scale!), but they're both valid approaches for her.

The nature of the place - no pun intended - will be a factor going forwards so I shall not say much here. Your first five questions certainly will be answered. I've not worried about a local Hellmouth (not that kind of story) and have no idea what that temple is! LOL

And another for the smoochies. Kittens are so predictable. I promise we get there. And more. Not at the end, either.

Thanks

Salix - Why Tara can communicate is ONE of the relevant questions :) Thanks

Katharyn

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If I wanted a little pussy, I've got my own to play with.

Chance in *Chance*
-------------------------


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 Post subject: Re: Tara and Willow - The Blessed Unrest - Chp 8 - 02/14/15
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:10 am 
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The temple was where Willow had her bad day, and tried to blow up the world.

It was post-the episode that must not be named.
So you might not be aware of it...

Yay for Xander! :kiss1

R

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How i Met Your Mother - By Ariel


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